What makes a Happy Home? I love to take care of my family. For me, creating a home that is warm and inviting, where everyone feels welcome is pure joy! The smell of fresh laundry just in off the clothesline, a neat and tidy home and garden, a good home cooked meal, a few desserts here and there, the love of family, friends and fellowship all help to make our home a Happy Home. Join me as we celebrate the holidays, the birthdays and the every days!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A day trip to Valley Forge

There were a ton of day trips while our Texans were here. Our Fireman's Flame wanted the kids to have fun, but also get a little educational time in too.

Valley Forge National Park was first up. There used to be a ton of deer roaming around and they started to cause major problems, so they had to cull the herd. Can you pick out the one in the woods above?

Our little Texans got to see log cabins that soldiers stayed in (they are all 20th century reproductions).

It was a gorgeous day for walking around and sight seeing.

Can you imagine sleeping in these types of conditions in the middle of winter waaay back then?

I love the park. It has a fantastic walking/bike trail and is a great place to take the kids for a picnic and a little history lesson.

What kind of historical places are around you?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wisdom from a 90 year old - not really she's in her 50's

I love these little pearls of wisdom from Regina Brett...

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5.. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At the museum

I had a meeting last week at the Michener Art Museum. It's in Doylestown, PA in the cultural district, directly across the street from the Mercer Museum.

Both of the buildings are gorgeous - love the stone work. I walked around the grounds to see the Steve Tobin exhibit.

This picture is deceiving, the sculptures are huge!

You can get a sense of scale in this and the following photos. Can you see the wall and building in the background?

I love seeing the diverse exhibitions that the Michener offers visitors. Remember the Grace Kelly exhibition that I told you about? That is my all-time favorite!

Speaking of favorites...this is my favorite sculpture from this exhibit. It's so cool. Look closely. Can you see the individual letters? It's cast and bronze. 

Do you go to museums?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday and a Weekend Recap

We had a wonderful weekend. Mr OP got up bright and early to go fishing, so I got up and started my day early too. I was at the market and home by 8 am. Woo hoo - I still had the entire day ahead of  me. I like to plan a week's menu at a time so that there aren't multiple trips to the market during the week. It saves so much time by planning the meals ahead of time. Not only by not running to the market every few days , but knowing what we are eating and preparing things in advance if we can.

I did some much needed deep cleaning around The Old Parsonage. I moved furniture around in the living room and brought down a coffee table that we had stored in the attic for a few years. It took a bit of wrestling to do it by myself, but I did it! Not sure why I waited until the temps reached the 90's to decide to bring it down, but it's here now. I have new curtains for the kitchen that I've been wanting to hang for a few months, but need to paint the woodwork in there first. That's on my to-do list for next weekend.

We were running low on laundry detergent so I got out the zote soap and my handy-dandy Cuisinart (not just for food) and went to work. This is so much faster than how I used to hand shred the soap using an old-fashioned box grater - which works, but takes forever.

If you are interested in making your own here's what you'll need.

  • 4lb box of Borax
  • 4lb box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 4lb Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
  • 3 Bars of Fels-naptha/Pink Zote or Ivory Castle

 You'll also need a big bowl or container to mix it in. Pour all your ingredients in the container and then grate the (3) bars of soap. I love to use my Gram's yellow ware bowl to mix mine in. She would have loved knowing what I was mixing up! Yes, I know this photo shows Fels-naptha - it's an old photo, so are my other soap photos. I didn't snap any this weekend of my laundry making efforts. I was more in the moment than thinking about taking a photo.

Choose a storage container with a tight fitting lid to keep out moisture. You'll only need to use 2 tablespoons per load. For a little over $10 we'll have laundry detergent that lasts about 6 months. I do about 6 loads a week on average, but then there's the additional spring and fall cleaning when all the curtains and other linens in the house are washed. Oh yeah, it smells wonderful too!

I did manage to sneak in a bit of junquing too. This booth was just gorgeous (photos above too).  The display and colors made my heart go pitter pat - such soft and romantic colors. The dishes are calling my name. I didn't buy any, but there's always next time!

What about you? What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

All Souls Trilogy

   You know me and my love affair with shall we say teen/fantasy literature and TV shows -Twilight, Charmed, Vampire Diaries, etc. Well when Vicki from Life in my Empty Nest mentioned the All Souls trilogy I just had to check it out.       

We both love Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so I thought for sure that I'd love these as well. I was immediately drawn into the first book, it had witches, vampires and daemons, plus an added historical charm that I just love. Speaking of the Outlander series the newest book is due for release soon and so is the new Starz series - can't wait for both of them.

The Book of Life is the last book in the All Souls Trilogy and it's due to be release next week. I'm all set for the rest of my summer reading with these 2 new books and a few magazines that I've been hoarding. I love to read out on the porch with a glass of ice water or a diet coke over ice with lemon, as long as there is a breeze. If there isn't a breeze then I'm in the house.

So what have you been reading this summer?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Enjoying the beach at night!

We love to go to the beach after supper. It's so much fun. I feel more at ease without all the crowds. I forgot what it's like to be on a crowded beach with kids. I was constantly doing a head count. 

The guys love to fish and so does this little Texan. He is definitely an outdoors man. He loves to fish and hunt rather than play sports. 

Flyboy caught a croaker. If you listen closely you can hear it croak.

We woman brought our beach chairs to relax on and cameras to document the fun. Our two littlest Texans decided to swim even though that wasn't in the game plan. Who can blame them? With the water right there it's a given. It was actually pretty cool at night and we had hot cocoa almost every night when we got back from the beach. 

Where do you like to go on vacation?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A fabulous Fourth

We had a great Fourth of July. The weather started out on the dismal side with a bit of rain, but it cleared up enough to grill the London broil that I marinated and the roasted potatoes. I made corn on the cob and a tossed salad to round out the meal - yummy!

Flyboy and our Happy Homemaker invited us over to watch the fireworks from their backyard, but we opted to be fuddy duddies and stay home. I needed to rest and the kids understand.

I didn't get to hang the patriotic banner that I made. I made a note to myself to check the measurements before starting my next banner - this one was waay to long! Oh well, it looked sweet on the dining room table all the same. I just rolled it up to store for next year. I've decided to leave the mini flags on the kitchen table (for now) - I love how they look in the vintage ball jar!

Did you put out a flag or decorate for the holiday?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Burning off energy

Our Texans took so many day trips while they were here and the kids got a little rammy having to spend so much time in the car.

We have a really great playground near us and they were all able to burn off some energy.

The kids are easily entertained and really active. They aren't the kinds of kids to sit around and watch TV or play video games.

I didn't hear anyone complain about being bored or asking for something to do, they always entertained themselves and each other.

I've never seen playground equipment like this - so neat and different. There is a sad story as to why we have this playground, but the joy it brings to people is a nice memorial.

When is the last time you were at a playground?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Handmade Cards at The Old Parsonage

Our 2 littlest Texans are 6 and 10 and boy do they love to craft! I brought a ton of things to do while we were at the beach, and then when we got home they played in my studio quite a bit.

Of course I loved every minute of the crafting too. I whipped up a few cards while they were busy gluing and pasting things onto their projects. They made a few cards and vacation scrapbooks.

They left behind a few inky fingerprints that I can't bear to clean off. It's funny when the boys were small I would have wiped them up right away, now I see them as a gentle reminder of good times.

We're getting some really bad storms today and tomorrow. Actually, the entire weekend looks like it may be pretty rainy, but it's a 3 day weekend so I won't complain. It's supposed to be hit or miss, so fingers crossed that it will be more miss.

We don't have any set plans for the weekend and are just playing it by ear. We were at a combo graduation and birthday party last weekend and didn't get home until 11pm, so I'm fine with taking it easy this weekend.

It's so stinkin' hot and humid here too. If you've been a visitor here for awhile you know how miserable I get with the heat and humidity. I'm so thankful that Mr OP put our living room A/C in the window on Sunday!

Our oldest Texan will celebrate his birthday on the 4th. How cool is it to know that one way or another you can see fireworks every year on your birthday?

So what about you, do you plan on going to see fireworks this year? 

Monday, June 30, 2014

A year already

We also celebrated Flyboy and our Happy Homemaker's first wedding anniversary while we were at the beach.

Love these two soo much.

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