"Let's be cheerful"! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant & happy thoughts as we are that the rugs are the right color and texture & the furniture comfortable and beautiful"! Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

dreamer




Living in town is hard if horses are your passion.  Erin has been passionate about horses for years.  I thought it was just glorified dreaming (she's known to be our dreamer), but time has definitely proven otherwise.  3 years ago, Providence brought about a wonderful opportunity.  A woman that grandma goes to church with agreed to have Erin out to the house to visit her Welsh ponies.  Helen breeds show ponies on her gorgeous mini ranch 12 miles from our house.  







Long story short,  Erin has been spending several days a month these past few years with Helen, the 'girls', and Linden, the Stallion.  She fetches and brings them to the barn for grooming which she enjoys immensely. She's been called in the middle of the night to come and watch the birth of the foals.  (May I pat my husband and I on the back right here seeing as Erin doesn't drive herself, don't you know).  Yawn.  










Now Erin is the house sitter when Dick and Helen have to go out of town.  She hires her sister to assist.  I can't begin to tell you how good this has been for her.  She sets her alarm for the morning feedings and she and Audrey make the rounds.  It takes about 1 hour from start to finish.  The same routine for the evening feeding.  Helen leaves a detailed list with dietary supplements and special instructions.
















...Erin just popped in and read over my shoulder piping in with, "not Linden, I've never groomed him in my life.  All I've done is hold the rope through the fence while Helen grooms him."  I stand corrected.  At least she doesn't roll her eyes at my ignorance.  She's a good girl.

Blessings, Debbie

Monday, May 30, 2011

remember




This flag welcomes everyone coming from the south, just before dropping down the grade and catching the first glimpse of our town.  It's GI-NORMOUS!  I love my country and am proud to greet people this way.  I hope that you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend ...

Blessings, Debbie

Saturday, May 28, 2011

bee satisfied







Your statutes are wonderful; 
therefore I obey them.  
The unfolding of your words gives light; 
it gives understanding to the simple.  
I open my mouth and pant, 
longing for your commands.  
Psalm 119:129-131

How sweet are your words to my taste, 
sweeter than honey to my mouth!  
I gain understanding from your precepts therefore I hate every wrong path.  
Psalm 119:103-104

Taste and see that the Lord is good; 
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  
Fear the Lord, you his saints, 
for those who fear him, lack nothing.  
Psalm 34:8-9


* I took 13 pictures trying to get that first shot.  It tickles me to death! :)



Blessings,  Debbie

Friday, May 27, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Wishing you a lovely weekend!  




Inspired my Amanda at Soulemama
Blessings, Debbie

Thursday, May 26, 2011

what about socialization



You know the question.  It's bound to come up in conversations that begin with, "Oh, you home school?"..

So, let's talk about socialization.  The typical (and very true) response we give, addresses the standard definition.  If we define socialization as being with your peers for 8 hours a day, five days a week... then we are failing.  But, if we define it as living with respect for others and being encouraged to love and enjoy them... we are fine.


please let me out...


Personally, I think socialization is overrated.  Therefore, I just lock mine up in the house all day and make them watch life through the windows.  Shh.  Don't tell C.S.D.!

Blessings, Debbie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the lane to creativity



This is the lane that leads to the home of the girls art teacher.  Isn't it lovely.  I love this place.  I grew up 45 miles from the town that we live in now.  When my husband and I were looking to buy a home, I remembered going through here to go water skiing at the reservoir just out of town.  We found and fell in love with our home when my 24 year old was 4, 22 was 2 and 16 and 13 weren't even dreamed of yet.  

Every time we come down the steep grade that drops into our valley I have been known to sigh, "this place is a hidden jewel."  But, I digress...

A few months ago Laura (a fellow home school mom) called inquiring if the girls would be interested in babysitting for her children.  She has 4, ages 2-10 so the girls decided that they would tag team.  I (being the Laura fan that I am) immediately saw this as God's hand in direct answer to prayer for art lessons.  I shared this with the girls and asked if they would be willing to offer their services in trade.  













So, for these past few months they have been getting fun, creative, professional lessons.  And they are a 'for real and true' gift from God.  Even when Laura's original need for sitters came to an end, the lessons didn't! The girls still sit for her occasionally but things are way out of balance, especially since she is known to slip them a bit of cash on the way home, "just for ice cream or something."

Blessings, Debbie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a special delivery



Prayer meeting went sooo late last night that I didn't even start on the dishes until 10:00 pm (we 'break bread' together for our evening meal before prayer).  Then, Erin needed to use the computer for 'a few minutes' so I made the mistake of sitting down on the couch and quickly fell asleep!  I usually write my posts at night now and schedule them for the morning.  I got up today still feeling pretty wiped so I gave myself permission not to write today.


I love it all Julie, thank you!


But then something wonderful happened and in my elation I snapped a few pictures and ran straight in here.  My package arrived!  Julie said that she had mailed it, and it's here.  

A short while back I actually won the generous give-away at The Harwards.  How amazing is that?  I've so enjoyed getting to know Julie.  Apparently the term gracious hospitality isn't reserved only for dinner hostesses.  Visit her and you'll see what I mean.




And last but not least I give you my attempt at a self portrait wearing the lovely butterfly apron.  What do you think?

Blessings, Debbie

Monday, May 23, 2011

on the prowl



What is with this cat?  From the moment she came to live with us we knew, we KNEW that she was a cougar!  Forget that she is the size of your average house cat.  Forget that she was born to the house cat of friends.  Yes, my son chose her from the litter when she was but a suckling (can you use that term for a kitten, or is it reserved only for pigs?).  Her mother was so sweet.  

The day Nolie entered our abode we all stood back tentatively.  What was it about her eyes?  Why was she looking at us like that?  Was she even seeing us at all?  Wild I tell you!

We learned to walk wide circles around her.  We allowed her choice seat.  It was just politeness really.  We stocked up on tea tree oil (excellent for mishaps... with cats).  

But then slowly.  So slowly that it was almost imperceptible, there began a transformation.  Before I realized that anything was different Nolie became my breakfast buddy.  She's never been a voluntary lap cat, but she began to rub against my legs... and purr.  Soon she even welcomed my strokes... and purred. 




She's always been indoors, except for a few adventurous nights spent outside when she darted daringly through the door so late that we couldn't round her back.  In the morning I would find her glued to the back door meowing for safety.




So, imagine my shock when I went to let the chickens out this morning and spotted the WILD THING exiting her lair!  The chickens were quickly in a bother and Hunny Bunny was just beside herself in confusion (it's actually HER burrow).  And all of my suspicions were confirmed in that moment.  Cougar.





Blessings, Debbie

Saturday, May 21, 2011

find your way




Enter through the narrow gate.  
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Linking with Spiritual Sundays
Blessings, Debbie

Friday, May 20, 2011

cinnamon swirl bread



For years I've made my own bread.  Not exclusively.  I envy those who do, I just haven't been able to rhythm that into my life at this point.  I have a dinner roll recipe that is quick and I make them several times a week.  We love home-made pizza so I make it at least 3 times a month.  The crust is a quick yeast dough that turns out quite nice.  I've already shared my tortilla recipe.




Today I share my recipe for cinnamon bread.  This is wonderful fresh out of the oven, or toasted in the morning with butter for a quick breakfast.  If you already enjoy making bread I hope you like this recipe.  If you are not comfortable with the process I would encourage you to try this one.  Something about this loaf makes people very forgiving (perhaps the cinnamon and sugar) of imperfection!




Cinnamon Swirl Bread a la Debbie

1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup butter
7 cups flour (+ or - as needed)
6 T sugar
2 t salt
4 1/2 t dry yeast (or 2 pkgs)
3 eggs (room temp.)

Filling
2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
(I have a shaker that always has cinnamon and sugar)
3 T melted butter

1 egg white beaten



Combine water and butter in saucepan.  Heat over low heat until very warm (120-130 F.  It's okay if butter is not melted.  In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients including yeast.  Slowly mix in wet ingredients adding more flour if dough is too sticky (a softer dough makes for a better loaf so avoid going too crazy with the flour).  
Turn onto floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.  

Turn dough onto work surface and cut in half.  Roll each half into a rectangle that fits the length of your bread pan.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar, coming right to the edge.  Roll jelly roll style, pinch bottom seam closed and gently pinch and tuck ends under.  Place loaves in greased pans.
Cover and allow to rise a second time 40 minutes.

Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes, remove bread and brush with beaten egg white.  Return to oven and cook for 5 more minutes.





Blessings, Debbie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the conspiracy




I'll begin at the beginning.  Once upon a May 15th, Carl and Deanie gave birth to their first born.  A daughter.  She grew up, got married, had 2 children, got saved, had 2 more children and purposed to live her life simply and joyfully.  Everything seemed to be going along according to plan (pretty much) when (ironically) on this May 15th (it was actually the 16th but we'll pretend it was the 15th because it fits the story better) something inconceivable happened.

This joyful daughter and 2 of her children were kidnapped!  It was horrible, really.  This sweet young man whom she had always trusted pulled right up, parked at the curb like he always does and said, I'm here to pick you up. Just like that.




Well, what's a simple girl to do?  I gathered my girls and obeyed.  Who knows what might have happened had I put up a struggle.  He proceeded to drive me to none other than the home of the master mind, his mother and my dear friend.  Insult to injury... how could this be?

Now the fun begins.  It turns out there are more friends in on this.  The master mind really did her work. Others began showing up and before you know it we had packed 2 vehicles and we were off to ...




...they wouldn't tell me a thing.  But 30 miles later another friend was waiting at Starbucks (now they are treating me right) so we gathered her in and took off over the mountain.  At this point I was still completely clueless as to what was going on, and I could have cared less.  That's how trusting I am.  Or how old I am. Short term memory loss you know.






When we arrived at our destination (a few hours later) I let out a little WOO HOO!  What gorgeous fun.  The beautiful Deepwood estate in Salem.  We spilled out of the cars and inhaled the beautiful valley floral fragrance and headed to the house.  And what do you suppose we found when we rounded the corner?  A dear valley friend (who's kids are my kid's dear friends) and a dear valley daughter!  Is this too much?  Yes, too, too much!









The home is a turn of the century Victorian that was built for $14,000 at a time when the average home cost between $500 and $1000 to build.











The grounds are still authentically maintained according to the original commissioned landscape design.  It includes formal gardens as well as a nature trail that leads down to the creek.  Everything was 'just so', much to the chagrin of the mastermind who is completely 'real' and couldn't handle even the thought of all this pretense! ;)




























A nice place to visit but can you really 'live' like this?  Or call it home?  Hmm, my imagination is having fun...


Blessings, Debbie

*forgive me for being so late with today's post.  I had a lot of trouble uploading my pics and am thankful to be finished!  Whew...

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