Sometimes It’s the Little Things…

Although there were many things that needed my attention, I had to rely completely upon my husband and children to help me for the last few weeks. For several days, I couldn’t move around much and then other days, I was unable to do the simplest of things like empty my dishwasher because bending over would bring on dizziness and nausea. Vertigo – the state of feeling like everything is spinning, which causes nausea and a loss of balance.  That is what I have been experiencing for most of the last 2 weeks. It was not fun, I can tell you. I went to bed perfectly fine one night and the next morning when I sat up in bed I fell over because of the…

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Planting Good Seed in Our Children’s Lives

Sometimes we don’t count the cost of our actions. Or conversely, we don’t recognize the paybacks of our actions. We know that seeds watered will grow. We know that. We get it. At least I sure thought I had that figured out. But the other day, the thought that seeds watered, will grow, struck me fully… when I saw my children doing something that I didn’t like and realized it had been taught by me. Unintentionally, yes. It had been years since I had planted the seed but I had been faithfully watering it and now I was seeing the fruition of my example. Oh, how careful we should be what we set before our children, the things we say, our actions. The dividends for pulling…

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Making the Most of This Year

January 1, 2016 What will you write in your life’s story this year? I love the thought of having a clean slate and making the new year count more than the one before. To make plans and goals and to try and accomplish them. It feels good. Even though statistics tell us that most people never accomplish their resolutions, you have a 10x more likelihood of being successful if you write down your goals. If you don’t have a goal what do you aim for? You just live life as it happens. How much more productive we could be if we imagine, dream and plan what we want and then aim for it. It might be: Spend more time each day in prayer Plan fun…

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A Teapot Winter Mantle

I can’t believe 2015 is almost over! It has been quite a year. I am feeling more disorganized than I ever have before and lack of motivation and too much busyness is the culprit, I’m sure. So this is something I’m going to want to try and change this coming year. But that’s for another post. Today I want to show you my winter mantle. My mom and I worked on this one together when she was out at Thanksgiving time. She enjoyed it so much and I loved doing it with her. Plus it was a big help to me. I told her I like to try new ideas each year instead of repeating. My Christmas teapot came to mind as something I wanted…

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The Castle Keeper Girls Host A Holiday Party

The Castle Keeper girls wanted to have a Holiday Party and I said, “Sure… but you girls have to do all the planning. I’ll find the place to have it and you all do the rest.” I really loved the camaraderie the girls showed by each one taking on an aspect of the party and planning it. They worked really well as a team. Rebekah made the invitations and kept on top of all the RSVP’s. Trisha set the atmosphere with beautiful Christmas music she curated. She also organized and made a great many of the desserts. Serenity (on the right) planned the menu and made some of the food including her delicious artisan bread. Mmmm, simply delicious. Natalie was in charge of decorations and…

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So Much to be Thankful For!

Thanksgiving week was chock full of events – 2 birthdays, Thanksgiving & another grandchild was born! Shalom became a big sister on Monday, November 23. She won’t be the “big” sister for long because Hudson Israel came into the world weighing 10 pounds and measuring 21 1/2″. He’s simply adorable. Serenity turned 18 the day after Hudson was born. Audrey turned 10 on Thanksgiving Day this year. Thanksgiving time was a busy day with 26 of us gathered for 3 days and all staying here!   I didn’t have enough of one kind of place setting, so I used two different kinds. Audrey made some cute favors for the kids. We even had some Pilgrims and Indians show up at our Thanksgiving. We planned some…

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Forgot Something? Making it Easy for Your Guests

Family is coming for Thanksgiving and I’m so excited to be hosting all of them here at my house for a few days. Someday I hope to be like my sister who always has a gift bag for every single person that comes to stay at her house. In the gift bag she puts all kinds of snack items and most usually a water bottle. If you find me missing when I’m at her house and wonder where I am, you would be safe to assume I’m sneaking a few bites of the goodies that she has so generously given. Whenever she or someone from their family comes to visit they always bring a gift(s). It makes me feel terrible because these things never really…

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Building a Home of Their Own

Two-and-a-half years ago I became a mother-in-law. Seventeen months ago I became a grandma for the first time. And any day now, Shalom will have a new brother or sister and I’ll be a grandma for the second time! And one thing that I think is really neat is that the same midwife I had when delivering Zachary will be the same one to deliver this new little one. Not only will Zachary and Hannah be welcoming their second bundle of joy soon, but they have another exciting thing happening in their life. They are building their own home! This past weekend they had an old-fashioned “barn raising”. What a blessing it was to have different ones come and put their efforts into helping get…

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A Fall Mantle, Pumpkins and an Owl

The cooler fall weather has arrived. It’s a lovely time of year and with Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m excited. Family is coming and more family, so it’s going to be quite a time. While I’ll have a lot of family here, two of my boys will be gone. One to Canada for his commercial ice fishing venture and the other to South Africa to work at a big game rehabilitation center where they take injured big game animals and doctor them and try to rehabilitate for release back into the wild. Friends of ours run this center, which is located close to Kruger Park and we visited there many years ago. Now our son will be spending 3 weeks there and I’m sure it…

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What Difference Does a Cup of Tea Make?

I have fallen in love over the years with the season of fall. Fall is the delightful time of year when the weather starts to have a bit of nip to it, when  plants and trees change the color of their leaves until finally they shed them as they prepare for their winters rest. It is also when first fires are made in our wood burning furnace to take the chill off the house in the morning when we all awake. It’s so fun to cozy up the house for the cooler weather. Fall decor with its oranges, browns, and yellows are used to bring in the season along with other things that unmistakably speak of the changing season. When I imagine a great start…

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The Mystery Culinary Challenge

  A surprise ingredient or theme, cooking, finding new recipes… Those are the 3 elements that make up the Mystery Culinary Challenge the Castle Keepers have to do each month. It’s a spin off of the television show called Master Chef Junior. In that show, they are given a mystery ingredient and once that is revealed, they are to make up a dish using it… all in a certain amount of time. Then the judges taste the dish and decide which contestants will stay for the next level and which are let go. With the Castle Keeper girls, we aren’t so involved because each of the girls complete the challenge in their own homes. Once a month, one of the girls (chosen in a random…

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A New Castle Keeper Year Has Begun

Our 3rd year of Castle Keepers has begun. Well, it actually began a few months ago. We have 29 girls involved in the club now but only 11 of them are local.  Most of our members are located far away from our state of Arizona. It has been really wonderful to see the girls getting their challenges done and encouraging one another with their projects. Fall means cooler weather and it also means it’s time to find a tree that you can pick apples from here in Arizona, so we started the year off here locally learning how to make applesauce and apple butter. September “…he kept him as the apple of his eye.” Deuteronomy 32:10 I told the girls to look mean. The really…

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The Tradition Continues – Elk Hunting Camp 2015

It’s October and you know what that means in my world… our annual elk hunting camp happens. It was a big camp this year with almost 90 of us going to the woods. Here’s a video I put together. Hope you enjoy.

An Award for Gaining Weight Quickly

Having a steer as a 4-H project is more time consuming and intimidating than any other livestock project but Serenity wanted to give it a try at least for 1 year. Sir Kendrick was a sweetheart weighing only 750 pounds when he arrived here at the farm last February. He was very sociable and if he heard us outside he would push the top half of his barn door open so he could see us. One time I heard all this noise and wondered what it could be. It was just Sir Kendrick bellowing because he could hear us all in the backyard. To get him ready for the show he had to be clipped which meant he had to have a good bath first….

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3 Things We Can Learn from 4-H

  For the last 8 months or so our little farm had some additional critters besides our normal chickens, goats, cats and dog. As part of the kids’ 4-H projects… …we had Sir Kendrick… and   …Bacon & Daisy… I think 4-H is a great program and for those that are looking for ways to make the most out of your projects, you can also let this count for animal husbandry. In 4-H they learn what it takes to make their pig grow to the proper weight besides basic information about the species of animal they’re raising. They are required to give an oral presentation on something related to the kind of animal they are raising, too. And they meet business leaders in the community…

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Taking Our Last Walk Around London

The London Underground system is quite complex and the way most Londoners get around. Adding up all the lines it is 250 miles in length. We never rented a car while there, we just rode the “tube”. There are ideas for all types of small businesses and I’m always very interested to see what creative and entrepreneurial minds have thought of. These 3 businesses were some we saw when we were finding our way out of the subway stations. They are all located near exits going into the street but are for those that are busy commuting to work and home every day. The Oats, etc. Cafe open for breakfast… Flowers for your sweetheart… And an array of fruit for those who like something healthy…

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  When John Wesley outgrew the Foundry (his first church) he purchased the land where Wesley’s Chapel is located today.  “I look upon all the world as my parish.” –John Wesley   When first built there was no stained glass inside the chapel but over time, the church that still meets at Wesley’s Chapel today has replaced some of the windows with stained glass. The pillars are original as well as the pews. Can you imagine that all these pews were hand-made? I thought these extra seats that slide out of the pew were really clever. We were able to go inside John Wesley’s 3 story home which is adjacent to the Chapel. John Wesley’s bedroom where he died on March 2, 1791 at age…

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Goodbye, Norway – Hello, England

Before we left Paradise Sauda, Norway and our gracious hosts… …Russell was hard at work securing us lodging in London for that night. This is important to our story as you will find out later. Notice the view from his “desk”.  So peaceful. After successfully bidding on a room via Priceline for London that night, we left since we had a 3 hour drive to get to the airport. Of course, the scenery along the drive was beautiful. Vegetable Stand (rows of berries in the back) Heather growing along the road.   We took a 30 minute ferry ride which was a novel experience for us.   It was quite windy.         Pretty luxurious seating for an airport! We landed in London,…

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A Visit to Paradise — Sauda, Norway

Well we are getting close to finishing up these travel posts. Maybe only 2 more. Sorry to have dragged it out for so very long! Leaving Nevlunhavn, Norway, we traveled about 4.5 hours north to Sauda which is located in the beautiful mountains of Norway. It was a lovely drive. On the way we had to stop at a gas station, but which one is gas and which is diesel? Thankfully, there was someone that could speak enough English to know what we were saying and were able to direct us. While sitting there, waiting for the car to be filled, we saw this advertisement…. Have you ever had a gourmet hot dog like this one and from a gas station, no less? Driving through…

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The Domestic Side of Things in Norway

Being a homemaker, I always enjoy seeing how others do things in their homes. I especially love when they are creative and use their role as homemakers to express that creativity. So come along with me and I’ll show you how some homemakers are doing it in Norway.  We didn’t have much time in the town of Nevlunghavn, Norway. We really only spent a day-and-a-half there but we packed as much as we could in that day, as you read about here. Our host’s home. Doesn’t this look so homey and comfortable? The girls enjoying their breakfast on the porch. The weather was gorgeous and time seemed to move at a different pace here. More laid back and quiet. The girls needed some laundry done….

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