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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Perfect Christmas

Friends!!!

How was your Christmas?!


Tell me...

What did you do?

Where did you go?

What did you eat?

I truly hope it was sheer perfection!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was working toward a perfect Christmas...

My tree was decorated beautifully...


My presents were wrapped carefully...


My table was set with my best dishes...




We even had snow!



Yes, I was well on my way to my Currier and Ives, 'Over the River and Through the Woods' Christmas!

I decided that I would be organized and in complete control!

What a great feeling!

I planned ahead for our Christmas Eve morning church service - I picked out, ironed, and laid out everyone's outfits... packed our church bag... and hung up everything I would need for myself...


I prepared in advance the food for our Christmas feast - I washed, chopped, measured, and stocked my fridge with all my hard work...


I set my alarm for 6:00am, and crawled into bed the night before Christmas Eve with thoughts like, I'm going to look great, I'm going to feel great, I'm going to have a perfect Christmas! And I drifted off to dreamland....

Somewhere between being snug in my bed, and visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I awoke to my bedroom door flinging open by a frantic and wheezing 5-year old.

My Soren had gone to bed with a raspy cough, and by 2:00am it had reached its full, scary potential.

He couldn't breathe!

I woke Micah up and we hurried Soren to the kitchen to try a few remedies, but nothing worked until we finally just put him in a hot shower.

While Micah and I stood around waiting for the effects of the steam to calm Soren down, we talked about how we can't take a coughing, wheezing child to church in the morning. Micah said, "Who knows who'll be the next to get sick! I think we all should stay home!"

I was so disappointed! But I knew he was right.

By the time Soren was breathing adequately, and I had dug around in our cupboards for the humidifier and Vicks, it was an hour past the time he initially woke us up. I went back to bed but tossed and turned the rest of the night. 

I knew I'd start Christmas Eve exhausted and worried about many things - My Soren, my other children who might catch it, my extended family that was due to have Christmas dinner with us that night, and my own health!

SO.... How do you have a perfect Christmas?...


You Don't!

It doesn't exist!

I realized that not one person in my life had asked me to run around like headless chicken in an attempt to make things perfect.

I also realized that even our best efforts and intentions still fall short in an imperfect world.

Was I so busy making everything perfect that I failed to remember what God did for us on that very first Christmas 2,017 years ago?

Yes, I had forgotten what was better.

"'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.'"
- Luke 10:41-42

What is "better"?...

Slowing down, calming down, and being still at Jesus' feet.

"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said."
- Luke 10:39


I had decided Christmas Eve morning that I would accept my derailed plans, and have a cheerful heart about everything!

Yes, I was exhausted and worried, but I enjoyed my family...


and was thankful to God for each moment...


And in doing so I realized, once it was all over, that I indeed had had a perfect Christmas after all! 



"May your heart be light...

From now on our troubles will be out of sight...

And may all your Christmases be bright..."



xo,

~ Courtney ~










Saturday, December 16, 2017

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Hi friends!


Elsa is napping, Micah is working with the big kids on a large puzzle, and I just sat down with a cup of hot cocoa to write to you because I wondered if perhaps you'd like my whole wheat pancake recipe...

I made these for my kids this morning and thought I'd share it with you!

I know you all are wonderful home chefs and homemakers, and could teach me a thing or two... but why not? Why not inspire and learn from each other?



I do not remember where this recipe originally came from. I've been making these pancakes for my kids ever since they were babies.

It's a very simple recipe!

Anybody can do it.

Come on in to my kitchen!


I'll show you what I do...

I could probably go by memory, but I pull out my little homemade recipe book just in case...


Here's a close-up, if you decide to try it...


This morning I decided to half the recipe, because I was cutting up fruit and making eggs as well.

Start with dry ingredients first...



Measure everything out, and plop it all into a large mixing bowl...


I should mention that the only tweak I do in this recipe is add a pinch of nutmeg. I don't bother with the nutmeg if I'm making this in warm weather months, but for some reason I find myself always looking for excuses to use nutmeg in the fall and winter, haha... It's such a comforting spice...


The wet ingredients go in last...

I was a bit messy as you can see... And I don't even have kids to blame for this one! Haha... They were all in the living room watching Saturday morning cartoons as I was doing this...


But they all trickled in one by one as I cooked the batter on the skillet... They could smell it from the living room!


"Mama's making pancakes!!!" I heard one squeal.

That does my heart such good!

"When I was a little girl I always wanted to be in the kitchen. It was warm, and that's where my mama was." 
~ Dolly Parton

I am sure you know that once the pancakes start to bubble, it is time to flip them!

"Well I got me a fine wife I got me an ole fiddle
When the sun's comin' up I got cakes on the griddle
Life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle
Thank God I'm a country boy..."
~ John Denver

I like to warm my oven to about 200 degrees, and once the entire batter is cooked and buttered, I cover them with foil and place them in the oven to keep warm while I finish breakfast.


Then, I line up my children's plates on my kitchen island like an assembly line, and dish everyone up...


I even made a plate for myself...

Like my mug? *wink


Those closest to me know that I am careful to feed my children well, but I am not good at feeding myself. I want to try to get better! Maybe that can be my New Year's resolution!!!

When breakfast was over my kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off...


Recently I was watching a Flylady Youtube video, and she taught me to think about the three "F's" when faced with a housecleaning task ~

Do it First!

Do it Fast!

And Finish the job!

That advice is perfect for me!

So immediately I began tossing dishes in the dishwasher and filling up my skillet with hot, soapy water...


Wasn't that good advice, friends? Look! I'm done already...


As long as I'm in the groove, and the three "F's" are fresh on my mind, I might as well whoop up on a few other jobs...

I cleaned one of my bathrooms, completed three loads of laundry, dusted and swept the main rooms of the house, and put some chicken breasts in the dutch oven to get a head start on dinner.

Now I feel I have earned a little blogging time, and a little bird watching time...

What a luxury...


I noticed there was a blue jay AND a cardinal together at our backyard feeder...


What a fun treat this is! If only I could get a decent picture!

Here the cardinal is in the bush, and the blue jay is still at the feeder...


The poor cardinal is patiently waiting his turn. Blue jay's are bossy, so little cardinal is keeping his distance!



Well friends, that's all the time I have today.

I wish we could visit longer!

Hope you all are shopped, wrapped, and ready to go for Christmas!

Check back with me soon!

And let me know if you make my whole wheat pancakes!!!


xo,

~ Courtney ~















Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Home This Christmas

Hi, friends!

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

As promised, I will be showing you my home decorated for Christmas.

(This is my view early every morning. The lighting is dim, and I sit with my coffee and read my bible.)

As I was taking the photos for this post, I wondered if I should even bother... 

I decorated very simply this year.

"They will not be impressed." I thought to myself.

But, nevertheless, this is my home and I am thankful for it.


The reason I decided not to be elaborate or detailed this year is because I have a painting and wallpaper project that I intend to start in January. So, I am hoping for a quick takedown of everything so I can begin as quickly as possible.

Also, no one can ever really know just how time and thought consuming homeschooling is unless they've done it. 

I don't want to use my kids as an excuse, but realistically, they are a factor! Haha...

A wiser, older mom friend of mine told me recently, "You will always have your creativity and heart for decorating, but you won't always have your kids."

Her words impacted me!

"YES!" I thought. "I will make Christmas crafts and decorate the bedrooms when I'm an empty-nester!"

But for now, my home looks like this...


~ Welcome! ~

This is my foyer and staircase, and what you'd see upon entering the front door...




This is my front room...




As always, my goal is to decorate in ways that are appropriate for an old farmhouse...


That is why you don't see me jumping on board with the latest trends.
(As darling as they are, my old home is very much set in her ways, and finds comfort in being filled with authentic decor. I've never minded catering to her wishes. *wink)




I love it when the sparkle of the lights reflect off of surrounding glass...


My dining room...


I know you know that Micah and I host Christmas Eve in our home each year. I look forward to sharing with you the photos of our farm table set and ready for the event!

It'll be here before we know it!!!


The heart of our home ~ the kitchen...



Have you picked up on a pattern yet, friends?

I love to use red roses in my Christmas decor!

I feel they are unique in a way, but also quite classic.




I have kicked the toys out of the way for the moment to show you the family room...





This is mainly where the kids hang out, but it does spread to other areas of the home, as well...

Roman and Nola played for hours up in the front room today. I'll throw in a messy pic for good measure...



Grab a coat, I'll show you the outside!...


We like to hang a small wreath on the kids' cabin...



Like I said, nothing fancy. Just simple this year...


Micah hangs lights and garland on the bushes and front porch banister each year.

I love that I see it from the couch...


"I'll be home for Christmas.
You can plan on me.
Please have snow
and mistletoe
and presents by the tree..."
~ Bing Crosby 


I hope you enjoyed the tour, friends!

And I hope you can be home this Christmas!


Until next time...


xo,

~ Courtney ~