Monday, December 18, 2017

My Christmas Home

It's the most wonderful time of the year again!
The lights twinkle on the trees while the aroma of freshly-baked cookies fills the kitchen.
Excited children count down the days until Christmas,
and carols play on Pandora.

I broke my tradition this year, and began decorating for Christmas before we even celebrated Thanksgiving, thanks to some pleading from my children!
But I'm not even mad about it.
A few extra weeks of enjoying the coziness of evergreen and twinkly lights is just fine by me!

I hung my hand-crocheted snowflakes (gifted from a friend) on a branch,
and then added some mini trees and a cloche to the arrangement, along with some candles.
This is probably one of my favorite spaces in the house!

I love the mini white church and house that I found at the Embellish Christmas sale!
Aren't they the cutest?!

I hadn't found any Advent calendars that I liked, but wanted something visual for the children to count down the days until Christmas, so I was happy to find these printable tags online! 

Just don't ask me how many times they have fallen down! 😏
I may need to come up with a more stable solution for next year. (See what I did there? Stable?! haha.)

This is Mom's corner: aka my personal hot chocolate bar.
And yes, salted caramel can take that drink to a whole new level!
You're welcome.

Who doesn't love a crackling fire?

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
but there's only room for two of them there!
Okay, I'll stop with the cheesy rhymes!

The wall seemed bare so I used some embroidery hoops to create a few simple wreaths.
Maybe they still need some ribbon, but I like the simplicity of the evergreen.

Target has some of the cutest ornaments!
I found this one on clearance after Christmas last year.
Rather than use just one style of ornaments, I like to collect a variety over time from different places.

After last year's tree issues (in which the tree shed half its needles before we even made it to Christmas 😞), I'm happy to report that this tree has been good to us!
Is there anything better than the glow of twinkly lights at night?

I wish I could invite you all over for a pot of hot tea (or coffee!), 
but I sure am glad you joined me on our Christmas home tour!

May your Christmas season be a time of rest
and your heart full of joy in the Gift of our Saviour.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Hello friends!
Has anyone else out there felt like they've been in a whirlwind the last two months, or was it just me?
Between several out-of-state trips, camping, canning, a family wedding and harvest,
I feel like my projects have all been buried under a pile of chaos and memories.
But it's time to resurrect them! (the projects, I mean)
I find that my soul needs space to create and just be.
Can I get an amen?

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post about some of my current favorite things.

Current reads:

This book by Ruth Chou Simons is beautiful, both visually and spiritually. Her paintings
are lovely, and her testimony of how to choose grace in the everyday
is so encouraging to me.
You can order the book here

Current Project:

After purchasing a dresser on Facebook Marketplace (who else is addicted to shopping on here?!)
I decided it's time for me to learn the art of chalk paint.
I'm just a little nervous about this, but it's supposed to be fool-proof. Ahem.
All I can say is, I'll be calling all of you who persuaded me to try this if it's not! 😉
I'm just hoping that I can make it look better in real life
 than it does in my head right now!

Current cravings:

Velvety Chai Tea

This Velvety Chai (Bulletproof-style) is THM:S, low carb, sugar free, gluten and peanut free.

I crave this tea, and I love that it has so many health benefits as well!
I make mine with some variations, using MCT oil instead of coconut oil and I skip the butter.
This is also good when you add a bag of oolong tea along with the vanilla chai!

Current Struggle:

Can someone tell me how many tubs of children's clothing I should have in my attic?
Because I'm fairly certain I've exceeded the limit!
Also, how did I end up with 8 pairs of winter pajamas for Nicholas?!
The struggle is real, you guys.

Currently noticing:

The big and small ways that God has been answering my specific prayer to see His heart of love for me. I long to be rooted in His love, because everything else flows from this foundation.
So I simply asked Him to open my eyes so I could truly experience
this love in a deeper way.
It's been incredible to see that prayer being answered!

Currently listening to:

Printable 4 | "The First" (5x7") "The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord - George Mueller" Give It Pretty for Risen Motherhood DOWNLOAD

This podcast by Risen Motherhood is so relevant, inspiring and challenging to me.
I only recently jumped on the bandwagon, and found out how much I love a good podcast!
I would love to hear what your favorites are!

Currently loving:

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The watercolor markers I bought on for myself as a birthday present!
(Please tell me you do this, too!)
I have more control with this marker style than I do with a paintbrush,
but it functions just like a watercolor should.
I kind of feel like a kid with a new coloring book!

Current Dreams

A day or two away with my husband, since I've only seen him
for short periods of time the last few weeks.
Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll read this and plan something! ha
A day away with girlfriends, with no responsibilities, uninterrupted time to talk,
and lots of good food. (A good time always involves good food. Am I right?)
A girl can dream!

Current Inspiration:

Seeing the light in my child's eyes when they discover something new,
or master a difficult concept.
Homeschooling was never in my plans,
but one thing I have learned is that God often changes our plans!
I find it fulfilling to teach my children, 
but it also makes me so much more aware of my inadequacies.
I'm glad we just get one day at a time!

And that's my list, for the moment!
Goodness knows it will probably change in a week 😊

What is inspiring you today?

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