Thursday, June 26, 2014

Simple treasures.....

Miss Sarah and I found this beautiful little green glass jar yesterday while weeding
the garden. What fun we had making up stories on how it got in the yard and who it 
belonged to. We know the Sunny Side one room school house sat in the same location
as the garden.  Maybe it was from the school? Today it sits with our other small
vases and will be a wonderful reminder of fun times in the garden. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Installing a river stone patio...

Over the last four years we have slowly been making changes to the house. You can see what the outside looked like when we moved in here and here. It has been a slow steady process but that is okay because the kids are learning some great lessons through this process. Mostly, you don't get everything you want when you want it...

I have hated these polls from the moment we moved in!  For some reason they kept getting pushed down on the "to do list." Finally the time has come to cover them up! I may have done the happy dance a few times during this process! When we moved in we added river stones to the covered area and have decided to extend the patio area to allow room for a picnic table. 

The first step was to use Round Up weed killer to kill off the grass and cover the area with black landscape cover up. Not sure if that is the right name but it comes on a long roll and you just roll it out over the area where you don't want weeds or grass.

The area of the new patio is lower than the house, so Tony ordered a total of four scoops: half modified stone and half stone dust mixed together from a local nursery.  After the first 7 wheel barrel loads we were ready to quit but 26 loads later we had the foundation complete! The stone needs raked out and tamped down before adding the river stone.

The next step was adding the river stones. Again, Tony ordered 3.5 scoops of river rock from a local nursery and had it delivered to the home. We didn't count how many wheel barrels loads this stone took.....we were tired and ready to be finished!

Covering the polls was out of our comfort zone and thank goodness for a brother-in-law that has a construction business. My nephew did an awesome...amazing...beautiful job covering those ugly burgundy polls!! Now to decide if we paint them beige or leave them white???? For right now I am liking them white.

 Here we are today....

Still on the "to do list" is landscaping around the patio. A new picnic table is also on the wish list...but I am in no rush because the polls are covered!!! 

Loving summer!! 

Book review: NIV Teen Study Bible

Lil Tony and I were very excited when the NIV Teen Study Bible was one of the books available for review through Booklook Bloggers. We have been looking for a new bible for Tony and wanted a bible that would engage him both intellectually and spiritually.

The NIV Teen Study Bible is more than just a bible! The first page has The Apostles Creed and the history behind the creed. Each phrase of the creed is broken down and a biblical reference is provided to support it.  This section is title "We Believe" and equips the reader with the knowledge needed when faced with challenges and questions regarding their faith.

Lil Tony's favorite section of the book was the question's presented throughout each chapter. The bible trivia is filled with interesting information about the passages. I noticed this helped to keep him engaged in the reading and allowed for great discussion as a family. He is enjoying asking his sisters the trivia questions and seeing if they know the answers. I see us buying two more NIV Teen Study Bibles in our future!

Dear Jordan, was Tony's second favorite section because it asks a question related to needing advice. Even though the stories of the bible are from many years ago, they are pertinent to today. This section answers the questions with the stories of biblical characters.

The NIV Teen Study Bible has a "Panorama" section that helps to focus on the main idea of each section. "To the Point" is a section that allows the reader to take everyday problems and find the scripture to help one work through the problem solving process.

As a parent, I liked the "Instant Access" and the "Bible Promises" section. Teens are faced with tough decisions and the instant access section helps to provide those "what do I do" answers. This sections answers those tough question directly....telling the reader what God would say. As a parent we talk with the kids about making "good choices" and sometimes I wonder if they are really listening to us. It is nice to know that when he is reading his bible it is reinforcing those "good choices" that are sometimes hard to make in today's world.

The bible is filled with many promises and some of these verses are highlighted throughout the bible. For example, "Lord, you are my perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things" from Isaiah 25:1. I like that the promises are short verses which are easy to remember .

I will be heading over to Amazon now to purchase two more NIV teen study Bible's for the girls! A great addition to our personal library!

Lil Tony  &

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Words to live by....

Re-posting today in honor of my dad....
(originally posted June 20, 2010)

He didn't tell me how to live;
 he lived,
and let me watch him do it.
~Clarence Budington Kelland

P-pa and Lil' Tony

It is a funny thing being a parent. As we start on this journey to adulthood we are so excited to create our "own" life and forge our own path. Set out into this big world to accomplish so many great things. I remember my best-friend, Angie, and I would talk about how we were never going to raise our kids in the same town we grew up in. Well, here Angie and I both the same town we grew up in!  Following in our parents foot steps. It has taken me being an adult to see that those paths our parent's forged are good paths.

Today I want to share 10 things my dad taught me and I hope to pass on to our kids.
1. Love and trust God with all your heart.
My dad and mom both love God with all their heart and lean on his guidance everyday. God's love never goes away...he is always right there for you to lean on and trust. 
2. Pray
One of the greatest memories as a child is praying with my parents and my dad. We took everything to pray and you can pray anywhere, not just at church, at dinner, or at bedtime...any time and any where. I will find my self driving and praying.   So many of his words he used when praying,  I find myslef using today with the kids when we pray. I love that they will ask, "Mom, can we pray."
3. How to fish.
Now maybe we don't need to fish for our food like our ancestors use to need to do, but many lessons come from a good fishing trip. Even though he taught us how to put a worm on the hook (without squeeling), reel in a fish, hold a fish and take the hook back out, and the best was letting it go. Freeing that little fish back into the big water. That was my favorite part...watching the fish swim back to freedom! 
4. A time to talk and a time to listen.
Chooses your words wisely, you can never take words back. Listen first and then answer. Sometimes you might not answer, because you are taking the time to choose your words wisely. Although today I have learned that when he is not answering, it is because he is disagreeing in his mind. That leads to number 5!
5. Agree to Disagree
We are each our own person and sometimes we won't agree. You listen to my side and I'll listen to your side and then we'll agree or not. It is okay not to agree. Not agreeing doesn't mean we don't love each other, it just means we are our own person and that is a good thing.
6. If you can't pay for it with cash, you don't need it.
The value of money and saving money was started at a young age. I remember when my parents got their first credit card. They taught us that it is for an emergency, like when we were on vacation and the car broke down and needed fixed. Thank goodness for that emergency credit card. They taught us that if we can't pay it off when the bill comes, then you need to think real hard if it is a needed. Need v.s. want' that is a tough lesson to learn!
7. How to use power tools.
My dad has an awesome woodworking shop. My brother and I were able to go down to the shop and use our imagination and create. My dad taught us how to use our minds, not have to follow a pattern. He taught us how to build the pattern in our minds and put it on paper. I think this is why I always have some project working in my brain and I know Mark, my brother, is the same.
8.Take time for one another.
You have to take the time to focus on your marriage. For as long as I can remember my parents go for breakfast every morning, just the two of them. They go to the local diner every morning, sometimes even before the birds are awake. This was their time to regroup, refocus and re-energize their marriage. A marriage needs a strong foundation to stand the storms that come. I look at them and the love they have and so thankful for giving me that. They have made marriage look easy, but we all know it is about making time and keep that foundation stong.
9. Enjoy a good cup of coffee.
If you know my parents they love a good cup of coffee. Coffee is enjoyed in the morning, afternoon, and even after dinner. Doesn't matter how you brew it, what kind of coffee you make, or what you put in your coffee. It is all about the good conversation around that cup of coffee or the moment of solitute that you have enjoying a cup of coffee. If you visit we'll be sure to brew a pot of coffee for you!
10. Right from wrong.
I can still remembering him saying, "Wendy, we only have a small window of time to instill the value in you 
and Mark that we think make a good person and then it is up to you. You are going to be faced with choices and it is up to you to decide right from wrong."  All goes back to that foundation thing again. A foundation built on the love of God is stong and there is where you'll find answer for knowing right  v.s. wrong.
11. Dream
I had to add a number 11, the gift to dream. My parents dream and still dream today. I hope that some of the dreams that they have shared with us do come true. Dreams bring hope and without hope, we have nothing. So, friends dream and dream big!!

Of course I am still learning alot of this. Hopefully our kids look back and have learned lesson from us that they will want to share with their kids. Life is funny how it comes around full circle and we hear ourselves saying the same advice as our parents.
Happy Father's Day Dad.
We love you!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Waiting for sun....

We are still working in the yard trying to get it ready for summer. 
It has been a week full of rain and I am hoping for some sunshine!
The pansies in the flower boxes are loving the cooler weather. 
Maybe this year I will try to see how long they last....
then change them out for the white geranium. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Flowers by the pond...

 The flowers around the pond are easy for me to remember....

Yellow iris's circle the entire pond. They multiple very fast and every year we dig out at least 100 plants to share with friends. The iris's are in full bloom every May!

The first year here, Tony put in two beds in the front of the pond. This year I added tiger lily's to see how they do by the pond. There use to be black eyed susan's here, but it doesn't seem like they survived the winter. This is also the spot where the snake likes to hang out....

Lily pads use to cover 1/4 of the pond but washed away with the flood of 2011.  Now we have a tiny corner of lily pads. 

Tony and lil Tony made this homemade bridge from a fallen tree. If we follow this bridge, it takes us to the back of the pond and a hidden bench. 

Lets go over one more homemade bridge....

If we follow the grass to the woods we will find another bridge that takes us into the woods. We think a doe had her fawn there and we have been staying away from this section of the woods. We don't want to scare them away.

Next time we will need to take a trip around the inside of the pond....

Loveology: book review

Tony and I have been married for 20 years and through those years we have felt the peaks and valleys that come with marriage. I remember at one point early in our marriage, thinking to myself how easy my parents made marriage seem. What was their secret? Were we doing something wrong?

Last month, through BookLook Bloggers, I had the opportunity to read Loveology, written by John Mark Comer. Comer writes in a way that makes you feel as if he is having a conversation with you. I found he had many of the same questions I have thought about over the years and wishing I had read this 20 years ago. This is a book I will have our three children read.

Comer talks about God, love, dating, marriage, and sex. As I read, I would fold down the corner on my favorite pages and by the end of the book that I had turned down almost half of the pages. Here are some of the key points that I found most compelling:

We will have friction in our marriage because we are a work in process, we are not perfect! God is working and marriage exposes those places. This is a gift. I needed to stop and reflect on this chapter for awhile. When I think back to those times in our marriage when there was friction and we brought it to God to heal, we were stronger for it. Made our marriage stronger...a gift.

The point of marriage isn't to find our missing half. It's to help each other become all that God intended. Our future, real selves. In marriage, two people partner to the end. They see the best in each other-the person God created them to be-and push and pull each other toward that goal. (Comer, p.073)

Lets talk sex...gasp! I know this is a family blog and yes my children read this blog, but remember I said I will have them read this book. He speaks about the power of sex and how it relates to singles and to marriage. You'll have to read the book to find out more, but he works with a young congregation and does a nice job answering some of their difficult questions.

When you love someone you are taking them for the way they are today, not the way you want to them to be. Marriage is not to be viewed as a project and you should not marry someone hoping they will change or thinking you can change them. Don't marry a project. Marry a partner (Comer, p.153).

Our partners come with strengths and weaknesses, just as we ourselves bring our own strengths and weakness to the table. It is through the gift of marriage we are able to work towards the wonderful plans God has for our lives. The gift of life given to each of us.

Through the years Tony and I have learned many of these lessons. Sometimes the road was rocky but thank goodness for a God full of grace, power of prayer, and a couple who valued this gift of marriage. We are looking forward to see what the next 20 years will bring us. This is a book I will have each of our children read as they reach adulthood and wonder about, God, love, marriage, and sex.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Flower garden plant list

I took the pictures from this morning and labeled them with the plant list!
This has been on my to do list for a very long time....

A: Peony (magenta)
B: Blueberry bush
C: Bleeding Heart
D: Lavender
E: Daffodil's
F: Forget Me Not's
G: Day Lily
H: Daisy's
I:   Zinnia's
J:   Belladonna Lily (Naked Lady)
K: Salvia

L: Iris
M: Not sure? Purple flowers
N: Fox glove

O: Phlox
P: Bee Balm
Q: Snap dragon seeds (I will plant babies breathe here if the snap dragon seeds don't grow)
R: Sedum

A view of the day lily's at the back of the flower bed. I divided them
two years ago and they need divided again!

The picture I took this morning while standing on an eight foot ladder.
Heehee...I can only imagine what the neighbors said 
looking out their windows this morning...
but now I have the flower garden labeled!

Fresh cut flower garden

Do your remember what the flower garden looked like in September of 2010?
Oh was a mountain of weeds and we were not sure what we would find!
To our surprise we found a beautiful flower garden.
We waited a full year to see what flowers would grow
before we decide to add to the garden.

Over the last few years we added new
flowers but the majority are original. 
Preserving a little history. 

This year I would like to add some 
baby's breathe. It would make a 
nice addition to a vase of fresh cut flowers.

I am patiently waiting for the daffodil's to turn brown
so we can cut them back. In the spring the beds are full

The beautiful orange stakes are holding the nets 
around the blueberry bushes. If we don't net the
birds will beat us to them!

The first peony bloomed yesterday...

These two followed me around the garden....
not sure what they are both watching?
Maybe their brother....Blue?

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