concerts, crafts, daily life, home projects, Third Day, vacation

This Summer in Pictures

books, daily life, faith life, home, home projects, homekeeping

This and That



Today I’m at home working in the kitchen. ¬†I’ve cleaned out the fridge and washed it thoroughly. ¬†I’ve also cleaned out the freezer. ¬†I still have our chest freezer to go through but that’s pretty up to date. ¬†I use a freezer inventory form to keep track of stuff so I don’t over by. ¬†I think I might need one for the fridge because I have 3 jars of salsa in there; all opened!

I’m making spaghetti sauce right now and later this afternoon I’ll be making some banana bread. ¬†The bananas are perfectly freckled so I know it will taste yummy.

Last night Michael and I picked out the tile and flooring for the master bath. ¬†Today I’ve been looking at paint samples. ¬†The names of them crack me up. ¬†There’s Encounter, Heavenly Day, Blue Gate, Storm’s End, Floral Cascade, Air Kiss, Escape, and Breezy. ¬†All of these are shades of blue. ¬†The one I’m going with is Clear Blue Sky.


It’s a really small room so I want something light and airy. ¬†Everything will be new in there. ¬†The smallness of the room is good because it won’t cost a lot to redo everything. ¬†We’re getting a new vanity and toilet, too. ¬†We’ve been here for 23 years so it’s about time. ¬†The hall bath will be next!

I’m reading Feeding Your Soul: ¬†A Quiet Time Handbook¬†and this was the summary for the chapter I read this morning:

Our choices, primary and secondary, enable us to make and preserve space in our lives for God. ¬†Relationship with God is the “best dish” among all the possibilities of life. ¬†It falls to us to hack back the busyness of life and choose to make room for Him.

What a powerful reminder that it’s the choices I make that affect all that I do and that God is waiting to spend time with me. ¬†He’s always available. ¬†I’m the one who needs to put Him first!!

daily life, home, home projects

Downed Trees and Gazebos

For a long time now Michael has wanted to take down two trees on our property. ¬†One was an oak in our side yard; and though it was on our property, most of it was leaning and hanging in our neighbor’s yard. ¬†The other was a tulip (poplar) tree in our backyard that is right off the deck. I knew these had to go but the cost was keeping us from doing it. ¬†And I was not looking forward to seeing them cut down while they were still living. ¬†But two weeks ago we got a great deal on taking them down and our neighbor said he would pay for half on the tree that was leaning toward his house. ¬†So, down they came…and with a lot of tears from me. ¬†We’ve lived in this house for almost 23 years and those trees were always there. ¬†I was sad to see them go but knew it was necessary.
Now that the poplar was near our deck, we looked into getting a screened-in porch.  I was picturing something like this:
But when we found out the cost of building one, we decided not to go ahead with those plans.  Instead we decided to look for a nice gazebo that has screens all around.  After shopping at several places, we found this one:
Michael bolted it to the deck so it is safe from storms. ¬†Of course, if a hurricane blows through we’ll have to take the canvas off. ¬†
Last night Michael strung little lantern lights inside across the top and they look so pretty.  This will definitely become my new place to sit and relax in the evening!  I absolutely love it.
beyond homeschooling, daily life, home projects, homekeeping

Catching Up

It seems that September has flown by and here we are a few days away from October! ¬†It still feels like summer here with temperatures in the 80’s and the high humidity. ¬†But…I looked at the forecast for the weekend and it’s supposed to be cooler. ¬†And today I’m seeing out my window something that has been missing for the past few weeks: ¬†blue sky!! ¬†We’ve had 7.27″ of rain so far this month. ¬†I wonder if our winter is going to be as wild as the rest of the year has been?
One of the things that I have been working on is my household notebook. ¬†Now that I’m no longer homeschooling and my schedule has changed, I needed to make a new one. ¬†I’m using a mixture of Mom’s Home Journal and The Intentional Planner. ¬†I really like both of the forms in each of these!

I’m trying to hone my daily routines, meals, etc. since I am now at a different stage in my life. ¬†I’m no longer homeschooling and have been devoting more time to what I call my “encouragement ministry”. ¬†I really enjoy talking with women about the Lord and His Word and how we can implement it in our every day lives. ¬†I want to be able to do my work here in a timely manner so I can be available if needed but I don’t want to neglect my family for other people! ¬†It’s a different time now as Michael is out of town a lot, Julianne is in college and Jared is working and in college. ¬†Mealtimes are not always a sit down affair but I want to be able to provide good food no matter what the evening looks like.
It seems on Sunday when I go to church that my week is pretty clear but by the time I go home, it’s filled. ¬†This week is no exception. ¬†Tonight I’m meeting a friend for Bible study; tomorrow is our monthly Lunch Bunch, I’m getting my hair cut, and our whole family is going out to dinner to celebrate my birthday; Wednesday I’m babysitting for a friend (4 boys!) while she goes to the doctor; Thursday I have a dermatologist appointment; Friday some of the ladies at church are going to teach us non-knitters how to knit scarves. ¬†We hoping to make 120 by December 6 in order to take them with us when we serve the homeless. ¬†Saturday is my day to clean the church and that night a bunch of friends are getting together for a potluck/get-together to encourage a friend who will be undergoing breast cancer surgery soon. ¬†And Sunday evening is the Third Day concert in Charlottesville. ¬†But as Cheryl over at Copperswife says, I have learned to “hold my plans loosely”. ¬†To me that means to be prepared for God’s appointments, which we call interruptions. ¬†To be ready to minister to those in need. ¬†I don’t want to be so tied to my schedule ¬†and my routine that I miss opportunities to serve.

beyond homeschooling, home projects, homekeeping


It was a busy week and started off a little stressful because of Julianne’s classes at college. ¬†She did get the English class she needed and at the time she needed so it has all worked out. ¬†We’re so thankful!! ¬†Julianne starts her classes on August 22nd (Jessica’s 25th birthday). ¬†I now have three children in college. ¬†How crazy is that?

This past week’s project was the pantry and it is complete. ¬†I emptied everything out, cleaned, discarded, etc. and now it is all organized. ¬†I use this planner to inventory everything. ¬†Hopefully now I won’t end up with 8 cans of cream of potato soup…which I discovered I had. ¬†I also dated each item so I can use them before they expire.
Here’s what it looked like before (click to see larger):
And after:
It is such a feeling of accomplishment to get that room organized.  On my way to church this morning, I looked in and admired it.  Haha!!  
This week:  kitchen cabinets!
daily life, home projects

A Busy Week

Since Thanksgiving I feel like I have been in a fog.¬† It seems there is so much to be done!!¬† I don’t go to the Black Friday sales so I was spared all that craziness.¬† I did do some shopping on Monday during the day when the stores aren’t so crowded.¬† The kids are all getting big presents this year so I just needed to pick up some small things and items for their stockings.¬† Every year I ask them if they still want stockings and every year they say “yes”!!¬† I guess it is a tradition they enjoy!
Also on Monday our new heat pump was installed.¬† I took the three dogs to the kennel so they would be out of the way while the men worked.¬† Since they would be going inside and out and leaving the back gate open, we thought it was best to have the dogs out of the way.¬† Michael stayed home from work so make sure everything went ok.¬† It was so nice to have “real” heat that night!!¬† And it’s amazing how efficient it is.¬† Tuesday morning I turned it up to 68 from 65 and it only took a little¬†while to reach the temperature.¬† Our old unit would have run for an hour or¬†more!¬† I know our bill for this last month will be high because we were¬† running on emergency heat but I’m looking forward to seeing what it will be with the new unit!¬†
We have our claim into the power company and hopefully they will accept it and reimburse us for this unit.  Please continue to pray for us!
I’m driving up to New Jersey tomorrow and will be back on Monday.¬† No internet!¬† I don’t mind being without the internet but I do miss e-mail.¬† Oh well, I will enjoy the peace and quiet.
See you next week!

daily life, home projects, homekeeping, homeschooling

Summer Busyness

It seems the busyness of summer¬†is continuing. ¬† Michael was in New York City for two weeks and during that time I (sometimes with Julianne) served the homeless, had a deacon’s meeting, worked in VBS for a week, cleaned the church, had lunch with two different friends, took Julianne to her dance class, went on field trips and went to a get together with everyone at church who had been to Honduras.¬† Whew!

Homeschool notes:
School starts in two weeks so I am starting to finalize lesson plans and also to purchase anything that’s needed.¬† Most of the stores have had their school supplies out since July so they are getting picked over.¬† I’m thankful that I have stocked up on a lot of items over the years so I don’t really need to buy much.¬† Julianne found a really nice backpack at Target today that has room (and padding) for her laptop.¬† She has a study hall at co-op and will be able to use her laptop there.¬† I think with her new writing class she will be using it a lot.¬†

This summer Julianne (and sometimes me) has been taking a lot of field trips with one of the teacher’s from co-op.¬† So far she has gone to¬†Tredegar Iron Works, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Maymont Park and the Dooley Mansion, Chimborazo Hospital, Oakwood Cemetery and the Richmond Canal. Still scheduled are Museum of the Confederacy, Hollywood Cemetery and Pamplin Park.¬†
We have really had a great time visiting these places and a lot of them are free!  I will post some pictures later of our field trip yesterday.

Homekeeping notes:
One of our projects this summer is to get all the new doors painted.  We still have a few weeks to accomplish this!  I did organize our master bedroom closet and by giving away a lot of old clothes and storing my purses in plastic containers, we now have a lot of shelf space that is empty.  Woo hoo!! 

My pantry needs a good purging and cleaning so that is next on my list.  Most of my homekeeping projects for the fall involve crafts.  I would like to finish up some sewing projects, work on rubber stamping some cards (for myself and for gifts), learn to do quilling as I think it will make a nice addition to my cards, and make some Christmas gifts.

One of the things I miss most is cooking.¬† It seems we have been so busy lately and all of us have been coming and going at different times that I haven’t been in the kitchen much.¬† I plan to change that once we are back to our fall routine. I have so¬†many new recipes I’d like to try.¬† When I do (and if my family likes them), I will post them on my recipe blog.

That’s some of things that have been going on or will be going on in my home!¬†