Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Tis The Season

The end of fall/early winter means fresh venison, lots of carrot and potato dishes, pumpkin spice lattes, goulash, cozy blankets and a good book and putting your feet up after a long summer. Our summer harvest has paid off again in more ways than one. This year, for Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things, one of which being my friends and family who have taught me many 'tricks of the trade' in homemaking, gardening, canning/preserving, and cooking. This fall I have found myself totally enjoying these things and the satisfaction that comes from them. I love that my husband enjoys the land as much (if not more!) than I do. It's so rewarding to do these things together as a team and then to sit down to a meal that is almost completely home grown/harvested. It makes me want to do crazy things like make my own butter next so it will be completely home grown! :) I don't know that that will ever happen but it would be cool! So thank you to those who have shared their tips/recipes/ideas with me because they are like little gems that will last a lifetime. And for getting me hooked on Pinterest! :) And if you're not already doing some of these things but maybe you'd like to, don't be afraid to just start somewhere. Bake a pie with store bought filling & crust, create a mini garden, try a new twist on an old favorite, learn how to fish (even ice fishing maybe!?)...that's all I did and every day I learn new things!

On another note....I'm afraid to tell you that I've been in somewhat of a stall as far as my book list goes. I don't know if I've been distracted or what but I haven't picked up a new book in WAY too long. So my goal is to pick up another book during Thanksgiving week and I shall report on how that goes in another post! :)

Until then...

God Bless, Sleep well

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Fall has come how refreshing it is. The leaves changing colors and the breeze having that slight hint of winter in it. Life seems to change like that too. Always moving on to something new something different taking the same shape as it always has and yet having a difference about it. We are constantly changing and having to give up something in order to have the new come. Sometimes the giving up of the old is hard but the new is about to step in and we never know what it might bring. Either joy or pain. Just like the seasons. Winter can bring blistering cold and winds that never seem to give relief and then just as we are ready to say goodbye to winter we have summer's heat blasting us day after day so much so that we are drowsy from humidity and drenched with sweat. But in winter we have the heat of a fire or the warmth of a cup of coffee with friends, a blanket and a book on a snowed in day, and slippers....ahh slippers. Then in summer we have the warm wind that refreshes us on the hottest of days, the green and the vibrant colors of the flowers to remind us what color is truly meant to look like, and the taste of fresh picked cherry tomatoes right off the vine still warm from the sun. Life is full of uncertainty but we can be certain that God knows what he's doing and that we can be "joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 His plans are good if we will only stop to look for them, be thankful in all things, and trust that even pain is repurposed by God to produce good.  

Monday, August 08, 2011

Random sketches

Getting back at the sewing thing is not as easy as I might have thought. During summer, sewing seems to be the last thing you think about doing simply because it's warm out and who want to spend an afternoon cooped up in a tiny room sewing? Well, it's still summer but my quilt project is calling my name. So I must try. It's really a pretty quilt with a flying geese pattern made out of mismatched pieces of fabric. I started the project back when my sister first announced she was pregnant for their 2nd baby, thinking, 'if it's a girl, this will be a cute little gift.' Well, my niece has been here for a month already and her quilt isn't ready....what a bad aunt I am. I got distracted and lazy and the project got pushed to the side. Since I bought my sewing machine back in January I am ashamed to say I have not used it very much. But I really do want to learn this skill. So if I want to learn how to sew well, I'm going to have to actually use my machine and not be afraid to make mistakes. After all, quilts with mistakes in them add character. Even the Amish quilters always put at least 1 mistake in their quilts. :)

On another note, our gardening has already paid off this year. So far we've harvested 18 pints of pickled banana peppers, 3 pints of pickled jalapeno peppers (For JW, I'm too much of a sissy for that!) lots of lettuce, sweet peas and green beans, and soon we'll have an abundant harvest of tomatoes to can. Yeah! With some added plants to my landscaping outside and finally planting grass seed where we took some trees out 3 years ago our small yard is looking cozy and homey. I so appreciate my husband's diligence in the yard work, and gardening is becoming something that I thoroughly enjoy helping him with every summer!

Here's what we're reading now:
  • JW just finished "The Land Between" by Jeff Manion (Pastor of Ada Bible Church) and is going to start the book "Radical" by David Platt
  • I'm reading "Adopted For Life" by Russell Moore. This book discusses the biblical view of adoption not only in the traditional sense of the phrase of adopting children who all deserve loving homes but it also discusses adoption from the view point of our adoption as sons and daughters of God and Christ's adoption by Joseph and how we as the church should respond to adoption and cultivate a culture of adoption not out of 'charity' but out of a response to see where our Father God is working and join him in that work. I'm not finished yet, actually I'm only on chapter 4 but it's transformational in the way we view adoption and our own adoption into the family of God. I will give a complete review once I'm done.
  • On my list to read is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. My stance on books that are made into movies is to see the movie first because if I read the book first then I will be so critical of the movie and what they get 'wrong' that I won't be able to enjoy the movie. So I always see the movie first and then read the book so I will like both. (I usually still like the book better but I can at least enjoy the movie without tearing it apart while I watch it.) :)
That's all for now, on to my sewing....
God bless, sleep well,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thrifty Joys

As I prepare for our annual camping trip to Mesick MI I have a seemingly never ending list of things to get; food to buy, supplies we've run out of, and gear that we need to replace/add to our collection. SO I turn to being thrifty and shopping at Big Lots, Save a Lot, dollar stores, Meijer, and using gift cards from last Christmas. I admit that it is totally my nature to always assume that if you buy from name brand stores you're always getting the better products BUT I'm coming to realize that this is not always the case. Sometimes you can find really great stuff at the off brand stores at a much better price.... the trick is to keep what you get nice and then you will be able to use it for a long time! :) Something I learned from my thrifty mother in law and my husband. For example, I think my husband is the only man I know who, after a long week in the woods, comes home and thoroughly cleans his tent, coolers, lanterns, grill, and even his tarps! I am convinced that this lengthy clean up process is saving us time and money in the long run. At least I hope so. Being thrifty is sometimes hard but I'm finding that the joys in life don't come from the brand name on your camp chairs but the time that you spend enjoying your friends, family, and God's creation while using them! So this is my encouragement to you to get out there and be thrifty and take over-the-top good care of your stuff so you can get back to enjoying life! :) Happy 4th of July week!

Live well,

Friday, June 03, 2011

Breathing Deep

"'You've been out! You've been out! There's that nice smell of leaves!'... 'It's so beautiful, you never saw anything so beautiful! It has come!'...'Open the window!
Perhaps we may hear golden trumpets!'" -Colin & Mary in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

My own heart feels like this after taking in the beautiful spring air all around us! I see my plants blooming all over white and pink and green and I can't help but smile. It makes me hopeful that indeed they will come into full bloom and for a little while we will have summer. Ahh...for a little while. Yesterday I just sat in my backyard and listened to the spring all around me as I finished reading Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden". This is a perfect book to read in the spring. It must be read outside. It must. I grew up watching the 1993 rendition of this classic novel and being fascinated with it so the other day when I was at Barnes and Noble I picked up this classic to read. For just $5.95 how could I have not? I found that this is one novel in which the 1993 movie actually did a good job of capturing. Most of the time when I read a novel after seeing the movie I am sorely disappointed with the movie and refreshingly glad that I picked up the book! Ahh such is life. We cannot fully capture the beauty of a well written novel in film the way it was meant to be the imagination.

God Bless, Sleep Well,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Just a job update :)

Things are going really well with the new job. I have a fantastic trainer (Thanks Lynn!) and she has been guiding me through the whole process and it has been such a joy. Yesterday I was on my own and while it was a little intimidating I felt good about it. Today was more training/shadowing so tomorrow will be even better! Thanks to all who have been praying for me during this transition. I am already loving the consistency of my schedule and the time it allows me to be home versus traveling far to work. It is a great schedule that gets me up and out of the house in the morning and then allows me to be home in the afternoon to get things done around here. I'll even have more time for things like P90x now...Hmmmm not sure I want that! :D " You love it, but you hate it" is the only way to describe that workout!

That's all for today. Hope you all are well!


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pioneer Woman & Spring Changes

Hello faithful readers...

It's spring! I am like a kid in a candy store! There have been a few changes taking place this spring starting with a new job. I haven't started yet so I don't have very much to tell you about it but I can tell you I will be working as the Housing Assistant at Harvest Way in Sparta. Harvest Way is apartment housing for elderly adults. I am excited about this change since it is so close to home and I will be working with the elderly, which I enjoy, and I will get to use my clerical skills. I will say though, that I will miss my friends at Kregel's who have been like a small family to me. I will also miss seeing those customers that I have gotten to know over the years not just as customers but as friends. So this is a bittersweet change.

Another change is that I have finally discovered the Pioneer Woman cookbook! And I'm in love...with the food that is! :D I enjoy a lot of things about this great cookbook. For starters, I appreciate very much the pictures!! I know there are many women out there that can have a list of ingredients in front of them without the measurements or any instructions and they just 'know' what to do with it all....NOT me. I need visuals. I love cooking and especially with fresh ingredients from my own garden but I still love to have a visual experience as I cook so I know it's coming out right. I also love all the ranch pictures and stories throughout. Overall, I would recommend this cookbook. Makes a great gift too. I received it as a birthday gift from my sister in-law and I just gave one away to my sister for her birthday!

So as we head into my favorite time of year I am looking forward to planting season. Jared and I will again have 2 gardens in addition to our chickens and hoping for another great growing season! I'm also working on Jared to get me a dog....;) I KNOW they are work but since I will be working so close to home now this would be a very welcome addition to our household. At least I think so....He'll come around sooner or later!

That's all for now.

Blessings, Sleep well!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"To Narnia and the North!" -Bree

So I don't know if anyone really reads my blog or not...I haven't blogged in a long time. I guess I just haven't felt up to it or I've just been thinking of other things. But I'm feeling the urge to blog again. Whether anyone reads it or not it's good just to do it. I've always been of the literary mindset so I set out at Christmas time to read the Chronicles of Narnia all the way through. Since there has been so much buzz about the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie I thought..."what's the big deal?" Sure I've read some of C.S. Lewis' non-fiction books and I had even read Magician's Nephew and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (in High does that really count?). Either way, I knew that I liked C.S. Lewis and his mysterious way of writing and yet he's so practical so I set out on my journey to get through Narnia. Since Christmas I've already finished Magician's Nephew, Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, and The Horse and His Boy....Today I will start Prince Caspian. So far I'm loving them! I can't get over how vivid Lewis' descriptions are and how you feel like you are right there with the characters. Magician's Nephew is still my favorite but we'll see if another one can top that as I get through the last three. They read really fast and are a lot easier to get through than some of his non-fiction works were for me. But I think too much so sometimes it would take me a while to understand what he was trying to say. :D I would encourage everyone to read the series!

On another note....Winter is here. Well, it's been here but January and February are usually more snowy so here it comes. I'm not a fan unless it involves sitting in a cabin in the U.P. just reading a good book and sipping a cup of hot coffee. I'm sort of a hermit in the winter. So bring on Spring and Summer!!! We just booked our annual camping trip to Mesick in July and I can't wait! 10 whole days of beautiful summer bliss, my books, the river, bike rides to Nate's for ice cream, naps along the river's edge in the summer sun, ahhh....its a beautiful thing!

So until then...happy reading everyone!