Lots! Explained and Defined

     The days have whisked by, but they have been so very full.  Blessedly full!  As I mentioned the other day, there has just been LOTS going on.  It’s spring, afterall, and spring always brings a change of pace for just a brief season.  Lots of projects that have waited for warmer weather.  Lots of time out of doors enjoying the glorious spring weather.  Lots of time spent educating my children and doing some learning myself.  Good lots, for the most part.  But even in the not-so-good lots I can see God’s mighty hand. 

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     This precious treasure, who turned six a few weeks ago, finally had his big day out with Copper and I!  What fun we had!  Lunch at McDonald’s, shopping for his birthday presents, and attending a movie matinee together!  What a delightful tradition this is.  I am so grateful to my late mother-in-love for starting these days out with my children and giving us a wonderful tradition to continue with our own grandchildren.

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     This precious treasure had her third birthday on Friday, and celebrated in style with a party on Saturday.  Oh, she is just getting sooooo big!  You know, it seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating Corin’s 3rd birthday, and now she is a mama with four little treasures of her own. 

Lambs April 4, 2008 006      One of the not-so-good happenings here involved our sheep.  We knew that we would have lambs at any time.  One of our ewes was so large that we would not have been surprised to have had three lambs, though twins is the most we’ve ever seen born.  She was just huge and caused us no end of merriment in watching her lying down, contentedly chewing her cud in the sun.  Her lambs came, as lambs do, during the night or the very, very early hours of Friday morning.  Twin lambs.  Males.  They were both good-sized and there was nothing visibly wrong with them.  However, they did not get up to their feet.  (Mama Ewe watches carefully from a distance as Dani and Will work on one of her lambs.)

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     We waited.  They weakened.  The ewe worked hard to get her lambs to their feet, but they could not.  Dani prepared some milk replacer formula and she administered some to each lamb with a syringe.  One did not take much, but the other seemed stronger and even had a good sucking reflex.  I love the expression of deep concern on my big boy’s face in this picture. 

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     After some words of instruction, we left Aaron in charge of feeding the lambs on a schedule as we went to town for the twice a month mega shop.  He was faithful.  In fact, he had the wise idea of standing the lambs up on their legs while we fed them.  We had, for a time, hopes that one of them, the stronger of the two would survive.  Despite all of our efforts, though, they both died during the night.  After ten years of country life, losing wee lambs is still a sad thing for us.  Aaron buried them Saturday morning.

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     My husband has finished the floors!  Well…almost.  The laminate floors in the kitchen, back hall, laundry room and back bath (Aaron’s) are beautiful.  The wood is so warm and pleasing to my eye.  I’m grateful for the hours and hours of hard work my husband put in on his “days off” to put the new flooring in.

          He had to remove the pantry doors, of course, to put in the new flooring.  He asked me if he should cut the flooring to fit around the shelf support, or undercut the supports to slide the flooring underneath.  Since my pantry is not set up at all the way I would like, I asked him to please undercut the support and slide the planks underneath.  That way, if we are ever able to re-do the inside of the pantry, I can remove all of the existing shelving without harming the floor at all.  The pantry doors were off for about two weeks and a funny thing happened during that two week span.  Dani and I enjoyed having access to everything in the pantry without the sliding doors being in the way of one side or the other, and we *think* we like the look of it, too.

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     When we bought this house, the entire interior was painted a very dreary light pinkish-grey color.  It might sound pretty, but it really was just not my color and the grey tones made it look dingy.  We’ve painted almost everything, over the years, except the inside of the pantry and the inside of my huge master bedroom closet.  If you’ve read my less than perfect kitchen series (see the side bar for the list of articles if you haven’t), then you know that I like to bring things as close as I can to what I would ideally like them to be with as little monetary expense as possible.  Though this pantry isn’t shelved in a manner that really suits me, it is still a nice, large pantry that I am grateful to have.  It is just steps away from my kitchen.  I know that I can make it better.  So, in the next few weeks I’ll be painting the inside of the pantry, and looking for a few items to make it function better and look nicer (since there are no doors).  I’ll be sure to share as I go.  Here’s a blurry before shot to get me started!

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     Though I was in no rush to do the entry way, apparently my husband was still in the mood to continue laying laminate flooring.  Mid afternoon found him moving the big chest and grandfather clock, tearing out baseboards and the existing vinyl flooring, and preparing to lay the laminate.

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   I’ve done a bit of sewing this last week too.  I bought fabric and this pattern a few weeks ago, and was able to start the apron late last week.  This is the first time that I have ever made my own bias binding.  It really wasn’t too difficult, once I got the hang of joining the strips at the right angle.  It was time consuming at the ironing board, but I think the finished product will be well worth the effort.  My apron will be the longer version shown in the pattern link, and I hope to have it finished this week. 

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     Long time readers will remember that I carved a small sewing nook out of some available space in our mud room awhile back.  Now that Dani has her own sewing machine, and because we have both been blessed with sergers, too, we were craving a spot where we could sew together.  Though that small space in the mud room didn’t grow, we were still able to generate the space to make it happen.  One trip to IKEA, and around $60, and we have what we hoped for!  Of course, with Dani and I doing the shopping, you have to know that the red legs were chosen for the table!  With just a bit of creative organizing, we are both happily set up in that same little area!  The chairs are from my dining room, and they are easily moved back when we have guests.   

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     Several of you have asked how I make up the pretty menus that I place on the front of my fridge and on my clipboard for the week.  My husband recently bought  Print Shop 21 for me as a surprise, and that is what I use to print up my menus.  It’s quite inexpensive (less than $10).  My old version of Print Shop was something like version 7, so I had a bit of a struggle figuring out the new one.  Now that I’ve used it for a few weeks, though, I love it!!!  I have the ability to add extra text boxes here and there on the calendar.  Most weeks I add an extra text box for the freezer cooking I’d like to do for that week.  (That’s the box that appears in pink in the picture.)  That way, when I find I have a few extra minutes in the kitchen, I can check my list and see what sorts of bread, muffins or main dishes I might have time to put togehter for the freezer.  This program really does make a beautiful menu to post for the family to see, too.

     Dani and I took care of the mega shop on Friday.  Prices just keep going up and up and up, don’t they?  Filling the gas tank was $75, and the groceries that would have cost about $70 in October are now $110!  Our country may be looking toward troubled times, financially, once again, and one way we can all look well to the ways of our households is to learn to stretch our dollars just as far as we can.  I know that some of us think that if we stretch the dollar any further it will tear in two.    I know that I can do better, and I’ll just guess that most of you can, too. 

     I’ll be sharing some ways that we’re working to cut expenses as they come along, but a lot of what I will tell you has already been written well by others who have lived through the same financial crises that my husband and I have.  If you’ve not already read them, please read Brenda’s recent series.  Her most excellent instructions on “deepening your pantry” and hedging against inflation by buying necessary goods for the future with today’s dollar are all ideas that have served my family well both in times of recession, as well as in times of personal financial turbulance in years gone by.  Brenda is an excellent writer and this is sound Titus 2 advice she is giving.  Click on over to her blog, then scroll down the side bar to the “labels” and click on “recession ponderings” for the series.

     No matter what the future holds, we can rest in the assurance that God is in control.   We are safe in His care.  Does this mean that we will not struggle?  Does it mean that we will be spared difficulty?  Of course not!  However, even in times of adversity we can know that we are exactly where He wants us to be.  Step one, though, is to be sure that you ARE where you should be.  It’s so easy for us, as women, to allow fear and anxiety to rule our hearts.  When I find my heart leaning toward anxiousness, I know that I have neglected my First Love.  Dive into His Word and drink it in deeply.  Cast your cares, fears and concerns at His feet and, oh, here is the tricky part, LEAVE them THERE!  Ask Him for the faith that doing that requires. 

     It’s also important to keep a heart full of gratitude.  That’s not always been easy for me, but it is something that we can all do, and something we can all do more!  Look for all the things you have that you can be thankful for.  I am thankful for my own relatively good health.  Rather than dwell on the aches and pains I experience, daily, from an unnamed ailment, I choose to thank the Lord for the things that this aging body can still do, and to thank Him that there are members of my family to do those things that I cannot.  I thank him for the vitamins and supplements that keep my symptoms manageable.  I am thankful that my husband has a good paying job that allows me to stay at home and educate our children here.  I don’t grumble and complain about the long hours that he works, but I glory in the time that he is home.  Do you hear what I am saying?

     I am as uncertain about what the future holds as the next guy or gal.  However, I will continue as the Lord has instructed me, and that is simply to “look well to the ways of my own household”.  I’ll continue to look for new ways to stretch our food dollars.  With the growing season upon us, we will plant our garden with an eye toward putting some food by for the winter.  Though I shop quite frugally, there are still a few extras that sneak into our cart.  I will continue to carefully include those things for now, knowing that the time may come when buying them may not be possible.  In the meantime, I will be grateful for the provision of those little extras!!  I will continue to watch for great buys on non perishable products, and I will continue to look for delicious recipes that use inexpensive ingredients.  I will remember to pray for wisdom each and every time I shop.

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     My day today was filled with my normal daily tasks, as well as a bit of gardening.  My grape tomato plant has several blossoms on it, and my onions and sugar snap peas are growing nicely.  A few radishes escaped the birds, but I spent a few minutes replanting my mixed variety lettuces and the romaine.  Aaron built a nice frame to hold some bird netting a few inches above the soil to prevent those hungry birds from snatching the seedlings as soon as they pop up.  We will, however, continue to provide some snacks for the birds from the feeder in the front yard! 

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    He also built a sturdy wire frame for the sugar snap peas to climb.  

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     That industrious, 3/4 grown Aaron also finished installing the drip watering system for the area around the swimming pool.  What a blessing it is to have these drip systems in place in my flower beds!  I’m able to just hook up the hose and set a timer rather than watering them all one by one.  A further benefit is that the water is able to soak in deeply to the plants roots, without wetting too much of the ground around the plant which really helps with weed control.  I’m hoping to be able to bring home a trailer load of wood chips soon to top dress all of my flower beds.

     Oh, I’ve not touched on the half of the LOTS that has gone on in the last week!  However, this week is full of LOTS of its own, and I am grateful for the work, as well as for the joys and trials that it will bring.  For now, I have a few moments of time and an apron to sew.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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13 comments to Lots! Explained and Defined

  • Cheryl,

    Nice to see your post. Life is filled with ups and downs and with a heart of gratitude and filled with the love of the Lord, we can make it through anything.

    Blessings,
    Gina

  • I love your apron fabric. It will go so well with your beloved tea set. That is what I immediately thought of when I saw the fabric.

  • So glad to hear from you. My, you were busy this week!!!

    Love the look on your grandson’s face @McDonalds-he is so cute. I bet he felt all grown up that day!

    You always say things so well and it touches my heart each time I read something that I think pertains to me-which is often!

  • So glad to hear from you. My, you were busy this week!!!

    Love the look on your grandson’s face @McDonalds-he is so cute. I bet he felt all grown up that day!

    You always say things so well and it touches my heart each time I read something that I think pertains to me-which is often!

  • Cheryl, Your blog is such a blessing to me. I’ve never commented before but you always give me ideas to think about. You are a wonderful Titus 2 example!

    God bless~

  • Oh, there is so much I love about this post, beginning with grandmother traditions, then 3yo girls (so delightful!), sweet lambs (so sorry about the loss), gardens, and frugality. We shop the cheapest grocery store in town, the bulk co-op, and grow our own in the summer, and yet our grocery bill is climbing at an alarming rate. Maybe this is the weight loss push some of us need??? I probably should be passing my cookies on to my skinniest children :laugh:

  • Hi Cheryl,

    So neat to see your update. Lots going on there. Your floor is beautiful! How wonderful! Love your fabric choices too. And wow- a drip watering system installed. You guys are amazing!

    Sorry about the baby lambs. It’s always hard to lose a little animal. We haven’t gotten used to that part of farm life either.

    Love,
    Rebecca

    leading little hearts home

  • Wow, you have been busy! So sorry about your little lambs! How sad. I love the fabric you are using for your apron! I have the same pattern but have yet to attempt it. Your floors look fabulous! So warm and inviting! I love seeing all the green in your pictures. It has finally stopped snowing here and is starting to warm up.Thank you for your encouragement today!

    Kimberly

  • LOVE the apron fabric and your bias binding looks great. I enjoy making bias binding for applique vines, so I have done alot of it. It is much nicer than the pre made binding.

    I was so touched by the picture of all your “at home” kids caring for the little lambs. So sorry they did not make it, but it sure showed how your family pulls together. One of those “all things for good” moments.

    Enjoyed all of your “LOTS” and look forward to more.

  • I am sorry about your little ewes passing away.
    What lovely floors are in your home.
    Thank you for your post on encouraging us in looking out for the best prices on varieties of food ,product and other areas for our family and our home.
    God Bless,
    CAGmomof2

  • Cheryl,

    I’m sorry to hear about the lost of your two male lambs.  I hope their mother is doing fine and not grieving.  I also want to tell you I definitely needed to hear your good talk and attitude about trying times in our country right now.  What a blessing you are to me and other readers! Thank you!

  • …and along the way, life happens. 😉

    (((hug))) I’m sorry to learn that the two lambies died.

    Your new floors are wowzie-woo-woo beautiful! We hope to put laminate flooring in some day too.

    Brenda has excellent links and posts concerning careful living during difficult times. I’m so glad you mentioned her.

    At church my husband and I were spending time with wee ones: a 1.5 year old and a 2 month old. We had so much fun! The greatest compliment was given us by the mother of one of the wee ones. She said, “You’re going to make the best grandparents!” I look so forward to that time. :fun:

  • So glad you are back….I missed reading your posts…but what a blessed, busy time you’ve had……I have to say that I loved this post…..you shared some of the same thoughts/ponderings that I’ve been having….and it was great to read…..Thank you so much for sharing as much as you do…..Take care~Karen