Monday, April 29, 2013

kicking myself

After a ridiculously short 10 day leave,
Tony is heading back to San Diego.
A few minutes after he and T drove off,
it occurred to me - I didn't take one single picture of him.
And I don't have a clue when we'll see him again.

an invitation

Each day in India,
200 women and girls, some as young as 5 years old,
are forced into the sex trade.

I can't help those 200 girls,
but on Thursday, 
I can help one. Or maybe even two.

Care to join me?

Come to the gathering area at Central Christian Church 
this Thursday (May 2nd) around 6:30 pm
Have a snack, visit with friends, and shop for items made by women who have been rescued from slavery.
All proceeds go right back to Rahab's Rope,
to rescue, aid, and educate more women and children in a loving and safe environment.

Mother's Day is right around the corner, what better way to honor your mom
than to help rescue a girl?!


To make it fun,
I'm going to buy something special to give away :-)
You can enter the drawing one of two ways:
go to the sale Thursday and buy something, then leave a comment telling me what you bought
place an order online
and leave a comment letting me know that you did so.
I'll draw a winner on Saturday :-)

(special thanks to Jolly Good Art Shop's Amy Scoggins for organizing this event and loving 'the least of these')

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 quick takes in April

The water heater went out last Saturday.
This is not the first time I've had water issues while Tyler's been out of town.
I've also had frozen pipes
a busted main water line
to deal with by myself.

After I killed my back (which hurt really bad, and is still hurting!) sucking up 30 million gallons of water,
which was after I finally got the water shut off,
but before I went to Lowe's to buy a new water heater, without first taking measurements,
I decided I would take the kids to a hotel.
They could swim, I could take a shower (and maybe even a soak in the tub to sooth my back?) and we'd sleep comfortably.
(We'd drug their beds into my bedroom so we could all sleep together when the guys left.
They (the beds) were on the floor.
The floor that I sucked the water out of...)
We would redeem the day!

It turns out, there was no room in the inn.
Or any inn in Fort Smith or Van Buren.
But a sweet angel lady let the kids swim anyways,
and gave them snacks and goodie bags,
and let me take a shower in their office bathroom.
I don't think I will ever forget her kindness.
If you are ever in need of a hotel in the area, I highly recommend Van Buren's Hampton Inn!

I mean, I truly did practically beg them to let me help.
And not only help, but take over.
I basically insisted on totally taking over decorating for their graduation.
That is so not like me!
(I did go with what I understood their vision to be - so I guess I didn't totally totally take over ;-)
As it turned out, they both had major things going on, 
and neither of them were able to decorate.
It gives me hope that maybe I do hear God more than I think I do.

I haven't managed any sewing since Saturday morning, before the words,
"Why is the bathroom floor covered in water?"
were uttered.

that's not entirely true.
I did hand-stitch a paper 'Class of 2013' banner on Wednesday for the cake table.

Even though I can arrange flowers decently,
flower arranging doesn't give me the same nice feelings that creating with fabric does.
I usually feel rather 'meh' about it, even when the arrangements get lots of compliments.
Twice, though, I've been pretty tickled with my flower arranging.
The first time, I'd made a huge arrangement with flowers and grapes for a date night dinner we did for friends.
The other was the arrangement I made in a metal water pitcher for Tony and Kacy's reception.
Neither were ever photographed.

We've been watching The Great British Sewing Bee.
Television at its finest, I think.
Too bad there are only 4 episodes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

down to the river

 We needed some rocks for a little project, so a long overdue trip to the river was a necessity.
I must admit, I wondered, as we meandered around, all 7 of us, (T was here for his b-day :-) looking for just the right rocks,
- and all of us having a very nice time - 
if perhaps,
I've turned my kids into weirdos.
Then I decided that, if I have, 
- well -
 it's too late...
It was apparently lunch time for the cows while we were there;
they all of a sudden headed
in a nice calm orderly fashion out of the water and across the pasture.
There were a couple dozen butterflies flying about.
The girls wanted one (or more) to land on them so badly, but the butterflies didn't cooperate.
I don't know why we don't go to the river more often.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

out of the mouths of babes...

Lexi sang the entire way home from the Rogers Ave Walmart tonight.
 If you must know, 
 it was from CiCi's, 
where they talked me into going after we went to Walmart - 
which was the 3rd store we went to this evening looking for (but not finding) more sewers aid...)

If I hadn't forgotten my phone, I would have tried to record her;
it was so precious.
Over twenty minutes of a four-year old,
singing praises to God.

"I love you, Lord"
(she repeated every phrase several times)
"Thank-you for my family"
"Thank-you for everything you give me"
"You are my best king"
"I want to do your will"
"Thank you for my brothers and sisters"
I love you the most, Lord"
"I want to obey you. But sometimes I disobey you. But I want to obey you"
Needless to say, I cried.

I need to be more like Lexi.


Ten minutes ago, Tyler texted me a picture of my boy ~ all growed up 
and saving China.

I miss him so.

And here he is, 45 minutes later ~ finally meeting up with Kacy, Brandon and his Pop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


But when you dump bleach in your load of coloreds
instead of the Simple Green that you thought you grabbed,
there just ain't nothin' you can do about that.

truth speakers

I have been dealing with an extremely frustrating and fairly painful situation for a few months now.
A few times,
it's gotten the better of me
and I've turned whined to a few trusted friends, my momma, and, of course, Tyler.

Every time,
without fail,
I have been reminded to trust God.
(to which I often reply, "That would be a lot easier if x y z..." ;-)

I am so grateful for friends and a husband and a momma
who speak truth to me
instead of blowing sunshine up my butt and telling me what my flesh would like to hear.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

two dozen plus one

That's how many chickens Gayle gave us.
We are so very thankful!

(the last 4 photos are by Josiah, almost 8)

Friday, April 12, 2013

look who got to wash BOTH hands

Lex' and I went to see Dr Balyard this morning.

This is the text we sent daddy while we were waiting for the doc to come in.

Her bones look good and there is significant remodeling that should offer extra protection for the next few years.
The angle of her distal radius is off by about 17 degrees, 
but he says it'll just correct itself over time.
That God made it to do that.
Which is refreshing to hear a doctor say!

Here's the text we sent daddy after we left the dr.

You kinda take washing both hands for granted, huh?
She doesn't.
(not today, anyways)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

slow going

I'm  linking up with Elizabeth's with needle and thREAD.

Lest anyone be tempted to believe that I live in a fairy tale land of nothing but beautiful stitches,
let me tell you that seam ripping has replaced stitching in most of my sewing time, 
and no reading is happening.
(I'd love to listen to a free audibook while I work though ~ any suggestions??)

First, I had a bit of trouble getting the hang of pebbling on the quilt
(practicing on my little sample sandwich was easier...)
Then there was tension issues. again...
And then, I sewed merrily along with my quilt folded under without my knowledge for, oh, 20% of a bobbin or so.
So. Lots and lots of tearing out stitches. 

Then, we have T's quilt, which I picked up when I got frustrated with the detour quilt.
I wanted to try out the 'hand-look stitch' on my Juki. 
(which I do intend to post about someday, but I am still hoping for warm fuzzy feelings towards her to develop) 
I've done tons of searching, but can't really find anything that tells me how to do it,
except I knew I needed invisible thread
(where exactly (bobbin or top) to put that thread was questionable, as I've heard it both ways)
Adding to my inability to find suitable instruction, is the fact that little miss Juki is a bit touchy in the tension department.
I was delighted when my test piece came out looking beautiful!
The bottom didn't look great, but it was good enough.
So I moved onto the quilt.
Bis mistake.
I couldn't get a nice looking stitch and the invisible thread (which does, in fact, go on top) kept breaking.
I played more with tension, wasn't really sure which way I should go - tighten or loosen - so I tried both
but neither gave satisfactory results on the actual quilt.
The test pieces, again, looked perfect.
What is up with that?!

Since I had suspicions that I might not be happy with the hand look stitch 
(my research did tell me it was tricky - but that was about it)
I'd ordered a 12 wt thread, just in case.
In case you are counting, yes - that's 3 different $9 spools of thread for one project...
After tearing out (again) the crappy looking hand-look stitches, I switched to the 12 weight on top.
And popped in a new needle (topstitch 90/14, which is what is recommended for the thread)
It sews nicely (if I go really slow) for a few minutes, then likes to skip stitches....
Ready to pull my hair out, I went back to my good buddy, Google.
Spraying your quilt with a silicone lubricant was a possible solution,
so I spent another hour or so looking for a fabric safe silicone spray....
Then I remembered my sewing aid stuff and tried some of that on my thread and needle
which improved the performance, so long as I go slow and reapply often.
I need to buy more.

I'm not real thrilled with how it's looking,
but I don't really want to talk myself into tearing out everything I've sewn
(about 1/4 of the quilt)
and hand-quilting the whole thing
(which would look so much nicer, but will take me for e ver)
I sent T a picture and he said it was beeyotiful (which really is all that matters) but I'm not convinced yet.

Oddly enough, I went to bed last night dreaming of cutting out a new alabama chanin top.

Monday, April 8, 2013


My day started at 4:33
when a certain little bed thief screamed, "Papa! My earring is stuck!"
(That child has gotten her earring caught in the sheets about a dozen times,
starting with the very first night she had pierced ears.
Only, that time, the girls ended up pulling her earring clean out
and Tyler had to re-pierce her ear.)
I couldn't get back to sleep, so I finally got up at 6,
after I'd gone to snuggle with my hubby in the girls' bed,
where he went after they both came sneaking into ours and crowded him out.
So he missed the whole screaming earring thing....

I had coffee and admired the kayaks in the grass by the pond (while ignoring the lifejackets)
then checked my e-mail and a few blogs
then finished up the quilting on the white sections of the quilt,
which, surprisingly, I managed to work on over the weekend after all.

Then I woke up kiddos and we got ready to leave the house.
(I'm always glad we homeschool when we have to leave the house in the morning.
I'm not a morning person.)
Brandon had an orthodontist appointment, where they decided he didn't need any more treatment after all.
Then they refunded the money I'd paid 2 years ago
when the elder Dr U told me we should start treatment right away.
But then two weeks later, the younger Dr U thought we should take a wait-and-see-how-he-grows approach,
which, of course, was more to my liking.
(and cheaper)
Apparently he grew quite nicely,
'cause even the elder Dr U thought it was time to deactivate him as a patient.

After that, on the way to the post office to buy more stamps
so I can mail a few more letters 
to my boy who will be home in thirteen days, :-)
I dropped that refund check off at the bank.
I never cash checks the day I get them - seems greedy,
but I was right there, so it seemed stupid not to.

After buying stamps
and then running back in with my letter to actually mail it,
(because I'd forgotten it in the car and using the outside mailboxes would have required me to leave the parking lot and turn left, only to have to turn left again to get back in the parking lot so I could drive my vehicle in the double one way lanes to drop off the letter in the box)
I took a quick trip to Aldi
because the children thought that the bananas that I'd had the foresight to have Brandon grab before we left the house
weren't enough food and they were yammering that they were hungry.

After a quick snack in the car
we went to the Dallas branch library,
where my children were absolutely perfect.
Quite possibly the first time ever that this group of kids has been perfect at the library.
Lexi was so cute,
I would have taken a picture, except I forgot my phone at home.
She was wearing a red dress with white polka dots 
and Lily had fixed her hair in two low ponytails;
she was sitting on the floor in the middle of a row (aisle?) with a huge stack of Spot books,
 thoroughly engrossed in the book on the top of the stack.
(She'd already read the others, and just kept adding each new book to the stack.
We didn't bring home all of the Spot books.)
I didn't get any books for myself - I've got way too much work to do to be reading right now.
Plus I couldn't find anything that grabbed me ;-)

After the library we ran to Lowes
where, of course we needed things from opposite ends of the 10 acre store.
(My feet were really hurting by then)

By the time we got home it was after 1:00
and while the kiddos read,
I fixed lunch.
(scrambled eggs with cheese, cucumber slices and puffed corn.  
aka dissolve in your mouth fake popcorn that we used to buy little ones and those in braces)
We ate had a picnic in the LEM
'cause Brandon and I just couldn't stomach Andy Griffith,
and my sewing machine and quilt were using up most of the dining room table.

WhIle the boys cleaned up the kitchen, I got Lex' down for a nap
(The past few days she's done well lying down by herself, with me peeking in on her every few minutes.
The down side of this method is
I miss out on my 'put my feet up' time. which is (was) my hand-stitching during the day time)
and then did some schoolwork with the kids
while Brandon did his school all by himself.

I renewed the tags for the Excursion, but that hardly counts, since I was able to do it online.
The fact that I remembered to do it - now, that counts!

Then I started quilting the first colored row.
Then I spent 50 minutes unquilting what I'd quilted in the previous 5 minutes,
because, darn it, I didn't have the tension quite right after all.
Then we picked up the house for Papa
and I got back to my quilting (better this time around) and the kids got back to their books.
Library days are so wonderfully quiet!

After Tyler got home
we all headed outside to get to work.
But Stephen came over, so the kids played instead.
Brandon and I put up a wonky wall section
(it sounds special, but every wall is wonky)
while Tyler worked on nesting boxes.
Brandon got the hinges on for the door
while I lent Tyler a hand now and then and raked crap into piles.
I felt like my time wasn't best utilized by that task,
so I attacked some stumps and roots so that the gate to the former dog run would close.
Brandon and Tyler continued working on the nest boxes and rear access panels.
I broke the shovel trying to dig out the stump,
so went back to going after it with an ax.
By then, Stephen had gone home,
so I had Jeremiah (and then later Josiah, too) help me tear down the overgrown-with-honeysuckle-and-small-trees chain link fence
on the north side of the dog run.
(we'll be adding field fencing to the remaining 3 sides of chain link fence, and connecting it to the barn)
We cleaned up in the run just a bit
and attacked a few more stumps and roots.

When it was almost dark,
I set Jeremiah, Josiah, and Lily to work loading up a tarp with debris and getting it to the (HUGE) burn pile
while I headed in the house to make dinner.
(A creamy chicken and veggie dish that we ate over cabbage that I'd cooked just enough that it wasn't crunchy)
Josiah and Lily came in to help when they were finished with their job.
(real help. They peeled carrots (and got peelings all over the floor, but Josiah retrieved them and put them in a bucket to save for our chickens :-)  and gathered ingredients - which saved my poor feet and back from the pain of walking around any more than I had to.

After dinner I read a book to the girls, a new one to us, The Library,
by the same couple who wrote and illustrated The Gardener which Lily especially loves. 
Lily had wanted me to read a different book (with twice as many words in it - I just wasn't up to it) and was a little pout-y.
After I finished the book, she said, "I actually liked that book better than I thought I would."
Which is what I expected ;-)

Then we had dessert (1 1/2 coconut macaroons each, and a glass of milk)
and Tyler and I cleaned up the kitchen
while Brandon put away leftovers
and the little ones got ready for bed.
Then I let Tyler beat me at a game of backgammon (again) before he went to bed
and I plopped in this chair with the computer.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

proud of us

Friday afternoon, just a few hours after she'd delivered 7 dozen eggs,
my egg lady called and asked if we wanted her chickens.
I've been wanting to try our hand at chickens again,
and honestly, I'd wondered how I'd tell her that I didn't need to buy eggs from her anymore when the time came.
I'm her only customer,  and shortly after we started buying eggs from her,
she bought more hens so that we could get more eggs!
"What's goin' on??" I asked her, knowing that she loves her babies chickens.
Her husband works for a chicken production company, and they aren't supposed to raise chickens for any reason.
She'd managed to get away with it for awhile, but the company is cracking down,
so she needed to get rid of her whole flock right away,
and wondered if we might want them.
Oh, and she didn't want to charge me for them.
I told her I'd have to talk to Tyler.
It was on our someday list, but, this was fast.

Saturday morning found us cleaning out the old tractor shed.
The shed that was fairly full of crap when we bought the place,
had never been cleaned out,
and has had stuff added to the mess over the years.
I didn't take any 'before' pictures, but the big kids all have a clue how big of a job that would be.
In addition to emptying the 3-sided structure of years (decades?) of junk,
in order to safely house animals
we'd need to enclose it,
and also replace the missing roof sections.
In record time.....

Now, granted, 
we still have several piles in the yard that need handling,
and we still  need to run fencing,
but already
(and Tyler had a long meeting yesterday afternoon. and there was church today....)
we have 
what resembles a barn!!

I am so proud of us!
The kids all pitched in cheerfully
and Lexi said several times, "This is so much fun working hard!"
We've got a good bit of work ahead of us this week,
so I hope that attitude holds out.

This time next week,
we may just be 
eating eggs from our own chickens again!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


You saw a sneak peek of it Monday,
so I may as well spill the beans.

I've sort of taken a little detour from working on TJ's quilt,
and held off just a tad longer on starting Tyler's,
although I have finished collecting his fabric and have drawn up the pattern on graph paper.
(The night I put on paper what was in my head, Lily was having a hard time getting to sleep. 
So, I let her get up. 
And there we sat at the table, drawing, at 11:30 at night,
me designing quilts, and Lily designing dresses.
Made me miss my days of 'making' side by side with Lana,
but also look forward to creating with the little girls.)

back to my detour (from my detour...)

All of my men are giving and generous, so I don't think T will mind if his quilt is another week or so behind,
although I am still hoping to get it done by the 22nd, eternal optimist and all.
And I know Tyler's okay with the delay on his,
but he's taken to calling me his Tabitha...

I'll post about the 'why' of the quilt when I get it finished,
but here are just a few in-progress shots.
Oddly enough, all pictures were taken in the dark of the night, when I get most of my sewing done,
so they are especially crappy.
(But they remind me of how pretty I thought it was at the time, anyways.)


ready to be sewn into rows  (I love the tiny 'half-square blocks that pressing the seams open creates)

I started basting it at 11:10 last night.
Or rather, I started looking for my tape at 11:10.
the tape that I smugly was writing a post in my head about - how to keep track of your tape...
(which, in my defense, had worked fabulously all year - up 'til yesterday evening.)
I think it was my best basting job yet, everything just went together so nicely,
due, in large part, I suspect, to my liberal use of starch and sizing.

Love spray basting with 505!
I am so eager to get started quilting this one!


Linking up with Elizabeth's with needle and thREAD, although no reading has been happening.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


It was less than six weeks ago 
that I first brought home a Magic Treehouse book from the library for the boy.
Jeremiah began reading his first Hardy Boys book.

tomorrow he takes his first standardized tests
(In AR, homeschoolers test in grades 3-9)
I told him he was not, under any circumstances, staying up all night to finish his book.
I don't know where these kids get it from ;-)


In other graduating news,
When you homeschool, graduations, like the schooling you do to get to graduation,
require a lot more from the parents than a public school graduation does.
We have to plan it all, procure it all, pay for it all, and pull it all off.
I've got 2 friends with Seniors this year.
I practically had to beg,
but they're letting me help with the decorating.
Which, since I don't have a graduate this year, will be fun :-)

on our time off

If I had to guess, 
I'd say that right before Easter is one of the most popular times to go screen free.
It's just a good time to quiet things a bit, and perhaps the timing also makes it easier?
I mean, can you really complain about being unplugged 
when you are gearing up to remember the death, 
and celebrate the resurrection,
of the Savior of the world??


Tyler actually really enjoyed not being able to reach for his phone every time he sat down.
It also took the pressure off of evening entertainment.
We like to watch a tv show on Netflix (or a movie) with Brandon a few times a week after the kids go to bed,
but it's always so difficult to find something to watch.
Something that appeals (at least somewhat) to all 3 of us, and is appropriate for a young man to watch.
(The appealing to us all part isn't tricky - we all like the same kind of shows,
except the guys like sci-fi, and I don't much,
but the appropriate part is trickier)
We loved White Collar, but then in Season 3 (or was it 2?) they kinda changed things
and we didn't enjoy it as much anymore.
We really like Flashpoint ~ but we ran out of episodes.
The Finder is super, but there's only half a season.
We've been watching Heroes, 
but honestly, none of us are crazy about it.
Where was I going?
Oh yes, pressure.
Not watching anything meant we didn't have to try to find something.
After spending about 20 minutes last night looking for something to watch,
Tyler said, "I miss being screen-free."

The kids responded very well to being screen free (they always do)
and I don't think I had to remind anybody not to ask for games, movies, etc.
They actually have remained screen free, 
except they did watch a movie at Gramma's house and we watched an Andy Griffith with lunch yesterday 
as has been our custom ever since Andy died,
but honestly,
I'm about sick of the show.

I didn't get all twitchy like I sometimes do when we unplug,
but come Thursday, I really wanted to find out if Elizabeth finished her Easter dresses or not!
(She did - but she didn't do a needle and thread post, so even if I'd have cheated and checked, I wouldn't have found out)
and I liked being able to sew in the evenings without feeling like I was being a party pooper.
(I can hand-sew while we watch something and still be a part of things,
but my lamp broke, and I can't see well enough to sew at night by just the overhead bulbs.
I thought I solved the problem by buying a $20 (on sale!) replacement bulb for a hand-me-down Ott light,
but alas the bulb was not the problem.)

All in all, it was good to go screen free, and we'll do it again 
when we go overboard with technology.