Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fireplace Tile

When we put in our hardwood floors, we also knew that we needed to redo the fireplace tile.  The old tile was not only ugly but also broken and coming off.  So we picked out this tile a while back.  Nathaniel finished up the tile a couple of weeks ago, but he just put on the trim today.  I love it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Seed Drying Rack

Last week, I signed up for the seed saving class at the library.  We made these great seed drying racks.  They are very easy and inexpensive to make.  (The library only allows $10 per person for a project, so I know it was under that amount.)

First of all, we used canvas frames.  She had taken off the canvas so we were left with a solid wood frame.  You could also use an old picture frame or make a quick frame with scrap wood.  We hot glued a square of screen to the bottom of the frame.  The librarian had alread predrilled a hole in each corner of the frame, so we could just screw in the eye hooks.  Then we attached s-clips and the chains, which all attach to another s-clip for hanging on a hook.  You could use other fasteners, too, if you wanted.  The way this one is set up, the chains and s-clips easily come off for storage.

The view of the bottom of the rack.   Here I have some Cuban oregano leaves drying.
I actually got to make 2 of these, since some people registered but didn't show up for the class.  I think I will screw eye hooks to the bottom of this frame and just attach the second frame below it.  You could also put eye hooks on the bottom for tying bundles of herbs to dry.

Right now, I've got Cuban oregano in the rack to dry, but I do plan on drying some seeds in it next. Speaking of Cuban oregano, does anyone happen to know if it is the same plant as Mexican oregano?  I hope so.  It does smell like it.  I use Mexican oregano in cooking often, and when June gave me a Cuban oregano plant, I was very excited and hopeful that they are the same or very similar in flavor.  She didn't know; someone had given her the plant in the first place in exchange for vegetables.

I shared this link at the Prairie Homestead Barn Hop. Check out the other links here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Busy, Busy

It's been a bit of a whirlwind around here lately.  My brother got married this weekend, and I've been trying to finish up all of the adoption paperwork that can be done right now.  Plus, did I mention that it's consignment sale time?  Yeah, I've been a little crazy.  On the plus side, I think all of the adoption paperwork that I can do at this time has been completed.  So until the next paper arrives and I do more hurry, hurry, right now I'm in waiting mode.

But back to the wedding.  It was beautiful, of course.  Lydia was excited to be one of the flower girls, along with my nieces.  The boys looked spiffy to hand out programs and were so glad that they got to match their baby cousin.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Peppers and S'mores

It is really feeling like fall now, and though my tomatoes have not had a great year, the peppers have been abundant and wonderful.  Here are the ones I picked today:
This includes 4 different varieties.  I've been really impressed with how prolific and hardy the Bulgarian peppers, Garden Sunshine, and Pimentos have been.  The sweet chocolate were planted a bit later, so they are just starting to really ripen, and they are delicious, too, although not as tasty raw as the Bulgarian or the Pimento.  

I also planted some seeds for a small fall crop of lettuce, carrots, and arrugula.  The arrugula has already started sprouting.  I may plant a bit more.

And since we were feeling the fall air, we decided it was time for s'mores:

I also am making a photo book for our new son, to leave with him so he gets familiar with our faces.  Nathaniel took this one of me for the book:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review - Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

I love getting new books in the mail, and it is even more of a treat when it is historical.  This book, Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer, is my latest.  It is set during World War I in a small town in Oklahoma.  The main character, Lula, has had to come home to help her sister after the death of her brother-in-law.  She takes the only job available, as a music teacher and basketball coach at the local high school.  Romance stirs between her and fellow teacher Chet Vaughn, despite both teachers' intentions of not seeking romance.

This was a really good book.  I especially enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Lula's viewpoint and Chet's.  It gave the author the ability to bring out more of their backstories without being a distraction.  The author clearly understood the time frame, as the story flowed naturally with lots of historical detail.  I do think it would be helpful to many readers to state the year at the beginning of the story.  This book also featured a great deal of spiritual growth for both main characters that continued throughout the story.  I enjoyed several secondary characters as well, and some, like Chet's Ma, proved more complex.  I highly recommend this book.  It has great historical detail, complex characters with realistic issues, and is just a good read.

This book was given to me by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of a review, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


All three of my kids had their first official cross country meets yesterday.  It was hot and sunny, and the course had some hills, but all three of them ran like champions!  We were shocked at how well they did, because there were so many kids running.  We thought they'd be more intimidated, but they did great.

Elijah ran in the open race, and he got a medal for 22nd place in that race.  I think he ran faster than he has been running, but I don't have the official time yet.  Malachi ran in the elementary limited race, and he had a good time.  Lydia ran in the elementary open race, and she blew her time away!  She ran about 2 minutes faster than her best time.

The open and limited thing works like this: The teams pick their fastest runners for the limited race.  In elementary, it is the 10 fastest boys in the boys' limited race.  For middle school, it is only 7.  Everyone who is not in the limited race runs in the open race.  There were hundreds of runners there!  It was amazing how many kids are at these things.  We were relieved that Lydia didn't get trampled.  She surprised us and loved the race.  

Things have been really a whirlwind around here lately.  We have exciting news: Our new child is a boy!!!  We can't say much else online, but Nathaniel and I get to go meet him soon.  We are so excited.  It will still be several months before we get to bring him home, but we are all so very happy.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Road Trip

We got to travel to St. Louis for Labor Day weekend, to visit my sister-in-law.  We had a great time!  We visited Grant's Farm, where you can see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, and many other animals, too.

Here Lydia stands in front of a baby Clydesdale horse that is less than a week old!

Malachi feeding the goats

We went to the City Museum the next day.  It is overwhelming!  There are so many places to climb and explore.  The kids had a blast, and so did I.

Of course these two had to have a picture in front of the big chicken!

There were mosaics throughout the museum, mostly on the floors.  I snapped a picture of this one on the way out.  It wasn't my favorite or anything; I just forgot to photgraph any others!  There was a really cool Medusa head on the floor at the entrance to the bathrooms, but instead of snakes for hair, she had fish.

These pictures really don't clearly display the craziness and unique aspect of the museum, so here's a couple of images I found online:

Yes, I climbed up into the airplane.  The building is a ten-story building, so you have some idea of scale.

Inside the caves area.  The kids liked crawling through the teeth.

The City Museum was great for older kids.  Even Elijah wasn't too cool to try it out, probably because teens and adults were as likely as the little kids to climb around anywhere they would fit.