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Monday, January 31, 2011


for her first meeting of THE PORCH CLUB. If you haven't heard about it yet just click HERE or on her button on my sidebar. I had the pleasure of meeting JILL in the fall at the blogger party during Antiques Week in Texas. She is one cool junkin' chick and has fabulous style!

Love ya Jill!

So on to the porch meeting. Don't we all love a porch? Big, small and everywhere in between there's nothing better than whiling away the hours with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and a good friend to share a little chit chat.

Today I am sharing the petite porch on the front of my garden cottage.

Elements like old porch posts and architectural brackets give it sweet chippy charm.

Click HERE to see the inside of the cottage.

Please be sure and stop by JILL'S and visit all of the other beautiful porches!


Five-A-Month: January's Review, February's Goals

This year, in an effort to stay motivated and forward-moving, I decided to try to set monthly goals, and I'm inviting you to join with me. Many of you did. So let's do our January month-in-review (just cut and paste your goals w/ comments & updates about them), and then at the bottom, list your February Five-a-Month goals.

For January 2011, here were my Five-a-Month goals:
  1. I will read or listen to Scripture every day. I missed about 5 days throughout the month. But I did get through most of Romans, and listened to Hebrews.
  2. I will visit two neighbors and get back in the groove of speaking Turkish more frequently. I visited at length with one neighbor (3+ hours), and spent time looking for apartments (remember the mold problem I mentioned?), so I probably spent an additional 10 hours last week speaking Turkish.
  3. I will read one book about pattern making/clothing design (something I've been wanting to learn about, but haven't made time to read the books yet...). I'm nearly finished. Haven't had time to put what I read to use, though.
  4. I will continue faithfully doing the "No S Diet". I have been doing this, faithfully. Last time I checked, I was down 4 pounds, and Doug says the results are visible to him. He's the expert on my body, so I'll trust his opinion. :)
  5. I will take the kids to at least one cultural/arts activity (I'm currently trying to decide between an art exhibit and a classical music concert...) during this month. We went to an exhibit of works by Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, and also saw Turkish ceramics, Russian impressionist paintings, and a collection of ancient weights & measures. It was a great experience, and we had a good time introducing the kids to various themes & ideas in art history.

For February 2011, here are my Five-a-Month goals:
  1. I will read or listen to Scripture every day.
  2. I will read out loud to my kids every day.
  3. I will keep doing the No S Diet faithfully.
  4. I will sort through all of our books in anticipation of our need to pack up our apartment, and decide what books we'll take back to storage in the US, which books we'll keep out, and which books need to be sold/given away.
  5. I will pull out and sort through all of my clothes... all seasons, all sizes, pregnant/normal, etc., and pitch/give away what I need to, and pare down what I have, in anticipation of going back to the US. I will encourage Doug to do the same with his clothes.

What goals are you setting for this month? Please join us. It's nice to have accountability and it's nice to have a sense of togetherness. Big or small, set 5 specific & measurable goals and let them motivate you throughout the month of February!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to Lose Weight and Last Day for Special!!!

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Cinch 3-in-1 Boost

This is one mighty pill.  It contains a proprietary thermogenic blend with 270 mg of calorie-burning EGCG that helps to boost metabolism and retain stable blood sugar levels. The built-in multivitamin and multimineral will provide the nutrition you need.

Cinch Shake Mix

Cinch Shake Mix provides a delicious and complete breakfast or lunch- all you have to do is add two scoops to 1 cup of nonfat milk or light soy milk and you're good to go! It's powered by Leucine to help preserve muscle while you lose weight. With 24 grams of protein per serving, it controls hunger and helps you feel full and satisfied. Cinch Shake Mixes are available in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and café latte.

Cinch Bar Assortment Pack

You deserve a treat, and with Cinch Bars there's no need for guilt, because they only taste indulgent. These bars contain no artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors and no trans fats.Ten grams of protein per bar control hunger and help you feel full. Leucine helps preserve muscle while you lose weight. Each Cinch Bar Assortment Pack contains 4 Chocolate Decadence bars, 3 Peanut Butter Crunch bars, and 3 Lemon Cranberry bars.

Cinch Pomegranate Energy Tea

Enjoy and benefit from an uplifting cup. As if the exotic white, red and Matcha green teas aren't extraordinary enough, we added the juicy flavor of pomegranate. Don't be surprised to find yourself with the natural energy to squeeze more out of every day.  I know I do! :)

Cinch Whey Protein Blend Vanilla Shake Mix, Canister

A vanilla shake that's anything but plain vanilla. It's made with a whey and milk protein blend, so you feel "whey" full. Leucine so you don't lose muscle. And creamy flavor so you don't lose your will. You get all the benefits of a meal. Except it tastes like dessert.

I showed you here, pictures of my before and afters from being on the Cinch Inch Loss Plan for only 3 months!




My sister also shared her story here.  Doesn’t she look great?!?!



If you have been thinking about losing weight


if you have been trying and nothing has worked for you…

then try our Cinch Inch Loss Plan today!

Today is the last day for our January Special!

For all new member orders over $70, Shaklee is giving you the Cinch Weight Loss Sampler Pack for FREE!!

Your product order must over $70 (at member’s price/MN) and then you must sign up as a member (or distributor if you want to earn money from home) and then checkout.  Make sure it says that you qualify for the free Sampler Cinch Kit at the top.  Please email me (  if you have any other questions.  This is a great deal!  I have never seen anything like it before!

Also, contact me for MY SPECIALS!!!

This kit retails for $101.90!!!! 


FREE Cinch Sampler Pack Vanilla

Limited time offer! This great sample pack contains:

Cinch Vanilla soy shake mix (15 servings)

Cinch Peanut Butter Snack Bars (10 bars)

Cinch Energy Tea, Pomegranate flavor (28 servings)


Program Guide

Three month membership to

Again…This kit retails for $101.90!!!!

This is a limited time offer only available until January 31, 2011, or while supplies last.  So Hurry up!

For more info about Cinch products, please visit…

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Learn about the REAL SCIENCE behind it here!

Shaklee always had 100% money back guarantee so if you are not satisfied than you can get all you money back.

Thanks so much and have a great day!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to Clean your Oven: The Ultimate Shaklee Test

Happy Sunday!  I hope that you are having a relaxing day today.  We are going to go to church and then going to relax and play games.  My kids have really been into Chutes and Ladders and Sequence for Kids.  I think we play almost everyday now, lol! 

How is you mind organizing going?  If you posted about it, please link up here and you can also post it on my facebook page along with the author of the book Organize Now!’s page.
Anyway, I just wanted to show you another amazing Shaklee testimony!!!  Even I was blown away, ha!  Leah from Flawless Human was at it again with her cleaning skills.
  She showed us here her review about Shaklee’s Dish Wash Concentrate.  Today is showing us how to clean our oven.  She really worked hard and it paid off.  Her oven looks brand new again!! :)

Here is her post…

The Ultimate Shaklee Test

I WAS skeptical.

I just didn't think it would work.

It hadn't been done in months.

I was avoiding the chemicals heavy duty oven cleaners have.

It WAS disgusting and humiliating!

Enter - Shaklee Get Clean De-greaser & Scour Off.

De-greaser is made from Basic H concentrate.

First, I have to say I LOVE the smell of Scour Off, it's like Cherry Bubblegum.

(kind of looks like it too, if gum were a paste)

Second, it's all natural, safe for you, your home, and your planet. NO more mask, burning eyes or hands!

Third, IT WORKS!

Don't believe me? Check out the proof!


Now you can see I wasn't exaggerating about the grossness!

After taking this picture I sprayed it all with the de-greaser, let it set a few minutes and wiped to get all the gooey loose stuff off.

Then scrubbed away with the paste and a scrubby sponge.


Can you believe it?!

Yes, there's a couple spots left and I could have gotten them off but I just plum ran out of stamina.

(I took a "break" to clean my in-laws place between cleaning the door and oven)

Here's the fine print:

this method WILL require time, LOADS of energy and elbow grease!

And though I'd like to say the scour off paste did it all... a metal putty knife was used CAREFULLY as well.

I'd also recommend NOT letting your oven get as bad as mine!!!

In conclusion...

I would definitely say TRY IT yourself! Shaklee products are great, good for you and they have a wide variety of uses as well as great prices.
[I am not paid or instructed to do these reviews by Shaklee. I'm simply a happy customer.]

WOW!!!!  Can you believe that?  Doesn’t her oven look great?

Thanks Leah for writing and sharing this! 

Please go visit Leah and tell her that she did a great job!!! :)

If you ordered Shaklee from me, please grab a button for your blog.


Have a great Sunday!!!


Also don’t forget about my January Special and please contact me for my specials!!! :)  


Winter on the Homefront

Winter on the HomefrontJanuary 29, 2011
This is a brief break in our vacation gardening photos just to let you know that life continues in the garden even during the winter.  Last year we did not get the snowfall we needed during the winter and as expected the growing season was not as good as it could have been.  This year has been a bit different.  While we were away during most of the month of

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baby Girl

Hmmmm...what's missing?


This is our sweet Margaret's favorite snuggle spot in the house.

Things that aren't captured in this photo but are lurking about:

crib (which is conveniently on wheels)
diaper genie
bouncy chair
night stand full of burp cloths
sound machine
diapers, wipes and diaper cream
assorted recently changed baby clothes and baby blankets

And me (in my pajamas) snuggling with the baby girl.


P.S. First photo taken pre-babies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Art and Craft (and cake!)

The good wives of Sew and Crow don't usually need much of an excuse to plonk a cake on a cakestand! We did, however have a very valid reason indeed - Lisa Museum's Birthday! Sam made her a wonderful cheesecake ala Nigel Slater and as Lisa is a stitcher and crochet queen we all partook in a little embroidery for the evening.
So armed with hoops, linen, silks and disappearing marker pens we were ready for what proved to be a very, tranquil evening.

Jeanetta approached this make-along with a little trepidation but inspired by the Made in France book by Agnes Delage-Calvet and Annie Sohier-Fournel and Doodles by Aimee Ray she was soon well and truly hooked! Last seen hotfooting from Halfpenny HQ clutching some embroidery hoops...

Miss Pat tackled these pretty intials for her daughter.

Lisa stitched these lovely little birds!

Michelle tackled this mother bird feeding a worm to her chick, and all the way through Wellington, Sam's cat snoozed gently...

Back at Halfpenny Home the following morning I was met by the postman bearing a parcel from the USA, it was from Amy at Knit Collage and contained yarns from her new collection!

They are fab, Amy had sent them over for one of our online customers.

Amy had suggested the yarn Rolling Stone in the colourway Shooting Star as a substitute for Stardust Garland which is sadly out of stock at the moment. Knit Collage produce handspun yarns with trimmings added during the spinning process, they are so special it's no wonder they were so popular at the recent TNNA trade show in the US.

This is Candy Cane in Cotton Candy (above) and Blueberry Marshmallow (below) YUM!

All wrapped up and ready to go off to the lucky recipient...

Meanwhile, I had been given a job to do - some moss for Jane Southgate's art exhibit Rural Collusions.

We've been getting some of HH's enthusiastic knitters to make musrooms and we have gathered together quite a herd which will accompany the ones that Jane has made herself - each one has been lovingly made and returned to HH HQ and a slip of paper with the craftsperson's name written on has been placed inside.

Even though the pattern was the same the differences in yarns, needle size and the tension of the knitter means that they are all so different!

The Wednesday morning knitting group is currently held at The Rampant Horse Inn which is just over the yard from Halfpenny Home. Jane and Robert have made us feel very welcome and Robert brings us coffe, tea and cakes. Jane and I were particularly pleased to see Battenburg making an appearance this week.
Jane was showing off her latest non-fungi related knitting projects, the peaked cap and her socks which I'll do a post about with mine shortly!

I've been wearing my Colinette scarf almost non-stop since I made it as it's been so very cold and that means that I haven't had the chance to show off the button jewellery that Jane made me for Christmas!
But last night I was invited to have dinner with friends and took the opportunity to show it off!

I love it! Nic x

Waterfall at Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida

Waterfall at Busch GardensTampa, FloridaDecember 22, 2010
Theme parks are full of ideas that can be scaled down for use in the home garden.  A waterfall is always a welcomed addition to any home garden water feature.  Pictured is a larger waterfall at Busch Gardens that could easily be scaled down for the home garden.  It's it lovely?

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Organize Your Mind

Welcome to Week 1 of our Organize your Life series!

I am really excited about this and based on your comments this is exactly what we all need!

Organize your LIFE

I am reading and using the book called Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry to help me organize my life.

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There is still time to join and enter to win your own copy here.  You can also buy the book from the link below.

This week’s challenge is a really important one…Organizing your mind!

Often, when we think of organizing, we think of organizing paper, toys, clothes, etc. but before we can really organize our house or surroundings, we need to be mentally organized!

This weeks challenge maybe easy or difficult depending on each person.

This week, you need to work on de-cluttering your mind and start thinking positively!

Here are your goals for this week:

Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.-  I have to admit, this is a hard one for me because I really like staying up late and I am not really a fan of waking up too early!  I have decided to go to bed at 10:00pm and wake up early (around 5-6:00am) instead of staying up late.  Studies show that if you are asleep between 10PM – 2 AM, you get better quality sleep and I can sure use that to help my mind! :)

Keep a To-Do List- I found this on my Word program.  You can use this one or make/buy a different one.  Just make sure you write everything down.  This is great for your mind because you can stop trying to remember everything.  I liked this sheet because everything is all on one piece of paper….simple!

To Do List

 Start a Journal- I use my blog as a journal, does that count? lol!  I don’t have time for one now but for some of you, this might be exactly what you need. 

Limit TV- Too much TV is not healthy for you.  This will be easy for me because I rarely watch TV.  We don’t even have cable/dish….I know….we are the only ones without it but it saves us time and money.  Anyway, who needs TV when we have blogs, right?  lol!

Schedule Breaks (for yourself)- I give myself a short coffee break at lunchtime.  Usually when the kids are eating lunch.  I don’t actually have a break by myself, but I stop doing things.  At this time, I usually read to the kids while I drink my coffee.  I love reading to the kids midday because they need a break too and I read to them while they are finishing up lunch and they are still in their chairs/highchairs  (that way they are forced to listen to the book, lol…I am sneaky like that!)

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Pray/Meditate-  This can be hard to fit in if you are not used to doing.  I need to squeeze it in where we can.  We of course say Grace before we eat.  But I also pray out loud in the car on the way to school with the kids.  We also pray again at bedtime and my husband and I pray together before bed.  We also started reading a prayer/meditating book.  This is a great way to relax!

Exercise- This can REALLY help your mind…I am a Certified Personal Trainer and have seen this help people mentally so many times!!!  I love working out but even I was having a hard time fitting it into my schedule.  So I  joined a gym about 3 months ago because I needed to workout and I just wasn’t doing it at home.  I felt guilty about taking that time away from the kids.  I found a clean, local gym that the kids love so now I get to workout and the kids can run around and play in the childcare.  They have fun active things for the kids to do when I am exercising so this helps the kids stay active too.  Since working out regularly again, I have really noticed a huge improvement in how I feel.  I workout 3-6 times a week.  Besides feeling more tone, I love the little free time to myself and the mental clarity that  it gives me.  I feel like it makes me a better wife and mother.

2011 01 26_2147

Schedule “me time”- I know that a lot of people, especially moms, put everyone else first and sometimes never get around to doing anything for themselves.  So if you are one of those women,  I am giving you permission to do something for yourself.  By doing this, you are really helping you and everyone else around you.  I know the better I feel, the better mom and wife I am! :)  Sometimes just painting my nails or taking a bath makes me feel refreshed and recharged.

2011 01 26_2149

De-clutter- Try to de-clutter the things that are bothering you the most this week.  By doing this, you can really free up your mind.  I kept a bin in my kitchen all week and filled it up with things that I didn’t want/use anymore. I liked keeping the bin out because I really wanted to fill it up and sometimes I just need a place to put things I don’t want.  Then I brought it to my basement to get ready for my garage sale.

Start a schedule- This is next week’s challenge….organizing your schedule.  So start thinking about it and figuring what works best for you and your family.  You show me your schedule and I will show you mine…I love schedules so that should be a lot of fun!! :)

For more tips or organizing your mind, please read Organize Now!

So please try to organize your mind this week and tell us how you did that. 

How did you apply these goals to your life?

What do you do to help keep your mind sane and balanced?

We love reading about this so please share all!!!! 

Please grab a button if you are joining.

Organize your life

Link up your challenge below.

I can’t wait to see how you organize your mind! :)


Also don’t forget about my January Special and please contact me for my specials!!! :)

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