Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

planning for fall October 15, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Kate @ 6:00 am

I guess it’s just going to be a strange fall no matter WHAT part of the country you live in!  We are all trying to make the best of it and enjoy the changing seasons (whatever they are changing from or to!)  Fall is my favorite season,  so I really am hoping that we get some ‘normal’ fall-like weather at some point and we will definitely still try to enjoy the tasty treats that just can’t be left out!

Our fall ‘must-have’ list includes:

  • A trip to Greenbluff for apple picking (This is usually on, or around my late Sept birthday.  This year we made it up the first weekend of Oct w/family friends only to be welcomed by bitter cold rain, but we picked apples anyways!)
  • Make some Chai tea mix … I’ve been enjoying the last of the HUGE double batch that I made last year, but the stock needs to be replenished.
  • Enjoying pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin sausage soup (not together) … seems that pumpkin recipes are a good theme this week!
  • Knit or crochet something.  While I do this year round, there is something nice about making something warm when it is so cold outside.  My latest project is this.  I made one for our daughter due on Dec 31st, and I’m working on one for my 2 1/2 year old too!
  • Go for walks and admire all the different leaves – shapes, sizes and colors!  I guess this year our walks will involve winter coats, mittens and scarves!
  • Find a routine!  I feel the need to get back into a routine now that the weather is changing to be a little less outdoor friendly.  So my goal is to settle back into a routine (or maybe make a new one!) now that vacations are done and school year activities have been going for a month.
  • This year my fall list includes painting the 2 kids bedrooms.  One will be the nursery come January and the other my son and daughter have been sharing in all it’s purpleness for the last year!   I’d love to get some mint green paint on the walls in the nursery and I’m still looking for inspiration for a boy/girl room!  Any ideas for a gender shared bedroom??

Comeback Fall, we miss you! October 14, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Recipes,Uncategorized — Gretchen @ 1:18 pm

This has been a strange fall season thus far.  We went to the apple orchard when it was hot and humid and were building snowmen in October :)  There are many fun fall activities that I hope we get to experience before winter settles in and here are the top ones for us…

1.  Roast and freeze pumpkin for holiday pies, pancakes, soups, etc.

2.  Make applesauce.

3.  Find the perfect apple cider recipe. (if you have a favorite please, please post)

4.  Bake lots of pumpkin stuff.

5.  Decorate pumpkins and search for ways to keep the squirrels from eating them if I put them on my porch. (once again if anyone has tips feel free to comment!)

Here is my favorite pumpkin bread recipe that I have modified from the original…

Pumpkin Ribbon Bread


1 pkg. (8 oz) low fat cream cheese

1/3 Cup sugar

1 T. flour

1 egg

2 t. grated orange peel


1 cup cooked pumpkin

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 t. salt

1 t cloves

2 t cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

For filling- beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together in a small bowl.  Add egg.  Stir in orange peel and set aside.  Make bread by combining pumpkin, oil and eggs in a mixer.  Add sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and baking soda.  Pour 1/4 of batter in to 2 greased and floured loaf pans.  Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter.  Add remaining batter, covering filling.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, or until bread tests done with a wooden pick.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.  Store in refrigerator.

Modified from a base recipe in the cookbook Gooseberry Patch – Welcome Home for the Holidays.


Oh Pumpkins, how I love thee…. October 13, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Leah @ 6:00 am

Seriously now ladies, I have a complete LOVE for the pumpkin.  I love the color, the smell, the TASTE….I love it in coffee, bread, pancakes, muffins, cookies, ice cream, smoothies, in cheesecake, and of course…in PIE.  :-)  With that in mind, my “must do before Fall leaves us!” list is this:

  • Bake some chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.
  • Make some pumpkin bread (per my son’s request)
  • Pay WAY TOO MUCH for a couple Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks
  • Enjoy a fat-free Pumpkin smoothie from Burgerville.  YUM.
  • Roast me some seeds!
  • Buy some outrageously priced pumpkin butter from a local grower…and then eat it on some pumpkin pancakes.

I also plan to do some things that don’t include the wonderful pumpkin:

  • Make a batch of the Chai Tea Mix (I really did have this in mind BEFORE Andie’s post!)
  • Head to Hood River and enjoy the Fruit Loop!
  • Put flannel sheets on the beds (ahhh, so cozy…)
  • Get a family photo taken (I’ve got 5-10 more lbs to lost before I’m willing to schedule this one, I’m aiming to get there BEFORE Christmas…)
  • Clean up our espresso machine – this little appliance has the potential to save us a lot of money through the cooler months…we definitely did not take full advantage of it last fall/winter.
  • Chop down the big ugly bush/tree thing that is next to our house.

I think that’s it for now…

What are you going to do?


The Irony October 12, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Andie @ 1:43 pm

This week’s question that we planned months ago was “What do you want to do before fall is over?” The ironic part is that I woke up this morning to find our lovely fall leaves covered in a blanket of thick, wet snow. Sad. Winter may have already arrived here in MN.

My answer to this question has changed out of necessity. What I would like to do still this fall….

-Bake an apple pie
-Make my annual batch of Chai
-bag up a lot more things to take out of our small house to donate
-Use my Knifty Knitter to make a hat for the baby and for Ruth

and here is what I would have written if winter hadn’t already arrived….
– go back to the orchard
-jump in the leaves
-take in the fall colors somewhere beautiful


A day in the life with 7 kids August 28, 2009

Filed under: Mothering — Andie @ 10:22 am

Because Jennifer has 7 kids, it’s a little hard to post weekly, so she sends me posts when she can. This is what her life looks like right now:

“I know, I know. It has been forever since you have even seen a post from me, but life has happened here at the McConnell household! We have gone from homeschooling all 7 of our kids last year to putting them all into school this year. This is the run down. We have them at 3 different schools, 6 different grades and 7 different teachers! We have one in preschool, 4 in elementary school, and 2 in middle school. None of them ride the bus so we are taking and picking up at 3 different times. So you ask how do we do it! Here is the plan.

7:15am- Patrick takes J and N to middle school while I am getting the others up and dressed.
8:15am- I leave to take E, C, M, and B to elementary school while Patrick stays with A.
9:40am- I leave with A to go to her preschool where I also work and help out.
2:00pm- I get A from her classroom and we go home for just a brief moment.
2:30pm- Patrick leaves to go and pick up the boys from middle school.
2:50pm- I leave with A to go pick up the rest from elementary school.
3:40pm- The kids have snack and start on homework.
5:00pm- I leave to pick up Josiah from football practice while Patrick cooks dinner. He loves it and I hate it so it works for us!
6:00pm- We usually have dinner together pending any meetings or other things.
6:30pm- The kids all have chores that they do.
7:30pm- Showers start for those that need them which is usually at least 5.
8:00pm- Girls reading time and boys finish up homework.
8:30pm- Babies go to bed.
9:00pm- E and M go to bed and boys have reading time in their room.
10:00pm- Boys go to bed.

We also have a wonderful college student who has just started coming on Tues. and Thurs. for a few hours to help with homework and that has been such a blessing! I do kids paperwork as soon as I get them home from school and put it back into their backpacks. I love the teachers who get on to me if I miss signing something! We also do not allow TV or computer(unless for school) during the week. This has helped a lot for keeping them focused on things that need to get done. We do not do it perfectly but we try and stay on this schedule. Of course I am home today with 4 sick ones so off to give meds!”


Friday Nights! August 27, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Keeping inspired,Mothering — Gretchen @ 2:51 pm

As we entered a new stage of life with kids in school and a crazy work schedule for my husband we had to seek out new ways to reconnect and rest with each other.  We realized that for at least this stage of life we are all home on Friday nights and we are all REALLY tired by the time Friday rolls around.  So we started movie nights!  There are tons of classic and new family friendly movies out there.  We usually have something fun for dinner that requires little prep on my part like nacho night, pizza night, or appetizer night.  The girls love Friday nights and so do I :)  When school is in full swing movies and tv are rare which make movie night a treat!


Between the pages

Filed under: Activities,Keeping inspired,Mothering — Kate @ 12:03 am

One of our favorite ways to refresh as a family is to read a good book together! During the day, I read the kids books before naps and at the end of the day Matt and I both sit down with the kids and read the Bible as a family. Not only is it relaxing for the kids, but it helps for us as parents to sit down together and really have focused time with the kids.