Friday, July 14, 2017

The Summer Journal, part I

I check my calendar occasionally to see which day of the month we are on,
and I have been amazed that we are almost halfway through July!
That means summer is half over, ya'll. (At least by the way I figure things! ha)
Just crazy.
So I'm trying to be intentional about taking time to experience
 the sweetness and richness that is summer,
in the middle of travel, gardening and all the seasonal activities.

One way to do that is to
pick all the flowers!
There's nothing quite like a bouquet of fresh-cut florals to adorn the table.
Sometimes, the littles join in on the fun.
This is Hadassah's creation!

Ahh...fresh veggies!
Aren't summer meals delicious?! It's so rewarding to find goodies in the garden.
The children seem to think it's a game,
except when it comes to picking cucumbers, because they're "prickly"!

This little guy chose a rake for his gift from Timeless Toys,
and he sure has gotten lots of use out of it already!
His mama isn't complaining about the willing help, either 😉 

Calla lilies have long been at the top of my list of favorite flowers.
I even carried them in my wedding bouquet!
And it so happens that there is a bed full of them at the back of my house, so I make sure to pick plenty while they bloom.

I found this patio set at a yard sale this spring, and it's been perfect for summer dining!
Now that it's so hot, we opt for indoors most evenings, but it comes in handy when we're entertaining a crowd.

Not much beats sweet corn, and my son seems to think it's just as good raw!
He ate the whole ear before I even had a chance to cook it! 
Too bad those cows of ours decided to get out and have a feast in my garden. 😠

Rainbows are such a beautiful gift from God, don't you think?

Bubbles are some of the easiest and cheapest forms of entertainment for children!
I think it's time to get them out again.

Our Nicholas Edward celebrated his fourth birthday in June!
I can't get over how much of a little man he is.
This toy is a favorite, because he's "going to be a farmer when he grows up!"

He chose to have a pool party with his friends,
and they had so much fun!

Let's see how many children are actually looking at the camera!

Eddie traveled to PA to help with wheat harvest for a week, so the children and I joined him at my brother, Jim's home for the weekend!
Aren't these raised beds beautiful?

The children had fun playing in the sprinklers on a hot afternoon!

Can't let the children have all the fun!  

From Juniata, we drove north to join my parents at their campsite at Locust Lake Campground.
The children had a blast playing in the sand!

Grandpa was their hero, because he helped them build a huge fort!

Mom had their campsite all decked out for the Fourth.

Stars + stripes, baby!

The campfire is so fun for the kids, and Nicholas was happy to be roasting his own hotdogs,
while chatting it up with Grandpa!

Messy, sticky, sugary S'mores: camping isn't complete without them!

It was such a perfect evening...well, other than the loud music coming from the campers next door! 😏

Dad treated us to ice cream cones and a pedal boat ride!
Yeah, we were spoiled 😊

There's something so peaceful about being at the lake.

I think God blesses us with a sweet kind of rest when we choose to take time
to enjoy His creation.

It sure felt that way to me!

Thanks for following along on Part I of our summer adventures!
Here's to hoping the last half of summer won't fly by quite so fast as the first part did. 😉
Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

An Engagement Brunch

Last week, I had the privilege of hosting a brunch
in honor of my sweet sister-in-law, Kyra,
who recently got engaged!
We are so excited for her and Nick, and can't wait to celebrate with them in just a few months!

Bridgette (another sister-in-law!) planned the event and would have hosted,
but her baby was born just a week and a half earlier!
So I let her do the hard work of planning the menu, since that's not my expertise,
and I got to decorate. (Don't tell her, but I clearly got the better end of the deal!😉)

I had fun making these watercolor verse cards for each place. 

It was so special having Polly there to celebrate with us!
She and Joe made the trip to VA for Liz' graduation, so it was the perfect time to be together.
Aren't these girls just beautiful?!

I gathered some stems of greenery to lay down the center of the table.
I love that it is simple, but gives impact!

And there were just enough peonies, irises and roses left in the flowerbeds to make a bouquet!

This picture captures the joy of the morning so well!
Is there anything better than good friends, laughter and good food?!
Oh, and a brand-new baby! She was pretty much the center of attention. 😍

The sisters pitched in to help make the food, and it was oh-so-delicious!

I attempted making pavlova, because I've been dreaming of it ever since Amy introduced me to it years ago!
It didn't look like the picture on Pinterest, but it ended up being delicious! I can't wait to try making it again. Maybe I'll get brave next time and make a lemon curd to go along with it!

Even the children got in on the party! We heard them praying, and I ran for my camera, but didn't get there in time to capture that moment! I think they had as much fun as we did. 😊

Iced coffee over ice cream? Yes, please!

And here is the glowing bride-to-be! She's such a beautiful soul, and I'm glad I get to call her family.

This photo was taken by Hadassah! I was impressed that she got us all in the picture, even though some of us weren't looking at the camera or smiling!

This may be the sweetest photo of the morning!

Happy week, friends! xoxo, Ruby

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Easter Gardens

As I was browsing Pinterest a few days ago,
I stumbled onto a picture of an Easter garden and instantly knew it would be perfect project for my children and I!

We spend time doing special activities with the children at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ,
but Easter is an even more significant event for the Christian!
Jesus' death on a cross and resurrection from the grave is our salvation and hope for eternity.
I want my children to understand why we celebrate Easter,
and this seemed like a great way to start more discussions about it. 

There were only a few basic items needed to make the gardens.
(And if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm all about simple projects! 😉)
I found the clay plate and faux moss at Walmart and got the pebbles from Hobby Lobby.
We just picked out some twigs from our backyard to make the crosses.
Not pictured: an empty tin can

We started with a layer of dirt that Nicholas scooped from somewhere (probably my flower beds!),
then added the tin can with the open end toward the front of the plate.
I hot glued the moss over the can and the children placed the pebbles around the sides and front.
I used twine to fasten two twigs together, which created the crosses, and then hot glued them into the moss.

I took the children on a four-wheeler ride to find some larger rocks to cover the opening of the can.
That was probably their favorite part of the whole project!

It was such fun to watch their gardens take shape,
but even better to have conversations with them about why Jesus went to the cross for us that day. 
I love how a simple activity like this can communicate profound truth to little (and big) hearts.

What Easter traditions are meaningful in your family?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Rug Dilemna (and how we resolved it)

Since moving to the farmhouse, we've been on the hunt for a rug.
It didn't take us long to discover how loud a living room with hardwood floors can be!
We cringed at the echo of noise and the lack of warmth
in this space.

But the process of actually purchasing a rug felt daunting!
For starters, we needed a big rug because we had a big space.
It wouldn't be easy to return if we didn't like it.
And there are so. many. options.
How in the world would I ever decide?!

And secondly, rugs aren't cheap. 
It didn't take me long to discover that I probably wouldn't find the size/style I needed
on Craigslist. (or I might be waiting for a long time)
So I decided that the next best option would be to snag a rug during the Black Friday sale.
I had heard great things about Rugs USA, so that's where I looked and was happy to find some of the best prices anywhere there!

After much deliberation and second opinions, I placed the order.
This rug arrived just a few days later!
And it was SO BLUE. I just wasn't prepared for all that color.
Part of me loved the richness of it, but I just didn't love it!
And we quickly found out that it was simply too big, so I called the company to request a return.
My sweet husband got the job of hauling it back to the hardware store so they could ship it back!

I showed Eddie another rug that I had my eye on the whole time,
but he didn't think the size was right.
We remeasured and decided it would fit this space, and I ordered it just in time to make the Cyber Monday sale! (Thank you, Jesus!)

From the moment it came, I loved it! It fit the room perfectly, had a subtle pattern that was exactly what I was envisioning, and in a color that didn't scream "look at me!!"
Eddie was happy with it too, which was a pretty big deal to me.
It's soft on little (and bigger) feet, and gives the room the warmth it desperately needed.
It was worth every penny!

If you're in the market for a large area rug, check out Rugs USA!
They have a wonderful selection and excellent service.
And don't be like me: get the rug you really want the first time! 😉