Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Homemaking Party: A {Very Extended} Summer Break in Oregon

My family visiting me in the hospital on Easter Sunday.
Hello friends! I've been MIA a couple weeks because....I had an appendectomy!!!! Can you believe it? Ouch! Yep, two weeks ago I was in extreme pain and knew something was wrong. It took them four days to decide to do a second scan and by then my appendix had burst and things were not good! Thankfully, I'm home recovering well now.

Ironically, the day before I got sick, Jamie and I had decided on a plan for our unexpected need to move out of this house. {If you've not been following, our landlord is selling the house---this is the second time this has happened in 9 months...} We decided to step up our game and get ready to buy our own house that no landlord can sell out from under us! Our plan was for me to take the kids and head to my mom's in Oregon for the summer while he stays here with friends---leaving us very little living expenses and a whole bunch of $$ to save toward our home. This was a great plan...until I got sick.

It's still the plan---but it's been so humbling to sit here in bed while my husband and kids literally do everything it takes to get our family ready to move out. From packing to hauling to cleaning to shopping, they've done all the things I normally do during the day, as well as during a move. I'm so thankful---they're doing a great job!

So, next week at this time, we will be preparing to head out to Oregon! I'm looking forward to the time spent with family and friends...this might turn into more of a travel blog for the summer as I share with you all the Pacific NW fun! Still, it's going to be really hard to be away from Jamie all summer. Please pray for us!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Christian Home Magazine #136

Happy Weekend!

I hope you'll be blessed by these submissions from these beautiful ladies. Enjoy!

Have a lovely week!

Frugal Meals

Laura from Harvest Lane Cottage always has such great ideas for living frugally. Here are Two Thrifty Meals she enjoys making for her family when finances are tight.

Biblical Womanhood

Emily from Blessed Homemaking shares a timely article about what to do when God has you in a season of waiting. Visit her to read her thoughts on Having to Wait.


Here's a delicious recipe for Fresh Strawberry Cream Torte from Sarah at Classical Homemaking, perfect for an Easter treat!

Here's another cute idea from Classical Homemaking. Check out this easy Easel Card Tutorial for a fun gifting idea.


Mrs. Lane's entire family enjoyed this fast-paced family film. Check out her review of Adrenaline at Harvest Lane Cottage.

Pretty Thrifty

Emily from Teen for the Lord has some great insights regarding waiting on and praying for her future spouse. Check out Pretty Thrifty: Loving Him Even Before You Meet.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Homemaking Party: Home Dreaming with a Thankful Heart

View from Chawton House on the Knight Estate (Jane Austen's brother's home)
East Hampshire, England
Photo by Lynzie Coller
Welcome to The Homemaking Party! I hope everyone is having a lovely week so far. Tonight I'm working in my kitchen, making some excellent berries and cream muffins for the kids' breakfast tomorrow. I've got the windows open and there's a pretty exciting storm going on outside. I love big thunderstorms---as long as no one gets hurt! Where we came from in Eastern Oregon, storms were big but harmless. Here in Arkansas, they have the potential of bringing about some pretty big hail, wind, and tornado damage.

I mentioned last month that our family is moving again. While we'll just be looking for a home to rent for now, I'm really longing for the day we can buy our own home. We've shied away from it in the past for a couple of reasons. Before about three years ago, we were never in the financial position to afford a home. After that, I got it in my head that I wouldn't have enough money to own a home and travel---so I wheedled my way into three England trips and my husband put off saving for a home the last three years. {By the way, wheedling is bad. Don't wheedle. It's unBiblical.}

Chawton House Garden Wall
{I wonder how many times Jane stepped through that opening?}
Photo by Lynzie Coller
Anyway, now that we've lost our rental twice in nine months, (apparently the buying/selling market is hot where we live and our landlords are getting in on it) I'm really seeing the benefit of owning our own home! So...England might have to be out this year. Maybe next year too.

It's ok though, really. The last nine months of craziness {I won't even go into it...trust me...it's mostly good crazy, but still crazy} has taught me so much about thankfulness. Contentment. Restraint. Prioritizing. Thankfulness has been the biggest thing. Because while Jamie and I have walked through some inconvenient things, I've watched friends walk through some tragic things. Divorce, death, abuse, major health issues.

Chawton House Garden Wall
Photo by Lynzie Coller
Whenever I begin to worry about where we're going to live in two months and how we're going to afford the move, I just think about Philippians 4:19 and how God will supply all my needs. Housing is a need---he'll cover it. But what about my friends who have walked through tragic things? The faith it takes them to hold on to the Bible's truth is far greater than the faith it takes me to stop flipping out about moving again. These thoughts stir up a lot of emotions in me---but the one I want to make sure I'm always practicing is thankfulness.

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party! I hope you find lots of blessing and inspiration here this week!

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Christian Home Magazine #135

Happy Friday!

I hope you'll be blessed by these submissions from these beautiful ladies. Enjoy!

Have a lovely weekend!

Pretty Thrifty

Let's open up the magazine with an encouraging word from Emily at Teen For the Lord. Emily inspires us to trust God's leading in Spring is Here! Pretty Thrifty.

Young Ladies at Home

Another young lady with an uplifting blog is Lynzie from Thoughts From a Young Writer. Today Lynzie offers a thoughtful Scripture study on The Fruits of the Spirit: Fruit for Life.

Financial Freedom

Laura from Harvest Lane Cottage always has such great tips for living frugally. Here's a great master list of 40 Ways to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without.


Emily at Blessed Homemaking shares her plans for the time when she becomes an "empty-nester". Read The Importance of Older Women at Home at Blessed Homemaking.

Time Management is something most homemakers wish they could get a better handle on. Laura Lane offers a perspective to consider in Minutes or Hours?


Courageous Gentleness by Mary Ann Froehlich helps women balance a bold and snarky personality with the humble grace God wants us to exhibit to others. Visit Belle's Library to read Sarah's thoughts on the book.

Hold the Faith by Susan M.B. Preston is a fiction story about the early Christian church and Laura Lane's review touts it as an excellent read. Check out her thoughts about the story at Harvest Lane Cottage.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Be Still My Soul

Photography by Michael Coller
Good morning!

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! It's a stormy day here in NW Arkansas and we are all staying home and staying in!

All week, I've been singing the hymn, "Be Still My Soul", based on Psalm 46:10. It has spoken to me in several ways lately. Here are my favorite parts:

"Be Still, My Soul"
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Hymn #651 
The Lutheran Hymnal
Titled: "Stille, mein Wille"
Composer: Jean Sibelius, b. 1865, arr.
Tune: "Finlandia"

Do you have a favorite song or verse that is blessing you today? Let me know! Hope you have a beautiful week!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Christian Home Magazine #134

Happy Friday!

Our magazine is a little thin this week as I'm attending the Teach Them Diligently conference and Lynzie's babysitting. That's two writers out for the weekend! I know you'll be blessed by these submissions from these beautiful ladies. Enjoy!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Frugal Finances

Frugal Finances blogger, Laura Lane, gives us some great instructions on making Super Quick, Super Cheap Laundry Detergent.


Entertainment writer, Laura Lane, shares a review of The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller.

Biblical Womanhood

Biblical Womanhood contributor, Emily from Blessed Homemaking, offers a challenge for modern women in The Lie That Feminism Built.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tying Up Loose Ends, More Rock Hunting, & My First Author Event

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! You may not have heard the news, but we find ourselves moving again!! Our landlord has decided to sell his home, (which is what happened in our last home nine months ago that put us here) so we are on the move again! Someday you'll see me on here having bought my first home---but for now we're still renters. So...I've started packing and thought it would be a silly joke on my kids to have this little Kewpie doll peeking out of the top of this box. After I took the photo, I drew a little speech bubble and wrote "Hi!" Ha!! We'll see who discovers it first...

Speaking of packing...and Kewpies... While I was going through some things on my desk, I found a whole bunch of stuff that I keep meaning to feature here on the blog. So, today I'm tying up some of those loose ends (others I'll feature on my literature blog, Belle's Library) so I can pack these things away. I'll start with these two antique photos of babies with their Kewpie dolls. I love to collect Kewpies and have several from different generations. Sometimes I search Etsy for Kewpie stuff and every now and then, I find a photo with a Kewpie in it. They're pretty rare so I snatch them up fast! I believe the one on the left is probably circa early 1950s and the one on the right is likely 1920s. What do you think?

This one is just so special. I love the look on the woman's face as she attempts to entertain the baby with the doll. Of course, baby is distracted by the photographer and has no interest in Kewpie. I believe the caption says, "Mother's Cupies"---which leads me to believe she had a Kewpie collection too! I love her sheer dress, her head covering, her long necklace...I just love everything about this photo and her sweet expression reminds me of my friend, Leah.

Next up is this birthday card my friend Tina gave me. It's hard to tell, but the pink rose is made from a pretty, satiny fabric. This card dates to the 1950s. It's so special---she knows me well!

Here is the inside. I often send vintage cards to my friends and family but this is one of just a handful that have been given to me. How sweet!

This is a neat vintage pattern from the 1960s that I got from my friend Cathy when I was in England in September. What I really like about this is not so much the pattern, but the packaging. I also love to collect vintage postal ephemera and this is the first time I've seen "the other side" of the mail order catalog form. 

This is one of those little order forms one used to be able to snip from a catalog, newspaper, or magazine and send away for something. It has always seemed silly or maybe just scammy to me, but I guess that's what one did before being able to call up a company or pull up a website and order with a bank card. 

Finally, here is a collection of antique postcards I won in a swapping group. The one with the pansies is blank. The yellow rose card was printed in Germany and tells the intended recipient "This rose is in bloom with no now in our yard." The card was never sent to Mary H. Sherman. The card with the two flower baskets says, "Birthday Greetings". The other side is written out to Miss Rosa Baker of Avoca, Wisconsin from "your sister Ella." The postcard of the cathedral in Rouen features Ruth discussing her week in France and plans to visit Belgium, Holland, and England. She will be "home in three weeks now" and she closes with, "Perhaps I shall find time to write some letters on the boat." Postmarked 1932. The one with the two girls is written in Dutch but features a Connecticut postmark and was sent to someone in Massachusetts. The one with the four men pictures Elder F. Johnson, N.L. Brown, O. J. Miller, and Elder E.W. Brunner(?) Finally, the one with the hollyhocks and butterflies is dated 1918 and is an Easter Greeting card. It's written to Mrs. Alice Maupin of Free Union, VA and reads, "March 31, 1918 Wishing you a peaceful Easter full of joy. As ever your sister Ella." 

Yesterday, Michael and I went out to do some errands and we found more rocks. It's funny---I've only ever found them with him! We rehid the top two and left the bottom two where they were.

I also took Michael on a short walk to see the chapel hidden back in the woods here in town. This is a popular spot for weddings, piano recitals, and photo shoots.

Relaxing music plays inside and there are gorgeous views of the lake and forest. Bella Vista is truly one of the prettiest places I've been!

...and here I am at my first author event, held last Saturday at the Bella Vista Library. Jamie, dear that he is, brought all the kids to say Hi and support me and the other authors in attendance. It was a really fun day. I met several new authors and sold some books to boot! I'm thinking of seeing if some local churches would like me to come and give a talk at their ladies events. It's been years since I've done that but I'm feeling the nudge... Ha!

Well, I hope everyone is really enjoying their week! We are waiting on some thunderstorms tonight and throughout the week. Hopefully it will cool down! Whew! Blessings!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday {on Sunday night}

It's a new week already and I'm gearing up for busy! But first...some Happy Homemaker thoughts!

The weather...

The weather here is stinkin' hot. Stinkin'. That is all.

Right now I am...

Jamie has just gotten the four littles to bed and the olders are spending time on their own various pursuits. He has some studying to do so I'm considering whether I want to visit blogs or finish a book. 


I'm super excited for the Teach Them Diligently convention next weekend. I've been wanting to go to one for years and it's coming to our area! Yay!

On my reading pile...

I've just finished reading Tracie Peterson's Treasured Grace for a book review. I'm not normally a romance novel sort of girl but I picked this one up because it's an Oregon Trail story set at Whitman Mission near where I grew up in Eastern Oregon.

Something fun to share...

Yesterday was my first author event at our local library. I had a blast meeting new authors and several of my friends stopped by to support me. Jamie brought all the kids over too! That was SUCH a blessing! I even sold some books!

On the menu for this week...

Leftover supreme! Thursday is grocery day so we'll be eating up whatever's in the fridge. I gave our second fridge to a family in need so now we've got to eat up those leftovers before I can make anything new---storage space is limited!

On my to do list...

Packing. Our landlord is selling his home so we've got to find a new place to live. I'll be busy packing the first part of the week and then will take a break to enjoy the homeschool convention at the end of the week.

Looking around the house...

I need more boxes. Ha!

From the camera...

One of my favorite weekends in recent history was last weekend when Lynzie and I went to Joplin to attend a ladies conference. The conference was nice but the really great part was meeting our blogging friends, the Lanes!

On my prayer list...

We need direction about this move and some other personal things. It seems God is giving us several options and leaving the choice up to us. I think it would be easier if he'd just shut all the doors but one. Ha!

Linking with:

Making Your Home Sing Monday

Saturday, March 18, 2017

In Which Lynzie and I Visit SW Missouri and Meet Some Online Friends to Boot!

Last weekend, Lynzie and I took a little road trip up to Joplin, Missouri to attend a women's conference I heard about last year. We had a few adventures along the way and even met a few online friends in person for the first time!

The conference didn't start until 7:00 Friday night but Lynzie and I were on the road by 3:00. We had some time to kill so we drove up the road a bit to Carthage, MO---a town we visited last year and wanted to see more of. I was especially interested in taking Lynzie to see this Alice In Wonderland sculpture that I'd read about on another blog.

Carthage's downtown features several of these lovely sculptures by the late artist, Bill Snow. Read more about him and his work here.

The usually-costumed Lynzie was decked out in Steampunk garb so we took a couple artsy photos around town. Here she is looking toward the courthouse---having just stepped off a magical path...

 There were several cute shops on the square but we only had time to stop in one. Lynzie chose Oldies & Oddities Mall---an excellent choice featuring lots of vintage photos and jewelry, among other neat things.

After our little shop stop, we headed to Joplin to make sure we could find the church before dark. Up the street a bit was a lovely family style restaurant called Sami's. We both ordered chicken fried steak. It was awesome---almost as awesome as mine!

Just before dark, we found some abandoned tracks and took a few more fun photos.

Finally, it was time to head to the church where we were planning to meet up with my blogging friend, Laura from Harvest Lane Cottage, and her two daughters. Lynzie became instant friends with Emily and Amy and Laura and I hit it off immediately! 

The night was fun and encouraging!

The next morning, we headed back to Joplin for the Saturday session. First, we stopped in for an early breakfast at Bella Vista's Duffer's Cafe. We're always the youngest in there by a couple generations---but it's a great place to eat!

After our inspiring day in Joplin, we headed home to find big, fat snowflakes just over the Arkansas border! It ended up sticking for a whole 18 hours---first snow in two years for Bella Vista!

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