Sunday, September 29, 2013

Now it can be fall!

The front and side door of our house have been a turquoise color since we moved here almost 8 years ago.

I painted them that way, because the shutters that came with our house were turquoise in color.

I've been wanting to change that for awhile.  The doors, AND the shutters, but shutters are expensive, and we have a TON of windows.

So, about a month ago, I picked out a brick red exterior paint at Lowes. 

I didn't know when I'd actually get the project done, but I wanted to be ready.

The project happened this weekend.  When Grace had her bestie over to spend the night.

We're getting ready for our big Sunday School Fall Party this weekend, and we were working outside like crazy.

I convinced Grace and her friend that it would be great if they would paint my doors. 

They asked me if they could have a paint fight.  I said NO.  I mean it!

They just laughed at me, and used the paint left on the roller to paint their legs when the doors were done.  Grace is still finding bits of red paint in crazy places, (like her elbow). 

The front door used to look like this.  Not bad, but a little plain for our yellow house.

Now it looks like this...
and I added a vinyl Welcome to the door.
I couldn't stop there, so I washed down the walls of the porch, got rid of all the spiders, (which incidentally are all BACK today...darn country living...) and decorated the porch for fall.

Whew.  I love it, and I'm glad it's done.

Do you decorate your porch?

Monday, September 23, 2013

It never fails

You know how whenever you ask for something in your life, something you might need to work on, God tests you with that very thing?

Like patience.  I struggle with patience.  I've prayed about it, and sure enough, God tests me on it.  Every single time.

Kinda relates to all the produce I put away over the summer.

Time for fair...sure enough the corn or beans will be ready THAT week.

Time for school and work to start back up, ok, time for tomatoes and peaches.

It never fails.

Is it a cruel mother nature joke?

Is she laughing her head off right now?

I'm not sure.

This weekend... busy.

We didn't have to go anywhere, we just needed to get a TON of stuff done at home. 
I have one last craft show to do for the year, we have a Sunday School party for around 45 coming up at our house in a couple weeks, groceries need to be purchased on Saturdays since that's the only spare day during the week, and Sunday afternoons involve Grace's tumbling class 25 minutes away.

The grapes thought it would be a good time to be ready.

Joke was on me.

When I got home from the tumbling class, I went out to our own vines to pick them.  At least we have our own vines I guess.  That was the plan all along, to start our own, so I could quit buying them from the Amish store.

I picked 4 heaping bowls full.
Concord grapes.  They were big and juicy, and tasted very sweet.  The birds hadn't touched them all summer, thank goodness.

After cleaning them all, I got the lids ready, and started filling the jars up.
I used to use a water bath canner to finish up the juice, once I put the grapes, sugar, and water into the jars, but I had a friend give me a GREAT, and much better alternative.  Turn the oven to 200 degrees, and put your jars on a cookie sheet, and warm them for 68 minutes.  EVERY SINGLE JAR SEALS.  Put as many jars in the oven as you can fit.

I did only 31 quarts last night, but I still had juice from last year, so we're ok.
My recipe,  well, it was brought home by Brent a couple years ago when he visited an Amish house while selling building supplies.  The ladies were making grape juice, and of course he thought that would be a GREAT project for HIS wife, so he brought the recipe home. 

I've used it ever since, and it's easy:

Canned Grape Juice

1 c grapes in each quart jar (cleaned, with skin on)
1/4-1/2 c sugar in each jar
boiling water to fill the jar to 1 inch from the top
Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes, or in oven at 200 degrees for 68 minutes (on cookie sheet)

I do not put the full 1/2 c sugar in each jar.  Ever.  It's TOO sweet.

To drink, I use a fine mesh colander to filter out the grapes and seeds, and pour the juice into whatever container I'm storing it in.

Brent swears this is a concentrate and needs to be diluted, I don't always dilute it, and it tastes fine.  Only three ingredients, versus whatever goes into the fruit juice at the store...and this is made with REAL fruit.

THAT'S how I spent my Sunday evening, all the way up to 11pm.

My produce is DONE for the season.  Thank goodness.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm not impressed

This last ditch effort by Summer to bring forth it's hottest weather does NOT impress me.

The 97 degree weather and humidity we had this past week was not cool.

You will NEVER find me saying,  "Gee, I wish it would get hot and humid tomorrow!"

I am a fall girl through and through.

Mother Nature finally got her act together this weekend when it started to cool down.  Our grass looks like a field of straw due to the lack of rain over the last month, but the cooler, crisper temperatures are fabulous.

I thought I'd share with you, just some things that remind me of  the up and coming season.  Things that get me in the spirit of long sleeves, crisp nights, football games, and campfires.

Things like decorating my house for fall.  I have ALOT of Christmas decorations, but the number of fall decorations in my collection are catching up.


 Every year, I need inspiration to decorate the front porch...
 and new ways to "rearrange" the decorations I already have.
My wardrobe obviously changes, and these are good pictures to inspire me.

Aren't they divine???

And this picture just about sums up all my feelings about fall...
What would  your favorite season be?

Monday, September 9, 2013


Most of you know I LOVE to read.

I will read anything.

I like all different kinds of authors, but I've NEVER met one before.  I've never known one PERSONALLY before.

That has all changed.

My cousin Natalie, has written a book, and has had it published!

She's FAMOUS, and I'd like you to know more about her.

So today, she is answering some of the questions you have posed to her.

Read her book.  Help support her.

Thank you.

What was your biggest obstacle in this whole process?
       I really want to say everything, but there are two that stand out the most.
#1 ~ Finding time to write and being able to be creative on a limited about of time. I totally get it now when I heard authors talk about having a writer’s block. Been there, many times! And there was nothing more frustrating when I finally had a couple of quiet hours to write, I sit down…and my creative juices dry up like the desert and I couldn’t make a sentence work if my life depended on it.
#2 ~ Contacting agents and preparing all the material they wanted. Every agent wanted something different, so it would take hours preparing the specified letters, sample chapters, synopsis, proposal, etc. and researching to make sure I got all the information they wanted perfect.

Is your book dedicated to someone? If so, who?
       Yes. My book is dedicated to my children. It reads…
To my children,
Jarrett, Brayden and Kyla
May you always dream big dreams and pursue them with all your heart.
As my husband and I talk about my book being published we always end up discussing how we hope this book is a great example to our kids to not be afraid to make big goals for their lives. We hope that my experience would show them that our dreams really can come true…but not without hard work, desire, commitment and refusing to give up.

Do you start writing knowing the whole story? Or did you have the beginning, end and middle figured out before you started?
       Before I begin writing I have an entire outline of the book by each chapter and write in order. It helps me to have a good foundation. As I write, new ideas will pop up, so I will go back and change things as well as add chapters along the way.

I have a book that I am trying to get published. I have sent it to I received an offer to publish with Deep River Books. It seems to be a combination of regular publishing and self-publishing. They will market and sell 500 books. My question is how would I go about selling at least 1000 books myself? What is a fair price for self-publishing?
                I asked my publisher this question because I really didn’t know how to answer.  This is how he replied. “I checked out the Deep River Books website and they appear to be a Subsidy publisher. That just means that the cost of publication is shared between publisher and author. Personally I wouldn't do this. For someone on a budget I recommend They will publish your book in Kindle or print but the catch is you have to prepare and provide print-ready files to them. It's a lot of work, but a better alternative than paying thousands of dollars to have your book published. Keep in mind that print books are now selling less than ebooks. Start with ebooks and then go from there. ( Keep the initial investment low and watch out for people who want your money.”
                To answer how you would go about selling at least 1000 books, I can only say what I have done. Market and promote your book like crazy. This is totally out of my comfort zone, but very much needed. Work on getting book signings, followers on Facebook and Twitter. Get people to write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. For a fair price, I can only say again from my experience. The price on the back of my book is $15.95, but the price will fluctuate (usually lower) on Amazon.

Here is a link for you to follow if you want to know more about the book, or to place an order: