26 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for being our friends! We love you all!

Here are some shots from Christmas morning...and drawings from Stella.
Listen to the kids singing Rudolph on that handy MP3 thingy to the left.

20 October 2009

16 October 1999-2009

we got married 10 years ago! it was such an amazing day...mid 70s, leaves in full color, even had deer prancing behind the church...

this year, chris surprised me with this...and a dinner gathering with family and friends. a wonderful weekend to celebrate our anniversary! this is some of my first yarn being spun by our "fire" (aka christmas lights!) we got festive!

i am a blessed girl!

now...onto packing! i have been taking short spinning breaks when i feel totally overwhelmed by boxes!

26 September 2009

i made it...i can breathe now

what a day...we spontaneously went to this gospel choir competition at the wachovia center in philadelphia. all local gospel choirs from churches in and around philly...i have never been a part of something like this. chris and i sat 3rd row center (which gave me the giggles at first...imagine the scene, folks). and in the end were blessed beyond belief. the judges were hezekiah walker (listen to this song...he sang it tonight), lonnie hunter, and marvin sapp. this song moved me severely. i think it's my new theme song.

the night ended with chris and i on the couch and U2 on SNL. nice close to an amazing evening.


19 September 2009

school supplies

my, my....how do i begin after such a long absence??? a quick update, and then on with it!

::::we are moving. november 1st. to elverson, pa. we are excited. nervous. can't wait. it's been a long time coming, and we are finally just jumping. country life is on its way! (or incredibly small town life, really!) and we will finally be a part of our church community!

::::1st grade started last week for stella. another year at home. i did my (now 2nd annual) freak out. i was all geared up. curricula chosen. supplies bought. and then...crap! i'm going to ruin my child! i cannot do this! she must go to school! chris talked me off the edge...and last week went stunningly. i don't remember 1st grade being so fun!

so here is what we did. from the chalkboard in the kitchen:

Bible Memory/Copywork: Psalm 139:1-2 (we will have the whole thing memorized for this year)
Grammar: Chapter 3 (Shurley Grammar)
Phonics: Review (Reading Eggs)
Reading: Curious George (First Favorites, Vol. 1)
Math: Review (waiting for books - got them Thursday!)
Geography: NSEW, make a compass, States: PA and NJ
History: Lewis and Clark, expedition game online, Thomas Jefferson, design your own Monticello
French: new CD of French children's song (so far, its just about sing-alongs)
Music: listening this week. we'll get to composer's later
Science: we've been doing the body at co-op (cells, bones, joints) on to muscles this week!

it was a great week. next week i'll give the update on friday (or saturday). next friday we are visiting a small homeschool-school (kind of a one room school house or sorts.) its called the hoke school and, if we decide we like it, stella would go 3 mornings a week. 2 would be with 1st thru 4th grade, 1 would be just her age. we'll see. this raising a child thing is tough. i feel terribly underprepared, unworthy, and ill-equipped. and there is nothing i want to do more.

so...here's to a new year. new pens. new paper. a new bottle of glue. it's so nice to start fresh.

18 June 2009

summer reading

well, our first year of homeschooling has come to a close, and we are all so happy - with our achievements, the bonding that has taken place, the growth in all of our lives, and the letting go of our routine a little bit! today we woke up to a cold rainy day and just played. relaxed. played some more. made some cookies. and read. a lot. so i thought i'd share our summer reading so far (yeah, i know, it's not officially summer, but summer vacation has begun!)

for starters, one of the reasons we are so proud of stella is her accomplishment with reading! we used the veritas phonics curriculum and boy...she flew. she has been reading small books since before christmas, but really took off around february/march. we were at barnes and noble and picked up their summer reading journal...read any 8 books and get one free! she's read six so far! they are:

for some fun, stella asked me to read them Beverly Cleary's, "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" aloud. we sat down and cleared off five chapters in no time! so fun...

there are some "grown up" books hoping to be read as well...maybe i'll post them next!

happy summer!!

11 June 2009

baby needs a new machine

sew mama sew is giving away a husqvarna/viking sewing machine this month. to win would be dreamy...so here we go. a sewing machine meme:

What brand and model do you have?
~singer 401A slant-o-matic
How long have you had it?
~almost 10 years...it was a wedding gift from the smiths (xoxoxo!)
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
~i've seen them go on ebay for around $225, but i have no idea!
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
~clothing, small quilts, home dec, bags, dress-ups, toys.......
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
~i go in bursts. my machine acts up sometimes and frustrates me, so it gets hibernated for a bit, then wham-o. i make a ton of stuff.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
~i'm attached to it, but like i said, it acts up and i get annoyed. i think i'll always keep it, as it is SO sturdy and handy. but a new one would be amazing!!!
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
~solid straight stitch, fancy stitch "cogs" that are fun.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
~how it jams up regularly despite countless tune-ups.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
~a surprise gift from friends of my new hubby...sewed my finger lots of times....nothin' too interesting.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
~yes...it is sturdy and good...just get one that is kept up well.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
~what do you want to do? how often do you sew? get the best you can.
Do you have a dream machine?
~i've been looking into janome's memory craft 4400. i want to do more quilting, some embroidery would be fun.

so go check out sew mama sew's sewing machine info...and enter to win yourself!!

23 May 2009


most of the ingredients...and a tinker toy


set up...last minute details

the bride's choice...

coconut layer cake with strawberry puree filling
my favorite...

biscuit de savoie with chambord syrup, chambord buttercream filling, and dark chocolate glaze waiting for flowers and the wedding party...

carrot cakes with orange italian cream cheese frosting
classic white velvet cakes with vanilla mousseline buttercream
congratulations ted and kate!

17 April 2009


i was given a very generous gift to a quilt shop from my dear friend, elin, for my birthday...with those funds, i bought myself 2 yards each of these fabrics:

that's ivory lotus pond from amy butler's "lotus" collection

this one is ombre cool blue from the carolina collection from anna griffin and windham fabrics

these were destined to be a reversible wrap skirt for myself, for easter. got them home...so excited and laid them out on the bed to get a good look. i stepped back in shock. i grabbed chris. these were a perfect match to our new bedroom wall color. looked beautiful against our new brass bed (handed down from mommom). oh no! they were not destined to be a skirt...but rather...CURTAINS! and maybe some pillows. and added to a new quilt. works in progress. hoping some of that progress will be done this weekend, so you can see some pics. we're even swapping out our old dressers for some even older new-to-us ones from chris' folks! bedroom makeover! fun!

12 April 2009

The Lord has risen!

Happy Easter!

This easter is going to be unique for one very big reason. Every other easter, my entire family would look forward (in one way or the other) to meeting up for an egg hunt and dinner and being greeted by my Mommom shouting out, "the LORD has risen!" and your well-trained and joyful response would be, "He is risen indeed!"

Mommom passed away February 6th. I wanted to write about it for awhile and somehow couldn't. You'll remember me writing about how she developed MRSA after minor surgery, and her battle with antibiotics. We thought she beat it. She came home for about one week, before needing to be rushed back to the hospital. She was so very sick and suffering. The suffering lasted saturday until early friday morning. I think i was so shocked...even though she was obviously ill, obviously suffering. I felt wronged somehow. She should be here now. But that's not really true. God called her home. He had to take a very well woman and break her body to bring her into His presence. And truthfully, I find no other comfort aside from the truth that Mommom KNEW God. She may never have gotten into theology or "deep" thinking of the Bible, but she loved Jesus and hung her hope on Him. I can't help but credit her with teaching us all the simple truth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who so loved us that he took on our sinfulness, in full, and hung it on the cross, so that we would never have to suffer it again. So that we would be forgiven. So that we would be returned to our Father, as we should be. So, while today I will miss her deeply, I am eternally grateful. I will see her again!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words.

Luke 24:1-8

...He has risen indeed!


09 April 2009

preparing for Easter

we've been getting ready for Easter this week by reading from our favorite kids storybook Bible. it's The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and illustrated by Jago. i got this for stella last year and it made the Bible take on new life for me! it is an amazing book...

i have to share with you from this great book. this is from the story of the last supper...

"My body is like this bread. It will break," Jesus told them. "This cup of wine is like my blood. It will pour out." "But this is how God will rescue the whole world. My life will break and God's broken world will mend. My heart will tear apart - and your hearts will heal. Just as the passover lamb died, so now I will die instead of you. My blood will wash away all of your sins. And you'll be clean on the inside - in your hearts."....."I won't be with you long," he said. "You are going to be very sad. But God's Helper will come. And then you'll be filled up with a Forever Happiness that won't ever leave. So don't be afraid. You are my friends and I love you."

for images from the book and to enter to win a copy of it for yourself, go visit this blog.

18 March 2009

what's happenin'

stella lost tooth number 3. this one being the top left. top righty has slanted himself over to try to take over the whole space, thus making our beautiful girl look slightly hill-billy-ish. teeth number 4 and 5 are seriously wiggly. toothfairy's gonna be busy.

10 in 10...from chris to me for january...this amazing chalkboard was completely made up from scratch with a wonderful rim to hold the chalk and a nice big blackboard for me to write all kinds of stuff on for school. it currently has some questions from the catechism for young children and our bible memory verse. we use it for reading, memorization and copy work. pure love.

and just because he's so darn cute.

but while posting these adorable photos...this sat over my right shoulder, trying to be ignored. this is so totally disgusting. go ahead, look closely. nasty.

but, friends, it can be done.

exactly 30 minutes later, we have a clean sink.

hand washed by me. hand dried and put away by chris. time for bed with a clear conscience.

05 March 2009

media free...continues!

well, we thought the media free week would be horrible...kids shrieking, parents swearing, utter frustration. and, well...nothing. the kids were great. made great art, played pretend like nobodies business. we got organized. did taxes. cleaned house. life feels good and sane here. so we're keeping it up sans rules. we just don't turn on the tv anymore. its not a thought. we play games. read books. write. draw. paint. knit. rip. knit again. (more on that later). so...i'm figuring out how to keep the blog going, while not visiting the computer as often. i have things to write about...i just haven't sat here to do it! i'll get on that.

and thank you to ann krestene for the bread recipe. yummy! we have been loving the zojirushi...is it normal to go through a 5lb. bag of flour a week??? yikes. we are gonna get chunky around here! (hope not, really...just sayin' we're eatin' a good amount of overly delicious bread as of late!)

well folks...i hope to write a more interesting (both verbally and visually) post very soon. just wanted to say...i'm here again!


22 February 2009

happy birthday to me! (and a week of media free)

yep, that's right...a skating party was planned on my behalf by my very dear daughter and cooperative husband! this party was the grand finale to a weekend of birthday fun!

saturday, we packed up to go to my parent's house...where we dropped off the kids for an overnight stay...somewhere! i had no idea what was in store for me! we headed off to central pennsylvania, to a small town called columbia. it's about 40 minutes south of harrisburg on the susquehanna river. we went to a local market/bizarre thing to browse around. we met two really nice women selling their handknits/handspun and they had wheels with them...so i was all ga-ga over them. we left there and went straight to the pharmacy across the street. totally old fashioned place: a diner in the front with locals staring as we walked in. odd toys and bits for sale amidst balm, toothpaste and remedies. i purchased a small schleich lamb...to put up for inspiration to one day own a real one! we walked around the town a bit, then drove a bit to hike over to chickie's rock. a really beautiful view of the susquehanna(didn't take my own photo, so here's a borrowed one). from there, we drove north on 441 to harrisburg for a great tapas dinner at suba. YUM...loved every morsel. we high-tailed it out of there to lancaster, for some possible contra dancing, but finding ourselves a little on the tired end, decided on coffee and dessert at the prince street cafe. (ps-we even saw our friends' son's photo on the wall - christopher burkholder will be playing there in march!) (pps-the contra dancing WILL happen next month!)
so, not knowing where we were staying, i started to ask questions...and little by little realized we were heading to the exact same place we stayed on our wedding night! this AMAZING bed and breakfast that has a detached spring house - 3 floors, fireplace in the living room, cozy bedroom and roomy bathroom...and the breakfast is soooooo good! it was all too much! i was beaming from ear to ear!
we awoke to snow falling lightly...ate the amazing peach-french toast breakfast and went back to the spring house for fireside coffee, bible time and knitting. oh, it was good!
from there we headed to shillington...to skateaway! when chris asked stella what she wanted to do that was "special for mama" she said, "we HAVE to go roller skating!"...so we did. my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, nephews, and friends, loren, rich, milja and iona all joined us! hilariously fun. (and kinda good in the workout way) SO memorable. we ended up back at my sister, lura's house for pizza, cupcakes and icecream...and gifts! can it get better? oh yes it can...in addition to some girly gifts from my sister and a neti pot from loren and rich, my parents, sister, husband and in-laws all went in on this for me:

a zojirushi home bakery supreme! holy cow! all ingredients are in now for honey wheat bread now, timer set to have freshly baked bread at 6:30am! oh yes!! this thing is amazing...says it can bake all sorts of breads, prepare doughs, create a sourdough starter/bread, make jam, make a meatloaf miracle (love that name), and create your own recipes. this is ridiculously exciting for me!

i am a blessed woman!

so...what a weekend! and i do have some photos for sharing...but will have to wait on them, as it is getting late! however, dear friends, our family has committed to something BIG this week.

we are having a Media-Free Week. no tv. no dvds. no videos. no computer(gulp). no blogs/blogging. no googling. no facebooking(like i do it anyway!) we need to reclaim some peace and quiet in our lives, so this is a big step towards that. we'll see if chris and i can agree to possibly on posting photos of the weekend...but i can't promise it! i do have to much to catch up on, too...some sad, some wonderful...but it will all wait until after next sunday. so, thank you all for the well-wishing on this day, and i hope you have a lovely week. we'll be eating lots of bread. and maybe some jam. and possibly a meatloaf miracle. i'll let you know. next week.

30 January 2009

my new obsession

a golding spindle "learn to spin" kit gifted to me on christmas morning from my loving hubby, chris. spindle. fiber. book. hopefully, soon, yarn.

well, there is a little "yarn" i made christmas day. i haven't done much since, as i am trying to wrap up some unfinished projects. stella's sweater has been on the needles since (gulp) october! hopefully finishing that this weekend. and a little project i've been making up. see how that goes...hopefully by the end of this week! then its onto another february sweater for me (last year was the hourglass and i have NO photos of it!)...and then, spinning!

28 January 2009

celebrating 10 years in 10 months

the passionate shephard to his love
by c. marlowe

come live with me and be my love
and we will all the pleasures prove
that hills and valleys, dale and field,
and all the craggy mountains yield.

there will i make thee beds of roses
and a thousand fragrant posies,
a cap of flowers, and a kirtle
embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

a gown made of the finest wool
which from our pretty lambs we pull,
fair lined slippers for the cold,
with buckles of the purest gold.

a belt of straw and ivy buds
with coral clasps and amber studs:
and if these pleasures may thee move,
come live with me and be my love.

thy silver dishes for thy meat
as precious as the gods do eat,
shall on an ivory table be
prepared each day for thee and me.

the shepherd swains shall dance and sing
for thy delight each may-morning:
if these delights thy mind may move,
then live with me and be my love.

chris and i will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this october. in a way, that's a very long time. in another, a flash. in that time, we've changed dramatically, broken and rebuilt. with these most recent hardships in the past, we decided it's time for a BIG celebration. i thought of a spin on the 10 x 10 project...just this one will be 10 IN 10 - 10 handmade gifts in 10 months to celebrate 10 years! we are going to give a handmade gift to each other every month until our anniversary! the gift day will be anytime within each month (since its much more fun to surprise!). so...you'll see little snippets of what i'm making chris each month here!

this month, he's getting a hat. he needs one...and i haven't made him one since BEFORE we were dating! yikes. this one has a little secret stitched in the lining...and that will be kept secret! hee hee! i finished it up last night just in time for some snow and ice this morning.

pattern: (altered) whitney's 70s ski hat from the purl bee
yarn: all from my stash! finally!
main yarn: filatura di crosa zara, merino dk, brown, 1 skein
stripes: more zara in green (barely any off the skein!)
and plymouth yarn baby alpaca dk
lined with the alpaca, secret message in more alpaca...
details found over on ravelry!

26 January 2009

a little dress

stella had a violin recital this weekend and earned her "twinkle certificate," meaning she successfully completed all of the twinkle variations and theme in the suzuki method. we were very excited and proud of her, as she has worked very hard, practicing so much (even on vacation!) i felt she deserved a new dress for the occasion, especially since lately she's been growing like a weed and the ones she has are a bit short! i've been hoarding this great linen print i had grabbed from superbuzzy for awhile and planned on making up a dress to be similar to the girls dresses on the fabric. this is what i came up with on saturday night before the sunday recital. maybe one day i'll make a pattern or give some kind of instructions. it was fun to just make it up as i went along. love my little girl...

the fabric...

the front...

the back...

the faced hem...

the performer...

the awards - twinkle certificate and mcdonald's coupon for listening contest...

the little guy who wants to be just like her (on the american girl violin!)...
this last one was taken today amidst toys, blankies and pjs. unfortunately, after an amazing recital, we tried to celebrate at friendly's but spent an hour in their bathroom with stella throwing-up in the trash can. eli followed suit in the car...so today is a sick day at home. thankfully, we're all on the mend!

09 January 2009


PLEASE! for the love of all that will crack you up, PLEASE go read this!

08 January 2009

visions of sugar plums

**edited to add more photos...

::::be forewarned:::a TON of photos follow:::::

the night before christmas,
when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring......

oh, yeah, sure! the kids would NOT go to bed. so at 11:30pm (i'm totally serious!) we closed the door and said a stern - stay in there! we heard racket, but ignored it as last minute assembly took place. after everything was ready to go for the morning, i checked in on them and found this...snuggled together in stella's bed!

we were so excited for the morning. thanks to all of the "santas" in our life, we had this abundantly gifted tree and a glorious overnight-stuffed-french toast prepped (recipe from mrs. slaboda in georgia...thank you!!). i wish i could draw arrows to each gift and show how each and everything came from someone else's gift to us...again...THANK YOU! we are still overwhelmed by God's providence and grace and kingdom and family and......

the morning arrived, much to our delight. we tortured the kids by making them wait in our bedroom or the kitchen, doors all closed, until grammy and boppa arrived. promptly at 8am, the big moment came. love the look here!

eli was a more subdued sort of shock. i didn't have just the right photo to show his quiet joy...but this one is close. the soft haze, the cookie on the arm of the couch (he nibbled it slowly throughout the morning) and his satisfaction with this little dinosaur...he's a grateful boy.
a monster montage. he loves these toys so very much!

and his parking garage, from plan toys.***see note at bottom about this company!***

mamma eeked out one handmade gift this year (as opposed to last years craziness)...this puppet theatre. greatly inspired by this book, but improvised based on what i had in my stash. the only things purchased for this, were 50cent dowels and a $3 tension rod! chris and i had a blast with the puppets...super eli and princess stella, of course!

this from grammy and boppa...eli can truly wail this ball across our yard!

and for stella from grammy and boppa, furnished by aunt lauren and uncle chad, with extras from mamma and daddy (via our santas!) (this is another plan toys gift...seriously love them!)

the BIG gifts were bikes...the gravel blaster!

and the schwinn stardust...

*note about the lack of helmets. we are ardent in our use of helmets; however, they were yet to be gifted from nana and papa, and well, we had to enjoy one short ride with the new bikes. we were very careful and will not do it again. promise!

**note about the shoes on stella...yep, go ahead, zoom in if you can! love these hand-me-down converse gingerbread men!!! we had some fun holiday attire thanks to my students!

***note about plan toys. oh man. this company. we got eli the roadway system last year and love it. all wood. all green. safe and fun and very cute. so we got the parking garage this year. the little elevator had a broken piece (very small and minor). since we bought it online, we were having some trouble exchanging it. plan toys offers replacement parts on their website. so i filled out the info and emailed it in, hoping to buy a new elevator. i receive an email from their customer service rep saying that part is unavailable in the usa, so they are sending us an entire NEW parking garage and to please donate or recycle this one! it's 3 weeks old! and played with everyday! i can't believe it! so we HIGHLY recommend this company...for so many reasons!

*******so thank you to all of our friends and family who gifted to us so very generously and deeply from their hearts and wallets. with all of this, remember that you also met our daily needs. you paid our bills. our necessities were met thanks to you. and we know that ultimately those gifts from you were truly from our Father. and that you would want everyone to know that too. the new year has already promised to be a year of blessing and abundance to us. look forward to another post of crazy generosity and abundance coming soon-ish. *******

i could keep on going, but this is already too long. i'll save the rest for another post. xoxoxox