Wednesday, November 30

*ready, set, come on 27 degrees

Our Goats are ready.
They are set.
Come on 27 degree temps, they can handle it! (I hope)

 When last at the community thrift store in our little town, I chose three sweater type tops for our goats winter sleepers.  Two of the tree night shirts turned out rather nicely, I have to make a new one for Neffie tomorrow, but for now she is wearing the one that doesn't fit as well as I would like.

This particular shirt didn't work so well because of the neckline.   The serger made this job easy but a sewing machine would do the job nicely as well. I think our goats are going to be very grateful for their "goat coats" over the next few days. We are supposed to have 27 degrees for several nights in a row with much milder temps during the day.

Bodie say's good night, sleep tight!

Tuesday, November 29

*wreck the halls

When my sisters and I were growing up, we enjoyed the beginning of the Christmas season as soon as Thanksgiving left overs were being put away.  Momma would pull out the tree and ornaments the day after Thanksgiving for us to help ornamate.  I have carried the tradition on throughout the years and this year is no different.    Since our den is rather cozy, we chose a 5 foot tree and then trimmed it up a bit to fit the space nicely.   We also chose a 5 foot live tree for our dining room area as well. The price was right! In the past I have paid upwards to $45 for a 7 or 8 foot live tree, but this year I got two trees for $20.

Sadly, I did not get any pictures, but my niece Kierstyn was here when we started to ornamate the trees, she did a great job helping to get the process started. It was really fun to have a young one helping again! Henry is great at helping in the merriment process as well, but on this day he was off with his older brother (who deploys again soon). Do  you like my made up word: ornamate? It means to put ornaments on the tree and about the house!

This is one of my favorite nativity scenes that we own, to me it is simplistic and humble, I love it.  Can you imagine how humbled Mary must have felt? To know, that she was chosen to carry this Gift?

Joy. This time we celebrate is about JOY that came to Earth. It was The Real Biggest Greatest Giveaway EVER!

This tree needs a little bit of something just yet, but it is a beautiful tree (especially for $10!)

I encourage you, Enjoy The Season.  Years past I would become closed up to the HOOPLA  of the Christmastime Season.  I would basically shut down, not shop at Walmart at all from Thanksgiving until mid January. But it is a great time to spread Joy, truly anytime is a great time to do that!  Seek out a face that needs a smile, a kind word. I encourage you to drive through a fast food line and pay for the person behind you, or through Starbucks - buy someone unsuspecting their coffee order. You can make a card that says something like : Jesus gave freely, so I freely give to you today or simply ask the barista to tell them Merry Christmas!

Every day you have an opportunity to bring Joy to someone. From the postal carrier, your children, your husband, the sales clerk at any given store you visit to the neighbor next door.  Things are better caught than taught. We have to learn to speak with our actions, not our words. Tis better to let the Holy Spirit change one, than try and do it ourselves?!  Live with actions that speak louder than words.

This is likely the only snow men I will see here in Florida, and that is fine by me. I have always enjoyed the few snowy days we got in NC, but my heart is content here, and I will be fine without snow, He has given me so much more!

So far we have not had any wrecking! But in years past this has been our cats theme song:

Wreck the halls with two cats running,
Fa-la-la-la-la   la-la-la-la
Fur goes flying, lamps get done in,
Fa-la-la-la-la   la-la-la-la
Tumbling swiftly down the stair way,
Fa-la-la-la-la   la-la-la-la
Woe to those who get in their way,
Fa-la-la-la-la   la-la-la-la
(sung to Deck the Halls)  - by Laurie Loughlin of Catmas Carols

Make your days merry and bright, you have a choice based on your attitude.  I have chosen a poor attitude in the past towards Christmas. I would repeat that I hate the commercialism, and I do, but I choose not to let that ruin my celebration of love this year. I think having had my family here during the Thanksgiving holiday has given me a heart bursting with joy and gratitude. I am so grateful for that time. I can hardly wait to run into "town" and complete my errands later this week, with a few simple treasures here from home to possibly make someone smile out there.  After all, it is the Greatest Giveaway!  May your month be filled with moments of giving something away. I will give my couple of Starbucks a month away this month, I will give away some pickles and other things we canned this summer, I will give away a smile to a weary cashier, I plan to seek out the unloved and pray they see HIM through me, I will give away a kind word to someone in great need of it, I will give away gratitude and a small token to the firefighters, policemen of our area, I will give away His love as best I can.   What will you give away all for Love's sake?

 Shared at Deep Roots At Home, go get further encouraged!

Monday, November 28


Today as I got ready to go out the door into the somewhat brisk weather, I grabbed my black leather jacket that I haven't worn since last winter.  As I put it on, I felt a "treasure" in the front left pocket. Once I had the jacket on, I reached in to see what it was hiding in there since last winter.

Um. Well. I was not thrilled to find a mozzarella cheese stick in my coat pocket!  We use these as treats with Frayja and she obviously wasn't a good girl on this particular day because the treat remained in my pocket for many months. 

And in the other pocket was $5 and some change...
Do you find treasure in your coat pockets like me at the beginning of the new winter season? You never know when you  might need a moldy cheese stick or a few bucks. 

*scenic Sunday

Destin Beach, Florida on a warm November day.
 May each of you have a fantastic week!

Saturday, November 26


This, Eucharisteo, I have been learning to do more this year, has helped me realize that which has been given is enough.  I am so guilty of not giving thanks when I so often have the opportunity to do so.  I am beyond blessed in many facets of my life and I think I often take things for granted that I should otherwise be naming to our Lord, one by one and giving thanks.  After all, all GOOD things come from Him - right.  All things are allowed by His hands, so in all things we are to give thanks even those trying, heart breaking, difficult times. I have had much to write in my Eucharisteo Journal here of late.

I don't really like it when I realize I have been a bad student, and have to repent of my actions and turn away from a wrong attitude.  I want to be more mature than that, but I am human (not making excuses), I am just being real.  I have to look at the situation and CHOOSE to see the gift, so I can CHOOSE to say thanks.

So much to be thankful for. So much. I know your plate runneth over as well, if you are thinking no, you don't know my story - I would encourage you to stop where you are and SEEK out the gifts that were all along the way that your eyes did not see while in the midst of a difficult situation.  Sometimes our eyes are so set and focused on the difficulty that our vision is blurred to everything around the situation, therefore, we miss God's grace that is strewn along the way.

Most of our feast is shown in this picture except the cold dishes as well as the delicious desserts.

Turkey and Ham carving time!
Austin even got in on the merriment making and iced our 8 layer cake, it is a Smith Island Cake. DELISH!
From the oldest (Nama - My brotherinlaw's grandmother- 84) to my niece (Kierstyn, 10- Nama is her great grandmother) a delightful time was had by all. We had 20 total, 2 additional canines feasting with us on this great day!

This is our one year anniversary of living in our Florida home.  We are bursting with gratitude for this beautiful spot of Heaven on Earth.  Almost every day when Eric and I walk out to feed the animals in the evening, we give thanks. We are sometimes overwhelmed with the thought that it has been lent to us for a time by the Giver.  We are doing our best to be good stewards of this land in every way that we are able.

My Dad spending some time with his granddog, Frayja. He was in love!

Our awesome young men, minus one  :(  But we know he had a great time with his other family members.

Thanksgiving was largely celebrated at our homestead this year by many and I couldn't have been happier to have my sisters and parents all here as well as many others.  My youngest sisters' husband, Doug, is a Firefighter and he was unable to be with us due to the call of duty on this holiday weekend.   Of our other immediate family members, Skyler my nephew was missed too, while he spent the holiday with his Dad and family.

My  husband said he does not know me.... Why ever not?
Make every day a day of giving thanks - remember there are gifts lying all around!

Sunday, November 20

*scenic Sunday

This past week I received one of the best gifts one could get, a week long visit from their best friend!  We had a great time "just livin" while she was here.  I asked her what she wanted to do and she said,  "just live".  So we did just that. No pressure.   I have been cleaning, organizing and arranging since she hit the road to travel back to the foothills of North Carolina.  We will soon be opening our home to our family for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

I am super excited about having my mother, sisters and their families; our oldest son, his girlfriend, her parents, and her sister; our youngest son's girlfriend; and one of my sisters father in law and his mother here in our home on Thanksgiving.  I love having people in our home. I love doting on people, doing things for them to make them feel a bit spoiled while they are here. I have a lot to get accomplished before Tuesday evening, which is when my family will start arriving.

Even though it is several days before Thanksgiving, setting the table is one easy thing I can take care of in advance.  We just need to add glasses, plates overflowing with traditional dishes to sit on top of the chargers  and lovely family members sitting in each chair (and at other tables).

I cleaned off the side board to make room all the deserts that we will be having on Thanksgiving day.

This weekend I have decluttered our dining room area  bit. Isn't it funny how things can get cluttered in just ONE year?  Yes, it has been one year this Thanksgiving that we have been  here in our rural Florida home.  Hardly seems so.   Have a great week!

Saturday, November 19

*saponification taking place

Lemongrass & Lavender blend
I am a soap maker, bet you didn't know that, did you? I haven't made soap in a year or more.  I love to create great recipes by pairing up different oils for a great bubbly lather and wonderful cleansing abilities.  I have had oils that I needed to mix with some caustic soda for some time now to replenish our personal supply as well as selling.  When I had my store open, All Natural Body Soaps, I was making soap every few months.  I have missed it!

Orange & Clove blend with pulverized orange peel
This one smelled like food when we first poured it in the mold to set.  The whole house smelled delicious! 

Franziska and I had a great time working on several things that needed to be done. She was just the motivator I needed to get the soap made, not to mention both she and I were out of soap!  A few weeks ago, I bought my first soap in about 5 years.  I hated having to purchase commercially made soap. It took me numerous  trips to the store (and washing with shampoo) before I put several bars into my shopping cart. 

I am not sure if I can wait the allotted time before use!  I make cold-process soap therefore we have to wait for it to go through a curing process before the lye has completely neutralized for safe use.  


*the big reveal...

The piecing is finished!   I am thrilled with the results.  In the beginning I was not sure what I was going to use as setting blocks and sashing, but this paisley fabric worked perfectly!  I think it really ties all the colors in the friendship block together nicely.

Initially I was going to stitch out some scriptures on some blocks that would go in the center of the quilt that related to the shore or ocean, but my skills with the embroidery machine are not quite at that level yet!     So.. instead I stitched out my one of my friends favorite sayings in the center of the quilt.  The center of the quilt and the outer border are the same fabric.

We will have a full house come this week and I am thrilled about it, but after our family heads back home I will get this set in so I can get it under the needle!  What do you think?

~Until next time,

Tuesday, November 15

*scenic Sunday smiley reason...

Scenic Sunday hosted a picture of a big smiley face, grinning from ear to ear.  Sunday night I got a call from my best friend, Franziska.  She had some news that would make me smile from ear to ear... she and Mary were leaving Monday morning to tackle the long drawn out 9 hour drive to Florida for a short stay!  Best day ever! (are you a Sponge Bob watcher?)

This is what we will be doing all week, laughing, having a good time, basking in each others presence, for it has been more than a year since we had the opportunity to do this.  So thankful, such a gift (missing you Sarah!).

Monday, November 14

*fragile and limited

life, fragile and limited

Just this past week I have had presented to me, opportunity to reflect on life. Not that I can't reflect on it as often as I wish, however we lost two dear family members this past week.  It makes you survey their lives, count the blessings again, remember the good times and realize how much you will miss them when they are gone.  Losing a family member or close friend makes you stop and survey what you are doing with yours. Are you making it count? Are you touching and changing lives for the Kingdom? Are you doing things daily for God and country (the country men you live around)? 

Due to some medical reasons I was not able to travel to Georgia for my Uncle's funeral, nor my Great Aunts.  I was torn, ripped, troubled by not being able to jump in the car and drive over to be with my Aunt and cousins. I know that they will probably never read this post, but I am posting this in honor of my dear Uncle Junior. 

Uncle Junior was one of those Uncles that you knew you were going to have a great time around. He was loving, fun, compassionate and FUNNY as well as silly. He was one of those dads that was nurturing with his young well into adulthood.  He was firm when needed but always kind and loving - He will be dearly missed.   We grew up just a few short miles from each other and I always felt welcome at their home.  I know that he will be greatly missed and I am thankful for the place he played in my life.   Uncle Junior, we will miss you.

Aunt Becky, Uncle Jr, Chris and William (other son Terry is not pictured)

Uncle Jr, Daddy, Aunt Mary and Granny (their mother)

My dad, William and his dad- Uncle Jr

Rest in Peace! So grateful to know that you are now dancing in His presence!

Sunday, November 13

*scenic Sunday

Stay tuned this week to find out why this is the scene here on Sunday!
May each of you have a super week!

*christmas giveaway on Homestead Drying Racks

If you are a homesteader this may appeal to you, or if you are a suburban dweller this may appeal to you, in fact if you are living smack in the middle of an urban area this will likely appeal to you as well... so hope on over to the Christmas Giveaway at Homestead Drying Racks!