Monday, June 29, 2015

When Life Hand You "Lemons"

I realize that out in California and other places that too much rain would be an oxymoron.  Our overabundance has caused me to pray for those states, so I guess that's good.  Admittedly, that wouldn't usually be foremost in my thoughts.

So our "lemonade" was an evening with friends.  Of course the older girls were watching movies while the little girls were having a good old time outside!  I wish I would've gotten a picture of the six older girls all in the living room watching "Once Upon A Time".  They were so cute I even shared my bag of chocolate covered almonds with them.  And they put up with my commentary of the show.



If you only look one direction and don't think about the state of your poor, pitiful, waterlogged plants, you can pretend for a few moments that you are in England waiting for Mr. Darcy to ride up at any moment. :)


This little guy is actually loose.  Somewhere in my house!!  Don't even ask me how that happened!  I'm sure he's already dead of a heart attack.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things


A "brand new" living room.  At least it feels that way!  The only thing purchased was paint, but rearranging just about everything along with the paint, makes it feel like a whole new room.  It actually took me a few days to be sure I liked it.  It was so different!  Which is what I wanted of course.  There are a few things I would like to purchase, curtains for one, but for now, it's good.
 



 

 


There is only one picture that just totally does not work now but there were some smaller ones I was able to bring in from our bedroom.  I'm hoping to paint the dining room, sooner rather than later, and then I think we can switch the one picture that no longer works with a hanging that we now have in the dining room.  That's my hope anyway. 


 

 
Last day of school celebrations.  I thought Dunkin' Donuts had gluten free donuts.  I was wrong! Apparently only certain locations have those.  Kate was a super good sport though and happily chose chocolate milk for her treat. 



 
Summer organizing sheets, free from here.  They are colorful, fun and will hopefully help us have fun and get our work done too.



 
Peonies.  I love them!  {Kate thinks I'm saying "panties" so now guess what she calls them}  I wish I had a yard full of them and that they bloomed all summer long.



 
This little gadget was given to me by a friend of mine at church.  Everyone thinks the hot chocolate tastes better when I make it in this even though the ingredients are exactly the same.  Hershey's and only Hershey's. {trust me, I've tried other brands}  I love the fact that I don't have to stir forever and ever.  Thanks again Nina!!



 

Lessons from "The Good Earth"

A few weeks ago I read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.  Although I had heard the author's name, I knew nothing about her or the book.  In reading about the author of a book that Kate and I had read, Understood Betsy, it was said that that author had loved this book and so I was intrigued.  I requested it from the library and I was hooked right away.  {FYI, the two books have nothing in common}

The Good Earth is a story of rural Chinese peasants around the late 1920's.  A young man and his father own a small piece of land which they farm and in the first chapter Wang Lung is going to pick up his bride.  He's quite happy at the thought that he will no longer have to start the fire in the mornings and make food for his father because now he will have a wife to do that.  He's never met her, it has all been arranged by his father.  The family has very little. There is no electricity, none of the amenities of the 20's in America.  Wang Lung and his wife work from sun up to sun down and they do manage to save some money.  He is very careful and his wife never wastes anything.  I loved this...."And what he did for the farm implements, his wife, O-Lan, did for the house implements.  If an earthen jar leaked she did not, as other women did, cast it aside and talk of a new one.  Instead she mixed earth and clay and welded the crack and heated it slowly and it was as good as new."  I was reminded of the Proverbs 31 description of a wise woman and how she brings her husband wealth and honor.  O-Lan did that for Wang Lung, despite how she may have been treated at times. 

This is a story of their life, from beginning to end.  There are times of wealth and times of want.  And there are many decisions made by Wang Lung based on his desires for land and wealth and pleasure.  Some are good decisions, many are not.

During the time that I was reading this book, one Sunday our pastor was preaching from the book of James.  I noticed these verses and thought of Wang Lung.  From James 1:9-11...
 
                   "Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; it's flower falls and its beauty perishes.  So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits."

I was close enough to the end of the book that I could see how his riches had not brought him happiness, but rather how they were "fading away" and how they had brought him luxurious comforts, but not true comfort.

Of course, I was fascinated and somewhat horrified by the language used to describe women and daughters.  It was nothing that I had not heard of, but it had been a while since I had thought about such things and about how those beliefs and feelings in that country have played a part in us having a daughter adopted from there.

Kate was asking all kinds of questions tonight.  Whether she had brothers and sisters, why the people in China can only have one child, and then she said that of course she probably did have a brother and  that's why her Chinese parents couldn't keep her.  With my heart in my throat, {and dry eyes, thank you very much!} I told her not necessarily, but maybe.   I told her that if they were very poor, they may not have been able to keep any children.  I realize there are other scenarios that are possible, but she's 9 and I'm not ready to discuss all of the possibilities nor do I think she should hear them at this point.

Anyway, it was a fascinating book!  Now I'm very curious to read some of Pearl Buck's other books and the history of foot binding too.  I mean, who comes up with things like that?!




Monday, June 1, 2015

{In the Library Bag}

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet--I don't read very many of this type of book.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but often I just can't get into them.  Lately it's been different.  I think mostly it was just God's timing.  This one followed on the heels of one borrowed from my pastor {I can't remember the name now!} that was very good and helpful.  This book is about how God takes the bitter things in our lives and even though he may not take away the bitter, he changes us in such a way that we see the sweetness in the same.  I want to read it again, but slower and look up all of the scriptures.

Understood Betsy--This book was for Kate.  It was on her reading list for school.  I had never heard of it, but right away we both really liked it.  Elizabeth Ann is being taken care of by two aunts who think they are taking good care of her by making sure she is never uncomfortable, never sad or scared, etc.  Until one of them becomes suddenly ill and she has to go live with the country cousins who "make children work!"  We loved it so much that when it had to be returned to the library before we could finish it, I kept it anyway.  Then, because for some reason we still couldn't finish it and the fines were racking up, we ordered it!  I have never done that before.  Kate had already been wishing aloud that we had it "to keep" and I liked it so much too, that I just bought it.  She was so excited and asked to keep it in her room.  When she's more confident reading on her own, I'm sure she'll read it to herself.

The Good Earth--Very interesting!  More to come later on this one.

Of course there are stacks of picture books that Kate picks out and Callie has quite a stack of her own books going too.  I can't keep up with her!



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Daybook

{Outside My Window}  Perfection!!  Sunny, cool, only a little breeze.  I could do this all year round with one month of snow for Christmas.  I weeded and transplanted and watered in the yard and never broke a sweat! :)

{I'm Listening To}  Nothing right now.  :))  Everyone is at ballet.  Earlier I was listening to Sarah's podcast.  I just love those!  They are great to listen to while cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry.

{I'm Thankful For}  Parents and in-laws that send me Mother's Day cards full of encouragement and even gifts.  Yes, I am lucky!

{I'm Thinking About}  How full June is going to be.  Dance, dance, dance!

{In The Kitchen}  Sunday I made cheddar chive biscuits.  We have chives growing in the garden and I  wanted to find recipes in which to use them.  When I did a search these biscuits came up.  Biscuits are one thing that I have not been able to reproduce very well with gluten free flours.  I've tried a few times, but I'm never willing to experiment too much because I don't want to waste the ingredients.  We have been fairly pleased with gluten free Bisquick though and I had forgotten about it.  I don't buy it on a regular basis but I got some last week and Sunday I added about a cup of shredded cheddar, a little bit of garlic salt and some chopped chives to the recipe on the box and I used butter instead of shortening.  Cameron asked me to marry him again.  He loved them more than anyone, but they were good.  I'll add more garlic salt next time and a bit more butter I think.  If you love Red Lobster biscuits, these were close.

{I Am Reading}  Well I have had a Library Bag post in the works for weeks, but can't seem to finish it.  A couple of weeks ago I was a reading machine!  Right now though I am just beginning Twelve Years A Slave.  Callie has been wanting to read it and see the movie so we are both reading it right now.  I'm not sure I can take the movie, we'll see. 

{I Am Creating}  A "new" living room.  There should be a book "If You Give A Woman A Gallon of Paint". You know, like "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie".  There is going to be a snowball effect that I didn't quite bargain for.  When you go from brown walls to light blue, well, I guess that's just going to happen.  I don't think I realized just how different it would look.  It's a good thing our school break is coming soon because there are three rooms adjoining this one and two of them are brown and they are not going to be able to remain untouched for long.  I better make some more of those biscuits for Cameron!



{One of My Favorite Things}  School breaks!  We are all ready for a change and the chance to work on some projects.  Like, PAINTING!!

{In The Garden}  It's not much.  I didn't even bother with grand plans this year.  However, I have actually been using the chives that are growing.  I've been dividing some perennials to fill in the flower beds and they are looking better.  I have planted two tomato plants and one basil plant and am hoping to get some seeds in the ground this week.  I'm going to cut and dry the oregano this weekend.  These perennial herbs were given to me a couple of years ago and it's so nice to have them.  I'm seriously considering more plants.  Fruit trees, or bushes and things that will come back every year instead of seeds to plant each spring.  The spring is so busy for us and the weather so crazy that we just don't get much planted early.

One more thing though....




 
Yes, there are two.  Let's hope my teeny garden is too teeny to attract them.  These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago and I haven't seen them this week at all.  Maybe that's good?  Aren't they cute though?!