Sunday, November 16, 2014


In the late 1700s, this small, stone spring house was built.  In the lower level (below grade),
it still holds spring water.  For years, it served its purpose.  After my husband's
sister (along with her husband) purchased this old farm, they gutted the upper
levels and put their expertise and creativity to work, transforming the little spring house
into a cozy guest house. 

On Friday evening, my husband and I were invited to spend the night at the spring house.
We looked forward to the visit, especially since it had been many years since we had
stepped inside it's thick-stoned walls.


We also looked forward to our special visit because we knew the hospitality that
would be extended to us.  When we arrived, it was already dark and chilly outside.
As we walked down the old brick sidewalk to the front door, we were welcomed by
the soft lights that beckoned us to "come on in". 
Snow, from the evening before, still covered the evergreen branches on the tree outside. 
The country surroundings offered a peaceful quiet to the brisk night air.


An old, metal lantern burned by the front door.


We walked into a warm, cozy cottage, complete with wonderful smelling
candles burning on a wooden table, and a typed note welcoming us.  We were
both thrilled to have been invited to this very special "hide-away", on a cold November
evening.


Now remember, as you look at these pictures, that our brother-in-law and sister-in-law,
did all the restoration work themselves.  We found that to be amazing, since that is not
our expertise.  Soft music filled the room, and warm, comfy blankets were in abundance.

 
The massive stone fireplace had been there as long as the spring house itself,
although the stones had been repointed and it was given a good cleaning.
It was not yet in working order, but that will come in time.  For the time we were there,
a floor heater did it's job and warmth filled the room. 
 


The stonework on the fireplace, extended to the roof line.  The big mantel was decorated
tastefully, with old pieces and dried leaves.  I always enjoy seeing how people choose to
decorate, and what they use to do so.




A coffee center immediately drew my attention.  A bag of coffee, a homemade loaf of
pumpkin bread, and a good smelling cinnamon candle...what could be better!

 

The tiny, yet efficient kitchen, contained all that was necessary for a stay like ours, or even
an extended stay.  Everything was so clean and organized in the kitchen...


...and in the bathroom beside the kitchen.  I was impressed with my sister-in-law's
color scheme, never thinking of putting, green, white and purple together.  One
of my favorite parts of this spring house, was the deep, old window sills.  


Candles burning on the top shelf, added the perfect touch of ambience to the room.
Every ounce of space was utilized in this small, beautiful room.



We walked up the stairs and discovered this lovely loft bedroom, and sitting area.
Again, big, warm blankets were available, as was a very comfortable bed.  If you look
closely, you will see the stone fireplace wall on the other side of the white bannister.


This bed definitely offered a great night's sleep, which isn't always the case when one
sleeps away from home.


Interesting books graced the top of the dresser.




And a box filled with very old bottles, found in the attic of the house, gave an interesting
focal point to the upstairs room. 


Another deep window sill, held a small battery operated candle, adding a sense of
"welcome" to those inside and outside of it's walls.



A guest book, had signatures and words of thanks from many who had been fortunate
enough to have stayed within these walls.



After a great night's sleep, I opened the wooden blinds at the window, and this is the sight
that greeted me.  I could have stared for hours...it was breathtaking, especially with the
morning sunrise in the background.


And then, because our stay was a special gift to us, our sister-in-law greeted us with a hot
cooked breakfast in an old wooden box.  What a welcoming sight she was!  The
homemade baked blueberry oatmeal and fresh orange juice, tasted delicious!
Not only can she decorate old spring houses, she can cook, too!


 I liked how she filled old bottles with milk, cream, and ketchup.  A scoop of brown sugar
was served in an antique tin dish.  So much thought and kindness was put into everything
she did, making our visit most memorable.


Here you see the spring house in relation to the farmhouse, which (the farmhouse) is big enough for two families to call home. 
 

After breakfast, we spent time walking around the pond, along the rippling brook at the edge
of the meadow and sitting on the wooden porch.



I always enjoy seeing how gifted people take old places and, after adding their time and love, create such beautiful results.  That is exactly what this couple did, and we were blessed by it.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Your visits mean so much to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

 


Being the mother of adult children, I clearly remember the years of their schooling,
when Christmas time came around.  It always seemed that there were many
small gifts needed during the season.  I also remember that being a bit
of a stressful time for me as their mother.
 
The last few years, I have made it my practice, to plan ahead for the
small, simple gifts that might be needed.
Recently, I was in my local Kmart store, and found a few things that seemed
unique and appropriate for my early gift preparation.
First off, I am not endorsing any store of any product.  And, I am only
offering some ideas for you, if you are looking for some.

 
In the one holiday isle, I discovered many packages of various flavors of Hershey
Kisses.  I was not aware that there were so many chocolate Kisses available.  I purchased
a few bags.


I am particular about tags for gifts.  As you remember, I feel the tags and the words written on
the tags, are the most important aspect of the gifts.  This pack of tags are so well done, and
instantly take one back to years ago.  The tags come with 16 in a pack, and can be found in
the holiday gift wrapping section of the store.  Each little card opens up, and has touches of
glitter on it.  My favorite of them is the one with the ice skates.  They evoke special
memories of my childhood for me.



Then, look what I found in the next isle.  Tiny, well done, detailed ice skate tree ornaments,
designed by Sandra Lee, for Kmart.  The silver glittered blade, added the perfect touch to each
ornament, along with touches of glitter on the snowflakes.  The best part...they were on sale for
a bit over $ 2.00 each.  I also found a large roll of the coordinating, glittery snowflake ribbon,
also by Sandra Lee, on sale underneath the ornament display.

I purchased the Kisses, the pack of cards, the ice skate ornaments, a roll of ribbon, and
some bright red paper cups.  For me, it will make the needed small gifts I need this year.


I filled the paper cups with Kisses.  I used clear cellophane, and tied a square of it,
up over the cup with the chocolates, and tied it with one of the new tags.  On this
gift, I did not include the ornament.


In the middle gift, I used a clear cup, a few chocolates, and set one of the ornaments in the
center of the chocolates, before bringing the large square of clear cellophane up over it all.
In no time, I had three small gifts ready to store away for the Christmas season. 


In this gift, I filled a clean, recycled jar from my cupboard, with the Kisses.
Brought the square of cellophane up over the jar, tied it with a ribbon, then
tied the ornament onto the front of the jar.  I added a touch of green,
with fresh boxwood.  When the time to give it comes, I will write out the
sentiments on the card, and tied it onto the back of the jar.
 
 
Vintage touches and good tasting chocolates...gift complete.
Would you like it?
 

A few thoughts about this post;

~Thinking ahead is key.
~It is not "what" you give, it is that you give, in one way or another.
~The card and it's words from your heart, is always more important that the gift itself. 
  In fact, giving a card and not a gift, means just as much to those dear to you.
~Uniqueness and attractiveness add to a gift, even a very simple gift like this one.
~Taking time to plan ahead eliminates stress during the busy season of life.  I know this
  to be true from my own life.

I am not advising you to rush to Kmart and purchase any of these items.  I only share
a few things that I found that make gifts I will give this Christmas.  By the way, my
husband kindly tested the flavors of Hershey Kisses and said they passed his taste test:).
~

Monday, November 10, 2014


This past weekend, our daughter and her husband traveled out of state for the wedding of a close family friend, and we were happy to keep five of their children.

Saturday was a clear, sunny, and quite cool day.  We buckled all five children into appropriate
car seats, and headed for the farm.  My brother and sister-in-law were already there, with
two of their grandchildren, close to the same age as ours.  Four adults...seven children, and
a free day ahead of us.

The pond seemed to offer great enjoyment for the little ones. (and much supervision by the
adults).


For some reason, the pebbles by the side of the water, seem to offer hours of fun.  Throwing
them in the water, skipping them across the water, collecting unique shaped stones, building
piles of stones, and then seeing how many of them they can spread across the dock.  In fact,
I think they could have been happy with one whole field of just rocks:)


A wagon ride also seemed to be a thrilling adventure.  They were headed for the woods to
retrieve sticks.  Some large for fire building, and some smaller for the craft they were
waiting to do.  Once again, careful supervision was required.


They returned with quite a large collection, and were eager to show us what they found.


With careful attention to the details, they(with my help), built two "Thankful trees".  With
each leaf, they listed the "who" and the "what" that topped their list of items they felt
thankful for.  They sat and thought, which is what I wanted them to do.   I wanted
the craft to serve as a reminder of all that they have in their little lives, for which to be thankful.


At lunch time, our oldest granddaughter offered to help, and carefully added peanut
butter to each graham cracker square.  It seems like only a short time ago, I was doing
the same thing at her age.  My mother would serve us peanut butter on graham
crackers with canned pears, as dessert with dinner, many times throughout my
own childhood. 


The children lined the kitchen island, on the wooden stools.  It was a lot of mouths to feed,
and we fed them cheeseburger pie, orange and apple slices, carrots and dip, and graham
crackers with peanut butter.  A perfect Saturday afternoon lunch!  For the adults, my SIL
made sure there was always a pot of hot coffee available. 


There was time to find ladybugs and the food to feed them:).


Time to play whiffle ball with bases to run around, and a pretty pitcher along with it.


There was time to start a fire, down at the fire pit. My brother has become an expert in this
area, and soon there was a roaring fire, offering warmth for everyone.  Of course, hot dogs
and s'mores were on the menu for the simple, yet fun evening meal.  As you could
surmise, it takes lots of hotdog roasting for 11 people, and once again, much supervising.


For some in the crowd, it was their first experience at roasting their own hotdogs.


There were all degrees of "roasted" hotdogs.  The little store down the road was out of
hot dog rolls, so we used a loaf of bread.  It all tasted so good, around the big fire.

 
Fire blackened hotdogs and fire blackened marshmallows, are the
best ingredients for a memorable and "filled with adventure", November
Saturday.
 
 
 
I think we would all agree, that nothing could be better than a
fall day, spent at the farm!
 
Last evening, their parents returned home, and we hugged the five grandchildren
goodbye, knowing that once again, we were blessed with the privilege
of time spent with them.  And once again, we were reminded
of the huge, time consuming job, parenting is.
 
This evening, as my husband and I ate our dinner, the house was quiet.
No food to cut up.  No listening to endless conversations, and trying
to give everyone a chance to talk.  We agreed, we are certainly in a different phase
of life.  Now we are the "old" ones.  And, like each of you know, it all went by
so quickly.
 
Thank you for stopping here, for my "little something".
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Tiny, wilted, white flowers,
Still blooming by the side of the trail...
Spotted by two little hikers...
Who ducked right under the rail.

Quickly and eagerly they picked them...
Happy as they could be.
Then raced back to the winding trail,
And directly returned to me.


No gift could ever have been better!
No intent could have been more real.
Then these tiny, white, wilted flowers,
Given with purpose, love, and zeal.

"You may give gifts without caring-but you can't care without giving."   
~ Frank A. Clark


"A pig was complaining to a cow that he was not appreciated.  "I don't understand it,"
he said, "people are always talking about how generous you are, giving them cream
and milk and butter for their daily use.  That's nice, of course, but I give more than
you do---ham and bacon and bristles and feet.  Yet nobody has any use for me.  They
make fun of me and call me a pig.  I don't like it."

"Perhaps the difference, " the cow replied after a moment's hesitation, "is that I give
while I'm still living."     ~unknown


"He who gives, teaches me to give."    ~Danish proverb



(picture from Pinterest)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 
"Maw Ma, what are we having for dinner tonight?", she asked, while we were babysitting
her and her brother for the weekend, recently.  Well, I told her, "we are going to make our own
pizza".  "I am going to teach you how to make it, and you will be able to do it all by yourself."
If only every little chef would be this eager to learn. 


Carefully, and methodically, she spread the pizza sauce onto every English muffin half.
I told her to make sure it was spread to the edges of each one, and she did just that, with
her little "chipped nail polished" hand.


So seriously, she embraced every step.


While I browned the hamburger, she added the shredded cheese.


Patting it down as she went.  I am not sure that part was included in my instructions, but
she was set on doing it.  Next step, I had her sprinkle each pizza with a bit of oregano.


As proud as she could be, she held the finished prepared tray.


Next step, under the broiler.  She watched carefully as the cheese melted and browned
slightly (well maybe more than slightly:).

 
Eager to taste her newly made creation, she proclaimed that it was "the best
pizza that she had ever tasted!"
 
Look out Pizza Hut and Dominos...we have a new little pizza
baker on the horizon.
 
 
It is Tuesday.  It is time to vote.  Please don't forget to do just that.
It is a freedom and a privilege we have that we can never take for
granted. 
 
Thank you for stopping by.
 
 

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