Sunday, November 16, 2014

Crystal On The Window....


Crystals are beautiful... and there are many different forms. Some are man made, some grow from minerals.... and some are from water or steam freezing.  The patterns can be interesting. When they appear on the window on frosty mornings, they are a treat that shows up when the shades are opened. They don't last long, though, and as soon as the shades are open the heat from the house is already working to melt them.



We enjoy these fleeting creations of God.


It was a treat to see them this year... a benefit of the cold snap.

We are especially enjoying them because, as one of the kids told me, when we get the new windows, we won't have the frost anymore. 

 Such delicate feathery designs....

I will miss them when we get new windows.... but I will be thankful to have less drafts. :)

I love it that God gives glimpses of loveliness for us to enjoy... but if we wait too long, they are gone. Just a breath on the window would destroy the crystals.

Maybe we will still have these ice crystals on the storm door even after the new windows are put in... hmm, I will have to watch for them. If they don't come, there will be other creations to enjoy..... I will keep watching for them.... and praising God for them.

Thank you for visiting today.... I will probably be offline for a few days... we will be traveling to help my parents. Dad needs to have a stent put in for a blockage in his heart. We are praying that this will help him to feel better and we will be caring for Mom while Dad is in the hospital. I would love to have your prayers. Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful day serving the Lord. :)

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Time For Tea..... and Cookies

It was a beautiful day and yet, we knew that cold weather was coming. I asked my younger daughter to make some cookies... I had an idea, so I asked her to try it. :)  It just seemed like we needed some tea and cookies.


 I had her make my recipe for Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies, with 2 changes. 

I had her reduce the sugar to only
1 1/4 cups sugar for white sugar... and 1 1/4 cups brown sugar.

I also had her put only 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips... AND 1 whole package of Candy Corn M & Ms.

I didn't think we would like those... candy corn m & ms? Didn't sound good to us, BUT they are just white chocolate inside... and they were very sweet, but good. :)

The cookies were wonderful! I think we could actually reduce the sugar a bit more because of the extra sweetness in the M & Ms, but these were really good. I hope we can find some more on clearance before they are all gone. :)

Just the thing to have with a cup of hot Candy Cane Lane peppermint tea.  A nice snack before supper.

Thank you for visiting - I hope you are also enjoying tea and cookies. :)

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Pine Needle Carpet



I love the pine needle carpet under our pine trees.  At this time of year, lots of old needles fall off and cover the ground under the trees... and the surrounding area.  It is beautiful and it reminds me of hiking trips in the mountains where we walked through the trails under the pines. The pine needles formed a softer path for walking and created a quieter hush which made the walk in the forest even more pleasant.



With so many needles on the ground, it would seem that the trees would be bare.... but they are still plenty full of pine needles and the trees really don't look a lot different than they did.

The pine cones are falling also, and there are a lot of them.









They add to the messy look and make walking out there a little harder, but I do like the pine cones also. It is just part of this season and it won't last forever.

The little drive out there is all covered.

One reason I let the guys blow them over to under the trees instead of leaving them out in the gardens is that pine needles are acidic and they are not great for our regular garden plants and could hinder their growth. Our blueberries; however, LOVE them, so we collect the pine needles and mulch the blueberry bushes heavily. This helps to conserve the moisture for the bushes (blueberry bushes like a lot of water). It also helps to keep the ph balanced.

Another reason we don't leave them all over that part of the yard is that when the snow comes... and snowmen are made (or snow forts), the needles stick to everything and the snowmen or forts don't look as nice. :) 

We have had to paint the deck, so the deck furniture was put out under the pines. I love saying that... "Out under the pines!" :)  It really is  a special section of our little property.

The deck painting job had many delays due to weather and more, so the furniture stayed out there... and the needles covered that also. The painting job is finally done, so it is time to put stuff back into place, but the needles on the table looked nice for a picture. :)
With all of the leaves and pine cones, it starts to look a bit messy and I don't like that part, but I do love the pine needle carpet.  We will be picking up all of the pine cones.

I have had to convince my guys to leave the pine needles... we do gather them under the trees more, so they aren't all over the place, but I love having that pine needle carpet out there. The grass doesn't grow under the trees anyway, and without the pine needles, it would just be mud at times and I do NOT like mud. :)

We would love to live in the country, but for now we live on our little 1/4 acre in the city, where God has blessed us with many trees, many growing plants and bushes and more.... and having the pines sure makes it nicer. At times, we can sit on the deck and listen to the wind in the pines and recall trips in the country and it makes living in the city much more pleasant. :)

Today, we are especially enjoying the pines... the cold polar vortex weather is moving in tonight or tomorrow, but today is BEAUTIFUL. I have already been out under the pines this morning and the wind is blowing, but it is not a cold wind. It is so nice out. The guys are doing a big window job in the kitchen, and have torn out 2 big windows, so the house is just open on that side, which faces the pines. With that large opening, we are enjoying the pines even more.... and they are hurrying to build up the window area and get the wall closed up before the cold weather gets here again.  By the way, that big project will probably be a future post. :)

Thank you for visiting... I hope you are enjoying your day and serving the Lord. 



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Friday, November 7, 2014

Yellow Jacket Nest - In The HOUSE???

A yellow jacket nest in the house sounds like a nightmare! We found a big one under the bathroom sink! It was not a happy find.





It was quite large.... we forgot to measure it exactly, but judging by a picture I have of it with one son's hand next to it, we are estimating it to be about 13" x 8".... like I said, it was pretty big.

Here is the bathroom sink cabinet where we had a water leak, but didn't know it. By the time we found it, most of the bottom of the cabinet was saturated. The guys tore it out and took it out to the driveway and when they put it down on its back, they found this  stuck to the underside.

They called me to come to see it.... I had a hard time imagining that had been IN our house for quite some time. Shudder.

We have lived in our house for about 18 years and this cabinet was here when we moved in... we have painted it a few times and there was no water leak until more recently... and we have no idea how long that nest was in there. For a while, we found a few yellow jackets inside and couldn't figure out WHY.


 This is one of those times that a problem(the leak under the sink), became a blessing (finding and removing this hive from our home)!

I guess we could say that another blessing was the impromptu homeschool lesson from the find.... with a great exhibit.   :) 

Thankfully, there were no living yellow jackets... but there were some dead ones.
 We homeschool and encourage exploring, so of course, the guys had to seriously investigate this thing. :) 

There were several layers to it.... they removed the outer shell to find the stacks of combs. There were 7 of these layers inside the outer shell.


It is a pretty amazing work of these creatures... the uniformity of the compartments, the marvel of the engineering.... 

It was interesting since there were no living wasps to try to avoid. 


 The whole nest was very lightweight and papery. This is what my guys told me... I didn't actually TOUCH it. :)   Seeing it was enough for me.










Here the top (or bottom actually) was lifted of to expose the other sections.

  So many perfectly formed sections.

An interesting work....
 Sorry about the color of this one... wrong angle with the sun, but this one shows the supports between the layers.
 I am glad this isn't in our house anymore... and I am glad the yellow jackets were already dead.  The sink cabinet was dismantled and thrown in the trash... by the way, the pictures here have shown the ugly wetness, but the cabinet still looked really good from the outside. We would have continued to use it if the water hadn't damaged it so much.

Currently, we have no sink in the bathroom and are looking on craigslist for another one... or we may buy one new.  We are looking and praying. Thankfully there is no leak and thankfully, we have another bathroom. :) It would be nice to get this project done, as it was not on the project list... and we have been working on several things ON the project list, and have been pretty busy.

I was reminded that the leak we found that was such an overwhelming addition to our already overloaded lives.... was actually a blessing in disguise. I wonder how many times that is true. This time, we were able to SEE it, but even if we can't see it....  I wonder how many times God is actually doing His work in our lives... and we just complain. Hmmmm...... it is certainly something to think about.  Thank you for visiting my blog today. :) 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

"GUY" China

In our house, we drink tea... a lot of tea... and the guys will use regular tea mugs as long as they aren't covered with flowers.  :)  I did find a set of china, though, that they like much better!  I found part of a set and a friend found more of the set. Now, for birthdays for the guys, they like it when we pull out the "Guy China".

For this birthday meal, we had cold kombucha, but we did serve it in the John Deere mugs.... after all, it matched the set.  The guys liked that.  :) By the way, the homemade subs recipe can be found here.

We do have pretty china in our home - actually more than one set,  so it only seemed right to have some "Guy China" also.  We keep a couple of these John Deere mugs in the cupboard for every day use, but the rest are kept separate and only used for birthdays or special occasions, mainly because we just don't have room for them in the cupboard. The guys enjoy drinking tea, hot cocoa or hot spiced cider in these mugs..... or even cold kombucha. :)




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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Garage Sale-25 Degrees? Brrr

 
Garage Sale... when it is 35 degrees? Brrrr.....   We had a late season garage sale... just decided to have it for sure last Sunday , so things were busy and rushed. The forecast said it would be chilly at about 55 degrees on Friday, but we were out of time and wanted to have a sale and be done with it, so we went ahead.....  Then .... the weather changed.....

 The sale was all set up.... in the garage and some on the driveway, then the sky darkened.

Just that morning, they had changed the forecast to include a 20% chance of rain in the morning. 20% isn't much and we were already committed, so we were hoping it wouldn't rain.

The sky looked a bit unsettled. 

Then it also looked a bit pretty... but the clouds were moving fast.

 All of a sudden, it started to rain lightly.... we rushed to move a few things under the canopy... then it rained hard for several minutes. Sigh.

After about 10 minutes or so, the rain stopped, it was windy, then the sun came out and though a bit chilly, especially with the winds....  it was beautiful. 

We had lots of people.... and as we sold things, we rearranged and kept it interesting. It was a very busy day...  in the afternoon, the temperature started to drop and it was quite chilly. 

Before closing that evening, we rearranged much and did some consolidating, to get more into the garage since it was supposed to be even cooler the next day.... and there was to be a hard freeze the next night.
 The 2nd day WAS very chilly in the morning... and VERY windy. The morning's temperature was 36 degrees with a wind chill of 29 degrees. Brrrr........ The whole day was cold.... we had tea and warm drinks to keep warm... and dressed in lots of layers.

The end of the 2nd day, we were so tired and chilled, we just closed up when it was time. We had sold much in the 2 days we were open. With the freeze expected that night, I made a big batch of chili and had 2 big crockpots of it simmering all afternoon - it smelled so good. In the late afternoon, I made a batch of homemade bread to have with the chili. The recipe is here

I had spent much time harvesting in the garden on both days of the garage sale... trying to get everything done before the night's freeze. We also did schoolwork.  It was a busy day.... and a very cold one.  All of the potted plants had to go into the garage for the night.  In the afternoon, we had hot homemade spiced apple cider and it tasted good and helped to warm us back up. When all was finally done, it was so nice to come in to the house and eat hot homemade chili and hot fresh bread. It was very much of a comfort meal and warmed us up from the inside out. :)  Also, we still haven't turned on our furnace yet, so we piled on the blankets and quilts and took hot rice bags to bed with us. They felt so good. :)  You can see how to make them here.  I love having the rice bags. :)  We all slept wonderfully well with the cool temps and nice warm covers, but it wasn't so easy to get out of bed on Saturday morning. In fact, we opened late as we figured no one would be out early with the freeze, so we waited until about 9:00 am to open.
 On Saturday morning - day 3 of our garage sale... the last day... we woke up to frost all over the place... and very cold temperatures. It was 25 degrees in the morning... and it was cold... outside.. and inside. We all dressed in a LOT of layers, drank hot tea, ate breakfast and set up the sale.... and how nice it was that my husband was home to man the sale, for the most part. :)

Saturday wasn't a busy day, but we still sold things... and gave some away at the end.

It was a cold garage sale... we had rain, wind, cold temperatures, the first freeze of the year, and more. It certainly wasn't ideal for a garage sale, but we are so glad to have done it anyway.... and to be done with it. :)  We have many people who love to come to our garage sale every year and we call them our "regulars".  Many have seen our kids grow over the years, or we have learned things about them... we have prayed for them... and they for us.  We have shared Christ with many of them.  A garage sale is a lot of work, but there are also benefits... for one thing, there is the ministry aspect... also we got rid of unneeded things before winter AND freed up some money, which will be helpful. It would have been easier to do it earlier, except that our schedule wouldn't allow for it, so this all worked out even with the weather problems.

By Sunday, I was really tired.... and after church and then the potluck, I came home and took a 2 1/2 hour nap! A tiring week, but it was good... I am so thankful for hot drinks - teas and such. There is something cheery about a hot cup of tea, or cider or cocoa or other hot drinks. :)  Thank you for visiting my blog today....














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