Monday, May 31, 2010

Skagit County Memorial Highway: Gratituesday

I think it's pretty much a given that a lot of Gratituesday participants are going to have a Memorial Day-themed post today. That's why I wasn't going to do one.

I really don't want to admit this but I'm going to: I don't think that the majority of the people of my generation take military service as seriously as those in the earlier generations do. I don't think we really "get" the idea of sacrifice---of valuing freedoms. There's several reasons for that: we've grown up in a "me-based" culture, we've been taught to look out for "number one", we've been inundated since infancy with images and talk of war to the point that it's just not a big deal anymore. That's really super disgusting---but it's the truth.

So...I was going through my pictures just now, trying to find something really "neat" to write about tonight. I came across the picture above and realized that I needed to write this Memorial Day-themed post after all!

Last week on my husband's day off, we took the kids to a local public garden and spent a good two hours walking around and enjoying the beautiful plants and trees. In the rose garden, we came across this memorial marker for the Skagit County Memorial Highway that was dedicated in 1931 to those who served in World War I. Before actually reading it, our kids were curious about it and 8-year-old Michael walked up to check it out. Soon, he was gathering us all around and waiting for everyone to quiet down so he could read it to us. When he was finished, he just stood there for a little bit and thought about what he'd read. In fact, they all just kind of stood there quietly---contemplating.

I really don't remember the conversation after that---just the feeling that they had really taken the time to remember those soldiers and recognize their humanity---those were real people who left their families, homes and familiarity---never knowing if they'd return to normalcy. I can't imagine making that sacrifice.

To be honest, I wouldn't make that sacrifice. I'm not soldier material. Not because I'm not physically fit enough, not because I'm afraid. Sickeningly enough, it's because I don't really love my country. I don't really understand the price that continues to be paid, year after year and century after century to keep the good in this country. I read on someone's blog today that it's easier to take liberty for granted when you've never had it taken from you. Thank God he's not done what we deserve and stripped us of that liberty.

Today, I'm grateful for my children who showed me the importance of remembrance, acknowledgment, and respect. I pray that they'll be some of

many in a new generation who will honor and cherish their freedoms and be willing to defend them and the country that they love.

For more Gratituesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mystery of History Creation Lesson: Blue Monday

Today for Blue Monday over at Smiling Sally's blog lots of talented bloggers are writing about their beloved blue "stuff"!

I'm joining in the fun by featuring a series of artwork that my kids did one day during our Mystery of History lesson on creation. All were done on blue construction paper.

Each child was responsible for creating a picture for one day of creation. Selah, age 3, did Day 1 (above). She's got some black to represent darkness and some sunshines to represent light. Jesus is featured there as well because He was there too!

Lynzie, 10, got two days since we had more days than artists---her picture shows Day 2 and Day 3:

Cainan, 5, did Day 4:

He's got a sun, moon, and stars in there!

Elisha, age 6, took Day 5:

He was feeling a little unsure of his birds but we all assured him they were great!

And finally, Michael, age 8, did Day 6:

Michael was uncomfortable depicting Adam and Eve without clothing so he decided to dress them! He's got several cute animals there, including a horse, a flamingo, a frog?, a monkey and a tiger!

I told the kids that I'd do Day 7 but, unfortunately, have been too busy with new baby to get to it yet! I have, instead, acted out that lovely day of rest with many naps since! I also blogged about rest here!

Hope you all have a great and restful Blue Monday! Visit Smiling Sally to see more participants!

Avoiding Overload: Part One

A couple days ago, I wrote about the need to rest in God when one is feeling overwhelmed. In that same vein, I went and found some old journals that I'd taken church notes in (back when I had a free hand and a free lap during church!) Some of the following information on overload is taken from notes I took on April 23, 2003 from the Wednesday night message of Pastor Phil Carney of Pendleton First Assembly in Pendleton, Oregon.

Since I've been blogging for the last couple days about things that can cause us to be overwhelmed or distracted, I won't go into that again here. I'm sure you can insert your own scenario to make this applicable.

When we take on too many responsibilities, even "good" ones, we can start to sacrifice our time with God to do these other things. We all have 24 hours in our day---how we manage that is what determines whether or not we are good stewards of our time. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary and Martha illustrate the classic war between the "human 'doing' and the human 'being'". Jesus points out that Martha was doing so much that she was missing the main thing: Jesus was THERE! He was present...but she was not.

We have got to make time to sit with our full attention on the Lord, making sure to hear what He would say to us. We must make the time to read and really comprehend what God's word is saying to us. The Bible is food and we should eat daily!

There has never been a time like today---mainly because of the technological advancements that we've made just in the last century. We weren't designed for the vast amount of information that is forced on us daily. Think about when you watch something like Fox News. You've got the graphics on both side bars flashing, the guy in the video talking, and two or three different headlines scrolling in two directions across the bottom of the screen. It is impossible to focus on all of them at the same time. Just watching the news can really wear a girl out!

Not only were we not designed for the amount of information that we're exposed to, but our spirits were not designed for the huge amount of tragic things we are made aware of every time we turn on the news or the computer or open the newspaper. It's no wonder that we're so stressed out, full of worry and fear, and paranoid---we dwell way too much, perhaps in a large part subconsciously, on all the negative and terrible things that are going on in the world. These things are tragic, yes---but there's only so much we can handle---especially if these tragic things are happening so far away that there's nothing we can actually physically do to change the circumstances.

When the Titanic sank in 1912, it took 5-7 days for the whole world to find out. Now, there'd be television crews in helicopters patching in live footage as it goes down.

When we exceed our limits, we get into trouble. Even Jesus had limits and had to get away and rest and eat and spend time with God. The Bible teaches us that God has no limits but nowhere does it suggest that WE have no limits! Limits were designed so that we'd know who is God!

One of the most spiritual things that we can do is to rest. It is prideful for us to think that we have to wear ourselves out to accomplish something for God. He will give us exactly enough time to do exactly what is required of us.

A good indication that you are doing more than God is requiring of you is that feeling of being overloaded and overwhelmed. I spent several years in children's ministry: I taught kindergarten at a Christian school, I headed up a Missionettes ministry of about 10 leaders and 80 girls, I taught countless Sunday school and Missionette classes. I spent a couple years in women's ministry: I participated in meetings, events, retreats. I put together programs and speeches and tea parties. I led a Mothers of Preschoolers class. I held Bible studies in my home and spent extra time outside my home mentoring and ministering. These were all good things and I was able to impact lives and have my own impacted. However, I was overwhelmed, exhausted, unhealthy and my home was falling apart.

Thank God that he showed me that I have PLENTY to do right here at home. I felt like I had to have a "real" ministry on top of my "job" as a mom and a wife and a homemaker. What I couldn't see was that my home and family were being seriously neglected while I tried to keep up with all this busyness. Once I realized that I was being lied to and led astray by an Enemy who desires to destroy my family, my eyes were opened to the wonderful blessing of the ministry God has given me right here at home.

Now is not the time for me to be physically ministering outside my home. However, God has given me this blog and a group of faithful readers who are being blessed when I do have the time to sit down and write. God saw my desire to write and my desire to minister to other women and showed me a way that I could still have that ministry without overwhelming myself or neglecting my family.

Today, I encourage you to take a few minutes for inventory. Allow God to show you the things in your life that are overwhelming you because they simply don't belong there. Then ask him to give you the steps, one at a time (so you're not overwhelmed! :), that you need to take to make the right changes. God desires us to be at peace as much as possible. He wants us to rest in him and to have the energy and excitement to serve him in the place he's designed for us. Rather than trying to "fit him in" to an already overly-scheduled day, let's allow him to have the very best of us each day.

Romans 15: Two Are Better Than One

Romans 15:1-2, 5-7: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification...Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ has also accepted us to the glory of God."

While reading this verse the first word that came to mind was "addiction". As I'm writing this though, I think a more general term for a more general audience would be "distraction". I was first reminded of a friend's husband who has spent the last week trying to give up smoking. I thought of him when I read, "Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement..." It got me thinking that we all probably have addictions in our lives (a substance like drugs, alcohol, or food; a pastime like video games, exercise, or Facebook...). If not, then I know I can safely say that we all have distractions---things that are taking our time and focus away from the things that really matter like playing with our kids, listening to our spouses, or meditating on God's word.

As I continued thinking and writing, I began to apply these verses to the struggle that my husband and I are having with trying to break our own addictions to food and the things that have distracted us from a more active lifestyle. I thought of us when I read, "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves."

The truth of the matter regarding addictions and distractions is that every one of us has got them---and every one of them has the potential to lead us into a sinful lifestyle and every sin is equally damning and ultimately, equally destructive so...where am I going with this? We need to STOP JUDGING!

We need to stop not only judging others and saying, "what I'm doing might be bad but at least I'm not doing what SHE does," but we need to also stop judging ourselves by comparing ourselves to another and saying, "I'm less loved by God/less worthy of salvation/less allowed forgiveness than SHE is because what I've done is worse."

The only person we should be comparing ourselves to or judging ourselves and others by is Christ. Anyone with brains and a shred of humility will admit that we can never measure up to Christ and that's where God's grace comes in...(but that's another subject).

The point that I'm so "wordily" trying to make is that instead of approaching addictions and distractions from a negative, judgemental and unproductive point of view, we should instead find ways to address them in a way that's positive, proactive, and might actually lead to a change someday.

We are all, at some point or another, going to be the weaker brother. (See 1 Corinthians 8:7-13: "Therefore if food (*or whatever else could be an addiction or distraction*) causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble"). As brothers and sisters we need to bear the weaknesses of those around us who are struggling, knowing that our weak times are sure to come as well.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 teaches us that "Two are better than one...for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up." And, "A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." (That third "strand" can be another "brother" or, better yet, God!)

Rather than spending useless time blaming, judging, gossiping about or trying to "fix" our fellow man, we should focus on standing beside him, lifting him up in prayer, giving him encouragement, and accepting him in the place he's at while reminding him that there's a better way too! Sometimes a silent example is better than words...just something to think about! :)

Friday, May 28, 2010


Today I feel really overwhelmed! It's not really a bad kind of overwhelmed and I'm not letting it affect my good mood--I just feel that feeling that there's just a lot more to process right now than I'm willing to give attention to!

It probably has a lot to do with the fact that life is getting back to normal after a crazy couple of weeks surrounding Liam's birth. I think I'm finally having time to decompress and I'm trying to filter out what can be ignored from what needs attention.

I was reminded today that I need to rest! I'm not talking about sleep--that thought is just a cruel joke right now with baby Liam wanting to eat at all hours! I'm talking about that stillness we're supposed to experience with God. That "Sabbathing".

God, himself, gave us the example of the Sabbath or "rest" day in Genesis 2:3: "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." We know our God didn't need a day of rest, but he knew we would need one---in fact, we would need many!

There are some who practice a strict Sabbath day once a week (usually on Saturday), where they do no work, no cooking, no entertainment---actually, I'm not really sure what they DO, but I know the Sabbath is, for them, a specific day with specific "rules" that is and are unchangeable.

While I don't think God intends for us to be that legalistic about the specific day or numbers of hours spent doing nothing, I can see how planning for and taking this day can be a peaceful and restful thing to look forward to!

The way I see it is that God wants us to have many "Sabbath days"...even "Sabbath hours"! One of the many similar definitions for "Sabbath" is "to rest". Feeling sick? Take a Sabbath. Want to contemplate God's many blessings on your life? Take a Sabbath. Feeling overwhelmed by absolutely nothing? (Why, yes I am!) Take a Sabbath!

I'm physically tired but I don't necessarily need a physical nap. Let's face it, I've got seven children---one of them a two week old little boy---and all of them 10 years old and younger. I'm not going to get that nap! What I need is time to rest in God. I need to meditate on verses like Proverbs 18:10: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe." I need to memorize promises like 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

There's a quote that says, "Don't be so much a 'human doing' as a 'human being'." There's no reason to overload myself with either thoughts or activities. When I feel this overwhelmed feeling coming on (especially when I don't know why!!), the best thing I can do is cast all my cares upon Him because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7)...and rest!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sewing Beautiful Things: Favorite Things Friday

It's Favorite Things Friday over at Jessica's blog, A Few of My Favorite Things.

One of my favorite things is making beautiful dresses and nightgowns for my daughters. Here is a dress I made a couple years ago for Lynzie when my husband, Jamie, took her to her first Daddy Daughter Dance.

We've since made it a tradition for Daddy to go pick out the pattern and fabric and me to make the dress. They went to the dance two years in a row but this year we had just moved so Daddy took her to the Broadway play Annie in Seattle instead.

Lynzie looked, and felt, like a princess that night. I had a lot of fun making the dress. In fact, me and that dress got to be real good friends since I had to take it apart and put it back together several times!

Little sister Selah wanted something special too so I made her this little nightgown from some pretty pink rosebud flannel. She was pretty excited and proud of herself!

This past year at Christmas, I finally got to live one of my dreams...making matching dresses for my three daughters. The girls each had a unique style and pattern but the colors and trim were all matching. Here they are together before church on the last Sunday before Christmas

Maybe this year I'll get really brave and make my boys some matching shirts! Join us for more Favorite Things Friday!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kewpie Baby: Vintage Thingie Thursday

This is my fourth time participating in Vintage Thingie Thursday and I have to say that the last month of participating has been a very informative one! I've been inspired by so many creative bloggers and, therefore, have a new vision and excitement about making my home a cozy and beautiful place! Thank you to every single one of you bloggers who take the time to feature unique and special posts each week! I'm afraid I've become sort of a blogging junkie lately...but there are worse addictions out there!

Today I scrounged up $3 in change to go visit the thrift store next door. (Yes, lucky me, I've got a thrift store LITERALLY next door!!) I was telling my husband yesterday how it's actually kind of fun to give myself a low budget when I go out thrifting because it makes me be more choosy about what I buy and my purchase seems more special to me that way. While I'd usually like to take along a little more than three bucks, I was able to find a few neat things on today's pocket change!

My favorite find today was this adorable Kewpie doll with a handmade bonnet and blankey. I just fell in love with it and had to have it! Lucky for me, it was half price so I was also able to pick up some vintage ribbons and a couple cute decorative diaper pins that I plan to use for scrapbooking.

I imagine some talented Granny made this for her granddaughter...wish I had a Granny around to knit or sew for me! I'll just need to learn on my own, I 'spose!

There are many fun and talented participants today in Vintage Thingie Thursday so take some time to check them out here!

Wordless Wednesday: Family Resemblance

Great-great-grandmother Tresa Elizabeth Merritt was born on February 16, 1886 in Butte, Montana.

Daughter Selah Elizabeth Coller was born on
August 22, 2006 in Baker City, Oregon.

I came across the first picture, Tresa, in my genealogy research last year. While, not knowing my daughter, you might not see a lot of resemblance, I'm telling you that these people could be identical! The picture of g-g-grandma Tresa looks exactly like my daughter Selah when she's not smiling. I'd love to recreate the shot---but I'm not sure I can get Selah to NOT smile for the camera!
**Update: My mom just reminded me that today would have been my great-grandmother Annabelle's birthday. She is the daughter of Tresa and the one that I feel Selah looks the most like. How neat that I would choose this subject for today!

Check out more Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gratituesday: Our Miracle Baby

It's Gratituesday over at Heavenly Homemakers and boy, have I got something to be thankful about today!

Everyone loves to hear a story of the miraculous and it's especially meaningful when it involves a child. Many friends, family and readers have been curious about the circumstances surrounding the birth of our newest son, Liam Bradley. I've alluded to him being a "little miracle" but haven't yet taken the time to tell his story---I think Gratituesday is a great opportunity to share it! (This story is intense but has a happy ending--still, please feel free to skip it if you feel it might be difficult for you to read).

Liam is our seventh child and was our first home birth. With all my other children, I was medically induced at a hospital with Pitocin---which brought on very painful and strong contractions. I was used to a panicky labor and an excruciatingly painful birth. From the time I went into labor with Liam at 12:30 am to the time he was ready to be born at shortly before 5:00 am, my contractions were mild and the experience was calm---I even got rests of up to 3 or 4 minutes between contractions!! Unbelievable!

It was because of this calm labor that I didn't realize I was ready to deliver him at shortly before 5:00...so I got up to use the restroom. At that time, his cord became prolapsed and my midwife called 911. The next eight minutes or so were frantic! My midwife began instructing me on positions to get into and when to push as she desperately tried to maneuver him into the correct position to be born, while also trying to keep the cord from being pinched. The entire time, I was calling out to God, "please Lord, save my baby!" There were five EMTs in my house within just a couple minutes and they were all trying to decide the best course of action. The EMTs wanted to transport me to the hospital for an emergency c-section but my midwife, knowing that Liam wouldn't make it that long, insisted that I stay put and try to deliver him. (The fact that he was my seventh...and that I'd just had a baby last year worked in my favor here!)

Finally, she got him in the right position and seconds later, he was born! He had a steady heartbeat but was not breathing or moving. I couldn't bring myself to look at him as they performed all of the actions to get him to breathe so I just lightly touched his head and continued to pray. Soon, I heard the sweetest little sigh so I opened my eyes and all I could see was this little pink nose. As the EMTs took him out to the ambulance, my husband whispered to me, "you're going to need to be brave because I'm going with him."

I can't really explain exactly how I felt but I don't think it was the normal reaction! I just felt really peaceful. I told my midwife that I thought we'd done everything possible to save him and that it was in God's hands. I really did feel peaceful and knew that whether Liam survived or not, God had brought him into the world for some reason.

About a half hour later, my midwife took me up to the hospital to see him. He was being given oxygen and was hooked up to several monitors. Everyone reassured me that he was going to make it---which actually made me feel a little wary. Were they all saying this just to keep me calm or was it true? My midwife soon assured me that he really was going to make it.

Long story short, Liam was in an oxygen tent for 12 hours (the doctor said initially that it would be 2 or 3 days). He was taken totally off of oxygen after the 12 hour mark but required it during eating for the next couple of days. He developed jaundice on the second day and was put in a bili light bed for 5 days. On the sixth day he left the bili light bed but was still on monitors for 24 hours. On the seventh day, he got to come to my room (the hospital graciously gave me a room so I could stay there with him)! The morning of the eighth day, we finally came home!

Liam is a healthy and strong little guy who will turn two weeks old on Wednesday (May 26). According to the hospital staff, a prolapsed cord is a very rare thing. In fact, one nurse who'd been there for 20 years said he was only the third baby she'd ever seen who had survived a prolapsed cord and the first to be delivered without a c-section.

I have to say that I really believe my midwife saved his life. She kept a level head and knew exactly what to do to allow both of us a safe and speedy delivery. Several people have asked me if this experience has turned me off from the home birth/midwife experience---thinking that I might have felt safer in a conventional hospital with a conventional doctor. My answer is absolutely not! Even the hospital staff said that Liam would have not made it to the hospital had we been transported and probably would not have made it through an emergency c-section if I would have been laboring at the hospital in the first place. In this instance, it was because of our choice to do the home birth that Liam and I both came out of the experience alive and well!

Today I am grateful for God's protective hand on our little boy and for my midwife, Michelle, and her assistant, Melissa, two well-deserving heroes!

Visit Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blue Monday: Two Special Gifts

Today I'm linking up for the first time with SmilingSally for Blue Monday. To visit other Blue Monday participants, click here.

My blue item today is this beautiful little figurine that my 10 year old daughter, Lynzie, gave to me this last Christmas. What is so special about her is that Lynzie had picked out one very similar to it weeks before and told me how much she liked it. I told her to put it on her Christmas list!

When I opened her gift, it really blessed me that she'd chosen something that she wanted so badly to give to me. To add to the specialness, I had purchased the one she picked out and stuck it in her stocking---so we ended up with a matching set!

My daughter Lynzie is one of God's most special gifts to me! She is not only a lovely young lady of whom I grow more and more proud each year, but she's also becoming a close friend and prayer partner!

The second special gift I'd like to introduce is also one of my children---our newest family member, Liam Bradley! Liam was born on May 12 and was the tie breaker for our three boys and three girls! While he's nice and pink, I figured blue is the color associated with baby boys so it's not too far of a stretch to feature him on Blue Monday, right?

Have a great Blue Monday everyone and be sure to check out all the other Blue Monday bloggers at SmilingSally!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pink Saturday: Mom

Today I'm paying tribute to my biggest fan: Mom! This is the first time I've linked up with Beverly's Pink Saturday and up until late this morning, I was having a difficult time deciding what pink thing to feature first! For more Pink Saturday, click here.

How fitting that my mom would choose today to send me a poem that she'd written five years or so ago! The poem is all about her "pink" daughter (yep, that would be me...). As soon as I read it, I knew that I'd have to see if she'd let me print it here for Pink Saturday!

I'm also showing off my birthday present from Mom. I'm a collector of all things tea-ish and Mom picked out the most beautiful chintz tea-for-one! I absolutely love this special gift and therefore I've placed it in a prominent place on my special hutch amidst some antique books that I'm collecting.

The little flower inside was picked for me by my 7-year-old son, Elisha, on Wednesday as we brought our newest little baby Liam home from the hospital.

Here are Elisha and Liam cuddling together at home:

And...because I know you're curious, here's our whole family in the hospital with baby Liam:

Now, for my Mom's beautiful tribute to me, Tootsie:

Reasons by Christy Virgil

My little pink bundle.
My blue eyed joy.

Sassy personality with the generous heart.

Tootsie and Fruitsie will never part.

The strong honey haired teen. Finding her way in the dark.

The storm has passed, she's always ready for the task. always looking ahead.

Giving, giving, and giving.


I live through her life.

My pink beautiful daughter/friend.

I love you, Mom!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The "Blue Jammies"

I am reposting this for my first week of Favorite Things Friday. For more FTF, click here.

Today I'm very happy to announce the arrival of our newest son, Liam Bradley Coller! Baby Liam was born yesterday morning about 5:00 am.

In honor of this little guy's birth, I'm blogging about the "Blue Jammies" for Vintage Thingie Thursday and Favorite Things Friday.

Liam is our seventh child and the newest one to wear these "vintage to some" baby pajamas. I'm not sure how I even ended up with these 11 years ago when I was preparing for the birth of our first child but it has somehow become a tradition for each of our children to wear them on their first night home. They're made of a light blue terry cloth material and have square plastic snaps and white lace on the collar. I'm thinking they're from the late 70's, early 80's. **Update: My mom says that she's pretty sure she got these as a gift in 1982 when my brother Joe was born. They must have been in the hope chest she gave me when I had our first daughter. That makes them even more special! Thanks Mom and Uncle Joe!**

At this point, we're still in the hospital but I'm really looking forward to getting Liam all snuggled up in the Coller Family Pajamas once were home and settled! (Update: to see Liam in the Blue Jammies, click here and scroll down to the end of the post.)

For more Vintage Thingy Thursday, click here!

Vintage Thingie Thursday: My Strawberry "Stuff"

It's my favorite day today: Vintage Thingie Thursday!

I decided to pull out all my strawberry stuff and see if you all can help me to identify and date it! I have been (very slowly) collecting strawberry themed items as they make my home seem so cheery and relaxed. I suppose I'm sorta partial to them to since one of my mom's favorite stories about me is how I'd call them "bah-shoos" as a baby. I can not find a correlation between that baby phrase and the word "strawberry" but it must have made sense when I was little!

The only item that I can identify by maker and date is the hand-painted wooden Munising bowl. According to information I found online, this bowl dates from sometime between 1940 and 1955. Apparently, they're popular and collectible and I probably shouldn't have been tossing my keys into it for the last few years as my once pristine bowl, (which I thought had been recently painted and was not worth more than the $1 I paid for it at a yard sale) is now missing some of it's green leaf paint.

Last week I found the little recipe card holder at our local Salvation Army. It's a handmade block of wood with a clothes pin attached and a cute toll painted strawberry design. Not only does it fit with the theme I'm trying to collect for my kitchen, it also is a functional piece that I didn't really know I needed until I found it! The recipe card features a great chili recipe that I got from Weight Watchers--I'll tag it onto the end of the post for you all!

I don't remember where I found the little sugar bowl or the strawberry printed cloth but I'm assuming it was sometime during my yard sale adventures of the last few years. I have found several "look alike" sugar bowls on ebay but they are all separated into pieces and the base is always a separate piece. This bowl is attached to the base and looks to be a little older than those I've seen online. The cloth has raised felt strawberries and doesn't seem to actually be vintage. **UPDATE: one reader just suggested that my "sugar bowl" was actually a jam jar with similar ones being found on ebay. She's right! Although I did not find my exact jar on ebay, there are several there that are similar. Thanks for the tip---is it obvious that I'm from the "packaged foods" generation?? Who woulda thought there'd be a specially made vessel just for holding jam!! Ha!!

The platter looks very similar to both the Mikasa Strawberry Festival and the Sheffield Strawberries and Cream designs but is not exact and is unmarked.

I thought some of you might like a challenging treasure hunt for the day so make sure and let me know if you can identify any of these pieces!

Before I close with the chili recipe I promised, I'd like to show you all the picture of baby Liam in the blue jammies I blogged about last week.

Unfortunately, I've not had a chance to sew him some masculine receiving blankets as I just found out he was a boy...well, the day he was born!! So, he's got sister's flowery blanket on---but he's okay with it...he knows he's a manly man!

Thanks to all who sent well wishes! We're so glad to have a new little boy in the family---even if they do outnumber us girls now!

Thanks for visiting my blog today for Vintage Thingie Thursday! To see more vintage items from other participants, click here.

Jan's 6 Can Chili

1 can fat free refried beans
1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes

1 pkg. chili seasoning mix
onion, green pepper, other veg. (opt.)

Mix all together and cook on stove or in crock pot until hot! 2 Weight Watcher points per cup.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vintage Thingie Thursday: My "Special" Books

Today I'm featuring two of my special treasures: my Louisa May Alcott books that my husband bought for me a few Christmas's ago!

My mother first introduced me to Alcott's Little Women when I was a little girl and she's been a favorite author since. Imagine my surprise and complete delight when my husband surprised me with these two antique editions of Under the Lilacs and Jo's Boys.

This version of Under the Lilacs was published in 1898 and the edition of Jo's Boys was put out a year later in 1899. I love the pretty flowery designs along the cover and spine. Inside each book, opposite the title page, is an illustration.

Jo's Boys
features a sculpted profile of Alcott with her signature and Under the Lilacs has a picture of characters Ben and Sancho from the story.

One of the reasons why I love to collect old books is that I like to imagine where they may have come from. Inside the cover of Under the Lilacs is a stamp which reads: "Chester Thorn, Agt., The Saturday Evening Post, 24 East Taylor Street, Kokomo Ind." Inside Jo's Boys the following is written in beautiful calligraphic handwriting: "Thula May Faulkners Book, 1901".

As I'm sure you can imagine, I'd love to complete this collection! I'll be keeping my eyes open for more in this beautiful set!

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Wordless Wednesday: Cainan's First Year of Baseball

Here's our 5 year old Cainan at a recent baseball practice. He's a fierce one!

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