Friday, November 25, 2011

We had a lovely day...

The thing I am most satisfied with about our traditional Thanksgiving celebration is that it was my very first Turkey & stuffing ever

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A trip to remember for a lifetime!

Anna's first hunting trip ever!  Three generations of hunters Papa, Daddy and our eleven year old girl. 
They saw deer but just not the right size at the right time.... so no big prize at the end of the day!  Except the reward of time spent with the men in her life that show her how important she is, how much fun she is to be around and how much she can do. 
She worked hard to get there with all the certification required to hunt in Washington State!  We are so proud of how Anna is growing up!  She is hard working, responsible, friendly and kind hearted.  She expects a lot out of life because she puts a lot into it!  Way to go girlfriend!
Love, Momma

Sunday, October 16, 2011


One of our very favorite - top of the list - most amazing places to visit in the state of Washington!  We have had numerous memorable trips here usually around holidays - most with our children but this time we had a little rendezvous just the two of us and right in time for Oktoberfest! 
It is just beautiful there in October as the leaves are changing colors and the trees are set aglow!  We stayed at this Bed & Breakfast - Abendblume which means Evening Bloom (recommended by my friend Wendy, thank you thank you!) and enjoyed the best breakfast's in the history of breakfasts!  And the place is relaxing, stunning, quaint with outstanding views from every window. 

This was the view from our suite.  What more can I say?  Umm... maybe thank you to the gracious grandparents who made it all possible?!! 
We spent a lot of time exploring the area - we love to spend our time together dreaming of potential future getaways, even imagining a little cabin here to bring our family to. 
This little grandma's cottage in the woods sure was darling!  Straight out of Little House it has a cook stove to heat the one room, an outhouse in the shed and a little well house too!  The owners have it decorated with vintage linens and canisters!  I love rustic but that one may be just a wee bit too rustic! But one can dream can't she?

Our final day we stopped at this fabulous fruit and plant market and admired their fall veggie gardens and cute displays.
I love to peek into other people's gardens - they're always so inspiring!  This one has the rustic fencing I adore!  Hmm... that will have to go onto the to do list!  No wonder my hunny wasn't too enthused about stopping here! 
We've been back at home for a few weeks now.  My first few days home were so hectic I found myself thinking "How do I do this? It's so much work! It's so noisy here!  Why is everybody in my space!"  By about day 3 literally I was finally settled back in.  Ready for my children to come bounding in the door!  And for the noise of 4 playing, fighting, laughing, crying, smiling, chatting little people all around!  Life is so good!  Time away is great!  But home is better!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


My favorite words...

grace...why do i expect people to pull it together when i can't even get "it" pulled together?  why do we want everyone to package their lives up and tie pretty bows around them?  why do some things that are so easy for some seem like mountains to climb for others?  why does He give us grace abundantly and then we forget to grab ahold and take it and then let it overflow? 

love...what does it really look like?  to me right now love looks deeper than tolerance which in itself is difficult.  it looks like acceptance and seeking the beauty in muddled places.  it means small moments of closeness in the midst of hurried days.  it means looking into eyes and not away. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Solitude, Puttering & a few of my favorite things

Monday, the children back to school and momma's tired.  I've hardly spoken any words today and it's so nice.  Calm and quiet and good for my soul.  I've been spending these moments of solitude doing my favorite thing ~ puttering and enjoying the house in it's hushed state. 

I feel like it's really mine for a few worthwhile hours and then happily welcome THEM in once again.  It doesn't really feel like a home without THEM anyway. 
Puttering is fun isn't it?  Handling your favorite things and taking a good look at them!  Realizing a few things that aren't a favorite anymore and setting them aside to find a new home.  The pile of donations is growing and needs to be taken out. 
I love the process of editing.  Thoreau said "simplify, simplify, simplify."  This speaks to my soul!  Have a blessed Monday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Soccer Jamboree

It's about time for a post about the boys!  Soccer season has officially begun and these two energetic boys are keeping us busy with soccer 4 days a week!  We started out with a bang, at the fields by 8:30am to notarize medical release forms and up for the 9am game.
Casey, who was on fire, scored 5 goals!  When I yell "Nice Casey!" & give him a thumbs up he gives me a little grin.  It's sweet with a little bit of "cool guy" mixed in.
Aiden was goalie for the first 2 halves of the 2 games he played.  He did awesome & even got an assist from the goalie position!  He kept both teams at bay so they couldn't score against us! 
Aiden is less aggressive than Casey when he plays but he is pretty accurate and he's also quick. 
Can you tell I'm a bit proud of my guys! 
It was fun to watch but quite exhausting and hot in the 85 degree weather.  Whew!  I'm glad we're back at home again!  I guess it could have been cold and rainy though and I personally will take the heat any day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Memories with my girls

There's a funny thing about having two precious girls who bookend rambuctious boys in one family.  Time spent with each one is amazingly fulfilling and beautiful but in completely different ways.  This momma is feeling pretty blessed right now to say the least. 
Last night Anna & I had the most memorable evening together at a Taylor Swift concert.  Out on the town enjoying the lights, glitter and glamour of it all with my eleven year old girl.  (Well, first we stopped off for a burger ~ you know, kid food)
The show was impressive from the elaborate sets and special effects to the dancing and instrumental aspects.  It almost had a broadway theme.  Taylor made a point to come out into the middle and perform up close and personal to the crowd!  Anna was able to shake her hand as she came by in front of us! 
We both dressed up in our country best with cowgirl boots and such!  (She is even wearing a Taylor Swift dress!)
And then there is another kind of sweet, a kind of memory made of pure goodness and joy with all the simplicities of home.  A quiet morning after a dazzling night.   A gentle breeze and pretty light shimmering through falling leaves.  AND... a lovely angel adorned with curls and a pretty smile softly swaying on a swing, to and fro.
Goodness in the evening and goodness in the morn.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An unusual 1st Day of School

This is a very normal photo of Casey eating a classic afterschool snack - it even says so on the bag.  Not exactly classic for our house (we rarely have chips here) but you know, classic for the rest of America! 
The day wasn't what I thought it would be though, isn't that the way it goes!
For starters it was super warm like in the 80's and it's only supposed to get hotter (very unlike the PNW). 
Second, I thought it was going to be quiet around here.... except Aiden was home sick (had a fever and sore throat last night).  Seriously missing the very first day?

Third, my husband came back and keeps giving me more work to do on top of working on taxes (extension), getting the kids set for school, payroll, a mountain of paperwork to deal with.... (what does he think I am a secretary or something? he he)  I thought I was just the caterer's wife. 
Hmm... instead I'm working my tail off!

Finally, seeing the stress written all over my disapointed face (because I thought I was going to enjoy his company and rest a bit) he took the two kids out of the house for a little while so I could work in peace.  Once I was able to get something done I ran errands by myself (which hasn't happened in a long time since he has worked practicly every day since the beginning of July.)  Whew!

Then the children came home with 85 papers for me to complete and sign (this part I knew to dread expect) and both boys had homework (they managed to get Aiden's to me thru Anna, Yay!) 

Is the universe upside down for anyone else besides me?  Or maybe I just thought school starting up would be less work somehow?
Any compassion would be appreciated!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Caterers Wife

In preparing for the in~house caterer to arrive home from a rather large event with tons of produce to overflow the fridge ~ the caterers wife (you can guess who that is) got to work in the kitchen today to make room.  This is a fabulous recipe I found when my older kiddos were tiny like below miss mouse!
I have made it enough times that I use whatever ingredients I like together and only follow basic proportions these days. 
Here it is:
Blueberry Gingered Granola Bars

1 1/4 c. toasted walnut halves
1 1/2 c. puffed rice cereal
1 1/4 c. oats
1 c. dried fruit
1/2 c. oat bran or wheat germ
3 T. crystalized ginger, fine
1/4 c. (or desired amount) semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. natural cane sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract

Oil a glass baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl:  Combine first 6 ingrediants & toss well.

In a small saucepan combine the next 3 ingrediants & boil for 4 minutes gently stirring until thickened.  Remove from heat & stir in the vanilla.  Pour the sauce into the dry mixture and toss.  Pour into the prepared dish and let set up for 45 minutes before cutting into bars.  

Delicious & nutritious, right in time for the first day of school!

Whilst playing in the kitchen (I mean working very hard) I also got to changing around the countertops a bit and added in this little shelf to display some of my favorite little kitcheny things. 

If you know me very well at all you would know that the only way I really get inspired to do a clean is by moving things!  My friends always tease that they have to look around every time their here to see what has changed! 
Anyway, that is much of how I spent this Sunday afternoon!  How did you spend yours?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Farmers Market

We spent the morning at a local Farmers Market, just the four kiddos and I.  Before you go thinking "Oh how lovely for a Saturday morning..." let me just say it didn't last long.  I think I forgot to give the "if you aren't listening and having good attitudes we wont stay" chat!  Anyway before we made it out of there I managed to grab a delicious farm fresh breakfast burrito, a lovely bouqet of dahlias and a handmade soap to try.  And the best part of course ~ the inspiration!
I came back wanting to get to work making over the front porch ~ the window boxes and general arrangement of everything!  Here is the finished look until the pumpkins start coming out and then those will have to be worked in also!
Chrysanthemum's and Kale, Chickens and Pumpkins and little violets!  Delight!

Welcome friends, welcome fall!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Garden Pests & other notables

These two flew the coop and proceeded to bed down in my newly planted lettuce patch.  Alas, the entire fall planting of lettuce seeds is no more.  We came home from a lovely time at the beach to a sad state of affairs in this garden bed.
On another note, the artichokes are coming along nicely! 

And my herb garden was happily put to bed just before we left for our little trip.  I added in some treatments from around the farm!  Some ashes from the barbeque, some coffee grounds from the kitchen, some old chicken bedding & manure from the coops (at least they are good for that!) and finally some leaves from the leaf pile my children already started!
To answer a few questions from the last garden post:
~ Biennial means carrots have a two year growing cycle.  The first year you can eat them!  Then if some are left in the ground for a second year they are not for eating they produce seeds and you can collect the seeds!
~  Yes, I do can & freeze and this year I'm also dehydrating.  We have a catering business and many times we have so much produce left we can't possibly eat, can, or freeze it all in time.  We have one of our biggest events ever this weekend so I bought a deydrator in time to make sure nothing goes to waste!
~ I didn't grow sweet potatoes this year but we grilled some from our local farmers market and I found out how delicious and also nutritious they are.  Sweet Potatoes are a must for my 2012 garden plans!  I am also going to add in garlic, shallots & green beans! 
Please do comment about your gardens!  I love to hear tips and ideas and successes!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Harvest & Fall Planting

We just put in 5 raised beds in the spring I cannot believe I already feel like I need more room next year!  Since there really isn't room to put in another bed I will have to use every inch wisely!  I'm also trying to plan for more year round gardening.  I harvested some of my carrots this morning and we've been eating them. But I'm going to leave some in to go to seed for next year since they are biennial.
Here are the potatoes we harvested the other night, and some out drying as seed potatoes - my first try at this.
I also moved the strawberries into the berry patch so I can use the half barrels for sweet potatoes & fingerling potatoes next planting season.  In the meantime I am going to plant more cabbage in them for winter harvest and see how it goes.

Please feel free to comment and give ideas on seed saving, I'm new so I will need lots of help.  I put some books on hold at the library - that's always my introduction to new subjects & then I dive in and try them for myself! How is your harvesting coming along?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seasons changing

I love the slow movement of the seasons.  As summer draws to a close I enjoy puttering around the garden and house, slowly easing out the summery items and easing in fallish things.  Yesterday out came the potato crop with the childrens help and the fall lettuce went in their place. The front porch got a little sprucing up putting some of the brighter shades of blue away as the window boxes are toned down.  The summer mantel was also put away with a the first fall pumpkin now in her place of honor!This slow movement is good for the soul.  It's not quickly OUT WITH THE OLD!  It's respectfully in with the new, honoring the season that we're still holding onto but embracing what comes too!  I hope you enjoy the fall as much as I do!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did I mention I'm not a happy camper?!

But my husband & children are!  This was the camping trip hoped for & looked forward to all summer!  Motorcycling in the woods thru trails & up a mountain side!  I'm glad I don't know too much - I would have been even more nervous than I already was!  They had a blast ~ my husband had a few much needed days off!  And.... momma got a quiet house!  Well... almost quiet - I did have one little person who is not quite big enough to ride!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How does your garden grow?

Late in the spring I posted about the beginnings of this gardens first season.  And now, here is my lovely potager, in full bloom!
The past few weeks have been so pleasantly full with warm and bright mornings as we open our eyes.  I've really enjoyed the quiet moments puttering in the garden morning and evening, watering and looking for abundant offerings.  It's really been so easy with these raised beds with out weeds!
In my "garden bed" you can find artichokes, cabbages, walla walla onions, corn and even baby pumpkins.
In another bed we enjoyed the peas (none of which actually made it into the kitchen) and then the beets, carrots, lettuce, turnips and zucchini started to abound. 
There is also an herb bed with an espaliered pear tree and strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in there own patches (these don't make it inside either!).  The last bed on the end holds the beans, potatoes, asparagus & cucumbers.    (after putting in the potatoes I found out they don't make good bedfellows with the cuc's but that will have to be remedied next season using the companion planting method) 
Not to be forgotten on the deck we also have a cherry tomato & she just finally offered up her first fruits
I'm loving these last peaceful summer days, I mean really deeply wholeheartedly loving them!  This summer feels like the end of a season for us.  The children are growing up, this is our last year with grade school aged children only (next year we'll have a middle schooler).  Some of the family fun we've had seems to have held it's luster but I just have this sense "it wont be like this for long."
Blessings to you as you wrap up your summer fun!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Bliss

I'd rather have roses on my table, than diamonds on my neck.
~ Emma Goldman

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little glimpse into our summer life...

Our oldest daughter at her first overnight horse camp ever!  She is growing up so fast!  She just celebrated her birthday & she is ELEVEN now!  Suddenly she seems so different.  She has her own agenda and she wants to go go go!  Thankfully this summer family has joined in to make her summer happenin'!  She's been vacationing at the beach several times and out to a special broadway show!  To overnight and day camps and down to Woodland to stay with childhood friends!  Whew!  We have been busy! 
This darling little one however is pretty content to just be along for the ride!  Wherever that ride may take her!  She is always asking to "doe bye bye"!  Cute and spunky little thing!  She loves to talk and sing all day long and loves to gain everyone's attention!  She is really quite easy going most of the time even though she knows what she wants! 
I don't have any great photos to post of the boys who have been playing furiously with friends from Woodland and boys down the street!  They are so much happier when the two of them are distracted from each other!  More on those two later! 

Now I have a fun new post to do about my candles.  So pop on over to Lily White & Clean when you have a chance!

Friday, July 15, 2011

my new thing

i've got a new thing goin'!  it might just be... no it IS just the thing i've been looking for! 

i am learning to make beautiful hand-made soaps and candles.  this by itself is delightful.  working with all these fattening creamy delicious ingredients and turning them into fragrant treats without the calories!  mmm good! 

but, even better is going into business with my dear good friend leah who is a potter!   we have dreams of going "to market, to market" together!  selling our wares packaged beautifully, crafted with love, combining both our talents!  i have always admired leah for her unique vision, style and drive to create.  she inspires me!  by the way, her business name is "raine or shine pottery co." and she will have a website going soon! 
photo courtesy dennisanderson at etsy
hopefully i will have photos to share along with more of our vision shortly, in the meantime, you will have to wait & see!  also look into the new blog

Monday, June 20, 2011

Searching for new inspiration

Right now I'm inspired by searching for inspiration.  I'm reading up, asking questions, taking one step forward every day in search of what is next for me! 
Already life is pretty full with our business and our family.  The thing is, the business is based on the talent and passions of my husband, it's his gift!  Our children too have interests and school and things going on in their lives and I know I keep the heart of the home.  Yet, for their sakes and mine too I want to have my own passion!  I could easily make my life about them.  When someone asks "What's new?' I could say Anna is doing camps all summer, the boys are finishing up with baseball and starting soccer soon...... the list goes on.  But for some reason I want to be able to answer that question about me.  I mean, they are asking me right?! 
I also don't want to be the mom that wont let her children have some freedom.  They are already who they are meant to be.  I feel like my role as a mom is to stay nearby to offer guidence as they figure it out for themselves.  We all have purpose in this world.  Theirs has nothing to do with my ideas for them and everything to do with what God created them to be.  So, as I use my instincts to follow my passion I hope they will also learn to use their own insticts and hear their calling(s).
For this mama, already, I know I love farm life, at least dabbling in it!  I love being a farmgirl, with country music playing in the air whilst I garden or care for our home.  I love cuddling up with my toddler to read, laying in bed at night with my 10 year old chatting about all her ideas and giggling like a school girl.  I love play fighting with my boys and scrubbing their faces clean several times a day!  I love summering at the beach with our family making memories together to last a lifetime!  I love partnering with my husband in everything - even when it's a little crazy around here! 
Life is good, so full of opportunities, so abundant. 
Please do share with me how you found your own passion in life and how you work in all the things that make your heart sing!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Simple Abundance.

A few years ago I stumbled on this book at my mom's house.  She always has interesting reading material that she finds and then surprisingly often doesn't read ;).  Anyway, I found this book by Sarah Ban Breathnach filled with inspiration, and overflowing with thoughtful meditations and intriguing quotes.  It's all about living passionately, fully and authentically.  Being who you were created to be.  I refer back to it when I am uninspired to try to "prime the pump" but also when I am feeling the rising tide of a dream coming to life as it is now...

So how this translates into my life right now is this.  Brace yourself it's not all pretty!

I feel like we are in a precarious place right now in the world.  Times ahead look like they are going to be difficult.  For many people, here in our America and all around the world life is already very hard.  Sometimes, I wish I could just pretend like everything is rosy, live in my happy little cottage and shut the world out.  I could almost pretend that things will always stay this way ~ where we have more than enough, where my children are safe and small and right here with me to tuck in every night.

But there are signs all around if you take notice that things are not as they should be.  Evil is growing, maybe not yet too noticeable right here in my own backyard but close and far, it's growing.  There is a quote that has been standing out in my mind, "to not stand in the face of evil is to stand". 

One thing I want to take a stand on is my faith.  My faith in God is a gift that my parents gave me from the very beginning and I am thankful for this sustaining life giving powerful faith.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is my God too.  He says about Israel, and the Jewish people that they are the apple of his eye.  He chose them to reveal Himself to the world, the creator to the created and also through them to save the world by his son Jesus.  He says those who bless them He will bless, those who curse them, He will curse.  I believe that Christians must defend Israel as the world starting to turn on God's people once again.  The Jewish people have a right to defensible borders, a right to exist and as our allies they need our support.  Here is the irony ~ they do not ask for our troops, they do not ask for our finances, they simply ask for us to stand in solidarity that they have the ability and freedom to defend themselves.  Please stand with me if you will... many people aren't even aware that there is controversy surrounding Israel yet but it's there.

Expressing this has been on my heart for awhile.  Being authentic to me means searching for beauty which sustains my soul, and yet it also means speaking my heart even when whats on it isn't pretty... 

So how else does this all relate back to Simple Abundance you might ask?

Here's the thing, I know that my interests, my personality, my strengths ~ everything about me (and you) was created on purpose for a purpose (even many purposes).  Stay with me here, I'm a bit of a rambling writer. 

I may just be getting ready to embark on a new journey... I feel the tug on my heartstrings to "get a new dream" (as I mentioned in my profile).  In addition to honing skills necessary to whatever the future may hold such as vegetable gardening (the potager), farm animals (the chickens, rabbit & goats), and much more... I'm back to where I started from!
 Before I met my husband I wondered what would bring meaning to my life.  (This is like 10 posts put together I think - maybe I shouldn't have waited so long!)  Creating a family and a life together is and has been so fulfilling.  Having a husband and four babies has definately used up my nurturing side.  Creating a home and garden to live and cozy up in has utilized my creative side.  So whatever I do in the future has to somehow combine these two defining attributes.  Obviously, my little family isn't going to finish raising themselves!  And my home will need tending too.  But, I'm back to where I started from because I've realized I like my life to be FULL.  My dear friend Leah once said "what if your the kind who never feels done having babies?" before I got to have our little last one! 

I wondered that a little too.  But no, I am done with those kind of babies (my husband shouts, yahoo!) I need a new kind of baby!  A new dream to behold...
More on this as it comes together...
Anyway, to tie up all the strings of this post is this, I am a conflicted, deeply feeling, passionate, country girl striving to say what needs to be said and get done what needs to get done! 
Whew, finally, is anyone still listening to all this blathering on and on?!
If your still here :), Blessings,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beautiful Weather

We have had some beautiful weather for about 3 days!  It's been so long I started to lose faith in summer and gardens and warmth altogether (not in God though).  I've been working outside and the gardens are looking great!  Now I have to get inspired to make the inside match the outside!
Still haven't figured out my camera situation.  I would love to post new photos, sorry!  One day I'll have things back to normal around here!  (hopefully before my children are grown!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe!

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones he came to save:

Till on that cross as Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied -

For every sin on Him was laid;

Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain:

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave he rose again!

And as He stands in victory

Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,

For I am His and He is mine -

Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life's first cry to final breath.

Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand;

Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All things country living... english style

A few of my favorite things....

1.  Country Living Magazine British Edition!  Expensive - yes!  It's the only magazine subscription I still have though!  It is full of inspiration for style, gardening decorating.  It totally brings out the romantic in me!

2.    Little white churches....
3.  Boots & that includes all kinds!

4.  Old Rustic Barns
5.  Eating, cooking, baking (finding new inspiration) food in general, yes there is a reason I married a chef!  (although thats not the only reason!)

6.  Babies, need I say more?
7.  Pretty comfy sweaters...

8.  Chicks, the little fuzzy kind

9.  seedlings in the windowsill

10.  that leads me into the potager which is finally in place!  (below photo is sadly misleading as I am still having camera loading challanges...)  real photos soon to come!  I am very happy with the way it's turning out!

Just a little sampling of what's on my mind lately!  Hope you find a little inspiration here!


About Me

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wife & mother of 4 beautiful children, 2 girls & 2 boys. small business co-owner; catering and a restaurant/alehouse, writer, gardener, lover of freedom and humility found in christ, small town enthusiast, book reader, admirer of noble truths, beauty and love