Friday, November 30, 2012

Kringling At Harvest Lane Cottage this week.


Just thought I'd share a little of what's happening at Harvest Lane Cottage this week:

A trip to the dentist...
enough said.
A trip to the library... 
We only go once a month or so.  Since we were in town to go to the dentist yesterday, we spent a couple of hours at the library.  While the kids were downstairs selecting their books and using the computers, I found a comfy chair and browsed through a tall stack of books to make my selections.  You guessed it, Christmas books.  Anyway, I glanced through this little book and thought I'd read the first couple of pages... well, maybe a few more... yes, I read the entire book!  It was soooo funny!  I couldn't laugh out loud in the library, but I did wave my hands a bit in excitement at just how good the story was.  I'm not going to do a review of this book, but you have to know it's the funniest book I've read in ages.  I stopped the girl shelving books and told her about it.  She took it home to read.  ~smile~  Just click through and check it out.  I cannot wait to read more from this author.
A little Kringling...
That's what I've started calling the time when I go in my room, lock the door, and sew, create, and wrap gifts.  I finished a little doll dress this week for my Amy's Evangeline doll.  It's got the cutest pumpkin print.  Alas, I couldn't wait to give it to her.  ~smile~  I've also wrapped lots of little presents that I've been collecting in my pasteboard gift boxes for months.
A little cleaning...
Hubby set the Christmas tree up for me last weekend.  I've been cleaning the living room really well to get ready to decorate it this weekend.  I think I'm going to rearrange the furniture.  It feels too cramped.  Well, I guess that's to be expected.  Our friends moved to Michigan this summer, and hubby bought their Christmas tree sight unseen.  He knew we needed a bigger tree, because we've filled ours to overflowing with yearly ornaments.  Well, I came home to find a tree that's about five feet wide at the base and seven feet tall!  It quite overwhelms our little living room.  Ah well, that's what Christmas does, isn't it?  We'll have plenty of room for all the ornaments I desire. ~smile~  So, I'm going to plan a little crafting time with my mother-in-love and make some new ornies.
A little sorting and decluttering...
Hubby also brought me some big bags full of fabric and notions to go through.  He's enabling my hobby and future etsy endeavors.  ~smile~  It took a couple of hours to sort through and prepare the things I didn't want for the thrift store donation.  I was a good girl and took them the same day.  Needless to say, there's no reason my little honey of a Singer shouldn't be humming next month.
Alittle snatch reading...
I love reading history.  This book is fascinating.


I'm looking forward to what I hope will be a quiet weekend of creativity.  What's going on in your cottage?
Creative and Happy at Home

May I suggest?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Cozy Christ Centered Christmas 2012

Christmas time!
It even sounds lovely. For us, the Christmas season begins the first of December. We focus each evening on the birth of Jesus Christ. We want there to be no question in our children’s minds about what Christmas is all about.
Several years ago, we sold our house in the middle of November. We were supposed to move into our new home in two weeks. Mind you, we had a ten year old, a four year old, a two year old and a newborn. Two weeks turned into seven weeks! Momma had to make Christmas. We spent the entire Christmas season and Christmas itself in that motel room watching the wonderful celebrations on the Home and Garden Channel and the Food Network. That experience changed the way I “make Christmas” for my family forever. All of our Christmas things were in storage. A friend loaned us a pre-decorated two foot tall tree. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of new Christmas decorations to put about and some candles. Then, I made the most wonderful discovery in my local Bible bookstore.
I found a wonderful, beautifully illustrated Advent book. It has doors that the children open each night that reveal beautiful paintings and the story of the birth of Christ. This isn’t a kiddie book; it is art. It is called THE ADVENT BOOK by Jack and Kathy Stockman. The price was steep, $35.00 at the time; but, I knew that I had to make this season special. We love this book so much, I want to give each of the kids a copy of their own when they marry.
Each evening, we gather in the living room. We light the candle that is above our Nativity scene; and then, we take turns reading the Christmas story from this wonderful book. The days are numbered 1-25. On December 1st we read day 1. Each day we read from the beginning up to the present day. So tonight, we will read days 1-14. I love it because my little ones are learning it by heart.
After we read it, we may read another Christmas book, or sing Silent Night and another carol or two. It is a cozy way to bring our focus back to Lord Jesus and to calm down at the end of the day.

Here is a list of some of the Christmas books our family enjoys:

The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham
The Very First Christmas by Paul Maier
The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

May you find peace and joy in your celebration of Christ’s birth during this Christmas season.

May suggest?
Originally published December 2007

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Gifts for Children... Precedents, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn't receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedents.... What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it's a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:
"An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. "
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrating special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don't give many big gifts—we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don't give big gifts, they don't expect them. Because I don't give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact. 

When we don't set a high precedent of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity. 

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about...

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
Keeping it simple for our Savior

P.S. Avoiding network cartoons helps since they don't see so many commercials.

May I suggest?
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harvest Lane Cottage Thanksgiving

Thank you for your prayers, my brother-in-law is out of the hospital.  A wee bit of surgery and a lot of prayers have done wonders for him.  My foot is better after rolling through the house on my office chair most of yesterday.

We were talking last night and realized that Hurricane Sandy blew through on my sister-in-love's birthday and Robin had emergency surgery on my husband's birthday.  That's a cycle that we break in Jesus' Name! ~smile~

Seriously, some of you are spending this day with your family, some with your friends, some all alone.  However you're spending it, remember that the focus of the day is thanking God.

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Memorable Thanksgiving...

A memorable Thanksgiving and it's not even here yet!

We've had my husband's family visiting for a few days.  Yesterday afternoon, my brother-in-law began having terrible pains in his abdomen and stomach.  They worsened until my husband took him to the emergency room.  A few hours later he had emergency surgery for a hernia in the wee hours of the night!  We are awaiting the doctor's visit to find out what the next few days will bring for Robin.  I'd appreciate your prayers.

In the meantime, I'm hobbling around on my sore foot.  I turned it on a rock over a month ago.  It's getting worse instead of better.  No insurance, so I'm wrapping it and praying for healing.

I hope your week is going much better than ours!

Happy Thanksgiving from Harvest Lane Cottage to your house!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things I Love About My Husband

Things I love about my husband:

He was my first love.
He is a godly man.
He encourages me to do the things I enjoy doing.
He has stayed faithful to me for over thirty years.
He has given me four children to love and nurture.
He is a giver.
He cares for others.
He works hard for our family.
He will not leave me.
He is fully committed.
He is optomistic even when I'm not.
He puts gas in the car.
He loves me even when I'm unloveable.
He goes to work even when he doesn't feel like it.
He's my endless love.

Did I mention he's a great cook?
Happy Birthday Lowell, I love you!

Blessed to be Lowell's Girl

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Wreath of Snow Liz Curtis Higgs

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oh what a delight to open a package and find Liz Curtis Higgs' newest Christmas novel, A Wreath of Snow.  I am a book lover.  I'll bet you didn't know.  ~giggle~  This book is beautiful.  It feels good in my hand.  I decided to save it for those moments when I could relax with a cuppa and truly enjoy it.  You know, the moments when you hope you won't be interrupted.  I cuddled up on my bed with the book and "Mo--om!"  Oh well, try again later. ~smile~

Liz Curtis Higgs never disappoints with her books.  She's a warm writer who paints scenes and personalities with her pen.  With A Wreath of Snow, Liz has crafted a tale of pain, remorse, guilt, anger, and grudges that will melt under the warmth of God's love and mercy and grace. 

It was an icy winter Christmas Eve, 1894, in Stirling, Scotland.  A young schoolmarm, Margaret Campbell, fled from her childhood home after yet another altercation with her brother, an angry, young crippled man.  He was the reason she left home years ago to begin a new life in Edinburgh. 
Gordon Shaw, haunted by an unforgivable accident fueled by a belly full of whiskey and fearful of being recognized, completed his newspaper assignment in Stirling and escaped to the safety of the train.  Well, relative safety.

-Who is that beautiful young woman across the aisle?
~Did he look at me?
-It's the Campbell sister.  Does she recognize me?

So the thoughts flowed as the train struggled down the tracks through the heavy snow until, suddenly, the train is halted and they are thrown together.  The tale that unfolds is one of lies, truth, and consequences.  I loved that God's words were skillfully intermingled into the story line not just as an addition, but as the very core of story.

The ending is unexpected and happy, just as a Christmas story should end.  This is the story for a cold winter's night.  Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed.
Author's Web Site
Read Chapter One

Waterbrook Multnomah
ISBN: 9781400072170

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Menu 2012

This morning found me at my sewing machine stitching up some gifties for my girly girl.  I love making things for my family each Autumn to surprise them at Christmas. 

This afternoon, I sat down and made what I believe to be my final menu for Thanksgiving week.  We are expecting my sister-in-love, Debbie, to join us for the week.  My mother-in-love, Judy, my brother-in-love, Robin, and my eldest son, Matthew, will join us for various meals through the week.  I'm sure we'll be making some goodies along the way as well.  I'm going to go and do some shopping this afternoon.  I'll save some of the shopping to do with Debbie.  After all, shopping is how we get some sister time.  ~smile~ 

If you've not made your Thanksgiving week menu yet, perhaps you'll find something here to help you.  May God bless you as you focus on Him.

Menu for Thanksgiving Week 2012
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Chili, corn chips, crackers, cheese, onions, jalapenos
Dinner - Church... mashed potatoes, bread, veggie platter
Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Ramen Noodles for the kids, Ladies' Lunch Out
Dinner -Chef Salad
Breakfast - Bagels, cream cheese, fruit
Lunch - Peanut butter sandwiches, celery, carrots
Dinner - Chicken Taco Salad
Dessert - Lemon Meringue or Pumpkin Pie
Breakfast - Oatmeal, milk, fruit
Lunch - Tuna salad sandwiches, celery, carrots
Dinner - Grilled Cheese with choice of tomato or Bean with Bacon soup
Breakfast - Eggs and Toast
Appetizers - Pickle slices, deviled eggs, carrots and celery
Dinner at 1:00
Turkey, German Apple Stuffing, Stove Top stuffing (sister-in-love's favorite), potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, black and green olives,
Dessert - Pumpkin pie, Chocolate Meringue Pie, Cool Whip
Breakfast – cereal or toast
Lunch – Sandwiches or leftovers
Dinner – To Be Announced
May I suggest?

Feeling Lonely?

"And the LORD, He is it that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee:  fear not, neither be dismayed."

Deuteronomy 31:8

That promise is just as near as accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. That promise is just as near as surrendering your life to Christ.  He gets to be the leader, the boss, the Lord.  You get to be saved from Hell and saved from your sins and saved from yourself.  You must not only accept Jesus as the Son of God, you must also truly believe that He is who He said He is and can do what He said He would do.  I invite you to read the book of John in the Holy Bible.  You can get to know who Jesus is and what that means to you.

Blessed to be Known and Loved by my Jesus

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November ! Don't Miss It!

Don't get all wrapped up in Christmas preparations and miss the rest of this lovely, beautiful, spectacular autumn season.  I love the golden tones of November... the cool and sometimes cold nights... the rainy days. The nesting instinct that comes with cooler weather and thoughts of winter on its way.

After I help my scholars with their studies today, I'll be heading to the bedroom to do a little sewing.  Part of what I love about Novembery days is the draw I feel to sew and knit and crochet.  I've a little cd player in my room.  I'll be listening to 1 and 2 Corinthians as I work.  If I tarry long enough, I'll listen right through the Bible.  ~smile~

How do you love to capture these Novembery days?

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Advantage of Homeschooling... Set Your Own Schedule

Good day!  Thanks so much for dropping by the cottage to see me today.  It's been a few days since I've written.  One of the things I really enjoy about homeschooling is that I can set our own schedule and scatter mini vacations throughout the year.  We'll be having holiday company beginning next Thursday, but this weekend we are the company. 

I've been visiting my good friend Laura in St. Louis for a few days.  We drove up on Thursday and arrived just about lunch time.  Immediately, all the ladies, young and old headed to the destination Amy's been dreaming about... the American Girl Store!

Oh, we dined and they shopped, though no one bought a thing.  Well, I did buy one small thing.  But who gets out of the American Girl Store for less than ten dollars?  The girls had a terrific time.  I enjoyed watching their joy.  I was amazed at how many dolls and accessories there were to go with these dolls.  My Amy's doll is one from Vision Forum.  Her name is Evangeline.  She came along for the fun.  ~smile~

Friday was simply filled with play.  The woods beckoned, and the kids followed the call.  They came back dirty and hungry just as kids should. ~smile~

We closed our time together with a trip to the zoo on Saturday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: Courting Cate or Taming of the Shrew?

Twenty-three years old.  Over-the-hill?  Past hope?  Destined to be a spinster?  Live life through the books she reads?  It seems pretty young to give up, but Cate Miller has done just that.  Lots of teasing, ineptness in the kitchen, and a broken heart have combined to make Cate feel she will never marry.  She keeps busy in her father's shop and cares for her younger sister whom she's raised from birth.  She's a bit, well, prickly.

Will the handsome young stranger who her father hires be able to convince her of his true interest?  What exactly is Pete's true interest?  He came to town saying he wanted to find a job and a bride.  Pretty straight forward if you ask me.  Not to Cate though. 

Things get sticky when Cate's father declares an edict that Cate must marry first.  Of course little sister puts more than a little pressure on Cate.  This book just gets more and more tangled as new characters are introduced.  Cate's temper is pushed to its limit as she tries to make sense of it all and just live her life as she wants to live it- as an old maid...or does she?

I enjoyed this book very much.  It did, however, step on my toes a few times.  As a child, I too, was teased a lot.  I too felt ugly and unwanted.  This set up a cycle of thoughts in my mind that were negative.  That's what's going on with Cate.  I recognized some of the thought processes.  I'm more aware now when those thoughts begin in my mind.  I really appreciate how Leslie Gould brought this aspect of relationships into the story.  So much of our lives are lived within our own minds. 

The story has a surprising but pleasing outcome.  I always like happy endings, don't you?  This one's worth your time.  I give it about 4 stars.  It's a good for a cold autumn or winter evening.

From LitFuse:

"When This Couple Gets to Courting, Sparks Will Fly!
In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!
But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor-until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.
Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?

Book 1 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review."Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Puttery Day and A Day of Rest

It's been a pleasant weekend. 

Saturday ~  I've been listening to the book of Exodus on Bible Gateway.  It's a great way to keep my mind busy while I'm working about the cottage or working with my hands.  This morning that meant laundry, writing, frying lots of bacon for blts and bacon bits, cleaning the kitchen, a quick trip to the store, and more laundry. 

Now, with lunch over, it's back to laundry. ~smile~  Amy and I are going to make some pumpkin dump cake this afternoon.  Then, after we clean up, I'll be helping her set up my old sewing machine so that she can work on a project.  I bought the machine way back in 1982 when I graduated from high school with the gift money I received.  I gave it to a friend who subsequently gave it back to me when my new one died. 

Last week, I posted my evening menu plan.  My husband called me and was happy to know what was coming up. ~smile~  So, for my hubby, I'll share what I have in mind for this week. 

Saturday ~ Date night!  My grown son is going to come over and spend the evening with my 11 year old.  She'll get Bubba time.  He'll get baby sister time and a chance to use the washer and dryer. Hubby and I will get a couple of hours alone.  Win-win-win.  ~smile~  Matthew and Amy will have canned clam chowder and cornbread.

Sunday ~  Another lovely morning at church.  In my Bible study class, we are watching and discussing the Book of Matthew.  I love this video because it has a happy, loving Jesus instead of a sad Jesus.  I'm learning and enjoying the class immensely.

A brother in the Lord blessed us with some money and told us to go out to dinner.  So, we did!  Amy's been wanting to go to Cracker Barrel for years, so we went.  It was so fun to do something she'd wanted to do for so long.  I browsed in the gift shop with Amy while Lowell relaxed on the front sidewalk.  I was a good girl.  I only bought a stick of clove candy for Amy.  Home again, Amy's been sewing, Lowell napping, and I've been doing a little reading, a little writing, and I've listened to the rest of the book of Leviticus. 

Now, I think I'm going to get something good to drink and do a little hand sewing on some Christmas ornaments.  Before I go, here's the plan for this week.  My hubby enjoyed seeing the menu on the blog when it came to his e-mail last week. ~smile~

Monday ~ potato soup with biscuits
Tuesday ~ baked chicken, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter, salad
Wednesday ~ We'll be cooking at church and eating there.  I'm not sure what's on the menu.
Thursday ~ Pineapple Chicken with rice
Friday ~ Date Night!  The kids will eat Ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese.
Baking ~ I'll probably make the bread pudding that I didn't get made last week.
I also need to make a batch of cookies.  The jar's empty. 
Well, that's the plan.  Now, on to my stitching.
Happy at Home

UPDATE:  We took an unexpected trip to St. Louis, so Thursday's and Friday's menus and the baking didn't happen.  But, we had fun!
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Shared with Weekend Whatever.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{this moment} Autumn at the Creek

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
More moments at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are You Making a List?

Have you started making a list yet?
Maybe I should say lists.

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving celebration this year?

Have you made your menu?
Have you gathered your recipes?
Have you started your grocery lists?
Have you planned a cooking time-line?

Are you hosting a Christmas celebration?
The same quesitons apply, and many more.

Pour yourself a cup of eggnog, tea or grab a Coke from the fridge. Sit down and start making your lists. All the planning you do now will help reduce the stress later and help you enjoy instead of endure.

God bless you!
Happy Thanks Living!

Happy at Home
May I suggest?