Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Sense of Accomplishment

She did it! Ashlyn finally learned to ride her bike yesterday. It only took about 20 minutes of me really working with her for her to get it. And I didn't even lose my patience for the whole 20 minutes!! That was my accomplishment for the day :)

Anyway, here she is in all her glory! She is so proud of herself.

By the way - this is her awesome bike that someone was just going to throw away until I rescued it out of their junk pile!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Satan Hates Sprinkles

This is my favorite blog post that I have read this week. If you've never visited the (In)Courage site, you really really should. Anyway, this is the post that was on their site this morning. I just love it and hope that I can start looking at defeat this way. Enjoy!

Satan Hates Sprinkles

My dad is famous for his optimism; as far as most people are concerned he is completely candy-coated. He lives out James 1:2 unlike anyone I have ever met. “Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds.” That’s my dad, joy in the face of trial.

When I was growing up my siblings and I never had problems--we had opportunities. We didn’t have hardships--we learned lessons. We were always “better than we deserved”, “at an all time high” and super “f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c”!

Even when joy didn’t make sense.

As a young girl I remember a time when my dad ran for School Board re-election. I felt nervous about the outcome of the race and I recall asking my dad what he would do if he lost. He smiled his usual smile and laughed his usual laugh then said, “If I lose, you and I will go out for hot-fudge sundaes.”

Before I was old enough to appreciate the spiritual application, I remembered how odd it was to celebrate losing.

After all, nothing screams defeat like confetti and balloons.

Or does it? Celebration in the midst of struggle is odd for our human nature because it can’t be attained without God. It can often be the only weapon we have that keeps us from falling.

Our common enemy has come to “kill, steal and destroy but Christ has come to give us abundant life” John 10:10. Praise and thankfulness throw a big chink in the chain Satan specially designed to keep us down and out.

My dad ended up losing the re-election that year, and he could have gotten angry. He could have demanded a recount. He could have scorned his opponent and vented his frustration. He could have wallowed, but he would have promptly chained himself in bitterness.

Instead he kept his word and we went out for ice cream. In this particular situation I watched my dad rejoice rather than rant, and thanks to my dad, the joy of the Lord tastes a lot like sundaes with sprinkles on top.

by Ginny Martyn

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Call me crazy, but I was totally in the Christmas mood today. It was a perfectly beautiful day here in Minnesota! The sun was shining and it was in the mid-60's! Perfect Christmas weather if you ask me! I even made snickerdoodles.

It was especially nice considering this was the date of the first snowfall last year. I don't know about you, but all I'm asking for for Christmas is more weather like this!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Big Reveal

Our home's exterior is finally painted! It's taken two years and countless hours of phone calls to contractors who never showed up to get it done, but it's done! Britney and I decided to tackle the repairs ourselves and thanks to the help of our good friends, they really weren't all that bad.

My job was the stucco. Britney's job was the OLD gutters :) We have what are called box gutters on our house. They're basically a wooden box lined with galvanized tin that are built into the rafter tails along the roof line. NO ONE that we called or had out to look at them had ever seen gutters like ours before. That was comforting. Anyway, Britney and Cameron did a super job on them. They're gorgeous and add so much to the character of our old girl.

So, just in case you forgot, here's a before picture. Our house was built in 1885, heavily remodeled in the 1920s and then owned by the same family for over 40 years from the late 1940s/early 1950s until the 1990s. We were very very nervous about changing the color because the house is kind of an icon in Adrian. Everyone knows it as Doc Neely's house and EVERYONE has an opinion about it. So, here you go -


After MONTHS of agonizing over the right color to go along with our beautiful red scalloped roof, I of course ended up with the first color I picked out way back in April :) It's called Roycroft Bronze Green by Sherwin Williams. The trim is Navajo White by TruValue and the windows are (or will all eventually be) black.

We love it! It was funny when we were having it painted, so many people would stop and comment on how good it looked - after just the gray primer coat went on. Then once the color went on and the front was finished, we got even more compliments. In fact we still get compliments on it almost every day.

I think the porch is my favorite part of the whole house. I thought I wanted the trim around the front door to be cream and just the doors to be black, but the painter painted this part when I wasn't home and this is what he did. I LOVE it! When I got home and it was done, all I wanted to do was sit outside and enjoy the new "view." It was so much better than the school bus yellow one before.

I wanted the porch ceiling to resemble those of old Southern plantation homes, but a sky blue would have looked horrible next to the green. So, we went a little more gray and used TruValue Chicken Wire. It's perfect. And I will admit that the painter was not sure at all about my color choice for the ceiling until he got it all painted. Then he actually admitted that he liked it :) It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it's kind of a blue gray. This is my favorite view out the front door (minus all the kid equipment).

That's one big project that we can mark off our list. Of course three more smaller projects were added to the bottom after this big one was taken care of, but hey - at least we have something pretty to look at now!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

Hey - what d'ya know! Two days in a row. That must be some kind of streak, right?

Anyway, I made this soup for dinner last night. I wasn't sure how it would turn out since it had been one of those afternoons and I kept running out of ingredients. Britney went to the store for me the second time :) I think he would say the soup was worth the trip! Hope you enjoy it! It's great for a chilly fall evening.

Creamy Potato Soup

3 cups diced potatoes, unpeeled
1 cup sliced carrots
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 of a large onion, diced
4 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes, carrots, onions and chicken broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add pepper and salt to taste. Once boiling, reduce heat and continue to cook until vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes). In a small saute pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook about a minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Lower heat, add cream cheese and continue whisking until the cream cheese is incorporated. Add cream cheese mixture to the simmering vegetables. Continue to simmer on med-low heat until ready to serve.

We topped the soup off with some grated cheese and some bacon. Delicious!

I used red potatoes for this recipe, but the recipe says you can use either red or Yukon gold.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween!

So, I guess I'm back. At least for awhile. Things here were crazy busy this fall. They still are, but I'm finding myself with a little more "free" time so I figured I should jump back into blogging.

This year for halloween, the kids were the Cat in the Hat and a bat. Their costumes were pretty easy to make, and since it's something I like to do, I didn't mind :) Actually, making their costumes is something I plan to do until they want otherwise. Honestly, it's a bit of an ego boost when one of the neighborhood dads has to come out every year to see what my kids' costumes are. Ever since the combine, which he was still talking about at the neighborhood picnic this year.

Anyway, we only took a couple of pictures. Halloween was a whirlwind day with our friends moving to western South Dakota that day. Their kids were here playing most of the day while the parents loaded up their stuff to head out. At the last minute I decided that our porch needed to be a little festive. Ashlyn got in on the fun by making the cute spiders that we stuck in the webs.

Now I guess it's on to planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas and our trip to Georgia!