Thursday, December 30, 2010

my favorite muffin recipe

I *almost* know this recipe by heart, that is how often I make it.  It's a base recipe and each ingredient can be substituted using various options to create completely different muffin combinations. Most often though, I make blueberry and they never last very long in our home.

Ingredient list

3 cups flour
2 cups oats
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (I didn't pack it, but you can if you want)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup blueberries (although I never measure, I just pour them in--& I use frozen)
*capful vanilla
*tsp cinnamon
*tsp nutmeg (I use it in everything!)

*optional ingredients & I don't really measure, just sprinkle in the mix, but that is a safe guesstimate. ;-)

Preheat oven to 400
put out butter so it can soften or melt
Mix together all the ingredients.
Pour about 1/4-1/3 cup in each muffin tin
Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar & cinnamon on top of each muffin (optional)
Bake for about 15-20 minutes (ovens vary--my antique stove always cooks longer)


Perfect for breakfast, snack or tea time.
What a lovely way to start (or end)  the day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

holiday parties

We've had a few parties to attend this season and I love every bit of it.  I know many people feel over whelmed by the seasonal invitations but I think it's a wonderful way to relax and enjoy ourselves.  It's so easy to get caught up in the spending frenzy, even though we love to the spirit of giving gifts, it can feel too hectic.  

Holiday parties give us time to sit back and simply enjoy.  Relax, smile, dance, play games, fellowship, have dessert.  It says you are important to me, I want to actually see you and spend time with you. I love it.

Tonight I had a lot of fun with my husband, attending his theater's annual holiday event.  We enjoyed a fabulously funny sketch show, a little dancing, watching others karaoke the night away (with a live band), laughing and mingling with friends, light conversations and yummy desserts.

Spending the night celebrating with friends you love and care about is a lovely night indeed.

I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.
- - -
Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I've been saving all my jars from foods that we used.
I had a nice variety of sizes to choose from.

I love how these turned out. 
Don't they look yummy?

You can find many variations of the recipe online.
 These are very budget friendly gifts. 
Giving home made gifts are even more lovely.

inspired by one of my favorite blogs: Moms by Heart
more fine details here

Monday, December 13, 2010

let it snow

It's actually 80 degrees outside today. That doesn't stop us from making our own snowballs. Inspired by Ashley I got a few (very inexpensive) supplies to create our own snow balls!

It was the easiest thing ever.

The weather outside is lovely (as opposed to frightful). The ambiance inside is pretty welcoming too.  The holidays brings out the best in our hospitality doesn't it?

Hope you are enjoying the most lovely holiday season as well.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

it's magical

Christmastime! It is not my favorite holiday but I still do love mostly everything about it.  This year the weather is quite complimentary to magically, romantic, Christmas nights. Yes, I believe Christmas is one of the most naturally, romantic times of the year.
There is mood lighting everywhere! Driving around looking at Christmas lights is one of my most favorite traditions. If you live in a lovely neighborhood, it is so nice to toss on your scarf, crocheted hat, gloves and coat and take an evening stroll.  Come home, drink a nice cup of tea or enjoy some warm cocoa with the chillers.

Is there any better time of year than Christmas time to snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket and read some Advent readings? Or a classic Christmas story, bake goodies, decorate cookies.  Move at a slower pace, take time to savor every last morsel of goodness of each day.  Sing Christmas carols.  Greet cashiers with a smile and leave with a hearty Merry Christmas!

The gospel is in every moment, in the mere word, Christmas.  The music on the radio, singing the wonder of the most Holy Night.  Sharing the Joy that has come to the world. During the darkness of winter...songs about the Light of the World are heard.

It's beautiful, isn't it?
Absolutely lovely.

Monday, November 29, 2010

a small glimpse of sweetness

Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.  Rom 16:19

The time and energy I invest in guiding my children is such a joyous endeavor.  It warms my heart in those moments when I can experience the pay off. It gives me hope for their future.

The other day's glimpse of needed correction is one tiny example of a lifestyle of daily moments that produce this smile you see to the left.  
Kurtis obediently lay on the couch for nap time.  The home did not stop for him, activity tempted him all around.  I have been working on this for awhile and today, a glimmer of hope as he lay there, waiting patiently for his eye lids to succumb to the call of 'mimis'. He did not disrupt the rest of the home and was nicely in sight if there was a need.

I could not resist sharing this moment of sweetness with you.
Obedience is a lovely reward to witness.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves...Prov 3: 11-12a

This cute little guy is one tough nut.  This was after numerous redirects and rebukes.  He was totally not phased by any of it.  His demeanor wasn't even defiant or angry--it was a non-chalant self-will.

He was going to continue to do what he wanted to do, regardless of how many times I told him otherwise. (and all this was happening before 10am!)

The neat thing was--we both kept our cool. This was a non-emotional event.  He stayed at that small space of wall pretty well. I think he actually tried to climb it. Seriously.

Afterward, I gave him a couple commands and tasks to do, to establish my authority and remind him who the parent was here.  He happily obeyed.

My flesh would love to let my children run wild and do everything they want.  It certainly would make my life easier--in the moment.  The verse above always comes to mind though and I know, in my heart, in the long run, I would be doing myself, my children and society at large, a disservice.

Appropriate training and guidance is lovely.

easy peachy cobbler

This is my default dessert in a pinch.  It's ridiculously simple, quick but super delicious. 

large can of peaches
box of cake mix
stick of butter
handful of oats

Preheat oven to 350 or 400 depending on the temperament of your oven. Empty the can of peaches (including juice) into your favorite baking dish. Cut peach slices into smaller bits and bite sized chunks.  Pour cake mix on top of peaches. Spread evenly but not necessarily smooth.  Toss handful of oats on top. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg.  Grate refrigerated stick of butter over top , evenly. Bake about 15 min until juice is bubbly and top is crispy.  (*note: cake mix is not expected to cook all the way like a cake)


This would especially hit the spot if served warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

Variations: canned cherry pie filling with chocolate cake mix-minus oatmeal
apple pie filling topped with vanilla cake mix, extra oats.
Nutmeg is my most favorite spice and secret ingredient is just about everything. sssshhh! really!

We enjoyed this yummy dessert this evening.  The guys braved the extra chilly weather outside, putting up the Christmas lights.  They were rewarded sweetly. My #2 son was excited to finally be allowed up on the roof with his big brother.  What a rite of passage!

Desserts are so lovely.  Especially shared with friends and loved ones, over good conversation, on the good plates, of course. Don't forget the hot tea. ;-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I know I have so much to be thankful for everyday.  I have been close to losing it all on more than one occasion. Giving thanks and gratefulness come easy to me.

However, so many times showing that gratitude does not come as easy.  It's here in my heart, but it stays hidden. Therefore, when I see such failure in my life, even at simple things, I feel that grace from above and my heart cries out with unmatched gratitude.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8

I can think of nothing more lovely to be thankful for.

Monday, November 15, 2010

time well spent

I went out with my husband tonight.  It wasn't a big planned date but it was time spent together with out our offspring--so I guess you can call it a 'date'.  I was wearing make up--so  that counts for something. ;-)

We were able to enjoy a very original evening for sure.  Since my husband is now a bona fide member of the SAG union, he has the opportunity to participate in various union sponsored events.  Tonight we went to a Q & A featuring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, discussing a recent movie they starred in.  Afterward, there were delicious gourmet snacks and wine available, if you were so inclined.

It was in a small auditorium like setting, intimate and personal.  We weren't out very late, which was nice.  We were only gone for a few hours and were home in time to enjoy our kiddos before bed and tuck them in.  The traffic, although annoying, was a bonus because it gave us more time to spend together, conversing, sharing ideas and thoughts, uninterrupted.

It was a really pleasant and unique night out.
Taking time to invest in your spouse, to really focus and listen, is lovely time indeed.
A lovely evening is always time well spent.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Each month so far we have memorized a new poem.  This is a new addition to our home educating journey so each monthly poem has actually been entitled for that particular month, so far.  I think poetry is a greatly over looked part of a well rounded education.  Not only does it help with memory and memorization skills but also recitation, public speaking, proper annunciation and articulation, as well as various writing devices, recognition and use of rhyme schemes.  

Poetry memorization has been a surprisingly lovely part of our daily routine.

Still the garden blossoms bravely,
     Though the Year is nearly done,
Fresh chrysanthemums are shining
     In the pale and wintry sun.

Such a number of bright colors
     Make the beds and borders plain,
We believe the summer roses
     Must have all come back again.

Now's the time when great plantations
     Must be planted, oak and fir,
Beech and elm, and towering poplar
     That the wandering night-winds stir

And the time when treasured fruit-stones,
     In the summer stored away,
Must be set, that spreading orchards
     May grow up another day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

got color?

After attempting to naturally dye the wool roving I purchased...and failing...I finally figured out I could simply use food coloring and it works lovely!  I mean look at these scrumptious colors.  Blue, green, red, yellow and yummy orange. 

This is only 5 ounces that you see here.  I still have plenty more.  I can't decide what other colors to make.  maybe lighter versions to have pastels? I don't know but I am very pleased with the results so far.  I don't regret one bit purchasing it undyed.  It was so much cheaper and the dyeing process really isn't hard at all.  I purchased a full's just the most lovely thing to hold in your hands, so soft and cuddly.  It's almost a shame to needle it. ;-)

Best price I've found for undyed wool roving: Deer Run Sheep Farm

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Recently we received our first charitable solicitation of the holiday season.  I let my daughter open the 'junk mail'.  Inside was a picture of a young girl and a 'copy' of a letter her dad had written, from prison, requesting help in getting her a Christmas gift.

The organization sounded good enough but I already have a Christmas charity that our family participates in every year.  As I was cleaning I casually tossed the information into the recycling bin.  Honestly, I didn't even read the actual info, noted the 'child model' was cute and the 'letter' was a good 'heart-ploy'.

Well, today my daughter began to ask me about it.  I tried to change the subject and reminded her of the charity we participate in.  I also told her I had already tossed all the information in the trash.  She recited ALL the little girl's info: age, what she wanted for Christmas, her clothing size and the name of her 'dad', from memory.  She told me she wanted to send money to get that little girl her Christmas gift.

She was serious.  I had sense enough to not over look her interest.  I explained what that charity does--shares the love of Christ by providing Christmas gifts for children of inmates.  I explained I had already tossed the info but she was certainly welcome to save her $$$ to send or use for a similar charity this season.  She even found the little paper tag, later, that had all the exact info she had expertly memorized.  She was SO excited.

It wasn't until later that it really hit me.  How cynical I was in my heart...something my daughter obviously wasn't.  She doesn't care about charitable organizations, all she cared about was another human being.  A child like herself that has less than her and her heart was moved.  The more we talked about it, my middle also became interested and wanted to help.  He even suggested we could forego our own gifts and give gifts in this way instead.  That is something I have always wanted to do for the holidays.

Later, when it hit me...I was so over come by emotion.  I was so humbled by the sincere and innocent heart of my children. How awful and sad that even I, who sincerely cares about humanity, could feel so jaded, in a moment. In all of my sincerity, to still be so shallow.

My prayers were repentant this evening and full of thanks for being humbled and exposed. 
Humility, that leads to grace and love, is nothing less than lovely.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Charity that captured my daughter's heart: Angel Tree 
My favorite Christmas charity: Operation Christmas Child

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


1 Th. 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is usually the time of year when people make a conscious effort to focus on giving thanks.  

To honor that spirit, a friend suggested a 10 day challenge of not grocery shopping or eating out, in preparation for the feasting of Thanksgiving.  Naturally, since we do not own a farm we will need to purchase perishables but the goal is to use what we already have in the cupboards and pantry.  Also she was challenging herself to not spend more than $40 for that 10 day period.

Our family has accepted this challenge as well.  We are on day three and we did get some groceries yesterday as we were out of all basic essentials. For us the main thing will be not eating out or indulging in fast food.

I am also posting daily, what I am thankful for.  Having a heart of thankfulness is not really that hard.  I can look around me and see so much to be thankful for.  For me the challenge is *showing* my gratitude by valuing what I have and have been given, being a good steward.  This goes for my time and my relationships as well. 
I believe a true heart of gratitude results in a much lovelier life over all. You care for those things which you are grateful for.

How are you preparing your heart to celebrate  and honor Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 1, 2010


YEP! I put these costumes together.
A little bit of sewing, hot glue and repurposed items & VOILA!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

new cake stand

See?  Was I right or what?  In this picture you can see some of the design that is on the underside.  Isn't it absolutely lovely?  {swoon}

Friday, October 22, 2010

thrifted treasures

Oh what a lovely treasure I found the other day.  I mean a really, truly, unbeatable, beautiful treasure. You won't believe it!

There were lots to choose from but I forced myself to be *choosy*.  Why? Because I do not want to take just to have.  I want to be surrounded by lovely things that I love, not just lovely things. I saw a lovely green milk glass candy dish that was divine.  I passed on it. It was nothing personal, but I have begun to pull our home together with the color RED. OH!  I guess I could have pulled the dish out for Christmas time???  Hmmm...I'll have to think about that some more.  Space is limited anyway so storage is a commodity to consider too.

I was on my way out of the store.  I had nabbed a very plain glass cake plate.  I have a *thing* for cake plates and tiered racks and I have a couple of both.  

There it was, behind the screamed at me, called my name. I couldn't imagine how much it would be since it was behind the counter.  It was the most gorgeous cake plate I had ever seen in my life. It was RED.  Not painted red, but the glass was actually red.

I came home and immediately began to clean & rearrange a few things to make a nice space for it.  I put away a few other items and created a seasonal display.  I will try to get a picture of it.  You are going to love it, I promise. It has to be one of the loveliest treasures I've ever found in my life!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We visited an art museum today that we'd never been to.  While we were there another museum, across the street, was celebrating their grand opening in this museum's space.  They had teens and children doing their cultural island dances.  They looked so beautiful and lovely.  

I thoroughly enjoy watching teens and young people express themselves creatively, through dance, art or even sports.  Whatever it is that they enjoy.  When young people are allowed to be involved in activities they enjoy, beyond academics, it is lovely to witness.  They young ladies looked so happy and proud.  I imagined all the hard work that went into preparing for their performance.  Hours of rehearsal and learning choreography. Hours upon hours spent doing something they enjoy and not getting into trouble.

How lovely is that?
What a blessing it was for us to enjoy that extra surprise.  We merely thought we were going to enjoy some artwork but were treated to some lovely island dancing and music as well.

Another lovely 'family day' afternoon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


It's been a typical 'cool weather' week in Ca.  That means it's been theatening to *rain*, which is just greyness and this 'mist'.  It's not really enough to miss watering your lawn but it's enough to feel somewhat wet.

It's enough to wear a hand crocheted hat and sweater but not need a rain coat.
It's enough to feel cozy but not cold.
Enough to want (& enjoy) hot tea or cocoa.
It's definitely enough to feel romantic and hold your hunny a little closer as you walk to your car after a great movie.

I think mist is romantic and quite lovely for an outdoor stroll, in the evening, in the middle of October.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

fancy soap

I ran out of our regular bar soap the other day but I remembered I had some *nice* soap that had been gifted to me. 3 bars of it from that particular set, actually.  I wondered why I had not used it before.  It was lovely soap.

I realized we often save these *fancy soaps* and they never get used. Why not? They're SOAP for goodness sake, not fine china! Although, if you ask me, I think we should use the fine china much more often than we do. I propose we start enjoying ourselves and allowing ourselves to use the lovely things we possess  Stop hiding them away for .....someday.

Someday is now.  The time to be lovely is now.  Everyday is a fresh opportunity to surround ourselves with loveliness.  Stop waiting for loveliness to come to you and start now, creating the loveliness you want to live, now.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

warm towels

When the weather turns cooler, it's a challenge to convince a little one to take a bath or shower when they know how cold they will feel when they get out. I eliminate that challenge by presenting them with a warm towel!

When loved one enters the shower, I grab a clean towel & toss it in the dryer. When they are finished, it is the perfect amount of time to hand over a hot towel.  If you do this, be sure to keep the towel wadded up until you present it so it stays warm.

Who can resist a nice, warm towel?
Warm the body, warm the soul.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

good morning

Most mornings I am the first to awaken and I wake everyone else in the house soon after....but some mornings, I let them sleep.  I bask in the quiet stillness of a sleepy home.  I boil some water for tea and I relax.  A few moments of uninterrupted opportunity.

There are days you rush and there are days where time and the weather, insist you slow down.  Get cozy, pull out a book or some fiber craft and relish the dark morning.  Then slowly, I realize I haven't open the curtains yet and allowed the sun to penetrate.  

The chores will wait for me.  The to-do list will too.  Some times I will use this time to read my Bible, sometimes I start breakfast and sometimes I spend the time playing with the toddler. (Who says having multiple children robs them of one on one time?)  Other days, if I'm lucky, I am alone with my thoughts....and prayers.

Having room to think, is a lovely way to begin a day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I think we're lovely.

needle felting

Isn't that the absolute cutest owl you have ever seen in your life? My daughter and I made that together.  It's our latest addiction hobby and it's so fun. We saw a demonstration at the fair and purchased a kit. I have been researching roving (the wool) online and it's very affordable. I can't get over it! This sweet, little owl ball is one of the most lovely items I've ever helped create. I can't wait to make many more.

I leave you with a lovely quote, to inspire creativity;

Above all, try something.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Saturday, October 2, 2010

love letters

My daughter really loves to write letters and I receive numerous love letters a week. It's so sweet. I love words and her letters are so precious to me. Her love language is touch so it's interesting that she has developed an affection for the written word. She is in third grade. I treasure each misspelled word,  punctuation and capitalization mistake. 

Here is a note I found on my bed last night, addressed to my husband and myself:

I love you. You are my mom and dad. I Knoe that sam and ernie loves you too. you mace me happy that you are my mom and dad. Kurtis Loves you too and we do too. the dog's love you too. I am happy that you bie us stuf. 

How can you not feel loved after reading that?
I think a late night love letter is the best way to end the evening.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Since the month has changed, that means we are memorizing a new poem.  I think we might even be able to get two memorized if we really try.

Where the beech and maple grow
Leaves as bright as flowers show,
Every path, and garden bed,
Are ablaze with gold and red.

Down the lane, and through the stiles,
Berries shine for miles and miles,
Hips and haws and nightshade deep,
Do the hedge-rows festal keep.

For your happy wearing see,
Matchless wreaths of briony,
Fairer than a jeweled crown
For a child to gather down.

Now is pleasant work all-day,
In the orchard where you play,
Laden branches bid you sing
Of a plenteous gathering.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Some days you simply have to stop and breathe.  Some days you have to *force* yourself to do this.  Today was one of those days for me.  I won't bore you with all the details that led up to this point...

I made a choice to ignore the still nagging to-do list in my head  and simply *play*.  I sat on the floor, just me and my babe.  I grabbed the basket of blocks, determined not to take it personal as he knocked down, with great glee, every block tower I made.

Everyone else was out for the evening.  I did not rush. I did not think about all the other things I should could be doing.  I simply stacked blocks, again and again.  He got hungry so I filled a little dish with cheese and grapes...again and again.  I squirted him with grapes and he laughed and laughed.  Then I showed him how to do it himself.  I threw a crumpled paper ball at him and he laughed some more and threw it back.  I lightly blew on it and showed him how it could fly.  He promptly tried to blow it back. I rolled wooden cars.

I helped him take off his socks when he'd had enough of those...then his shirt.  I think you can figure out where this is leading.  I was able to get all the laundry folded while he rolled around on the floor. 

Finally, at his initiation, he took my hand and led me to his bed to put him to sleep.  It was earlier than usual but I figured I probably shouldn't fight this rare moment.

The entire time I knew I would never regret these lovely moments.  I realized all the hecticness I had been feeling earlier, was gone, replaced with peace.

Play is a lovely pastime.

Monday, September 27, 2010

sidewalk chalk, owls and birthdays

It's such a pleasure when I am able to witness my children excel at something they love.  My kiddos were involved in a local community event on Saturday.  They entered a side walk chalk art contest. They were the only entries but they had prepared for weeks in advance to produce a design that matched the theme: Good Neighbors, Strong Community.

The annual event is called the Good Neighbor Festival.  Isn't that a lovely name for an event?  The weather was very warm but it was tolerable since the company was so pleasant. Oldest design was chosen but everyone received a very nice prize.

Before that my oldest middle had his first football game of the season.  Last minute of the game, he intercepted the ball, ran down the field, to score the tie breaking goal and win the game for his team! He loves sports and I  enjoy watching him, enjoy playing.

Afterward we went to the drive-in to celebrate. We invited friends and enjoyed a family friendly movie. (The Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of  Ga'hoole)  We hadn't been for awhile and it was so enjoyable to not be freezing, but rather, comfortably warm.  We take the back seat out of the adventure-van.  The middles hang out in the back and my husband and I sit on the car bench seat on the asphalt.

After that it was off to join a party already in progress, to celebrate a few birthdays. We were fashionably late but it was ok and we still had fun.

All day all I could think was how awesome my life is. I have a lovely family with talented children.  We have fun together.  We support each other.  When we really take a look around us, there is so much to be thankful for, on a daily basis.

I can't think of a more lovely way to have enjoyed a Saturday. Can you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

walking & talking

My husband and I have been taking a walk every morning this week, so far.  It is really nice.  We get almost an hour of uninterrupted time together.  Besides the health benefits, we have lovely conversation.  It's been a bit chilly but by the time we are finished we are warmed up and ready to take on the day.
It's so important for couples to be intentional about their relationship.  Otherwise it is too easy to let it just slip away.  I could choose to sleep in longer, yes.  The trade off is not as rewarding though.  I really value the time I have with my husband.  He is home most days because he does not work a traditional 9-5 job.  That does not  mean though, that our time is not divided.  

We still must put in the effort to be intentional and lovely to each other. Walking together gets the blood pumping, wakes us up and another unexpected perk are the other people you run into.  There are lots of people in the neighborhood who apparently, wake up and take walks.  After a few days, we've noticed some regulars. Now, isn't that a lovely way to get to know your neighbors?

This morning was extra nice because upon our return home, my husband started breakfast for he and I, as I started the ktbunch on their school work.

Starting the day with intentional spousal attention, really sets the tone for the day.  Making your spouse a priority, is a lovely priority to have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a pocket full of sea glass & a heart shaped rock

Today was our first designated family day.  We've chosen to be more intentional about it.  We really enjoy being outdoors so that is what we are going to focus on while the weather is still cooperative.

We went to a beach we've never been to before and oooohed and awwweeed over the tide pools.  We saw sea anemones and sea urchins.  I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between them.  There were gorgeous purple ones though.  We also found plump orange and purple star fish and lots of crabs.  I might have gotten a bit sunburned too.
It was a rocky beach and there was lots of sea glass to collect.  The neat thing about sea glass is that you know it used to be trash.  What started out as someone's discarded glass bottle, with sharp edges, has been roughed up into a barely recognizable version of itself.  Small pieces, sanded smooth by waves and sand, rounded soft edges, now become cherished treasures to collect.

When I am in a rocky area, I always like to search for a heart shaped rock.  I can usually find at least one.  Today was no different and it was my daughter who found it this time.  It's amazing to see how my kids flourish when they are out in nature.  Suddenly my middle son, the 10 year old is Mr. Adventure.  Climbing over giant rocks, out to discover and conquer the world, unafraid.  It's a wonderful transformation to observe.

Finally we headed home.  Relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on another week. Not only did I carry home a pocket full of sea glass and a heart shaped rock, but lovely memories to add to my collection.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

adoption day! adoption day!

Imagine running around your house yelling that, filled with excitement.  That was what we all were able to witness and experience together with some lovely friends.  Our friends had experienced many ups and downs along their 2 year journey and we as a church family, real family and friends were right along side them in love, support, prayer and friendship.

It wasn't just *their* adoption, but *our* adoption as well.  So much so that many of us woke up early to accompany them to the courthouse to witness them take their official oath to adopt their children into their family, to be treated and cared for as their *natural* children, forever.

The courtroom was surprisingly small.  We filed in anyway and there was barely standing room only.  So many of us had cameras it was like paparazzi!!  The court gave their two little girls the softest little bear, each.  They also gave the other children in attendance, bears too.  Wasn't that nice?

When the judge spoke those final words, we all cheered, whistled, hooped and hollared.  It was quite a day of celebration.....and happy tears. 

Lovely, lovely, happy tears.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


is a very valuable commodity. It can bring warmth and reassurance, show love, care and concern.  On my intentional journey to live lovely, I want to remember the value of touch.  I believe we should touch those we love way more than we probably do.

When you have a baby, it's easy, right? Then they squirm off your lap never to be seen again? Ha! The older your children get, there are less and less opportunities to offer a lovely act of affection.  I believe many marriages suffer from a touch deficiency as well.

I found this:

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth —Virginia Satir, family therapist

Therefore, I proposed, for myself, as well as anyone else, to intentionally touch the ones you love *every* time you pass them.  Passing by in the hallway, put a hand on a shoulder. Passing through the kitchen, tousle your fella's hair.  I've taken extra time to brush my daughter's hair, her love language *is* touch, so I must be more intentional with her anyway.
What about your spouse? How far apart do you sit on the couch at the end of the evening? Or your teens, when it can suddenly be awkward to hug....? I give an encouraging pat on the back or shoulder with a positive comment. It has been scientifically proven that hugs release tension and reduce stress. If you are having  an extra difficult or trying day, call the family together and have a group hug, If you are frustrated with a family member, before speaking to them, take a deep breathe and give them a hug....see how it changes your emotional state and theirs!

It may sound silly because it's so simple....there is no need to over complicate life. Return to the basics, greet one another with a hug, especially those you love.

Hugs are lovely. 
Be intentional, be lovely.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A smile is the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to dramatically increase your lovely quotient.   The bigger the smile the better.

Scientific studies have shown that the facial expressions we make can influence the emotional response we experience. The more you smile, the more positive you feel.  Instead of focusing on the negative day you may be having, take a deep breathe and smile.  It really will change your outlook. 

A smile is contagious.  Here are some lovely quotes about smiles and smiling.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
Mother Teresa

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo F. Buscaglia

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.
John Ray

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Mother Teresa

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.
Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.
Maya Angelou

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.
Greta Garbo

One who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.

Japanese Proverb

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.

Leo F. Buscaglia

Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.
Mother Teresa

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
William Shakespeare

You're never fully dressed without a smile.
Martin Charnin

Smile and be lovely, today.  Don't just have a lovely day, make a lovely day! ;-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We've added this lovely poem to our morning repertoire. We have already memorized the initial one, the daily prayer and we also do a Bible verse a day.  We will include this poem for the entire month.  Birdy's syllabus contains a large collection of poems and rhymes in the back, including one for every month of the year.  This one is not too long, so it's a good one to start with.

September brings the ripening sun,
   The clear sharp morning air,
And asters in a border wide, 
And daisies for the garden's pride,
   And foxgloves everywhere.

Among the rushes and the reeds
   Long purples bend and sway,
Between the water and the land,
Beside the shining stream they stand
   Till Autumn fades away.

Plant crocuses and tulips rare,
   To bloom in next Year's Spring,
And crown imperials rich and fine,
To stand up in a glorious line
   Amid new blossoming.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


is one of the loveliest seasons, isn't it? Today, we got an early sneak preview.  It was cool and there was even a drizzle this morning.  It was a perfect day for the homemade chicken soup I made yesterday. It was also a good day for a nice, big, warm cup of tea. But seriously, isn't it always a good day for tea? ;-)

It wasn't particularly cold.  Definitely cooler though.  Almost crisp.

You could feel the cool breezes blow through the summer's open windows.  It isn't time to close them all the way yet, just a little more. We stayed inside most of the day but I did take K for a short walk in the stroller and wore a sweater and a hat.  One from my stash of crocheted hats and scarves. 

I really just wanted to curl up with a big blanket and read a book.  I did read to the middles before bed...that counts right?

I'm looking forward to Autumn. Autumn is my anniversary, older middle's football, orange, red, yellow.  Autumn is... an absolutely lovely season.

Monday, September 6, 2010

well trained children

are the loveliest sort.

It's never to early to begin training your children to be lovely. Even toddlers can be taught skills in loveliness like picking up their blocks and putting them back in their basket. The task that is my favorite, I am practicing with my 17 month old right now. I am training him to make a smiling face upon command.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?  You may even wonder why you need to train a child to smile...

Well, children do have lovely smiles, naturally, don't they? The training is actually obedience and a change of attitude. I've been trying it out and it's working splendidly.  When my little guy begins a hint of bad attitude, let's say when he thinks he is too busy to stop for a diaper change, I smile and command him to smile.

It's like a stunning technique. He might begin to fuss but when he hears me tell him to smile, all he can think about is smiling.  Who doesn't want to smile? Of course, I'm sure it's encouraging when your momma is also smiling at you, right? Loveliness begets loveliness, I think.

I've also began to train him to put his hand over his mouth if he is fussing too much.  I have not been as consistent with that technique because, well, I'd much rather just see him smile. ;-)

*I am not that brilliant, therefore I did not think of this myself.  I am humble enough to recognize the voice of other's experience.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


While my husband is working, the kidlets and I watched an old movie tonight, The Harvey Girls.  Lots of singing. I allowed them to stay up a little later than usual and now they are snug in their beds.....reading.

Inspired by a lovely shade of bright yellow nail polish, I decided to treat myself a bit.  I am treating myself to a relaxing foot soak.  When we pay for it, it's called a pedicure. ;-)

Here are my supplies:
hot water
rose petals
coconut oil
a fresh sprig of rosemary
brown sugar
soy candle
pumice stone
warm cup of tea ;-)

I used what I had on hand, which really makes it all the more lovely.  I filled a little tub with the nearly hot water.  I added a sprig of rosemary from my garden for freshness, but I bet mint would have been delightful.  A few spoonfuls of coconut oil to moisturize, along with the rose petals to make it feel 'fancy'.  

Once the water begins to cool down I will use the brown sugar to scrub and exfoliate my feet from toes to ankles.  The pumice stone will be used on the heels. The soy candle is the equivalent of a paraffin treatment and will feel absolutely lovely as I use it to massage my feet.  Normally I would have simply used the coconut oil but I only had the unrefined left, which is unscented.  I thoroughly prefer the coconut scent so the soy will have to do for now.  I will finish off with the yellow nail polish. (I am already enjoying my cup of tea.)

What a lovely way to end a Saturday, don't you think? Every wife and mother (or woman, period.) needs to take proper care of herself.  Even something as simple as a foot soak can ease away the stress and cares of the day and refocus ones mind on all things lovely.  Think on all your lovely blessings, {especially the ones that are sleeping ;-) all you have to be thankful for, take some deep breaths and enjoy yourself.  Relax. Today is coming to a close.....and it has been lovely.

Matt 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it's own.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a little spot

I cleared some spaces on our wall shelving unit.  Each middle now has their own little spot to place their school supplies, books, papers and curricula.  This has reduced the before school stress level dramatically.  It was ridiculously simple to achieve, much of a no brainer.

I had tried other methods but nothing ever 'stuck'. Now all their supplies are easy to find and easy to tuck away.  It's a small thing but it has had such an impact on our daily lives, truly.  No more frantic searching for school items.

All it required of me, was to reexamine my collection of books that were already taking up those spaces.  It was quite liberating to reduce the collection.  Quite freeing to admit that there were books that I had never read and really never intended to.  I gave up some of my own space, to allow them space. It was the perfect trade.By giving up some of my own personal space, I actually gained much needed personal peace.

Sometimes giving up your own spot, allows more room for loveliness.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

tea time

I forget how lovely it is to sit a spell and have some tea. Real tea, not iced tea you drink from a cup with a straw. ;-)

My middles also love to enjoy a cup of warm tea. My teenager has now jumped on the bandwagon too.  I am going to start 'tea time' up regularly again with my middles, especially.  We use real tea cups, maybe pull out a few finger snacks or sliced fruit, cheese and crackers, whatever is on hand.

It doesn't really matter.  The real treasure is the time.  Taking time to sit together and enjoy each other while just being.  You don't rush.  I like to think that is why the tea is hot, you can't rush to drink a hot cup of tea, right? Conversation can flow freely or it can be a quiet time of listening to some poetry being read.  I like to put on classical music.  Anything that can set the time apart from the ordinary. If I am really on top of things, I will arrange the little snacks on a tiered rack. 

These little touches are sweet and make the moments feel extra special.  I also like to enjoy a spot of tea at the end of the day. It's nice to sit and enjoy a movie with my husband, cozy on the couch with a warm mug of tea in my hand. Or have a cup of tea keep me company while I sit at the dining table and do some writing.

It reminds me to slow down, take my time, relax and just be. Just be...present. lovely.

A lovely cup of tea can warm even the hardest of hearts.

Monday, August 30, 2010


are one of loveliest days of my week.  I know most people dread Mondays, usually because it's back to work or school.  I love it for that.

For me, it represents a return to order and routine, even though I'm not very big on either.  Now it has become my most favorite day of the week because a friend and I have been meeting for months, every Monday morning, to pray.  Isn't that lovely?  It creates such a focused start to the week.  We began with a specific request in mind but since then, our prayer time has grown to include various requests of others as well as prayers for our children, husbands and families. 

It has been exciting to look back and see how God has answered our prayers, blessed us with wisdom and insight, and honored our faithfulness. Today was no different. I was able to look back on my week and report victory over our first week of school.  It has been so pleasant.

I usually ride my bike to her house, which is always lovely, in and of itself.  My bike has a basket, you know. ;-)  I do pray regularly on my own but there is something extra lovely to join with a friend, over a warm and lovely cup of tea and share our heart, together, with God. Our two some has grown as another friend has begun to join us as well.

Beginning a day and even more so a week, with intentional, focused prayer, I think, is the most loveliest way to begin it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a little brush, a little ribbon...

makes a lot of lovely.

That was what I said to my daughter this morning.  We had a little bit of school work left to finish off our week. We were about to begin with our before-we-start-school-ritual when I noticed she still had not brushed her hair...or her teeth OR even changed out of her pajama pants.  Normally Previously, I would be completely exasperated over this and with her. Instead I stopped, took a deep breathe and spoke calmly and intentionally.  We had already lit our candle.  I gently reminded her of what I had told her to do but now I added that her disobedience was interrupting our before-school routine and we were going to have to wait for her.

How simple. No yelling.  No excessive frustration. She came to the table but she had forgotten to put a ribbon in her hair. It is a new thing I am starting with her. Finally she did and I helped her put it in.  Such a simple thing. It does complete a look of loveliness. 

I took my time with her. What is the rush anyway?  No more scraggly hair in her face, no more rag-a-muffin look.  She was suddenly 'put together' and her entire demeanor changed. She was ready to work! Ready to pay attention.

I decided to start the ribbon with her after I had worn one the other day.  It's not a new concept. I have tons of ribbons. The difference is, now I am intentional about it.  I was on my way out the door and was pulling my hair up in the standard 'mommy on the go' half pony tail. ugh. No time for make-up, it was just a quick errand. However, I did not like what I saw. I decided then and there to slow down. I went back and pulled my hair all the way through into a complete pony tail. I even used a brush! I tied a coordinating ribbon around it.  One is never too old for a ribbon in their hair.  Suddenly, I was standing taller, taking notice of my posture and I felt presentable, even with out the make up.

That's when I realized, a little brush and a little ribbon, makes a whole lot of lovely.

Friday, August 27, 2010

a most Lovely gift

Isn't the most! to say the least? Seriously, isn't it so sweet? I bought that specific one for my Sister in Love. It's small and dainty and adorable.  It will be my third from that seller.  Her work is absolutely lovely.  It's my new favorite gift to give for any occasion, she does custom orders.

Do you want to know something even neater? I was able to purchase this gift with out having to use any of my 'own' money.  It sounds corny but I do these paid surveys online and the company will deposit the payment straight into your paypal account.  I also use swagbucks to earn gift cards. I earned enough to get paypal 'money' deposited into my account. I had more than enough to purchase this lovely little gift.

I am hoping, at some point, I can splurge and get one for myself...just because...just because it's lovely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lovely way to begin 'school'

I am so pleased with the new curriculum* I have chosen for my middles, this year. My favorite part is the way it encourages, what it calls 'Circle Time'. It sounds like something meant for preschool, doesn't it? It is part of the younger's syllabus but I do it with both middles and the older is welcome to join us.

We begin with the lighting of a candle.  We then recite a poem. I then have us look at the Bible verse of the day on the calender**. We repeat that a few times. If one of the verses for that week is particularly relevant, then I have us focus on that one in addition to the new one each day. Then there is a closing poetic verse, which I have incorporated as a daily prayer. It is just too sweet not to!

Here it is:

May my hands work with care
My heart work with love
And my mind work with attention

We stand in a circle and hold hands during our prayer.
 Then we blow out the candle and begin lessons.
Isn't that the most lovely way to begin that you've ever heard of?

It really brings us together. A ritual that signifies we are going to focus on our academics. It's clear, it's calm and it's absolutely pleasant.

**I got it free from and it is absolutely fabulous!

Friday, August 20, 2010

a Lovely theme

Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. Deut. 32:2

This is my theme verse for this school year. I have never had a theme verse before.  When I saw this, it spoke to my heart so deeply.  
I want to teach w/ joy. I want learning to happen in lovely ways, not forced with tension. I have ordered some curricula for this next year that I am very excited about using. I hope it allows us to get back to 'ourselves'. The way of learning we enjoy, being in nature, exploring, reading, living a life that promotes learning as a lifestyle.

I have also been applying this verse to my daily life. In speech and thought and action.  It comes to my mind and changes me from the inside out.  I don't want to teach, children or others, by force. I don't want to crush others under the weight of a *teaching*. I don't want my tone to offend.

May my speech uplift and encourage.  May my teaching refresh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

bouquet of Loveliness

It was a gift giving occasion but my flowers were not in bloom yet...what to do? what to do?  I did have several small bushes of herbs growing.  I looked up their meaning and began to gather them together.  I incorporated their meaning into a written blessing on the back side of a homemade piece of paper.  I attached the small bouquet of the appropriate herbs across the front with ribbon.  It was unique, sincere and felt just right.
This is also another way to be frugal.  Many times, regular flowers may not yet be in bloom but herbs can be used with or with out their flowers. Herb fragrances can't be beat either plus the recipient can enjoy them longer if they use them when they cook.
Here is a list of herbs and their meanings to get you started.
  • Basil = Love
  • Bay = Fame
  • Chamomile = Wisdom
  • Chervil = Serenity
  • Chives = Usefulness
  • Dill = Good cheer, Survival
  • Fennel= Grief, Endurance
  • Lavender = Devotion
  • Marjoram = Joy
  • Mint= Refreshment
  • Parsley = Merriment
  • Rosemary = Remembrance
  • Sage = Wisdom
  • Santolina = Virtue
  • Savory = Interest
  • Scented Geranium = Happiness
  • Sweet Woodruff = Humility
  • Tansy = Hostility

  • Tarragon=Permanence

  • Thyme = Daring
~Gather your herbs cutting near the bottom of the bush.  Longer stems are best because you can always trim them to fit your bouquet later. 
~You can arrange them loosely and wild or more decoratively.  Think basic shapes like an upside down triangle, arranging the tallest ones in the center OR you can lay them flat and 'layer' them, with the tallest ones in the back layering shorter ones in front.  You could also simply bunch them together.
~Use a bit of string, wire or rubber band to hold the bunch together at the stems.
~For a decorative touch, wrap a piece of ribbon around the stems to cover the rubber band or wire.  You can use a few ribbons to add color or twine for a more natural look. You can also use butcher or parchment paper to wrap around like a traditional bouquet and wrap ribbon around the outside to hold it together.  You can attach the ribbon farther down the stems and present them upside down for a *hanging bouquet*, as well.
~Include a simple tag to the ribbon listing the meanings of the herbs used and a special blessing incorporating their meanings.