Dreaming…or Discontentment?

Today I’m going to share a few dreams of mine.

Not nighttime while-you-are-asleep-dreams. Those are too weird. 😉

Like the one I had once where Star Wars Storm Troopers attacked my house and there were bombs dropping that bounced like super balls….yeah. Weird.

Not those.

Maybe instead of dreams they are more like goals…things I want to do and hope to be able to but am not sure if I can. So yeah. Dreams.

Probably one of my biggest dreams is to have a little farm.

A cute old house, a barn, a few cows and pigs and maybe sheep. I’d love room to have a nice big garden, a root cellar, a spring house (instead of a fridge). Space for the kids to run and play and get lost in the wonder of being outside.  A place for our chickens to sleep and a nice yard for them to scratch around in.

 

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

I want the farm to need a little fixing up, some love to get it back into shape. I don’t want a clean, new house and fancy barn. I want old, rustic, something with history and character. I’d like a place we can put our fingerprint on and make just how we want it and not be afraid of messing up with mud or dirt or if something gets colored on the walls. I like the satisfaction that comes with hard work, with knowing we made something better than it was, with our own hands.

Road Trip: Finished!

This is a farm we passed somewhere in Iowa, on our trip from Tennessee to Washington.. I took the picture from the car, hence the blurry foreground.

 

Sometimes, I want these things so badly it almost hurts. So badly my eyes fill with tears when I think about it.

Then I wonder…

Why do I want these things?

So that we can produce most of our own food and not rely on the ever-increasing dangerous industrial food system.

Because I want our children to learn the skills it takes to run a small farm, and the responsibility that comes with such hard work.

Because I like having little animal friends that follow me around everywhere.

Because I really enjoy getting my hands in the dirt and cultivating it and watching plants grow.

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A black bean sprout from our garden last year.

So we can have a place that our kids and grand-kids can come back to when they are grown and gather there and cultivate new memories.

So we can teach others about gardening and homesteading, and how to be more healthy and sustainable.

 

When I think of these things I wonder…

Am I being discontent with what God has given me?

I have a lovely sweet amazing husband, three amazing children and countless other blessings! We do have chickens living at my parent’s property and fresh eggs. We joined a CSA to get fresh organic vegetables. I have a nicer house to live in than we’ve ever had before and a great church family and my parents and two brothers and sister close by.

Am I being discontent with where I am right now?  

In a neighborhood with round-up saturated green lawns all around me and soil that is polluted beyond use for a veggie garden…yet literally a million dollar view of the mountains and ocean, and a beach that we can walk to! And a deck where I could container garden if I made the effort.

I wonder…

Did He put these desires for a farm in my heart or did I? 

Am I just being idealistic and trying to escape reality?

I don’t know.

 

I do know this, though: When my desire for a sweet little farm is greater than my desire for what God has for me, for our family-

Then I am being discontent. 

Then, I am making it an idol instead of a dream.

Then, I am in sin.

Because no matter where life takes me, my greatest desire should always be for God.

For what He has for me, and who he wants to make me into.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

And the smaller details of life are insignificant compared to the all-surpassing joy and freedom of knowing Christ.

Because He is my peace.

He is my Home.

He is my life.

No matter where I end up, or what God brings me through, that is enough. He is enough.

If I get my idyllic farm someday full of hard work and the sacrifices that come with it, that would be amazing. If I don’t, I’ll get over it eventually. In the meanwhile, I try to be hopeful and stay content with where I am.  And when I fail, there’s God’s grace that can cover any sin, if I just ask Him. 🙂

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Springtime Scenes

It’s springtime!!
The weather has been improving around here lately and we’ve so been enjoying being outside without it turning cold or rainy. (Although that still happens…a lot. It is after all, Washington State. And “warm” is a relative term….to us that means more than 50F degrees.) It’s supposed to warm up to 70F next week though- I am SO excited!

I’ve been trying to have us go on walks/hikes more often, to enjoy the outdoors as well as get some exercise. Here are some pictures of a few family outings recently, and just some springtime beauty.

 

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On a walk through the woods at a local trail park

 

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up!

Our chickens are loving being able to eat all the new plants coming up

 

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I love the sunniness of dandelions against these old transformer caps!

 

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Some of my favorite springtime flowers.

 

A walk on the beach turned up this cute little crab.

A walk on the beach turned up this cute little crab.

 

My sweet little girls

My sweet little girls

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I hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy springtime! 🙂

I’m Back! And Introducing…..Olivia Jane

Hi!
So it’s been…um since November, I think, since I’ve posted anything on the ole blog.
Our family entered a season of busy-ness, and it kind of got pushed to the wayside, much to my chagrin. The good news is, I am back in the blogosphere and so excited to share what’s been going on and look ahead to spring and summer…oh my. I just love spring. And summer.
Those buds popping out on the trees…the birds singing…the fleeting sunshine that is actually warm when it shows it’s face.

The newest thing that’s happened around here is…I had a baby. Sweet Olivia Jane, born early in the morning on March 8. We pretty much are just completely in love with her. 🙂

Just a few hours old. Me, Hubby and Olivia

Just a few hours old. Me, Hubby and Olivia

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One week old

Big brother Ethan and big sister Ellie snuggling with 2 week old Olivia.

Big brother Ethan and big sister Ellie snuggling with 2 week old Olivia.

So my days have been spent alternating between resting and trying to regain some sense of normalcy; so far it’s going pretty well. Having a new baby always is an adjustment period, but the kids are handling it nicely and they just love their new little sister!

Looking ahead; I’m going to be talking about CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), gardening (or lack thereof) and some herbal remedies that you can find probably in your very own back yard! Also I’ll be musing about “natural” store-bought products versus making your own truly natural ones and if it’s worth it or not to make your own. So if any of that sounds interesting, I’d love to have you follow along!

 

Gorgeous Fall Colors

Last week the kids and I took a trip across the mountains with my Mom and Dad.

It was totally spur of the moment- one of those, “hey you wanna come with us?”

“um, YES!”

kind of things.
The weather had been foggy for days here, with no end in sight so when we had a chance to escape and cross over from dreariness to sunshine and warmth of course we jumped at it.

We dropped off a couple of deer at Owen’s Meats- the processor my family has used since I was a little kid, then we went around the ridge and over the river out to pretty much my favorite childhood places ever: Teanaway.

I’ve written about Teanaway before, here and here. It’s just one of those places that captures your heart and doesn’t let go, no matter how long it’s been since you were there last.

This time, the light was golden and it was warm out.

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The river was really low so the kids could walk on the rocks without fear of falling into swirling rapids…

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So we did a little exploring and found some cool rocks.

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My sweet Mama helping the kids across the river rocks. They were so cute!

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The trees were losing their gorgeous yellow and red leaves and it made for some pretty eye candy.

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We went nature-watching after we left the river, and drove around for a bit but didn’t see any animals. Then all of a sudden, when we were all looking out the side windows I looked out the front windshield and there was a 5 point bull elk RIGHT in front of us, standing on the side of the road!!

It was so majestic! Of course in the excitement, I forgot that my camera was sitting in my lap. 😦

But seeing him was really cool! He crossed the road in front of us, then faded away into the trees. What a great end to a relaxing day.

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We drove away as the sun was slowly sinking over the hills, wishing that we could just stay a bit longer.  Don’t you just love places like that, that bring life to your heart and are so beautiful it almost hurts?  I sure do. 🙂

Announcing Something Exciting…..

Hi.

So, around here it’s been pretty quiet lately. I apologize.

There have been a TON of things going on lately, one of the most important being….that I’m pregnant again!!

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Me at 12 weeks. Please ignore the toothpaste dots on the mirror. 😉

Yep!
We’re so excited that God has blessed us with the creation of another little one to care for and raise up in His love.

Baby number 3 is expected around March 12, 2014.

So I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on the couch, feeling completely exhausted, feeling nauseous, nibbling on food constantly to keep me from feeling sick, being overly emotional about everything and nothing, you know. The normal early pregnancy stuff.  🙂

Thankfully, I’m 12 weeks along now and the nausea has faded and I’m starting to get my energy  back. Hooray!!

We’ve heard the baby’s tiny heartbeat, like a little galloping horse in my belly and it’s just so cute! I love that precious sound.

We’re seeing a midwife and planning on a home birth- Eliana was born at home and we much preferred it to Ethan’s hospital birth, although we didn’t have any major issues/complications with his labor. Home is just a lot more comfy, and way less expensive!  I love being able to fall asleep in my own  bed with my baby next to me instead of sleeping in the uncomfortable hospital bed with nurses coming to check on me every few hours.

So you’ll probably be seeing some handmade baby clothes soon, maybe some homemade diapers and wipes and diaper cream, etc. I’m excited that this time around I can make a lot of the stuff that baby will need, instead of buying it.

I have TONS of stuff pinned on my Pinterest baby board and I can’t wait to get sewing! 🙂

I’ll still write about other things too, don’t worry, so don’t stop reading if you don’t have a baby/don’t care.

Thanks for following along with me in this journey!

So Much Going On!

Hi!

Life around these parts has been crazy these days.

First: We went for an awesome family camping trip over the weekend!

It was SO much fun.

It was my Dad’s birthday and 4 out of 5 of us kids, my Mom and Dad and some of our friends went camping up at Teanaway; where we used to go camping every year for a few weeks when we were kids. My brother Jason couldn’t make it cause he lives in Missouri and well, that’s a long way to come. 🙂

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Ethan watching my sis Emily, family friend Colton, my brother Scotty and his girlfriend Carly dance. 🙂

We took up three campsites and spread out and had a nice big space to chill and for the kids to run around in.

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Me and my brother Brian deep in conversation.

We gathered firewood. We drank a lot of coffee. We ate bacon. Three essential camping activities. 🙂

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 We went on a hike up the mountain to “the big rock”- which is really big. And the view is just breathtaking.

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Just starting out- we hiked about 5 1/2 miles all together. We were all SO tired by the time we got back, especially the kids! They slept well that night.

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Papa Don helping Ethan. They were so precious! I love my Daddy and my son.

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My Brother Brian, his girlfriend Sarah, my hubby Tim and our kiddos, Ethan and Eliana

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Cool rocks!

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Gorgeous fragrant flowers.

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These flowers were growing out of the big rock. They were so beautiful!

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This is “The Big Rock”. It’s a sheer drop off from up where everyone is standing. I couldn’t even get close to it without starting to freak out, so I stayed back with the kids.

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The view from the big rock- Mt. Stuart and some other gorgeous mountains. That road is the one you drive in on the way to the campground.

And under the big rock is  “The Coliseum”. It’s amazing how the rock has been worn away over the years to create this cool amphitheater space.

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It’s just so majestic!

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Emily and Sarah, being cute like they are. 🙂

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Family picture! Kinda. We never can get both kids to look AND smile at the same time.

We went shooting, we enjoyed just being unplugged and relaxed and hanging out near the river.

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My little sis Emily shooting the bb gun at a can across the river.

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My turn! I actually hit the can too! Woo Hoo!

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Mom and Dad enjoying the stories around the campfire.

It was a great camping trip, with lots of good memories made.

Then– the day after we got home we started cleaning the house we’re moving in to!!

As some of you may know, we lost our house last year and moved across the country and have been living with my parents until we were on our feet enough to be able to rent.

Well, God worked out an awesome situation where some people we know moved far away but have a house here still and didn’t want to rent to someone they didn’t know…so we’re renting their house!

We’ve been cleaning and packing up their stuff (since they live far away and still have a bunch of stuff in the house) and getting it ready to move into for the last 3 days.  I am so exhausted! Moving and cleaning are hard work!

We spent our first night at the new house last night and it was nice. We still have a lot to do to make it “ours” and some of our stuff to move. Thankfully there’s no hurry.

It’s bittersweet leaving my parent’s house. They are so gracious and sweet  and we have loved living with them for the past 9 months!  I’m glad they’ll only be about 20 minutes away so we can still come over a lot and my mom is watching the kids for me on the days I work for awhile, so we’ll see them often and let them get their grand kid time. 🙂  Plus, our chickens and our garden is at their house so we’ll be there regularly.

It IS nice having our own space though- our new house is 1900 square feet; which is twice the size plus more than our old house in Memphis. I keep getting lost in our house! It’s funny.

And the master bathroom- oh, my. I will be spoiled beyond all reason. There’s a big round soaking tub and a separate shower with double shower heads. AND the room is like as big or bigger than our dining room in Memphis. It’s so spacious!

And there is a double oven in the kitchen. And organic raised garden beds outside that deer will eat from if we don’t protect it from them. And a worm bin.

And the owners left a bunch of dishes and some furniture so we pretty much have everything we need. The only things we have to buy are dish towels and dishwasher soap and dog food. And I get to use their gorgeous Le Cruset cookware! Seriously, I can’t believe it! ( I’ll do a home tour post soon so you can see.)

God is so good, to orchestrate everything to work out perfectly and give us more than we ever dreamed we could have. He is amazing!

So that’s what’s been going on around here.
I apologize if posting has been a little sporadic. It probably will be for a few more weeks until we get settled in. But I’ll try to give you something once a week to read. 😉

I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of summer! It’s been beautiful and sunny and warm here- finally!!

Springtime Fun in Skagit Valley

On Saturday, our family went on a little adventure up in Skagit Valley, Washington.

Skagit Valley is in Northwest Washington, nestled next to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It’s full of beautiful fields, rolling clouds, small towns and quaint villages.  There are berry farms, dairy farms, tulip farms and everything in between.

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Burlington is probably the most “modern” town- all of the big box stores are there, like Costco and Target and Best Buy and the Cascade Mall is there. We go up to Burlington to go shopping every couple months.
Mount Vernon is just across the Skagit river from Burlington and still retains more of it’s small-town charm with a cute little downtown and artsy shops lining the streets along the river. Skagit Valley College’s main campus  is also located there.

Hubby had to go up to Mt. Vernon to get his Washington driver’s license and we made a nice day trip out of it.

After the business of the day was done, ( the kids and  I waited in the car while hubby got his license because Ellie fell asleep and it was raining like crazy) then we went to the Skagit Food Co-op for lunch.

The Skagit Food Co-op is like a grocery store/ deli/coffee shop where organic meats and dairy and produce is sold, as well as healthy dried goods, bulk items like oats and rice and dried fruits. There is also a pretty good-sized vitamin and body product section, as well as a mercantile upstairs that sells clothing, kitchen utensils and all around interesting stuff.

They also hold educational classes on natural living and wellness for the general public, which is cool. It’s kinda like a local version of Whole Foods Market.

We just ate at the deli and got some coffee and perused the selection of groceries. I expect if you’re a member (you pay an annual due and get discounts in return) , it may be worth your while to shop there but I found it somewhat overpriced for the things we usually buy- bulk steel cut oats and regular rolled oats were more than our local grocery store (which we consider on the more expensive end of things!) and the meat didn’t look any better than what we have  closer to home- it was the same selection for more money. I found a new appreciation for our local store after browsing around the Co-op.

They did have some really good local organic, heirloom seeds and seed potatoes/onions- if I hadn’t already ordered seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds I may have bought some there.

After lunch, we started moseying over to LaConner; a charming little town along the Salish Sea that separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland.

On the way we passed the world-famous Skagit Valley Tulip Fields.

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They are SO beautiful!!

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Every year there is a tulip festival for nearly the entire month of April and there are fields upon fields of gorgeous tulips and daffodils for you to enjoy.
There is an admission charge to park and get out and walk through the tulips, but you can see them just fine driving by- which is what we did.

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There are also some really neat barns and farmhouses around that area, which I love.

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After the tulips, we continued on to LaConner.

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It’s such a cute little town!!

We strolled around the square,

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browsed through some antique shops and a book store and then we saw a huge old section of a tree- it was like 7 or 8 feet around and just as tall. Incredible.

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Of course, we had to walk along the channel and see the boats.

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And no trip to a cute small tourist town is complete without  cheesy pictures- or ice cream!!
It was really good ice cream too- locally made with wild blackberries. Yum!

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When we tired of strolling, we got back in the car and headed over to Anacortes, back on Fidalgo Island.

There is a park  way up on the hill above the city called Cap Sante Park.

And there is an AMAZING view our over the water from it.

On one side you can see Anacortes; on the other side you see the oil refineries and then out across the sea.

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Part of Anacortes

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The Oil Refinery.

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Looking the other way, out to sea. Isn’t that a huge ship?

The park pretty much consists of really big rocks that are kind of scary to climb on. (really, just scary to let your 3 and 5 year old clamber over. I kept envisioning them falling the hundreds of feet into the water.)

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Of course, they were careful and were just fine, although I did freak out once when Ellie ran toward the edge. It seemed like she was right on the edge, about to fall when in reality she was still about 10 feet away. That’s more than close enough though!

Anyway, the wind was cold and it was dinner time, so we left and headed home.

What a wonderful day!

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If you live any where near Skagit Valley, it’s definitely worth visiting. We love it there.

Ideas for Easter

I can’t believe it’s spring already, or that Easter is on Sunday!

In the past, we’ve celebrated Easter by having an Easter Egg hunt in the backyard, and gone to church but we’ve never done any of the fun Easter-y things with the kids like dyeing eggs or an Resurrection garden.
This year, we’re making some changes.

~First of all, we are keeping the focus on Christ’s death and resurrection-after all, Christianity would be useless without it!

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“For Christ died for sins, once for all– the righteous (Jesus)  for the unrighteous (us) , to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit” 1 Peter 3:18

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23,24

No bunnies.

~We are dyeing Easter eggs as a symbol of Jesus’ tomb- Eggs hold life and the cracking of the egg symbolizes the opening of the tomb to release new life into the world just as Jesus conquered death so that we might have new life as His children, free from the death that sin brings.

We’re using natural dyes for the eggs to avoid any chemicals. I’m excited to see how they turn out!

Click here to learn how to dye eggs using things you may have at home!

~We’re not giving the kids any candy- we’ve been trying to cut back on sugar and anything genetically modified, which is pretty much any candy. Maybe we’ll make cookies with honey or maple syrup or muffins or something as a treat instead.

~For Easter baskets, we’re giving each child an umbrella (no spiritual significance there, it just rains a lot here and they’ve been wanting those cute frog and ladybug umbrellas that open up and have eyes/antennae on top). I made a skirt for Ellie and am going to make some pants for Ethan to wear to church Easter morning, and we’ll put a few smaller things in the basket as well. I’d like to buy a children’s Bible for each of them but I don’t know if we’ll have time to do that. (we’d have to order it online or drive over an hour to get to a store that has Bibles.)

For some great Easter basket ideas, check out this website– or just visit the dollar store. You’ll find tons of non-candy items available.

For Christ-based Easter coloring pages, go here. There are some good ones on there!

I hope you have a lovely Easter! He is Risen!

Our Life in Pictures

Hey, everyone!
It’s been a bit since I did an informative post, mostly because I’ve been pretty busy lately, but hopefully later this week I’ll have something to share . For now, here are some pictures of my beautiful everyday life:

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men's breakfast.
Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men’s breakfast.

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!

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My to-do list today. I can cross off "blog post" now! :)

My to-do list today. I can cross off “blog post” now! 🙂

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

My fabric stash. I can't wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don't know what I"m going to make yet though.

My fabric stash. I can’t wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don’t know what I”m going to make yet though.

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They're a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They’re a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

We had  a lovely weekend full of bonfires, pruning bushes, easy dinners and lots of sitting by the fire reading. I hope you have a great week!!