Sunday, September 30, 2012

The 2012 Fall Festival!

My inlaws' 9th annual fall festival was held yesterday. After days of rain, we were blessed with beautiful weather ~ such an answer to prayer! The only downfall was that the ground was pretty muddy. 

We started selling homemade (on the spot) donuts and fresh cut fries. My mom did that for my inlaws so I helped her (she prepared food while I attended to the customers). Oh all smelled wonderful...but I didn't eat any...not one bite! :o)

So I was busy most of the day there while other family and friends were busy helping in other the end of the day, we were all ready to *drop*! I think everything was a success though! We sold out of chicken dinners (which they sell down in front of the meat market...) and donuts...and the fresh-cut fries were a *huge* hit! 

Here's a look at the lines of vendors...

I took my knitted items and set them out...but I didn't sell any. That's okay though! :)

See, in the photo below, you can see my lunch bag down in the right corner (with the flowers on it). I take it most places with me if I am going to away from home during meal time. I always pack my own food so I don't get tempted with other things!


Some of the pumpkins my mom and sister painted and sold at the festival (there were more, but I didn't have time to really take many photos until the end)...

The few mums left over at the end of the day (all the rest were sold!)...

Below is my Christopher (in the maroon shirt) talking to our pastor (he and his family all came to enjoy the festival!) and to the right side of the photo are our friends Rob and Chris. They (out of Christian love and kindness) came and helped us most of the day. They did all kinds of work...helping wherever they were needed and we are just so thankful for them. Good friends are such a blessing!

Madelyn helped some, at the stand where mom and I were working. Here she is, making change (such a great real-life learning experience ~ do you think I could count it as a school day? hehe!)...

They were letting the children sing if they wanted to, during the festival, and to my surprise, Xavier stepped right up! There he is, in the green shirt, singing. That's Jaxson in the tie-dyed blue shirt, hanging on the rope, laughing! ;)

My pictures aren't great...because as I said, I was super busy and didn't have time to really get some good photos. Eloise, my niece, was there too...and I thought I had gotten a photo of her...but I didn't :(. I know my sister took some though. Hopefully she will post them on her blog! She was her ever-so-cute-self!

Thanks for coming by...and thank-you to everyone who stopped by the festival yesterday!!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Kitchen Progress...

I have been doing some myself. I have never hung wallpaper before. It went pretty well (after I got past the mishap with the first wallpaper I tried). I must say how truly thankful that the checked pattern I have made it easier to make nice, straight cuts.

I thought I would show you some of the *progress* photos. The dishwasher was just delivered today and is sitting in a box in our schoolroom right now. Tomorrow is my inlaws' fall festival so we are going to be busy tonight and tomorrow. We are still figuring out some other details about the counter and such as hopefully it will be installed sometime next week. I will update when it is all finished too!

I know the wallpaper doesn't *really* go with the red and white of my kitchen...but it is **much** better than the drab plaster walls that have been there for years (after I took off wallpaper that had balloons on it ~ from the previous owners). It really does warm it up in there and I like it. I think once we have the dishwasher and new counter in...I think it will look nice. Obviously this isn't my dream kitchen at the moment...but it is what it is, for now. :)

Along with wallpapering, normal chores such as dish washing, laundry, sweeping, dusting and organizing, as well as schooling ~ I have kept busy with other things....knitting, reading and...

I did some bread-baking this week...

We watch my nephew for a few hours one day a's so fun for him to come over and play with the children! He and Jaxson had a great time playing with the trains!

I will be super-duper busy this weekend because of the fall festival we are helping with (all day tomorrow). Remember previous years HERE and HERE? (I think this is our 8th year of doing it! Last year was the first time I had to miss it as I was super sick!) So, I will be posting about it all at the beginning of next week sometime! :) I hope you will come back to hear about it!!!

If you are local...stop by! We have over 30 vendors, meat specials, face painting, lots of food and much more! Lots of fun to be had...and I think the weather is planning to cooperate as well! Such a fun way to kick off the fall season!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weight Loss Update (as requested)

Hello! :)

I have been getting many questions about my continued weight loss and progress. Thanks be to God, I am able to report that I am still losing. I have lost a total of 36 pounds (since my start date of June 1, 2012). People are really starting to notice and that is such a *great* encouragement to me!


I am still spinning around four times a week at our local YMCA and on any other day (except Sunday) I workout to a DVD or a video on Youtube (for at least 30 minutes). Fat is diminishing and my muscles are growing (and defining). I can't tell you just how wonderful it feels to fit into every piece of clothing I have....actually, some of it is now too *big* for me! ;)


As far as eating, I basically figure I can eat whatever I want to as long as I stay within my daily ranges for calories, fat, carbs and protein. I choose to eat healthier foods so that I can eat a little more of then to fill me up. Just this morning, X and I were munching on some baby carrots (no dressing...although you can have dressing if you want to...but I hate to waste calories that way!). I like to have plain popcorn popped with only a little salt. I get low calorie bread for sandwiches...I use a little lunch meat, a tablespoon of light mayo and lots of lettuce and I have a delicious, filling sandwich! I like salads too...I use lots of lettuce and I measure everything that goes on it. I weigh out my meat when I have it to eat...that really is the key.

Portion sizes and recording what you eat...

I truly believe measuring out (and weighing) your food is very important (and really not difficult once you make it a routine). A serving is a certain amount. To have a cup of something and call it a serving (when a serving size is only a tablespoon) is filling your body with loads of extra calories and not truly being honest with yourself. A kind reader of my blog (way back at the beginning of my journey) told me about It is *fantastic*. It's free and it is what I use to record all my exercise and food intake.

Recording what we eat, in my opinion, is so crucial to losing weight and keeping it off. I plan on doing it for the rest of my life, Lord willing (whether it's online or in a notebook). So often, people lose weight then end up gaining it back because they aren't truly keeping an eye on what they are eating anymore. For me, I'm not living to "lose weight" (although it is great as it happens!) but rather just adopting this healthier lifestyle and weight loss is a result of that!

Eating Out: 

We don't eat out much at all. If we do, it is usually from Subway (which has such a great selection for the health-conscious people!). However, if we *are* going to go out to eat, I plan ahead. I don't want to get there and feel stressed about what to eat. Thanks to this world-wide-web, we have the ability to check out each restaurant's nutrition facts (except smaller more local we just don't go to those yet). Since I am a "planner" anyway, I plan what I will eat from wherever we decide to go! :)

I hope I have answered your questions well! If you have any others, I will try and answer them in the comments section of this post! Thank-you for your encouragement through this journey! 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From Tears to Smiles

I posted yesterday about my overwhelming home improvement fiasco (that I got myself into). A great big thank-you to each of you who left a supportive, loving, encouraging comment. I truly appreciated each one and am thankful that God used you to provide some comfort to me while I was stressing.

Thankfully, Chris got home from work and (sweetie that he is, truly) began immediately (before he even took his coat off!!!) figuring out how to disconnect the ice maker hose from the fridge. We, then, got the fridge moved and out from the middle of the floor! Whew! That was such a relief to me! (It is strange for all of us ~ getting used to the fridge being in a different spot!) After supper, he even painted on the primer high up on the walls where I couldn't reach (we have 9 foot ceilings). He hates to he was such a hero for me yesterday (although, he usually is...such a gift he is to me!).

Today after schooling was done, I began trying to hang some wallpaper. The wallpaper was still in the packaging but was a hand-me-down from my aunt years ago. I worked on hanging it and it did *not* cooperate. It was pre-pasted paper...but it didn't stick well at all. Finally, I called my mom and asked her what to do...she suggested that it wasn't working well if the glue wasn't sticking. So, I took it down...

I had a roll of paper that I had purchased a year ago or so and thought I would give it a try instead. The glue was *much* better on it and it is hanging perfectly!!! I am thrilled!

Now, I know the paper doesn't *really* go with the red/white of my kitchen...however, once the dishwasher is put in and things are finished, I think it will be okay for now. It's giving the walls a bit of a country look to them and I love it. It will warm it up in there! :o)

Chris is going to help me get up high with the ladder when he gets home from work in a bit...

Goings-on during the day...

As fall sets in, temps are a lot chillier! We haven't lit the wood stove yet, so we all enjoy time snuggling in the fleece blankets...

The boys (above) and Madelyn, snuggled in blankets, watching a movie...

Madelyn picked flowers and arranged them to add a bit of the out-doors in the kitchen...

Candles were lit all day...we (at least *I* enjoyed them...not sure if the children care one way or the other!) enjoyed their glow and the glorious fall scents they filled the air with!

Although supper is now in the oven, awaiting Chris's arrival home (from work) is a picture of the process of preparing it! We are having lasagna tonight ~ yum! I spun for 55 minutes this morning and have enough calories left for the day to have a piece too! :)

Lowe's called...our dishwasher is in! I asked if they could deliver it sooner than Friday...the lady said she would check and get back to me! It's okay if I have to wait...we still need to figure out how we are going to buy/make a butcher block type counter to go on top of it before we can actually start using it anyway. I just get excited over things! ;)

I will post an update of my kitchen once things are set in place! :)
Thanks so much for visiting today! I hope this post is much more cheery than my last one!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Ready to Cry...

It's a stress-filled day for me...and to be completely honest, it's my own fault. I am sure most people feel this way too...but when my home is in disarray, I feel terribly anxious and flustered. If I had acted in a wise way, I would have waited for Chris to get home before I started all this...but, as usual, I got in way over my head. You may be curious what has me so upset...? The next picture will give you an idea!

Saturday, Chris and I purchased THIS dishwasher at Lowe's. I am overly excited about getting it put in. It will be delivered on Friday. To get ready, I moved the fridge out of the way (and it is hooked up to a water line for the ice machine that I am not sure how to disconnect properly) I can't move the fridge to it's *new* home (which is in the place of the food shelf/cabinet that I have). I had horrible wallpaper to get off from behind it I moved the fridge out of the way and started scraping wallpaper. I was trying to be careful that I wasn't tripping on cords and such...while doing the tedious task of wallpaper stripping. My children, how I *do* love them, were curious, asking questions and picking on one another. This made my head spin even more. 

Now I have the wallpaper I began sealing/priming the walls for new wallpaper. The fridge being in the road is *very* inconvenient and is truly getting on my nerves. I *should* have waited for Chris to get home so I wasn't trying to do things in such a disorganized fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of way (....which is totally NOT me, I am the planner/scheduler type). I am tense and befuddled right now...which is why I decided to take a break and make a post. I am sorry you are all having to hear my frustrations. It's mostly frustration with myself, though. I wish I would just be patient. There's just much that has to be done before the dishwasher will be able to work. Plus, I have to find a new, organized place to store some of our food items. 

I think a nap or a bit of time snuggled in one of those big, comfy chairs in the living room with a fleece blanket (as temps are quite chilly here today) would be just what I need about now!

Before I go, on a happier note, I wanted to share a few photos from our recent visit with my sister and Eloise!

Xavier on his tow-trike...

Madelyn and El....

The Squeezle, in all her cuteness!

My eleven year old with her cousin (it is so hard to believe that Madelyn used to be the size of Eloise 10 years ago!)...

Thank you for all the anniversary wishes on my previous post...we truly appreciate them!
Thanks, also, for stopping by and dealing with my whining...I look forward to when I can show photos of my kitchen with it's dishwasher all set up and ready to go!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Covenant Keeping

When God stands as witness to the covenant promises of a marriage it becomes more than a merely human agreement. God is not a passive bystander at a wedding ceremony. In effect he says, I have seen this, I confirm it and I record it in heaven. And I bestow upon this covenant by My presence and My purpose the dignity of being an image of My own covenant with My wife, the church.
~John Piper

(This picture was taken a while ago...before my weight loss! ;)

Today, Chris and I celebrate 12 years of marriage. Considering the fact that I am only 31, that is over a third of my lifetime! It's hard to believe that all those years have passed already....and yet, it feels like we have known each other forever (Nobody knows him like I do...and nobody knows me like he does!). He is the peanut butter to my jelly...although we are individuals with unique qualities, we fit together perfectly.

***Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church.***
~John Piper

I love that God uses our differences (strengths and weaknesses) to grow and mature one another. Chris is the laid back, relaxed sort-of fella. Meanwhile, he married an uptight, schedule-loving sort-of gal! We can drive each other crazy at times...but in all honesty, we balance each other out beautifully. I praise God for my husband. It is my joy to be his helpmeet...that is what I was created for (and keeping that truth in my mind helps me to remember that my life is truly not about me...the only way to truly love someone is to serve them and put their needs before your own ~ Jesus taught this in word and in deed)!

***When a couple speaks their vows, it is not a man or a woman or a pastor or parent who is the main actor – the main doer. God is. God joins a husband and a wife into a one-flesh union. God does that. The world does not know this. Which is one of the reasons why marriage is treated so casually. And Christians often act like they don’t know it, which is one of the reasons marriage in the church is not seen as the wonder it is. Marriage is God’s doing because it is a one-flesh union that God Himself performs.***
~John Piper

(Oh, look how young we are here!)

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.  
~Hoosier Farmer

The goal of the Christian husband and wife in their marriage is to have a oneness that is characterized by a loving spiritual and physical bond that glorifies God and thereby enhances personal spiritual growth (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:22-33; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 13:4). Oneness and spiritual growth are achieved as each partner helps the other become as much like the Lord Jesus Christ as possible. This spiritual growth and oneness in marriage does not happen by chance. It happens in direct proportion to how diligent a couple is in pursuing it.
~Martha Peace
The Excellent Wife

(Chris and his boys)

Before I go, I want to share a few links with you that I know will encourage you in your marriage. I hope you will take the time to check them out! :)

This Momentary Marriage ~ The Story of Ian and Larissa

Staying Married is NOT about Staying in Love ~ John Piper

Paul Washer on Marriage

Paul Washer ~ Why is Marriage Difficult?

The wonder of marriage is woven into the wonder of the gospel of the cross of Christ, and the message of the cross is foolishness to the natural man, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14). 
~John Piper

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Busy Hands...

...are Learning Hands.

The children and I keep busy every morning...starting with chores/breakfast/prayer/catechism. Then we move on to our schooling...

Jaxson began (of his own doing) making a leaf book...

We use our Ideaboard as our traveling whiteboard. This makes it nice for us to do our schooling in the dining room (rather than being in the schoolroom with the chalkboard)...

I have kept all my teacher books on a shelf in the school room. This works just fine...but I don't have room (on the table) to bring all the books out at one I end up using a couple teacher books with the children...then taking them back in the school room and then bringing more out. It got a bit ridiculous. So, I decided to use a basket to keep them in during the school year so I can set them right beside my chair at the table. They are organized by grade and use...

After schooling is finished for the day, I spend time checking my to-do list (in my planner) and making up our weekly dinner menu, meat list and grocery list...

Also, when schooling is finished for the day (and we are done at the table), I like to wipe down the table and set out (and light) a sweet smelling candle. This one is a yummy pumpkin candle which is perfect for these cool, fall-like days!

Most sunny days, clean laundry hangs out on the lines...

Our wood shed is getting filled up! There is a row of stacked wood behind these rows too!

And we still have lots (and lots) of wood left to split and stack (with grateful's such an inexpensive way to heat our home as we only have to pay for the electric that runs the wood stove!)...

And now (as I sit with my cheeks flush with embarrassment), I have a confession to make. Due to some things (that I am not going to post about) Chris and I don't think we will be able to do the vasectomy reversal (although we believe if it is the Lord's will, things will fall together as they should). So...even though I am a fan of doing things simply and more old-fashioned in life, Chris and I *are* contemplating getting a dishwasher. The idea of *cheating* with dishes bothers me...but at the same time, I remember that I do use a washing machine for our laundry...and it is still work to make my laundry soap, switch the loads of clothes and hang them out (so I don't consider my washing machine usage as cheating). So...maybe using a dishwasher isn't really cheating....? I will still have to load and unload it and put things away. The biggest attraction to me is that I won't have dishes constantly in my sink or on the counter. Plus, it *may* save water to only run a dishwasher once a day rather than the 2 or 3 times a day I wash dishes (in new water).

We are not 100% sure yet....we'll see what we can do. I just wanted to share that, because honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed. I claim to be a fan of simple living (which is actually a more difficult type of living) and now here I am contemplating a dishwasher. I'm sorry if I disappoint anyone with all this!?

Thanks for stopping by...I hope you are enjoying your week!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Content....

I will confess...there are times when I feel discontented with things. My home is a (slow) work in progress and I can quickly become frustrated with things that need done/improved. I am truly ashamed of this fact and praying to improve my outlook on things...I desire a truly contented heart. I want to be a woman whose greatest want is to know Christ more and more. Often though, my earthly wants get in the way. Oh, that God would purge me of my selfishness!! This *is* my constant plea. For a discontented wife and mama (at least this one) is not a joy to be around.

So, please know that I am so very full of faults. I am so thankful that it is not up to *me* to earn my way to Heaven, for Christ, the Perfect One, did that for me. He saved my sinful, prideful, discontented, selfish heart. Life is truly but a vapor in the scheme of eternity. The material things of this world will one day disappear and be gone...for they are not truly what matters. The souls and hearts *in* my home (and all over God's Creation) are what matter! Sometimes I need to be more conscious of this.

Here is some encouragement I am posting for myself...and maybe for you, if you ever feel this way too at times...

"Christian contentment, therefore, is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord and to be totally at His disposal in the place He appoints, at the time He chooses, with the provision He is pleased to make.
It was with mature wisdom, then, that the young Robert Murray McCheyne wrote, ‘It has always been my aim, and it is my prayer, to have no plans with regard to myself.’ ‘How unusual!’ we say. Yes, but what people noticed about McCheyne was how content he was to pursue one driving ambition: to know Christ (Phil. 3:10). It is not accidental that when we make Christ our ambition we discover that He becomes our sufficiency and we learn contentment in all circumstances."

In Christ Alone, by Sinclair B. Ferguson, pg. 190

Consider Jesus. Know Jesus. Learn what kind of Person it is you say you trust and love and worship. Soak in the shadow of Jesus. Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus. Watch Him. Listen to Him. Stand in awe of Him. Let Him overwhelm you with the way He is.

-John Piper

Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish.
-John Henry Newman


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Candlelight...

Fall is slowly weaving it's way into our days...the weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter! It is perfect candlelight weather!

I love the warm, cozy glow from the candles in the evenings...

I also love the beautiful aromas that come from them. I definitely think fall scents are my favorite!

A little randomness...

Jaxson had a tea party with some of his babies the other day. He had fun and it was too cute for me not to photograph! 

And I was thinking how in all my photos, you can't tell how long my hair is. (Since I cut most of it off years ago, to get all the damaged hair off, it is now so much healthier and strong! In previous years, I had dyed it from time-to-time and used flat irons to straighten it. That damaged my hair terribly). It's now down to the middle of my back and I am so glad!....

Tomorrow (Monday) is the first day of our homeschool co-op year. We are all a little nervous and excited about it. I will still go to spin class early in the morning...then we (the children and I) will have breakfast, prayer and catechism together (We are not Catholic. The term catechism simply means teaching basic principles of Christianity in question and answer form. We use THIS book to do that. Every Christian family should be catechizing and discipling their children daily.).

We will then head to the church, in the next town over, where the co-op is held. :) It will last into the afternoon. I am all prepared...clothes are set out for tomorrow...showers/baths are being had as I type and lunch boxes are out and ready to be packed. :) I am looking forward to it (and I know the children are too)...but nervous since I am not 100% sure how this all is going to work!

Thanks for stopping by! Just a simple post today...I hope you each are doing well! Thanks so much for your always kind, thoughtful and encouraging comments. Although I don't comment back on each one, please know that I truly appreciate you taking the time to visit and write to me!

Have a beautiful, joy-filled week ahead!