Monday, March 31, 2008

A Cup of Tea

Is that not beautiful?? This past Christmas I was looking everywhere for these. I wanted to purchase one as a gift. A few years ago our local Christian bookstore carried them. I found them on the Internet today and I ordered the one in the picture. There are several scripture sets and also some with wonderful sayings. You can find these at Coffee Tea and Thee. Today brought with it thunderstorms and rain. A dreary wet day, but one that calls Spring into existence. Many fat Robins were running around the backyard looking for a place that was dry. There are no leaves in the trees yet and most of them found shelter under the deck. I watched them walking around the yard calmly and then all of a sudden they all ran as fast as their feet could carry their fat orange bellys making a direct line under the decking. Just moments later a bolt of lightening lit up the sky and a rumble of thunder shook the house. Those little creatures knew what was coming before it even happened. Seconds later they came out and continued their walk around the yard, stopping every so often to pull something out of the grass.

It has been a day of laundry and school. Dinner is in the crock pot. Zach came up with the Tackle It Tuesday job and I will share with you tomorrow what we did. I will leave you with the next tea cup on my wish list. I would like to get all of them. Have a blessed day!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"The Simple Woman's Gazette" A Review

Thanks to a giveaway, I found a most wonderful blog!!! Peggy's blog "The Simple Woman" is wonderfully written and full of inspiration and learning. She has a house full of children, a loving husband, who was raised Amish, and an attitude that rings "peace and harmony" in my ears. Through, Peggy's blog I was able to read about a monthly E-zine she was publishing, called "The Simple Woman's Gazette". I was so impressed with her blog I decided to subscribe. Within a very short period of time, the March issue (which is the first issue) was in my e-mail box. I quickly printed it out and read it....more than once. I was so happy with it, I wanted to share with you what "The Simple Woman's Gazette" consists of. Not counting the last section which concerns copyrights and contact information, the Gazette was 7 pages of 10 different sections. I will list each section and my thoughts:

~This Month From Peggy: A sweet letter in this first issue explaining the purpose and heart behind the Gazette. It felt very it was written to me personally.
~A Woman's Altar: Here is a small study of the Word. It is beautifully written and easy to understand. Most importantly, I learned something new!

~Domestics Notebook: Here, Peggy shares a craft or instructions on a hand-made "something". The March issue gave a wonderful idea using an empty paint can! Something the kids and I will try for sure!

~My Country Larder: Peggy will share recipes and favorites from her kitchen. She feeds a large family on one income and is willing to share secrets! The March recipe is one I will use.

~Study Hall: Peggy is sharing her insights on the Proverbs 31 woman. She had me thinking...

~Little House Times: Quotes from Little House on the Prairie books are used to teach a much deeper lesson. I have read The Farmer Boy more than once and was amazed at the quote Peggy shared and the lesson she pulled from it! You would love this one AMY!!!

~Earthy Stuff: Gardening is big for Peggy and her family. She will share her expertise concerning gardening here. I am very excited to learn from this section.

~My Reading Chair: A review of the current favorite. An Emilie Barnes book was reviewed in the March issue. I have an Emilie Barnes book, but not the one Peggy talks about. I plan to put it on my list.

~Plain and Fancy: Because Peggy's husband John was raised Amish, Peggy has great insight into this world. She warns not to believe the fiction type books we read and is willing to share truths about the Amish way of life in this section of the Gazette.
~Homewifery: THIS section spoke loudly to me. I have read it over and over. I will quote a portion of this section where Peggy writes about being a homemaker.
"A hoggy housewife will find it hard to find that motivation (she was talking about Spring cleaning) if she is dealing with the sloth syndrome...that word just evokes an ugly sight to me. Even the word rolls sluggishly off the tongue. What is the sloth syndrome? Well, perhaps it is caused by a lazy upbringing, might I say a lazy mother, perhaps it is because things are not going well at home with inner relationships, with husband or with child/teen, or perhaps it is just the old reasoning of 'I just do not know where to begin'. Granted this may be the main reason, but how did I get to that point to begin with? Hmmm....I know when I am in sloth mode it could be any reason, but mainly the reason is my own doing."
Peggy then shares 5 wonderful motivation helps, all of which were very helpful!
I felt very led to share this Gazette with you. If you are interested in subscribing, or in receiving the March issue as complimentary you can go here. ( I am getting nothing for referring you except to pass on a wonderful "magazine")

I copied the cover and put my Gazette in a 1/2 inch binder. I plan to use it as a resource. Thank you Peggy for a great read!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Most of today was either spent in preparation or celebration of TJ's 3rd birthday party. I woke up with a terrible sinus headache, but a couple of cups of coffee and a shower and I was feeling much better. Charlotte has had a rough couple of may pray for her if you think of it. Life is as good or as awful as you make it. One of the very first lessons Charlotte was taught as my daughter, was that of reaping and sowing. You get what you give. Give good and get good in return. Give bad, and your life will stink! She still has not learned this lesson...though how many adults are still trying to learn that one?

Soooo, I spent the morning making mostacolli and salad for 30.
There were a little over 20 people, but I always want to have extra...just in case. TJ came to Grandma's for a while, while mommy got things ready at his house. I felt so bad he got a sliver in his hand. On the way home he said "Owie Grandma". Sure enough he had an owie...from my house...on his party day! I should not have felt too awful. This evening I got a picture sent to me from Rachel's cell phone.... Would you look at that bump!!!! OUCH! TJ walked (not ran, thank goodness) into the stove. The oven handle sticks out and I think he hit it there. Rachel said he did not hit it hard, but it sure looks awful. I asked her if we should take him in to be checked and she said it looked much better. He is so pale that just picking him up turns his skin red, so the redness is gone, but the bump, though smaller is still there and purple. I am so glad he did this after I left. Rachel's aunt saw it too and felt it looked ok. She will wake him up a couple of times tonight just to be safe. Other than the scissor incident, this is his first major boo-boo. Rachel assures me he is ok, so I will move onto a couple of good pics of TJ. (edit: the next morning, TJ has no bump and only a slight bruise...the kid has a hard head!!) After he blew out his #3 candle he said "Let's eat it!!" Rachel said "OK, TJ let's eat it." So TJ did!! He leaned right over and took a bite!!!! He had a wonderful time. The only downfall was his Daddy and Paw Paw had to work today so they missed the party. It was a fun but busy day and I am very tired. Have a blessed Lord's day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rachel's First Flimsey

Rachel finished the top of TJ's quilt. She did a wonderful job. I blanked out his last name in the top square, but now you can see TJ's name is Tyler James. Rachel hand embroidered all the cartoon characters. There are all the Backyardigans (TJ's cake will be Backyardigan characters) along with other nickelodeon guys. I will get a better picture when it is finished.So here is what happened. We began to trim the blocks and it seems there were several that would not square up to the size we wanted them. It would have cut off some of the stitching. Yes, it was a mistake that should not have happened (I should have told her), but when cutting the background fabric, we cut them to the size of the design. An easy fix! We (she) framed them all so they would end up the correct size. Blue, the puppy, measured smaller than Tasha, the hippo. When framed in black strips and then checkerboarded, the blocks float nicely on the quilt. Today she will machine quilt and bind it.

I finally started thinking about my Spring quilt for the 4 Seasons Swap. I actually bought the fabric. The pictures do not do it justice. I thought this would be a tough one, because Spring colors are not my thing. I enjoy them, but picking them, I thought would be difficult. With the help of a wonderful lady at the fabric store, I ended up very pleased and am excited to get going on it. Rachel saw them and LOVED them. If she has a girl, I may go back and get these for her baby quilt. The 4 Seasons Spring quilts are popping up all over. I have not seen one that I did not LOVE!
I want to thank everyone for your tips on the cast iron. I plan to try them all til I get my Grandpa's skillet in good condition. I will let you know what worked.

I also wanted to let you know of a Birthday giveaway. Debi is giving away a beautiful spring bag to celebrate her birthday...which is TODAY. Stop over and enter and wish her a happy birthday. Tell her I sent you!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Some women have a binder, some keep their schedule in their computer, some in a recipe box. Some women use a notebook and create a new schedule everyday or every week, calling it a "to do list". Some women do not require a schedule at all. To those women I give applause. I graciously accept their ability to do what is required with minimal or no forethought. I think most of these women do not have children at home, a homeschooling day to plan, prepare, or execute, a husband who has very high standards, or the busyness I face everyday. I say most, because there are some, a rare few, who can and do, do it well. I am not one of them.

When my boys were young, I used a flipper file described in "The Messie's Manual" As long as I followed it, it worked for me. Laundry has always been an issue for me. I hate to do it and it occasionally piles up on me. Not as often as it use to, but I do remember a time when I would buy bags of socks for my boys because they were out. Hmmmm. Once I counted and my oldest son had 52 pairs of white socks. I am very real here. I do not pretend to be a great organizer. It is not a natural thing for me. That said, I am also not a fool, nor am I ADHD. I do not have a learning disability, and I can think rationally (no offense...I have 3 children who have at least 3 of the conditions I just, one of them is not a fool). I am not an idiot who needs to have it written on a daily schedule to take a shower and get dressed. OK, so it is written down. It is not written down because I might is written down as a commitment to myself. The other day, we took a day off. That is something we do once in a while. I did not get dressed until 2 pm. I never fully woke up and NOTHING got done that day. The motivation to quilt, sew, play a board game, read a book, was just not there. That is ok once in a while, but because I have this morning routine written down and in a page protector in my binder, it is a commitment I have made to myself. How often do I look at this page in my binder? Never. I should look at it more often as it is a pretty page and it was well planned out. I know I need to run my dishwasher at night in order to maintain my routine. In the past, it would not get run, not because I needed to be "told", but because it was not a routine. The end result would be a dishwasher full of dirty dishes in the morning and breakfast dishes sitting in the sink until well after lunch because the dishwasher needed to run it's cycle, cool off, and be emptied. Now, you rare folks out there who do not need a schedule are thinking, "Yeesh!!! Use your common sense." Well, my commonsense, though well in tact, is usually busy thinking about the other things that need it's attention at that particular moment.

So once my boys got older and things were pretty much in empty nest phase around here, I did not use my flipper file. The need was not there. Then, along came Charlotte and Zach. I am now (then) 40 years old and in a whole new mindset. My time is my own and I have lots of it....for about a minute! Things quickly spun out of control. The house was always a wreck. Laundry piled everywhere, dinners thrown together a half hour before we were to eat, no order, and 2 "special" kids who had more energy than any 2 I had ever seen before in my life. When Charlotte was 5, my days were so chaotic with behaviors, that I felt insane most days. No order to anything and I blamed her. She had spun my life out of control. After Zach came along, I decided a schedule was needed. It was not the strict schedule I have now, but I saw an instant change in Charlotte's behavior. She thrived on a schedule. Zach too.

Why this post? There has been several opinions in blogland lately about scheduling and how there really is no need for it. Use your commonsense. I actually had a family member say in front of me to other family members, "You have to be an idiot to need a piece of paper tell you when to vacuum. You do it when it needs it!" Does having my schedule make me an idiot? I don't think so. I actually think it makes me very wise. I know my limitations and work to make my life easier. I know my daily schedule by heart now. I rarely look at these either.... My detailed cleaning lists are still new and I do look at these often. Here is a confession....with spring break the last few days, I have slacked in the laundry area again. This morning Sweetheart asked, "Where are my socks?" I said, "Oh, I am sorry, they are in the basket on top of the washer. Are you out of socks?" He replied, "Yeah...what's it been like 10 days since you did the laundry???" Now, he was just joking, and said that with a wink, because he knows it is a downfall for me. He has a very dry sense of humor. No matter, he knows after that little joke that all of his socks will be in his drawer when he gets home. What would he say if they weren't?? Nothing. He would just dig more out of the basket of clean ones on the washer, just like he did this morning. This is not how it is meant to be on a daily basis. Once in a while I fail the schedule, but it is there when I jump back on. I am not it's is my tool. A tool I use to keep my life and the lives of my family running smoothly. Eliminating chaos and confusion.
In reading a blog post by my friend Copperswife this morning, she wrote,

"I know many women don't have a need for keeping such extensive records and schedules at their fingertips. Perhaps they do not, or no longer, homeschool. Perhaps they are empty-nesters and/or retired. Perhaps they are even single women. However, I know that in order for me to keep on top of things in my very busy home, I must have routines and schedules, all of my thoughts recorded, and all of my notes and records in one place." (used with permission)

Isn't she gracious??? I am not so tactful! I just don't want to apologize for needing a schedule to keep my home running smoothly. Not to my extended family, nor to anyone in blogland. Another one of the sections I have in my binder is an "Inspiration" section. Here I have "A Wife's 10 Commandments" printed. They are great advice for a Godly wife to follow. There are 2 in particular that speak to me personally concerning keeping a written schedule. They are...

#4 "You shall work heartily as directed by the Lord and your husband, not by your own ideas of what should be done. You shall not be so busy working that you neglect to get alone time with God everyday. During this quiet time, you shall pray diligently for your husband. Be willing to put aside work in order to "play" when your husband asks you to."

#10 "You shall not covet another woman's husband, children, friends, house, looks, wardrobe, possessions, talents, gifts, ministry, or any other thing that is hers; but you shall be content with all God has given you."

Now this is not quoted is advice from another woman (I have no idea to "credit" here.). Here these speak to me in a couple of ways. First, #4 tells me that my way is not the way I should be doing things. I need to seek what God and my husband say about the standard and care required for my home. Yours will be different than mine. I have a friend who's husband really does not care if the bathroom gets a regular cleaning or if the kitchen floor has crumbs. My husband does. Are you screaming inside, "Then let him do it!!!"? I have yelled that myself...and so he does. That feels worse to me than doing it myself! Now #10...I will not covet another woman's ability to keep her house running smoothly without a schedule. I will not look at her as better than me, nor will I think less of a woman who needs a schedule twice as rigorous as mine is. I will not covet her ability to delegate duties to her family, when I feel compelled to do them myself. I will however, learn from other women and be willing to look at myself with eyes wide open and recognize when something is not working for me. I will not covet my friend's husband...his contentment of the home being "lived in" verses my own husband's desire for a very tidy, clean, orderly home. I will recognize my shortcomings without comparing myself to women who are naturally organized.

There! I said it! Think me a fool, or an idiot, or whatever else you want. I do ask that you keep any hateful e-mails to yourself. Let's be gracious in our opinions of each other.
Now I must go switch my laundry around before I need to run to Walmart for new socks!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

T.J. is 3!!!!

My grandson is not a baby anymore. This comes with mixed emotions. He is such a sweet little guy, but in the last few weeks he has become stubborn and quite a good fit thrower! Those boys at 3!! No such thing as terrible 2's. He is getting a mind of his own, which is good. My son and Rachel have a good handle on him and do not allow him to be rude, but he is changing that is for sure! Today we went to see him for his birthday and to take him his gift. His party is on Saturday, but we could not let his actual birthday pass. Here are some pics of our time at T.J.'s house. The wagon was NOT pre-assembled.TJ will help. It took 3 of them! In the meantime, my silly daughter proclaiming herself a "tree hugger"!!Kyle watching the work. Then Kyle wanted to take a picture of me, Rachel and my sister (who was dropping her grandson off for Rachel to babysit). Dominic is 3 too, though he will be 4 soon. My sister's husband is having knee surgery tomorrow in Chicago, so Domy will spend the night with Rachel. Not sure what the "look" is about...he is such a happy guy!!

TJ was very excited and got in the wagon before it was complete.Finally he could go for a ride. Time for cupcakes! Oops....wrong birthday. That was birthday number 1!
There we go. TJ had a nice little celebration. His big party on Saturday will be fun. All of his family will be there. Rachel is making TJ a quilt...wait til you see it. It is wonderful!! Oh!! And I almost forgot. TJ said "my grandma" today. He has always just said "grandma", like it is my name, but today he said "where's my grandma?" I melted!!!I spent my afternoon with TJ, but I spent my morning at the hospital with Kyle getting blood work and an EEG done. He did great (I do not anticipate any bad outcome from the tests) and I took him and his Grandma and went to lunch at Kyle's favorite place...Pizza Hut. Thank goodness for a salad bar! We have all been fighting colds for the past week...passing them around and it is my turn. I am tired and would love a nap. Too late for that now, it is almost dinner time.
Tomorrow we will be back full force in home school. We took a short spring break the last few days. We are ready to get back on task.
I will leave you with this final picture of TJ, officially 3 years old and no longer a baby.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday

Today I have a few minor tackles to share. The first was to get everything back in it's place after our Easter dinner. I did this yesterday, and though it does not seem like a big job, it is a tedious one. All the china and crystal, along with a couple of special bowls and plates were put back into the china cabinet. I washed the table cloth and replaced it with a different one. Not because I needed a change, but because...well, I will explain in a minute. I got my new bed. It is a monster of a bed...the mattress measures about 15 inches deep. BIG problem. My quilt no longer fits. This was driving me crazy!! Even worse....I made the Pink and Brown quilt that I am hand quilting to the exact size of this quilt!!! Grrrrr. Now I understand why my Zachary growls when he is frustrated! Well I had a temporary fix, since this was going to drive me mad. Remember the beautiful table cloth on the dining room table?? It is actually a bed quilt. For now it will keep me sane. There is a headboard behind those pillows, but the mattress hides most of it. The bed itself is comfortable, but not easy to get in....or I should say on. It will need a king size quilt instead of a queen, which is what the mattress is suppose to be. My mattress pad barely goes over the pillow top part of the mattress and my fitted sheets stop 1/2 way down the mattress. Deep pockets are needed.
Once I got that little tackle taken care of I moved onto one that was very exciting for me.... This is the inside of my Grandfather's square cast iron skillet. It is a treasure to me and I would love to use it. I have tried everything over the years to get the rust off and make it acceptable for use. While watching the show "How Clean Is Your House", Aggie showed a woman how to get rid of this. Her pan looked ALOT worse than mine and came out wonderfully!! I was going to give it a try. 2 simple things could accomplish the job and I had both.... A potato and dishsoap. I got to work.... It seemed to be working....the potato had rust on it. Wow...would you look at that! Now I will let it dry completely.....

Nope. Still no good!
Sorry Aggie, you did not wait for the pan to dry before you showed us the end result! If it took more than what I did, it was not worth it. I worked for a long time on it. Much longer than the 3-5 minutes she told America and Great Britain it would take. I am still a big fan of the show! If you want to take a little quiz to see if you keep a gleaming house or a grimy house click here.

So there are my tackles...the good, the bad and the ugly of them. For more tackles, or to do your own, visit 5 Minutes For Mom. Now today I plan to tackle a little reading. With the books all organized I chose 2 new books to spend some time in. I have skimmed through both of these, but they are calling to me to give them a good read. I just explained to Charlotte this morning that if we spend all of our time in front of the television, our brains will become soft. Put your face in a book and it is like a pencil in a sharpener. Reading keeps your brain sharp. She is reading right now, and I am off to join her. Have a blessed day!!