Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Journey of Hospitality

Let me just confess that the picture of my dear pup has nothing to do with this post...well except maybe that I want my guests to feel as comfy when they come to my home as my pup looks!! Hows that for a stretch to make a connection? LOL!!

I was thinking today about my journey in being someone who opens her home to others. I have always wanted to be the kind of person who has an open home full of people and love. But it has not always come naturally to me. I have had to work at it, that is for sure!

When my husband and I were married, we lived in a really tiny apartment in a not so safe neighborhood in Portland, Maine. We did open our home. We had a prayer meeting in our home one night a week and had men over from my husband's Bible Study for meals. We also had occasional couples over. I remember that our closet held all our clutter. It was a small closet but it was packed as tight as the contents of a trash compactor!! One time when last minute company was coming, I quickly deposited a counter full of dirty dishes into our bathtub, closed the curtain and prayed no one would look! LOL! Oh those were the days!!

Since then we have lived in large homes and tiny homes. I smile knowingly when I read Paul's words in Phil. 4:12: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty." :) Is it easier to offer hospitality in a larger home? Mostly yes, unless I have let it get too dirty. (um, yeah...) Is it impossible to offer hospitality in a small home? No. I have learned that I am more worried about the state of my home than the people who visit.

The hardest period of my life in having people over was definitely when my children were little. Mothers of young children sometimes need to be patient with themselves, at least until you have the first two grown to about the age of 10. Then you can have them help and they start to become good helpers!!

I did still open my home, but not quite as much and it felt like a lot more work. Little hands can make big messes. Little bodies need consistency and a good nap. But I planned hospitality around my husband's schedule and he was always willing to help. I also had what I called "clutter boxes". Clutter like papers that I had not dealt with but needed to disappear were boxed or bagged before company came. I am so thankful I don't have to do that anymore but it was a necessary evil at the time.

Now my children are 14, 11 and 10. It is not uncommon to have people in my home 3 days in a week. But with the help of my children and many times my husband, we can pull the house together in no time and have a nice meal on the table.

Here are a few things I have learned along the way:

~There is no shame in a paper plate!!

~Most everyone loves roasted chicken or beef with gravy, mashed potatoes and a veggie. And the meat can be cooked the day before and then just heated in the gravy.

~If you can laugh at yourself and have a good sense of humor, it is much easier to bring people into your home. I mean when you run out of gas in the grill and then procede to burn the meat in the oven, just have a good laugh, call the pizza guy, and eat dessert first! :)

~The more often you invite people over the easier it is. If you go too long between guests it gets harder to have anyone over.

~Sometimes you need the pressure of inviting someone over in order to get your house "company ready."

~"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." Prov. 17:1 People love to be welcomed with love. Modest fare is not an issue.

~When your motive is to bless and serve others in the Name of Jesus, you will be blessed!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On and Off

As predicted, my husband found my camera cord! I won't even tell you where it was because it will make me look really bad!! LOL!!

Instead, let's focus on the positive! Here is the sock I am working on. I am just starting the heel. I feel like I am doing a project with a blindfold on. Having never done it, I am blindly trusting the pattern.

Here is the Mid-Month February Dishcloth KAL. It is the first time I have ever tried to knit with two colors at once. I love the pattern! I think it would make pretty place mats! I'll have to give some thought as to how to increase the pattern. Anyway here it is:

What are you working on today?

Friday, February 22, 2008


Okay, so I am not lost. BUT more importantly, I can't find the cord to my camera so that I can post pics!! Oh NO! A blog without pics??

Enough husband will help me find it when he gets home and he is really good at finding stuff!!

Meanwhile I am working up the Mid Month Dishcloth Knit Along and I am loving it! It is so pretty. I can't wait to show you! I am also considering joining another Dishcloth KAL that knits a cloth every week. I could do that now but once spring hits it would be hard to keep up. But perhaps it is worth a try.

I am also knitting my first pair of socks. I am almost ready to knit the heel. I hope I can do it!!

We have a busy weekend ahead. Tonight, Tyler and two friends are attending our Youth Group's lock in. Tomorrow (Saturday) Christian has a soccer game. Sunday we are having a couple from church over for lunch. I think I might make a Yankee Pot Roast Dinner and they are bringing dessert. So, there is lots of fun planned! :)

What is going on at your house this weekend??

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rachel is 10!

It has been a bit since I have posted! One reason is that we were focused on Rachel's birthday! She is a Valentine Child, born at 6 a.m. on Feb. 14th! She was our Valentine present from God.

We had a little family party on her actual birthday. You can see below the happy girl opening her new cookbook, new journal, and lights for her dance mirrors. :)

Her big party was this past Saturday at Eternity Dance Studio, her dance studio. The owner/head teacher taught a Hip Hop class with some classic Hip Hop moves, popping and locking and break dancing. Even the boys had a great time! They had a freestyle circle and played a Dance Freeze game too. After cake and ice cream and presents they all went back into the room to dance to some "Toby Mac", everyone's favorite. What a fun party!!

Here you can see my attempt at a "Hip Hop" cake!

Here's the whole crew! What a fun day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mid Winter Projects

Happy Wednesday! Today we are getting another foot of snow with I nice layer of ice on top. Such is winter in Maine and we are getting it in full force this year!

The kids are finding projects to keep them busy, especially my younger two. Tyler stays busy enough with his High School work, Soccer league, and learning guitar. Christian decided he wants to learn Ancient Hebrew so he is deep into a book Robin gave him. The above picture shows his copywork of the alphabet. Rachel decided she wanted to make some Ancient Chinese characters with play doh so above is the fruit of her labor. :) She also just got a book on how to draw landscapes and how to draw people (I found what I think is the only book with instructions on drawing the human body when the models have their private areas covered!).

I have lots of projects on my list. I have tons left to do on my quilt from "Crazy Mom Quilts". I am drafting a pattern for a Lighthouse Cloth. I found a beautiful "Home Sweet Home" cloth I want to knit up. I am also determined to knit socks for the first time. Yesterday I bought Patons Kroy Socks Yarn. It is that cool yarn that makes stripes as you knit. I bought some double pointed sock needles too. I am ready to dive in!

I'll post project pics soon. The days are just flying by and I am finding little time for my projects. Tomorrow is Rachel's birthday and she will be 10 years old! I can't believe it!! Well, the lights keep flickering so I am going to click "Publish Post" while I still can! Have a great day!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

You've Just Gotta Laugh...Or You'll Cry!

Today I would like to share some things I am choosing to laugh at. :)

1. I have been trying my hardest to view winter through "rose colored glasses" this year. It was a goal of mine. But, I would like to share with you today that I am trapped in a snow globe!! Here is our snow, lovingly piled up by my husband with a shovel and his aching back and three helpers:

2. Funny #2 is that after 36 hours of light snow, we will get about 8 inches tonight!

3. Why wasn't my toaster working this morning? Why couldn't I push my bagel down? OH! Of course!! There was a small rubber ball lodged in it! Turns out my darling son had lost his ball!! His response, "I guess I shouldn't have kicked it!" Five minutes after it was found and given back to its owner I hear, "Has anyone seen my ball?" Sigh...I mean...LOL...can't forget my choice to laugh!!

4. Three rows from the end of this cloth, I run out of yarn! Well, at least I can get to the store before the snow starts!

If you're sick of making lemonade from the lemons of life, might I suggest a good laugh??

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What's to Love about Winter?

I am thankful that all of my children are learning an instrument. It is a wonderful gift to be able to play and sing music. And, there is plenty of time to practice in the winter!

Now you know, once spring comes, everyone wants to go outside. This is a good thing of course. But some things get put in the corner in favor of outdoor time. So I appreciate the "settledness" of winter when we practice our instruments more, learn more techniques in art and have time to focus on hobbies and learning.

This week it is snowing more than it is clear and my snow banks go half way up the length of our windows. BUT, won't the kids' music instructors be surprised at how well they know their instrument lessons (*wink*)!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

February Knit Along

I just completed the Feb. Knit Along Cloth. At first I couldn't quite understand it. But then when I saw the pic I realized it is a heart with a bow tied around it. Yeah, I'm a little slow!! Anyway, I like it!!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Super Saturday!

The above is a cloth designed by Rhonda K. White at Knitting Nonsense. She calls it a Moose/Reindeer whatever your preference. I think it's a deer. ;) I really love her designs. She puts a all knit row for even rows and this makes the designs knit up so fast!

Today is mostly a day at home. (YAY!) I need to take Rachel to a Hip Hop dress rehearsal. My little b-girl has a competition on Sunday. This morning in between loads of laundry and tidying I am knitting up a dophin cloth. I hope to also get all my cloth cut for the remainder of quilt blocks for Crazy Mom Quilt's Quilt Along. Then tomorrow afternoon I can just sew them up quick. Yes, very exciting!

I hope to try "real quilting" on this one rather than tying it together as I have in the past. It's time to learn something new!

I hope everyone reading this is having a Super Saturday!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Cleaning Schedules


I am working on tweeking our cleaning schedules again. One schedule never works for me indefinitely. There are always seasons that come and go and merit a change.

I really cannot function around the chaos that clutter brings. Now I have heard al the arguments that my children are young for along a short time and we ought to put down the broom and play with the children. Well I have never been accused of being a neat freak! But at the same time, I can't concentrate and enjoy much when things are a mess.

My method used to be to try to stay up with dishes, laundry, having everything put back in its place, and one room deep cleaned a day. In that way even if you had to miss a day of deep cleaning things never got too out of hand. But as it turned out it is just as easy to dust the whole downstairs once you have everything out or to vacuum the whole floor all at once.

So now we will:

Monday: Catch up with general tidying from the busy weekend.
Tuesday: Deep clean the downstairs.
Wednesday: Deep clean the upstairs and both bathrooms.
Thursday: Make sure nothing is missed. Do things like the frig. and other things that fell through the cracks.
Friday: Tidy for the weekend and declutter.

Deep clean to me is: Windex, dust, vacuum all surfaces and trim work and anything that stays still! This includes under furniture and in cushions. Inside, outside, up and down is all cleaned. I rotate the kids on chores so they all get trained. Plus the child who has mastered that chore will be doing it every couple of weeks to bring the quality back! :) I do teach during the time and point things out that need another swipe!

With three kids ages, 14, 11, and 9 almost 10, it really doesn't take long each day. I can't say enough what a blessing it has been to have trained the kids to help. With a very bad back I just can't do it alone! But it is good for them too because they are being trained to care for the house. (At least that's what I tell them...haha!!)

Our schedule looks like this:

High Schooler is up and showered and ready for school by 7:30 a.m. High School is from 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Going over that is rare and usually only to study for a test. Chores are 3:30, or sometimes 4:00 p.m. if laundry needs to be folded too.

Elementary School for the other two is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with chores from 2-2:30 or 3:00 depending on need.

This doesn't count laundry being put in and switched through the day or dishes which are done at lunch time and supper time. We also do what we call "room by room and up the stairs" at lunch time and after supper dishes. This is when everyone puts away what was not put away when they were done using it and the bedrooms get a quick tidy.

When we are faithful to this we can have the house company ready in 10 minutes, anytime. It's a beautiful thing!

I love to look at other's schedules for ideas so if you want to share you have a listening ear in me!