Sunday, January 31, 2016

Good-Bye January 2016!

Can you believe we are saying good-bye to January 2016? Really thinking about it makes my head spin! I am looking forward to February though...and I love when it is a leap year. That extra day just makes me smile! 

Here are just a few pictures from the past couple weeks...

A family favorite supper (hamburger stroganoff over homemade noodles)...

If we go out anywhere (to family or friend's homes) I always pack my own food. I love my lunch is such a great size (and pretty too!)...This day, we were getting ready to go to sweet friends' of ours home. I took some of my canned green beans to heat up there to add to supper. While there, we played Bible Mad Gab ~ oh my! That is a *fun* game! I highly recommend it! :)

Remember that Pampered Chef stone I had posted about HERE (that broke while baking food in the oven)? Here it is...

The children wanted to learn how to play some different card games, so after dinner one evening, daddy taught them...

Jaxson being goofy...

Pa (Chris's dad) came over for a bit and joined in the games...

We have been keeping busy here at home....homeschooling, housework, running errands, and the like. Yesterday, I went to my sister's to help out a bit by watching the girls so she could get some things done. Her father-in-law is dying. It is a very sad time for their family. She was putting pictures together to be able to set up at his memorial service. I love to look at old pictures...but under these circumstances it is difficult. We are praying for all of them. If the Lord brings them to mind, I hope you will pray for them as well. Strength and comfort are truly needed right now!

The addition to our house is still being worked on by Chris and our BIL Dan (when time allows). I will be sure to share updated pictures when I can. They were working on wiring and some plumbing (for the washer and dryer) so those sort of pictures aren't very interesting! Next, the rest of the drywall goes up in the laundry room and entryway....then mud, sand, flooring and PAINT!!! Oh my, we are getting so close and I am just over-the-moon excited about it! I'm a little nervous though...I need to pick paint colors and figure out what sort of curtains I want to do....and my mind is blank! I suppose I should put pinterest to good use and get some ideas swirling around in my head! :)

I hope you are closing out your January with joy! As always, I so appreciate your comments and emails. Thanks for taking the time to visit! Have a wonderful Lord's Day and week ahead!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Updated Chore Charts

The other day, I decided to update the children's chore charts. We have found this way of tracking chores the best for us. I have posted about it previously...but I thought I would share how I updated it!

We use these plastic paper sleeves...

I whipped up these chore charts pretty quickly (they would have been a lot neater if I had taken extra time to use a ruler)...

I slip the charts into the plastic sleeves. The children can then use dry-erase markers to check off the boxes as their tasks are completed! :)

The children must take care of their daily tasks every day and then the tasks for each specified day. When combined with the tasks I take care of each day, it all helps the household run smoothly. :)

I think chores are so important for children. It teaches them teamwork, responsibility, skills and builds character! Do your children have chores? How do you *chart* them?


Linked up HERE.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Eloise & Dinah had a Birthday Party!

Like many young girls their age, my nieces *Eloise and Dinah* love the movie Frozen! They know all the songs and sing (and dance) along! Because they have birthdays in the same month, my sister decided to do a joint birthday party for them with, of course, a Frozen theme! :)

They had a *kids party* for their friends for the first couple hours where they ate and played games. The family party was games for us though! Haha!

Madelyn was setting up a few decorations between the parties...

In the picture below ~ Xavier is sitting in the background...he is running the CD player while the girls played a *freeze* game. They would freeze whenever he stopped the music! :) Front and center is Jaxson, always dashing and well-dressed! ;)

Sweet Audra was there....with all those cheesy smiles that I *love*...

Opening some gifts...

The girls (between the two parties) were quite overrun with presents! They received a lot of Frozen stuff (puzzles, toys, play-doh etc.), pajamas and more! :)

Haha....I snapped this while Audra was running toward me! (She loves her Aunt TiTi (and this auntie loves her!))...

Such sweet memories ~ I'm so glad I can document them here ~ for children grow much too quickly and these treasured times must be saved so we don't forget! Next to being a mama, being an aunt is the *best*. I look forward to, one day (Lord willing), being a grandmother! I hear it is pretty fantastic too! I am definitely not wishing away time though. I'm just thankful for each day the Lord gives. Aren't you?

Hope your week is full and joy-filled. May Christ be exalted in all you say, think and do! :)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
~1 Peter 2:11-12

Saturday, January 23, 2016

House Renovation Progress!

The sounds of screw guns, circular saws, and hammers are ringing throughout my home. It is *quite* glorious! I am so elated over the progress in our addition that I'm almost giddy! Chris, our BIL Dan, and Xavier have built a wall between the laundry room and the entry way and have been working on my closets (yes, plural! One will be a coat closet and the other a cleaning closet! Eureka!).

Xavier has been learning a lot. It has been great for him. Plus, he *loves* doing things with the men-folk! :)

This will finish up the framework stuff....Chris will do a little more wiring and the plumbing (for the washer and a utility sink to go in the laundry room) and then finish insulating the walls. From there, drywall will go up...then mudding/sanding, flooring, painting and then MOVE IN! Oh my, oh my! It is all just so exciting. :)

For previous links on what has been happening in our addition...go HERE and HERE!

I really appreciate you all sharing in my excitement with me. I know it's not as exciting to those who don't live here...but after 12 years of *almost* patiently's finally happening. To see each step come along and get us closer to living in and using these areas is just mind-boggling to me!

So that's what's been happening here! Although I am not much help in the building part of it all, I do make sure the  men are well fed (grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with homemade fries for lunch ~ when while baking my Pampered Chef Stone Cookie Sheet *broke* in half! Can you believe that? It was crazy! Thankfully, we were able to salvage half the fries before they all fell! Whew!). When it is time to paint, do curtains and get everything situated in the rooms ~ that will be my domain! :) Until then, I just watch in awe!

Have a great rest of the weekend! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

..::January Happenings::..

The cold and snow have finally hit us here in Western PA. I'm glad it held off as long as it did. Although snow can be pretty, I am not a fan of the massive cold. Sometimes I think I may turn into a popsicle as soon as I step outside the door! :)

Days have been full of homeschool, housework, exercise, reading, movies, music lessons, church, sticker making, time with family and appointments. Honestly, just the usual pretty much (along with progress in the addition that I posted about previously...although nothing has happened since the last I photographed). I can't wait until I am able to update again! :)

I had a comment in a previous post that asked about my oil lamps. We definitely have electric here...but I am a *huge* lover of oil lamp light, candles and the like! :) I light them often because I love the cozy feel it gives to my home. They are also wonderful to have when the power goes out!

Right at this moment, Chris and Madelyn are in the living room watching a cooking program (we don't have cable but use's much cheaper, no commercials and the children are permitted certain shows only!). Jaxson is at a drama practice for our homeschool co-op (he's a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz)! Xavier is down helping Pa with some things at the meat market. :)

Aren't these bill-paying stickers cute? I made them recently and they are for sale in my shop! (I didn't design the graphics...I purchased them)...

How I keep my planner and supplies neat and organized...

So that's what has been happening this month (sorry nothing overly exciting to share today)...along with the fact that I have lost 6 pounds in the past couple weeks (actually, 5.8lbs...but let's round up, shall we?)! Woohoo! I'm working hard to eat right and exercise....hoping that, along with my partner for the competition, we can win this weightloss competition that our YMCA does! :)

Glad you stopped by for a visit! I hope you will come back again!
Have a great rest of your week!
Stay warm friends!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Addition Progress!

I am *super* happy to report that a wall has been built in the addition to our home (separating what will be the living room and laundry room) and the drywall has been finished in the new living room! I am seriously just ecstatic!

My husband and our brother-in-love worked one evening earlier this week and then all afternoon yesterday (Saturday). There is also wiring run and a light hung in what will be the entryway/foyer area! In the photo above you can see the doorway into the living room from the entryway/foyer. From that entryway out there a wall will be built to the right with a door into the laundry room (which will also serve as a mud room and have a closet for shoes/coats etc.).

Above, you can see the doorway into the kitchen. There is so much done but still so far to go. I am too thrilled with the progress to be sad about how much we have left to do (finishing the laundry room and entry way, mudding sanding the ceilings and walls, painting, floors etc.).

I am so thankful for my husband and BIL. They are such great friends and work so well as a team. I know it helps Chris so much to have Dan there...and not only that, but it makes the work enjoyable when you are doing it with a friend!

Thanks so much for sharing in this journey with me. I was shocked at how different it all looked when they put up the wall...and then with all the drywall in there, even more so! Eek! I'm already letting the gears in my turn ~ pondering the paint color to use in there as well as what kind of curtains! :)

I have other pictures to share, from home and other things, but that'll have to wait for another day! I hope your week ahead is *just* great!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Drywall is Going Up!

Chris built the addition to our house when I was pregnant with Xavier (who is now 12.5 years). The upstairs is our bedroom...with unfinished floors and no trim on the windows/door frames but it has served us well and those are things we will accomplish at some point! Due to finances, time, and just busy with *life* ~ the downstairs portion of the addition stood bare and served as a giant mud/storage room.

This year, for Christmas, I told Chris that all I wanted was for the addition to be completed. He has been working on it now whenever he can! :) Our brother in law came over and helped all afternoon Saturday! The drywall is up on the ceiling over the new living room and they got some up all the walls too! The half pictured is just what will be the *living room*.

Behind where I am taking the photos from will be the mudroom. A wall or two will be built (we still haven't decided between two different options of what we want to do! It's such a hard decision!) and then more drywall, mudding, painting, floors....oh my!

I am just so, so excited to see the progress! They have more done now than what I am showing in the photos (since I snapped these while they were still working). We are so thankful for our BIL's expertise and help! Plus, he and Chris are best buddies anyway (they were each *best man* in each other's wedding) so that makes it even better! Although not pictured, Xavier has been helping (and learning) some too (which he loves)!

What is our living room now will become a library type room. I will take the book shelves from the schoolroom and put them in there. Ultimately, I want the front room to be a real open porch...not an enclosed room. Once I can get our school stuff into what will be the "old" living room, that will free up the front room...time/money may not be in abundance to make it into the *real* porch that I want right away...but it will be a step in the right direction! :)

I am just *so*excited! Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my excitement with me. I'll be sure to share more photos as things progress!

Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Home: Organization & Projects

We keep busy around this home of ours... there is always something to organize, clean or make improvements to. I feel that as a homemaker I am in charge of keeping my home tidy, comfortable, cozy, and enjoyable for all that live or visit here ~ all to the glory of God. I struggle with perfectionism ~ which can wreak havoc on my being content (as frustrations can boil within me as walls aren't done, home improvement projects happen slowly and sometimes there just isn't the money to get it all done). But the truth is that all that we have is truly a gift from God...whether it be little or a lot. I constantly go to Him in prayers of gratitude ~ always striving to keep my heart right. It is so easy to see other homes (especially online) of people who have everything new, improved and *perfect*. It's not that I need or desire everything to be new and's more of a struggle with the unkempt look of a fixer-upper house. No matter how clean and neat and organized it is, there is still parts of it that are unfinished and appear unkempt. *That* is what drives me bonkers.

Here is what I have been up to lately...

Writing thank-yous (which I feel are very important) for Christmas presents we received...

A corner of my home...

Planning in my planner (a *must* in my life. I am a planner junkie! I love planners, planning, stickers and organization! The stickers you see here can be found in my SHOP)...

Isn't this planner cover great? I have had it for a while now. It is just fantastic because it keeps my planner closed and it protects my cover from getting damaged. If you have an Erin Condren Life Planner and are interested in one of these you can find them HERE...

A knitted dishcloth finish (it's a tulip)...

Keeping my papers organized in binders...

I have been keeping the boys' finished school papers organized in this large file keeper. Madelyn keeps track of all her own papers. The boys can't always be trusted to put the right papers in the right folders *neatly*. Since I will use some of these worksheets/lapbooks in their portfolios at the end of the year, I like to keep them neat...

I always keep my purse neat and tidy. I don't like for it to be any other way. You won't find loose papers, trash or anything really floating around in my purse. I like having it clean. I have always been this way with my purses. Do you feel similarly or is your bag a black hole?

A candle can make any old place look (and smell) pretty as it glows! The photo below is the addition on our house. It has served as a large mudroom for many years (as time and money aren't always in abundance) but Chris is really working to get it done for me this year! That was the only thing I wanted from him for Christmas! :) It will make a great mudroom and living room when it is finished...

This is how I store my dish towels. I use them often. I love to keep anything in baskets!

In the kitchen (although we have a dishwasher, I still end up washing a lot of dishes by hand. I wash all our knives, cast iron, wooden items, most plastic items and pots and pans ~ thus the dishes drying that you can see there)...

I painted our bathroom door in a "cottage white" color...

I've spent time ripping down wallpaper (oh a tedious chore that is!). We have plaster walls in our home. They chip and crumble easy. Before I can paint them they have to be repaired with mud and then sanded etc...

Jaxson's goldfish (which you can read about how we acquired them HERE)...just swimmin' around...

As more things happen in the addition to our home, I'll be sure to take pictures and update! I am *very* excited for a larger living room and a mudroom! :)

We have been back to homeschooling this week and our normal routine. I've been back on track with my eating (and it feels wonderful) and teaching spin often! I've been trying to squeeze in some knitting and reading as well lately. I have knitting projects I want to try and many books I want to read. I am not sure that I can fit it all in though with the other responsibilities I have!

That's what has been happening here in my neck of the woods! I'm so glad you came to visit! I have some other posts formulating in my head for another day, Lord willing. I hope you will stop back again soon!

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth