A Pondless Water Feature for the Backyard

A big project for our backyard has been the addition of a pondless water feature. This was something we had considered doing but then almost didn’t bother with it but a friend of ours was here who works for a company that does these things and encouraged us to do it. With a few pointers from the boss and lots of help from our friend, it is now mostly completed. I was a little unsure about how it was going to look when it was still in progress because it looked like a big jumble of rocks but after switching out some rocks, adding others, it all started to come together. When the plants were added, that really helped. You first have to envision how…

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Backyard Progress

People! Progress is being made on the backyard! So very exciting. As you know we finished the pergola. We still have to install lights, serving counters and things but the structure is finished. We’ve enjoyed it a few times already in the mornings for breakfast. A traditional American breakfast of biscuits, gravy, eggs and sausage. And some of my workers that arrived this week to help out! On to what progress has been made! See all those boulders? We were contemplating making a stone wall using rocks from around our place, so the rocks were gathered and then they sat for a very long time. The rocks were so big that when they were collecting them it caused my husband to have a hernia and…

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Reaching the “Over the Hill” Mark

Have you ever heard someone talk about the “the golden years”? Well from what I’m hearing it’s not really true. Then you’ve probably heard the term, “over the hill”? I thought it was just a big joke, like who is over the hill at 40? Seriously! But I’m finding out by personal experience that this is pretty much the truth. Yikes! Tuesday morning I woke up and could barely walk (you could call it a shuffle) and all the discomfort was centered in my hip area. If I sat for any length of time I had the hardest time when I would go to stand. Then I started feeling it in my shoulder. Wednesday I called a lady in the area that has been trained…

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Why Everyone Needs a Daughter

Are you paralyzed by indecision? Decisions about paint colors, home decor and related things? If so, join the club of mothers over 40 who feel your pain. Me and a friend were talking about that very thing this past week. We want to change up our home decor… we need a change and we really should update… but where do we start? I can’t even make up my mind about a paint color or a small accessory. She has the same problem. We find we depend upon our daughters because we wonder if maybe we’re stuck in the rut of past fashions and are afraid to move on with the times. Just recently she purchased a ceramic bird for her kitchen and brought it home….

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I’m a big fan of home businesses and I really like it when young people try their hand at being an entrepreneur. Our homeschool convention here in Arizona started something a few years ago that I think is fantastic. They have one section of the curriculum hall devoted to young people who have a product that they make and want to sell. I love walking through there and seeing the variety of things these kids have and if I could, I would buy from all of them. But I try to support at least some of them. Today I want to tell you about two girls that have started their own Etsy shops and who do high quality work. First is my daughter, Serenity! She…

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A Backyard Pergola

It’s a beautiful Monday here after a weekend of rain. We had a little birthday celebration for Justus who turned 13. I can describe Justus in one word — Amazing. He’s taller than me now, has a tender heart, loves the Lord, loves to learn, so diligent that I have to tell him to stop doing schoolwork for the day, responsible with his daily chores of caring for the goats and does not shy from work of any kind. (The girls made him an ice cream cake.)   I know. He sounds like the perfect boy. But… he does have his problems.  He has a new nickname… “The Wrecker” due to the fact that he’s been responsible for several dents in our vehicles and various…

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A Detox Plan Gone Wrong

“We’re going to change what we have for breakfast,” I announced. That’s what happens when you get to reading health books. Radical changes come down the pipe and your family gets caught up with you and is so excited for change  is caught in the middle of it all at quivers at what that may mean for them. “We’re going to be having green drinks each morning,” I continued. I reassured them that it would be great. Breakfast wouldn’t take so long and we could get about our day much quicker. “What do you mean a smoothie won’t give you enough energy? Okay, maybe a few times a week we can have eggs.” So we began. It was a novelty at first and although they…

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A Simple Method for Making Marbled Stationary

The Castle Keeper girls have a really fun challenge this month that I thought I’d share with you. They were to make stationary using one of two methods. One of the methods was using shaving cream. The results were beautiful and the method the most simplest of things to do. Paper Marbling using Shaving Cream To do this you will need: cardstock paper food coloring shaving cream ruler or some other straight edge   This video tutorial is really good sans the music! Be sure to turn your volume off! Here are some of the stationary pieces the Castle Keeper girls have made this month. One of my daughter’s stationary… …and my other daughter’s stationary. Aren’t they amazing? To complete the challenge, the girls then…

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Off Roading & Other Good Times

Jeeping (is that a word? 🙂 ) is something my husband has done since way before I ever married him. Scaring people is not his intention at all but many times they are…  just because they haven’t done too much off-roading…. but young people love doing this kind of thing. So the day after we arrived home from Havasupai, they all hit the road while my sister and I stayed home to prepare their supper and shop for some much needed supplies. (excuse all the hand signs – it became sort of a craze for some reason this week) The town of Cleator is a ghost town and was originally established in 1864. All that is there now, besides a few residences, are a bar…

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A Second Trip to Havasupai – Day 3

Starting off at 7:30am to hike 9 miles out of the Supai village, you stay in the shade of the canyon walls that surround you for most of the hike. The rocks are stunning. I love the majestic and rugged feel of the canyon walls. The two small rocks caught in between the two outcroppings, I found interesting. One of the girls spotted this little weed which made a perfect cross caught in between two rocks.  It was only about 2″ tall. Miss Audrey did so good after her recent sickness. So happy she’s not ill anymore! (Test results for her came back positive for Q Fever a rare sickness for humans to get and is caused by contact with farm animals that have just…

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A Second Trip to Havasupai – Day 2

After relaxing and resting from our 9 mile hike down into Supai, the next morning we were ready to go see the world-famous falls. Leaving the lodge after breakfast and devotions, we headed to the waterfalls and gorgeous blue water that makes Havasupai such a stunning place to visit. This is Lower Navajo Falls. This picture does not capture the beautiful color but the setting, with the majestic rocks behind, was beautiful. Everyone was going at their own pace. The young people went on ahead while us couples just took our time and took lots of pictures. But sometimes we would catch up with some of them. Havasu Falls Continuing on to Mooney Falls, you pass the campground… …where you can also refill your water…

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A Second Trip to Havasupai – Day 1

The week of the Havasupai trip was upon us and people started coming from near and far to meet up with us before we headed out on Monday morning. We had guests from Norway, England, Canada, New York, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Oklahoma and of course, our beloved state of Arizona. We decided we’d not make our slave labor friends work on the pergola anymore that day and they actually went and did something fun. 😉 Sunday was church and a big dinner here at the house. Of course everyone waited until late evening Sunday to get their packs ready to go and with an early morning departure of 5:30, we all had a rather short sleep. Three vehicles left our house that morning… and…

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My last post….. Before our exciting and epic hike back to Havasupai. And I will tell you all about it. But let me go hike it once more, let me delight once again in the beauty of God’s creation and the joy of having friends and family to make this amazing trip with.   See you later this week. 🙂 And if you should like to read about last years hike to Havasupai you can click on the links to read about Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.  

Progress Even When Slow is Still Progress

Work on the backyard pergola has been slow but progress has been made and that’s what counts, right? As per our custom, visitors were put to work. Remember that Havasupai hike I’ve been telling you about? The intrepid hikers have started to arrive and by tonight we’ll have 21 guests staying here at the house.  It’s going to be a good time, I just know it. Back to the pergola! Here was our work crew yesterday morning. They only had a few hours to work before breakfast guests arrived and airport runs had to be made but progress was made and that was exciting. First thing was to place all the support beams where they were supposed to go. Next is to lift each one…

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Changing Up the Back Yard

Progress may be a little slow sometimes but we get there… eventually. It’s been almost 2 years now since we started our backyard renovations. I wrote about it here when we first started. Since we do all the work ourselves things go slower. That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you are married to a man that is able to do anything, it’s really hard to hire things out because you know you can save so much money doing it yourself! The picture below shows the dirt being moved. Originally this was a higher level as I showed in the post when we first began and in the above photo. How this area looks today. We wanted to build a pergola in the…

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Take Time to Be Holy

What value do you put on prayer? Is it something you set time aside for or do you just try to fit it in if you aren’t too busy? It’s a fact that it can be a battle to really have a habit of earnest prayer. But mom’s, what else could be more important with all the responsibilities we have and decisions we must make?  We are just the clay but we have an amazing opportunity to go to the master potter who makes beautiful things out of lumps of ugly material and ask him for wisdom and help in all areas. And you know what? He cares. He cares about all the details of your life. Nature testifies of that. If God didn’t care…

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Two on the Mend

Here’s an update on our Audrey. She’s doing wonderful! She’s not having any fevers and is out of bed now all day long and is gradually regaining her energy back. Yes! It was such a blessing and so much appreciated all the prayers that went up on her behalf and the concern that was shown. Thank you each one! We know that not one single prayer was in vain. And… she was outside for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks (besides her doctor visits) when she attended the Castle Keeper meeting. She wanted to go so badly and I’m so glad she was feeling up to it. At our meeting the girls learned how to make their own wall art using their favorite Scriptures…

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Hand Lettering So Good You’ll Be Amazed

If you practice something long enough, you can become quite talented. I was so impressed with the hand lettering at a wedding I was at recently. It was so amazing, one would have thought decals or stencils were used. Before I show you all the beautiful hand lettering, let me tell you a little more about the wedding. (I’m really kind of embarrassed to share these pictures because they’re not that good. I always have my camera with me but not this time and so I was using the mother-of-the-bride’s camera to capture parts of the day for her. Let me tell you, it’s so worth investing in a good quality camera if you’re wanting decent looking pictures.) My good friend’s daughter got married. We’ve…

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Audrey’s Visit to the Hospital

I think it was providential that our night didn’t go as planned last week. You see Audrey has been sick. It all started February 6 when she had her first fever. Thinking it was something that would pass, we weren’t too concerned about it but then when a week passed and she was still not better and she was staying in bed all the time, we thought it might be pneumonia. We took her to the doctor and they said, “Yes, something is going on in her chest.”  Prescribing her antibiotics we then went home and thought she would be better soon. She wasn’t. No energy, no appetite along with a fever. We missed our flight and then took her in for a few other…

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The Night Things Didn’t Go As Planned

Which picture best represents your life? This one that is orderly and perfectly manicured… or this one in it’s wildness – maybe somewhat planned but a little impossible to keep contained in a nice and tidy way. As you probably know by now, my life is not picture #1 but #2, a very unordered life that is impossible to control and to keep in a nice orderly box like some. Case in point was Tuesday night. We have been planning a trip to Canada for 2 months. The departure day had arrived and our plane was not to leave until midnight. We had all day to get ready but for some (I’m not going to say who) it just wasn’t enough time. We hurriedly said…

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