Month: January 2012

  • Tricks of the Trade [housewife edition]


    So January is National Organizing Month.
    Just hearing that, “organizing month,” makes me happy.
    Not that I’ve actually even done that much this year,
    with just getting back and adjusting to a routine again.
    But I really do love having a bit of organization in my days and life and home

    I thought it might be fun to do a little “tricks of the trade” of house-wife-ing,
    in honor of this month. Since I have one day left in January. :)

    Any other occupation tries to find ways to better itself and find shortcuts and time-savers, so why not the career of housekeeping?

    [Now as a disclaimer: This is not about a clean house.
    I'm not talking about dustless baseboards or spotless floors or weekly cleaning.
    This is not about trying to have "the perfect house."]

    National Organizing Month 131

    [Yes, there are flowers blooming in January. I think winter forgot to come.]

     This is just going to be some tips and tricks that I’ve learned from so many other people throughout the past six years of marriage. And even before that, observing my mother with her six children.

     These are just things that seem to make the days go by with more calmness
    and keep the home functioning more smoothly.
    Things that promote orderliness and that are easy to teach to younger children.

    I’m not a neat freak, but I do love order.
    I also think that as a follower of Jesus my home should reflect His character and Spirit.
    Jesus is the Author of peace, of order, of rest. He’s also the One who created laughter and fun!
    And I want our home to be a reflection of Who He is.

    I want my children to grow up without a feeling of chaos, but with peace and rest and lots of fun.
    On a practical level, this means a lot of love and laughing, a lot of big messes, and a lot of cleaning up.

    I’ve quoted Edith Schaeffer before, and she says,
    “The fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than a gradual drying up of creativity, and a blindness to ugliness…”

    I love that. And yet, honestly, with small children, it can be challenging.
    Add an adorable but small cottage with two closets and it’s even more challenging.
    I want to live functionally, practically, and yet beautifully.

    I also know that in about three months our world will be changed by a little person less than two feet long, and I’m hoping the things we do now will stick then and hopefully help with the adjustment.

    So, while order and neatness are important, I also never want my children to feel like they are in an institution, where a organized house is The Most Important thing to me. While I want to teach cleanliness and consideration and respect of others, I also don’t want shoe tracks across the freshly-cleaned kitchen floor to mess up my whole day.

    As a mother, I think there must a be a fine line to all this, and it’s Wisdom that can tell the difference. I don’t always have it, and therefore ask for it. Often.

    Somehow, in all the responsibilities of keeping a house, and cleaning up and washing dishes and laundry, I believe it can all be worship to God. I want to be a happy housekeeper. :) And yet I also don’t want to lose track of what really is eternal, and that is the souls of my children, and showing them LOVE above orderliness.

    House-wife-ing, for lack of a better term, can be worship of God, but it can also be worship of self.
    And how I need God to speak to my heart [as He did this morning] when I was doing the latter.

    So I hope this can be a mutual encouragement, and not a comparison of who does what better.
    It’s a mutual learning, and that why I want to hear from you too. :) Maybe someday I’ll look back and all this and think, “Goodness, girl, just let it go!” or maybe not. Time will tell. :) But for now, these are things that are working well for us, and as our family changes I expect some of this will to.

    So, let’s start in the kitchen.

    I think I’ve learned more about kitchen organization from two of my sister-in-laws than anyone else! I’ve lived in three different houses since we’re married, and two of those kitchens were organized by my sister-in-law when we moved in. She’s just really good at it. :) She thinks so logically – like baking stations and putting mixing bowls and scrapers close together for convenience-sake, and all sorts of wonderful things.  I like organizing too, but Sonya is just really good at kitchens.

    One fantastic thing I’ve learned from her and Mary Jo is to put lazy susans in the refrigerator. I’m sure the thought would never have crossed my mind, but when I saw it in their kitchens I thought it was brilliant. It works wonderfully for those little jars of all sorts of things, that are difficult to find if stacked all behind each other.

    And not just in the fridge, but all over the kitchen. Under the sink for the soaps and scrubbies. In cupboards for spices, for vitamins. Little lazy susans like that are so cheap and you can buy them at Walmart or almost anywhere, but they have helped keep order so very well.

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    A lot of people have drawer organizers so this is not a new thing, but I love mine.
    TJ Maxx or similar type of stores carry very good quality ones for under $10 and I love the shining pieces all in order.

    [for silverware, large utensils, and small cooking items]

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    I solemnly affirm by Tupperware’s modular mates.
    Pretty? Well, not especially.
    But if organized is beautiful to you, then you’re in luck. :)
    But functional and practical and organized as can be.
    And now I hear they come with black lids, which are quite classy.

    Every January for the past many years I’ve collected a few, because in January and part of February they are 40% off, which makes them quite affordable. Other times, not so much, unless you have a party. You can go to order them. [sorry, I'm having great trouble with my weblog page and can't do short links right now].

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    Also in the kitchen… Does anyone else have a problem with The Mail Collection?
    It seems that it piles in the kitchen no matter how hard I try to take it to the desk.
    So I may as well have a little place for it. This is Ben’s place for bills/reminders/coupons.

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    The kiddo drawer.
    I wanted my kids to have easy access to their plates and cups for several reasons: so they can learn to set the table, so they can grab a drink if they need it, and so they can help unload their things from the dishwasher.

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    I think this was a Better Homes & Gardens tip, the assortment of napkin rings into little bowls.

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    In the girls’ bedroom.
    One of two rooms that has a closet. Advantage must be taken of it.

    The Closet:
    It serves as room for their hanging clothes, but also organization for some of their toys.
    Can you tell I ♥ baskets? They can be a bit of an investment, but to me they were well worth it.
    Some of these I bought years ago, some I even received as wedding gifts, and they last so long. I keep wanting to make little signs to put on them to label what is what, but so far the kids can’t read so the signs would only be for their mother. :)

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    I have a basket just for Zoe’s K-4 supplies in her room, so that we can just grab it and take it to the table when we want to work on it. Glue, pencils, scissors, crayons, and everything are in it.

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    For pretty and practical – 5 little tins from the dollar section in Target.
    They hold erasers, crayons, pencil crayons, glitter glue, and markers. 

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    not just for looks, although I like the vintage touch they add.
    The bottom trunk holds princess outfits, the top one baby dolls clothes and bottles and…

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    There is one more trunk in their bedroom that serves as the General Toy Chest. 

    There are two small and two large drawers, and that’s the only bit of furniture besides the beds. It’s a small room, and somehow Baby #3 is going to fit in there too. :) Zoe and Olivia each get a small drawer for shoes/socks and a large drawer for everything else but hanging pieces of clothes. It helps me keep their clothes up-to-date with sizes and also minimizes how many articles each one can have.

    National Organizing Month 118 


    hair pretty organizer:
    this idea [seen in Pottery Barn and replicated] is wonderful for those little bows and flowers that would just get so lost in a drawer.

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    And a little tin container works well for the satin and metal headbands.

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    bathroom drawer organizer:
    I’m big on bins, baskets, and storage things ~ they simplify and organize life so much better.
    These aren’t that cute but they’re hidden in a drawer and work perfect to keep everything from falling over each other. From Walmart.

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    A tiny plastic organizer, for those little objects:

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    The countertop can be a place of organization too, because we’re short on space.
    The key is displaying it attractively but practically.

    Hair accessories:
    these are little condiment dishes I picked up at a yard sale.

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    Daily uses [junk shop or goodwill special]:

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    The laundry room is my other place of storage. We had custom cabinets build when we moved in, and without them I would be lost.

    Above the washer and dryer the bins hold cleaning rags, spot cleaners and laundry soap, and the first aid supplies.

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    Also in the laundry room, various other storage units.

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    Our games are also stored in the laundry room, for lack of a better place, and the small ones we keep in a basket for easy access.

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    Shoe organizer:
    We take off our shoes most times in the house, and so a goodwill basket is a great place to put them.

    National Organizing Month 132  

    General Clean-up Time:

    We have two different clean-up times in the day. One is for me, and one is for the girls.

    Mine falls in the mornings mostly, and is breakfast for everyone. This involves a cleanup of the whole kitchen area, cleaning all dishes out of the sink and either washing them or stacking the dishwasher. All countertops in the kitchen are wiped, the rug in front of the sink vacuumed, the floor swept, and a general tidy appearance is made.

    Also included in this is an overall walk through the house, stopping in at the girls bedroom, getting them dressed if they didn’t already put on The Rainbow or The Sunshine, helping them fix their beds, putting jammies in drawers or in the hamper. Then on to the bathroom, making sure faces are washes, teeth are brushed, hair is combed.

    Next is laundry - I’m still figuring out if a small load every day is best or making two big laundry days a week is better. This varies by week. And by weather, since I hang out most of the laundry. So if it’s laundry day I get that started, and if not, I make sure clothes are not left lying in a rapture-like state around the house.

    Last stop is in the master bath, checking in the mirror to make sure I got fully dressed as well. :)

    And after all that, which takes around a half hour normally, my part of the house is in decent order, the girls are making a happy play mess somewhere, and that’s when I can take some time for projects, computer time, [and in a perfect day] a walk outdoors with the girls, or some other housewifely thing. :)

    For the girls, their cleanup time is a little different.

    With small children, you could walk in my house at almost any waking hour and it’s a play area.
    Toys, dolls, princess dresses, play kitchen things,
    markers and pencils and colors and pads of paper will be found nearby.

    So when it’s playtime those things are allowed. It’s just part of life with kiddos.
    But three times a day we have clean-up time:
    1. before lunch
    2. before suppertime
    3. before bedtime

    And each of those three times is needed very much. :)
    But it allows enough of playtime to where my kids are not frustrated by cleanup.
    There are times when certain things are allowed to stay out longer than the three respective cleanups, but as a general rule this works really well for us.

    And it helps me wake up to a clean house every morning.
    I have this thing for a clean house upon awakening:
    my morning time is very precious, and I do not want to spend any of it cleaning up.
    Also, I cannot, and I mean, cannot, have any quiet time in the middle of a mess.
    A mess makes my mind feel cluttered, and it completely distracts me from time with God.
    So, even if it means staying up later in the evening, I will do it,
    just for the sake of a clean house in the morning.

    I have several disaster zones. Try as I might, I cannot figure out how to organize them.

    The Container Drawer.

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    The Under-the-Steps Cubby
    [home to brooms, vacuum, extra table leaf, various miscellaneous...]

    Now this is the second part of the post:
    I would love it if some of you would share your tips for the rest of us to learn about.

    Within the next two weeks, I’m hoping for messages and emails, and hopefully some pictures,
    of things that have helped you. I’m talking about very practical things, but if they’re pretty and practical that’s great too. My email is (so embarrassing, I created the account as a teenager and have never changed it) starbucksfan (@) Please include your name, a link to your blog if you have one and care to, and pictures if you like. In about two weeks, if anyone has sent me anything :) I’ll do a Part Two Edition. I’m really hoping for your input, and would love to learn from you!

    So, here’s cheers to anyone who keeps a house, who makes a home, and who wreathes it in smiles!




  • A Day in January.


    It’s quiet time at the Cottage.

    However, the two year old is still singing loudly at the top of her lungs, and talking to her bunnies in the bedroom. She’s the one that sings all day, singing a phrase from one song, stopping to play with her baby doll, then jumping in to a whole new line in a brand new song seconds later.

    Yesterday her lisping song of the day went like this,
    “If you’re happy and you know it, then your WIFE will surely show it…”
    I laughed then, and I laughed all day whenever I thought of it.

    [during a peanut butter & honey lunch]
    a bonding sister moment

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    The four year old is still trying to figure out which books to look at and what to draw for her hour of quietness, humming in the book corner to herself. I hear a sleepy yawn, which I’m sure she was trying to hide from me.

    Quiet time is relative, I guess. :)

    It’s been a good past week.
    These are such good, fun days, our little family of four.
    Today is just one of those days when I’m so happy to be a mom. :)

    Even if they made me play “Pirates” in the backyard for an hour this morning.
    Goodness, I don’t even know how to imaginary play anymore.
    I spent a whole childhood in an imaginary world, and then I feel put on the spot without notes when Zoe is captain of the pirate ship and I’m supposed to ad lib for one hour. Can’t say I was the most passionate pirate. I’m sure all the neighbors wondered what I was doing in the boat with the kids on dry land. :)

    It’s exactly four weeks since we’ve been back, and we’re feeling much more adjusted and in a routine again.
    Almost exactly three months before the Baby is due to arrive,
    and while that would make some people wildly fly about doing all sorts of cleaning and arranging and nursery-preparing, I’m doing just the opposite.
    Just taking time to sit back and enjoy these last few months with my two little girls.

    Maybe soon it’ll be three little girls, we don’t know. Zoe is sure it’s a boy ~ she thinks Daddy needs another boy in the family and she really wants a brother. We’re sort of thinking it’s a boy too. But if it would be a girl, it would be pure delight and happiness. A little girl is just like a real live dolly, and goodness, is it ever fun to dress them up and put pretty little outfits on them and wear little flowers in their hair. Or put them on their heads, if they have no hair. :)

    But then I see some of my friends’ little boys, and I think they would be just so fun too. I see their beautiful little boys and I think, “Awww, I’ll take one of those, please.” Such cute little men little boys can be, and such leaders they have the potential to be. Either way, either gender, it will not be a disappointment.

    But three months still sounds rather far off, and this pregnancy hasn’t been as easy as the past two. Round ligament pain, anyone? I don’t remember ever even hearing about it before, but I went to the doctor this time around thinking something must be seriously wrong with me, only to find out it’s a common problem in pregnancy and there is really nothing to do about it. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me that much, and sometimes I almost see stars, it’s that painful. I normally like to do a lot of walking and exercising when I’m pregnant, and the round ligament pain makes it not quite impossible, but very difficult.

    But I’m not on bed-rest, and it’s a healthy baby ever kicking around inside, and I am grateful. I just can’t wait to meet this little one in person, and see who’s been so active for months already!

    One day, I’ll be “nesting”, I’m sure. But until then, we’re just enjoying winter.
    Even if it is 70 degrees outside and balmy. Maybe we’ll even hit the ocean this week, we’ll see.

    toasted cheese and hot tomato

    soup & sandwich night



    In the past month, I’ve read these two books to Zoe. We finished the last one just before quiet time, all 335 pages.  I don’t know if she or I [or her daddy] enjoy them more.

    Little House books  

    I can’t believe she’s old enough to enjoy them, and she wants me to read for hours at a time until my tongue is dry and my throat is parched. Sometimes I oblige. Sometimes it’s just a chapter or two. But it really is so fun and something I have looked forward to for years ~ the cuddling on the sofa together with my children, reading about Mary and Laura and all their adventures. It blows my mind how pioneers like they were survived. Months without going to a store? Laura was four years old before she even saw a store, before she even saw a town? Ma adjusting to life on the prairie, not going to town for a whole year, just trusting the little supplies the Pa brought back once or twice? Unbelieveable. I’m thinking I want to simplify. At least somewhat. :)

    MY FAIRE LADY… has kept me busy this month… such a fun little hobby for me.

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    And, a new addition to my blog – WHAT {SHE} WORE WEDNESDAY, the Zoe’ Edition.

    I have a little girl who has suddenly taken a great interest in clothing. Might I say that she has an eye for the brightest articles in her closet and drawer, whether that be patterns, prints, or solids. Coming up with her own outfit brings great delight. To her. It leaves her mother speechless and trying to stifle laughter.

    The Rainbow Attempt:
    wsww wsww2

    When the Sun Doesn’t Shine, I Will:
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    Whoops, It’s My Jammies:
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    Pink’s the Color:
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    It’s called, “Find the Skirt”
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    So now it’s way past quiet time,  and no naps have been taken.
    Time for dinner prep, and a touch-up of face and house before husband returns home!

    Happy Tuesday!



  • Twenty-Twelve & Little Red Coats



    So it’s a new year, and a new start each day.
    Last year my goals changed drastically from “to-do’s” to “to-be’s”.
    This year it’s a lot the same.
    Not projects to complete and activities to check off
    but more on a personal level, where it’s between me and God.
    Goals are great, I fully agree.
    It’s just that for so many years I got hung up on the goals
    instead of The Goal, and I don’t want that to be a pattern of my life.

    So I still have them in my head, they have not yet reached paper.
    Some are personal, some pertain to my marriage and things I want to BE,
    some are practical and relational as I interact with my little family,
    some have to do with time management…

    Several years ago I realized that not nearly all of my New Years Resolutions were happening,
    and it was due largely to expecting other people
    to do things a particular way to enable their completion.
    Enter frustration and conflict, because of expectations that should never have been placed on other people.
    Expectations they were not even aware I had put upon them!

    That is why I’m changing from To-Do to To-Be.
    Some people may need to do the opposite, but this is what is right between God and me.

    So much of life is like that, isn’t it?
    Yes, there are very clear rights and wrongs in some things,
    but in others, it has to be a communication between God and you.
    What works for someone else won’t work for you.
    What God leads you to do in a certain thing isn’t what He tells everyone else to do.
    It’s simply an attitude of listening to Jesus Christ,
    of being content in relationship with Him,
    to where I don’t feel threatened by all the other wonderful things other people are doing.

    And goodness, this is real for me, especially having internet access again.
    I’m rather staggered and overwhelmed by the incredible myriad of blogs and ideas and amazing words
    and wonder why I even write at all. Sometimes it feels like one person can just be swallowed up
    in the vastness of the internet, and feel so small and insignificant.
    There is so much comparison that can happen
    [and Jesus doesn't like when we compare ourselves with each other, remember?]
    and I fall so short of all
    the amazing cooking
    and writing
    and blogging
    and creating
    and crafting
    and family-loving
    and vacationing
    and God-loving
    and… [you probably can fill in a few more blanks]

    And yet it can be so obsessive, this internet world,
    that we have to learn where to start and stop, how to set boundaries,
    even in things that aren’t necessarily bad, they’re just time-wasters.
    They can be things that either make us feel good about ourselves
    or send us down a path of self-loathing.

    Either way, it’s taking our eyes off of Jesus.
    It’s about us, about ourselves,
    and I don’t want it.
    I don’t think that means shutting off all internet forever,
    although from personal experience a time away can be a very healthy experience.

    But learning to keep my eyes on Jesus,
    learning to be sensitive to His Spirit…
    to the quiet Voice that says, “Okay, close the computer. Spend some time reading…”
    Or “take _________ a meal, she’s exhausted today.”
    “Your child needs some time with you, try a walk outside.”
    “Write a note and drop it in the mailbox.”
    “Take some time to prepare for your husband coming home, some makeup and perfume.”
    Or sometimes it may mean, “Write that blog post…”

    It can be so many different things,
    and I don’t know what it’ll mean for me each day.
    I won’t live it perfectly,
    but by His Grace I want to live near Him, in Him, and He in me.
    Drawing all security and all sense of belonging from Him,
    no where else.

    I think this is a life-long learning,
    not of internet-usage,
    but of learning to walk with Jesus,
    hearing His voice,
    and obeying.

    I’m excited about Twenty-Twelve!

    For us it includes:
    ~ a sister wedding
    ~ a baby arriving
    ~ a second sister wedding
    ~ a brother-in-law wedding
    [as the biggest things]

    and other lovely things will be:
    - a sister moving to the south because of her marriage [yay!!]
    - snuggling and loving on Little Love when he/she arrives
    - trips to the ocean
    - My Faire Lady fun projects
    - lots of extended family time
    - the daily wonder of Jesus!

    [ Little Red Coats while in Colorado]

    [i bought the smallest coat on clearance at the children's place for around $10 when zoe was just little, and she wore it until her little arms poked out of the sleeves much too far. :) THEN i found another size at a consignment shop for just a bit more than i paid for the first one, and this winter they could wear matching ones! i was so thrilled. dressing my kids is way too fun. especially when it's cheap. :) ]

    November in Colorado 055November in Colorado 060

    November in Colorado 054
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     Be blessed by and filled with Jesus today!


  • Of Christmas Past


    This week marks two weeks that we’ve been back in the south and in our own little house.
    Back to the balmy 70′ days, although I don’t expect this to last all winter.
    I’m just thankful for all the cold and snow we had in Colorado,
    so now I don’t mind the warmth this time of year. As much. :)

    It’s quiet time in the household.
    One down for a nap,
    another quite content with paper, scissors, and glue stick.
    And I quite content with a few cookies that a friend brought over yesterday…
    If she knew how quickly we devoured that plate, well, I’d be embarassed. :)

    We’ve had to find a new normal for our little family,
    schedules and time change and even just being together most of the time.
    In Colorado I was in class every morning, and now I find my patience stretched!
    For three months we were only together half a day, and now we re-learn what is expected of each other.
    Granted, in the past four weeks since leaving the west, it’s not been a normal schedule at all.
    Much traveling and time with family and friends, and now getting resettled.
    It’s taking the kids and me a bit of time to find a rhythm with each other again,
    and honestly, there is some needed training that has been going on with the kids
    as well as repentance and apologies from me.

    I often think of the quote by Ann Voskamp,
    I don’t remember whether it’s in her book or if I just read it on her blog one day…

    The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach,
    because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace?”

    It’s so very true. Unless my heart is first at rest with my God and with the today He’s given me,
    I will never be able to welcome peace in my children or my home.
    Peace is not brought by forceful words of, “Guys, play nice with each other!!!!!”
    or various other strategies.
    It’s brought only by the Spirit of the Lord allowed to indwell.

    And as a dear friend reminded me once,
    sometimes that means falling to my knees at the kitchen sink
    and pleading for His Sweet Grace,
    first of all to be lived out in me
    and then that I can share it with my children.

    Even when it feels like I don’t have time to stop,
    like there are things to deal with now and I have to keep moving,
    nothing is more important than allowing the Sweet Spirit of Jesus
    to be present and to be residing and in control.

    It’s not that I have some little hellions on my hands, not at all. :)
    But it’s just that I desire our home to be one of rest and peace,
    not one of chaos and perpetual cat-fights.
    And I do believe that with Jesus, that is possible.
    It just starts with me, not with my kids…

    [of christmas past]

    [the whole dear family]

    Barkman Newsletter Picture 2011

    [the three dating couples, two of which are engaged!]

    Asheville Family Vaca 3401394089_10150452048503922_794693921_8950443_1511320722_n300872_10150355025963922_794693921_8601818_1337942173_n 

    [fun family times]


    A Pennsylvania Christmas 250A Pennsylvania Christmas 223

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 197A Pennsylvania Christmas 231  

    [family rule for christmas eve and day]

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 190

    [brown paper packages tied up with string, and other pretty presents]

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 202A Pennsylvania Christmas 239

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 245A Pennsylvania Christmas 249

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 247A Pennsylvania Christmas 246

    [the tree, and homemade ornaments]

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 200A Pennsylvania Christmas 238

    [christmas eve candlelight dinner]

    A Pennsylvania Christmas 169A Pennsylvania Christmas 164A Pennsylvania Christmas 164 
    A Pennsylvania Christmas 178A Pennsylvania Christmas 179

      A Pennsylvania Christmas 169A Pennsylvania Christmas 164


    Enjoy your today! And upcoming weekend!

    ~ clarita  




  • home sweet cottage.


    we’ve returned!

    the long journey is over.
    the last boxes are unpacked and thrown away.
    the suitcases are stowed up in the attic.
    the little cottage sweet and cozy and drafty as ever. :)
    the memories of traveling over 6000 miles in the last 3 months very real.
    the question of “what world are we in now??” by a certain 4-year old is over.
    the time at ellerslie so precious and treasured.
    the christmas season is experienced and past.
    the new year was brought in with a strep-throat child
       [not even a sniffle for three months, now southern allergies strike hard].

    it’s so wonderful to be back.
    hellos are being said to friends and family and neighbors.
    “new” toys are being discovered by the girls – ones they forgot they had. :)
    corners are being organized and cleaned – ones that were abandoned in pregnancy illness.
    the lovely christmas pictures mailed to us are hung on our refrigerator and we smile back daily at these celebrities.
    goodness, it was fun to have so much lovely mail!

    the past three months have been some of the richest of our lives.
    such deepening of our faith, strengthening and fortifying of our souls,
    enrichment of our marriage, bonding of our family,
    making of many new sweet friendships.
    we loved every day spent there.
    i think we could have stayed forever :)
    but the Lord has called us home and that is where we gladly return.

    it’s so hard to describe our past season in a nutshell.
    perhaps a few quotes would sum it up better than i can:

    The Christian life can only  be explained in terms of Jesus Christ,
    and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you –
    your personality, your willpower, your gifts, your talent, your money,
    your courage,, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice,
    or your anything, – then although you may have the Christian life,
    you are not yet living it.”
    [major ian thomas]

    To believe in Jesus Christ is not just a mental acknowledgement,
    but a disbelief in all other systems on earth,
    a repentence and a turning unto God,
    and a literal giving of our lives and everything we are to Him.”
    [eric ludy]

    it was just so full of Jesus.
    and although i leave and am in a different place,
    i still want my life to just be full of Jesus.
    that’s all that matters.
    what a high, unattainable impossible desire.
    possible only through His enablement and Spirit.

    i am really looking forward to reconnecting with many of you, now that we have internet once again. :) it was a positive thing, to have a season of being removed from so many distractions with online things, but i was ready to connect socially again, since in some ways we felt like we dropped off the planet! and i am looking forward to connection again through this little bit of online space. thanks so much for those of you who thought of us and prayed, send notes and messages and cards and packages… it really was so special to us!

    our tradition of sending out christmas pictures was held off this year. our money allotment went toward schooling instead. :)

    but for those of you who want a picture, here’s a happy new year greeting from the little clan at the cottage!

    [north carolina / september, 2011]


    Happy New Year!

    ~ clarita