Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our Fall Festival 2013

After much cleaning, organizing, and preparation...we had our annual fall festival at my inloves' meat market. It was an absolutely beautiful day!

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins...

Corn stalks and mums are always necessary items for sale at a fall festival...

I love my husband's sense of humor. Such a good sport he is! I was taking photos before the festival began and he took a funny picture for me...

Xavier...getting ready:

We had over 50 vendors this year! Here are some of the vendors setting up...

My sister painted this sign for people to use for photos with their children... my case, my husband! ;)

We had a ton of people come to the festival! It was a huge success! I was so busy (helping my mom make homemade donuts that we were selling there for my inlaws) that I didn't have a chance to take pictures with all the people there...but here is just before everyone started cleaning up...after a long, beautiful day at the festival....

There were more vendors behind me in this pic...I thought I had gotten a photo of them, but I guess not. We also had pony rides and a petting zoo (which was GREAT! They had baby goats, a tiny pig, bunnies, a tortoise and more!).

It was a great year and I have been hearing so many positive comments about it from those who attended! We are all just so thankful for the gorgeous weather God blessed us with as this festival blesses my inloves so much! I think most of the vendors did well too! :) 

If you are local and attended the festival, I would love to hear what you thought! Thank you so much for coming! For those of you around the world who are visiting here...all you have is my words and a few photos! I hope you are able to attend a similar festival near you. They are always such fun and great for families! :)


Friday, September 27, 2013

Updated Weight Loss Pic it is. An updated weight loss photo! I was asked to share here you go! :) It was taken in my bathroom mirror since I don't have any full length mirrors in my home and hate when others take photos of me when I have to *pose*. So this is as good as it gets. (It's so embarrassing to post pictures of please be kind!)

I have been steady at this weight now for probably 6 months. I still exercise daily and am mindful of what I am eating. I still have 30 pounds that I would like to lose...but it'll happen when it happens. I am going to keep up this healthy lifestyle and continue to glorify the Lord in the process. 

Tomorrow is our family's big fall festival (over 50 vendors this year!). It will be a super busy day for us but I will try and get photos to share! Hope your weekend is *wonderful*! Thanks for stopping!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Quick Hello!

Things are super busy here this week! With preparations for the upcoming fall festival, homeschooling, co-op class day, housework, organizing, errands, cooking,  blogging for Simply Organized Homemaking, and celebrating my 13th wedding anniversary...I am one very busy (and extremely exhausted) lady! I am just stopping by for a quick **hello** and sharing a few photos. :)

A funny I really want to share is about my spin shoes. They are well-worn (considering I wear them to spin 6 times a week). My toes have pushed through the mesh tops and made holes. In order to keep them from tearing, I have used duct tape to preserve them (new spin shoes aren't exactly cheap!). I had plain old yellow duct tape on them for quite a while...but I wore through that as well. The children and I found this super-cute pickle duct tape on clearance and couldn't resist!

*Dill with it!*....hehe, isn't that cute?

So, I hope you are each doing well. I'm so glad you took the time to stop by! We are enjoying beautiful autumn weather here (and the weather for our fall festival on Saturday looks very promising too!). I keep pumpkin-scented candles burning frequently and I am absolutely loving it! I hope you are enjoying your change-of-seasons! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making Apple Cider

In preparation for my family's fall festival coming up this Saturday, we made apple cider to sell! This is an annual you can see HERE. After church, everyone gathered at the meat market to work together and press apples. We all truly work as a team. The children fill the apple buckets, the men-folk press the apples and then women strain and bottle the cider. It takes up the whole afternoon and into the evening. It's super-exhausting ~ but also a good time full of cherished memories. We get a lot of fellowship in with each other and that is such a blessing!

Jaxson with the boxes of apples...

The cider coming out of the press...

If you are local ~ I hope you can make it out to the festival. It's always such a great time! We have even more vendors coming this year as well! *And* as of right now...the weather looks like it should be perfect!!! :) 

For those of you that can't make it, I will do my best to take pictures to share! 

Quickly...on another note: today is Chris and my 13th wedding anniversary! I'm so thankful for the blessing of being married to this man. I can't even tell you how much...there just aren't the words. 

Today is also our first day of our homeschool co-op for this year! I have been up since 4 and getting things ready. I will head to spin, run home to shower, finish making lunches and get things together and then we will be off for the day! It should be a wonderful time! :) 

So many things going on...each one of them *such* a blessing. :) 
Hope your day (and week) are fantastic! 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Welcome Baby!

My mom was in charge of a *welcome baby* shower for family friends. They have tried to conceive for years and were never able to... Then (after years of praying for them) God blessed them with the birth of their daughter! Since my mom was the *coordinator* so-to-speak, Madelyn and I were her helpers! My sister helped too! 

I am posting photos of all the decorations and food that we prepared but not of the actual shower itself (as I don't have permission from anyone in the pics to post them on here publicly). 

Madelyn, lighting the candles...

The food table (with the couple's friends in the background setting up the fountain)...

See those flowers below? The day before the shower the new father's parents, Madelyn, my great aunt and myself spent hours (literally!!!) fluffing those to hang up! It was truly exhausting (and time consuming!)...

Chocolate covered pretzels (made by my sister), cupcakes and peapods made by my mom...

Cookies galore! (And although tempting...I didn't eat any of them!)...

The punch fountain...

Another angle of the food table...

The *welcome* table...

A closer look at those cupcakes and peapods!

Our fan-tabulous helper...

Maddy and Me...

It was a wonderful day and I think the new parents really enjoyed it! They received a lot of gifts for their new little one and I think were truly blessed by everyone's love and support for them!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You can also find me...

 I will *still* be blogging here...but because this is more of my personal blog...I am branching out and will also be blogging at Simply Organized Homemaking. It will be completely focused on homemaking, organizing, cleaning, budgeting and similar topics. I hope you will visit me there from time-to-time. If I can't keep up with it all...that blog will be the first to go. *This* blog is like an old friend I plan on keeping it going indefinitely. We'll see how this goes. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Heart of Contentment

Contentment is an inward grace given by God that results in a mindset of being satisfied to stay in your circumstances for as long as God wills.
~Martha Peace, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said 'I will never leave your nor forsake you'.
~Hebrews 13:5
Are you stuck in the sin of coveting what others have? Wishing those things belonged to you...whether it be someone else's husband, children, belongings, hair, body shape (or anything else) a wrong longing. It's a desire for something(s) God did not see fit to give to you. It is terribly easy to fall into this "grass is always greener" mentality. I find, for myself, this can be the biggest stumbling point for me. I, without meaning to, can long for things that I have not been given. Wouldn't our lives be so much more enjoyable if we continually had a heart of gratitude for the things we *have* been given and less of a desire for the things we haven't? 
Discontent hearts (which leads to coveting) produces so many horrible things...abortion, divorce, adultery, debt, lies, murder, theft and so much more! Even if you haven't done one of these things...loving and wanting something to the degree of coveting is idolatry and drives us away from our close relationship with Christ. It puts something else before Him. 
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
~1 Timothy 6:6-10
Just because others can afford certain things, doesn't mean we can. And that's okay. We don't have to have something just because others do. Truly, we all have been blessed...given what we need and more. Our hearts should be focused more on praising God with a thankful heart and sharing with others. This is something we should remind ourselves of constantly. It's so easy to get pulled back into that pit of self-centeredness. 
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of the lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 
~Hebrews 13:15-16
As Christians, our greatest need was filled by Christ when He secured our salvation for us by taking our punishment upon Himself. We have been set free from the bondage of sin and need to lead a life of prayer...walking by the Spirit and producing good fruit. This can only happen if we are living a life of matter our circumstances. We should live humbly and boast only in our Lord. 
Rather than always trying to be better than each other, and striving to keep up with the "latest and greatest"; let us continually encourage one another in our pursuit of a heart of contentment. Be happy for those who have those who have less and strive to live a life pleasing to God constantly praising Him for what He has (and has not) given you. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is great. It's not for us to decide though ( knowing our perfect, all-knowing, wise God is in control is so much more comforting to me than if I were in charge of myself!). 
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
~Proverbs 16:9
**Let me make this note can still be content while improving things in your life while using tips and tricks from others. Staying organized, focused and diligent in your homemaking and mothering is a wonderful thing. We can *learn* from other people. We can admire qualities others have and emulate's when it crosses the line to extreme desire/longing for their things and their life that it becomes sin. Keeping God at the center of our focus helps us to keep a proper perspective. :) Jesus is our everything! Always remember that!
I hope you find encouragement here. I pray my words have blessed you and admonished you as God would want. I pray He uses me to draw people to a closer relationship with Him and I continue in my walk. 
It's all about Jesus Christ being first....
and second and third and fourth and fifth. 
 What I'm saying is, don't put Jesus first. 
 Jesus is everything. 
 He's not just first in the rank,
 He is everything. 
~Paul Washer

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me...

...fluttering from the autumn tree."
~ Emily Bronte

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.
~Henry Beston

Autumn is settling in here in Western PA. The trees are still mostly green and every once in a while, the temps are warm...but more often than not, the air is quite chilly and you will find us in socks, warmer clothes, and blankets. Delightfully scented candles are often lit in the house and it gives me such joy to have the house bathed in fall scents.

The days have been terribly busy...thus why it's been a week since I last posted. I have been organizing and budgeting when time allows (between schooling, housework, appointments and other commitments).

We changed the living room around again. We moved the couch back in...fall/winter is the perfect time for snuggling up on the couch to read or watch movies together! Plus, having it out in the schoolroom took up a lot of space. I felt like I couldn't organize out there as well as I wanted to while moving around it! ;)

Chris and the children went to church without me this morning. I really dislike missing the worship and fellowship at our church, but ever since last night, my stomach has been acting a bit squirrel-y. I have not quite felt up to I decided to spend today at home. Right now, the house is quiet, as just a bit ago, Chris and the children joined my in-loves to go see the elk. They *love* getting to do that...and although it would be neat...I can go another time. After the busy week I had, getting to just be *home* is quite nice. (We aren't even involved in extra-curricular sports or anything! I just don't know how some days can get so full!)

While home today, I have enjoyed listening to sermons online through youtube and I have done some organizing, laundry, sweeping, scrubbing (just a little) and dishes...

...although everything has been able to be done at a nice pace. It's nice to have a slow-day but still get things accomplished.

I was so excited ~ when Chris came home from church today, he brought me a DVD on the life of Charles Spurgeon that I really wanted to see. Our church bought it and I am borrowing it! I have watched half of it and intend on watching the other half this evening.

So, as time ticks by (seemingly more quickly every year)...I think I am going to go and *finish* that DVD. :) My clock is ringing five times...telling me it's the 5 o'clock hour. Before I know it, it'll be bedtime...then morning and another day will be past (crazy how that happens, isn't it?).

I do want to say that I took word verification off comments. I hate word verification...and I know you do too. I apologize for ever putting it on...but now that I have moderation on...oh my! I am getting spam comments like you wouldn't believe! You don't see them because, of course, I never authorize them...but is unbelievable to me that someone would do this (or create programs that do it) to people's blogs. Spamming is terribly inconsiderate! 
Hopefully, though, you all will feel more comfortable leaving comments now that you don't have to do the silly word verification. I'll just continue moderating the spam! ;) 

Just a simple little post today...nothing deep or exciting but I think that is definitely okay from time-to-time, don't you? I hope you all have a great start to your week. Thanks so much for coming by.
I hope you will take the time to say "hello". It's always great to hear from you!