Monday, April 27, 2015

Looking more likely all the time!

Spring, that is!

We still don't have any green grass or flowers here at our home, but that isn't surprising.  We are in a very shady location and are just fortunate and thankful that our snow is gone!

These pictures were quickly snapped by me today at my dad's.  He has daffodils in a very sheltered area and they are blooming beautifully.
There are a few of the flowers with the yellow petals and frilly orange cup.

Daffodils bloom so nicely (and so early!) in this sheltered spot next to the chimney.
And then he also has some daffodils blooming in a field below his house.  Long ago, a pot of florist daffodils was tossed "over the bank" by my mother.  In later years, the daffodils came up and bloomed. 

They have spread over time and still bloom profusely in this inhospitable spot.  A good object lesson for blooming where God plants us...

Hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse of Spring's possible arrival!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Early Spring getaway, part 3

So here is the final installment of pictures from our early spring getaway.
This iconic Indian has stood at this spot for many years
The sky had been brilliantly blue when we got up.  By the time we got to this oceanfront park, it was beginning to cloud in.
Low tide, bare trees and muddy ground make it less pretty, but we always enjoy the ocean.
It was very windy (and is obviously a very windy spot at all times).  We found a plate -- yes, a regular ceramic plate, with a design of roses -- stuck in a bush where it had apparently been all winter.  It was unharmed so I placed it on a picnic table nearby.  Maybe the owner might come back to look for it?
The snow had obviously melted here only recently.  The ground was wet and squishy underfoot, so we didn't explore as much as we might have.
A stairway leads down to rocks below the park
So that is our simple little trip and a few pictures from it.   Our grandmothers used to say, "A change is as good as a rest", and Mr. T and I wholeheartedly subscribe to that concept.  Our lives are busy and much more stressful than we would like, but a change of scene, even if only for a couple of days or a few hours, can help us feel refreshed.

Have you taken any getaways or day trips recently?  I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Early Spring getaway, Part 2

On the road again...
Here are a few more pictures from our getaway a couple of weeks ago.  These have a sweet theme in common!  As before, I will just add some simple captions.
The door to Wicked Whoopies, a bakeshop featuring whoopie pies, the state dessert of Maine.  {For those who are wondering, "Wicked good" -- an oxymoron if there ever was one -- tends to mean "especially good" in New England.)
These giant whoopie pies are the size of a layer cake!
Some of the flavors of whoopie pies.  We bought a maple one and a Black Forest one [chocolate with cherry filling].  We enjoyed them a day or two later at home.
Chocolate covered mini whoopie pies
Our next stop was a chocolate factory where we browsed and also took a factory tour!
We were able to actually make these chocolate covered oreos as part of the tour.
Hope you've enjoyed our travels so far!  One more installment to go!

Monday, April 20, 2015

An early spring getaway, part 1

Essentials of the overnight getaway...
 Mr. T and I find ourselves working at perfecting the art of the overnight getaway.  Although we love to travel, life is so busy right now that we can really only get away for overnight.  So every now and then we make plans to do just that. 

I'll just share a few photos and captions.
We had lunch here ... best burgers we ever tasted!

Guess where this is?

Rainy view from our hotel room on Friday night

Boats in the harbor

This mysterious-looking castle is privately owned
Great reminder as we drove away from a park
Philly cheesesteak sandwich with hand-cut fries
An amazing grilled tuna sandwich; hand-cut fries
Pretty plates (Johnson Brothers) found at a thrift store
And there is just a little bit of our getaway.  Perhaps I can share a few more photos in the next few days.  I will try, anyway.

Do you enjoy brief getaways like this?  What are some favorite destinations?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Maybe, just maybe ....

~ looking out from our balcony toward the road ~
... Spring may be on the way!  See that blue sky?  See the bare ground?  You can almost feel the sun!  The last few days have been sunny and warm, though there was a sharp breeze yesterday.  We tell ourselves it was helping to dry out the mud!  I am going to share just a few pictures from today, with a surprise at the end!

~ Still more than enough snow in our little patio area ~

~ Snow in the woods out back ~

~ and out beyond the balcony ~
So, it may be awhile before it all melts -- and I've even heard snow is in the long-range forecast for next week.  In the meantime, we have this very hopeful sign:
~ a daffodil blooming in a sheltered spot at my dad's house ~
Yes, Spring may indeed be on the way.  Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Trying to think spring

 It's hard, though!   Between last night and this morning we ended up with three to four inches of wet, sticky snow.  The photo above is from a March of a previous year, but it gives you an idea of how things look.  A few days ago, the tops of stones in our stone wall were visible out back.  No more!

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, quite heavily at times, so that should help all of our snow to dissipate fairly quickly, but still -- it feels like taking one step forward and two steps backward. As we drove home from church last evening, the snow had already begun to fall thickly.  Thinking of how things were likely to look in the morning, I was reminded of these lines from Robert Frost:

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."

-- Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time 

Robert Frost, by the way, lived in New England and knew well what was meant by "Mud Time."

In an effort to help myself continue to think spring,   I am posting pictures of a couple of spring banners I made for my daughter's birthday.  I think I'm going to make some for myself as well.
Sheet-music spring banner
 The floral alphabet squares were a freebie from The Cottage Market.   The sheet music was from an antique piano lesson book (think kids taking lessons in 1924, 1935, and so on) that someone had given us.  The book is missing both covers and falling apart, so this is a great use for it.  I sewed vintage lace across the tops to hold the banner together and serve as a hanger.
Polka dot spring banner
These banners were printed out as is from The Cottage Market.  You can choose to print out whatever letters of the alphabet you want, and these banners also come in a  pastel color scheme.  Both of these banners can be found in The Cottage Market Freebies section.  You will find tons of inspiring printables and other goodies there, so check it out if you've never visited.

I printed the polka dot letters out on card stock, then just simply cut them out, leaving about half an inch at the top of each banner.  I folded over the half-inch tops thus formed and stapled them over some yellow/white baker's twine.

All of you who are already experiencing spring, be thankful!  It looks as if it may still be awhile up here, so the rest of you might consider making a few spring banners...

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter!

Lovely Easter graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Mr. T and I would like to wish a blessed Easter to all of our friends and readers.  May you all have a wonderful day of celebrating Christ's victory over the grave and all that it means to us!

We will spend most of the day with church family, including an early service and a scrumptious breakfast together.  We will be singing the hymn at the top of the page, for sure!  I plan to serve a simple lunch of ham and vegetables (and most likely ice cream!) in the early afternoon after our 11 a.m. worship service.  Later on, we will have a birthday celebration for my daughter, whose birthday just happens to fall on Easter this year. 

It will be a lovely and meaningful day with family and friends, and we wish the same for you.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Simple Easter and spring decorating

My hutch decorated for Easter and spring; I will show more detail below.
I thought I would show just a few pictures of some of my very simple decorating for Easter and spring.  It still looks very much like winter up here in that we still have LOTS of snow.  In places (like our driveway) we are beginning to have lots of ugly mud.  I detest that ugly fifth season (mud season) that we experience here in northern New England, but I try not to complain.  A side benefit is that my hubby often gets some time off due to mud, so there is something to be thankful for.  I must also pay attention to  the biblical admonition:

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Here are a few pictures.  I will simply caption them.
Top shelf:  Those are my Bunnykins dishes from childhood, a bunny and teapot I acquired for free (from different sources) and a Fiesta cup and saucer from my great-aunt

Bottom shelf: family transferware, papier-mache eggs from my childhood, pink "spring" tag made by my friend J., antique cards from my great-aunt; "chocolate" felt bunny made by me.   Green towel from Cracker Barrel.

Middle shelf: a nod to maple sugaring which is still going on, plus an egg-shaped soap in a candle holder from a friend.  Maple leaf pitcher a gift from my mom years ago.  My "Thankful" sign from The Wilds of New England expresses my thankfulness all year round, but especially for the true meaning of Easter this weekend.  I'm also thankful that maple sugaring with its hard work and sweet rewards was a part of my life growing up.
On the table: Just some simple colored foam eggs on a doily in my little cake dome.

On the island: wanted to use this "Faith" towel somewhere, so it's on the island with an Easter-egg candle (acquired free) atop a Fiesta ware saucer.  Love this color!

The blue flowers on the candle match so well with the saucer.  Serendipity!
Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!

Friday, April 03, 2015

The First Spring Day

Beautiful graphic from Free Pretty Things for You
For  years I have saved a couple of verses from the poem "The First Spring Day" by Christina Rossetti.  These were quoted on a page from a Tasha Tudor calendar many years ago.  I clipped out several quotes from the calendar as well as the beautiful artwork, and display them seasonally.

I always have the poem verses from "The First Spring Day" displayed either on my hutch or on the spring ribbon board.  Here they are:

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring...

The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing. 

~ Christina Georgina Rossetti

I have seen the robins -- and the maple sap, at least, is stirring.  But crocuses and snowdrops are still deep under the snow here.   Still,  I know spring will come, because the Bible tells me so:

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease."  (Genesis 8:22)
You can't read what it says, but the little printed card at the right of the soup tureen is this poem, clipped from a calendar.
Hope you have enjoyed this poem!  It has been a meaningful one to me.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April, 1953

Here is the April calendar page from the lovely little 1953 Woman's Day calendar I mentioned earlier.  It is so interesting that the days in 1953 fell on exactly the same days of the week as in 2015.

This pretty page depicts apple blossoms, but we will not be seeing (aside from a miracle) any apple blossoms here in our yard during April.  In fact, I hope we don't, because if apple blossoms appeared here in April they would have a very good chance of being frozen.

I will look forward to them, though.  We have a wild apple tree in our yard that sprang from seeds discarded over the bank while making many apple pies.
Our apple tree in a previous year
Closeup of a previous year's apple blossoms
This tree is really getting out of control, but we hate to cut it down.  Not only are its blossoms lovely and fragrant, but the apples really aren't bad either, if we can get them before they drop to the ground.  Ah, apple blossoms -- something to look forward to when spring finally arrives!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April goals

Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
A new month!  It's so nice to be able to turn the calendar to April, but of course that sure doesn't make it spring up here.  Monday night, we had a half inch of snow, and this morning it was only 19ยบ when we got up.  So winter is taking its time about leaving!

Nonetheless, a new month means new goals (and some of the old ones repeated).  Here's my plan for the month:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day.
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  (I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions -- now just have one week's worth left to go, but I work on this only on Saturdays so it will take another month)
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Continue study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times.
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night.
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Write 8 pages for kids' summer devotional
* Have a getaway with my hubby
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible
* Continue writing blog posts for Christmas in July
* Create several handmade gifts for April birthdays
* Celebrate April birthdays
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Continue planning for visit from our Nevada family
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic
* Transfer important items to new computer
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law
* Celebrate Easter with our church family

APRIL'S HEALTHY HABITS:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water/exercise


And here is how March went:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day -- DONE!
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  -- only 1 week left to go!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- DONE!
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE!
* Start new study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart -- DONE!
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn -- DONE!
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times -- not done.  Walked a few times.
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night -- not done consistently
* Limit sugar -- not done consistently
* Drink enough water each day -- not done consistently
* Start writing kids' summer devotional -- DONE!
* Have a getaway with my hubby -- rescheduled to April
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done consistenly
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- DONE!
* Start writing blog posts for Christmas in July -- DONE!
* Create several handmade gifts for March and April birthdays -- DONE! (although I am still working on the April ones)
* Send package to Nevada -- DONE!
* Celebrate March birthdays -- DONE!
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects -- DONE!
* Start planning for visit from our Nevada family -- DONE!
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- not done
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- spent only a half hour or so, but I have started!
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- not as much as I'd have liked
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE!
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad -- DONE!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic -- not done, though I did get some of it done
* Transfer important items to new computer -- not done
* Take items to thrift store -- DONE!
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law -- not done

MARCH'S HEALTHY HABIT:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water -- wasn't as consistent as I'd like in either area;  I am focusing on these habits again this month!

WORD FOR 2015: RENEWAL -- I've been so encouraged by my choice of a word.  I feel as if God is answering my prayers for renewal on many fronts this year.