Saturday, November 20, 2010


This thanksgiving I have so very much to be thankful for.  I am writing this a few days early because for the next few weeks my life will be pretty much insane. At this moment I am surrounded on every side by walls of boxes and there is still so much more to pack.
On Monday I will not only be packing the final boxes but packing our suitcases as well in preparation for our trip to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents and my sister's family.  It will be a much needed rest. We will be forced to get away from the new house and the thousands of responsibilities we feel while we are at home. 
I still have so much more to do but this past week I made myself stop and use a cookie press I haven't touched since it was given to me.  I was trying to decide whether it went in the "giveaway pile" (something I do every time we move and it still seems like we have way too many things!). The boys and I plopped out cookie sheets full of sugar cookies and that was a moment I won't forget, unlike so many other moments which so often take priority.
This evening I watched my son ride his bike with no training wheels for the first time.  I stood on the road in front of our new house surrounded by the last fallen leaves of the season in the cool twilight and cheered him on. It was overwhelming. Everything I have imagined in having a house of our own, being snuggly tucked into a neighborhood.
These are the blessings I will be reflecting on as I gather with my family around turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cherry pie.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving on

Our waiting has seemed to come to an end. At least in this particular area. There are many other things we are waiting, hoping, praying for but not this one. Not any more.  So many answers, so much blessing.
It might seem slightly insane, especially for those out there who are in the bomb shelter phase as far as the economy is concerned. While other were preparing for a long cold winter of economical woes we were out looking earnestly for a house.  We have been looking for over a year now.  It's been a roller-coaster to say the least. 
During the summer we found one that delighted us. It was small and it would have demanded a lot of adjustments but we were eager to squeeze ourselves in and make it work. We could only do so much and no more and that was just not enough so we said goodbye to that hope and moved on. After that we found the exact house we wanted.  I mentioned it before. It was in the neighborhood we longed for, a 1940s dream and priced right for us. We made an offer. The offer was accepted verbally but never signed. The owner was nervous, not sure if she could find another place to live, not sure where to move, so many things whirling around in her mind and we whirled with them. Up and down. Thinking it was it, then definitely not, then maybe. After riding those waves for a few weeks we finally let go. We came to terms with the fact that instead of being able to run ahead we were being told to stop. To wait. Keep praying and rest.
 Well, our waiting has finally come to an end. We found a house last week that was exactly like the house I just mentioned only in a better part of that exact neighborhood and with even more to offer than the other one did.  It truly has proved to be the answer we have been hoping and waiting for for so long.
Now comes new coats of paint, cleaning, spiffing up the upstairs floor, hanging curtains, and settling in.  We move the Monday after Thanksgiving and until then there is much work to be done. Nevertheless the work is energizing. I am painting MY house, we are fixing OUR house and visions of the future are exhilarating.  This house has a history that reaches all the way back to WWII and I am very excited to add to its future with the markings of my children as they grow. We embrace the blessings we are continually given and we are finally able to dance (even if it's a slightly exhausted dance).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Fall is full of so  many wonderfully fun things. Unfortunately this year we have not been able to participate in as many as we would have liked to. We missed the local pumpkin farm's corn maze, hay riding, pumpkin picking, animal petting fun but we were able to make it to a smaller event.
The spay and neuter clinic that my husband helped remodel (and also the place that found us Lucy) was having a pre-Halloween event.
We don't normally do much for Halloween. In fact, we don't do anything. We have tossed around ideas of celebrating Reformation Day or all sorts of things but in the end we would rather turn the porch light off and hunker down for a family movie night and pretend we don't hear the knocking on the door. For those avid trick-or-treaters out there you are probably appalled.  At one time in our past we gathered our arms full of small bits of candy and stood at the door anxiously awaiting the first ghoul or goblin. Our 2 year old at the time was just as eager until the first costume arrived.  He ran away screaming and it was all we could do to get him to come out of his room. From then on we've decided just to snatch up all the candy the day after Halloween and run around all year dressed up as something.
At this most recent event however, only Lucy showed up in costume.  As I mentioned earlier, it was plan B (little red riding hood with a basket of goodies for grandma) but she was still adorable.  We entered her in the pet costume contest but didn't stay to participate. They were giving my latest creation away as a prize so I was happy to bow out gracefully.  The boys ate popcorn, candy, caramel apples and threw bean bags.  How much more fun could you ask for?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New blog

I've been working on a blog for Oil and Spice that will be exclusively dedicated to information on our business. This blog will have announcements on new products  (I eagerly anticipate adding many gift options before Christmas) and often these announcements are accompanied with a discount! So check it out. Let me know what you think and visit often!

Oil and Spice Blog

One of our most recent announcements is the change in our look. We are desirous of creating a more artistic and uncluttered label that gives you an idea of what the soap looks like without having to rip into the packaging. I would love to hear what you think about the new labels.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

puss in boots

I am sorry to all of those who have come to enjoy my Friday Finds and were hoping to find one here this week. I have so many wonderful ideas of what I would like to feature next and yet time has been my enemy and I have not been able to begin my quest. 
One thing that has been absorbing some of my time (unnecessarily perhaps) has been creating a costume.  We are attending a costume party at the Spay and Neuter Clinic tonight. This is no ordinary costume party because the ones who are wearing costumes are pets. I came up with the brilliant idea of dressing Lucy up as a Smore.  She is white and fluffy and I have always called her my little marshmallow so the idea seemed perfect.  Little did I forsee that even after we created the cardboard crackers and cardboard pieces of chocolate and finally wriggled it onto our anxious dog, that Lucy would be terrified of it. I gave up the attempt in utter defeat this morning and ended up falling on plan B.  I will post pictures later.
There has also been a lot of gearing up for the holidays. Packages arrive everyday with essential oils, large quantities of bulk oils, bath brushes, soap dishes and many more wonderful things to add to my shop before Christmas rolls around. I'm already feeling the pressure. Time is flying by, the air is so much cooler and starting to smell of winter. The final leaves of fall are giving one beautiful finale
before falling to the ground and giving in to their fate.  
The music of Bach fills the house as Warren learns about another amazing composer. We sip tea, read "On the Banks of Silver Lake" and try to enjoy all the little moments we are given.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Brown Paper Packages

My desire with my Friday Finds posts is to find wonderful treasures on Etsy that I have not yet discovered and share them with all of you.  I love the idea of supporting handmade crafts and people who are striving to use their talents in a business venture.  It takes a lot of time and effort to create a product, market it and end the end actually make money on it. 
I must say I was delighted when one of the sellers I featured on my last Friday Finds, Lori's Place, offered to send me a sampling of her product for free. Just as a "thank you" for featuring her on my blog.  It was unexpected but I jumped on the opportunity because it is often so hard to know, when it comes to food related items, how they taste. It can look amazing in a photo and have a wonderful presentation but you have no way of knowing whether it actually tastes as delightful as it looks. 
I am very happy to say that I not only recommend this seller for her great customer service and kindness but her cookies are wonderful.  The sugar cookies she sent looked like these: 

The boys absolutely loved them! In fact I had to sneak a piece off of one just to get a taste for myself.  I think they would make a wonderful gift. My hope is to order some for family that is not in town, especially the boy's cousins who would be overjoyed to receive a gift of cookies in the mail. She has some amazing designs that fit almost any event. 
So even though I know she doesn't need my recommendation (she is quiet successful without these words to recommend her) I would definitely encourage you to try her!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Going Camping

One of the reasons for my earnest attempt at getting better was in anticipation of this weekend.  During the summer our church did a men and boys camping trip. I didn't mind that at all as it gave Ben a time with our two older sons and me an excuse to rent a movie he would never watch and try a Bertolli meal for the first time (I was surprised at how good it was!).  So as they were roughing it I was enjoying some much needed alone time with Christopher and my stay-in Italian meal.
Well, this weekend is going to be different.  They announced another camping trip only this time it is going to be everyone.  It may sound a bit strange but I am actually pretty excited.  I have technically never gone camping. I guess there was that time in high school. The only other attempt at camping was made by my husband and I shortly after we got married. We thought it would be wonderful to pack up some sleeping bags, canned ham, and other great necessities and camp on the Appalachian trail during the fall.  The only trouble was that Ben didn't get home until after it was already getting dark. We forged on ahead not dissuaded by the darkness that was beginning to fall. Drove up into the mountains, through some pretty scary woods (at least they seemed that way at night) only to walk around for about 10 minutes, get totally freaked out and make out way back home to our cozy apartment and soft bed. 
Thankfully this time it's a little more organized and I am pretty excited to be able to drink in the stars. The sky is perfectly clear and the night promises to be very cool.  So with sleeping bags in hand, we are going camping!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I really believe my mom was superwoman.  I don't recall a time when she was sick, or at least sick and I knew about it. One thing she always said, "When you are a mom you don't get to take the day off."  And it was true for her.  She worked and did everything around the house and I don't ever remember hearing her complain about it.  She does tell one story of a time when both of us girls were young and in the throws of the stomach flu...she was too. She couldn't stop to care for herself but just thought of how to take care of us even though she was absolutely miserable. 
This image has remained in my mind. Every time I start to get sick I am determined not to stop. My first action is to ignore the fact that I am sick (maybe if I ignore it, it will go away).  When that doesn't work I have to give in to the reality that I am but I still try to keep going. The kids still need food. Life still goes on.
This time I was able to get some rest.  I slept much of the day yesterday and my 6 year old son took care of everything (at least everything he could). He said, "If you get a cut, mommy, I'll bring you the bandaids, and if you need medicine I will bring it to you." I assured him that if he could just watch his brothers for a bit that would be just fine.  He even went so far as to take his youngest brother potty and wipe him (now that is brotherly love!). I was impressed with how much he could do. Even last night he insisted on sweeping and mopping the floors (the floor being one of my cleaning obsessions). So I join the land of the living even more impressed with my boys. 
I am still confident that as a mom you rarely get the luxuries of having a sick day.  If you don't do the job, who will?  Yet we are given grace to continue in our calling and press on even when we don't feel well, would rather be in bed, but the world spins on and we still have to take care of the little ones God has given to us. 
thank you mom for setting such a wonderful example of strength....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Finds: Colors of Fall

i can't escape the feeling that comes over me this time of year.  i love sipping hot tea on cool mornings, hearing the leaves rustle endlessly as the breeze blows through the open windows. i love seeing the colors... the bright orange pumpkins surrounded by earthy greens and browns, the bright reds and yellows of the leaves.  it is hard to not become thoughtful, absorbed in the world around me, forgetful of the things that so easily burden.

Today's friday finds is dedicated to fall.










Saturday, September 25, 2010

small vs. big

Ever since we moved into our little country retreat I have taken a walk or jog in the early morning before my husband leaves for work. This habit has quickly come to an end as the light refuses to shine before 7 and I have realized that things aren't exactly the same in the country as they are in town. There are bears out here and several other wild animals of which I would like to remain ignorant. I'm not trying to be overly paranoid but the other day I decided to brave a walk in the early morning light and something growled at me from a large bush. I hastily ran back up our steps, waited a few minutes, then began to think I was loosing my mind. "This is ridiculous! I should be able to walk. There is nothing there!" So down I go again only to be snarled out more ferociously by something I could only hear huffing and puffing (I never discovered what it was). So thus ended my wonderful morning walks.

The other thing I have been musing on lately is that there seems to be two groups of people out there....small dog owners and large dog owners. I, being a small dog owner, have nothing against large dogs or their owners. I am relatively unfazed if they bark at me from the protection of their home or guard their front porch ferociously. That is what they are supposed to do, right? Unfortunately being a small dog owner makes me a minority in Southwest Virginia. In our neighborhood alone I think that I am one of let's see, maybe two. The people here not only have 1 large dog but can't seem to stop there. They have at least 6-7 large and somewhat ferocious dogs. I'm sure they can rest very easy at night knowing that no matter what type of end of the world comes they will stay snug in their beds but it is a bit hard for us small dog owners (who only have one by the way) to function sometimes.

For instance, on one of my invigorating walks I was approaching my neighbors house when she looks at me and says, "Bell's out!" I stared at her blankly. First of all I have no idea who or what Bell is and secondly I'm not sure what I am supposed to do with this information. Seeing that I was failing to act at this seemingly clear announcement she says again, a bit louder this time, "BELL's OUT!" That's when I realize that Bell is one of her many LARGE dogs. Not only that but apparently Bell doesn't play well with others, especially little white dogs that Bell would like to have as a morning snack. So I quickly scoop Lucy up in my arms, who is on a leash by the way, and proceed to walk briskly to my road. All of the sudden Bell makes her appearance. Growling, following me and wanting desperately to just have a tiny taste of the little marshmallow in my arms. I'm saying the whole time, "don't show fear. Dogs know when you are afraid, everything is going to be fine..just keep walking."  The owner is just standing there.  

Once I finally reach the safety of my own road I put my dog down...still on her leash mind you...and finished my walk. This is when my fear goes away and I start getting frustrated. Why do I have to run in panic every time some large dog that is not well trained and not friendly gets to roam freely and attack or growl at whomever or whatever it likes?? Why is it okay to just let your dog out unleashed and unfenced when it doesn't do well with other dogs or other people?? I hate taking my dog for a walk and jumping every time a dog starts barking or pick her up every time a large and territorial dog comes bounding our way.  (by the way I did actually have my previous dog attacked by two Dalmatians while my dog was on a leash and I stood there watching as they literally flipped my dog over and started gnawing on his stomach. If my dad hadn't been there my little dog would probably not have made it).

Maybe I am being overly paranoid but it is hard sometimes to be small in a big dog world. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding a home

A few weeks ago I ended a joyous post exclaiming that I thought we had finally found a house.  Since then I have been waiting to share the wonderful news and dance all around feeling the glorious excitement of finally having a place to call home, to put down our roots and start marking walls with the height of each of my children.  Unfortunately that news must wait; that dance must be postponed.

This little family of mine has been looking for a house for over a year now.  We started out just kind of meandering through craigslist and haphazardly driving through some of the neighborhoods we admire.  That meandering turned into a more focused search and from that our hearts began to be filled with the desire to buy a house and settle in for years to come.  This searching has come with much prayer and a lot of waiting.

When we finally discovered a cute 1940s house near downtown our hopes were chained and we were desperately hiding the key so they wouldn't escape and start soaring to new heights. It is very hard to keep ones hopes under lock and key but we did all we could to accomplish this.  We made an offer and tried to push every thought of where our furniture would go, what vegetables we could grow in the back yard, what books we could read snuggled in the living room.  After the offer was made we heard that the owner would accept it but the she was still uncertain where she would live and did not want to make any contractual obligation to us until she knew for certain she was going somewhere.

Even though this news was happy, sad and uncertain all at the same time we still waited eagerly for the answer we so longed to hear--that she had found a place and we would be moving into her lovely home that seemed so perfectly suited for us.

We finally got a call a few weeks ago (when my original mention of the house appeared on this blog) that she was indeed going to sign our contract. So the keys to the chains were brought out and our hopes were tentatively set free although nothing is ever certain until a contract has been signed. The reasons for our apprehensions were realized when the next day we heard that she was having more doubts and was not ready to sign anything.

So here we are, still waiting.... At this point the house is growing into a faded memory of what might have been.  We're trying to move on.  There's still tiny glimmers of hope that spring up when her realtor informs our realtor that she's still looking, still trying to find another home for her own things and memories to go into but it does not look promising.

For now we are staying here, in our country paradise. A place we do not own but are nevertheless enjoying. Trying to remain content with the drive and the distance and still praying and waiting.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Finds: Scent of Fall

I was at a loss for what to do this Friday. What wonderful things could I find? What treasures lay buried in the world of Etsy?  I finally settled upon something that has been on my mind as fall is approaching.

During this time of year I love the cool breeze that blows through the house. It seems to make everything smell and feel fresher.  I also love to burn candles in the evening, when it is cool and dark earlier than normal. I love to be surrounded by delightful scents.  The smells that embrace you after baking, as you walk in the woods, as you stroll through a ripe fall orchard. 

Here are some finds that will bring the smells of fall and the holidays into our homes.







Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Things I say almost 100 times a day:

put your crocs in the basket!

christopher leave lucy alone

just a minute


focus on what you are doing

look in front of you when you walk

Things I do almost 100 times a day:

pick up the shoes and put them in the basket

wipe the counter

take lucy out 

Things I should say but don't:

it's okay

i love you

you're doing a great job


Things I should do but often don't:

hug after boy randomly steps on car, runs into wall, stubs toe, or any other manner of small injuries that occur somewhat regularly

forget about the laundry and ironing and spend hours just reading to the boys

run outside with the boys

leave the shoes alone and let the boys pick them up eventually or find them when they are frantic to go outside

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Holding On

Lately I have been holding a little tighter to the blessings that surround me. Those little moments that so easily and quickly pass me by without notice.  The brilliant blue eyes of Christopher as he sings his undecipherable words and exclaims over every small detail of his life. The goofy faces and surprise kisses from Peter as he sneaks in tiny moments when the attention is drawn to him. The very insightful observations of Warren who acts more and more like an adult trapped in a small boys body and his sudden outbursts of joy or cries of frustration at the happy and difficult things in his life.

I look on these moments even more as we wait for so many things. So many thoughts can easily overshadow these everyday moments. Concerns that the house will not be as clean as I want it to be, that there seem to be more needs that I can keep up with in my family and in those around us, that the book I chose for book club may not be a joy to anyone else but me, that my business may go through a dry spell or that I won't be able to keep up when it doesn't, that we will never find a house in downtown and will continue spending much of our precious time in the car, that the growth of our family would stop here and not contain more tiny faces and brilliant smiles.

All these things can distract me from the breathtaking beauty that I am immersed in. The beauty of my precious boys. The beauty of a healthy marriage and loving family. The beauty of fall as its cool breeze rustles through the trees and caresses our faces.

I am learning. Slowly. Painfully. I am learning to stop wanting more and to make the most of each of the moments I am given today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Finds: Bag lady

I don't think I quite fit the normal reputation women have for accruing more bags and shoes than they could possibly use. I probably end up going the other direction which is somewhat unnerving when I find myself tromping into church all dressed up with my messenger bag slung over my freshly ironed Sunday clothes.

I love the bag I have. I bought it on etsy a few years ago from August Lately. Unfortunately when I look her up I find that she might have decided to take a different direction with her business. I loved her bags and she found a fabric that matched me perfectly. The down side of the bag is that it is the only one I carry. It doesn't match when I wear black and it's not necessarily the dressiest thing I own.

I find that the few times I do end up dressing up to go somewhere I am at a loss for what to put my stuff in.  Gone are the days of a cute clutch or tiny purse. Yes, I am becoming my mother. I was determined I would not be one of those who carried around all their life possessions in an enormous bag that you can't really find anything in anyway. I have however had to realize that I can't just carry my wallet and a tube of lip gloss. There are so many other things that are now necessities such as wipes (in spite of the fact that none of my kids are in diapers anymore I still carry around a package of wipes), several tubes of lip gloss all in different shades, piles of receipts that I am sure I will need later, toy cars I pick up behind my boys when they drop them on the store floor, several packs of gum from fruity to minty, etc.

So this Friday Finds is dedicated to bags.  Bags of all kinds really but soon I will be in search of something that will grow with me. That can handle the non-diapering stage and yet adjust when I need to add diapers again so that I don't want to carry around 2 or 3 bags everywhere I go.  A bag that would look great joining me to the store but also to church or on a date with my husband.  So here are a few lovely finds.