Monday, September 29, 2008

Ritual at Summer's End

Each summer we allow a patch of unsightly milkweed to grow at the edge of our property. Now you might wonder, "If you know it's unsightly, why don't you cut it down?" Well first, there are no houses next to us, so we have no worry of offending our neighbors. Second, if we put up with the unsightliness for a while, at the end of summer Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. To my knowledge, Monarchs will only lay their eggs on milkweed. When the egg hatches, the little caterpillars will gorge themselves on the milkweed and grow at an alarming rate.

The kids and I check the milkweed daily until at last we find the minuscule eggs clinging to the bottom of the leaves. We then cut away one section of leaves and put it in a container. Once the caterpillar appears, we place fresh milkweed in the container daily. Eventually they attach themselves to the top of the container and form a chrysalis. Then we wait.

This year we, had harvested three eggs. We missed the first two of the butterflies emerging from the chrysalis. By the time we found they had emerged, they were already for flight. But the third one, emerged one afternoon while Bill was in the hospital; and we did get to see it. Once the butterfly emerges, it cannot fly immediately but must let its wings dry first. Ever so slowly, like a beautiful dance, the butterfly fans its wings open and then closed again and again. During that time, before their wings are ready for flight, they will crawl onto a extended finger. Here is my son transporting this small creature ever so gently from the container to hang on ivy geranium until it is ready for flight.

No matter how many times we watch this transformation, we never tire of seeing it afresh each summer's end while watching and waiting for it to take its maiden flight. Perhaps now you can understand why we put up with the unsightly weeds in order to have the opportunity to view this beautiful process each year. How can one not marvel at our God and His creations?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - American Girl Doll Poncho & Cloche

This week I didn't quite make the progress I had hope to make on my American Girl Doll e-bay project. I only completed two more pieces that I could work on while waiting in doctor's offices. I crocheted a white cloche with a florette embellishment and a matching poncho with fringe. The jeans are one of the mix & match pieces I shared last week. I decided to make the poncho white so that it will also match the other color scheme I will be making.
This is actually the doll I plan on e-baying (not Molly , her stand-in). Although she is not one of the historical dolls, she looks so much like Samantha that I have decided to make an Edwardian era dress for her.

I actually managed to get a tutorial done this week. It shows my younger daughter's Fiber Arts project for this week. It's a great for the young beginning seamstress, so you might want to take a look.

To view craft projects shared by other bloggers or to share your own creations, be sure to visit SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY on Shereen's blog .

You can view some other blogger's projects for Sew Crafty Friday by clicking of the following links. If you would like me to link to your project this week, just leave a comment telling me where I can find your blog and project.

Debbie's Choo Choo Train Baby Quilt

Mom2Fur's Five Stone Chinese Game

Dianne's Afghan Project

Purity Seekers' Longies

Thursday, September 25, 2008


My two daughters have taken great interest in my writings here. For the older one, it began when she first started writing up her CVS buys for me to post. For the younger one, it began when I started showing some of my creations for American Girl dolls. As for my son, he's generally uninterested since I don't talk much about hunting, vehicles, or heavy equipment.

I have an idea of what I want to share here -- things I'm interested in or thoughts that are on my mind. However, it seems that over the past two months, I have picked up "two little hitchhikers" that feel they could better direct the path of this blog. (How did I ever survive in this world before they were here to direct me? LOL)

Recently my elder "editor" instructed me, "Mama, you need to add some more of your recipes. You have posted only the one for Jalapeno Jelly and that was quite a while back. The recipe for apple cake would really be good."

My family loves this cake. It is a very moist cake with chunks of apples and walnuts and a crisp, crunchy shell that is usually well received by those to whom we serve it. The wonderful thing is that the recipe ingredients are common items that are usually in the pantry.

Apple Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups Yellow Delicious apples cut in 1/2" cubes
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Grease and flour Bundt Pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together dry ingredients.
Add rest of ingredients and mix well.
(Batter will be thick.)

Bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes.

Once cooled and removed from bundt pan, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Mmmm... Mmmm Good!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Can Make It -- A Skirt for American Girl Doll

Visit Maiden Flight Clothing
for American Girl Dolls

The instructions for making a simple skirt for your American Girl Doll has been moved to our
Maiden Flight Clothing Blog.

You can access it by clicking on here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Encouragement & Fellowship

There's a beautiful fresh floral arrangement on our dining room table. (Well, it's there when someone isn't using the table for school work. The hues of autumn that I love -- crimson, gold, and maroon -- warm the room. The arrangement was sent by Bill's co-workers to cheer him. It was so thoughtful of them. Everyone likes to know that he is thought of, appreciated, and missed. Although the flowers were sent to Bill, that doesn't keep me from enjoying them.

Bill has been walking around the house with crutches. Sunday, some dear friends from church and their children stopped by to visit and have lunch together. It was a lovely time, and Bill was even able to sit outside on the patio and get some fresh air. (He's been a little stir-crazy since confined to the house. We were so thankful for and encouraged by their visit.

On Courtship

More and more, I am realizing that our children are growing up. The way in which they stepped to the plate during this past week only added more evidence to this fact. Since their birth I have prayed that they might grow to become godly adults, establish homes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and raise yet another generation of this family to serve Him. I have prayed that God would cause them to be godly spouses and parents. Although yet unknown to me, I have also been praying for our future children-in-law in the same manner. Since the time our children have been very, very young, we have always been very open with them in our discussions of this matter.

Our older daughter is now 17 and our son is 15. This past summer they were required to read Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. They are also required to read I Kissed Dating Goodbye by the same author as soon as we obtain a copy. I'm afraid they are reading them out of order, but I don't think this will be a problem. These books address "courting", an alternative to the modern idea of recreational dating. In my opinion, not only an alternative, but romance with a purpose.

Let me quote the fly leaf of the book.

"If you're fed up with the self-centered relationships that end in disillusionment, it's time to rethink romance. Finding the loving, committed relationship you want shouldn't mean throwing away your hopes, your integrity, or your heart. . . As old fashioned as it might sound, courtship is what modern-day relationships desperately need. Think of it as romance chaperoned by wisdom, cared for by community, and directed by God's Word."

I was thrilled and encouraged as I read Tracy's recent post on the subject at Unless the Lord. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of courting, here is your opportunity to get a close up look. It will be well worth your time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Tick of the Clock - Update II

Yet another phone call came this morning right before we were about to begin morning worship. This is beginning to become a habit. But this phone call was welcome indeed. Bill was to be discharged. I don't think the psalms have every been sung so heartily or with bigger smiles than by our children this morning. It was a joy!

The Lord in your distress attend;
Let Jacob's God exalt you still;
Help from the holy temple send
And strengthen you from Zion's hill.

May He your sacrifice regard,
And all your offr'ings bear in mind;
May He your heart's desire reward,
Fullfilling all you have designed.

In your salvation we'll rejoice,
In our God's name our banners raise.
O may Jehovah hear your voice,
Grant all you ask through all your days.

I know now that the Lord defends,
And saves His own anointed king.
From holy heav'n He answer sends;
His right hand saving power will bring.

In chariots some boast confidence,
And on their horses some rely;
But we boast only one defense,
The name of God, the LORD Most High.

While we are raised and upright stand,
Our foes are made to bow and fall.
O save the king, LORD, by Your hand,
And answer us the day we call.

Psalm 20

Bill is now all settled in. Although we have a long road to recovery, we are all together again under one roof; and we are resting in our Most Gracious God, trusting Him to use this trial to conform us to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Tick of the Clock - Update I

It's late and we just returned from the hospital. So this will be just a brief explanation of happenings of today. Above everything else the kids wanted to see their "Daddy Boy". So I took them to visit him this evening. You can tell by the smiles on their faces that they were relieved when they could see him for themselves. They were glad to see that their dad had not lost his sence of humor even though he was very drowsy from the effects of the pain medication.

Yesterday before surgery, the surgeon seemed to imply that Bill would stay overnight in the hospital, receive some instruction in ambulating this morning at Physical Therapy, and then be discharged later today. However, this morning the nurses seemed to think that this would be highly unlikely due to the extent of the damage and repairs which took place. Today, after talking to the surgeon, Bill thinks that Friday would be the VERY EARLIEST that he would be discharged.

This morning before lunch he had approximately and hour and a half of therapy. This actually involved some weight bearing on his injured leg. After lunch, he slept between visitors.

Here at home, the phone rang incessantly. For the most part, sandwiched between their school work, the kids answered the phone and gave updates in order that I could get a little rest before going back to the hospital. This may not have been their most productive day of homeschool, although they did try to stick to their schedule. But this was true life experience -- something you cannot learn from textbooks.

When I got home this evening, I checked e-mail and thought that I would look over blogdom and relax for a few minutes before heading to bed. When I saw your kind concerns, that you were praying for our family, and encouraging me in the Word, I just felt that I wanted to thank you sooooooo much.

To answer the question of how this happened: Someone had left a tarp on the floor. Because Bill's hands were full, he brushed it to the side with his foot to clear his pathway until he could empty his hands and move the tarp. Somehow in the process of the this, he slipped and twisted his knee. The damage was done before he ever hit the floor. I praise the Lord that further injury did not result from the actual fall.

Well, I said I was going to keep this brief, and you can see that didn't happen. Now, you know my secret -- I was vaccinated with a victrola needle. But to be serious I want to thank you for your prayers and encouragement. They mean more than you can know. Our God is a good God who never gives us more than we can bear and always brings good out of what might seem to be a dark Providence. It is a blessing for me to rest in that. I will let you know more as the week progresses.

A Tick of the Clock

The phone call came yesterday morning a little after 10:30. One minute I was getting an apple cake ready to put in the oven while my youngest was taking a test; the next moment; I was trying to figure out how I was going to get to the hospital about forty-minutes away. My husband’s employer had called to say that he had possibly broken his leg, that he was in a lot of pain, and that the ambulance was on the way. (Ironically, the apple cake I was making was for him to take to work to share the next day.)

My mind was racing. We are a one-vehicle-family; and of course, that vehicle was with him at work. It took me an hour and a half to track down my in-laws for the needed ride and then get out the door.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was given the good news that his leg was not broken. Then, I was given the worse news that he had torn the quad tendons completely away from his kneecap and that they would be taking him into surgery within the next two hours.

Our dear pastor waited with me during the entire surgery, refusing to leave until the surgeon came to report. Our church has truly been blessed with a pastor who is not only very gifted in presenting the truth of God’s Word but also has a great compassion for his people.

It was 7:30 last evening until my dear husband was returned to his room with worse pain than when I had last seen him. He had shredded the muscle ends, and had an L-shaped tear in one of the muscles. It was necessary to drill through the kneecap, weaving the muscle ends and suturing them to the kneecap. The surgery was extensive but went well.

I stayed the night with him at the hospital because he was immobile. Thankfully, they gave him strong painkillers intravenously, and he was able to get a little rest through the night.

Exhausted, I arrived back home about an hour ago and plan to get a little sleep before returning. The kids need to hear all the particulars and to be reassured. They have been "holding the fort" in my absence and have done a very good job of it. I'm very proud of them.

I am so very grateful for the promises that God gives us in His Word. He reassures us, too. Reminding us that He is our sufficiency in every moment. How grateful I am that He brought His Word to My mind even when my mind had to be on many things. Isaiah 40:31 was the calming assurance playing repeatedly in the background of my thoughts.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
They shall run and not be weary.
They shall walk and not faint.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Behind the Wheel

My older daughter got her driver's permit this summer. Everytime we go somewhere, she is more than happy to play chauffeur. Most of the time she must be content to drive on roads that have very little traffic because we are in a rural setting and the nearby town is very small. She has also done a little interstate driving at times when traffic is low. But she has been chomping at the bit to drive in more traffic.

Her big chance came last Wednesday when we went to a larger town nearby at a busier time of day. I thought that she was finally ready for a little challenge. After we came out of the store (where else but CVS), I told her to hop into the driver's seat and drive home.

Will you look at the intent look on her face? Do you remember the first time you drove in traffic...eyes riveted to the road and clinching the steering wheel? I have to admit that she handled it well.
Oh, by the way, she wants to know if anyone needs a chauffeur. ; )

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sew Late Saturday

It would appear that I am having some difficulty getting my act together. :( My Sew Crafty Friday post has become my Sew Late Saturday post. Getting back into the swing of our homeschool days while still trying to keep up with my other tasks is demanding, and I don't quite have things running smoothly yet. The task of composing this coming week's school schedule had to take priority over posting. So as you can see I'm running around 48 hours behind.

"Anyhoo"... My project for this past week will probably continue to be my project for the next several weeks. I have made and eBay-ed AG doll clothes in the past. However, this year I am going to put a little twist on that. I bought a used American Girl doll that is in EXCELLENT condition. My plan is to make a mix and match wardrobe for her and then, around Christmas time, eBay the doll together with the lot of clothing .

I decided to make a lot of mix and match outfits using two primary color palettes.The first palette that I am working on is this navy blue, red, and white one. When I finish it, I think the other palette will probably be lavender and green. I'm just not sure yet.

As I said I plan to do a mix and match. So far I have sewn a white sleeveless top with lace, a sporty little nautical tee shirt, a pair of navy blue capris, a pair of blue jeans, and a white crocheted poncho and matching cap (not shown). I still want to make a pair of red shorts and a blue denim skirt.

This is not the doll I plan on e-Baying -- she's still in her box. This is my younger daughter's Molly. She's one of my best models, but refuses to work for free. Every now and then she wants to keep one of the outfits for herself. ; )

Here's the nautical tee shirt matched with the flare-leg blue jeans. I took this close-up hoping to show off the white top-stitching on the blue jeans, but it doesn't seem to show up. It would appear that I'm a better seamstress than photographer... 'nuf said.
Just switch the top for a whole new look.

And lastly, the sleeveless top paired with the navy blue cotton capris.

I feel as though I've gotten a pretty good start, but I still have a long way to go.
To view craft projects shared by other bloggers or to share your own creations, be sure to visit SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY on Shereen's blog .

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of Butterflies and Flowers

Early in the spring, the area in front of my house began to burst into color. First it was the daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and forsynthias dressed in red and yellow and purple. They were a promise of the warm days and scented air that would soon be arriving. They always shake me out of my winter doldrums and give me hope.
Sunny days and summer showers came and lilies, daisies, lilies of the valley, lavender, irises, salvia, and phlox perfumed the air. I love the beauty of summer. June and July brought frequent showers that kept everything looking fresh and green. Come August, drier weather set in, and I was not so faithful as I should have been in watering. Now here we are in September, and I am sadly watching my lovlies fade.

So before I forget the freshness of it all. I have decided to post a few pictures that I can look back on and dream of lovely summer days. This Butterfly Bush was my prize acquisition from the Perennial Exchange held each year by the ladies in my church. When I brought it home, it looked like a dried-out stick that was about six inches tall. I wasn't even sure it would survive, and I certainly did not expect it to bloom this year. But bloom it did! And it has grown, too! It now stands about three feet tall. In the late summer, I watched Monarchs and other butterflies flocking to it. What a pleasure!
The bush is a bit spindle-like now, but in a month I plan on cutting it way back in the hopes that it will be fuller next year when it grows back.

I must admit, I am just a little jealous of those of you who live further south where your flowers and bushes bloom year round. Ahh, but then I wouldn't have autumn when the hills around me are brilliant with color and the air is crisp. I guess I can't have everything. I'll just thank God for the beauty of where He has placed me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

There's an old song entitled What a Difference a Day Makes, and that is certainly true in terms of the weather we have been having around here. Late yesterday afternoon I was so glad to have the sun shining after a couple of days of dreary weather that I snapped this picture of the beautiful blue sky -- just a wisp or two of clouds. It was a lovely day -- warm but not humid with a slight breeze blowing. It was the kind of day that causes you to long to be outside.

However, last night was as they say, "a whole 'nother story!" We had a thunderstorm like we have not had for quite some time. Lightning lit the sky like a torch, while thunder boomed like a cannon. Rain pounded the roof; and no one in THIS house slept very soundly last night.

This morning it was darker than usual, and it continued to rain.

Yesterday's sky with barely a cloud to be seen turned into today's sky that was a canopy of clouds.
Both students and teacher were sluggish, a result of the combination of a dreary day and lost sleep.

Yet, in all of this we need to give thanks for the rain that we needed so badly. A very dry August has left things a little parched around here. I know that the few flowers I have left blooming are very grateful for a much needed drink.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - Doily

I have decided to post Sew Crafty Friday and Sewing Tips and Tutorials on separate days now. To view this week's Tips and Tutorials click here.

This week in the few spare moments I now have (our homeschool is back in session) has found me working on (you guessed it) more doll clothes. I figured you were probably about all "doll clothes-ed" out by now so I offer this creation instead. This doily was created by my youngest daughter (12 yrs. old) who is thinking about entering it in our area fair.
When I was a young girl, my cousin in Ohio had a set of blue and white doilies just like this on her dresser. I thought that they were sooooo BEAUTIFUL. I would have loved to have a set on my own dresser.
This is the loom on which the doily was created. Imagine how thrilled I was to find this old loom at a flea market this summer. I don't think it was ever used. I was even more thrilled when I found that the vendor was asking only a dollar for it. Such a bargain!!
My daughter found using it extremely easy and completed the entire doily in just a day. Now I must admit that she did it practically nonstop -- she became just a little obcessed with her new-found craft.

Of course, I'm partial, but I think she did a fantastic job.

To view craft projects shared by other bloggers or to share your own creations, be sure to visit SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY on Shereen's blog .

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Our Way

Last Friday we spent the day preparing -- cooking and packing.
We pushed and crammed our stuff for the weekend into every nook and cranny of our van.
There was barely any room for us.
A late start caused us to arrive after dark.

A Family Gathering

Putting up the tent by lantern light was no easy feat, but afterwards all trouble was soon forgotten as we sat around the fire and enjoyed family.
My niece, her husband, and two boys were our hosts at their camp on the banks of the river. It has been TOO long since I have spent an extended visit with my family; and this weekend promised lots of love and laughter, as well as MANY activities.Some of the men folk rose early, grabbed their fishing gear and headed for the river.In the afternoon,my second niece arrived... no, not by boat.So we sat down for a good game of Scattergories and a lot of banter.
Just how big did you say that fish was?

The More the Merrier

My GREAT-nephews May I introduce my dear sister sitting on the left?

Our numbers grew as more of the family arrived.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"What did we do?" you might ask.

We competed in horseshoe tournaments.
We played ball.
We floated,
and splashed.
We made mud forts on the river bank
and waited on the dock,
We cooked,
made mountain pies and smores,
and ATE and ATE and ATE.

Oh yeah, and we took LOTS & LOTS of pictures.

But. . .


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