One of the things I enjoy about the fall is the coziness of spending more time indoors. My journal entries are always plentiful during the colder months.

As I venture out with my kids I love to watch all the leaves fall to the ground. In reality, it would be quite devastating, had I not the hope that life will soon return.

"But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants...for many will be counted righteous."
--Isaiah 53

'Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease."
--Lamentations 3:21-22


evening play

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

"Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away,
Till the morning appears in the skies."

"No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all covered with sheep."

"Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed."
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed,
And all the hills echoed.

--"Nurse's Song" by William Blake


bruschetta pasta

Last week I racked my brain to think of a meal to bring a friend who recently had a baby. I simmered roma tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and red onion for about an hour to make a sauce, purchased fettuccine noodles from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and called it Bruschetta Pasta.

I placed the ingredients in this mini burlap sack that I found stashed in my every-growing collection of gift bags. I opened the package of noodles and placed them in a zip-lock bag, added a few cherry tomatoes and extra basil leaves in another zip-lock, and some Romano cheese in another. I used one of my Farm Chicks Labels to write out the instructions and tied it off with some raffia.

I get a little nervous when I cook for other people. I'm always afraid they won't like what I bring over. What meals have you prepared to take over to a friend's house? I could use a few more ideas.


goodbye summer

"Ah, when to the heart of man

Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end

Of a love or a season?

-from "Reluctance" by Robert Frost

Autumn is my favorite season, hands down, but this past summer has been quite memorable.

Nothing amazing happened. Just lots of little things--lots of sweet memories all wrapped up into one memorable season.

We vacationed, camped in the backyard, swam, roasted marshmallows, barbecued, rode bikes, planted a garden and read lots of books.

But I'll miss little bare toes running around in the green grass.

I'll miss walks out to the garden to cut a few flowers.

I'll miss the smell of summer air.

I'll miss sitting on the swing out back, kids climbing all over me.

goodbye, summer...


guest post

I'm over at 4 Reluctant Entertainers today sharing a few thoughts on entertaining moms and little ones in my home. You can find my post here.

...and Happy Fall!


my love

Phil and I were able to go away last week. We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast in Leavenworth, WA, for the first couple of days. The rooms were so cozy with lots of great amenities like bikes, backpacks, coffee makers that grind coffee beans before each brew and old typewriters.

We spent the rest of the week in Seattle enjoying beautiful sunny weather, the U District, Mars Hill Church, IKEA, The Melting Pot, coffee and holding hands.


hee hee

This made me giddy.



We had a wonderful time in Southern California visiting family. My sister-in-law, a terrific hostess, planned wonderful meals and activities for our family of 6. We swam in her pool, played at the beach, enjoyed the zoo, the circus and Disneyland.

Later in the week, we met up with my husband's family in Big Bear and spent a great weekend staying in this cabin. After such a busy, fun-filled week, it's good to be home!


off we go!

In the morning we'll be heading out the door for a family vacation.

Destination: Disneyland!

Our family has been blessed with an all-expense-paid trip (including airfare) to So. California and Disneyland. We've been counting the days and we're thrilled that tomorrow is the day! The kids are excited to take along the hats that their Auntie Emy brought back for them last Fall. My girls have never flown and my boys don't remember their "lap child" days, so this should be an adventure for all 6 of us. It was so much fun to pack these little surprise travel backpacks for them.

...be back soon


pillowcase shirt

I used this tutorial to make this darling shirt out of a pillowcase.

I've never sewn with elastic thread before, so I faced lots of challenges along the way. Just before giving up, I found this site with great tips on shirring fabric. As it turns out, my length and width settings were off.


isn't this beautiful...

"Mommy, I picked strawberries for dinner."

notice the dirty toes


july 4

Happy Fourth of July!

I love three day weekends...I really do. But this year our car quit working the day before everything closed down for the Fourth, so we'll spend Thursday-Monday morning at home with no car.

I was kind of bummed at first, because I felt like I was just throwing things together for our company this afternoon. I went through my kitchen drawers and cupboards in search of red and blue serving platters and linens. After scrounging around the house this morning, I found this old blue quilt and a red gingham curtain panel for the picnic table.

I placed little American flags in a jar of beans (my husband's idea), and there you have it...we're all set for company!


strawberry picking

We spent the morning out in the warm sunshine picking delicious strawberries!

There's just something about kids in a strawberry field that makes me smile.

Happy Summer to all of you!


a touch of blue

When we moved into our little house 2 years ago, I was so thankful that the previous owner had exposed and refinished the hardwood floors and chose great colors to paint the walls. I fell in love with the green walls in the kitchen...perfect for bright red accents! The living room walls are a pale yellow, which I don't mind, but with our stuff in the room, it just wasn't doing anything for me. I had this idea of removing most of my neutral tones and adding little touches of blue around the room. I had a few things around the house that I brought together--a blue throw, bird eggs, old blue books, and a great poster of the Puget Sound. I really like how it turned out!

I got this 5' x 8' rug on clearance at Pottery Barn a few years ago. It contains so many colors and serves as a great palette. I'm glad I was able to use what I already had to do this little make-over.

This was my friend, Emily's idea. We found this map of the Puget Sound awhile back in a little town called La Conner. She has one just like it that her dad cut into pieces and backed with foam board. I thought this was a great idea! However, when I got it home, it was much too long to fit above my mantel and I didn't have any spare walls besides. I tucked it away for future use.

The other night, I wondered if the map would fit above the fireplace if I trimmed off the top and bottom edges...it did! I backed it with foam board and, instead of fastening it to the wall, I just leaned it up against the wall.

Here are a few things I gathered from around the house.

I love walking into my living room now. It feels so bright, so fresh!


jar full of sprinkes

Doesn't this make you happy? I was so excited to use one of my new Farm Chicks tags to label my jar of rainbow sprinkles!


the farm chicks show

My sweet friend, Andi, and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at The Farm Chicks Show today. Talk about sensory overload! It took me about 30 minutes to calm down after we walked through the doors.

Everything and anything a vintage girl could ever want was right there before my eyes. We had such a great day. We were so glad to be able to meet Courtney from A Cottage Family!

I will have to say that both Andi and I showed great restraint, and after about 3 1/2 hours of walking around, I had only purchased a belt for $10 (I've been looking for a nice, inexpensive cowgirl-looking belt for about 6 years now), and she had purchased a little type letter. I went looking for very specific things...a red metal tray (nope, didn't find one), vintage pillowcases to make this shirt, and something from The Farm Chicks' area for some kind of souvenir. So, here's what I bought...

these great pillowcases for the shirt I'd like to make,

Farm Chicks tags to label kitchen jars,

a Farm Chicks shirt--I took this picture for my mom :)
If you look closely, you can see my $10 belt.

And here's one more thing I found...a great pair of cowgirl boots! I had to say goodbye to my old boots after I had my twins (my feet grew just a tad). I've been looking for a pair to replace them. I didn't expect to find a pair there at the show today. They're used, but the price was right!


disappearing act

Yes. I know I've been away from this little blog for a couple of weeks. The sunshine, the green grass, the warm soil, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sweet children on bikes (including one who needs training wheels no longer), popsicles, and freeze tag have kept me away. And just recently my oldest asked if we could use a stack of old bricks in our yard to make a path through our garden.

Yes. We've been busy around here. I'm sore and a bit sunburned, but what a time we've had!


old fashioned picnic dinners

With warmer weather on its way, I need to shift gears. After months of planning and preparing cozy winter meals, I'm definitely ready for yummy salads and anything grilled--chicken, steak, veggies, pizza. I picked up these plastic food baskets at Cost Plus a few weeks ago. Aren't they fun?

And I love how sliced watermelon looks in my new bowl!

What do you look forward to making for your family (or eating) with summer on the horizon?


i'm such a groupie!

I'll be 35 in a couple of months, but you'd never know it by the way I acted when I met The Farm Chicks this morning! I'm almost certain I behaved like a 12 year old. I was completely giddy, and I had the dumbest grin on my face the entire time. Hopefully they're used to it by now. As I stood there with them, I had this little conversation with myself...

"I can't believe it's them! I can't believe it's them...get a grip, Jen! They're just people!"

Last month, our family went down to California to visit family. When I saw their new cookbook on a shelf in a bookstore, I pulled it off the shelf and set it out with all of the other cookbooks on display. Groupie!

And now for the icing on the cake...this really made my day! Serena told me she saw this yellow tray on my blog a while back--I picked it up one Saturday morning when I hit a few yard sales, thrift stores and antique stores here in town.

Guess what? It was hers! Yep...the giddiness went up a few more notches at that point.

new daisies

I adore these Gerbera daisies that grace my kitchen table. When the afternoon sun pours in through the west window and bathes them with its natural light, it takes my breath away!

No camera flash can out-do the warm glow of sunlight.

Even in the shadows, they make my heart happy. I'm so glad God made flowers!


time for lilacs

last year's blooms

Who doesn't love the smell of lilacs in bloom? My lilac bushes are starting to wake from their long winter's nap. This means that my poor kids have to do a lilac craft. ;)

For our Friday Preschool class this morning, we'll make these paper lilacs using purple paint, straws, green pipe cleaners, green construction paper and white tag board.

You can probably figure this out by looking at my terribly dark photo (sorry). We'll use straws to dab the paint onto the white tag board, which, surprisingly takes awhile. I always love it when kids' crafts last longer than 5 minutes. Sometimes it takes me a very long time to prepare these crafts for my kids and then they finish lickedy-split!

Here are a couple of fun books that feature our very lovely lilac flower.

In Bunny's Noisy Book, I'll have the kids make the sounds that Bunny hears or makes. In Little Green, I'll have the kids use their fingers to imitate what Little Green, the hummingbird, does in the book (flying high and low, zipping, darting, starting, stopping, looping, etc.).