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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Acidic Soil

Soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline depending on its chemical composition. Acidic soil has a pH lower than 7.0 (neutral).Different plants need different soil. Modifying soil to make it more acidic or alkaline is a common practice when keeping plants. To make soil more acidic you can add the ingredients listed below, but use caution when making adjustments. You can also add timed release


The process of adapting a plant to a different environment. This is usually a undertaken in slow stages. Seedlings are typically acclimated to outdoor environments by allowing them more and more time outdoors in gentle weather after having been germinated indoors, in a cold frame, or in a greenhouse.This is a glossary entry that will help you understand some of my blogs better. Plants have a

I never knew pigtails were so much fun.

Really. I am having way too much fun with my little girl's hair. Just wanted to share.

How To Start a Vermicomposting Bin

You can make fertile, odorless compost, even if you live in an apartment. If you want to go green in your garden or with your houseplants, why not start a vermicomposting bin? Vermicomposting uses worms to convert newspaper and table scraps into some of the best compost around. All it will take is some space in a closet or basement, table scraps, and a small bin. Oh, and the worms! It's easy, and

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Make Peppermint Ointment

The menthol in peppermint relieves aching muscles and joints. This peppermint ointment is easy to make. It has a milder and more refreshing aroma than over the counter mentholated products, but has the same benefits. If you haven't made a medicinal or cosmetic preparation yet, this is a good one to start out with.Peppermint Ointment1 cup olive oil1 cup fresh peppermint leaves½ oz beeswax1 vitamin


Well he isn't one of my collections, but he's certainly right at the top of the list of things I love! Introducing Jaxson Price Turner, my new grandson, born on Tuesday May 27th at 1:11 pm. He weighed a whopping 8lbs and 12oz at birth! Another bundle of joy in my life!!!

That's A Wrap

And so on May 24th, the door closed on the little shop called Sweet Pea. I want to thank all of my loyal customers from the bottom of my heart for your loyal support. I hope you all will stay on board for the new direction that my business is headed in. Soon I will announce the first invitation-only sale to be held in the garden cottage and gardens surrounding my home. I also encourage those of you who follow my blog but are not in my area to email me if ever you are interested in something you see in the pics I post. I will be happy to sell through the blog and will ship anything that is for sale through the business (except large furniture).

Until next time, stay safe and blessings to you all...


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Husband on Wife-Imposed Rice Diet

What do you think about this man's situation? And what would you say to his new wife?
I love to eat.

What can I say? I'm a meat and potatoes, average kind of guy. It doesn't take much to please me. I
don't need a ten-course gourmet meal, and I'm not one to complain about a decent meal. My wife and I have been married for nearly eighteen months, and when we dated, she never said anything about not liking meat. But ever since we got married, all she wants to eat is rice. Sometimes she'll throw in some vegetables... but we never eat meat; she won't buy it!

When I asked about it, she said that she doesn't think we need it, it's unhealthy, gross to think about, and has made it clear that she thinks we're on this rice diet together. Forever. I work at a store in the mall, and we usually pack up leftovers for lunch (rice with an occasional side veggie). I've been so tempted to chunk it lately and go to the food court, but we promised each other that we'd not eat out. I mean, rice is good. But a little variety would go a LONG way.

Not to mention that I work right next to a Cinnabon shop and those SMELLS are driving me crazy. And then I drive past "Restaurant Row" on my way home from work. I don't want to hurt her, but this is ridiculous. It's not what I signed up for... I
thought we'd be eating good at home, maybe not super amazing meals every day, but at least some tasty stuff occasionally. That's one reason I made that whole "let's not eat out" promise.

I'm sick of plain old rice. I don't have to have steak and dessert every single day, but goodness... rice and veggies is getting old FAST.
How can this be fixed? Whenever I've tried to say something, she takes it as a complaint about her cooking and gets emotional and then things become even more tense and rigid. HELP!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As you're formulating your thoughts about his question, imagine if this had gone on for 10, 20 years. What kind of man would be able to deal with that?

Now, indulge me... go back and read the whole letter in light of marital intimacy. But make the length of time eighteen YEARS instead of eighteen months. It's OK, I'll wait for you. Seriously, go back and read it with marital intimacy/desire (instead of food/appetite) in mind.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Did you read it? Are you with me? Here's the point:

Christian men (particularly in an increasingly sexualized world that co-exists with what is often a "sex-is-worldly" mentality in the church) are like hungry men walking past Cinnabon stands and driving past "Restaurant Row" 24/7. If they come home to a warmed-over bowl of rice, they still *need* to exercise self-control, yes-- but they're much more likely to be drawn in by the sights and smells of the Cinnabon stand. And probably find themselves daydreaming about it in their weaker moments, even if they're never lured to go in and actually take a bite.

But if they're getting delicious, mouth-watering "food" at home, regularly, then, yeah, they still have to exercise self-control (I mean, lets face it, those Cinnabons do smell INCREDIBLE)... but they're more likely to be able to do so
, because they're well-fed and happy with what they're getting at home.

If I'm serving up rice every day (or once a week or once a month or worse), I need to understand that there are Cinnabon stands out there, and I need to KNOW how hard it is for my husband to walk past them without buying one. Cause whether we like it or not, he's having to deal with it. So, maybe I need to learn how to make rice with a little more spice or sauce in the mix, or maybe I need to learn how to make stuff other than rice... to vary my "menu options". Maybe I'll even make him some to-die-for-delicious cinnamon rolls of my own. But whatever the case, understanding the lure of the Cinnabon stand, and how tiresome it would be to eat rice once a week every week for years on end, helps me as a wife to love my husband more, and to meet not only his needs, but his desires too.

I say all this to say to you married women out there: consider what's on your "menu". Are you unnecessarily limiting your husband's "diet" because of your own hang-ups? Is he on a starvation diet? Is he getting warmed-over rice in a crusty bowl again and again and again and again and again...?

Sometimes there are legitimate things (like abuse, addictions, and other similar marital issues) that limit our "menu options" for us. And sometimes it's the men who are serving up warmed over rice to their hungry wives. But I'm not talking to those people right now.

Statistics and experience in hearing from and talking to these women over and over again tell me that the all too common experience in many Christian marriages is similar to the rice example I've given above.

And all I'm saying is, it just shouldn't be that way.

[I should note that this idea is a piggy-backed idea off of something a friend of mine, Chloe, wrote when we were discussing this very idea of marital intimacy. Thanks, Chloe, for crafting a great word picture for this topic!]

Make Dill Bread

An excellent choice with fish, egg dishes, or potato soup, this dill bread is light and fluffy. Use your bread maker for this one. I like to make dill bread when we have salmon steaks. It's also a hit with shrimp scampi. Another added bonus is that leftover bread can be made into croutons that go great on salads.Dill Bread RecipeWet Ingredients1 unbeaten egg3/4 cup feta cheese (heated to room

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Motherhood & the Difficult Wisdom of Romans 14

We've all heard of (and likely experienced) the "Mommy Wars". As mothers, we can feel completely removed from other believers, if we make a parenting choice that is contrary to what they are choosing or what they chose. No matter where you live, if you're reading this and you're a mom, you've likely faced one of these issues, and may have butted heads with another Christian about it:
Stay at home vs. Career moms
Breast vs. Bottle

Spanking: Biblical or no?
Quiverfull vs. any limiting of family size at all

Schooling choices
Video Games
Sleep issues (co-sleeping, front/back sleeping)
How often children get baths
How soon to talk about x, y, or z with your kids
Extracurricular activities

So many women feel beaten down for their choices. Or feel proud and combative about their choices. Or feel angry about other people's choices. Or feel bitter about other people's reactions to their choices. The thing is, none of those outcomes are good. Mommy wars are so very likely to end in pride, heartache, and frustration. With each other. With ourselves. And that's not the way we Christians are supposed to interact with one another.

There are some good things that can come when we share about our OWN choices. Curious people are satisfied. Confused people find more clarity. Unsure people may find sure footing (either in agreement or disagreement). Even people who are confident in their own choices may find their views/opinions sharpened and strengthened by hearing various other viewpoints. Sharing the biblical basis for our own decisions in parenting, home life, or marriage can be helpful for others who are either peers traveling the road with us, or for those who are slightly behind us on the road... to serve as guideposts for them as they eventually face some of the same choices in life.

But even in that (just talking about our own choices), we need to be careful. In electronic format, words can be so easily misinterpreted, and the same sentence can carry completely different meanings if read with venom or honey as the perceived "attitude". Here are some principles I see in Romans 14 (a chapter about Christian disagreement) that can be helpful for us mommies as we sort through and discuss these issues of motherhood, particularly online: (I'll share my own thoughts of what we can infer from each command behind each bolded main idea.)
  1. Welcome others. (vs. 1) - We are, in our flesh, unwelcoming. We are quick to section ourselves off into groups of those with whom we agree.
  2. Do not quarrel over opinions (vs. 1) - We are, in our flesh, argumentative. We like to be "right".
  3. Do not pass judgment on others (vs. 4, 10) - We are, in our flesh, critical and condemning. We like to be a part of "us" and not "them".
  4. Be fully convinced in your own mind (vs. 5) - We may walk around airing opinions that we aren't fully convinced of. We may have a tendency to not think through things carefully.
  5. Do not despise one another (vs. 10) - In our flesh, we may feel hatred for or look down on the people with whom we disagree. Though we are called to love, our disagreements can quickly deteriorate that love we are to have for one another.
  6. Remember that we will give an account to God (vs. 12) - Not only for our words, but for our actions and beliefs. We are quick to forget that we're each responsible for our own lives.
  7. Decide never to put a stumbling block in the way of someone else (vs. 13) - We can unnecessarily build walls or barriers between us and others.
  8. Don't intentionally and overtly do something to grieve another believer (vs. 15) - We can cause pain to others by our choices and words.
  9. Pursue peace (vs. 19) - We should major on the things that we can agree on with the Christians around us.
  10. Pursue what will mutually build up one another (vs. 19) - Find common ground and strive to sharpen one another in that area. This doesn't come naturally; we have to work at it.
  11. Even if you have peace about something, if it grieves another believer, don't make a show of it. (vs. 20-22)
  12. Whatever you do, do it in faith. (vs. 23)
Good stuff. It's amazing how the Bible really does speak into our lives, even from nearly 2,000 years ago. Any thoughts?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Filling Our Homes With the Word of God

Wanted to share several things that we do in our home to try to center our home in and on the Word of God. Here are some ideas in no real order, just as they come to mind.

- For school, we start with the Bible.

- As we're going about our day, we relate things back to God's Word-- stories that we can learn from, etc. For example, when my almost-4 year old took some candy and was found cowering, facing the corner, eating his candy (he didn't realize that it was OK with me... he just saw me give some to his sister and wanted some, which I was coming back to give him), my oldest son and I talked about how we really aren't any different in our core than Adam and Eve were... knowing that we've sinned or done something wrong still makes us want to hide.

- We buy and find Bible story and scripture song tapes & CDs for the boys to listen to (at bedtime and throughout the day, as they're playing, etc.)

- We listen to the Bible on CD-- we've been buying portions of "The Bible Experience" on iTunes, and I love it-- we can listen to the Word in a vibrant and memorable way-- learn more about "The Bible Experience" here.
It not only ministers to me and allows me to hear the Bible in a fresh way, but it also helps my children to hear more of the Word, and my almost 6 year old in particular asks questions about what a word means, or what a certain part means, after nearly every time we listen to it.

- Buy scripture-based music (Sovereign Grace has very theologically and biblically accurate songs that are also uplifting and enjoyable; we also have gotten Scripture memory CDs that are put to kids' music... like Sing the Word from A to Z).

- Family Bible time- nearly every night (we don't do Sunday nights since we've already had a lengthy church time in our home with other families on those days)... this is just a 15 minute (give or take) time where Doug reads through a passage or a Bible story, we all talk about it, and then spend some time in prayer together as a family. Sometimes we also sing or act out part of a Bible story to help "lodge" it in our children's minds. We keep it simple but make it a priority in our home.

- We have TONS of children's books about the Bible: Bible story books, Children's Bibles, long, short, rhyming, informative, etc.

- We watch Bible videos as often as anything else. I'm not against other videos (we love Cars and Incredibles around here)... but we try pour in MORE of the Word than anything else. So, for example, when we noticed that our sons were living, breathing, talking, and thinking about Transformers nonstop, we did a cease-fire of all Transformers cartoons (even though they'd only watched it a couple times-- we're not big TV people)... and it helped correct the saturation of their little minds. We want them to be excited about the Word- not about some dumb show (apologies to all Transformers fans--including my husband-- I'm just putting it in an eternal perspective).

- We memorize scripture passages together as a family. So far, we've learned Psalm 1, the Beatitudes, and Psalm 23. We aren't legalistic about this, but we try to continue learning things together, at a pace so that at least our oldest two children can intake what we're learning.

Anyway, those are some of the things that we do. What do YOU do to keep the Bible at the center of your family's life, interests, and learning?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Something to Ponder

Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2007

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hospitality by Moms of Young Children?

We host larger groups in our home regularly now (see the picture of piled up shoes in our entryway as proof!), and have for almost a year. But it wasn't always this way. Something I've realized (being a mom with young children) is that this is a wonderful way for moms of young children to be involved in life as part of the body of Christ.

Even though you are intricately tied to the home, you can serve, interact with, influence, and befriend all kinds of people by having a hospitable home. When people know you are happy to host guests, make desserts, or have a get-together in your home, you can become their “go-to” person whenever the need arises. When a guest preacher comes to your church, the pastor may think of you as a family who can provide him with lunch. If the women's Bible study needs someone’s home to host a party, you will become known as someone who enjoys opening up her home.

That may sound scary to you... it would have to me a few years ago. But the fact is that by opening up your home, you can get to know people better in a place that allows you to be the mom of your children. If your kids need a nap, you just excuse yourself, put them down for a nap, and rejoin the conversation moments later. Bedtime can happen and then the get-together can go on. Even during this time of "working at home”, when you aren’t regularly venturing out into the world, you can essentially bring the world to you.

I'd encourage you to begin this week and learn a new dessert recipe, or put together 2-3 possible menus. Think of menus that would taste good, but also be realistic possibilities for you to prepare on an average day in your current stage of life. Think about things that can be made ahead of time and frozen, things that can cook all day in the crock pot but be excellent over rice or pasta. Consider the possibilities, and then craft a few possible menus.

Then, jump in. Invite another family over. Or an older couple. Or a hungry college student. At first, you will probably feel inadequate. You may find that you need to learn how to get several meal items all ready at the same time. Or it may be that you need to do a better job estimating accurate serving portions for groups.

Whatever you learn about your hostess skills, if you find something(s) lacking, focus on one thing that most needs improvement… and then do that one thing better the next time. The more you have people in your home, the more natural it will become. And by focusing on your one area for improvement each time, it will also become easier each time you do it.

In general, you can relax about the daily mess of life. Your home doesn’t need to look as pristine as the White House for guests to enjoy a visit in your home. Make things presentable and tidy, and then dive in. Do take the time to tidy up the room or rooms that you’ll be spending your time in, but don’t worry about it if you have a full hamper or haven’t mopped. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and in fact, the fact that you live in a “real” house will probably be an encouragement to the people you’re hosting.

As far as meals go, it can range from the simple and inexpensive (a baked potato buffet-style meal) to the basic and every-day (simple pasta, simple sauce, and baked/grilled chicken) to as creative and special as you want to make it. It’s really up to you. But simple meals like waffles with syrup or a grilled chicken salad can be every bit as good as the extravagantly-made meals that a chef could dream up. The point is NOT to become some world-class chef (although by having groups over, your cooking skills WILL greatly improve)… the point is to use your home to serve others.

And what a wonderful way to begin really getting to know your brothers and sisters in Christ! Invite the widows, college students or the single mom and her kids in your church over to your home.

Young moms, hospitality is an excellent way that we can extend our reach during this “home-bound” season of our lives and impact even those outside of our homes for God’s glory. We will find loads of ministry opportunities if we will graciously hold out our homes as a tool for God’s use.

Click here to read more articles about hospitality.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2007

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meme for May

OK, this "Meme" is long... but I was tagged by mrscjallen (also by Janel, in a similar meme, so I'll just count this one as that), and it's one I've not seen, so I decided to do it and share a little more about myself here. Here goes... and I'll share some recent pictures, while I'm at it.

Favorite person (outside family)? Without a doubt, my dear friend and mentor Angie. She's had the honesty to let me see her imperfection, and has had the guts to show me and teach me from her strengths as well. I owe so much of who I am today to my precious friend.

Favorite food? Carbs. Can I say that? Fluffy white bread, soft buttery tortillas, Cheesecake and quiche crusts.... OK, if I can't say carbs, then I'll say good authentic tacos. There's nothing like a good crunchy taco shell filled with spicy ground beef, tomatoes, sharp cheddar and monterey jack cheese, authentic guacamole, and a little salsa. YUM! I could drool right now.

Quirks about me? What's not quirky about me? I'm a Christian woman but I love movies like Spinal Tap and Monty Python. I'm only 28, but I'm married with four kids. Heck, I've got four kids and still would like to have more--that's quirky, right? I now wear skirts about 75% of the time, and yet I love my pink Converse and if my hair was long enough I'd wear braided pigtails at least once a week. I live overseas and yet I'm still an obnoxious Texan at heart. I am a homemaker (essentially, my "job" is to love and serve others) and yet I struggle with selfishness and laziness, among other less lovely qualities. I feel like I'm nothing but quirks.

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? (Ask them.)
OK, I asked him: Beautiful, sexy, intelligent, hilarious, fun, nurturing, wonderful wife, excellent mama.

Any regrets in life? Yup, some of them I won't go into here. But my biggest regret, in all honesty, is that I wish I would have saved every bit of physical affection for my husband. If I could change anything about my life, I would've made my first kiss be with Doug on our wedding day.

Favorite Charity/Cause? Well, I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center, and that's the best cause I can think of-- working to save the lives of the unborn by helping those in crisis situations that often feel like there's no way out. Giving them hope, giving them information, and giving them help.

Favorite Blog recently? Hmmm.... Renee at Steppin' Heavenward always inspires me to love my kids more and delight in God's gifts.

Something you can't get enough of? Time with Doug. We spend a lot of time together... but I'm always up for more. We've had seasons of him working away from home and seasons where we worked from home together, and now we live overseas and he keeps a quirky schedule, but we still have time together nearly every evening from about 7:30 on. Nevertheless, I love, love, love spending time with him and would always welcome more of it.

Worst job you've ever had? I think (unless my mom can remind me of something I'm forgetting) that I've always had pretty good jobs... I worked at Six Flags (fun!), worked as a pharmacy technician for awhile (interesting!), worked with developmentally disabled adults while in college (rewarding!), worked at a peanut brittle factory (yum!), helped run a political office in Washington D.C. (what a blast!)... and now I'm a wife and mom. I've really been blessed to have good jobs, I think. And now I've got the best job of all.

What job would you pay NOT to have? I don't really know what this question is asking. Can I skip it? Oh, my husband just explained it to me. I definitely would not like to manufacture creamed corn for a living. Or scrape gum off of the bottom of desktops.

If you could be a fly on the wall, where? Off the top of my head? In the Clinton's home on a night when they're just both home alone together. I've never figured out their marriage... on the one hand, it does look like a marriage of political convenience, but on the other hand, I think he loves her brilliance and I think she really does love him. I'd love to just see how their personal dynamics are when it's just the two of them. I enjoy watching the dynamics of different marriage relationships anyway, but theirs in particular has always fascinated me.

Favorite Bible verse right now? Ephesians 5:15-16:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Guilty pleasure? frozen Reese's peanut butter cups. (But truthfully, I don't feel guilty at all when I eat them-- they are so stinkin good.)

Got any confessions? We're looking into adoption. Maybe Ethiopia, maybe Ghana, maybe a sibling group, but we really wanna. (I just turned my confession into a poem.)

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it?
About $200-300 on books, and then the rest on massages, once a month (or maybe slightly more frequently) until the money ran out. I do LOVE a good massage.

Favorite thing about your house? The layout. It's perfect for our family and for our lifestyle right now. We host groups here a lot and even though our apartment is pretty small, we have a circular walkway that goes from our living room, through our balcony, into the kitchen, into the entryway, and back into the living room... so it flows well for having meals with groups. :) Plus, the enclosed balcony (as noted) is right off of the kitchen and the living room so I can let the kids play out there while I'm working in the kitchen, or nursing Silas or doing something in the living room... it works out so well!

Least favorite thing about your house? No yard for the kids to play in. Boys just really need to run, so it's off to the park for us.

One thing you are bad at? Remembering details.

One thing you're good at? Trying new things/taking risks.

If you could change something about your circumstances, what? I'd have a good friend here in real life to talk to. I'm starting to connect more deeply with one lady, but it has been slow going. I really miss having really good friends that I can connect with face-to-face.

Who would you like to meet someday? Ruth.

What makes you feel sexy? Music. Only certain kinds/songs, mind you. "Wild Horses" by Rolling Stones, "Forever" by Ben Harper, "Glycerine" by Bush, "Crash Into Me" by Dave Matthews Band, "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton, "Fix You" or "Kingdom Come" by Coldplay, "One" by U2. Songs like that.

Who is your real life hero? Randy Alcorn. He's a man who lives his convictions, not only in his writings and speaking, but also in his paycheck, and in the stances he takes on issues. He has put his money where his mouth is and has made his life about the things of God. I really, really respect him.

What is the hardest part of your job? Being consistent for these little lives that are being shaped every day by my choices, my words, and my actions. It's a huge responsibility, even while being a huge blessing.

When are you most relaxed? When Doug and I are sitting on the couch together, talking or watching something, while he rubs my feet. What a man.

What stresses you out? Dumb little details about life. I really can handle big life crises, but (like Bush said, I think, in one of their songs in the early 90's), it's the little things that kill.

What can you not live without? Books. I'm constantly reading and picking up new books... having new things to learn, new subjects to understand, and new issues to grapple with really lights my fire.

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? I don't know... to answer this question truthfully, I'd have to read the article, and it wasn't linked. But generally, yes and no. Yes, in that we're all kind of self-occupied and talk about the things that interest us (whatever that may be)... and no, in that I think people blog for all kinds of reasons.

Why do you blog? In hopes that something I've experienced or learned can help someone else... kind of my way of being involved in the Titus 2 passing-along of information and encouragement, even though I'm an ocean away from most people who read this blog... and also because I love to write and this gives me an outlet for my thoughts.

I actually started blogging almost two years ago because I was constantly having book ideas, and I'd write about a chapter and then get sidetracked and never finish them. So, finally I decided to just write my "chapters" here, online. I hope that what I write ultimately draws people closer to Christ, encourages them toward love for their families, and gives them more of a desire to discover what plans and purposes God has for each of us as individuals.

OK, so according to the rules, I tag:


And YOU-- if you'd like to participate, go ahead! And leave a link here! :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Common Lilac(Syringa vulgaris)May 11, 2006Lilacs especially the deep pinky, purplish ones are one of my favourite flowering bushes. As a child I used to climb one of our lilac trees and sit in a cradle formed through pruning. Hidden from view and cooled by the dark leaves I spent many a summer afternoon reading. With the exception of our first house there has been at least one lilac bush in

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dandelion Jelly

I am a lover of herb related rubs, blends, jellies, vinegars, an oils. I post quite a few myself, but found a beauty I wanted to share from the new herb site.Amy Jeanroy has her site looking great, and has posted a wonderful recipe for dandelion jelly. I don't know about you, but one summer when I was in my teens, I read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and have had a soft spot in my

Nomenclature (aka naming)

If you have been following this blog you will already have noticed that I try to include the Latin (scientific) names of plants, pests and other critters in my garden. The main reason for this is to avoid confusion from using common names. Common names tend to be region specific and sometimes as with Irish moss the name refers to two unrelated plants where Sangia subulata is an herbal ground

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What I Love~~Part Two

Well I guess you could say I've never met an architectural piece I didn't love. I have corbels, fragments, finials, columns, balusters, you name it and I've probably got at least one. Here is (no kidding) a sample:

A fabulous old eyebrow window and pair of old, old, old plaster and wood capitals.

A great old exterior window frame that is now on my front porch.

View of the front entry where I have the old window framework and a piece of old house trim.

Great old header from an 1800's house now in my garden cottage.

Old trellis with a fab star detail.

More old porch trim now in my interior entry.

A great old mirror frame that we used to frame old ceiling tin.

Decorative iron stove pipe ring.

Spectacular old zinc finial.

Close-up of old plaster and wood capital.

My all-time favorite pair of old corbels.

Old porch baluster turned candle stick. Rests on my hearth next to an old hoe shield.

Old finial.

Great old peely corbel.

Old header over the door in my kitchen.

One of my favs--old barn louver now on the wall in my bedroom.

Great pair of old finials--now bookends for some of my old books.

One of my favorite columns.

One of a pair of awesome old corbels.

A beautiful old plinth block. Love the flower carving.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!



Daffodilsgenus NarcissusApril 28, 2008Who can resist the cheery bright yellow of daffodils blooming in early spring? These beautiful flowers have graced gardens for centuries. Botanically, daffodils (common name) are are in the family Amaryllidaceae, genus Narcissus. All members of genus Nacissus have a central trumpet (corona) surrounded by a ring of 6 floral leaves (perianth) that forms a

Newborn Survival Tips

I have three pretty simple "survival tips" for having newborns... and here they are:

(1) Follow a basic routine: I'm not a J on the Myers-Briggs personality scale, and I don't personally do well with rigid scheduling, but a flexible routine has been a HUGE help and blessing for us with babies. It may not be for everyone, but it most definitely is for us. I've written more about it here.

(2) Use gas drops (simethicone) generously. Seriously, use them as often as you please. I've had doctors in three countries tell me that it does not go into the blood stream and therefore you can use them as often as you please. With little ones who often have burps you can't quite get out or air bubbles they've swallowed, gas drops are a life saver! (TIP: Buy the generic ones at Target. They were 80% less per ounce than the Mylicon name brand version in my hometown in Texas, and work every bit as good.) A friend of ours jokingly called it "quiet juice" because of how much he noticed that it helped our daughter to stop fussing when she had an upset tummy.

(3) Don't form unnecessary habits (always sleeping in the same place; always needing x, y, or z to fall asleep; always holding baby at certain times of day, etc.) ... because then you'll be obligated to keep them up, or else! So if you get into a habit that works for you, that's fine, or that you intend to maintain-- GREAT! But particularly in our family (moving around the world 5 times in the last 2 years), not instilling unnecessary habits in babies is a glorious thing.

What tips do you have for not just surviving-- but THRIVING-- through the newborn period?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lemon Balm Vinegar

This lemony vinegar makes a great light dressing for fruit salad as well as an interesting and unexpected addition to asparagus, broiled pork, and steamed carrots.Lemon Balm Vinegar Recipe1½ cups chopped lemon balm leaves3 cups white vinegar¼ cup sugar¼ cup honeyPlace lemon balm in a clean wide mouth jar and cover with vinegar. Seal tightly. Allow to age in a cool, dark cupboard for six to eight

On Vacation

Dear Readers, when we go on vacation you are used to seeing the "'puter on vacation" image. This time I decided to do two things differently. Thanks to Blogger's new scheduling option, I've worked quite hard to give you a few scheduled posts for reading during my absence. That means I created these posts before leaving but have each scheduled to go online on different dates. By the time you read

The Kitchen


Horribly overexposed before photo.

Where the dishwasher on wheels use to be.

Looking from living room with view of old overhead cabinets.

Looking towards old dining nook.

Although we knew we would be remodeling the kitchen at some point, we were thinking that we could live in it 'as is' for awhile. So how does one go from the 'as is' status to a full blown gutting? Well, it all began with the stove. The original owners accidentally removed the stove that was there so I began to look for a cheap temporary stove. Well, we started thinking that if we're going to spend $200 on a cheap stove, we might as well spend a bit more for a permanent one. We took that rationale with about everything that followed and so it goes, we ended up gutting the kitchen on one lazy summer afternoon.

Holes from electrician and plumber.

Taking up flooring.

As a note for safety, I would like to add that we sent out samples of all of our flooring. We were lucky in that the layers of linoleum were all asbestos-free BUT some linoleum squares used to line the cabinets, did test positive and were removed using extra precautions.

After peeling away several layers of flooring, hubby discovered the original fir floors - never used, although did sustain thousands of staples from flooring above it. Once the cabinets were out (donated to our local Re-Build It Center), the electrician came, creating huge holes in the original plaster so we used dry wall to patch holes and then re-plastered the walls.

We hired a cabinetmaker just up the road to build our cabinets. It was important to us for the cabinets to be free from the chemicals used in most modern cabinetry. We also wanted to recreate a nice old country kitchen that would allow for some more modern conveniences (dishwasher, stove, etc. )

The cabinets are inset (like the original cabinets were) and mimic the Shaker paneling of the built-in pie safe we chose to save and use as a pantry. It took forever to paint all of the cabinets.

This is the interior of the old pie safe, which I've since learned is an old California Cooler. See bottom link for more on that. We didn't touch the old interior shelving. All they needed was to be wiped down with a damp sponge. 

Go here to read about the old pie safe (California Cooler). 

We ended up finding some great butcher block from IKEA which was only $80 for one long slab. We needed three, so we ended up spending about $240 on our counter materials - great deal. We bought food safe stain from the Environmental Supply Store to bring out a nice rich hue in the wood. The product we used was by Safecoat, the color we chose was cedar. 


Photo updates: 2010

Note: This was all completed the first year we owned the house (minus the Marvin window). It was several months later, after we hired the contractor for Phase II of our remodel, that an engineer arrived on site to establish our structural support needs for the the new dormer upstairs. A real sweet old-school engineer from the Midwest showed up (adorable man) and during our first round of talks, suggested that we carry the dormer load on a support post that would run from the upstairs, through my brand new 'old-fashioned' kitchen, and down into the basement.

This was a blow as you can imagine. So when I turned to him and said, "there must be another way, I don't want to run a "large beam through my kitchen," he responded with an innocent query as to whether we'd be "updating" it soon anyway. At first I was offended as obviously (or not), we just did that! They found another way to support the dormer, and in the end we decided that it was a complement as we apparently had pulled off our goal of making the kitchen look original!

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