Sunday, December 29, 2013

Red Lipstick


It's easy to pick out a shade of red lipstick when it is labeled "British Red."  (L'Oreal)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Automatic Inspiration

Nothing like helping my sister and brother-in-law move into their cute 1920's Bungalow to inspire me to put some elbow grease into this little cottage of mine!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Newer or Fewer?

First of all, closet modulars do not make adequate bookcases for homeschooling.  While the cubby hole look is reminiscent of my own school days long since gone by, they are simply not strong enough to be stuffed with books.  I just had to prop mine with a 2" lean up with a small dresser.  Now that dresser is jutting out a little, just waiting for a toe; likely mine!

Still, I used what I had, but it is time to move on.  Not sure how.  Money for a bookcase in the size I need isn't easy to come by.  There's always a more pressing need, like food and doctor bills.  But, I do believe it is time to start shopping around for either an adequately enormous bookcase, or someone who can custom build an adequately enormous bookcase.

Because, newer bookcases are a nicer option than fewer books!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Vanishing Beauty

Last night as I scrolled through my facebook news feed, one of my friends posted THIS article.  It is about a woman who spends much of her time in Victorian garb and living as if it were the Victorian Era.  I found the article intriguing, but one bit stood out to me.

The article quotes Ms. Chrisman saying, "'People have mixed reactions,' she admitted. 'Some are enthusiastic and positive. The other day an old man ran out of a restaurant to tell me I made his day, he said: "You look beautiful."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2506542/Wearing-corset-liberating-Meet-woman-living-modern-day-Victorian-life--cell-phone-car-home-appliances.html#ixzz2kleYzYKQ
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


That made me think that in today's world, beauty is vanishing.  Instead, we have sexy or sloppy.  Just scroll down the sidebar of the page the article is on and you'll see what I mean.  Where is beauty?  Modesty, poise, loveliness....I'm not saying women need to go back in time and focus solely on their outward appearances.  Indeed, we are more than that.  But, I've even noticed our surroundings aren't necessarily as lovely as they could be.  Homes are more basic and functional.  I get that.  It's easier to care for.  We're not all Martha Stewart.  Pony tails and yoga pants work for me, too.  

But, sometimes, I wonder how much we've lost by beauty vanishing in the wake of comfort, convenience, sex appeal, and modern tech.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14, 1906

"I saw a Kingfisher fly across the little pool by the roadside below Olton station today.  The new Catkins are showing on all the Alder and Hazel trees now.  The sun had a most remarkable appearance just before setting tonight.  I never saw it look so large in my life.  It was deep crimson, shaded with purple which gave it a globular appearance, and it looked like a huge fire-balloon suspended against a curtain of grey cloud."

From The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pre-Christmas Purge


I usually clean and purge after Christmas, but I can see this year needing to have a clean slate before Christmas.  I hope to take one week and really focus on cleaning, purging and reorganizing.

One thing I started last year that I plan to continue with this year is purchasing totes I can label to store any new Christmas gift toys the children may receive.  That way, we're not scrambling to find ways to store new toys amid the holiday mess and clutter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I've Found My Kitten Gray


There is an alpaca farm nearby, so I called on them first to find Alpaca yarn for my Something Soft and Kitten Gray.  They didn't have the shade I wanted, so a quick etsy search found me these skeins!  

I can hardly wait until they arrive in the mail.  I plan on knitting myself a scarf on obnoxiously large needles.  If that yields undesired results, I'll resort to my usual number 8's for scarves.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

This Afternoon


I cleared this pile of sticks and brush out just in case we decide to use this space to put up a small barn and fenced area to house some goats.  This is the back point of our pie piece property.


Wearing my British Woolie Pullie (or is it Wooly Pully?)


Firewood, stacked by my oldest and I.  


And I moved the compost bin to the edge of our property so it gets more sun and makes more room for a possible fenced in area for goats....that's if we don't decide to move by next spring.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

When I Like French Music, I love it!

"La Seine" Vanessa Paradis and -M-.

In Miniatures

I always thought it would be neat to run a little hobby shop of beautiful, well-made, heirloom quality dollhouse miniatures.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Stove Top Baking Success!


I had success baking bread on my stove top!  

I dug through my shed and found a Griswold cast iron pot with no lid.  Hubby removed the bale handle for me and my inverted #8 cast iron frying pan fit nicely as a lid and gave height to the "oven."

I made my usual sized recipe of 3 cups of flour, but had to divide it in half and bake each half one at a time.  

I used one of my small round pyrex casserole bowls to bake the bread in.  Greased.

Inside the pot, I placed a trivet to put the pyrex bowl on.  I preheated the pot on the burner and preheated the frying pan on another burner.

Then, I placed the bread on the trivet and covered the pot, keeping the heat at medium.  

I didn't get a chance to time it, but it does take longer than in a conventional oven.  A long while later, I ended up with this!




It is a successful, tasty little loaf of bread!  The bottom has a good crust.  The top is weak, as is understandable with little constant top heat, but still cooked and firm enough to knife through without mangling the bread.  Hubby said it tastes better than when baked in the conventional oven!  It is time consuming, but it'll do for now until my new element arrives for the oven.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pollyanna Point of View

Yesterday, my oven sat stone cold.  The baking element needs to be replaced.  I was ready to throw in the towel and have a good little fit about it because I had been baking our bread regularly and planned out a week of meals, many of which need an oven.  I didn't know the oven was broken until AFTER I went grocery shopping, so I had no store-bought bread and plenty of ingredients for oven meals.

But, I decided to try to play Pollyanna about it.  I came up with:

1. I get to experiment with baking bread on the stove top.

2. I have an excuse to clean behind, around and under the stove when we pull it out.

3. Hubby has an excuse to patch up the mouse hole behind the stove.  Yes, we literally have a real mouse hole in the wall like in the cartoons...not so arched, but close enough!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maple Farm Dreaming

Tasha Tudor

There is a maple syrup farm for sale the next state over and it has me dreaming.  We go through a LOT of maple syrup every year and to be able to make our own, and sell it, would be very nice.  Unfortunately, it seems dreaming is as far as I can get with this maple farm.  It would take a miracle.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baking Season

Maple Cinnamon Bread

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good Neighbors


While a larger house and some more land (preferably an entire farm) is our hope for the future, we would not be heartbroken if we stayed here in Taigh Beag.  One reason is our good neighbors.  The other day, our neighbor who owns the farm next door dropped off these beautiful pumpkins for us.  We are so thankful! 

Really, we've been blessed so much, lately, I need to start writing thank you cards!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Something Soft and Kitten Gray

My recent trip to Goodwill brought me home a bagful of garments in a brown, white, black and whisper pink palate.  I've begun to ponder what other colors and hues are lacking in my Autumn/Winter wardrobe?

I would like something soft and kitten gray.

A scarf, perhaps.  Or a light sweater in merino wool, cashmere or angora.  A skirt, maybe?  A silk blouse.  Gloves.  Socks!

Or a kitten.

I can only dream of a kitten.  My beloved does not share my fondness of cats and my children certainly wouldn't give the poor creature a moment's rest.  Although, we could use a good mouser!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dreading Winter No More


All summer I dreaded the coming of winter.  How, I anxiously wondered, will I ever manage another winter cooped up in this little cottage?  The walls already felt like they were closing in on me.  Could I manage juggling 4 small children with cabin fever?

I didn't want to bear the cold.

I didn't want to bear the winter coats and gloves and mittens and hats and scarves and boots.

I didn't want to see trees naked of their leaves, or a bleak winter landscape. 

I didn't want to feel cold or worry about driving anywhere or hubby working out in sub zero temperatures all day.

I didn't want to say good-bye to sunlit evenings and face darkness before dinnertime.

I was actually stressed out about winter coming.

But, whether or not I want it to, winter is coming.

Just an hour's drive north of me, snow fell the other morning.  And I was happy to see pictures of it on facebook!

What changed?

Grim acceptance started to breed little pins and needles of anticipation.  

Cozying under covers.

Handiwork that only seems to get done in the quiet evenings.

The beauty of winter is starting to intrigue me.  I actually miss watching snow swirls across the road in front of me while I drive.

Sun dresses and sandals lost their appeal and I was dying for a pair of corduroy pants.  Thankfully, my local Goodwill delivered with a pair of soft, chocolate brown ones for half price.  $3.00?  Why, yes, thank you!

While an hour's north had snow, here on the north hill face of the valley we have yet to see a frost.  I look forward to God's artwork in ice on a crisp, browned leaf that once waved on a tree in our yard just a couple months ago.  

And, best of all, I look forward to finally cross country skiing again!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Corgiville's namesake

My daughter loves that one of the Corgis in Corgiville bears her name.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Black and Brown

While fashion dictates that you must not wear brown shoes with a black suit, I love black and brown together.  It is classic, like a pair of equestrian hunting boots.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

She Reads


The other day, my daughter told me that she wants to learn how to read.  I heard somewhere that once a child starts putting bodies on their drawings of people (as opposed to just drawing legs off the head), they are ready to read.  Sure enough, she has been drawing bodies and when I tested her on phonics sounds through the alphabet, she got most of them.  Out came our beloved Bob Books and she quickly picked up books 1 and 2.  Now, she's like Helen Keller when she made the connection at the water.  She is constantly pointing out words to me and asking what they are.  Sometimes I tell her.  Sometimes I have her sound them out.

I expect she'll catch on quickly to reading and we can start first grade next year with her reading already.  Her older brother has difficulties reading and possibly some mild dyslexia and even though he is in 2nd grade, I still have to read many things out to him.  We started a reading chart and he has been willingly reading more and more books.  He already filled his October chart!  His books are Kindergarten/First Grade level books, but he's reading.  I'm not worried.  He'll pick it up over time.  I'd rather cultivate a love of reading and desire to read and good reading comprehension than a child who can read at or above their level.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

October Goals


I am here.  I am alive, I promise!  I went through a bit of a funk and had some adjusting to do.  We started homeschooling for the year in August.  We've finally settled into a routine and the Autumn air feels so freeing as opposed to the oppressive humidity of August.

Feeling renewed and refreshed in so many ways, I would like to set some goals for myself for October and I thought I'd share them with you:

1. Stress LESS!   I let stress get the better of me this summer and stressed about things I didn't really have to.  So now, I am going to make a concentrated effort to NOT stress.

2. Exercise!  I am joining my cousin's Beachbody Challenge Group for October.  I'm  not looking to lose weight, but I would like to keep my blood flowing as the temperature chills.  Plus, it's just so good for you!

3.  More homemade!  The cooler weather means I can return to a meaningful relationship with my oven!  There's nothing like homemade foods.  But, I am also adding homemade household and beauty products to the list.  By the way, my homemade make-up foundation effort was a fail and I can't seem to find a homemade product or method to successfully wash my hair!

4.  Less Waste!  I purchased The Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (blog in sidebar) and it is full of inspiration for reducing waste.  While I will probably never be able to be as successful or zealous (I mean that in a good way) as Ms. Johnson, I like to work towards a greater goal.

5.  More time with kiddos, less time online!  (As I write this on an online blog...doesn't that irony annoy you?  All those blog posts and tweets and facebook updates condemning being online....)  Actually, I am increasing my online involvement.  I recently started a facebook page for local cottage industries, but I plan on spending less time wallowing online...you know, aimlessly surfing, mindlessly scrolling through facebook, getting sucked into message boards and newsfeed comments....

6.  Hobbies!  I told hubby, recently, that I miss my hobbies.  I'm so busy with so  much, I miss those times I had sewing, drawing, singing, knitting, painting.  Hopefully, as our youngest gets older and more independent, and as I continue to purge and organize our little home, I can start dabbling again.

7.  Planning!  The back of my mind is filled with ideas for the spring!  We had no animals or garden this year, and next year I want to make up for it!  If we don't choose the travel trailer plan this spring, I would like to start a micro farm on our 1/2 acre.  Why wait for the farm we dream of?  We have a slice of God's creation!  Let's use every square inch of it for something (without overcrowding, of course!).

Do you have Autumn goals?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Unmentionables

Where I live, if you mention lingerie, people automatically think of Victoria's Secret.  If you say you need a new bra, the choices seem to be big box stores or VS.  But, thanks to hubby, I've discovered the pleasures of shopping in independently owned lingerie boutiques. 

Hubby had to work a couple hours away from home for over a year.  During that time, he was near Rhinebeck, NY, a beautiful village full of art bars and boutiques.  His ever-watchful eye for pretty things for his wife spotted a pretty dress in a window of one of the boutiques in Rhinebeck.  He never was able to stop, but finally, when his stint there was completed, he drove me down for the day to clean out his rented room and stop at the shops.  Turns out the clothing shop does indeed sell clothing, but it is also a high end lingerie shop called Joovay.  The lady inside was an intelligent, kind-faced beauty and we had the pleasure of having conversation with her while I browsed.  The shop is tasteful and full of beautiful silk lingerie.  I window shopped a few pieces, but since money was tight at the time, I simply bought a luxurious pair of European pantyhose.  (Do you know how hard it is to find size A pantyhose in a pale enough nude shade for me?)  We plan on returning as soon as we can to purchase a few pieces for me to feel like a queen in while I snooze.

This past weekend, hubby and I spotted another treasure during our travels.  This time, it was in Ballston Spa, NY, a little shop called Torso.  The styles weren't quite what my tastes are, but the shop owner was a charming and friendly woman who made me feel welcome and hubby comfortable.  Again, the shop was tasteful (unlike VS with their stank-faced, oddly posed models in posters all over the place), the items of high quality, the atmosphere pleasant, and just oozing with charm and femininity. 

Besides, it is so reminiscent of the vintage days of lingerie shops for the ladies where you could browse and shop and try on and purchase luxury garments that you took care of and lasted. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Content With Where You Are


Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 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. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:31-33

These Bible verses were always hard for me to fully understand.  I never understood the concept of being able to be content with where you are, especially when things are not as good as they ought to be.  How can someone be content with where they are if:

Finances are exceptionally tight.
A child is wayward.
A spouse is wayward.
A marriage is hurting.
An illness strikes.
They've been falsely accused.
A storm damages.
A fire destroys.

I couldn't understand how I, or anyone for that matter, could be content with where they are in life, and that contentment amounting to nothing more than settling for the crappy situation they're in. 

This morning, May, Joe and Leslie Lemke came to mind.  They are pictured above.  It dawned on me that May is an excellent example of being content with where she was in life, yet not settling for the circumstance she found her small family in, particularly Leslie. 

Joe and May Lemke were modest folks who adopted Leslie as an infant.  Leslie was completely blind and a savant (formerly rather cruelly called idiot savant).  He was pretty much incapable of doing anything for himself and some would say he was pretty much a vegetable.  May and Joe poured their every effort into caring for the boy and May never ever gave up hope for a miracle for Leslie.  Her miracle did come.  You can read about it in May's Boy.  Or you can watch a special on the family HERE:
 
May Lemke was content with her life with Leslie as it stood every moment of the day.  She was perfectly content caring for him, working with him, and praying for him.  BUT, she would not settle for it.  She prayed and prayed for Leslie, for God to perform a miracle in his life.  To use Leslie in an amazing way.  It took almost 2 decades, but God answered May's prayers.  She was content with Leslie as he was, but she refused to settle that that was all there was for him.  You can do both. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Inside My Mailbox

Recent goodies in my mailbox (aside from homeschool work books):


I've had my eye on this skirt for my daughter for several years!  It is from Mini Boden and I either couldn't find it in her size on ebay, or they were still asking more than I was willing to pay.  Finally, her size and a price I could live with!

This will be our oldest's level 3 piano book.  I bought it early at a good price because I want to learn Lunar Eclipse for myself.  I'm a self-taught piano plunker.
 
No, that's not me.

I love Bea's blog (check out my sidebar) and her gentle inspiration and ideas.  While I don't believe I'll ever find myself as disciplined and dedicated as her, she does give practical advice and a fun challenge to life.  I was so eager to get this book!


Since I'm trying to organize home creamery classes, I thought it would be an interesting study to see how the West Ladies do their dairying.  I am slowly building my collection of their DVDs.  Homestead knowledge is never wasted knowledge.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Odd Small House Dilemma

How does mushed up food wind up in the master bedroom?

That's easy!

When you live in a small house, and your master bedroom door is so close to the dining room table that when you pull the high chair out, it practically sits in the door, and your baby boy likes to announce that he's finished with dinner by chucking what's left on the floor, you're just bound to have some wind up in the master bedroom!

I suppose we could shut the door, but we only have two windows in this house that can hold air conditioners and both of them are holding air conditioners.  Those windows happen to be bedroom windows.  Therefore, if we shut the door, the bedroom turns into a meat locker and the rest of the house turns into an oven. 

So, we firmly, but lovingly correct and encourage baby to stop chucking his food, and I continue to clean food out of the master bedroom.  We continue to live in our little cottage, cozy, storing up plenty of memories to laugh and marvel at for years to come.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reopened Season Soapworks


I have reopened my natural soap making business!  You can see the shop on etsy at:


You can visit my soapy blog at:


You can join my facebook page at:


And you can email me about soap at:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wardrobe Malfunction


It is funny how our body image works.  There I am standing in front of the mirror in my clothes for the day and wondering what is wrong with my body because things just didn't look right.  I change.  I still look odd, but deal with the outfit anyway.  Then, I get dressed for bed and my nightgown just isn't as alluring as it used to be.  What's wrong with me?!  What's the malfunction here?

I then realized the answer to my questions:  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  I'm not malfunctioning.  My wardrobe is!

Just like in the picture above, there is nothing wrong with that little girl, but the shoes just don't fit her, so it isn't looking right.  (It's looking cute, though, something I can't say about my ill fitting wardrobe.)

Last year I had my 4th baby, so of course my body was all sorts of different.  More voluptuous.  I thought then that I'd probably wind up staying in that size, give or take a few pounds and a bra size, and started buying clothes accordingly.  The malfunction is that I'm still putting on clothes I was 10-20 pounds heavier for!  During the past 6 months, even though I haven't really exercised or dieted, something changed in my metabolism and I am back down to my former, pre-baby petiteness.  While my wardrobe flattered my post partum curves then, it swallows my petite figure now.  I pretty much need an entire wardrobe change.  Even my undergarments are baggy!

This is going to be a challenge because I'm not very good with dressing myself.  I don't really have a sense of style.  Another wardrobe malfunction I deal with is buying off the rack whatever is popular and then wondering how to alter my body so that I look good in it.  Fact is, it just doesn't flatter the figure I have!  Recently, I went through my vintage wardrobe and tried on a cute house dress.  I frowned as I looked in the mirror and asked hubby, "Why did they (women of the 40's) look cute in these and I just look like a frump!" He just simply and smartly replied, "it just isn't your style, dear."  He's right.  The length, cut and style of the dress did nothing for me.  The same goes for much of what is on the racks.  It is like I'm somewhere between junior and miss.

I have time to consider and window shop, though, since we're not in a position to afford me an entire new wardrobe.  What do you do?  Where do you shop if you are petite, but not junior-ish, but not matronly, either?

Maybe I could win a shopping spree to Mod Cloth.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Home Creamery: Making Dairy Products in Your Home Classes


I am SO EXCITED!  Two days ago, I asked the home school group I belong to if anyone would be interested in a class on making your own dairy products.  To my surprise, not only did many ladies respond almost immediately, but they started asking when and where.  I love their enthusiasm!  So, now I've got my work cut out for me and I have to start planning these classes!  I already have enough interest for two classes!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Affording to Home School


With money being tight, it seems I may not be able to purchase the curriculum I would like to for home schooling.  It caused me a little anxiety at first when I realized we may not be able to "afford" home schooling this year.  How in the world can we home school if we don't have a curriculum?  I live in a state with some fairly strict home schooling laws.  Unschooling in my state is difficult, if not impossible, at least for me.

Anyhow, as I sighed and lamented my lack of all those cute workbooks and lesson plans I see in all those home schooling catalogs flooding my mailbox, I realized something.  Yes, a blessing.  Yes, a call to work.  Yes, creativity.

A few years ago, my neighbor invited me over to the one room schoolhouse on his property to take whatever schoolbooks out of the enclosed bookcase I wanted.  This grades 1-8 schoolhouse closed in the 1950's or 1960's, but left almost everything in it.  Over the years, my neighbor has cleaned it out for use for storage and critters have damaged a lot of things, but I have schoolbooks.  Lots of them!  Classical schoolbooks!

It's going to take a LOT of work on my part to put my own curriculum together, but it sounds fun!  Imagine reporting my curriculum to the school district.  Yes, superintendent, I am using the school district curriculum....from 50 to 100 years ago!!!!!

If finances improve, I will probably still order from the catalogs, but for now, it is nice to know that we won't have to go without.

I was also told about EasyPeasy homeschooling.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Season of Shortage, Season of Blessing

Stock Photo

Sometimes you have to lower your standard of living to increase your quality of life.
Kateri Scott

These seasons in life come to most of us.  These seasons where something goes wrong, something breaks, someone falls ill and the bills pile up while the income ceases or slows.  We find ourselves counting pennies, stretching food, pulling together yard sales, considering another way to earn an income, and coming up with unique ways to save buck.  

I grew up in this kind of life.  Money was always tight and never enough, yet we muddled through somehow. I still find myself in this kind of life.  Hubby is a hard working man and provides well for us, but life has a way of happening from time to time rendering that bank account far too slim.  It is usually a time of high stress and tears as I navigate the bills and books.  It is usually a time of crying out to God, questioning Him, and wondering while we are faithful tithers (10% on the gross), we find ourselves so devoid of His blessings.  

But this time is different.  Yeah, a few weeks ago I had a huge tantrum about it, but now I think I'm beginning to realize:

When you lose your sense of entitlement, you realize how many blessings you have.
Kateri Scott

And as I see the blessings, I see the rampant waste, too.  Waste of time, energy, money, resources....

I also see the blessings of God increasing my time as I have to put MORE time into doing things.  One of the best ways to save money is to work with little to make much.  He also increases my creativity in doing so, too and I sit back at the end of the day and realize that if I put this kind of effort and creativity into life  to be with, we wouldn't be in such a situation, or at least not as recessed.  Then again, it takes the recessions to draw out the blessings!  And there are seasons of plenty when we can take the time for leisure and pleasure; a little extra waste and fulfilling a want or two.  

But for now, I am living in creativity.

I will be filling my etsy shop with vintage and homemade items soon.

I am also making soaps again.  My soaps are completely all natural, no funny ingredients and extremely nourishing to the skin.  They will be listed in my other etsy shop soon.  Links will come.

What are some unique ways you save a penny here and there?

Cloth items as opposed to disposable?
Making more from scratching?
Eating more simply?
Enjoying home life more?

Share in the comments!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Back in the domestic saddle again

It is amazing how much time homeschooling and chasing around a mischievous and highly mobile baby can take up.  Now that we have July off and my baby boy is old enough to play with his siblings (with mom close by, of course), I have been filling my days with cleaning, organizing, rearranging, purging, soap making, and cooking.

It amazes me no end how we continue to manage in our little cottage.  We actually do fit in here even though we don't have the spacious luxuries other smaller families have.  It's almost a shame to leave and "waste" in a larger house.  The tiny house movement is certainly an inspiration.  Funny how in some way, I'm actually living a vogue trend rather than making do with what we have because we have no options right now.  Our farm isn't ready for us and we aren't ready for it.  The Lord knows the time, if at all.

One thing I am learning is being content with what we have.  It is so easy to dream about our future farm too much, or visit someone's house and wish for their space, their dishwasher, their master suite with jetted tub.  But look at what we do have!  More than many!  I'm not trying to brag, but I still marvel at the luxury of a hot shower.  We only have one shower, but one is enough.  I managed to fit in a piano and a fireplace (an electric one) and I'm looking into unique ways to fit in a dishwasher.  Countertop, perhaps?

I redid hubby and I's closet and things fit so much better now.  All I did was remove the modulars and repurposed them as homeschool floor to ceiling bookshelves in the dining room, and I added some shelving I found in the basement.  Voila!  Nice, neat, easily accessible stacks of hubby's clothes.

Baby items are being sold or given away, making room for...well...space.  Toys are being purged and organized.  It really is amazing what one can do with what they have.  It is to the point where should someone with a larger house (and smaller family) complain about not having space to put something, I just smile.  There's space.  We just have to think outside the box.

In other news, the baby, A, is walking and talking!  He's 13 1/2 months old now and speaks small, whole sentences like, "I love you," "there it is," "I see it," and "thank you."  I credit his oldest brother, D.  D is a talker.  I'm sure that influenced A's vocabulary.

I've got time to browse blogs again.  If you have a blog, leave the address in the comments.  I'd love to visit!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I love:

My hot rollers, especially when my ends need trimming and I can't find babysitting so I can go to the salon so my ends need a little help not looking so frazzled.

That the grass is turning green!

All the varieties of birds visiting my bird feeder.

Babies!  (No, I'm not having another baby, but someone I know is having two!)

Bare Minerals Make-up foundation.

My hologram eyes....they change colors on their own.  Really!  It depends on what I wear.

My sneaky red highlights.  Yes, deep down I'm a redhead.  Deep deep down.  I have natural red highlights in my hair.  They like to hide, but in the right light, particularly sunlight, they may shine through.

Homeschooling.  There are days I just don't want to do it.  There are times I just want to scream at the state's standards.  There are times I just want to send that fidgety little boy outside just to not hear him whine and complain about doing to work, but overall I LOVE homeschooling.

Bulb flowers.  I see them blooming in the grocery store floral departments and I just want to buy them all!

My Grandmother's house and my Aunt K's house.  Such peaceful homes.  Clean, tidy, beautifully decorated, uncluttered....ummmm....kind of the opposite of mine.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

A Little Confession....


I am not good with children.

Ok, let me rephrase that.  I am not good with other people's children.  Never really have been.

I had the thought today that simply because I have mothered 4 children, it is assumed that one day I will take on a teaching role in children's church.  It is also assumed that I am good with children.  I must be to mother 4 children, after all.  Frankly, unless the Lord calls me to teach children's church, I'm not volunteering any time soon!

Sure, I've learned a few tricks of the trade during the 7 years I've been a mother so far, but I'm really not sure I can handle a classroom, playgroup, or other such entourage of children who are not my own...at least not without a helping hand...preferably from someone who's good with children.

Maybe I just need a little more practice.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

March 30, 1905

"Found a wren's nest built entirely of straw in the ivy growing up an ash-tree.  At the end of this month changed residence to Olton 5 miles further North."

The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady Edith Holden

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sweat Equity Instead

After many talks between hubby and I, we decided to not sell our house and move into a travel trailer.  Instead, we plan on staying in our little cottage for at least another year and using this year to build equity in the house where we can and making it more appealing for buyers.  Let's face it.  The market for 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom houses under 1000 square feet is limited.  For now, I'm purging what I can to make the house appear more spacious.  Having a family of 6 in such a small house can appear to be a turn off to buyers as the clutter of daily living overwhelms. 

There are other factors to consider, too.  My outdated kitchen, for one.  No dishwasher and an apartment-sized stove aren't very appealing to many modern buyers.  The original 1950's countertops and white enamel cabinets has limited appeal.  I've made lemonade out of my lemon of a kitchen by playing up the retro look and while it is cute for me, I would understand if a buyer gags at the kitchy sight of it.  I'm living it as is, but I think to make it a bit more appealing, I would have to continue with the retro theme rather than just hinting at it....and keep the kitchen spotless. 

The bathroom is in need of a facelift, too.  6 people using 1 bathroom equals a redo.  While we most likely won't be able to afford to change out major fixtures, all new paint, some new accessories and a good grout bleaching should bring it back to attractive.

The dining room walls need some new paint.  Since the dining room is in the dead center of the house and every room is off of it, it gets a LOT of traffic and the walls show the bumps, dings, chips and stains of small children running through.

The living room would benefit from getting rid of hubby's old, worn recliner.  While for now, it adds seating, really, it's an eyesore and lowers the property value of the living room, so to speak. Vacating baby toys will help.

The children's room needs painting and new curtains.  I wanted to do a Lorax theme on the walls, but since we're looking at selling, I think a buttery cream color on the walls will do.  Themed curtains are charming for a house that's being lived in, but for selling, I think basics will have to do.  I'd like organized consistency in their furnishings, but that's not a top priority.

Hubby and I's room, which used to be the children's room, is VERY small and still painted in the farm scene.  We plan on giving it a facelift and I'd like to remove clutter and open it up.  Granted a buyer would use the children's current room as the master bedroom, it certainly doesn't benefit our selling efforts to have the master bedroom look like an after thought.

I'm wondering if I should eliminate the homeschool room, which is actually our 3 seasons porch.  It's a great selling point and cluttering it up with homeschool stuff isn't conducive to selling.  Perhaps when we put the house on the market I will convert it to a comfy porch once again.

The exterior could use some paint touch-ups and I'd love to paint the foundation a sandy brown rather than the dingy gray it is right now.  If we can afford it, we'd like to replace some windows.  The breezeway deck needs redoing and I the stairs to the kitchen need a good coat of paint.

Landscaping went untouched last year what with pregnancy bedrest and a new baby, so I'm looking forward to tackling that.  Just cutting back overgrowth and eliminating weeds will help a LOT.

We've decided to not have ducks again this year.  Turning the duck pond back into an ornamental pond will be a bigger equity builder than having a fenced in duck area.  Brush piles will be eliminated.  The garage and shed will need cleaning out.

We're praying the Lord provides what we need to do these projects.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Cropped Curls


Several years ago, I tried an online virtual make-over where I could try out different celebrities' hairstyles.  I tried a curly cropped style (it was blond, though) and it actually looked pretty good on me!  Since then, I've wanted to try it and even recently considered purchasing a wig to see if I liked it, but I didn't want to spend the money.  I'm also wary about cutting my waist-length hair!  Well, if the Downton Abbey girls can pin up their long hair into finger-weaved bobs, I can curl and crop my long hair, too!  So, here it is!

Hubby says its sassy and he likes it, though he's glad I didn't cut my hair. :)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

DIY Retro Kitchen Kitsch

Ribbon Memo Board Before

Ribbon Memo Board After!

Since I painted my kitchen that retro blue color, my old ribbon memo board no longer matched at all.  It was old, too, and looked dingy.  A trip to the fabric store and about 15-20 minutes of work and my ribbon memo board now matches my vintage-y kitchen perfectly!  


Monday, March 04, 2013

My Vacation to Barnes & Noble

I was given a rare opportunity over the weekend.  Hubby was feeling under the weather, but needed to attend a meeting out of town.  I volunteered to drive him to and from the meeting and my parents volunteered to care for the older 3 children.  So, while hubby was at the meeting, I was able to put the baby in a stroller and leisurely browse the Barnes & Noble near by.

My visits to Barnes & Noble are very few and far between, but one of my favorite things to do there is browse the bargin shelves.

I bought:

Thomas Paine's Common Sense (for me and for homeschooling)
Sun Tzu's Art of War (for hubby)
A book on Reflexology
A Boynton book for the baby
"Duck Dynasty" Season One on DVD (for hubby and I....c'mon, it was on sale!)

3 books on 1940's fashion they did not have.
Several other books on my list were a little overpriced for my taste.

However, I did see this coffee table book:


It was way too pricey for my pocket book that day, but it is definitely on my wish list!  I am a fan of Dale Chihuly and his work.

*While a locally owned bookstore is definitely preferable, the only "locally owned" ones where I was had "adult" in front of the title, so my default was Barnes & Noble.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dabbling in Singing Again


It's just audio, no video.
"Just Give Me a Reason" Pink

I used to sing my heart out all the time.  I was a top soprano and soloist in high school and had my fair share of solos in college, too, but then I just stopped.  Every so often, I warm up the old chords and give it another shot.  My voice has changed a lot since I was at my peak at 16-17 years old, so it's neat to try different songs now.  

I heard Pink's song "Just Give Me a Reason" today and I fell in love with it and decided to give the first verse and chorus a shot.  Pink totally owns this song.  No one can come near her, in my opinion, but it's a fun song and a beautiful song and I wanted to give it a shot of my own for the fun of it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

So Fascinating!

I am so fascinated by many different economical and environmental lifestyles that people have chosen to lead!  Finding blogs that speak of their lifestyle is like reading the best articles in the best natural home and garden magazine out there.  I love reading about people who:

1. Live in tiny houses
2. Live in small houses with large families
3. Live off the grid
4. Live as plastic-free as possible
5. Live as self-sustaining as possible
6. Live as waste-free as possible
7. Live on a tiny budget
8. Live debt free
9. Live in RVs
10. Live as naturally as possible
11. Farm not only organically but sustainably
12. Live a more old-fashioned/old-timey/vintage lifestyle

My sidebar features some of these blogs.  Please go visit them with an open mind and a learner's heart.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Items For My Wardrobe


A vintage tennis dress

Or

A vintage tennis skirt

Also



A Trench Coat for Spring



Sunday, February 03, 2013

Lenten Cleaning, Perhaps?


Spring cleaning never works for me because I want to be outdoors doing yardwork in the warming sunshine after a winter behind four walls.  This year, I've decided to try my hand at Lenten cleaning and get the children involved as a lesson in giving up some of their playtime to contribute to the well-being of the household.  Besides, they make most of the messes, so why not clean them up?!

This is going to be quite the challenge for me.  I hope I end up as proud and accomplished as the vintage lady above rather than like this:


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worship Music to Work Out To

Three things:

1. I don't always like to follow workout videos.  Sometimes, I just like to dance like a fool alone in my basement.

2.  Upbeat music is a need, but the workout station I typed into Pandora only seems to play music about the guy singer trying to get laid, usually in some brutal, disrespectful, using, objectifying way to women.  Hey, guys!  God called you to PROTECT women, not abuse them!

3. I'm a multi-tasker.  I'm almost always doing at least two things at once.

Therefore, working out to worship music seemed like a great idea....but it can be hard to find worship music that has a beat upbeat enough to get a good sweat going.

Here's what I've found:

http://www.klove.com/blog/scottandkelli/post/2012/01/10/The-Scott-and-Kelli-Workout-Mix.aspx

I also find Kari Jobe's "Steady My Heart" a great warm-up or cool down song in both exercise and worshipping!

And my children's favorite:  "Days of Elijah."


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Downsizing? Purging Anyway!

Hubby and I are considering downsizing.  That's right!  Downsizing!  Now, for those who know that we live in an 880 square foot cottage with our 4 children and dog, you are probably scratching your heads.  For those who have read this blog long enough, you know I've talked about our little cottage bursting at the seams.  So, why downsize?  Isn't that the opposite of what I've wanted?

We are considering (still just considering at this point) having an adventure this year in a 5th wheel travel trailer before we find our bigger place to settle into and call home!! 

Even though it is just a consideration and we go back and forth between "this is a great idea" and "this is insane," I'm purging anyway.  So, even if we decide that it's insane and we stay put in Taigh Beag a little longer, I'll at least have less stuff to deal with!

Monday, January 07, 2013

I resolve....


A week late, I know, but I only have one resolution this year:

I resolve to live more deliberately.

That means that I take more notice and more focus on all aspects of my life.  It covers grounds such as:

Taking time to read the Bible and pray.
Can something be reused, refashioned, repurposed or recycled before throwing it away?
What can my children learn from this?
Do I really need to buy this?
I can either sit here and surf the net or get up and wash the dishes and go to bed more fulfilled.
What can I learn from this?
Is this just me reacting wrongly or are my red flags/offenses taken justified?
Taking every thought captive.
What needs accomplishing today?  Right now?  Later?  Or not at all?
How can I make good use of the time and resources I have at hand?

I spent much of 2012 in "survival mode" as I dealt with a difficult pregnancy and an emotionally and mentally difficult post partum.  I'm ready for a change up!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Enjoying the Beauty of Winter


I was dreading winter.  The spring and summer were just so beautiful and easy (no wrestling small children into coats, mittens and hats) that I didn't want to give them up.  Autumn stayed warm late, too.  But now that the snow has fallen, we're past the Solstice and the sun shines bright through my south and west windows, I am enjoying winter.  Even in the sub-zero cold, I bundled up and blissfully listened to the unique creaking of the snow beneath my feet....the sound that snow only makes when it is bitterly cold out.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Out With The Old!


All it took was $2.00 and a few minutes, but I finally did it!  I finally got rid of all those junky, flimsy dry cleaning and store stock hangers in hubby and I's closet.  They were replaced with uniform, plastic ones from Target.

It's amazing how such a little thing can bring a sense of organization to a home....or at least a closet.  The tangle of twisted, wirey metal, sagging shirt shoulders and lack of uniformity was annoying and really did add to a sense of disorganization and messiness.

Now, those old hangers will be recycled and I move on to the next organization project!