Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Has Arrived in Minnesota

 We had a long hard winter here with a record number of days under zero but we made it through (while having fun I might add) and have now greeted Spring with open arms.

  We are enjoying the warmer weather and having fun outside so very much! Here are some of the ways we have been enjoying Spring around here:
~Outdoor "Tea" parties once again. Megan invited Mara and I to one not long ago. It was complete with delicate looking snow cakes, birds nest tea cups (abandoned nests that had fallen down) and pine cones.



 ~Gathering maple sap. This is out at my parents place as they have maple trees and we don't. My brothers and dad created an updated way to collect the sap using the bobcat and a wood frame they made with a pallet. It isn't quite so quiet and peaceful using the bobcat but it does make it easier not have to carry heavy loads of sap through the woods on slippery snow.
~The baby goats have arrived out at my parents house too. They have around 15 kids now. Our kids love going out to see them and wish we could be out there full time right now.
 They get a bunch of loving attention - from these two pictures you would be led to believe you have to close your eyes in order to hold one but I don't think that is actually the case. :-)
 With baby goats also comes more milk. My parents are getting a lot of it again and generously sharing with us. Hooray for good raw milk!
 ~Another Spring time activity that has been going on around here has been bike riding. This year the big news on this line is that Megan can now ride on her own without training wheels. We love to bike ride as a family but we had put her on a tag-along so that we didn't have to slow down and so there wasn't this big push for her to ride on her own. This year however she pushed herself to do it and got it done.

 ~ The other "Springy" sort of activity around here happened because my "baby" sister got engaged (last month) - you know in Spring a young man's fancies turn to thoughts of love (isn't that how that old saying goes?) - and so we are having fun helping her with wedding planning. They are getting married in June and so a lot needs to be done fairly quickly. On Saturday I was able to help a little with addressing invitations and yesterday afternoon we went shopping for fabric to fix up her dress to make it more modest and pretty too. Weddings are fun especially when you are happy with the person they have chosen, which we certainly are. She is marrying our friend Benjamin who I have mentioned before concerning house sitting, canoe trip, church and so forth.

 The snow is pretty much all gone (though they had forecast that more would come) and so even though the weather is still getting chilly at times it feels like Spring and we are enjoying it!

Oh, I almost forgot - I didn't think there were pussy willows out yet but I was mistaken - we saw some yesterday! Another sign of Spring.

What Spring things have you been enjoying?

I will be linking to some of the blog parties in my sidebar.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Piece of Pottery - That's Me!

An old picture of some lovely pottery along with pussy willows
 which I am excited about seeing before long!
I really like pottery. Someday I really hope to be able to learn how to make pottery on a wheel - meanwhile I enjoy seeing the works of art that others have created. It is probably because of my enjoyment of pottery that this verse in Isaiah is such a neat one to me.

"But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand." Isaiah 64:8

God is truly an Artist - a Master Designer. He can make something beautiful out of us. But when we rebel and resist being molded by His hand but can no longer become as beautiful or useful. We might not always understand everything that goes on in our life but through it all let's try to be mold-able by the Potter.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Home Sweet Home

As you know, if you have been reading here, we have our house on the market, have bought land and are getting ready to build a new house. That quite likely will absorb much of our thoughts and activities this summer and so I will be blogging about it as we go along. I do plan on blogging about other things too (including hopefully a new series starting soon on re-purposing things) but I plan on sharing pretty regularly about our adventures in selling and building. I am thinking that maybe I will get a post done every Saturday on this subject.

  I have quite a few ideas about what I would like to share but actually I am really hoping this series will also be a time for you to share ideas and thoughts with me too. I have questions about what sort of counter tops work best, ideas for landscaping, what you think about the windows that you have and more. As we make oodles of decisions I would love to hear about what you love and hate about your home. I would love to learn from you!

  Here are some of the things that I plan to share:

  • Things I have learned about selling a house.
  • Discussions on various parts of a house (counter tops for example) and what we are considering and asking for your advice.
  • Our adventures as we plan on camping out in a garage for the summer (if everything goes according to plan).
  • Tutorials and photos about the progress.
It should be fun and I really hope you will join me!

Meanwhile....
I would love to hear your general tips concerning selling or building a house!


   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Enjoying Our New Land

The river is starting to thaw.
  We listed our house with a Realtor on Thursday evening. Since then we have shown it 3 times. It looks like things could go fast but we shall see. We are working to hurry up and get everything figured out for building so that when the house sells we have everything ready to go.
Photo: Our first meal on our new land
The kids and I ready for supper with the river behind us.

  This evening we had decided to go out to the land right after Ken got of work so that we could look over how the snow was melting, where the water was running and where we would put things. We also decided to cook and eat our supper out there. It was handy that we had already decided to go someplace because this afternoon the Realtor called to see if it would work for somebody to look at the house this evening (they like us to be gone when people come).
 It was a fun evening and we are looking forward to spending more time out there this Spring and Summer!
  We saw swans on the water, geese in the water and air, the kids also said they saw loons and muskrats, we saw some deer nearby and tons of evidence of a busy highway for deer on our property. It looks like wildlife abounds in the area.
 While Ken and I did a lot of measuring and figuring things out the kids had fun singing around the fire.
The snow is still pretty deep some places! Coming back to the van Ken tried to come across the ditch and did some major sinking instead. The boys were light enough to walk on top.

 We are feeling pretty excited about new adventures right now and excited about Spring!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some of the Ways We Have Saved Money Recently

 I enjoy reading on other blogs about what they do to save money so I think it is also fun to share with you every so often some things that we have done to save money around here. Here is some of the things we have been doing.....


  • When we were on our trip last month we were staying at a place that had a washer and dryer in the apartment but there wasn't any laundry soap. There was bar soap however and I had taken along baking soda (for washing hair but I had extra) and so I decided to make up my own laundry soap. It was easy and though it was simpler and a bit different than what I normally make it worked fine and we were able to keep up with the laundry while we were there and go home with clean clothes which was nice. Now our vacation was by no means cheap but that is one of the reasons we like to save money - so we can use some of it to do fun things like travel - but even in our traveling it is fun to find simple ways to save some money.
  • For our Winter Retreat at church this year we had fun doing some decorating to go along with our theme of revival. We were able to decorate using things that I and others already had on hand. We made things like the fire banners at the front of the building that are shown below. To make those I used some old drapery material and than various scraps of fire colored fabric.

  • We have been using our homemade soap to wash dishes quite a bit lately. 
  • I have been doubling up on cooking fairly frequently lately so that I can freeze an extra meal. This saves money because I can use less energy for cooking and keep my freezer full (so it works more efficiently) that was already going. It also can save money because I am less tempted to want to go out to eat or something like that when I have some quick and easy meals.


  • Our windows had some moisture issues that we needed to get fixed before we listed our house with the Realtor. We didn't think the project sounded like much fun but we did it ourselves rather than hiring it done. We got the job done, it looks much better and we saved a bunch of money in the process.
  • I used old crumbly bread and made homemade croutons for our salad.
  • I have been making bread and pizza dough with squash in it. I can use a food that we are able to get for free (my parents grow a lot of it) and get more nutrition in our diet at the same time.
  • We made homemade gifts to give at a baby shower.
  • I was able to use $10 off $10 or more coupon at JC Penny to buy a gift for a birthday.
  • We have been spending hours talking with contractors and other professionals concerning the house we are planning on building so that we can figure out the ways that we can save money and still get the look and quality we want.
  • We have been feeding our chickens lots of scraps to stretch out the food that we need to buy for them.
What have you been doing to save money lately?

Inspiration from this post comes from the Prudent Homemaker.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

He Keeps His Promises


Some fungi growing on a Birch tree that I thought looked neat.
   Lately I have been reading to the kids each afternoon from the book of Joshua. Just lately we have been reading in the section that details just exactly how all the land was to be divided among the tribes. It isn't exactly what I would call terribly interesting but we read it because we want to know God's word in it's fullness and to gain what insight we can from it.

  Today the last verse of the chapter that we were reading had a thought that made me very glad that I had read it. It was just such a good reminder of who our God is and what He does. It says:

"The Lord promised to do many good things for Israel, and He kept his promise every time." Joshua 24:25

I really like the part about God keeping His promises. I know that He does but sometimes you know you just don't think about that - you just go on with your daily life and don't think about how God is and has kept promises to you over and over again. I am glad for that little reminder to be aware of Him working and be filled with gratitude for what He has done.

What are some promises that God has made to us?

 I thought I would share one with you and then I thought it would be fun if you would share some with me. If you can, please also tell where in the Bible you find that promise.

He has promised us the free gift of eternal life through Jesus. (Romans 6:23). What an awesome promise! He will keep that promise.

Okay, your turn... What promise do you like to cling to?

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