Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas!

I thought it was very much time to pop in and wish you all the Merriest of Christmases. Things are buzzing along this 2 days before Christmas. We are busy baking, crafting, and tidying in preparation for the big day. We have had the most delightful season filled with Advent celebrations at church every Wednesday night, sharing a soup and bread meal in sweet fellowship. We've celebrated with neighbors and extended family, and now we are looking forward to our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities.
I am unusually prepared this year, only having a few details to take care of. I have enjoyed this so much, it gives me so much more time for reflection on the reason for our celebrating. Simple pleasures and meaningful traditions are savored so much more without all the chasing around. There is a quiet calm that it befitting as we await the celebration of a joyous birth. A calm expectancy instead of a flurry of chaos. I like it this way.
I pray that you all have the most wonderful holiday. I will try and pop back in more often. I have so many wonderful photos to share of our summer trip to Hawaii. It was so wonderful.
In God's Love,

Monday, April 13, 2009


I has been awhile. Can I just tell you how much I've enjoyed being on vacation from my computer?

I have a love/hate relationship with the internet.

It is a total time-suck when I am not self-moderated, and a great blessing to a mama who doesn't like to do a lot of "running around". I have grappled with this dilemma for years......

Around the beginning of Lent, it occurred to me that this would be my fast. The internet.

It has gone very well and a habit for me to happily break.

Breaking this habit means less of me on the internet, therefore less of me blogging and commenting. My plans are to blog whenever an inspiration strikes or something really big happens, but for now I am going to enjoy being unplugged.

My home is tidy, I am rediscovering my love for reading and music. I am content. My family needs all of me, body and mind.

The future may bring more time in my day to blog and journal, but for now I am full.

Stop by and comment anytime, I love to hear from you all.

Have a truly blessed and productive Monday.

In God's Love, Tami

Monday, March 2, 2009

Within Means

{Art by Thomas Kinkade}

I have been thinking a lot lately about living within our means. We have, at times, over the last 17 years lived beyond our financial means. But what a beautiful thing it is to grow and mature, learn lessons, and make mistakes. We've come to a place where we get by without debt and borrowing.

There are other ways of living beyond ones means. By living beyond our space. By cramming loads of un-needed stuff into a space that might otherwise fit our family just fine. Thus the bigger, better saga begins.

This has been a much harder lesson to learn for me. I am a reformed collector and generally a vintage housewares junkie. Anything that caught my eye I wanted to collect. It never dawned on me that I might just be able to have that ONE thing, and not an entire collection. For many years, I stuffed our home with those things I found beautiful, but not necessarily useful. It has taken me a long time to let go. When I go *treasure~hunting* now, I have more purpose in mind. More needs in mind, instead if wants. That sounds funny to me though, because *really*, what do I need. At any rate, I have had a shift in mindset, and that is progress.

I think back to those years and wish I had known better. Feeling cramped in a 700 sq. foot house that would have suited our family just fine, had I not been keeping so much we didn't need. I long to talk some sense into my younger self. As you might expect, after we had a few more kids, we enlarged our house and bought even more stuff. Our house is now 1600 sq. feet. I am very grateful for the extra space, but feel it might have been unnecessary, had I known what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20, you know. LOL.

For the past 2 or 3 years I have been on a mission to rid our home of stuff, while still keeping it warm, cozy, and inviting. I have been freed from the burden of caring for things and enjoy caring for my family instead. We are living within our spacial means and I am so happy.

I have to keep at this daily, ever mindful of too much stuff creeping in. I have gotten really good at giving things away, and I am still not done. My children understand that it we don't need or use an item, we pass it on to bless someone else.

We are having a lovely and productive day, and I hope you are too.

In God's Love, Tami

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Birds Return

The truth is that they never *completely* go away. But wow, are the masses back. We had seven different varieties hanging around our feeder the other morning. Most of them were in flocks, so there were a lot of birds. We love to gather around our dining room window and watch them interact.

We had tons of Robins, Stellar Jays, Juncos, Chickadees, Starlings, House Sparrows, and Wrens. I think the birds were a little excited about the recently filled feeders.

This blurry picture is of a Dark-Eyed Junco. These little guys are so cute, and everywhere.

These are our two favorite bird books. I especially love the Reader's Digest book. Beautiful illustrations.

A perfect opportunity to get out our nature journals and draw those cute critters.
We can look forward to the next three seasons of bird watching, feeding, and marveling. Our resident pair of House Sparrows will start with their first batch of babies in late April. They usually have 3 or 4 batches. This is so exciting for my kiddos. We got to witness 2 fledglings leaving the nest for the first time last Mother's Day. That was very special.
Spring is very close. I can't wait.
Have a blessed and productive day.
In God's Love, Tami

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Ah February, you are nearly gone. You are the longest short month of the year. Lots of rain, grayness, and cold, but still so much to love.
I was extremely excited to find a new*to*me sofa this month. (We love Craigslist). I wanted a vintage style sofa with the convenience of newer upholstery. And here it is. Can I just say what a blessing it was to find it for $60.00. The wool granny square afghan was a find at a thrift store for $6.00. You can see behind the couch a hint of my new lighter paint. The color before was a peachy-brown. I am very happy with how things are coming along with paring down and lightening up.

Beautiful flowers showing up to brighten our days. What a blessing.

A rediscovered favorite, *Ants on a Log*- adding a little excitement to snacktime around here- YUM!
The joy of a tidy kitchen. Makes me want to cook. I find it quite odd that I dislike preparing food in a messy kitchen. I spend a lot of time cleaning it up before I mess it up again~LOL.

A long held favorite in our house, nearly indestructible. Vintage restaurant-ware. I love this stuff. I am always on the lookout for these gems at thrift stores. I found a stack of salad plates recently for next to nothing. I love that.

Another thrift store find. I figure it is from the 40's (my favorite decade). The entire lamp is metal and painted this sweet green color. The perforations on the top of the shade cast the most beautiful pattern on the ceiling at night.

In anticipation of our resident hummingbirds returning, I thought I'd show off my Christmas gift from the children. Vintage of course, it sits in my kitchen window, greeting me sweetly each day.

We've been up to some organizing this month. These plastic document boxes, one for each child, will be tucked away in my computer hutch. I plan to use these for report cards, important documents, medical papers, all in one spot. This will help me cut down on paper clutter tremendously.

Beautiful Valentine's Day roses. I have a very sweet hubby.

We have plans to make one of these cool teardrop trailers for summer camping. The inside compartment houses a full size bed, perfect for hubby and I, and perfect for transporting camping gear. The backend is a kitchen, I love it! We already have a flatbed trailer and my hubby will build the body. I can hardly wait.

I have been doing some serious knitting this month. Stashing lots of gifts for next Christmas. I really enjoyed the simplicity of last Christmas, having all our gifts ready before December. We spent the Christmas holiday enjoying one another and more focused on it's meaning.
We've had some snow today. Quite a change from all the rain we've been having. I love the brightness the snow brings.
I am off to fix my kids some hot cocoa and toast. Perfect for a cozy day.
I pray that you are all having a blessed and productive (and cozy) week.
March is almost here, can anyone say *salad garden* YAY!
In God's Love, Tami

Saturday, January 31, 2009

::Knitting Therapy::

I have found that during these long, dark, and sometimes dreary winter months that I require more therapeutic activities. The time that I spend in the Word, journaling, knitting, reading, cuddling, and baking are like therapy to me.

I was reading "The Creative Family" last week and stumbled across the section on knitting. (forgive me but I already returned the book and now can't reference the page numbers). Amanda wrote about her very beautiful experiences with knitting, and it is clear that I feel the very same. The rhythm, the quietness, the moving of hands while the heart and mind are still. I can pray, contemplate, plan, dream. Knitting is *it* for me. My first choice of creative activities, especially when I get to rock a little in my new~to~me rocking chair. Oh and of course, I have to sit by the fireplace with a creamy cup of coffee :~)

When the dark winter months are over and we are spending *all* of our time outdoors, I will look forward to the cooler months that always come. Months that I spend rocking away, knitting in front of a warm fire. My therapy.
Have a blessed Saturday and enjoy lots of cozy activities with your treasures.
In God's Love, Tami

Friday, January 30, 2009

*Playing Around*

What do you all think of the new look? I have never really changed it, so this is fun.
In God's Love, Tami

Better Late Than Never

I know that Christmas is a distant thought in most of your minds, but I had to tell you of a wonderful book and movie we discovered.

I waited and waited most of December for the dvd to come to us from the library and it just now came available. So worth the wait.

We actually received a beautiful copy of the book as a Christmas gift. Seriously, I can't get through it without a little happy cry. (as my kiddos call it).

The title is "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey". Find it and watch it or read it.

We are ending our week with errands this morning. Then back home where I am continuing on my decluttering and simplifying. I am pretty sure that simplifying is a journey rather than a destination. There is always more to do.

I pray that you are all having a blessed and productive week.

In God's Love, Tami

Saturday, January 17, 2009

While I've Been Away

{Artist: Carl Larsson}

I am enjoying a slower rhythm this month. Like all of you we were very busy in December. I am one of those people who will say yes to a certain number of obligations, but when I start to feel like it's all to much, I retreat completely. This usually happens to me in January after all the busyness and celebration of our *birthday season*, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I long to rest.

January is a month of introspection and introversion to an extent. A time to draw inside, cozy up and re-access life here in our little cottage. I often wish that we celebrated "Boxing Day" here in the US, I would fit right in. There I am the day after Christmas, boxing up and clearing out, getting ready for a sparkly new year.

January is a month of few school obligations, there are no sports for us, no extra classes. I love that. It gives me a chance to spend a lot of time at home decluttering, organizing and creating a tidy home full of those things that are beautiful and useful.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." ~William Morris

I spent the whole day yesterday with the *assistance* of some wonderful helpers, reorganizing the closet that my hubby and I share. It is a walk in, but small and very quirky. Boy, did that feel good to go through every inch of it and pass on what we no longer use. It looks so tidy and pretty.

The children's rooms are another area that I try really hard to keep up on. I truly believe that we do no favor to our children by letting them have *so* much stuff. My daughter constantly needs reassurance that she *does not* need to keep every little thing. I really hesitate to let her buy toys or stuffed animals because she becomes very emotionally attached, then she will end up with a room piled high and the inability to separate herself from these things she *loves*. We are really trying to talk to her little 5 year old heart about what's important. I was very proud of her last week when she passed on a paper bag full of little stuffed toys, it was very hard for her, but she is assured that these will bless another little person very much.

As part of blessing my home this month, I am going to do some painting. It's been awhile and I am tired of some of darker colors we chose a few years ago. I have one very long wall that is a dark rust color, that I think will become a lighter camel color. I want to do this in the dining room especially where we don't get as much natural light. Lately, I have been very interested in Swedish Country design. Sweden gets very little daylight during the winter months. Their use of lighter colors and woods helps to reflect as much light around the house as possible. I love that. I have already painted the kitchen a beautiful butter color (not yellow, but a warm beige) and I really love it, even on the grayest, icky Washington day, it glows.

I am inspired by what these ladies are doing this month.

Michelle at Be Still is decluttering and clearing out.

Amy at Amy's Humble Musings and Sandi at A Mother's Musings are doing the 12 week challenge.

Artsy Mama is getting creative with color.

Stacy at With Great Joy is memorizing scripture all this year.

I hope and pray that each of you is having a wonderful January. I will end this month feeling refreshed and recentered, and ready to take on the busyness of the rest of the year.

I can hardly wait to get to vegetable gardening!

Have a blessed Saturday. In God's Love, Tami