Ah... it's Saturday.  I love Saturdays-- mainly because tomorrow is Sunday and I love church and rest, and it also means it's a guaranteed day off for Mark.  Hooray!

The boys are cleaning their room, Ella is happily reading (she's recently picked up the Betsy-Tacy books again and is immersed in the lives of Betsy and Tacy.)   The little girls have put on their Christmas dresses and are twirling around the living room, dancing to a Seeds Family Worship CD.  I tried to join them (sans the twirly dress) but Audra declared that *just* she and Adelia were dancing.  Then I tried to wash the dishes, but the drain is clogged so that's a no-go, for now.  So rather than fold and put away laundry, which is the other thing I ought to be doing, I've decided to hop online and write a quick post!  

Mark had a birthday recently.  Isaias gave him this card (below) and it was just about the best gift ever.  I love it when kids write.  (What will I do when they can all spell and write neatly?  This makes me so happy!)

Michelle flew from Indiana to visit me recently, and I'm pretty sure she would say that the best part of her visit was that I introduced her to this snack I often eat.  Since it was such a hit with her, I figured I'd better tell you all, too.  Here it is:

Almond butter, coconut extract (I also like almond extract), Greek yogurt, pomegranates, and honey.

I eat this often for breakfast or a nighttime snack.  Sometimes for lunch.  For about a year I ate it without the almond butter, but recently I put a dollop of that on top and I like it even better with the almond butter.  I just put a little yogurt (maybe 1/4 cup?) in the bottom of a bowl, then put a little extract on top of that, then toss some pomegranates on top, then some more, drizzle with a bit of honey and put a dollop of almond butter over it all.  Then I start eating.  And always end up tossing more pomegranates on.  It's delicious.

Here's a picture of our family taken a few days before Christmas.

Now it's time for me to go get lunch ready.  Mark is home for lunch and is working on the drain, bless his heart. 

I hope you're all well!


January 9th

I think about 99% of photos of us together are like this- Mark holding out his arm to take the shot.

Nineteen years ago, on a cold Sunday afternoon, a guy I was friends with stopped by my college residence and asked if I'd like to take a walk with him.  I agreed.  As we walked, he talked- and he told me that while he'd met girls before who were nice or friendly, and seen girls who were pretty or fun to be with, and he'd met girls he had admired before-- he had never met a girl who was all of those things in one package.  It took me a few minutes to realize that he was talking about ME.  Once I got that figured out, he asked me if he could start dating me. 

I said yes.  

I love that guy. 

Oh!  But here's one someone else took! 

We always acknowledge January 9th because of that life-altering walk through our college campus together: the one we began as friends and ended as more-than-friends.

Happy 9th, Mark!  {Thanks for noticing me and being so brave to ask me out.  I'm glad you did.}

Open House: Saturday, January 5

Outside my window:  
It's cold and wet.  The chickens are happily feasting on the apple peels the girls threw out to them earlier.  I wish it would ensure us some eggs.  We have 13 hens and are averaging about an egg a day.  I miss our fresh eggs.

What I’m hearing:  
Coughing- in various parts of the house. And quiet-time chatter.  Isaac and Audra are in the living room today while Ella and her cousin Sadie occupy the girls' room.  Adelia and Isaias are downstairs.  Adelia found a whistle and was blowing it willy-nilly until I told her that wasn't actually a quiet time activity.  ~whew~  

Thinking about:  
Re-arranging our bedroom, which is complicated because our room is small and everything is crammed in here and it truly might fit only one way.   (Actually, I think Mark told me it will only fit this way but I can't accept the fact that I can't ever move things around in our room again, so I'm going to wait for him to come home tonight and then toss out some ideas.  I have two, and I hope one of them will work.  I'm itching to change things up.)  Mark is so sweet to put up with me. 
I'm also wondering if we should refinance our house right now since interest rates are so low. 

Tim Keller's The Reason for God.  I recently finished 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  Before that I read Christa Parrish's newest book, The Air We Breathe.  Have I mentioned that I love her writing?  (If you like the books I usually recommend, *check her out*.)
Before that I read Kristin Kimball's The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, which isn't for everyone, but I really enjoyed it because I still dream of having land and a small farm where I can get myself a jersey cow and milk her by hand.  I read all the parts about cows to Mark with happy sighs.   

Reading aloud:
A George Washington Carver biography, which is fascinating.  And it has inspired me with a GREAT idea to implement this year with the garden.  More on that later.)  Also, Seven Alone.

Looking forward to:   
Mark coming home from work today.  He's been training someone all day so I haven't talked to him at all today and I miss him.  And:  Michelle.  Coming to visit.  From Indiana.  THIS month!

That I'm feeling so.much.better.  I was sick over Christmas.  Really sick.  For weeks.  Everyone in our house has gotten it, now.  But I am feeling so much like myself again and am so grateful.
...for extended family and so many cousins!

Cousins!  {on Christmas Eve}

...for my mom.   For God to use us as He wills.  Always for Mark, our marriage, and our kids.

In the kitchen:  
Applesauce in the crockpot (Ella and Sadie helped peel, core and slice apples today), bread that I began making this morning that is.not.rising and I'm crabby at it.  If it doesn't rise I'll just use it for pizza dough, I guess (?)  But it has poppyseeds in it so that seems odd for pizza dough.   Oh!  And the other night I made PW's Cauliflower Soup recipe and it was amazing.  Seriously delicious.  We all thought so.  [I skipped the celery, used dried parsley (not fresh), 2 % milk (instead of whole) and skipped the sour cream.  And I added italian sausage, because it's nearly impossible for me to put a meatless dinner on the table for my family.]  But I will make it again for sure.  

I switched out the girls' dressers today (Ella's is bigger, so I put her clothes into the little girls' dresser and moved their clothes into hers.  It is going to work so.much.better.)

Audra's birthday sweater. 

In the school room:
We're still on break.  I think we were supposed to start back on the 2nd, according to my calendar.  Although I haven't actually checked it, I think that's what I'd planned.  But with all the sickness around here I decided to take extra time off.  Maybe next week?

2013 Bible reading plan

my finished 2012 plan

Last year I created a "chapter-a-day" Bible reading plan, so that our whole family (well, all the readers) could tackle the same readings together each day.  We're doing it again this year, so I've created another plan for 2013 and would like to make it available to you.  I am not savvy enough to figure out a way to get it on the blog but I can email it to you in PDF form if you're interested in receiving it.

Just click on the "I would love to hear from you" link on the sidebar, which will take you to my email address, and then let me know you want it and I'll email it to you!
It's a new handy size this year, too, so I can easily slip it into my Bible!   Here's the front of it.  I just left room to cut it half-way through the plan and then used double-sided tape to affix it onto some cute cardstock.

This year we'll be reading through the following books (but not in this order):

1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
2 Corinthians
1 John
2 John
3 John

A chapter a day doesn't seem like much, I know.  It is very doable.  That's purposeful.  And it's a plan that allows me the time to dig in and study when I take Precepts (I'll be starting 2 Peter later this month) and also read wherever else I'd like to.  I'm kind of a Psalm-a-day type of girl, so I'll likely be reading that alongside of this, too.  Anyway, let me know if you're interested and I'd be happy to email it to you!