Friday, October 26, 2012


I love to go thrifting with my girls. Digging through the mom jeans and 70's macrame that inhabits thrift stores, we've made some delightful discoveries!  It's kind of the thrill of the hunt, I suppose. You just never know what you might find, but there is always the possibility of coming across something wonderful.

Here are a few thrifting words of wisdom...
    * Always keep hand sanitizer in your car.
    *Almost anything can be cleaned, so look beyond the occasional grime.
    *Yes, sometimes the stores don't smell exactly lovely. Who cares.
    *Sometimes you'll not find a doggone thing worth buying. That's ok. Keep trying. It'll be worth it.
    *Most thrift stores have 1/2 price days.  Totally worth standing in line for!
    *Have a sense of humor while you are there. Some things in there will make you say, "Whaaaaat???"(We once had a contest to see who could find the ugliest thing.)
     *Most thrift stores support awesome nonprofits so your money goes to a good cause.
    So get out there, brave the funky smell, and find a treasure of your own!

Here are a few fun things that we've found...
Book holder from the back of a church pew. It now hangs on Maddy's wall.

Kyra's lamp.  Looks darling in her room.
Maddy's chair. It's an awful plaid, but was really clean and in perfect shape.  I also thrifted the vintage chenille bedspread to put on top of the ugly plaid.  Btw...I got the chair and the spread for a grand total of $14. Sweet!
Cherry Ames nurse books were my absolute favorite when I was a kid.  I have managed to find a few of them.  Love!!!
Lots of lovely art
With the long Montana winters, a lot of tea drinking goes on around here.  Thrift stores are a great place to find cute teapots.
Fun little 70's things.  This is our tea tin.
Little egg holders.  I just liked them.
My grandmother had a cake tin like this one.  I love using this.
Lots of old linens and Pyrex.
We've found cute little random dishes and oh so many fantastic books!
Old classics abound at thrift stores.
More artsy sorts of things
Mirror and pretty teacups in Kyra's room
More pretty teacups and saucers
Old teakettle used as a planter

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do You Who?

I am almost laughing as I sit here thinking about writing this post.  Although I risk embarrassing myself, I am going to share something that has become something of an obsession. Ok, maybe not exactly an obsession, but it is definitely consuming more of my time than I would like to admit.  By the way, the blame for this lies completely with my daughters.  They just seemed to be having such a lovely time watching this show that my curiosity won out.  Yes, it is a TV show.  I'm just going to say it...I love Doctor Who.  For pete's sake, I may even be a Whovian.  (Did I really just type that???)  Now I am laughing for real.

Doctor Who.  Perhaps you've heard of it?  BBC TV series, originally started in the 60's and  brought back to life in 2005.  It's full of cheesy BBC-typical special effects, complete with aliens and time travel in a British 1950's blue police box/spaceship called the TARDIS. I won't even try to explain the show.  It just sounds too ridiculous.  Honestly, I would never have made it past the very first episode if my girls hadn't told me to just keep watching.  And watch it I have.  I am currently in Season 3 and am completely hooked.  So bizarre.  The only other time I have ever done this was a couple of summers ago when I watched every episode of The X-Files.  (Love me some Fox Mulder!)  Ok, so maybe I am a nerd.  I am sure that will be a shocking confession to all of you who know me.  :)

Maddy made this birthday card for Kyra. Only fellow Whovians will understand.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Begin with a Blessing

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last night the hordes descended on our house. It was the best kind of horde, one filled with good food, kids and laughter.  Every Sunday evening we get together with some of our favorite people in the world--2 families that we have known for so long that we can hardly remember a time when they weren't part of our lives.  In our hearts, they are family.   The ones who know us inside and out, who've seen us at our ugliest and love us anyway.  Friends who have come to our house with a bag of groceries when we were going through hard times, that laugh and cry with us. Friends who will drop everything to pray for us. These are friends who love our kids, their homes a safe place for our family to just be who they are. What precious gifts to us, these loud, fun, loving families. 

Next week, our family will be part of the descending horde as we switch houses weekly.  It will be the same...the giant pot of soup, yummy bread and a little something sweet. Decaf  and tea will be served up with lots of laughter and love.  We will speak together of all kinds of randomness, of things we are struggling with, of good things that God is doing.  It will be loud. Kids will be running around, watching videos on Ipads, playing games, wreaking general havoc.  But at the end of the evening, we will all gather in one (very crowded!) room to talk about our Father.  There is no "Christian" book to discuss, no workbook to fill out, no dvd to watch.  It is just a time when kids and adults alike sit down to talk, share, vent, debate, laugh, cry and, at the end, to pray together before heading out the door for another busy 7 days.  What a wonderful way to begin the week.  Ah, the blessings of true friends.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Make Your Own

There are about a gazillion recipes out there that use condensed soups.  Really, a gazillion.  Just look on Pinterest. :)  Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken?  Yikes!  All kinds of nasty.  Although I try to avoid condensed soups, chicken broccoli casserole is one of Shelby's favorites, so I do occasionally use them. To avoid all of the ingredient nastiness in the canned version, I tried out lots of recipes and came up with a version of cream of chicken soup that I think is pretty darn good. I don't measure, so I will try to give you approximations.  Just adjust to whatever tastes good to you.

Cream of Chicken Soup (substitute for Campbell's condensed soup)

In a saucepan:
1-2 cups of chicken stock, diced onion (about 1/4 cup or so), diced garlic (couple of cloves), seasonings*

*seasonings--salt and pepper, little bit of paprika, chopped fresh herbs like parsley/rosemary/oregano/sage/marjoram/thyme (use dried if that's what you have)

Simmer until the onions are nice and soft and rather translucent.
Add some milk and simmer a bit more.

In a separate bowl:

Whisk together milk and flour until smooth.  (This is to thicken the soup, so I would maybe do around a cup of milk and a few tablespoons of flour.)

Add to the stock and whisk it so there aren't any lumps.  It should thicken nicely.  
Taste it and add salt and pepper, if needed.

*If you don't have poultry seasoning, just mix together equal amounts of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme.  Put in a glass jar for whenever a recipe calls for it. 
*If you use something like Better than Bouillon, you could add a bit of that, too, if it seems like it needs a little more flavor. Never heard of Better than Bouillon? Look here

*For a gluten free version, you can use cornstarch to thicken.

FYI…Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup ingredient list…
Ingredients (29):

Friday, October 5, 2012

Give It a Rest

In typical Montana fashion, we've gone from nice and warm to suddenly cold.  Hello, Winter! For once, the weather guy was actually correct in his predictions. We spent the start of our week outside, enjoying the beautiful fall temps and getting things ready for the coming freeze.

It was a lovely season of growing and harvesting for us.  There isn't anything quite as wonderful as picking your dinner out of your very own gardens!  Here are a few pictures from spring to fall.

Got lots of kale and chard. I will miss going out every morning to pick greens for my smoothies!

New strawberry patch.  It did really well.

Tying up the raspberries

Ready for the compost bin :)
Our tomatoes did well, but I think I will plant cherry tomatoes next year.


We had an abundance of lettuce and greens. Daily salads during the summer.  Lovely!
Fresh carrots are the best!

Kyra's radishes. :)

New little plants.  Had to cover them with a net. Birds love berries, too.

My herb garden did so well! I was able to have fresh herbs all summer and still have lots to dry or freeze for winter.

Little carrots

Buttercrunch lettuce.  Sooooo good!!!!

Freezing rosemary in olive oil.  Great way to preserve your herbs for winter!
Putting the gardens to bed...

Got the garlic all planted and mulched

In the process of cleaning out the beds
Straw for mulch and compost bin

And so the gardens are all ready for their long winter sleep. Vegetable beds are cleaned out, garlic is planted.  Our herbs and fruit, in another garden on the side of the house, are looking rather sad and cold.  I admit that I cried a little when it was all done.  Thank you, Father, for blessing our little gardens with such a bountiful harvest. 

Goodnight, Garden.  Until next spring...