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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Boxcar Museum

My mother in law recently read "The Boxcar Children" to my kids. It is an adorable series about four orphaned children and their innocent adventures. My kids were especially captivated by the second book in the series "Surprise Island," because the setting is so familiar.

Our camp is located a short canoe ride from Blueberry Island, now nicknamed Boxcar Children Island. The kids imaginations simply flew with this story. They loved poking their heads into a small abandoned shack, collecting their own food (berries and mushrooms) like the children in the story, and searching for treasures to add to their "Museum."

It is this museum that most amazed me. What a great idea! Giving kids a place to keep all of their miscellaneous items that they pick up every day is simply brilliant! Children love to collect things, and usually as adults, we have a hard time seeing the value in their collections. (Just ask my husband - he still gets teased about his childhood "Stump Collection" - inspired by a native american weapon that he once saw that was made from a gnarled tree limb) Usually on my kitchen countertop there is a random assembly of gravel, withered daisies, and interesting bug casings - which I can't wait to whisk back outdoors as soon as the kids go to bed.

"Nina" was smart enough to realize the value of these treasures, and allowed the kids to place their very special items on a rarely used rolling cart on the screen porch.

If you click on the picture you will be able to see:
  • a bone gnawed on by mice
  • a piece of driftwood
  • a large feather (we believe it may be from the bald eagle we have seen a few times on the island) 
  • dried flowers
  • a swallow's nest
  • birch bark
  • snail shells
  • a pine-cone
  • muscle shells
Isn't it amazing where a book can take you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


One of the advantages of having a lawn ripped apart during landscaping is the amazing opportunity to search for animal tracks in the soft mud.

In the past 5 days we have been lucky enough to identify chipmunk tracks, our own dog's paw-prints, and most recently, deer and fawn tracks. We have also had fun figuring out who's sneaker prints are whose. Daddy has the largest, and my daughter's have yet to be found (she is always barefoot).

Spotting tracks at home has caused us to begin finding them everywhere. Seagull tracks at the beach, Mallard Duck tracks at camp. We were even inspired to make some artistic tracks of our own.

White Tailed Deer & twin fawns

Shadie :-)

Sea Gulls (I'm not sure which kind)

Female Mallard Duck

My sweet daughter having fun at the ocean

I bet there are tracks in your backyard too - go check!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kitchen Update

I've been asked to post updated photos of our kitchen project.  The view from far away isn't too impressive yet.  What kitchen looks good with all of the dishes and food on display?  Our custom cabinet doors have been ordered from Walzcraft, and we have been told that they will be finished within the next 10 days (but I'm not holding my breath).  After they arrive we will still need to stain and poly them, so it will be several more weeks until we make any real progress.  After that we can paint the ceilings and walls and tile the backsplash.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole project come together.  

Here are some of my favorite features of our new kitchen so far:

Granite countertops - great for rolling out pie crust and durable enough for daily kid craft projects.  We haven't been able to stain them yet.

Cork floors - soft, warm, and able to be cleaned simply with water.  No soap needed.

Plus, both are pretty!

My amazing Brizo faucet that automatically senses when your hand are under it!  I love being able to do dishes without turning the faucet on and off a thousand times.  I also like that the kids can't leave it running.  If you'd like a giggle, check out this promotional video.  I never imagined they could make a faucet look so dramatic.

My office corner!  I have stashed my printer under the counter, so I can do my work where I usually spend most of my time.  No more trecking the laptop across the house every time I need to print a recipe.

My filing drawer.  For years I have LOVED the portability of these file boxes, but I've been annoyed because they always seemed to be hanging around the house all the time.  This drawer is just deep enough to stash two - one for my bills, and the other for school lesson plans.

All of my husband's "hidden" features.  Our outlets are tucked under the upper cabinets, our TV is hidden in the "MacGyver Cabinet" and my microwave is under the island countertop rather than sitting out on the counter.  I just think it looks better this way.  

The enormous spice cabinet that we built into the wall - If you look closely you will notice that it exactly the size and shape of our old basement door. Instead of completely walling off the door, I asked for this space to be built. I still can't believe I had all of those spices hidden on the top shelf of my hall closet before this was built!

They always say that the kitchen is the hardest room to renovate, and now I know why - there are SO many details to think about, decide upon, organize, and implement.  So far I'm really happy with the way our project is coming out.  It will be fun to see how it looks with those cabinet doors!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


You know a punishment has lost it's effictiveness when this happens:

Tonight our son crept out of his room after bedtime. I caught him and told him "Back to bed sweetie." His reply caught me off guard. He said "No thanks, I'd like a punishment!"

     Mom: "You want a punishment?"

     Son: "A Daddy one!"

     Mom: "What kind of punishment do you want Daddy to give you?"

     Son: "A kneeling one, with my head on the step."

     Mom: "Really?"

     Son: "Yup, a Daddy one."

     Mom: (trying not to giggle) "Wait at the top of the steps, I'm going to get your father."

I called in his father from outside and quietly explained this strange story.

Do you submit to your child's whims when they get out of bed after bedtime or do you punish them?  How do you punish a child who is asking to be punished? Does he really deserve a punishment or is he just in need of attention?  

We were interrupted by a little voice calling from the top of the steps "Don't forget hands behind the back . . . kneeling on the steps, hands behind the back!"

     Dad: "Back to bed, I'll tuck you in!" 

     Son: "No thanks, I want a punishment, The steps kind."

     Dad: "I'll carry you" (tries to lift child)

     Son: (kicking and crying) "No! I want a punishment!"

     Dad: "Okay, if that's what you want. Kneel at the steps."

     Son: "Hands behind my back?"

     Dad: "Yes, hands behind your back."

     Son: "Okay Daddy!"

After his "punishment" he happily trotted back to bed while we tried to hide our laughing.

So, did we punish him or not? I'm not sure . . . parenting is a strange business!

Saturday, August 16, 2008



or those of you who subscribe to this site via: RSS feed, I apologize for the strange postings that you will see. I have been making changes to our HTML, and because I am (very obviously) not a computer person, some of my methods are a bit awkward. They get the job done though! Thanks for your patience.

If you'd like to, feel free to check out my Edit site - where I've posted all the instructions for the goofy stuff I've been learning (or trying to learn).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Dishes - from my Basement


ooray! My new dishes were just delivered! Happy dance! Twirling! Jumping!

I know, dishes aren't usually that exciting, but I have been waiting for mine for a LONG time. When we first moved into our current house (five years ago) we knew that new dishes were needed, but we thought that we would wait for some of our remodeling to be done.

Fast forward 5 years - for my birthday this year (6 months ago) DH said he would buy me new dishes. Unfortunately, it seems as if all of the dishes out there in the world are now stoneware. If you haven't noticed, stoneware is extraordinarily heavy, bulky, and often is marked by silverware, resulting in a dirty gray haze. On the other hand, there is the very light and thin Corelle brand, but they shatter when they are dropped (our kitchen floor is tile, not a good combination) and usually the styles look cheap and/or dated.

So, for 6 months I have been searching for the perfect dishes, with absolutely no success. Until last week! My mom and I went to Maine on a mission to buy dishes. We looked at several stores, and then noticed a Villeroy and Boch outlet. In the window was a beautiful pattern - the same one that has been in my basement wrapped in newspaper for years.

Our beloved friends from Germany had gotten together to buy us a tea set as a wedding present. We received a teapot, sugar and creamer set, 6 cups, saucers, small plates, and a platter.

Lights and bells went off in my head! Why not complete the set we already had and loved (but unfortunately, weren't able to use), rather than settle for something I wasn't thrilled about. Sadly, the last time we used this beautiful set was:

5 years ago! I couldn't believe it when I unwrapped them!

So, after a quick phone call to my husband I received his blessing to spend WAY TOO MUCH on the plates that we needed. If we had to buy the entire set, it would have been out of the question, but because we already had quite a few pieces, the total cost came out to approximately what I was expecting to spend originally.

So, in the end I got what I wanted, cleaned another box out of my basement, and stayed on budget! Those 5 years worth of waiting and 6 months of searching were all worth it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Okay, so my nomination for the "slacker mom of the year" award has officially been withdrawn - finally!

After years of procrastination, we have just now hosted a dedication ceremony our 3 year old son. Why did it take so long? I really don't know. We dedicated our first child within months of her birth, but for some reason never seemed to get around to it for our 2nd. We talked about it several times, but it never seemed important enough to follow through with.

Boy were we wrong!

Our little one was dedicated this past Saturday, and I am SO glad that we did it. It is so moving to 
  • Formally take the time to thank God for the precious gift of our sweet boy
  • Publicly declare our intentions to raise him in a Christ centered home
  • Re-commit ourselves to abide by biblical principles in our home so that the environment that our children experience every day is a reflection of Christ's love
  • Re-commit ourselves to personally grow closer to the Lord so that we can continue to lead and teach our children as they grow
In addition, our pastor asked the congregation to raise their hands if they were willing to pray for us and our son. What a joy it is to see people promise to support you!

My little guy then wiggled and squirmed through a very profound prayer covering topics ranging from his character, friendships, schooling, possible future military service, all the way through to his future spouse and children.

About a half hour later (after another dedication and 4 baptisms), as if in comic relief, my princess melted into a puddle of tears wailing that "they all prayed for him, but nobody prayed for me!"

What kind of parent could love or pray for one child more than another? 
I'll have to get out those dedication pictures from when she was a tiny infant to show her the love and devotion she inspires.

No more slacking! I'll get those photo albums out tonight - or tomorrow, she's asleep already - or maybe the next day, tomorrow's schedule looks full. Uh, oh! Maybe my nomination shouldn't be removed quite yet. At least my intentions are good!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shhh . . . It's a Secret!

Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary - 10 years!
It is amazing to think of all that has happened since we got married: Two houses, two kids, the loss of several beloved grandparents, job changes, and a lot more.

My sweetheart already received his gift a few days ago.

I brought the kids with me when I picked it up - that was my big mistake.

When their daddy arrived home from work they rushed to him at the front door yelling "Mommy bought a gift for you! It's a secret! It's a secret!"

Next breath (stage whisper) "It's hidden in her car, come on, I'll show you. It's a secret"

Another breath (forgetting to whisper) "It's a clock! It's a clock!".

He tried to pretend not to hear, but we were all laughing so hard that we couldn't deny the kids their excitement. Needless to say, the wrapping paper was quickly removed, and the "secret" clock was revealed.

Time files when you are having fun! Happy 10th Anniversary Sweetheart!

Monday, August 4, 2008


Have you ever been so tired that you couldn't keep your eyes open? So tired that everything annoys you, nothing goes right, and even when you get your way, it still doesn't make you happy?

Our youngest was having one of those days yesterday. He missed his nap, his sister was still grumpy from the medication she has been taking, and nothing could please him. My solution - Call in reinforcements (aka. Daddy)!  His solution - bring the child along as he worked on our landscaping.

The result:

Psalm 127:2 "He grants sleep to those he loves."

Here are a few more photos that prove the same point.

Isn't the sleep of a child amazing? They are utterly confident. Assured that the world and everything in it will be perfectly fine while they rest. - - - Then they wake, and the chaos begins again.