Friday, January 15, 2021

Joyful Life Blog Feature: Inviting Cozy In


Several years ago, I hosted a wreath-making party in my home for some friends. Some of the ladies who came were new friends I didn’t know very well and one, specifically, had never been to my house before. After this guest had been in my home for a while, she said, “Your house makes me want to put my feet up and watch a Christmas movie!” That comment may have been spontaneous and unmemorable to her, but I have never forgotten it. To me it said that she felt at home, at ease, comfortable, welcomed, and cozy.

Cozy is a word frequently repeated in our home, and if our family had a one-word theme, this would be it. We love cozy. Even the word evokes thoughts of comforting quilts, glowing candles, time suspended while enjoying simple pleasures in life, a pot of soup, a loaf of homemade bread, soft instrumental music playing in the background, comfy slippers, the smell of cinnamon, and our beloved Beagle snuggled down in the covers.

Many of us know cozy when we see it or experience it and yet wonder how to multiply the beauty of coziness in our homes and lives. But I think even before we consider how to add coziness to our homes, we need to first look at our hearts.

Read the rest at Joyful Life blog!

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

2020 Books

Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling
When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson
Beholding and Becoming by Ruth Chou Simons
When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson {read aloud}
When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke
When Breaks the Dawn by Janette Oke
Old World Echoes published by Classical Conversations Multimedia {read aloud}
A Beautiful Mess: Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen
When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke
Defeating Darwinism by Philip Johnson
Wherever You Go by Tracie Peterson
What Comes My Way by Tracie Peterson

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller
The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck
The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White
A Year of Picnics by Ashley English

On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White
The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller
Stay: Discovering Grace, Freedom and Wholeness Where you Never Imagined Looking by Anjuli Paschall
The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The 40-Day Sugar Fast by Wendy Speake
Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano
Common Grounds Coffee by Carla Laureano
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden
Girls Club by Sally, Sarah and Joy Clarkson

The Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden
A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson
Back Roads to Belonging by Kristen Strong
Servanthood as Worship: The Privilege of Life in a Local Church by Nate Palmer
The Weaver's Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd
Still Life by Victoria Charles
Hope's Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller
A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria Alexandra Visette and Stephanie Congdon Barnes

Devotions from the Front Porch
A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson
Because of You by Becky Wade
The Christ-Centered Home: Inviting Jesus In by Emily Belle Freeman
The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere
Nashville Sweetheart by Rachel Hauck

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson
Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
The Happy Hollisters and the Secret Fort by Jerry West {read aloud}
The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel by Dean Inserra {read aloud}

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron
Risky & Real: An Experimental Journey Towards Authentic Spirituality by Kerilee Van Schooten
Stay With Me by Becky Wade
Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klaasen
An Old-Fashioned Texas Christmas by Karen Witemeyer

The Christmas Heirloom by Karen Witemeyer
Growing Up: How to be a Disciple who Makes Disciples by Robby Gallaty
The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson
Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson
Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

63 books this year! A big transition for me this year was learning to appreciate reading on the library app since our library was closed for so long. Now I find the convenience of ebooks so marvelous, I may never go back! 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Star


Emily loves watching the stars and was excited to go down to the closest boat landing and see the Christmas star! Stars don't usually show up in photos on my camera, so I was pleased that this one does! And the sky was beautiful!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Winter Solstice Candlelight Dinner


A highlight from last winter was our solstice candlelight dinner! It was fun to continue this again this year, though we did some things differently. There were some projects that needed to be completed, so while we spent the day mostly at home, it was not necessarily slow.  

Our rustic dinner of soup, homemade bread, apples, cheese and sparkling cider was lovely and cozy!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Little Women Themed Event

Each year of high school, our homeschool community with Classical Conversations each class is encouraged to host a Protocol event to allow the students to spend some time practicing and learning about etiquette, enjoying a formal event and something cultural. 

With 2020, this has been a little bit daunting to know how to proceed, so this summer my Mom and I were on a walk and started brainstorming ideas and this idea was born! Rachel's class is a group of three lovely young ladies, and since they are studying American Literature this year, we decided to see if we could host a Little Women themed event. 

Several weeks ago, I made some fun invitations and another mom and I had a great time planning the event around this theme!

As per 2020 norm, our idea sort of changed a bit through the process and at the last minute - but it was a lovely success and all the girls were just delighted with the results!

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of our friends home - I made beef stew over mashed potatoes and we also had biscuits with apple butter and cranberry relish. 

After dinner, each of us moms read a letter we had written to our daughters. It was so special! Then it was time to walk to the neighborhood clubhouse where we had hired a dance instructor to come teach us some historical dances. This was a highlight of the evening for all of us. On the walk over, the girls held battery candles and sang carols - so lovely.

We learned the Virginia Reel, Carolina Promenade, Kings & Queens and a fourth dance that I'm not sure we know the title of! My favorite was the Virginia Reel, but the whole thing was so fun and such a great workout!

After dancing, it was time for a craft! This was very calming and relaxing after our invigorating hour dancing! We made clove studded oranges and then were ready for a bit of refreshment. A friend had made these little cakes to look like a Christmas pudding - they were gingerbread cakes with frosting and holly on top. We enjoyed these with hot apple cider and good conversation. 

Finally, the girls made beeswax taper candles and each received a beautiful copy of Little Women to remember their special event!

Our decor included simple natural elements: greenery, pinecones, dried orange slices, cranberry and evergreen candle jars and red ribbon. 

Here are some photos of our little women!

One of our friends was not able to join because of quarantine - so we took a party in a basket to her the next day! 

PS: I was super proud of the fact that my outfit cost $2! The gingham skirt and dotted sweater were each thrifted for $1 a piece! 

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Advent Inspiration

 Advent has already started, but I've been diving into several things and enjoying the peaceful calm of making the season meaningful. We have been keeping our lights low in the evening and enjoying how peaceful it is, how cozy and still. I can't get enough of these soul-food things right now, it is the best recipe for the end of 2020 {and anytime!}: filling my heart and mind with Christ!

Here are a few things that have inspired me this week:

Savor the Savior playlist from Well-Watered Women: I just discovered this so haven't listened yet, but there is a great list here!

Shadow & Light by Tsh Oxenreider: I found a free sample of this last year, but this year checked it out on our library app. So far, it is great for doing with teens as it also includes a song to listen to each day and a piece of artwork to look at. We are enjoying looking for shadows and light in each piece of art. 

Dwell Bible App: I've been enjoying listening to the Bible through Dwell recently. I first tried it through a free trial during the quarantine earlier this year. Right now, I'm listening to their Advent collection that has a written study to go along with it. 

For King & Country Christmas album: our family really enjoys their music and the new Christmas album is so good!

Ann Voskamp advent videos: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

What Child is This/Child of the Poor: I discovered this song last year on Christmas Eve when I stayed home from church not feeling good. It is a new favorite!

What is inspiring you this season?

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Christmas Tree Farm

Last week, we had planned to get a Christmas tree at the grocery store because they were advertised for such a good price. In the past couple of years, fresh trees have really gone up around us and so we were excited to get a good deal. Before we went, a friend told us about a local tree farm that we had never heard of and had reasonable trees - we paid exactly the same price as the grocery store and were thrilled to give our business to a family farm and also enjoy a fun outing together!

We enjoyed the beautiful day, had fun wandering through the trees, took our friend John with us and then stopped for lunch at Cook Out on the way home. Then in the afternoon got our tree decorated and outside lights up thanks to all the teenagers! Hooray! We are already enjoying all of the festive coziness!