Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Week...

It's been a busy and fun Christmas Week here in our home.

We have prepared much food and enjoyed many days of just listening to Christmas Music and baking, or cooking for our Annual Christmas Eve Celebration.

We started by baking several dozen of cooking, excellent sugar cookies, chocolate chips and oatmeal butterscotch. Then we made several dozen batches of Cinnamon Rolls, they were handed out as gifts to our friends and neighbors. Then we started our Christmas Eve Cooking extravaganza!!

Each year we host an open house and have tons of fun seeing who will come and celebrate with us. This year we had a full open house. And we even did some cooking with our guests. We made Strufoli!

We started our open house at noon. We do this so that if anyone is in the area and would like to stop by for a quick lunch, some tea, or coffee or just cheese and crackers they are more then welcome to pop in. Enjoy some food and fellowship and be on their way. :)
We had tons of cheese (horseradish, and a veggie blend, pub cheese, garlic and herb) and a varitey of crackers. We had clams on a half shell or steamed clams! :) (Thanks Mark) We had fresh ciabiatta rolls and roasted turkey, roast beef, salami, honey baked ham, provolone, american cheese, and a harvarti cheese. My own canned pickled beets, pickles. Potatoe Salad, Macaroni Salad and Cole Slaw. Cashews and Peanuts, Spinach and Artichocke and Feta Fritatta. (thanks Chris)
Sweet tea, and various sodas, plus a Cranberry Pomegrante Punch! :)

Dinner was served at 7pm. Our Menu was Antipasta Salad (thanks Mom) Spinache and Meat Lasagna, Eggplant Parm., Cioppino Soup (o my goodness was this yummy) and fresh bread.

Dessert consisted of a cookie platter (Thanks Jessie) Pumpkin bread (Thanks Janet) and Tirimisu!
There was hot chocolate with chocolate covered peppermint sticks! O so yummy!!!

So much food and so much great fellowship, the Lord has truly blessed us with great friends and family to spend our holidays with. We soo appreciate his gift to us of Salvation and wish for each person who was here that didn't know the Lord would see our Love for the Lord coming through and want to know who he is.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ashley's Sweet 16

On November 16, 1994, day 3 of my hospital stay/induction. I gave birth to:

Ashley Nicole
8 lbs. 11 ozs.
21 inches

She was plump and perfect, and happened to be the first baby born, on the 100 th anniversary of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Hospital and was given a $50.00 savings bond from them.

It was a special time in our life. We brought this little munchkin home to our chicken coop, I kid you not we rented a chicken coop/apt. Really neat little place! :)

Now here we are 16 years later, and four more sibling added to the mix!

We arrive at her Sweet 16 party!!!

Last night showed me just how blessed I am! If you don't know my daughter, by walking around the room last night you would have figured out her heart for sure.
Ashley loves photography, and is really good at it too! :)
She covered the walls in our church with about 500 photos of family and friends. And not just plain shots, but really interesting shots, where you could read the person's emotions!!!

She had some old photo of her dad and I as well!! (ack, 80's hair)

Her heart was poured out on those walls. Her love of life, people, adventures were all right there for any and all to see.
Her smiles and funny faces radiated from the walls. I literally walked around tearing up and some of it, because it humbles me to know her innocence.

At 16 I was in a very different place! God has blessed me through Ashley more then words can even say! I am truly humbled at the different lives we have at that same age. I thank God that I didn't follow suit with the mentality of "well if it was good enough for me" , when it comes to raising out children.

Raising Children is hard work. But with the Lord's guidance and protection, we have been blessed with such different outcomes. I long to see what the Lord has planned for Ashley, her heart is in missions.. I'm sure the Lord will use her there!

I thank God for our family support, even though we are often classified as "weird", "different", or "religious freaks" , we like our titles! ;) We are happy to be weird, different and religious freaks, we are not of this world! We want to stand out, and want the rest of the world to see and know our peace! Our peace comes from the Lord!!!

So Thank You Jesus, for always keeping a hand on us, and thank you for my sweet Ashley!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A couple of weeks ago we ventured out to our favorite place to camp and attended a most wonderful event. The HayCreek Festival at Johanna Furnace in Morgantown Pa.
What a wonderful hands on event...

My new favorite pic of my hubby... (swoon)

The gentleman is carving table legs, with the leg power of our son. He couldn't pedal too fast or too slow or the machine wouldn't work.
My oldest son volunteered at the festival and pedaled the pedal drill for hours that day!!
On top of all the hands on activites, there was tons of tractors, and little neat gadgets like this tiny car. :)
Here my guy is taking the dried corn cob, putting it through this machine and hand cranking it. The machine would then strip the cob of the kernals and wah-lah, corn kernals that can now be ground into corn meal.

Another old beauty.. My husband had the best time looking at all the old machinery and cars, and now would like to make this one of his hobbies.

Here's my #4. Learning to wring out the laundry the old fashioned way. :)
in 1912 this was a modern day washing machine.. :)

A great time was to be had by all who attended the festival. My kids loved it and hubby loved it more. We will now be making this a yearly tradition. :)


Friday, September 17, 2010

The dreded Schedule!

Ok, so most of you know I am anti-schedule. I don't like them, I feel like a slave to them. I just don't like the over all feel of them.

HOWEVER, as my family as grown..I am seeing the need for some order. More like an organized chaos, instead of just chaos!

SO I've read all the books, and like the idea of a MOTH routine, but still ummm for this skeptic seemed like it wasn't going to happen.

One of my biggest issues with scheduling is I personally have a very hard time with not completing things. If it's on my to do list and it doesn't get done, I get down on myself. So the thought of planning the entire day and possible missing something is dreadful to me!! Now MOTH is very clear that if you miss something you just keep going with the that is hard for me too!! What about the stuff you missed, now you've got to catch up!! See the pressure. BUT.... I knew I needed to develop something!

Soooo Here's our basic routine for the day.
6:30 am~Mom is up..this is my quite time with the Lord and early morning computer escapades.

7:30 am~ Wake up kids. This is there time and mine to shower if neccessary, make beds, pull up shades, get dressed, straighten room and personal bible time.

8:30~Breakfast!!! We eat and clean up. Morning Chores.

9:00~School starts, Ash at computer in sun room, Jake at computer in sitting room, Emma, Anna, and Matthew at kitchen counter.

10:00~Jake break 30 mins. Anna time and Mr. Darcy time.
10:30~Emma break 30 mins, Jake back to work.
11:00~Matthew break, Emma back to school. (anna time)
11:30~Ashley break, Matthew back to school. (anna time)

12:00~Lunch, eat, clean up, light chores. (Emma is usuall done at this point)

1:00~ Back to school

Free time for Emma
Naptime for Anna

2:00~music Matthew
2:30 Music Jacob

3:00~school day is over, begin dinner prep, free time for kids.

5:30~ supper time, eat clean up and do evening devotions

6:30~ finish/work on any school projects if neccessary.

Then we do bedtime routine of showers/baths/jammies etc.

8:30~Emma bed.( except duggar night)

9:30~Jacob bed.

10:30~Matthew bed.

11:00~Ashley bed

Now some nights the kids are in bed earlier, due to just being tired!! :)
We take 10 mins off bedtime, if you are not cheerful about doing school or chores.
Ashley brings her cell phone to me at there is not temptation or ppl calling her at night.

This so far seems to be working.
I am super excited about it.

While deep down I have schedule resentment, overall



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Calico Beans

This is NOT a Chili, not matter what you say!! This is NOT a Chili!!! :)

Ok, so try this out, it's fantastic..We ate it as a side and a lot of people at the bbq we were at, put it on their hot dogs!!!

Big hit!!!

4 ounces bacon, diced~yeah right, I did a pound!
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)~80% is fine.
1/2 cup chopped onion~whole onion
1 can (21 ounces) pork and beans
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained~you can use a "chili" variety
1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed brown sugar~I used Damara!
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar~I did 2!
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt

I made this in my cast iron pot, ok I'm on a new kick..loving my cast iron!!!!

fry the bacon, drain the grease almost all the way but not totally. -throw bacon in crockpot. :)
add the onion, once it starts to get soft and brown..add the ground beef
Let that cook till no longer pink then add all the beans, and the rest of ingredients. After I mixed it all up, i threw it in the crockpot on low to basically keep warm.!!!

Sooo good! Now, You can use "chili" beans for this recipe, I did. But again this is NOT a chili!! ;) Can't you tell I got flack, that this was a chili??? :)

Anywho, It went super with hot dogs, I ate it for breakfast the following day but I'm weird like that. I can also imagine with with cornbread or biscuits over top of it!! The possibilities are endless!!!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."
- Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885

I Love September!!

The air has a crisper quality about it. I can smell the ocean almost daily.
I idea of a new school year has me giddy. And not because I send my kids off to school, but because I get to be with them as they learn so many new things every day..
I love the smell of new books, I have been known to occasional huff them. :)
I love new boxes of crayons, I have 20 right now.
Glue and scissors bring back such wonderful memories for me as a kid.
You see I was the teacher as a child, I would set all my stuff animals and dolls around this little table I have in my room and pass out worksheets for them to do. :)
Then I would correct them, and walk fondly around the table patting my students heads..

Now I get to do that with my own children.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 6:6-7

I honestly don't know how you can read Deuteronomy 6 and not realize that you belong home with your children. Being a mother is such and honor and a joy. And days are hard sometimes, it's not always perfect or peachy, but as we do until the children we are doing unto the Lord. If the Lord were to present himself right now, wouldn't you be doing everything in your power to make it a wonderful occasion! Of course you would!!!

Being their teacher is even a greater challenge and purpose. I often get down on myself, are they learning enough, is this normal, am I able???

But with God ALL things are possible and that includes homeschooling my children.
It's the Lord who has a plan for their life. (Jer. 29:11) They are in his hands.
I am just merely a tool used along the path.

OK back to September, Apples!! What more can you say about them, you ask?
Well they are perfect for picking right now, and there is many varieties available, Granny, Red Delicious, Rome, Macintosh and Cortland..Oh and they are soo good in apple pie, apple pancakes, applesauce, apple stuffing, baked apples, apple dumpling, and just warmed apples with cinnamon...

I love being able to back again and more frequently with the cooler air that September and October bring..and bringing back those favorite home cooked meals that have been gone due to summers heat.
Chicken pot pie, beef stew, lasagna, eggplant parm., roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and so much more..

Oh and glorious bread, how I long to bake you again and taste the wholesome goodness you offer. I can't wait to fire up the wheat grinder and grind away. Then bake and eat some delicious whole wheat bread.

So while I huff glue, I mean new books..and bake and enjoy my children..I hope all of you do the same.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Kitchen..

I am a lover of all things kitchen and especially vintage kitchen! I love gadgets and enamelwear, pots, pans, recipe books, etc.

here's some stuff I've found recently at a yard sale. Most of the booklets are dated early 1940's.

and the recipe enevlope has a rations section..

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Proverbs 12:14
From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.

I must say that our tummys have been full, by the work of our hands.

My first real big attempt at a garden this year, has been both a success and a failure just depends on the thing I was trying to grow. :)

But for the most part, we have enjoyed fantastic tomatoes, fresh basil, eggplant, and little green peppers from the garden.

I have totally enjoyed canning this year. Canned more this year then ever before.

Pickles, peaches, strawberries, beets, broccoli. etc.

What a great time the garden has brought to us all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

God is sooo Good...

Last week the water heater in our house went, AGAIN! I think this is the third or fourth water heater we've had to put in, within the last 10 years. UGH!

Anywho, Hubby and I are following Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course and we are no longer using credit cards to make purchases. (check out dave ramsey he's awesome at

So the water heater goes and we know have to dip into our Emergency Fund, one of the baby steps, in becoming debt free. Well we already had dipped into about two weeks ago to fix surburban. SO we were a little short. And becasue we no longer have credit cards, no way to buy a new water heater.

So we prayed about it, and resided ourselves to being without one for a few weeks. For me that would mean boiling pots of water to do dishes and give baths. :)

Ok no problem this could be fun, really.... :)

So about 4 days go by, and hubby notices that a guy as the industrial park where he works happens to have a hot water heater just sitting in his garage.
Now to me, I imagine this as a choir of "aaaahhhh" and light from heaven beam down on the water heater when dh notices it. He assures me that this is not how it happened.

Anywho, the owner is not around that day. Dh comes home, tells me he saw and says I'm gonna ask how much he wants for it? I'm thrilled. God has answered our prayers he provided the much needed water heater, hopefully?!

Next day dh see the owner of the shop, and asks.."Hey, whatcha doin with that water heater?".. the guy (Mark) says, "Why, you WANT it?" Dh of course enthusiastically replies, "yes please".. and lo and behold we have a brand new, Larger then before water heater for the house!!! Praise God!! He is sooo good to us!!! For FREE!!BTW~~~

By being faithfull God provided for our need. We trusted and he gave. I love when the Lord surprises us in this way. Althought it really shouldn't be a surprise.
Scripture is clear...

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I really had resigned myself to the extra work it would take until we had the rest of the funds saved.

Check out what Dave Ramsey is teaching. Hubby and I have learned sooo much from taking the course, and we look forward to "living like noone else, so we can live like noone else".


Monday, June 14, 2010

through a childs eyes....

Matthew 25:40~And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

#5 is almost 2 years old. She is a sweet, fun-loving sweetie pie.

While traveling to my mom's house, we go through a town that has a huge homeless camp in it. We consistantly see the same people. Often times we will pray for them as we pass, or we talk about how we can help, and where they live.

The other day while riding through the town, our windows were down, the weather was beautiful, and the traffic was heavy. As we slowly proceeded through town, we saw the most gentle loving homeless woman, her face showd years of sun and hard work, her back was slightly curved over, she had on clothes 3 times too big for her and her hair was a white wind-blown mess. But one thing we all noticed as we sat at the red light, was her piercing blue eyes. You see we were singing, "holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty..." When she lifted her eyes from the ground and looked at us. She immediatly brought tears to my eyes, and #1 as well. But #5, well she just perked right up in her seat, and as the light turned green and we began to go, she was just waving and screaming "hi, hi, hi! " at this woman. Her smile widened. And we were on our way. Through tears we talked about "our lady" the whole way home, and we are determind to find out her story.
We have deceided that the next time we see her we will stop. And her give a bag of goodies we have made up.
We look each time we go through town, but haven't seen her again yet. But we will..and I look forward to what God will teach us through "our lady".

Children have no judgement zones, they love and care for you who are, not how you look, or even if your clean or dirty.
So when Jesus said we should be like children when we come to him, I'm confident in why. Their faith never wavers, they fear not outward appearences, and they completely give of themselves.

To have that same faith now as an adult is hard work. I pray my children never outgrow thier faith, or let life circumstances hinder it or doubt it.

I pray for that childlike faith. And am thankfull for the daily reminders my children give to me.

I am so blessed!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Living off the Land.

This is something that has been on my heart for quite sometime.

I totally believe that we should make use of our land, and learn to live off it.

In colonial times if they didn't grow it, they didn't have it. Even what they could go to market and find was limited. When you think about how readily sugar is available to us now, and back then only the rich had it, or it was a special treat.

I remember in one of the Little House Series, Laura talks about how special it was for Pa to bring home sugar and tea to Ma. It was a treat.

Back to basics is where we are striving to go as a family. I've always been a from scratch cook, and using healthy ingredients, but now I'm going to try and turn my usual black tumb of death into a green thumb of fresh veggies and fruits. I'm realizing it's a lot more then watering your plants, you have to nurture them, love them, talk to them. ;) Yep, I talk with my plants while watering them. :)

Now, I live on a postage stamp! Seriously! It's a very small lot, but I've read SQUARE FOOT GARDENING BY MEL BARTHOLOMEW. It's an excellent resource if you should have a small amount of space to garden in.

Because I live near the shore my soil is sand, so that doesn't make for great growing!

My front yard was a 40x30 space. It was just neatly covered with rocks and had our fire ring and some chairs around the ring.

We shovled all the rocks out, and made 4 boxes, we then got fresh topsoil brought in 4 tons and filled the boxes and then the planting began. :)

below are some pics.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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some time away...

For Mother's Day my hubby treated me and the children to a camping trip. We went to one of my favorite places ~ Amish Country.

I love it there. The pace is sooooo much slower and I long to live a slower paced life.

Big Daddy and I spent alot of time reflecting on some things we want to accomplish as a family and came home ready to grow and stretch this family.

I have such fondness for the plain sect, they don't sweat the small stuff. If you have patience to hitch up a horse and buggy to go everywhere that really is not sweating it.
I get annoyed if my truck gives me a hard start. A trip that would take me 10 mins in my truck will take the Amish 30 mins. But man the freedom of knowing you don't have to be anywhere anytime quick. You can sit back and literally enjoy the view. Their focus is not on world or worldly things but on what God wants them to accomplish in their lives. That is encouraging my friends!
God is growing and stretching me. There is so much going on in my life that would probably send me to the mental ward, if I had not had the Lord in my life.
But HE is gracious and through all the turmoil HE is present.

I don't know what God has in store for our family, but I know whatever it is, we are being used for his purpose, his glory and to meet his needs.

Our time away as allowed us some refocusing time. We are clay in the potter's hands. But we also have the clay in ours, our children. We want the mold them to be lovers of our Lord. We want to remind them that family is where it's at. We want to educate them in the Lord, and his plans for them as well.

I look forward to growth. Growth is good, it can be painful at times, but it's always good.

Many Blessings!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A time to rejoice and a time to mourn.....

Mother's Day always is a tough day for our family. It's filled with joy and saddness, or should I say rememberence.
You see this May, my grandmother will celebrate her 15th year in the kingdom of heaven, but we will slightly mourn another year of her not being here with us.

Grammy was sweet, always ready to feed an army, always ready to hear your complaints or share in your joy. She has the most beautiful voice. We loved to hear her sing some of the old time songs from her era. One of her favorites went like this " put another nickle in, in the nickleodeon, All I want is loving you and music, music, music. I'd do anything for you, anything you want me too, all I want is loving you and music, music, music,...."

That is something I sing to my babies at times. I hope someday they will sing it to thier children.

Another favorite memory is when I would visit her, she would be sitting in her spot on the sofa doing her grammy thing, but she would let me lay her my head in her lap and talk with her while she smoothed your hair, or rubbed your forehead. It was such as sweet tender time.

Oh and I loved her feet! They were so cute, tiny and fat! :) It reminds me of baby feet. When my girls have those chuncky legs, fat ankles and those fat, fat feet. I always have a quick flashback of my grandmother! It's funny what God uses to remind us of certain people.

Anywho, while I'm as sorrowful she is not here with our family. I rejoice that she is with the Lord!

Love and Miss you much Gram!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Blog..

Hi Everyone,

I FINALLY created a new blog, let's hope I don't forget my password again!

Looking forward to having some fun on here!
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