"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it's established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Snowed In...

Hi friends!

This is just going to be a quick post to say "hello" and to let you see what northern living in April is like...

Isn't it lovely?...

What began as a serene snow storm has upgraded to a blizzard and we are snowed in!

Snow drifts as high as our fence, oh my!

The poor birds must be so thankful for Micah, who keeps their feeders well-stocked in weather like this...

Old man Winter is pitching one of his temper tantrums again. He hates to let Spring have her way.

But we won't let him get the best of us, right?!

Come on inside where it's warm and cozy... I have tea...

You may remember from one of my past posts that we were given a new barn cat recently.

Well, we brought her inside for the storm. 

I just couldn't bear the thought of her suffering out in the cold.

She's been getting properly spoiled here in the house...

And trying out all the soft, cozy napping spots...

She's been a very good girl, so I don't mind.

I have put to good use these snowed-in days...

Using it as a chance to sort through games, toys, and books...

Purging what we no longer need, and tidying what we wish to keep...

It sure feels great to get organized!

It's like a fresh, new start!

I can get so absorbed in my little projects, that I don't even notice what's going on outside.

And before I know it, it'll all be over and I'll be expected to leave my house again.

(Being snowed in is an introverted homebody's dream life! Haha!)

I found out the other day that we are expecting overnight company in the very close future.

They will be with us for two weeks!

I have much to do to get ready for their arrival, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I don't know when I'll be able to blog again, since I still have to keep the homeschool and housework plates spinning, plus our family room project is still not complete. I really wish to make their stay with us as comfortable as I can, so I'll be busy as a bee with that!

(Any advice you can give me for hosting long-term company, I would greatly appreciate!)

So anyway friends, wish me luck, and say a prayer for me. I will need it! Also, feel free to leave a comment. I LOVE hearing from you! Your comments make blogging much more fun!


~ Courtney ~

Thursday, April 5, 2018

More Progress in our Family Room

Hi friends!!!

I hope you all are happy and well!

I'm excited about the progress we've been making on our family room project!

I updated you on it about a month ago, but a lot has been accomplished since then, so I'd like to document it here.

The renovations we've worked on over the years usually take several months to complete because we really only have nights and weekends to work on it. As I'm sure you can imagine- laundry, meals, homeschool lessons, and Micah's job all still require our attention, and don't let us off the hook just because we're in the middle of a project.

So, I don't have "after" pictures just yet, but "progress" pictures.

Come on in, I'll show you what we've done...

~ Corbels ~

Micah designed and made a corbel set to finish off the beams in the family room...

They're made from a very old oak tree that once graced our front lawn. It was a beautiful tree, but we lost it in the tornado several years ago.

Micah has gotten creative with the "tornado lumber" as we call it, ever since.

I think they're a nice touch.

~ Brass Chandelier ~

I was so happy to see that 90's ceiling fan go!

I purchased this light a couple of years ago at a friends' antique shop. 

It's been waiting patiently in storage all this time and now it's finally hung!

This is exciting stuff!!!

~ New Plaster ~

We had to remove some very old and crumbly wallpaper from this little hall area.

Micah re-plastered and textured the walls...

And I painted it all to match the colors in the family room...

~ Flooring ~

The photos above show the difference between the finished and unfinished hard wood floors.

We've lived in this old farmhouse for eight and a half years, and we're still refinishing floors!

Before we could get to these floors however, the old carpet had to be ripped up...

It was a green carpet with a leafy pattern and it was here when we moved in.

We know that this family room went through a renovation by the previous owners somewhere in the 1990's, so we assume the carpet is from that.

Like everything else in this room, I was happy to see it go!

We got the kids involved and had them help...

They thought it was fun!

Projects like this can cause the entire house to feel like it's in an upheaval.

That can really wear on me since I'm home during the day with the children trying to homeschool.

It affects the atmosphere of our home life. And that is everything to me!

At the beginning of the renovation I prayed that the Lord would calm my nerves about it and allow me to feel ok throughout the process.

I've been doing my best to make sure at least some areas of the house are clean and tidy...

And I'm still playing happy music and making nice meals...

We've been carrying on as if everything were normal...

(Our family Easter Sunday...)

But the house has been a tremendous mess!

Our front room has been forced to store the family room furniture...

I just keep telling myself that it must get worse before it can get better, and it'll all be worth it in the end!!!

We ran into a little roadblock with the hardwood floors.

When they were exposed after the carpet had been removed, not all of the boards were there!

Some pieces were missing...

This problem delayed the sanding process for about a week.

We had to figure out how to fix it!

We joked and said we could perform a floor graft. (Like a skin graft, haha!)

And that's what Micah did!

We decided to take some boards from this area of the room and have this section re-carpeted...

 Micah then used those boards to patch in the missing area...

Again, the kiddos helped...

These are just the types of problems you bump into with such an old house.

Thankfully, Micah doesn't shy away from hard, tedious work.

Each little piece was cut and nailed in by hand...

Once the carpet is installed, no one will ever know, and most likely we will forget all about it! 

Here it is, done and ready to sand...

This was during the sanding process, and from another angle...

Once the floor is done, it will all be down hill from there!

I can't wait!...

We had a guy from Home Depot come over to measure for our carpet install, so it's starting to feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Like I said above, my home means everything to me. We have literally put our blood, sweat, and tears  into this old farmhouse. 

I've dreamed for years that this family room will one day be a beautiful and cozy place for us to enjoy, and now we're finally getting close!

I picture antique art on these crisp white walls, live plants basking in sunbeams, and rows and rows of interesting books on the shelves.

I know this room has it in her!

And I plan to bring out her full potential!

Hopefully my next post on this family room will finally be the "after" shots!

Check back with me soon...


~ Courtney ~

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dismantling Feminist Lies


The following is meant to defend the modern day housewife. It is not intended to offend, only to make you think, and perhaps encourage the woman who has chosen to stay home.

Enough years have gone by since the first wave of feminism that we are now able to see the destruction it leaves in its wake. Yet it has engulfed our culture in such a way that most people aren't able or willing to think outside of the lies it has taught us.

There are a few beliefs I regularly hear from the feminist camp regarding why women feel they need to work. 

You've probably heard them, too.

In today's post I'd like to list them, and then point out their glaring flaws. (Well, to me they're glaring. But I've noticed that I'm in the minority when it comes to these things. *sigh.... Nevertheless, here we go...)

This is a very popular one...

1. Independence

It is common to hear a feminist say these words, "I don't want to be dependent on a man."

This statement is so foolish because we are all dependent on each other. It is not a negative thing. But what these women are saying is that they don't want to be dependent on their husbands for their income. Yet when a person works, they are dependent on their employer. Feminists have no problem being dependent on their employer, who in a lot of cases, is a man. 

I would rather be dependent on my husband, who loves me, than a boss who does not. I would rather be dependent on my husband, who has my and our family's best interest at heart, than a boss who only has his company's best interest at heart.

It isn't bad or wrong for a wife to depend on her husband to provide for her. It's a two-way street because the husband depends on his wife to care for his children and home. 

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." -Proverbs 31:11

(The photos in this post are of my gardens from summers' past...)

2. Significance 

It is also common to hear a feminist say something along these lines, "I work to give my life worth and meaning."

Feminism has been successful in causing women to believe that they need to work to be considered valuable. But to work for a company is to spend your time and effort on someone else's dream and vision. There is also the belief that a woman is wasting her talents if she doesn't put them to use in out-of-the-home work. But there is no work more significant than pouring out your life for your family. When you spend your time and energy at home, using your talents and skills at home, you are investing in your own legacy. Is there any job/company/business more important than that?!

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." -Proverbs 31:28

3. Purpose

I once heard a young woman say this, "I matter where I work, I am needed there."

Think about this... If you were to die or leave your home and marriage, it would cause tremendous trauma to your husband and children. Sure, your husband could marry again, but YOU cannot be replaced. That new woman can never be you to your children. 

But if you were to leave your line of work, your position would be easily filled by someone else, and business would carry on as usual.

My point is, only YOU can be the wife and mother in your home!

So instead of the career woman saying, "I matter where I work, I am needed there." The truth is it would be far more accurate for the woman at home to say, "I matter where I work, I am needed there!"

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." -Proverbs 31:10

4. Freedom

We've all heard this, haven't we? "I like the freedom that comes with having a job."

This one genuinely confuses me. 

The housewife can begin her day at whatever time she desires. She can set her alarm for 6:00am or sleep in till 9:00. She can go about her work at the pace that suits her. She can organize her day's agenda according to her priorities and what she wishes to accomplish. She decides the rules and standards for her home. If it's a beautiful day and she feels like packing up the children and going on an outing, she is free to do so.

I don't know of an employer who would tolerate any of this.

I've never had a job in my life that has offered me the freedom that being a housewife has.

(Admittedly, since I am also a homeschool mom, we do have a formal curriculum we must follow daily. But there is freedom even in that!)

"Train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God." -Titus 2:4-5

The bringing up of the next generation is noble work! 

"As for her, like most women, she had but one ambition. To be a good wife and good mother, and to be beloved by her husband and children, was all she asked. She was a busy, affectionate, cheerful little housewife, whose voice would never be heard in the streets, but whose memory would always live in a few faithful hearts." - Elizabeth Prentiss 

Mama's, be encouraged!


~ Courtney ~

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

We Still Do

We celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary recently...

(I know it's a little cheesy, but I purchased this sign to mark the occasion.)

Micah planned a night away for us at a nearby resort.

He even lined up childcare and everything!

What a treat!

I looked forward to it for weeks!

It's a beautiful place and it's only an hour from home.

We've been there before, and it always inspires and impresses me!

I couldn't wait to visit again!

The night before we left I decided to wear this black outfit with pale pink sweater. I laid everything out in anticipation...

(It was a great choice because it was comfortable for the car ride yet dressy enough for the resort.)

The morning finally came!!!

~ Woohoo! ~

Here we go!.........

But there was one little problem.

Micah had hurt his back the night before working in our family room. (Remember our family room project?) He was really suffering!

Once we got on the road I asked him if we should stop by an Urgent Care on our way out of town. I couldn't believe it- he answered, "Sure. I think I need it."

That's when I knew it must be bad!!!

So... We spent the afternoon of our anniversary at Urgent Care getting his back looked at! Haha...

(I almost didn't include that part because I like to only dwell on the positive, but I decided to share it with you because I find it's easy to think nobody else has problems. Sometimes it's nice to hear that you're not the only one who suffers sometimes! *wink)

We had put in our time there, and purchased the needed prescriptions. Now it was time to have some fun! (Carefully, of course. Micah's back needed a few days of rest. I was happy to go about our weekend at a slower pace.)

The day was bright and clear!

But veeerrry cold!!!

It's always a striking sight to pull up to this resort's door...

There are men dressed in top hats waiting to greet guests and help with luggage.

They made us feel like royalty!

They parked our car, took all our luggage, greeted us warmly, and opened the doors.

This is a very old, historic place. Rich with authenticity and a wonderful sense of the past.

The first thing we did was meander around, inspecting artwork and reading plaques...

Well, I was inspecting artwork. Micah inspected woodwork. *smile

Everything seemed interesting!

Here, let me show you around...

This is a sitting area right off the hotel's lobby...

And there's an enormous library right off of that...

Micah and I talked all weekend about their attention to detail. 

It radiated throughout our entire stay.

Walls were upholstered, colors were vibrant, books, plants, and flower arrangements were real...

Yes, all weekend we marveled at the truly impressive way they paid special attention to all the little details!

I never noticed a speck of dust on any surface anywhere...

Classical, instrumental music was continuously being played... 

And we were never called by our first names by the staff. It was "Mr. and Mrs. Downs" everywhere we went! 

Haha... I loved it!

Our room was comfortable and relaxing.

It was down this beautiful hallway...

Again, we were treated like royalty even in our room!

They had turned down our bed, gave us an anniversary card, and left us with this impressive towel swan- complete with a real rose in the center...

(Don't you love it when hotels do this? And doesn't it make you feel just terrible to take it apart when it's time to go to sleep?!)

I had really been looking forward to seeing the Greenhouse while we were there.

I have memories of coming here for ice cream with my mother and grandparents as a small child.

I remembered it as being a sunny and charming little place.

I couldn't wait to see it again...

It did NOT disappoint!

Look at how wonderful it is!...

Colorful, bright, and happy!

It's an ice cream parlor that also offers coffee and other desserts.

While we were ordering our cranberry coffee cake, the girl behind the counter told us that this greenhouse was originally from a children's hospital in England. It was disassembled and brought to California where it was won at auction and then brought here.

I remarked that how having that knowledge makes me love it even more!

She handed me my coffee cake and ice water and I smiled at her and said, "This is such a happy place! It must just be a joy to work here!"

She nodded, smiled back warmly and said, "You know... It really is!"

It was a joy to visit, too!

I'd love to go back again someday soon!

When Spring arrives it would be a nice day trip for me and the children. I think it would be worth the drive to come here with them. We could pack books to read while we're here and I'd treat them each to an ice cream cone.

What a special childhood memory that would be!

Well, all good things must come to an end, as we know...

We said goodbye to this lovely place...

And went home.

(Lately I've wondered if my anniversary sign would look better here, above our bed... What do you think?)

Living in luxury for two days sure was fun...

But there's no place like home!

Here's to another eleven years, and more!

~ We Still Do! ~


~ Courtney ~