All Caught Up

These came today and I’m now all caught up! Yeah!!! I love these books and I love the writer. She lived in my small town when she was younger and I remember her well. She is now a great author, has a fun blog and is on Facebook. Check her out! I started out getting her book on the Kindle. Remember – an agreement I had with Joe was no books if I got a Kindle. Well ………. I decided these were books I needed to own. I mean really – look at those beautiful covers. Diane’s husband takes the pictures for the covers. And one of the pictures on one of the books is of the office where I worked for years. (I have the coffee mug with that book cover too!) And they are books – you just have to have a few actual books right? We have all kinds of kids books. After four kids who love to read you have to have books. But I’m slowly buying books again here and there. I just think a house needs to have books! Now to get caught up on reading them. That’s what I’ve been reading while I’m sitting in line to pick Drew up from school – I get a good half hour of reading in! I’m on book 17 and there’s 20 so far in the series.  A new book comes out every three months.

And bookmarks. You have to have bookmarks. You just can’t dog ear a book. But, I tend to lose bookmarks and so I usually just use a scrap piece of paper or a piece of junk mail. But I follow Susan Branch’s blog and get her Willard newsletter and she has the cutest bookmarks that she offers for free. This is the latest one I’ve downloaded, printed and run through the  laminator. It’s just the cutest. Of course it is meant to be used as a nametag to use at her picnic but since I won’t be going to the UK anytime soon – I’ll just use it as a bookmark. And it has a lamb on it. I love, love, love anything with a lamb on it!

This came in the mail today too. We were given this exact knife as a wedding gift oh so many years ago. It hasn’t seen a lot of use. Mostly to cut up a watermelon and Joe would use it to cut up his deer meat. Which is what he was doing this year when it snapped in two. There was a time when I would have thrown it away and bought a new one but now that I’m not working we need to be way more frugal with our money. (Something we should have always done I know) So, I went  online and discovered that Chicago Cutlery has a lifetime guarantee. I emailed them a quick message and they responded quickly and before I knew it – a brand new knife! Isn’t that wonderful??!!


Another way I’ve been saving money and being frugal and trying to make things easier around here is freezing leftovers. I have two of these containers filled with beef stew in the freezer. I work at the school again tomorrow and Friday and instead of paying for a lunch there I’ve pulled out one container to thaw and that will be my lunch for the next two days. Perfect. No fuss, no worries. I’ll peel an orange in the morning and throw it in my bag along with my beef stew and a bottle of water and I’ll be all set. And I have another container of beef stew and one of veggie soup in the freezer for the next time I’m subbing at the school!

The next few days will be busy. Two days at school. Then Saturday I’m thinking we may visit my aunt who is in Iowa city in the hospitalwith pneumonia. We’ll have to see if she’s up to visitors yet.  Then Sunday we’re meeting Joe’s siblings in Des Moines for lunch and to sign some papers and make some decisions. Then home to watch the Super Bowl I’m assuming. Joe doesn’t seem to be too into it this year so who knows. I have never been into the whole football thing. I’d rather watch a good episode of Little House on the Prairie!

Getting Started

I don’t buy books much anymore. That’s what my Kindle is for. My house is so small and I had sooo many books and it was driving Joe crazy. So in order for me to get a Kindle to use to read from I agreed to downsize on my books. I did really really well at first. I got rid of all but my most loved books and most of them have been put in storage. But as time has gone by I have bought a book or two here or there. There’s just something about an actual book and holding it in your hands and smelling it and thumbing through it. Nothing compares.

And cookbooks and self help books just don’t work for me on the Kindle. I have to be able to thumb through and find a page I need and bookmark it and even write notes if need be. So at the beginning of the year I ordered a few books to help get me started on my plan to save time, save money and eat healthier around here. I’m loving these books. I already had Little House Living and have read it multiple times and have used some of her ideas. She has a wonderful blog too with so much great information on it. I’ve gone through it and written down so many recipes and ideas that I want to get started on.

Then there’s Homestead Kitchen. I almost didn’t order it because I didn’t know if it would really help me out much.  I ordered it more for a treat to myself because I’m loving watching Alaska The Last Frontier  and I wanted to learn more about Eiven and Eve and the Kilchers. But I’m glad I’ve got it now. I’ve read it from cover to cover. It’s amazing how much reading you can get done on long road trips! I love this book. I love all the personal stories and there are so many recipes I want to try. Now it’s just a matter of slowing down around here and taking the time to try something new now and again.

These last two I want to really spend time going through and I just haven’t had the time yet. I have browsed through them and think they are going to be full of great information and be very helpful. The bread recipe I tried out the other day came from The Made From Scratch Life. So much of what you read in these books is common sense and really, I just need a reminder now and then to get back to the basics. Many things are things I have wanted to do or try but just wasn’t sure how. Now I have no excuse – I just have to get up and do it!

I Choose Joy

Its been slow going on this one – a lot of frogging for some reason. But it hasn’t upset me in the least – I just remind myself to choose joy and enjoy the process!

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it. It’s by Lori Rippey. She designs the most beautiful prim patterns. This one has really been a joy to stitch! It definitely is a choice and I’ve learned through the years that no matter what, you can choose joy and your life will always be better for it!

Besides the obvious things that bring me joy, God and family being right up there at the top, these are a few of the things that are bringing me joy right now:

The Bleeding Hearts are blooming. A spring favorite that brings me joy.
A worn out Pierre – five whole days of having Drew home is hard on a cat!
A new prim finish. There is something about the feel of pulling that needle through cloth that brings joy. And horses and flowers and old prim frames. Pure joy.
The newest book in the Bellingwood Series – just waiting for me to open it up and jump in! Do I read it now or wait three months for the next installment? I love having more than one to read so I can visit Bellingwood longer!
My turquoise and red dish cloth and hot pad. I find joy in using the things that I’ve made. These are headed out to the camper!
Candles and some splashes of blue – for some reason burning candles right now brings me joy and the color blue has always brought me joy!
My wonderful husband surprised me yesterday afternoon – he asked if I was ready for the camper to come home. Oh joy! Of course I was ready. I’m always ready for the camper to come home! So off to Pella we went on a road trip to get the camper. There probably wont be any camping in our future until after graduation but at least I can start getting this baby ready. Our second home!

And now I’m off to take care of the chickens. Another thing that’s bringing joy to my life right now!

I always know

I always know where Drew has been. He leaves a trail everywhere he goes! This one was easy – he’s finding places where he can use magnets. Apparently he felt the need to claim the dryer! (I glued magnets on old Scrabble tiles I got at the second hand store and he loves to play with them.)

I woke up yesterday with a tremendous headache. Not something that happens often – thank goodness. I started with a headache and then my neck started hurting. I had bought a pork roast the day before and thought it would be a great time to throw it in the crockpot. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about fixing supper. All day I kept thinking it smelled awful and blamed it on my head. Then when Joe got home I asked him if he thought it smelled right and he said it smelled awful. We decided it wasn’t safe to eat it. So much for trying to think ahead and save myself and my poor head. We ended up going to town for supper. A chicken sandwich and cheeseballs – not healthy but oh so good. And I didn’t have to do dishes after supper!

When we got home we settled in and I worked on my blanket. It’s coming along nicely and it’s getting just big enough that it helps keep me warm while I’m working on it. Perfect!

Did anybody have one of these when they were little? I loved making potholders when I was little and when Drew saw this in the store the other day and asked for it – I just couldn’t tell him no. Now he’s enjoying making potholders. So far he has given one to Grandma and one to me and this one is slated to go to his teacher, Mr. Kingrey. I’m sure he’ll love it! I do wish I still had my old loom. It was metal – these are plastic and have spots that snag. They just don’t make things like the used to.

The best part of the day – I got to start a new book. This is a series that I absolutely love. The Bellingwood Series by Diane Greenwood Muir.

The fun part about these books is Diane grew up in small towns in the Midwest and one of those towns was my little town in southwest Iowa. She was older than me but I remember her. Her series is based around a one wonderful character, Polly Giller, and her family and friends who live in Boone, Iowa. So when Polly visits Ledges State Park – I’ve been there or when she stops in Madrid, I have just visited my sister-in-law who lives there! It’s fun to read about people that remind me of my neighbors, friends and family and my little town life here in the Midwest. The covers of all of her books are beautiful photographs taken by Diane’s very talented photographer husband. The cover of Book 2, A Big Life in a Small Town, showcases the office building where I worked for approximately seven years. Book 16 just came out in December and it’s great to know that there will be another coming out in March, then June, September and again in December. It’s such a special series – every new book is like catching up with old friends. You literally feel as if these people are a part of your life. I love a good series but this one is just so special!