Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before the Wedding

What a marvelous vacation!  How often can you take a vacation and see a child married at the same time? Here's a quick peek at our time leading up to the wedding. We had a lovely two story apartment overlooking these views....

We walked around the lake, visited the waterfall, walked the wooden bridge and sat on the stone porch and enjoyed the views while we sipped tea and rocked in the rockers.  It was glorious!  What a relaxing time.  The boys got to know their new family members during several games of football along the shore of the lake.

We could even see the chapel where the wedding was going to take place!

Isn't it lovely? Wait till you see the inside!

Then it was time to get busy!  It was the day before the wedding - there were cakes to decorate, a rehearsal dinner to prepare and a wedding to rehearse!

Join me next time for more pictures of this special time for my family.


Monday, September 27, 2010

His Endless Gifts

Join me, won’t you? 
Learning to see Him in the little things, the everyday…and to worship Him with gratitude for His endless gifts....

Psalm 26:7 
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psalm 116.17
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD.
Psalm 100:4 
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

So thankful to my Father for.... 

gifts #51 to #85

Scottish thistle

brides dressed in white


misty rain

low clouds in the mountain tops

the beauty and elegance of geese on a lake

tartan plaids

men who are gentle giants

photographs to remember by

boys who dance with their mama

friends who drive far and gather near

a new daughter

families joining and becoming one

flowers with raindrops

stained glass beauty

stone arches

cozy apartments on a lake

warm afternoon walks with my boys

wooden bridges

nature painted by The Artist

a memory filled dance with a married son

baby's breath

white tulle

tables laden with food for celebration

crystal chandeliers casting warm light

stone porches filled with rockers

long drives filled with deep conversations

tall cups of hot chocolate and carmel

music filled memories

happy tears spilling

floor length veils 

the wonder of pearls

families blending over football games and kitchen stoves

meals eaten under the trees

ballrooms filled with family and friends

Won’t you join me….journal your gifts….as you watch your gratitude grow, your trust increases and life becomes an exciting adventure as you anticipate what your Father will do next….He is your source...He never fails....never forsakes......

He keeps me…breathless…..

holy experience


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All things Scottish....

For those of you who have's the skinny on wearing a formal kilt outfit.

(*model doing the dressing is in boxer briefs and a long formal tux shirt - similar to a bathing suit)

It's worth going here just to hear the lovely Scottish brogue!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall babies!

I was cutting my boys hair late yesterday afternoon.  I've saved thousands of dollars over the last 28 years cutting my boys hair.  It isn't hard - I've never had a lesson.  It only takes a good pair of scissors and some common sense.  I encourage you to try it. Start when they're young and don't care if it doesn't come out "just right". You'll be a pro by the time it matters to them :)

During the haircuts, our two jersey cows came up to watch.  I took a break  between boys because I had been wanting a closer view of the girls to see if they might be pregnant.  This way I didn't have to hike across fields to check them.

Lizzie is as wide as the barn!  She isn't "bagging up" (udder filling with milk) yet but she's huge!  Nora is big but not quite as big.  However, Nora is a bigger cow so she doesn't show the same.  Josiah jumped the fence and pressed on her "tummy" while I gave her a good scratch.  Josiah is pretty sure he felt something rolling about - let's hope it wasn't an upset tummy.  Nora is getting on in years and I'd love to have a little girl out of her.  These babies will be half Angus and half Jersey.  If we get girls out of them, we will breed them to an Angus bull in a couple of years.  This will put Josiah a little closer to his dream of an Angus herd.

I'll be excited to have milk, butter and cheese again.  The price of butter is going through the roof - not sure why but it's getting awfully expensive.  I'll be glad to churn our own again.  If we end up milking two cows, I'll have to set aside a dairy day!

I'm excited at the thought of fall babies!

And my dreams are filled with cream....cheese...cream cheese...sour cream....

Giving Him thanks for such a wonderful provision!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can you hear the bells?

Wedding bells I mean!  We are in the last few days of wedding craziness before my oldest is wed to his beautiful girl!  I can't believe that my baby is about to take a bride!  It's been a bit busy here - last minute additions to the to do list.  Packing the car - making sure the boys all packed their groomsmen attire!

I saw my baby in full Scottish dress today - I have to brag a little - he looks pretty darn good in a skirt kilt! (Do not EVER make the mistake of calling a kilt a skirt ~ask me how I know~).  He'll be wearing his kilt, Prince Charlie coat & vest, tux shirt, sporran, sgian dubh, flashes, hose and ghillies. I think there are other things but I'm not up on all of my Gaelic yet - however, I'm feeling very Scottish at the moment.

Believe me, I'll be posting pictures when it's all over.  I'm SO excited!!  I don't think the reality of it all hit me until I saw him dressed as a groom - I've been a bit teary eyed ever since.  My Mom is excited as well - she loved the Scottish attire!

This gives you an idea of what my son will wear - although the tartan plaid will be different.  His heritage is out of the Campbell Clan - his tartan is a small blue and green plaid.

I can't talk about Amanda's wedding gown - loose lips sink ships...and ruin wedding surprises!  I will say that she is going to be a beautiful bride!  Goes without saying when you start with such a beautiful woman!

We had dinner Monday night with the gentleman who will be staying at the farm and keeping an eye on things.  He was such a nice man - we all had a great time and hope that he'll want to do this again so we can slip away from time to time.  It means a lot to be able to go off for a few days and know that all will be looked after and cared for - what a relief!

I'm looking forward to spending some time next week with my brother and his family - they arrive this week but we won't have much time together until after the big day! 

Although I'll be off enjoying these wonderful days, I've planned some posts that should appear "by magic".  We'll see if Blogger can deliver what it promises!  If not, I'll post as soon as I can once we return.   Orders placed between now and Sunday will be mailed out first thing Monday.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and grace 'cause....

My baby's getting married!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Mothra Has Left The Building!

Doodle released the yucky giant moth - you know...the one you could throw a saddle on and ride off into the sunset..

Not because Doodle came to his senses and realized this thing was grotesque - no...only because its GINORMOUS wings and HUGE hairy body were making so much noise at night in his room that he couldn't get to sleep!

It left Doodle's window and hopefully was nabbed by a hungry bat  will live a long and happy life.

But not before Doodle spent some quality time saying goodbye....

Some days I long for pink ribbons and a tea party....what was He thinking when He blessed me with FOUR boys???



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tennesseans - protect your rights!

Brought to you by The Tennessee Wildlife Federation

A “Right” to Hunt and Fish
Why this effort is one of the most important wildlife and conservation issues of our time.
Hunting and fishing have long been a part of Tennessee’s history, lore and culture. Who hasn’t heard stories of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett and their exploits across our state? The images are so strong that even to this day they persist with a public and visible force.

Take for example the pioneer dressed college student complete with muzzleloader and coon skin cap roaming the sidelines of Tennessee football games. Or consider the many a political gatherings throughout the spring named “coon supper” or “bird supper” referencing the traditions of hunting raccoons and quail respectively. There are even two hunts given in the name of the highest elected official in the state – the Governors Dove Hunt and Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt. And how many small towns still hold “turkey shoots” as local fundraisers.
Thus, for many, the thought of Tennessee without the pursuits of chasing game or catching fish is foreign, even if they themselves are not active participants in the pursuits.
However, many are concerned about a future which may someday not allow for hunting and fishing. They point to successful efforts in Europe and Great Britain which have curtailed hunting traditions in the past 10 to 20 years. They despair over the limiting of hunting seasons in California for certain game species. The message they bring to the table is this, “Do not wait until you need a right to hunt and fish in your state.  If you wait until you need it, you will already be too late.”
In many of these examples, the debates over hunting or fishing have been as much about the differences between rural and urban culture and values as they have been about hunting and fishing. Simply put, to people close to the land, hunting and fishing are largely an accepted part of life. However, to those with little to no connection to the land, or nature and its realities, these activities are not well understood.  It is largely this lack of understanding that creates the fertile ground for efforts to stop hunting and fishing.
What is the Why?
For many, the most visible threat to hunting and fishing are the images of animal rights activists campaigning to stop hunting and fishing. Creating a right to hunt and fish is an obvious solution to address these challenges.
For others (from both people whom do and do not hunt, fish or trap) the question of “why does Tennessee need a constitutional amendment which provides for a right to hunt and fish?” is often the first words they have spoken on this topic.
This question is asked from two distinct perspectives; with the first being “Don’t we already have a right to hunt and fish?” (hunter/fisher perspective).  The second being “Is it really necessary?” (typically a non-hunter/fisher perspective).
Why Does Tennessee Need a Right to Hunt and Fish in its Constitution?
Currently, Tennesseans do not hold a right to hunt and fish, although the average hunter or fishermen feels they do. In Tennessee, hunting and fishing are a privilege, not a right. This privilege is granted by the state through its authority as provided in Article 11, Section 13 of the Tennessee Constitution.
Given this reality, the most obvious need for such an amendment is quite simple, it helps Tennesseans preserve an important part of our history and a current set of recreation and wildlife management tools, and places the interests of citizens equal with that of the state. If laws can be created to allow for hunting and fishing, then logic would dictate that laws can be changed to prohibit hunting and fishing, leading to the conclusion that having a right to hunt and fish in the state constitution provides a stronger protection as compared to a simple law.
For example, if ever there was a successful challenge to a hunting or fishing season, manner or means, then the affected constituency (namely sportsmen and women of Tennessee) currently do not have the right to appeal such a case to the Tennessee State Supreme Court. Passage of this “right” will at the very least allow for such an appeal.
However, the importance of preserving the traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping go far beyond the effort to simply protect a particular recreational pursuit.
In Tennessee and across the United State of America, sportsmen and women are still by far the largest financial contributors to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats. Through license sales, federal excise taxes, sales taxes and other payments, sportsmen and women are the financial fuel that feeds “on the ground” fish and wildlife work.
The system of fish and wildlife management developed in North America is considered to be the single most effective model in the world. This “North American Model” has produced tremendous results in recovering both game and non-game species of wildlife. However, one of the most significant aspects of this model has been that efforts to manage fish and wildlife, while being paid for by sportsmen and women, have dramatically and positively impacted those fish and wildlife which are not hunted or fished.
Thus, to weaken, challenge or attempt to halt fishing and hunting is to promote a fundamental attack on the North American Model of wildlife management and by association the myriad of benefits is has and continues to provide both game and non-game species of fish and wildlife. Stated in the affirmative, to support the protection of hunting and fishing through a right to hunt and fish is also supporting the system that helps all fish and wildlife.
What is the task that lies before us?
Amending the constitution of Tennessee is not a simple task. First a joint resolution containing the amendment language must pass both chambers of the general assembly during one session (a two-year period) by a simple majority.  Following this passage, and during the next immediate session, the resolution must pass the general assembly by 2/3rds majority vote. Then the language is advertised and subsequently placed on the November ballot as a referendum vote in the year in which a gubernatorial election is taking place. In the general election, the amendment referendum must then receive at least 50% plus one vote of the total number of voters voting in the gubernatorial election to become ratified.
In Tennessee, we are preparing for the 2/3rds majority vote which will quickly be followed by the amendment language referendum vote in November of 2010. We expect final passage of the general assembly in January with no difficulty. But then the real work begins.
In 2010 we will need your help in preparing the public to understand the importance of this amendment and the upcoming November vote.
Remember in November!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Mothra's Baby

Last night the door opened and in stepped Doodle while I was kneading some dough. He asked for a jar (not usually a good sign..) and I turned around. He was holding some kind of creature with HUGE wings moving a 100 miles a my. kitchen.

"Take that thing back outside!" This phrase is repeated in my house as often as "No, you may not keep it!"

One of his brothers took him a jar and he happily returned to show me this...

Notice that once it goes to his room it is no longer caged, it becomes an invited guest allowed to roam freely around his room.  Remind me never to go in his room unescorted.  I am sure this creature is related to Mothra. His dog promptly hid under his bed.

"I peeked ahead in my science book and found..."Insects of the Field and Pond"!

"Why did I decide to teach you Earth Science this year?"

"Can I keep it till then?"

"No, you may not keep it till March!"

*Making note to myself to edit future units*

I think I'm going to hate Earth Science - what's going to happen when we study  ~shudder~  reptiles....

It has become his new BFF.  He may be teaching it tricks.

It is huge.  It is NOT cute. He informs me that if I could let him have a little molasses and if we could buy some "Stale Beer", he could catch a lot of these.

I decided not to educate him about "brands" of beer.

I also decided to hide the molasses.

I am fresh out of molasses.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Life with Boys

When you live life with boys these things are "normal"....

Come see what I found Mom!  Can I keep it?

Can I keep this one?

Can I keep this one?

Can I keep this one?

I found this set up on an antique dresser scarf that my Great Grandmother tatted....we managed to get a paper plate under it before the first one shed its little skin on the cloth....

After my initial heart attack, I found out this isn't real...impressive isn't it?

My usual "score" when I empty the dryer...

In case you missed it, here's a close up....

Two acorns, three rocks and a key....

Welcome to my world!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Early But It's Here....Fall!

The windows are open and the lace curtains blow gently in the breeze!  Fall is here!  It's my favorite time of year.  I am thankful for everything about Fall...the blue of the sky, the crisp mornings and warm afternoons, the cool nights..the way the air's all good! I can't wait for our first bonfire!

This weather doesn't usually hit until the end of September here but we've been enjoying it since Labor Day!  I've only seen one draw back this year.  My boys are dragging their feet a bit when it comes to school.  Normally at this time, it's still hot out and they are glad to be in the cool of the house for school.  This year, the weather is so beautiful that they hate to be indoors.  Good thing we take some time to might pray for rain next week so they'll be ready when they really have to hit the books!

The talk is that the east coast is in for a hard winter. Early with lots of snow they say.  I believe there are signs - fall is early, the nut harvest is heavy this year, birds are migrating earlier - makes you stop and think.  The boys have baling hay on the agenda very shortly - preparations have to be taken not just for our family but for the animals in our care.

I had a very short moment of empty nest syndrome last week.  My oldest boy and his fiance found a lovely little place to rent - we all pitched in (even my Mom!) and spent Labor Day laboring for them.  Because Amanda is on the other side of North Carolina and couldn't be here, Mom and I did a bit of cleaning at their new home so after the wedding she could come home to a sparkling clean kitchen and bath!  It was a great day - beautiful weather, lovely home and it always blesses me to see my boys working together to help each other.  Three generations pitching in - what a blessing!

When I say it was a short moment I wasn't kidding.  Jeremy was so excited about having his own room (and not having to haul his drums up and down the stairs for worship all the time) that even after spending most of the day moving furniture and working hard he came home, wiped down the walls and painted his new room!  He went to town the next day, rented a steam cleaner, and cleaned the carpet. In a little over 24 hours his new room was cleaned, painted and ready to be occupied and he began moving his own furniture.  I think he had moved in before I realized that his brother had moved out!

I'm excited for Josh and Amanda...the wedding is getting closer and I love hearing about each new plan as it is finalized.  I've gotten to spend some time talking with her Mom - and what a sweet lady!  We are looking forward to a short stay on a lake with Amanda's family before the wedding.  What a blessing they have been to us!  My brother is flying up from Florida and will be helping around the farm right up to the wedding and we've hired someone to stay here and care for the farm for the last little bit.

It won't be long before I begin cooking for the rehearsal dinner - and I am still canning!  We're still getting fresh melons from the garden,  plenty of peppers and a few tomatoes! The potatoes are wonderful and the peanuts are almost ready!  I can't wait to make our own peanut butter!  I've been drying herbs for winter and dehydrating veggies.  My pantry shelves are lined with jars full of wonderful veggies and fruit, my freezer is filled with meat we have raised (and some we've even butchered!) ourselves.  What a blessing to be able to raise so much of our own food.  Each year we try to add something else - we are  slowly becoming more self-sufficient.

Between teaching school, canning, church life, boys activities and the preparations for the wedding, I'm pooped!  But I love it!  These are all very sweet and precious times - and soon I will add a daughter to my life!  I stand amazed at how blessed I am! My Father is so faithful and shows His care for me daily.

I've been doing a bit of writing for the last year or so and will soon be sharing news about a new book with you! (Note to SB in AZ - I've finally done it!)  I've had some requests for help in learning this apparently "lost art" - I'm sure you'll be surprised. I know I was when I started getting requests for help in this area!  I thought everybody did this but I found out that I was very wrong. I've taught it locally to young women and the feedback has been good.  This has helped them with something they struggled with every day.  I'm finishing it up and then it will go to my editor (that's my Mom!) for corrections and suggestions.  I'll also be sending it to this dear friend, for her thoughts and suggestions.  You'll hear all about it after that!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

They're back.....

For those of you who have been waiting (and asking!).... the Rosemary and Lavender Shampoo bars are done curing and are ready to ship :)


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Challah Bread - a picture tutorial

You can find the recipe here.  The only "difficult" part of of making challah bread is the braiding.  If you've ever braided rugs, hair or anything else you'll find making challah bread easy!

Follow the recipe and get all of your ingredients into your mixer.  Allow your mixer to knead your bread dough.

I love my DLX because it kneads like human hands!  When knead time is over, place your dough in a lightly greased bowl and give it a turn.  I use olive oil.

Just a hint when it comes to greasing pans...don't use those "bakers sprays".  Have you read the list of ingredients on those?  Sounds like a chemical cocktail!  I use a pump spray filled with Olive Oil.

I give the dough a turn in the bowl and lightly mist the top with olive oil.  Let rise till double.  Then punch down and turn out onto a floured board.

This is your dough for TWO loaves of your dough as evenly as possible and set one portion aside.

Take the portion of dough you will be working with and divide it into three equal sections.  I do this by feel - once you've done this a lot, you'll get the hang of it!

Roll each section into a rope - remember playdough days?  Just take a quick trip back in years...or call your kids if you need help.  Each rope should be about 15 inches long.

You are going to prepare to braid these ropes.  I lay them out at angles with the ends on top of each other.

If you have small helping hands at home, ask a little one to put some pressure on one end while you braid.  If you don't, just place something heavy there - I have often used a jar of honey or the edge of a canister. Now braid just as you would braid anything else.

Try not to pull as you braid because as your dough rises it will split in the thin spots. This part is really very easy. When you have braided the entire loaf tuck both ends of the braid under and give it a squeeze to hold it in place.

You can place it on a greased baking sheet or use parchment paper as I have here. Allow the dough to rise again until doubled...about an hour. While this loaf is rising, prepare and braid the other loaf. When your first loaf has risen again, it is time to brush it with an egg that has been beaten with a bit of water per the recipe.

I use a small bristle brush and just "paint" the bread.  This is another job that little hands love to help with! You can sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top of your loaf after you have "painted" it if you like.

Then pop your loaf into the oven and bake per the instructions.  Your loaves will turn a beautiful golden brown!

This is a delicious bread that is wonderful even if you don't celebrate Shabbat! Serve it with dinner or breakfast.  Slice it and turn it into french toast - it is amazing!  My boys often ask for it in the middle of the week for french toast - I  now make more at a time and freeze it - it freezes well if wrapped up securely!

There is much symbolism in the challah loaf for Jews and Christians alike.  I think you would find it an interesting study.  It all points back to our loving Father, Jehovah Jireh, and His provision for his children.


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