Friday, March 27, 2015

In Christ Alone

In Christ Alone  by The Gettys.
This song is very pretty for Holy Week and the Easter Season.
We could debate some of the theology in the lyrics but I just love the music and
the main idea that Christ is our "all in all" for who He Is, for what He has done, and for what He continues to do!

Spring Break

This week, I have three children in the state of Florida, all in different cities. That's when you know you're getting old!
Sam is on a Band Trip to Central Florida, Natalie is at a southern beach and Tori and John took a much needed vacation in their camping van to the panhandle.

I am praying for their safety and also for them to be wise while there.
Mostly I am so happy for them to have a nice change of scenery after this long, cold winter.

"Always remain in the State of Grace, and have as much fun as you possibly can!"  James Stenson.

Graceful's Afghan

I finished Graceful's afghan, in Apple Blossom colors and delivered it to her Mom. It was wonderful to visit them and to hold the little baby girl this was crocheted for.
I don't count stitches and have no pattern, so this afghan got very big! It is 40 inches by 60 inches.
That should work well for an extra blanket for an overnight guest!  If folded in half, it will fit in the crib, and eventually on a twin sized bed.
I am taking a week or two off to rest my wrists before I start on another blanket for an expected baby girl!

Vacuum Reboot

I am not at all handy- I can't hang curtains or even a picture, really. The one thing I can seem to fix, by sheer necessity is a vacuum! I have no problem flipping a vacuum over to figure out what is going on with it the minute it starts to sound funny.
Sorry about this nasty dirt! The culprits in this case- are the two bobby pins on the right that invariably get caught sideways in the tubing. That creates a dam and the dirt just keeps backing up in the tubing until it is full. I carefully used the skewer on the right to break up the blockade.
Another issue that can occur is threads of carpet that roll up around the floor brush and restrict its movement, like the stuff on the bottom of the newspaper. Our vacuum won't pick up a penny, it just clatters away in the rollerbrush casing. Airsoft and regular beebees just roll away from the vacuum- it can't get them up, which is another good reason why they shouldn't be fired in the house!

Our local high end vacuum store once had a sign up "Break the junk vac habit". It also advertises "If you get tired of buying a new vacuum every year, come see us".  I do go through vacuums quickly, and I don't vacuum very often! We have had many cheap vacuums and one expensive one, and they all seem to be about the same. Being able to trouble shoot a vacuum has been very useful knowledge that I somehow picked up along the way.

Spring Robins

I forgot to note the day on which we witnessed the first sign of Spring- a yard full of robins!
Welcome, Spring!


I see my grandchildren frequently while Meg and I hang out. On this occasion, I was set up to babysit all day, so I tried to have nice activities for them to do. They, like most kids, love to paint. We have little items that we keep with the paints that can be painted over and over again, like ceramic figures and rocks.
We also have carved wooden figures, a squirrel and a large duck which they had the pleasure of painting. When those dried, they were tucked away to be painted with a different color next time. It is the process, not the finished product that matters here!

Carpet Removal

Once the furniture was gone, the guys started the carpet removal process.
The padding is being scraped and shop-vac'd up.The ceiling tiles were also taken down.
There is work for everybody during this big job!
The T.V. room carpet was removed but the furniture was brought back in to sit on the concrete temporarily.
Each weekend and many weeknights, Larry and the boys make progress on this redecorating project.

Basement Remodeling

We are finally ready to renovate our basement which has been exactly the same for over fifteen years!
Many hands make for light work!  We moved all the toys out of the playroom.
They will be stored for now in Natalie's room.
We emptied the bookshelves and moved them out of the basement to be given away. The goal is to build wall to wall bookshelves, with perhaps some cabinets around these three walls.
Because Jeff was here, we were able to move the big desks and computers out of the fireplace room. He set them up and reconnected them in the former playroom.
This was to be a temporary arrangement but we love it! This room is an awkward space but works perfectly as an office.
The orange room is being used for storage as we renovate. All the books are here as well as increasing amounts of furniture that will be saved.

We have decided to move our playroom upstairs into a bedroom that opens off the living room. We have three baby girls in the family and their Mom's would probably like to keep them close as we visit upstairs. I look forward to watching them play with the doll houses and furniture saved from our own girls!

Late Winter Reading

I read an Oprah's Book Club selection Where the Heart Is by Billie Letis. It was about a young and poor single mother with no resources who lived in a Wal-Mart store for a few months before being brought into an older woman's home who gives her a family. A community grows up around her and her daughter. The book is about being a part of the lives around us and overcoming adversity.
A Gathering of Days is a Newberry Award winning novel that is very short and for young adults. Written by Joan W. Blos it is subtitled "A New England Girl's Journal 1830-32". I really enjoyed this selection. It chronicled some of the hardships this young lady faced at home and in her one room schoolhouse. She gains a step-mother and looses her best friend to disease in the book.
Juby and I both read all three of the Hunger Games trilogy which includes Catching Fire and The Mockingjay written by Suzanne Collins. We read them separately but at the same time in all different order. They are very good. For about a week, I felt like I was in their world!
I was looking for a novel to get into and found The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton. This 600 page book took me on an adventure that began when the heroine was a girl in England and followed through her emigration to the New World in the 1600's. She belongs to a Puritan family but she can't buy the continuing harshness of their outlook on life. Indian neighbors, both good and bad are featured. She is able to treat wounds and sickness using natural remedies she learned from her father who ran an apothecary. It was a great escape!

Friday Fishsticks

We were Facetiming with Natalie and Jeff one evening as they cooked dinner in Collegetown.
It turns out that Chelsea had to stay late at school,and therefore, they were super excited to be cooking fishsticks which she dislikes, but they love. Since this is Lent, I said in surprise "Fishsticks? On a Thursday night?" Without missing a beat, Jeff replied "We're celebrating a day early!"
We laughed and laughed. You might have to be Catholic by choice or by birth to appreciate the irony in this quip!
I was able to take this picture at our house when they all arrived for the weekend. I happened to have a bag of fishsticks handy, as it was a Friday night!

Turkeys in the Snow

We had a late winter snowfall which peacefully dropped about eight inches of white powder throughout the day.

Sam took this picture just as the storm was beginning. At least nine turkeys are visible, walking through the woods.

A beautiful full moon gave light to an evening of outdoor sledding with friends on our neighbor's hill.

Board Games

Natalie makes it a point to spend quality time with "her kids"- her nieces and nephews.
G-money is at the perfect age for board games and he can't get enough of them. Patience also gets to play, but she usually has a teammate. She can throw the dice and move the pawn, but her teammate does the strategizing.
I recently babysat for the kids and was lucky enough to play five different games with them from start to finish while the baby took a long nap.

Saturday Family Lunch

Life went on around the ceiling fan install and I was happy to serve a nice lunch for visiting family members.
I slow roasted two pork butts in a large pan. The meat had a pork rub on it before cooking.
The fat is cleaned off and the meat shredded with two forks. The juice (after the top layer of fat has been removed) is poured back over the shredded meat.
The cabbage was chopped small in the food processor with a little carrot. The dressing is made with a few items- Kraft mayonaise, cider vinegar, sugar, canned milk, salt ,pepper and celery seed.
Serve these delicious meaty sandwiches on Martin's potatoe rolls for an absolute feast!
I know that I have featured this BBQ meal before, but it is such a treat and everyone enjoys it!
While the pork butts are an investment from the grocery store, and the meat and cole slaw take time to prepare, this is a great way to serve "all you can eat BBQ" for a crowd- with plenty of leftovers for the next day!

Successful Install

Larry successfully installed a new ceiling fan in the Dining Room with a little help from his friends.
Ceiling Fans are harder to install than they look. The amount of movement that is created when they spin at high speeds can really make you think the thing is going to fly off and hit someone. Our former fan rocked even on low speed.

Without standing on a lift, Jon reached up to hold the weight of the motor while Larry attached it to the brace.
Now that Sam works on Saturdays, our John is Larry's helper. Greg came over to help out as well. He said that the last ceiling fan he put in advertised a "5 minute install" on the outside of the box. After trying to put it in for 8 hours, he called an electrician!