Wednesday, July 31, 2013


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  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!