Sunday, December 29, 2013

A fun week!

We have had a busy but fun week. I am guessing maybe you did too! :-) I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of what we have had going on around here in the last week and a half.

We have a lot of snow but no real nice slopes at our place so the deck stairs got turned into a sledding hill. Safety is questionable but so far everybody has survived. :-)
Since the stairs are for going down a ladder got moved out for the going up.
What fun!
Well, it looks like everything is falling in place for buying land on the Mississippi river. Our closing is set for this week. We went over last Saturday and took another look at the land. We also did find that you could walk on the river. We were are pretty cautious about that this year though as a large snow cover made it so some ice didn't form as well as it should have in these frigid temperatures that we have been having. The picture above is of the kids on the river right by the land we are getting.
Aaron by some trees on the property. We are excited to think that not only will the river be good for boating, swimming and fishing but also ice skating. Yeah!
Tuesday we had some friends over for lunch and I also did quite a bit of baking and cooking. I made hamburger buns, little loaves and ravioli among other things. The kids thought my "bible time loaves" (their title) were pretty fun.
Christmas morning saw us with a pretty typical American scene of opening presents from our stockings.
Ken got Mara and I mushroom identification manuals. We are excited about adding a lot of mushrooms to our diet this summer. The younger 3 for the record would rather we didn't do that as they aren't overly fond of mushrooms but we oldest 3 are game.
Our traditional Vanacka Braid Bread for breakfast along with sausage, hot chocolate with whipped cream and candy canes.
Megan trying out the ballet slippers that I made for her.
Jonathan wearing a hat made by Mara and mittens made by me.
Around noon my extended family started arriving along with our friend  (my youngest sister's boyfriend) Benjamin. These guys decided to get a picture together wearing their wool hats. Benjamin had given Aaron his for his birthday last year. I made Aaron's mittens.
We had a variety of pasta and lots of veggies, fruit salad and jello salad for our lunch. We did also quickly whip up a carrot cake for dessert as Ken remembered that was what he had growing up and asked that we make that a new tradition.  Some of our family from Nebraska got to join us this year. In the picture above is my cousin and uncle.
Games were (as is normal in our house) one of the big things to do while together.
I am not sure just how many times The Settlers of Catan was played over the course of this week. I played it twice but it was played way more than that! It is definitely the favorite around here.
 Friday was the warmest day we had had for what seems like a very long time! The weather got up to right around freezing. It was so fun to by outside and drink in the sunshine! We went over to my parents for part of the day and most of the kids and some of the adults (me included- Ken had to work) went sledding. My parents have a large selection of nice sledding hills and we enjoyed using one in their southeast pasture.

  While out there we saw this really cool snow formations. Lots of little tubes of snow that had rolled down the hill.
 Bea and Bea (Sister-in-law and niece) going down the hill with my cousin Donna in the background. Besides sledding many of us also had fun snowboarding. My sister Anna and family had come up on Friday to join us all and brought several snowboards with them.
 Beautiful Birch trees by the sledding hill.
Most of the boy cousins had fun playing with some goats and trying to teach them how to work in a harness. I am not sure that is was terribly successful but they had a lot of fun.
 Gregory was to big to be pulled but he worked good as a brake system.
 Friday night we were back to our house for supper. While there we enjoyed some pretty music.
 I didn't join with the music making as I was busy cooking chicken curry for 27 people. I did have some very good help.
 My brother-in-law Travis with some assistance from my cousin Patrick did some tuning up on my accordion so it is ready to play again. I am very happy about that!

  While some of us were busy playing games Travis gathered a group of kids and read aloud to them. Our kids really love being read to.
 My niece Margaret had gotten a very nice camera for Christmas and she was willing to use it to take a family picture of us.
We are hoping you had a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and that your New Year is Joyful and filled with Love. May you seek to follow in Jesus steps this year and always!

A Reminder

Some neat wind blown snow art that we saw when out sledding.
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
 But to Your name give glory
Because of your loving kindness.
because of your truth."
Psalm 115:1
This is such a good reminder to me. It is unfortunately so easy to get caught up in thinking about me and being self centered and selfish. I need reminders regularly that my focus needs to be on glorifying God and worshipping Him! He deserves it and life goes so much better when my focus is on Him!
  To God be the glory!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
than a fattened ox served with hatred."
Proverbs 15:16 &17
These verses really struck me as ones that are appropriate for us to remember this week. Remember that even though treasure (nice gifts) are fun to receive or give, that if they come with turmoil it would be so much better to have a little instead and to focus on fearing the Lord. Also a fine feast can be really nice to enjoy or prepare (I think it is fun to make sure that things look pretty and nice) but if it brings about hatred or stress or anything like that - than don't you think it would be better to have something simple accompanied with love?
  I hope you may have a blessed week and that it will be a time of love and following Jesus!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

15 Years!

   Today (yesterday now- I didn't end up getting this posted yesterday)  Ken and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary. I feel very blessed! Life and marriage have not always been perfect but God is faithful and good and I have grown from and feel very blessed by my marriage.
  When I think of weddings I often think of these verses:
'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH '? "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Matthew 19: 5& 6
 Marriage is a gift from God. It is worth working on, worth protecting. God has joined us together - no matter what curve balls life might throw towards you and your marriage. I hope that you will stand strong and fight for your marriage.
 This will be the last post in this particular series as I won't be posting much next week. I hope that maybe this focus on marriages was encouraging for you and I hope you continue to work on your marriage. I will continue to post on marriage from time to time as I believe that is important for a Proverbs 31 woman but my weekly (or nearly weekly) posts on this subject will be done now that this year is done.
 At our wedding we had quite a bit of music as that is something we like. I have been having fun going through those songs and I thought it would be fun to share them with you too:



"To God be the Glory" is the song that Ken and I sang at our wedding and that is still my prayer, that He will be glorified!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Home Dressed up for the Holidays

My old lantern hanging from a birch "tree" that we brought in.
Last week I said I would give you a tour of our home decorated. Well I took longer than I said I would be here I am with photos. My new camera (my old one had stopped working but I was able to replace it with the warranty- yea!) arrived last week so it was really nice to be able to take lots of pictures again.

   Last week I wrote about how we like to harvest decorations from our own land, so when you look at the pictures of our decorating you may notice that they are not very flashy but generally they tend towards bringing nature in to decorate with. I am not real fond of lots of glitter and shine so natural decorating is perfect for me. This year I have really been enjoying Scandinavian styles so we tried to find some Scandinavian ideas to incorporate into our decorating. Though I don't think our look is authentically Scandinavian, much of it is Scandinavian inspired. The simple color scheme with lots of bright red was on of the things that we particularly followed.

  Here are some pictures......

The living room:
Our stockings - we figured out this new way of hanging them this year.

I love decorating this shelf. Someday I am looking forward to a mantelpiece.

 These pillows I quickly "recovered" by slipping them in some old cloth bags (clover seeds were bought in them long ago by my Grandpa) and then I just put a band of red felt over top (it isn't permanent) and then hot glued some buttons on. I like how festive they are.

The kids love having candlelight (the younger two especially). It sometimes can make work a little difficult on these dark evenings as they like all the other lights off - but it is fun.

Dining room:

 The Kitchen:

Mara making yummy cinnamon rolls in our decorated kitchen.
 Mara cut hearts and stars out of birch bark for us to hang over our kitchen window.

Entry Way:
 The kids wanted to make a "scene" to go on the table by the door. It is still a work in progress but they have made a very little cabin to go into it. Jonathan had started it earlier just for fun and he and Mara worked at finishing it up and adding stuff inside. You might notice Jonathan's eye peering through the window on the other side.

 The kids and I made a mitten branch to use for hanging mittens up to dry. We attached clothespins to an old branch that I brought in.

 The Upstairs Bathroom:
Megan fixed up some decorations for in here.

We do obviously have other parts to our house but I didn't really do anything much in the way of decorating this year. Sometimes I do but this year it didn't happen and that is quite all right.

The day after Thanksgiving we did all have a family activity of decorating outside with lights.
Here is outside:

The chickens are over there in the red light district. :-)

 Do you enjoy decorating for the different seasons? I would love to hear what you like to do best!

I am linking up to:
The Homestead Barn Hop
A Proverbs 31 Life
The Chicken Chick Blog Hop


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