Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Memories 2018

Although I am not a huge fan of "Christmas" because of the pagan background etc etc (I won't get into it) I am not a *total* scrooge. We still do gifts...even if we don't have a tree. We still get together with family as well. These pics aren't really in order...but that's ok. Above is from Christmas morning...the kids all hopped on their dad to kiss him and I had to get a pic! :) 

Below is one of the gifts I received....a beautiful hand-carved spoon that Chris made for me!! The pictures don't do it justice! It is so pretty in person! It feels just lovely too!!

We spent a few hours on Christmas Eve at my sister and her husband's house. We had a delicious meal (made by was seriously so good!) and then exchanged gifts. The first pic is kinda blurry but Dusten loved his new trike!

My sister had this awesome shirt made for me! I love it!! It's some of my favorite theologians!

Me and Madelyn...

Dinah saw me taking a picture and I love how she stood up and smiled like this...

Jaxson got these fun light-up glasses!! He wore them most of the night!

Xavier and his funny duck face (being a goof) and my sweet hubby...

Dinah and Chris watching X open a gift...

Me and Jaxson...

Christmas morning...we had brunch at my parents' house and opened some gifts from them. 

Me and my honey...

My three *teen*agers! Yes...they are all teens now and I'm not sure when they all got so big and tall...but wow ~ they are such blessings to me! They are treasures and I am so thankful to be their mama!

The month has been super busy with deer processing at the meat market, me taking (and teaching) classes at the Y, housework, schooling, gift buying and wrapping, music lessons, and the normal grocery shopping/meal making etc.

My parents got us a dehydrator for Christmas! And Chris's parents got us an InstaPot! I can't wait to give them both a try!! Do you have one or both of these? If so, I would love to hear how you use them or some of your favorite things to make with them!?

Thanks so much for visiting me here! I know I don't post like I used to. This season of life is just different than previous years. I hope you each are doing well! I wish you a very blessed upcoming new year!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December...

...A magical thing 
And sweet to remember:
'We are nearer to spring 
Than we were in September.'"

~Oliver Herford

That quote pretty much sums up my feelings of winter! I try to remember that, Lord willing, spring is not too far off! Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful snow fall...cozy warmth in my home, candles lit and even the longer nights aren't too bad for a little while. It's when the snow and cold (and mud and muck) linger for months on end...and the shorter days make me lack the sunlight I desperately want (and need!) ~ (Thank goodness for the gym though! Truly, exercise helps the winter blues *so* much!).

If you have visited me here for a while you will know we don't really *do* Christmas anymore. I follow Christ and praise Him for coming to the earth to save us, redeem us and love us. I don't do a ton of decorating though...and we don't really do a tree inside. (We still purchase or make gifts to give though....I do try to have a generous spirit). I did put our little tree out on the porch though...and it looks cute. I also made that wreath on our door...but I'll explain more on that in a bit!

First...after a food-filled, joyful Thanksgiving with friends and family...we (as goes our annual tradition) decorated one of my dad's trucks (he owns a garage with wreckers and flatbeds etc) to go through our local light-up-night parade! My grandpa was not doing well (my dad's dad) so Chris drove the truck through and two of my cousins rode with him while my children walked alongside and threw candy!

Although's a pic of my three treasures...Madelyn, Xavier and Jaxson (all three almost Jaxson turns 13 in just a couple days!)...

Some of the pics are dark because I wanted to be able to see the lights on the truck. They can be kind of blurry as well because sometimes the truck was moving...

We made the back look like a pretty tree using strands of garland, a star on top and lights...

Going through town on that cold, cold night!

Afterwards, some of my cousins and we got together for supper at a local pizza place and warmed up. After that my family took the truck back to my dad's garage and had to take all the decorations off (although it doesn't take long, that's the not-so-fun part)!

 I have been busy since mid-November. A friend of mine has been making wreaths for the American Cancer Society for 30 years (and she also makes some to sell at a craft show...which we were at all day today...and as gifts) and she wants me to take over doing it for next year!! She trained me on how to make fresh wreaths (and how to decorate them), handmade bows...and how to make sprays and grave blankets too. She gave me some of her leftover stuff to make them (and practice). I have made some and given them as gifts to some different friends and family! Here are a few I have made...

On the left is a centerpiece I made and a wreath on the right...

The centerpiece on my island (kinda dark I know)....

And another wreath I made (I'm still practicing my bow-making skills)...

I really enjoy doing it and hope I can do a great job and keep up with the orders/demand next year!! I am not a nail-biter...but if I was...I wouldn't have fingernails left because of my nervousness about it! haha!

Homeschooling, Working out/teaching fitness classes at the Y, making wreaths, housework, meals, shopping for gifts (which I do mostly online!), and our homeschool co-op have kept us super busy lately! Plus, it is deer season...and my Father in Love owns a meat they have been busy too! I am excited to report that Xavier got his first deer last weekend and Madelyn got her first this weekend! I'm so proud of them! We will have lots of venison to eat (and gift to friends who don't hunt)!

I know my posts are so few and far between. I don't mean for that to's just that life keeps going by and before I realize it...a month has passed! I always intend to do better..then I look at the date of my last post, hang my head, and realize I am still falling short! :) I hope you are well and that your Thanksgiving was filled with love and joy (and a lot of giving-thanks to the One all praise is due!). Thanks so much for coming by! I hope to update again sooner rather than later!

Grace and Peace to each of you!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"Be thankful. Dwell on the good...

...and lovely. Live a life of service to others. Rejoice. Count your blessings. Learn contentment in God's good, and acceptable, and perfect will for you! Never allow discontentment to kill your marriage."

~Lori Alexander

The quote above is from The Transformed Wife. You can find it on THIS post. I encourage you to read it if you are married or plan to be married one day! Such wisdom there. I don't always agree with Lori 100% on things (for instance I am more Reformed in my thinking doctrinally...and she is not ~ although she'll quote Spurgeon, MacArthur and Piper who, like me, are believers in the Doctrines of Grace!)....but for the most part, I do. She is a sister in Christ who loves the Lord and is doing her best to mentor young ladies who read her blog. If you haven't read there warned, she will step on your toes ~ but for the most part she is *right* and women need to hear what she has to say. Be sure to check out past posts too....there's a lot to choose from and much wisdom to be gleaned from her words!

Can I just throw in here....this is two posts this month already! I am on a *roll*! Haha! 

It is a super cold, windy Saturday here in Western PA. There is snow/frost on the ground and it's almost noon. Chris has been working at an auction all morning and I taught a spin class at the Y. Now I am home and showered and have some housework to do. I get to meet my newest niece today (Chris's brother has two boys and just had his first girl!). I am very excited! Her mom says she is the most "angelic, sweetest, content baby ever". *smile* I can't wait to snuggle her all up! I may not be able to give her back! ;)

Tonight, our local Y (where I workout and teach classes) is having an auction to raise money. People have donated items from all over town! There are 92 things to auction off (and some are multiple things put together!). I have been helping prepare for that and will be helping at the auction tonight as well. The theme is "Clue" (remember that board game?). It should be fun...and although I'll be busy ~ I think I'll still have a good time! They do these annually...but I have never been to one before. So, we'll see how it goes! :)

So, I have things to do and places to time to sit here any longer! :o) I hope you have a fantastic weekend....and if you haven't yet (and if you *want* to) check out my post from just a couple days ago!!


Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Welcome sweet November...

...the season of senses and my favorite month of all."

~Gregory F. Lenz

Well, again another month has gone by...and I only posted once. Now that my children are older, things just seem different. I'm not posting all about their cuteness and such anymore! But life still goes I should try better to record it! :)

Instead of typing it all out...I wanted to share the link to the Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup I had mentioned in my previous post! You can find it HERE. If you try it out, I'd love to know what you think of it! I have a few other cheeseburger soup recipes I have tried as well!

Our days have been filled with homeschooling (and while the kids work I pick a room to clean from top to bottom), chores, fitness/exercise, and our homeschool co-op days (which I am in charge of the set-up crew each morning, lead a parent meeting and am in charge of graduation plans for this year!). The weather is much chillier and has been super wet here in PA. Yesterday was nice so Jaxson and I were able to get some mowing and leaf raking done in the front yard (X was working at my dad's garage and Madelyn was working at Chris's dad's meat market)! It's suppose to be nice again today! I am so glad! We have numerous things to accomplish today ~ and it is so much more enjoyable to do so in sun-shine-filled weather, don't you think?

Madelyn has her license and has her own little truck now too. She paid for the whole year's insurance for it and pays for her own gas. She has been doing great and I am so proud! She loves having a bit more freedom and it has been a blessing to Chris and I as well...since now we don't have to drive her to the places she needs to go. I pray for her often when she is out on the road. It's a bit scary to know my little girl is growing up and is out on the road by herself ~ but my hope and peace are in the Lord and I trust Him in all things! (If you have been reading here for a bit....can you even believe she is 17 and driving!? I'm still not fully able to grasp that realization myself!)

Homeschooling my children is *such* a gift. a blessing? Yes! I seriously wouldn't have it any other way. Jaxson and I do his history together. We are using The Mystery of 2 (which covers the Reformation etc) and I am really enjoying it! I read it to he seems to understand it better that way ~ and I really love learning about all these things along with him!

I am so excited because I finally got a few things hung on the one wall of my living room that has been bare for a few years. I just couldn't find what I wanted to go there. Joann's was having a sale recently and I got the wreath for $12 (it was originally $40!)...and the tin star was cheap as well (and it's paintable if I ever decide what color I want it). The "Keep Life Simple" sign was bought inexpensively at TJ Maxx! I always love getting a good deal (clearance deals are definitely my favorite!)...and this wall was cheap and looks just how I wanted it!

(Sorry the pictures are a bit blurry. I used my phone as it was easier than grabbing my camera...and it doesn't take the best pictures!)

These little munchkins came to town to visit the day before Halloween. As you probably know ~ I don't *do* Halloween...but my sister always loves to make costumes for her children each year. She always does such a great job! This year was no exception! The *made* these awesome butterfly wings for the girls! From left to right: Eloise, Dinah, and Audra...

Aren't they so fantastic? The wind was really blowing that day the wings were just flapping everywhere! Dusten was made into a gnome! He was *so* cute...but wouldn't turn to face me so I could get a picture. That's ok...since he looks like the perfect little gnome below...

My sister's and my aunt works in our local courthouse and she takes the kids to see her each year...I go along to help out! Look at those wings!!!

Chris has been super busy with work, church and deer season (which always keeps them busy at the meat market in the evenings) but he tries to carve out time to do some things around the house when he can that I truly appreciate! He got the backhoe and was able to do some fixing on our driveway the other day! He's so great....I love watching him work. Good grief...if you put *me* in a backhoe I wouldn't even have the first clue what to do! Chris is always able to do whatever he puts his mind to. I always truly admire him!

And finally....these two...*sigh*. Life's rough....isn't it? ;) Mickey and Cash....our crazy dogs!

The kids are working on book work....and I need to get some wood stacked and some chores done before I head into the Y to exercise. We have things on the agenda this afternoon as I best get moving! :o)

Thanks so much for visiting. I know my lack of posting is ridiculous and hopefully I can do better!
I hope you are doing well and are having a lovely autumn!


***I am selling a few things on ebay if you are interested and want to take a look ~ you can find them HERE! :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hello October!

October has arrived (does anyone feel like it just started to be the year 2018? How did we get to October already?). We've been keeping busy around here. Schooling, housework, our homeschool co-op days have begun again and I have been teaching exercise classes (and taking classes) at the Y daily. Paying bills, mowing, filling the woodshed, church, cooking, visiting/counseling with friends, and house projects have filled our moments as well.

Chris and I *were* able to take some time though...and go to see a Tim Hawkins show with friends on the weekend of our anniversary. We just celebrated 18 years of marriage and I am over-the-moon blessed ~ I am so thankful that this man is mine. I could spend a whole post just swooning over him but instead....I'll just keep it short....He's the best and I love him with my whole heart! ;)

I will share a little funny though about that weekend! A couple of good friends invited us to go to the show (it was about a 2 hr drive away) on that Friday night. Chris took a half day off work and we got ready and left early so we could have dinner over there before the show. We had a great steak dinner (I actually had a grilled chicken salad) and were trying to find the place on my friend's GPS. I decided to look up on Tim Hawkins website the name of the church he was at because I didn't remember. When I did....I saw that he was in a totally different city that night!! The place we were headed was for his show on Saturday night!! I texted my friend (we were in separate vehicles) and she was so embarrassed that they had gotten the wrong night! Hahaha! It was we all just turned around and headed home. It was so disappointing...(and I am not great at traveling) but so funny all at the same time. All we could do was just laugh.

I get a text the next morning....wondering if we wanted to go to the show that night (Saturday...the correct day) with them...even though we had all done that traveling the previous evening. Chris and I still really wanted to we said yes! And it *was* worth it! We had a great time and laughed and laughed! So much fun!!

That weekend gave us some funny and great memories! :) Plus, we were with friends that we adore so it was just wonderful...even if we drove around for hours on the wrong date! haha!

I am not a big decorator for holidays or seasons....but I do love wreaths! I am always excited when I get to bring out my fall wreath to hang up!

Cooler evenings make candlelight so enjoyable. I love how warm and cozy it makes the atmosphere...

The boys and I (mostly with Jax's help) decided to tackle the projects of peeling paper, priming and painting walls in our office/computer room...which if you read my blog years ago would have been our old living room...

I used a color called Gentle Lamb (in the pic above that is just primer all the walls...not the actual paint color). It's a soft cream. I like how it turned out. These are plaster walls...original to this older house. There are holes in them from things being hung up, plaster chipping etc. Technically, I should have mudded and sanded all the holes and done everything properly. But to be honest, we just wanted the room to look crisp and clean...and not perfect. One day maybe I will go through the work of finishing this room completely...but right now, it serves as a computer room and a place for Madelyn's piano. It needs the ceiling to be covered one day (hopefully with tongue and groove wood or something along those lines). For now, a couple days of cleaning up the walls and painting them was busy work enough for us! The room was in chaos and we had a million and one things to do in addition to the the goal was just to "get it done"! :)

During schooling one day, X left his chair out and Mickey climbed up on it and fell asleep...

And before I go, I wanted to share the book I am currently reading. It's really good. I love Joey and Rory (their music, their faith and their love) and so I knew I needed to read his book! HERE it is on amazon if you are interested...but you may be able to find it cheaper on ebay or elsewhere!

I made cheeseburger soup for supper yesterday (in the crock pot)....I figured I would share that recipe in my next stay tuned!

I know I don't post as much as I used to....but life is busy (in a slow sorta way). Time has me taking care of my family and home and also trying to be out helping or serving others if I can (Madelyn and I are going to start tutoring once a week soon). I spend time exercising at the Y as well....but also see that as a place where I can serve others, encourage them and be a light for Christ.

Times have also been tough as we pray for and try to be there for loved ones and friends who have troubled marriages, health issues, and are suffering the death of their loved ones for various reasons. My heart has been so heavy lately with the burdens so many carry. My prayer is constantly that the Lord will use me to help my friends shoulder their burdens and take it to the Lord. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am faulty and always falling short. So please know I don't mean to sound as though I am perfectly selfless and giving. But I do want to encourage you...if you aren't already, truly pray for those around you. Be willing to be the ear they need to listen or the mouth they need to pray with them. If we, as the church, are the hands and feet of Christ ~ what love that shows to a dying world.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

If you are in need, don't be afraid to reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Get the help you need from people who love you and then as you are strengthened, you can become what others need! It's a beautiful spirit of *giving* of oneself....that just keeps going! If you are struggling...don't pull away from the church. As the body of Christ we are there to encourage, admonish and *love* one another!

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25

Lunchtime is approaching and I have things to do! Thanks so much for visiting and keep a look out for my next post with that cheeseburger soup recipe that I use! It's pretty easy and delicious! :)


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Home, A Recipe and Organization!

For a few days, we were having fall-like weather! That put me in the mood to make *soup*! I made cheeseburger soup, vegetable beef soup (pictured below) and chicken noodle soup!

I thought I would share the chicken noodle soup recipe I used (as well as the homemade noodle recipe I used). I have the recipe written down...I am not sure where it came from to leave credit. Please note...I didn't measure out the veggies I put into this soup even though there are amounts given. I just put a *ton* in! I guess it depends if you prefer a chunkier soup or more broth! :) That's the beauty of can tweak things to how you prefer them! We like *more* veggies in our soups!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

4 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped carrots
1/4 c. chopped onions
1/4 c. butter
8 oz egg noodle (the recipe I used is below)
12 c. water 
9 cubes chicken bouillon 
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T dried parsley (I didn't have this so I didn't put it in!)

In large stockpot saute the celery and onion in butter...

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the noodles) and simmer for 30 minutes. 

While that simmers, I made the noodles! I got the noodle recipe from HERE.

Egg Noodles

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 T butter

In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk and butter. Knead dough until smooth (about 5 minutes). Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.

On a flour surface, roll out to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired lengths and shapes.

** After the soup had simmered above for 30 minutes I added the noodles fresh and let it all simmer again for 10 minutes..until noodles are done. You CAN use bagged noodles...but it isn't anywhere near as tasty! :)

The soup was delicious and a *huge* hit with my family as well as our BIL and my FIL!

 On the back porch as night settles in...

The temperatures have been a bit warmer again lately as well as humid (with lots of rain) I have been getting a lot done inside as well! I've been working on organizing my closet as well as Chris's.

Organizing things can be a lot of work....but oh it is such a satisfying feeling to have things look neat and orderly! :)

I've also kept busy with homeschooling with the children (and planning it), daily housework, going to the gym and normal day-to-day things!

This past weekend I donated blood...I should do that more. I have a universal blood type which can be used for anyone who needs it. It doesn't take long. It's a little painful...but worth it to know you can bless someone else with it. My Jesus shed his blood for me....and His pain was excruciating. He suffered and bled for me. (I think I can take a tiny bit of momentary pain so that I can share my blood with those who need it.)

Yesterday was our first homeschool co-op day for the year. It was a change as we have changed facilities this year....after calling one facility *home* for our co-op for years! It was an adjustment...but a good one. :) I was in the nursery for a part of the day...and got to hold and feed the sweetest little boy. He was 4 or 5 months old I think. He giggled and was just so happy! It was an absolute *joy* to me! And then....despite being well-burped...the little guy threw up his formula on and down inside the middle of my shirt! Friends in the room were laughing...saying my face was hilarious! It was so warm and gooey and gross! Needless to say....I was happy to get home an hour or so later so I could change! haha! :)

I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish I best get to them! If you try the recipes above, I would love to hear what you think of them! :)

Thanks so much for dropping by! I hope you have a great week ahead!