Saturday, December 29, 2012

Warmth Wishing

Sharing Two Recipes

My Gramma Gartman was a great cook. I especially remember her coffee cake, her chicken and dumplings, her banana cream pie, her chili lasagna, her rice pudding, her strawberry freezer jam… but best of all, the thing that we all looked forward to and that she made so often, were Gramma’s rolls. She made large batches and saved the leftovers in empty cereal boxes. (They were just the right size and shape and the waxed paper liners were perfect for keeping them fresh.)
There has been some disagreement among my siblings as to whether or not I have the recipe written down correctly, but I still remember clearly the day that I asked Gramma to teach me how to make her rolls and I jotted everything down as we went along.
They are a bit finicky. They really like a nice warm place to rise or they just don’t. But even our flatter results have had the right taste at least – that wonderful memory filled taste. :)
Gramma Gartman’s Rolls
1/4 lb margarine
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 c scalded milk
1 c warm milk
2 pkg (4 1/2 t) yeast softened in 1/2 c warm water
5 c (or so) flour
Start by scalding the 1 c of milk in a small saucepan and putting the other cup of milk along with the stick of margarine into a bowl to melt in the microwave. Let both cool to room temperature. Soften the yeast in the warm water and allow to bloom. (I usually do this while the milk is still warm and allow it to sit until the milk has cooled enough to continue with the recipe.) Add the scalded milk, the milk and melted margarine mixture, the sugar, and the egg and mix well. Then add the flour one cup at a time (I usually find it takes more like six cups.) until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let rise in a warm place for one hour. Punch down. Roll or pat out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares. Place on greased baking sheet and let rise in a warm place again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Our family loves these with soup or with spaghetti or all by themselves with butter or jam. Yum!
(The second recipe is in the picture. It is another of Gramma’s recipes.) Enjoy!

Hush, Be Still

This is a song I’m still working on. I have words and melody, but nothing really recorded yet. Hopefully, posting this here will encourage me to finally make some progress on it. :)
“Hush, Be Still” is a song that I wrote for a friend of mine while she was going through a time with a lot of anxiety. She mentioned one day that one of her favorite passages was, Ps.131:1-2 ” My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” This song is based on that passage. The Lord speaks and the soul responds.
Hush, Be Still – by Heidi Kaether copyright 2011
Hush, be still. I am always here.
Peace, be still. Trust and do not fear.
Let the cares of the world all fade away.
Rest, My little one, in Me.
Take My thoughts in exchange for yours.
There’s no need for you to worry so.
Trust My heart, for you know I am in control.
Rest, My little one, in Me.
In silence, I will wait for You.
Let me dwell in the shelter of Your wings.
Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed,
You are the Rock to which I will cling.

Sleep, My child, in My arms tonight.
Cease to strive. This is not your fight.
Just believe that all will turn out right.
Rest, My little one, in Me.
Like a weaned child in her mother’s arms.
I have stilled and quieted my soul.
All those thoughts that are too hard for me,
Lord, I leave them in Your control.

Hush, be still. I am always here.
Peace, be still. Trust and do not fear.
Let the cares of the world all fade away.
Rest, My little one.
Hush, My little one.
Rest, My little one, in Me.

Mason Jar Chandelier

Mason jar chandeliers are becoming quite popular. I first ran into them on pinterest (of course) :) and saw many of this type.
I liked it a lot, but I liked these better:


Ok, so I knew what I wanted to try to make. I started watching Craig’s List for a chandelier that was the right shape.
I found this one…
The ad written for it was hilarious.
“Awful chandelier must go. It’s been replaced with something much more tasteful.
Builder threw this piece of junk in when the house was built 10 years ago. We can’t BELIEVE the prior owners never replaced it. But then again their taste was white, off-white and beige – when they really wanted to spice things up.
Get it soon before it goes to re-store and uglies up someone else’s dining room.
This ugly light works perfectly and is in perfect condition, although ugly.
Hopefully you have bad taste, will like this chandelier, and come give me a few bucks for it.”
Truly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?!
So I bought that “ugly” chandelier and brought it home to de-uglify it.
I left the light shades off (those may go to Good Will)
and painted the whole thing copper.
I then began the process of what my daughter called “re-uglifying” it. LOL I chose two green paints, one an ivy green and one a turquoise. I didn’t have a sponge, so decided to sacrifice an old washcloth, which I wadded up and used to dab paint onto the chandelier
first the ivy green
and then the turquoise.
I let that dry and mixed some light blue paint with water to make a wash.
I gave the whole chandelier a light coating with the blue wash. (I did end up going back later and adding more copper and re-doing the wash as I felt I’d gone a bit overboard in the turquoise.) Now the chandelier had that old copper verdigris look that I liked so much in the inspiration picture.
I tried and tried to think of a way to make it work with the mason jars facing up, like in the picture. But the pictured chandelier was made for candles. Using it for light bulbs meant I’d need to find a way to make a hole in the bottom, and I couldn’t find a good safe way to do that. I even called my uncle who does stained glass to ask him for advice, but the best he could come up with meant going out and buying new tools. So, we rethought it.
One of my sons came up with the idea of gluing mason jar rings into each light sconce, which we did with five minute epoxy. Genius! (We’ll be using the curly flourescent bulbs so there shouldn’t be too much heat generated, but we’ll watch it at first to be sure.)
I purchased crystals from here and put it all together.
I’m just waiting for my husband to rewire it and it will take up its duties in our kitchen!

Everyone Loves a Man in Uniform

Birthday Cake Compromise

What do you do for a birthday cake when a 7 year old little girl shares a birthday with an 18 year old big brother? That is the question I pondered this past November 1st. Manda wanted a castle cake. Terran didn’t really care but I didn’t feel right about having pink and purple fairytale spires for him. LOL So, this is what I finally came up with…
I used a square cake topped with a dome shaped cake baked in our Pampered Chef classic batter bowl. It is surrounded by cupcakes and cakes baked in ice cream cones, frosted and topped with more ice cream cones. Then I washed some of the boys’ lego figures in soapy water and used them to decorate the castle. There’s a pretty major battle going on, complete with opposing dragons!
The best part was they both liked their cake.

Thoughts on Thankfulness – Book Reviews

A word that has shaped the last couple years of my life. I’ve often marveled at the way God will orchestrate events to reinforce what He is teaching me, book after book, conversation after conversation. I love the way He does that!
In the months after our daughter, Savannah died, I would run errands all by myself whenever I could so that I could cry without bothering anyone. I would listen to the radio and pray and pray and cry out to the Lord. Often, I’d time my errands so that I could listen to Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s program “Revive Our Hearts”. She did a series on thankfulness that really spoke to me where I was. I wanted to get her book about it, but wasn’t able to at that time.
Fast forward to about a year ago – Ann Voskamp’s lovely book, “One Thousand Gifts” came out and I devoured it without coming up for air until it was finished. Her writing is so poetic, so full of emotion. I cried as I read about her sister’s death, as I ran with her under the intoxicating moon, as she struggled with how to teach her sons what God was teaching her, as she discovered God’s role not only as Father, teacher, friend… but even as husband. I wanted to share her book with everyone I knew. Mostly, I wanted that kind of thankful worshipful faith life.
I started writing down my thanks – what Ann calls a gift list – all the gifts God was giving me. Remembering them. Hanging onto them.
1. Sweet lavender scented baby neck fresh from the bath and ready for nuzzling.
2. Heavy chocolate floating on the breeze inexorably filling every corner of the house with anticipation of brownies.
3. Four year old not even upset at the fact that she can’t join the biggers in sledding because she got to make said brownies!
4. Sun shining through the window making a square on the floor that you can stand in and feel the warm soaking up into your toes.
5. bolts and piles of paisely, plaid, florals, wool and cotton, just waiting to be made into beautiful things.
6. Relaxing into the harmonic intervals as my children sing hyms in four part harmony around the dining room table.
7. Precious things – a cup, a locket, a chest – full of memories, of history, of lives lived and the love in them.
8. Groaning, aching in prayer for dear friends and family in pain and in need, cooperating in some small way in God’s plan for thier lives.
9.Saints who have gone before, telling, speaking, writing, teaching,reaching back a hand to help those who come after find the way.
10. Sleepy milk-drunk sighs.
11. Hot water pouring down, washing away the dirt and loosening the muscles – like God’s grace-rain, not only washing the outside, but also loosening up the faith muscles on the inside.
12. New blanket of snow so bright and clean, every branch and bough with it’s own little bit of fluff.
13. Surgeons who know how to cut away the bad so that the good can heal, both the physical and the spiritual ones.
14. Big brothers, nearly grown, still willing to play with their four year old little sister with her “plastic toys”.
15. Black stone enscribed with name, always close right outside the window, constant comforting reminder of resurrection glory.
16. Reading God’s Word ’round the table, each in turn, on Sunday morning.
17. Pantry shelves laden with jars in jeweled colors canned in Gramma’s kettle.
18. Tiny ridge of white on little pink gum.
19. More snow keeping us home for a quiet relaxed homeschooling day.
20. Little pot belly pumping out heat, room warm and cozy, little one on lap with a book to share.
21. The servants – washing machine, dryer, crock pot, working busily away to keep the house on track.
Lovely, lovely gifts from God. :)
And then, after about a year for that message of thankfulness to seep into my heart and become somewhat a part of who I am, a friend let me borrow Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book “Choosing Gratitude” too.
It is a very different book from Ann’s in style, but very similar in message. I loved it too. I really loved how she included a 30 series of devotions that helped make the lesson more tangible. God was bringing me a little farther, a little deeper – taking me from the high of emotion in “One Thousand Gifts” and grounding me in studying it out in His word through “Choosing Gratitude”.
61. A little girl’s excitement as she figures out how to spell her brother’s name all by herself.
62. More grass reaching for sky :) Even though the snow will most likely return and cover it again, it never stops reaching.
63. Birds at the feeder twittering happily
64. Sun on honey mustard walls filling the room with warmth
65. Sepia toned photograph of my father as a young boy, and trying to decide which of my children look most like him
66. The clink of ice in a glass of water
67. Mysteriously beautiful fog constantly shifting and changing
68. Children’s enjoyment of puddles
69. Bag of potatoes from one of our neighbors waiting by the door when we got home today
70: sky of easter egg blue peeking between clouds
71. Friendly post office lady – always a joy.
72. Big round bales of hay in a rown in the fields, each with its fluffy white hat
73. Slippery clay growing and changing like a living thing within my hands, becoming the thing I planned it to be.
74. Mastering Gramma’s rolls
75. Wil’s love for and excitement to see his “Jub Jub” (Jeremi)
God is so good, so very good to me! Lord make thankfulness the default setting of my life!

Just for Fun

How to Write a Song

Song writing has become one of the greatest joys in my life. It’s an incredible feeling when you see someone’s heart touched by the inspiration you received, regardless of whether you think your writing is up to the level of what you might hear on the Christian radio station or whether your recording ability is able to bring out the best in your work. That’s why I love to encourage other beginning songwriters to keep writing even if their writing is weak at present. I don’t want to place myself on some pedestal as if I’ve figured it all out. Not hardly! I only wish to share what I’ve learned so far and some wonderful resources for songwriters.
I think the main thing, the first thing, is inspiration. This isn’t some magical thing or a skill to be acheived or something that only really spiritual people can do. One of my favorite songwriters, Dennis Jernigan, calls himself a “song receiver” rather than a song writer. God is the source, not ourselves. There’s always a thrill in my soul though, when an idea for a song comes, and I know it’s from the Lord. I have never been able to sit down and *decide* to write a song – not a good one anyway. That song seed may come while reading in God’s word, or listening to a friend in need, or hearing a sermon, or seeing a beautiful sunrise, but it’s that idea, that seed of a song. Sometimes songwriters call it a “hook”. Often, I’ll have a picture in my head and a phrase that begins to describe that picture and the emotions wrapped up in it. Usually, that phrase has a melody or suggests a melody. One article on songwriting that I read, suggested speaking the lyrics you’d written aloud and hearing the music already in them, the highs and lows of the voice that are naturally there. I think it’s a lot like that, though it might happen without those actual thoughts.
Once I have that seed or hook, most of the song usually comes quickly after that. There might be a little struggling with the words in the second verse, pulling them into the rhythm pattern that I’ve laid down in the first, but usually, it’s all there, in that picture, and I’m just trying to describe what that picture means to me. When it’s right, it makes me cry. That sounds a bit silly, but it’s true. It’s kind of like when you hear someone else giving utterance to what you’ve held in your soul but couldn’t quite articulate. That’s what it feels like. :)
Most of the time, the melody and at least a vague impression of the acompaniment is all together by that point and I just have to work through getting down on paper what I hear in my head, musically. But sometimes, such as with “Watching the Sky” as I mentioned in my earlier post, I am stuck and need a bit of help. I am so thankful to have other songwriter friends and relatives to call upon. It can be a bit scary to share an unfinished song with someone else. They might laugh at your wording in your bridge when you thought it was especially poignant. (Love, you, Cheri!) But, as you hear their constructive criticism, and take it into account, whether or not you take their advice and change anything, your song will be stronger for it.
There is generally a structure to songs – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus – and usually a meter and rhyme pattern that you keep throughout the song, but don’t be afraid to let the song lead the way and sometimes even break those rules. This is one thing I’ve seen often in the work of a beginning songwriter – a forced-ness, especially in strictness of rhymes, that leaves the song feeling sterile and without emotion or meaning.
For instance, I could write a song about being a mom of a two year old little boy whom I love, but who wears me down. LOL It could go something like this:
I have a two year old little boy.
I can’t really say he’s my pride and joy.
But God is using him to grow
His image in me, this I know…
gag. blech. yuck. LOL Do you see what I mean? It’s sterile, stilted, forced – words shoved into a certain number of syllables per line with a trite little rhyme at the end. There’s no emotion, no vision, no anything.
Now, what if we go at it from another point of view. Let’s get the picture clear in our minds. I can imagine that mother, exhausted at the end of the day, even in tears, as she looks at her little boy asleep in his bed, deceptively sweet and quiet HA! – completely overwhelmed at what being his mother means, begging God for just a few hours of good sleep before her little dynamo is up and running again, while at the same time, loving him so very much and clinging to God for His strength and wisdom. You can feel what she feels, imagine what she’s thinking. The chorus of that song might go something like this…
Lord, help me be all that he needs from me,
A gentle mom who kisses scraped up knees,
Yet strong to teach him right from wrong and to live what he believes,
Even when there’s no more energy…
Lord, help me be all that he needs from me.
It’s not perfect. I’d probably need to do some tweaking. Cheri might laugh at the scraped up knees line. ;) But it does a better job at capturing what that mom is feeling. Looking at that chorus, I could see how each verse could then grow with that little boy, the first one being him at two years old. Maybe a second one at seven when he’s so full of anger and his mom has to hold him still and whisper God’s word into his ear while he fights and yells. Maybe a third verse when he’s seventeen and nearly a man and her worry as he makes his way into the world a little more. I think in the bridge, I’d bring in that verse in Isaiah that I love that talks about how God will be my children’s teacher. Now that’s a song that just might have a little bit of potential to be a powerful song – one that connects with a lot of people. I’ve already got melody and some accompaniment in my head, even.
You can see that I broke some of those rules. Three verses rather than two, and then there’s the rhyming. I used me, knees, and believe as rhymes even though they technically aren’t. But those near rhymes give it a less stilted feel and they work.
So, how’s that for a Musical Monday and Tutorial Tuesday all in one? Have you ever wondered how songwriters write a song? Do you write songs? I’d love to hear them if you do!
To finish up, here are just a few places on the web that I’ve found especially helpful and inspiring in my songwriting. I hope they’ll be of help to you too.
Tips for Song Receivers
How to Write a Song HQ
Christian Songwriters’ Network

Homemade Lewis Isle Chess Set

Several months ago, my brother asked me to weigh in on a question he asked on his blog. It’s taken me longer than it should have, but here, finally, is my answer. LOL I thought it would make a nice post here on my blog as well.
Dear Karl,
You asked how a family like ours with many children spanning the ages and grade levels we have, homeschools. I have tried and failed to come up with a succint answer – so I will attempt the long winded version. :)
One thing you said in your article rang true with me. You said “We tend to separate “Schooling” from “Life” and as a result our kids grow up without any connection between the two and don’t see much point.”
For our family, this has been the key to making homeschooling “work”. So, that being said, here are some semi-connected thoughts.
There’s the practical side and the philosophical side of the answer to that question. Practically, our school day looks pretty laid back compared to many. If I were to write out what our typical school day is like, it might be something like this…
After breakfast, my 20 year old takes the baby for a while and I print out enough pages of lined paper for the younger three’s penmanship assignments. I write on them what I’d like them to trace and then copy in their own handwriting. Emilie (5yo) is learning to print her lower case letters and review her upper case ones. Amanda (7yo) is reviewing her printing by copying a commandment and its meaning (from Luther’s Small Catechism) each day. Abigail (10yo) is doing the same but in cursive.
When they’ve finished that and I’ve had them make any necessary corrections, I give them each five math problems to do. Emilie does some simple addition and subtraction, Amanda does some more difficult addition and subtraction and is starting to learn regrouping, Abigail does some addition and subtraction with regrouping and some multiplication. She is starting to learn some more difficult multiplication now as well. I make sure the first two or three problems are review, especially in areas that I know they need practice. One or two are working on what they should know just well enough to do on their own or if they’re ready for it, I’ll introduce a new concept and we’ll work together. And then I usually include one story problem. Now and then I’ll change things up and have them play a math game, or do a montessori math activity, or fill in a multiplication chart, or do some flashcards.
Then Amanda and Abigail are sent off to read a chapter in their assigned reading books and report back to me. Emilie reads with me still. She’s been reading sentences that I write down for her and has progressed from “The rat sat on the hat.” to more meaningful sentences like, “There are twelve months in the year. The names of the months are January… etc”I was just saying today that she is probably ready now to start reading for church. Since each week we read through a chapter from the Bible as a family, I can look ahead to next week’s chapter, write down the last verse in large, easy to read letters, and practice it with her on Friday and Saturday so that Sunday morning she can take a turn like everyone else.
For Bible, I like to use the old Bible History book from my gradeschool days. The girls like to listen to the stories. Abigail reads her own Bible like the older children, though just a chapter a day at this point.
During all this, the older ones are off in whatever quiet-ish spots they can find, doing their own schoolwork. For instance, Lissa (14yo) and Juli (12yo) are working together through “Life of Fred” Algebra, “Creek Edge Press” Geography task cards, and the “Prairie Primer” for literature and research. They do their creative writing as well. They come to me as needed for any help and/or permission to use google when our set of encyclopedias fail them, and to check their spelling and punctuation. Later in the day, I try to touch base with each of the older children and make sure they’re understanding and accomplishing what they should.
After the “3R’s school” is done, they’re are free to go. Throughout the day, other learning opportunities will come up. Abigail likes to write stories and that gives us a chance to talk about spelling and grammar and punctuation. They all like to bake and get extra fractions practice doing that (especially when we have to double a recipe or we have to make do with the measuring cups we can find, which is most of the time.) We read aloud each evening and that often gives us opportunities to discuss subjects such as history, social studies, science, etc. At meal times I might teach them a new hymn in four part harmony, review basics, or talk about the maps on the dining room walls.
The rest of the time we just live. We clean the house and take care of younger siblings and cook and sew and learn to knit and crotchet and wash wool for needle felting. We research ways to grow a better garden and can our produce, how to film and edit scenes for a movie. We write stories and songs. We build cupboards and castle walls. The children research and practice the things they find interesting, whether that’s leather work, or herbalism, or piano, or life in the 1930′s. They read and read and read. We play and work and live.
Which brings me to the other half of this question, the reasoning behind what we do and how we do it and why we do it.
When my cousin asked me to help her find information to help her make a decision about homeschooling her children, I encouraged her to find the answers to questions such as… What is your definition and philosophy of education? What does education mean to you? Why are you choosing to homeschool? This is something many homeschoolers don’t even think about before starting. I know I didn’t much and I was an elementary education major. We are so brain washed to think that education means sitting at a desk or dining room table, reading through a text book and doing the activities outlined within it, that we seldom look beyond that vision. When I first started homeschooling my children, my main reason for homeschooling was the belief that I could give my kids a superior education. I met a family who said that their children’s relationships with God were much more important that academics. I was appalled to find that their pre-teen children struggled with reading and I’m sorry to say, I judged them. The longer I homeschool and parent my children, the more I’m learning that they were right and I was wrong. Relationships are the heart and the root of true education – relationships with each other and with God.
Several educational methods have shaped my philosophy of education – Maria Montessori, Glenn Doman, Seigfried Engelmann, Charlotte Mason, John Holt, Somebody Robinson ;) Marilyn Howshall, etc. For me, these are the ideals…
* I believe in starting early, teaching two and three year olds to read or at least getting a good start on it.
*I believe that tiny children are capable of learning much more than we tend to expect, especially when presented in a hands on way, and that they should be given the opportunity to do so.
*I believe in teaching in natural, along the road kinds of ways whenever possible. So much of math can be learned while shopping, baking, working, playing etc.
*I believe that the best learned lessons are those learned by those who want to learn them, therefore following my children’s interests whenever possible is a good thing, while not making their education truly child led. Rather we should both, parents and children, be Spirit led and watching for God given opportunities and directions.
*I believe in using short lessons for things such as math. I’ve found out that my children’s brains shut down at the sight of a whole page full of problems no matter how well they know the material.
*I believe that character training trumps any amount of academic learning. “Knowledge puffs up but love builds up.”
*I believe that education should be geared toward the individual rather than stamped out cookie cutter style. Each of my children have different interests and needs. My son who wants to live off the land may have no need of higher math skills. My son who rewrites computer programs to make them into the tools he needs just might.
*I believe that teaching our children sometimes involves trial and error. One method may work for one child and not for another. It’s ok to stop and try something new. It’s also ok to slog through and teach perserverance even when it’s not a perfect match.
*I believe that educational gaps are inevitable. The question is whether the student will have the understanding and the confidence to seek out the answers when he needs them.
*I believe that sometimes homeschooling has more to do with the changes God is making in me than in my children.
*I believe in giving my children the tools to learn independently and encourage them in that direction early.
*I believe in not filling their lives so full of book work that it pushes out all opportunity for real learning.
*I believe in trying not to stifle my children’s natural enjoyment of learning, and especially instilling a love of reading.
*I believe in doing my best to model a vibrant lifestyle of learning before my children.
*I believe that life is learning and learning is life. Education does not begin at 5 and end at 18. I hope to never stop learning new things and I pray that my children feel the same way.
All this comes together and meets up with my husband’s views and works itself out into an eclectic – leaning – toward – but – not – completely – unschooling – lifestyle – of – learning. It is what works for us. Others may think through their philosophy of education and come up with something totally different, leading to a very different looking homeschool. That’s ok. In fact that’s wonderful. That’s what homeschooling is all about.

Well, it’s a Recipe

 I wanted to share a recipe that my daughter, Lissa made.

I’ve been wanting to do an herbalism course with her for a while, but couldn’t afford to. Recently, I found out about a kit from which was within my price range. It is a perfect beginning, with four easy projects to do and just about everything you need in the box.
Today’s lesson was making an herbal salve. Olive oil was one of the few things not included, but we found some really good stuff at our local bent and dent grocery. *Love* that place!

We measured out 12oz of olive oil.
Lissa began warming the oil in a saucepan and added the packet of herbs that came with the kit. (It includes calendula, comfrey, plantain, and st. john’s wort.)
We found it hard to keep the oil from coming to a simmer without stirring it almost constantly. Lissa got a stool to sit on, but it was still a long time. We should look for a double boiler for next time.
After an hour of keeping the oil and herb mixture warm, Lissa poured it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
She pressed the herbs with her stirring stick to try to get all the oil out of them.
Before continuing, Lissa took the leftover herbs out to the compost and washed and dried the saucepan thoroughly. I put away the camera while she was doing this. Which turned out to be a mistake.
I forgot to get a picture of the beeswax either before, or during the melting. Oh well. This packet used to hold one ounce of beeswax. LOL
After the wax was melted, we made our second mistake and forgot that we were supposed to measure exactly 8oz of the herb infused oil. Oh dear! We poured the whole thing into the melted wax before we realized our mistake. Not much could be done about it so we pressed on.
All the tins and jars came with the kit. Lissa carefully filled each one. We had extra liquid because of our mistake, so we used a one cup mason jar to hold the leftover salve. A few drops of lavender essential oil were added to each container.
I wasn’t sure if it would set up properly because of the extra oil, but it turned out beautifully! Apparently the recipe is more forgiving than I expected.
We are already planning to do this again with herbs we can find and dry from our own land.

Sweet Little Singers

Last Sunday after church, we found stockings and shoes for all the little girls, brushed their hair,
packed the diaper bag, and bundled everyone into the great big white 15 passenger van. We rather
noisily made our way down the country highways (the muffler finally gave up the ghost) and over to
the town of Berlin. It is our tradition to celebrate Savannah’s birthday by picking out a present for
a baby girl and bringing it to the hospital where Savannah was born. Each of us puts one thing in the basket,
a dress, a blanket, etc, and we include a card that explains that this is a gift for the first baby girl born
on or soonest after February 28th, Savannah’s birthday.
So, off we went on our adventure, brrumpity brrumpity brrumpity up and down the hills and round the curvy
country roads, the children chatting away. From the back seat, we heard Emilie’s little voice singing happily
to the tune of “Jingle Bells” (The Dashing through the snow part)…
“We’re on our way to the store.
We’re on our way to the store.
We’re on our way to the store.
We’re on our way to the store.”
You get the idea. LOL. As it’s getting almost to the level of annoyance of “99 bottles of beer on the wall”,
Mike finally speaks up, “Emilie…”
She stops. The van is quiet for a moment, and then…
A new little voice begins,
“We’re um um um um um um store.
We’re um um um um store…”
Yep, it’s Wilmer. Not even two years old. The stinker! I was laughing so hard I was crying. :)
And he continued. And continued.
And then Emilie joined back in, (After all, Daddy hadn’t gotten as far as actually telling her to stop.)
now making up new verses as she went along.
She sang,
“We’re going to get a present
For a baby girl…” Mike and I smiled as we listened to her sweet voice and Wilmer’s counter melody with the
rhythm of the muffler-less van.
Then she started to get a little confused. She sang,
“We’re going to get a baby girl.
We’re going to get a baby girl…”
I couldn’t help but feel a little sad, missing my baby girl. Mike started to correct her, but she’d already
moved on to the next verse…
“Cuz baby boys are monsters,
They always take my toys…”
And we were dying laughing once more!
Isn’t God good to give us such sweetness?
and here’s a picture of the little stinker.

What Can You Make From Pallets?

Creating things from reclaimed wood from pallets is pretty common. There are the vertical gardens that are really just a pallet on it’s end, to shelves cut from sides of the pallets, to things as extensive as beds and walls…
Here are some of the things we’ve been doing with pallets…

Crates to deliver arrows to the castle (or hold sheet music in the livingroom)

A really nice bench with a storage shelf below (also doing double duty as a movie prop)

A really cool great big storage box

The beginnings of a fireplace soon to be completed

Frames for castle walls

A way cool medieval looking cart…

And even a wonderful midwife’s cottage! (granted it’s just a facade, but still pretty cool) (We also have a facade of Brodor Clarke’s chapel started but I don’t have a picture of it yet.)
So, what have you made from pallets??