Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Contentment in the Kitchen


A few weeks ago, I finally found a replacement container for the old, green, plastic flour bin. 


This pretty laundry basket!





A wicker laundry basket, with a cotton liner inside is just the thing for storing 40-50 lbs. of bread flour.




Although *we* had some concerns about the flour escaping as dust through the liner, I can assure you with confidence that nothing so unsettling has occurred.  The flour has behaved appropriately in its new home, making no attempts to escape, or powder itself in a fine ring around the bottom of the basket.




I am… quite content.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Boys Finally Let Me Paint Their Bunk Beds!


Although I have been cajoling them for a while now, the boys have stood firm on the subject of painting their bunk beds.

It was mostly Luke who was firm, but Noah didn’t need any persuading to stand in agreement with his big brother.


But I have been quietly persistent.

Persuasively persistent.




And at long last, they changed their minds.  Smile


Glenn made these bunk beds when Luke was 2 and Alix was a baby.  He worked long and hard, using his own knowledge and experience to make them from a picture I showed him, taken from a Pottery Barn catalog.  Isn’t he amazing?

Of course they were white initially, and for a long time, they were shared by Luke and Alix. 

And then Noah was old enough to sleep in a big boy bed, with his big brother, and Alix and Kate wanted to share a room.




So I painted the bunk beds a more boyish color – Admiral Blue.  And we all loved them, for a long time.


But then I started pining for something different. 

But apparently I was the only one who pined.


I can’t say whether or not Luke is a typical 17 year old young man when it comes to change, but I can say he resists it.  Smile  I really hadn’t thought it mattered what color the bunk beds were to him.  But I was wrong.  For the second time. 


On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Noah, as regards the bunk beds, is the very essence of a typical 12 year old boy.  It was not that he had sentimental feelings about the color of his bed – I’m not sure he ever noticed what color they were until I brought up the idea of painting them.  But it was the excitement of being in fellowship with his big brother – united for a Common Cause – that really appealed to him.

I’m his mom, I can see these things quite clearly.




However, as I began to make suggestions about my color ideas, and tried to paint a mental picture for them (well, for Luke, really) of more mature and manly bunk beds, I sensed a softening heart.

It wasn’t immediate.

If I am honest, I can’t say it was even enthusiastic

But finally, Luke gave me the thumbs up, and Noah went along with him, because of the Common Cause I mentioned earlier.




Before they could change their minds, I painted the beds.


I also bought a new floor rug (on sale for $8.99 at Menards) to brighten things up.  I climbed into the attic and found the matching comforter that had been missing for a while.  I tidied up their room. I vacuumed and straightened and washed sheets and bought new pillowcases and plumped favorite stuffed bears onto the utility cabinet, and neatly folded their red blankets at the foot of the beds.




And they liked it!


There’s still a lot of work to be done in their room.  We have a few spaces on the walls in the closet that are still only studs, a few sheets of ceiling panel to put up, and lots of trim, and grand ideas for hanging shelves. 

But it’s come a really long way…





They love their space.

And there have been many fun evenings in which the whole family has crowded together to watch a movie, or see the boys build something on Minecraft, or talk about boyish things, or pray together, in The Boys’ Room.  When their friends and cousins come over, they disappear into this room and we hear shouts of laughter and good-natured joking coming up through the hardwood floor.





There is memory-making going on here.  Manly memory-making.  Sweet memory-making.




In light of all that, does it really matter what color the bunk beds are?


well…….yes.  Winking smile



Sharing at Mustard Seed Creations Furniture Feature Friday

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Influenza in the Fall


We’re having a quiet weekend. 




It was supposed to be very busy.

We had a 50th Birthday Party to attend. 

We were going to a bonfire… with fireworks! 

After church we were to go to Turkey Run for a hike and dinner with friends.


But, although man plans his steps, the Lord directs his path. 

And He ordained influenza for us this weekend. 


Sophia and Isabella came down with it mid-week.  So far the rest of us are untouched. 

So far.




But just to be sure, we are quarantine-ing ourselves.

And now that the fevers seem to be broken for good, the girls are more content.  Weak and pale, but more content.

Here’s what they’ve been doing most of the day…




Crowding around the laptop watching old re-runs of Adams-12, which the Worley cousins introduced them to a few months ago.




Today we’re thankful for Tylenol, and inhalers, and Adams-12, and pediatricians who are available at 2:30 am to talk over the phone to a worried mama.


And let’s not forget the cinnamon pull-apart bread..


Cinnamon Pull-A-Part Bread


Cinnamon Pull-A-Part Bread


Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Little Pink Bench


After looking around for months, trying to find a little bench to fit under the window in the girls’ bathroom, I asked Glenn to make me something.




Nothing fancy. Nothing involving a lot of time.

Just a simple, cute little bench on which the girls could set their clean clothes. 




A place for them to sit while they do each other’s hair, or when Kate has one of her beauty salon days and fancies them up.


Within a few hours of my request, Glenn finished up something that fit my requirements perfectly.




I painted it with some leftover paint from Alix and Kate’s room.


But when I looked at it, it just needed a little something.


So I painted a gray number 5 right in the middle of the seat.  Then I distressed it a little and rubbed on one coat of wax.




It made me laugh when each of the kids, one by one, asked me what the 5 represented.

Winking smile


It seemed so obvious to me…




Can you guess?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Difference a Year Makes


So much has changed around here over the last year! 

But one thing I didn’t expect to be so different is the way some of the plants have taken off.


Here is a picture of the east side of Kenilworth, taken the day we obtained possession on March 12 last year.




Granted it looks a little barren without leaves on the trees, but then here is what it looked like by May.




You can see we had replaced the picture window in the dining room by then with the two newer windows.  But the sedum were small and uneven looking, and there was a huge, wild spirea and a couple of other random bushes.  And although you can’t see them from this picture, there were tons of wild strawberry vines going crazy with weeds near the house.


Toward the end of last summer, Luke and I pulled out the scraggly spirea and the weed-infested strawberry vines, and transplanted the other two bushes.  We lay down a new layer of soil, mixed with aged horse compost that we acquired from the generosity of some good friends.  (who had plenty of compost to spare us)


Now, I can hardly believe how full the sedum are!  And the three limelight hydrangeas we planted behind them this Spring have thrived, too.


I thought you might like to see how they’re all coming along.







Such a difference, don’t you think? 






The neat thing about this “before and after” is that essentially all we did was prepare the soil.  We ripped out weeds and wild plants, and gave the dirt something good to eat.  We planted new plants in the newly incorporated soil, and hoped for the best.

And then aside from watering occasionally, we watched God grow those little plants.

I know it sounds so cliché, but I can’t help but compare it to what God is doing with us and our children.  We try to keep out the ugly, the ungodly, the prideful and the weedy.  We look for aged compost, for wisdom and maturity.  His Word is abundant with it, and plenty to spare.  We do our best to get it well incorporated – we read, pray.

We put forth effort, sometimes more, sometimes less, to prepare the soil, and then we wait and watch and suddenly we realize that God has been at work in us, in our children. 

He is stretching out roots that are becoming strong and long. 

He is flowering us, and filling us out.

He is growing us into maturity and strengthening our faith in Him.

We can look back to “before”… and see an “after”. 

And, grateful, we keep on reading and praying, digging and planting, and we keep hoping for the best. 

In ourselves. In our kids.


And we’ve been given a wonderful promise that we won’t be disappointed.


“The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen”  Hebrews 11:1


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Girls are Home!


At the end of September, into the beginning of October, Alix and Kate were invited to go along with some of our extended family on a trip to Virginia Beach. They had been counting down for months until the time would finally arrive. 



Their great anticipation was rewarded in every possible way.


They were able to tour Washington D.C. and see sights they had never seen in person; like the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument, and the World War II War Memorial.  They walked miles and miles, and loved it.




They had a huge slumber party at my sister’s house for the 2 nights and days they were touring, and then headed off to a beautiful beach house for the rest of the week.

While they were there, they spent most of their time on the beach; playing in the sand and riding boogey boards, digging for sand crabs to give to their uncles and grandpa for fishing bait, and generally getting a little sunburnt and windblown.


Kate created a lot of sand art, including this giant face. She used shells for the eyes.




I love this shot of the girls walking on the beach looking for the right spot to get on the boogey boards.




But in between all the playing, they also found a little time to read.




And play Jenga.



And although they spent hours and hours crowded in the vans together driving to and from Virginia, they had a ball and could only tell us story after story of the wonderful times they had with their cousins.



One of the girls took a picture of Alix and Kate on the beach at the end of the week.




I think it’s a beautiful shot of my beautiful girls.


We were so happy for them to have that special time with their cousins….

but we’re even happier to have them home again!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Corn Husk Wreath


It’s harvest time here in Indiana, and the farmers have been daily in the fields which surround Kenilworth.  Roaring past the house in their huge green combines, spraying dust everywhere as they race up and down our gravel road in their hurry to get the crops in, we hardly seem to notice them after a few days.




All along the road, as we took our walk last night, corn husks were scattered here and there and everywhere.  Bright russet corn cobs, shorn of every tiny yellow kernel, lay forgotten in the midst of the husks and “rubbage”, as Isabella called it.

She was right.  It did look a bit of a mess.  But then an idea began to come together in my mind.  I called to the girls and we started to gather as many husks and cobs as we could hold in our arms.  On the way back through the yard, I picked a couple of weeds, the pretty ones that look kind of like miniature daisies. 




I clipped a few branches, with plump ruby berries and a few green leaves still clinging, from the Redbud trees.




And then today I sat down on the floor in the mudroom, with corn husks, and stripped cobs, and Redbud branches, and tiny dried out weeds.




I took down the wreath from the front door and carried it excitedly to the mudroom. Carefully, I unwired the dusty and faded silk summer flowers from the grapevine wreath.




And then, taking one corn husk at a time, I wired each one individually to the wreath, going all the way around in the same direction.  Here and there, I included one of the cobs.




Finally, I cut the Redbud branches and buried them between the corn husks, making sure to wire them tightly to the wreath.

A little sprig of dried weed flower…




And that was it!


Our Fall wreath is complete.




All the supplies were a free gift, from the hand of an amazing Creator.

Who gives us abundance everywhere, in every season.

And with the tiny details He has so lovingly made, inspires us to use what He has created to make something of our own.


Look around!  What has He kindly provided for you?