Monday, November 30, 2009

1000 Gifts

Joining in the gratitude community...

holy experience

51. Lovely long Thanksgiving weekend
52. a warm house
53. cleaned and raked patio, ready for planting bulbs
54. decorating for Christmas
55. baked apples
56. surprise gifts from Grandma
57. moleskins
58. surprise visits
59. enjoying monday morning at work
60. one of my students being "Amelia Bedelia". again.
61. being able to smile at "Amelia Bedelia"
62. lots of family time
63. turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, mashed potatoes, twice baked sweet potatoes (SO worth the wait), stuffing, green bean casserole, apple crisp, maple pies...
64. moral dilemmas discussed in the family van
65. siblings
66. Grandpa's thanksgiving thankfulness
67. student smiles
68. our walkable neighborhood
69. the Christmas season
70. friendly neighbors
71. a break in the day
72. silly tv shows
73. the cat
74. our baked apple bowls
75. dishwasher and washer/dryer

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Baked Apples

This year I made a couple of apple crisps for various Thanksgiving get togethers.  It is one of my favorite desserts.  So simple. So delectable.  I had a couple apples left over after the festivities, as well as some of that yummily crumbily for the top.  I decided to try some baked apples with the leftovers.   Now, usually you don't put oatmeal in the mix for baked apples, but the apple crisp topping already had it mixed in.  I decided to just give it a try and put the apple crisp topping on top of the apples and see what would come of it.  They turned out quite nicely.  It was a lovely warm and apple-y autumn breakfast.  Give it a try sometime!

1. Peel the top half of the apple.
2. Core the apple.
3. Fill the bottom of your baked apple bowls or pan 1/4 full of water.
4. Fill the apple with your left over apple crisp topping.
5. Bake at 375 for about 30 min.

Christmas Cross Stitch

 Cross stitch seems like a dying art.  I don't really know anyone these days who takes the time to painstakingly count and stitch for hours on end in a world of TV, internet and just general busyness... except my Grandma.  Yesterday we went up to Grandma and Grandpa's for a late Thanksgiving dinner.  Grandma handed me a packet wrapped in tissue paper.  Before I could open it she immediately began saying  "I'm sorry about this, I don't think it looks know how I can't really see that well these days...I just wanted to make you a Christmas decoration for the new house...but I don't know...I don't think it looks right."  My sister Kimmie just started laughing as I opened the tissue paper.  This is what she made.  This is what my Grandmother made me after she had a mini-stroke that has affected her eyesight.  This is what she's been working as she's been recovering from a brain biopsy. And she apologized for it.  I'm pretty sure I have the best Grandma in the world.

Inside the Kettle

Here are some first photos of the inside of our cozy little home. We just love it.

Kitchen, looking in from the kitchen door to outside
Living Room, looking in from the hallway to kitchen and stairs

Living Room, looking towards hallway to kitchen and stairs
Bathroom, looking toward shower side

Study/Craft Room/Future Laundry Room

Walk-in closet/dressing room

Our bedroom

2nd Bedroom

Hallway, looking toward 2nd bedroom

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Projects

Although we weren't ready for Thanksgiving at Sea Kettle (maybe next year!), I was still able to do a few creative projects to celebrate.  We put some lovely greens and holly in our window boxes and I put together a centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table at Mom and Dad James'.  Enjoy!  Also, pictures of our house will be posted soon. I promise!

Sea Kettle flower boxes filled with greens and holly

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Candle, apples and bush cuttings from the yard

Simple twig in a vase, with a cardboard cut out

Cardboard cut outs of apples and pumpkins for name places

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Multitude Monday - on Tuesday

33.  new warm, fluffy and white night robe
34.  Grace that is new every morning
35.  first movie night date in the new house
36.  forgiveness
37.  friends during the move
38.  making through another day of work with the longest cold of my life
39. a dishwasher
40. a letter signed "from your best student".
41. ability to "let go" for a night, even though the house isn't "perfect" yet
42. a beautiful old trunk found on the side of the road - perfect for Sea Kettle!
43. a warm body beside me during cold November nights
44. rediscovering knick knacks
45. blankets and tea
46. Matza ball soup (sp?) from family heritage day - ah how it soothes a sore throat!
47. my walk in closet
48. house warming gifts (a beautiful planter of flowers and sparkling apple cider
49. a half day tomorrow
50. Thanksgiving!

holy experience

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hawthorne's Grocery Store

I'm finally starting to feel settled in here in Sea Kettle.  She's a beauty.  History seeps from her walls.  Did you know that the man who built her was the grocer here in Salem during the time that Nathaniel Hawthorne lived right down the street?  His grocery store was in our first floor!  Do you think Hawthorne shopped at our house? I certainly do.  The former owners left the history of the house on the counter, it tells an interesting story about said Philip Kimball, but that is a story for another day.

As I dust and clean and unpack, I'm discovering the ins and outs of our new home.  It is full of interesting nooks and crannies, there are hills in the floor, crooked windows and doorways, skeleton keys hanging from doorways (I wonder what interesting people used those keys...what stories would they tell?), big wood beams made of 200 year old wood.  I'm so thankful for this old house.

I'm still unpacking and my camera cord is a currently missing in action.  When it is recovered, there will certainly pictures to follow.  I can't wait to share the home I'm creating in this house.  The challenge: to compliment, respect and intensify the old beauty of this place.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing to you from Sea Kettle!

Yes, it's true. On a mattress on the floor, surrounded by boxes,
writing to you from the new house! Much more to come! For now, this
sick and tired girl is going to fall. a. sleep.

And we have a house!

It was a long and awfully arduous process and we didn't really know if we really had it until the very end...but lo and behold, the Jameses are home owners!  I won't bore you with the details.  Basically yesterday I got sick and stayed home from school, we got an email at about 8:00 AM saying that we could close at 2:30.  Brian got some aides to teach his classes and he rushed home to pick me up and get a bank check for closing.  After all of the craziness that has ensued over the past couple of weeks, I'm happy to say that the actual closing was quite enjoyable (despite my sore throat, headache and terrible cough).  The attorney was quite amiable and explained things in a very clear manner.  By 4:00 we had the keys to our new house!  I'm still sick, and decided to stay home one more day so that I can totally recover.  Tonight we are hoping that we can gather a few good strong men to help us move.  I can't wait to settle into Sea Kettle and as Brian so aptly put it "I can't wait to start nesting!"  I didn't bring my camera when we went into our home for the first time as the owners, but I have a few mental photographs for you to enjoy.

#1:  Mr. James carrying me over the threshold.
#2: Giggles.
#3: Together "looks" that meant "I just can't believe it's finally ours!"

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, November 16, 2009

1000 Gifts Continued.....

18 - A couple of unexpected extra days to pack
19 - Rhema
20 - Good chats during nursery 
21 - knowing that Christ came for the sick, not the healthy
22 - Potlucks with a huge Thanksgiving turkey!
23 - A gift of tea from a friend
24 - Opportunity to hold and cuddle lots of little ones yesterday
25 - An Accessible Church Service 
26 - No sin is too great for redemption
27 - Tomato, egg and cheese on an english muffin
28 - an old hymn and new melody  "Gethsemane"
29 - a private kung fu lesson from Cole
30 - boxes, boxes and more boxes from my Dad
31 - Baby Ugg Boots
32 - a mini church goer in a fluffy velvet dress, puffy sleeves, red tights and bright yellow galoshes

holy experience

Saturday, November 14, 2009

May I share another thought?

Here is a blog of a friend from church.  She has a dear daughter with Autism (and another with severe food allergies).  Would you like to be encouraged?  Check this out!

Rhema and I at church

Thankfulness in a Mess

Last night my Mr. James was away at an overnight trip for his summer job.  I had every intention of coming home from school and digging into the piles of boxes and trash that I now call my home.  We got an email saying that the bank needed an extension to get all of their paperwork for the new house finished, so I have an extra 2 days to pack... so I took out my new moleskin journal and decided to create my Thankfulness Journal for the new house.  I cleared a space on the floor and hunkered down with glue, scissors and Martha Stewart Magazine scraps.  And here we have it, a lightly decorated,  paper bag-brown notebook, empty and ready to be filled by remembrances of God's blessings.

Would you like to join me in filling my home with thankfulness?  Here's a tutorial at A Holy Experience (have I mentioned lately, how much I love that blog?)

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FOR TODAY... November 12, 2009
Outside my window...a dark and cold November night.
I am thinking... about how on earth I'm going to pack up this house.  I'm overwhelmed.
I am thankful for... my new moleskin journals, Fridays, Thanksgiving in the forecast.
From the kitchen... I'm afraid there won't be much from the kitchen in the coming days.  My kitchen is a disaster area.  Looking forward to cooking in my new kitchen, though.
I am wearing... my grubbies.
I am creating... a visual thankfulness journal for the new house.  See examples here.
I am prepare my personal journal with topic tabs tonight and start memorizing Romans 8.
I am reading... Romans 8.
I am hoping... that I will pray more this week.
I am hearing... "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" - NPR
Around the house... boxes and mayhem!
One of my favorite things... my husband.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Packing and preparing for the move.

can't you just smell how new and fresh they are? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Challenge

I was inspired this morning by a blog which always blesses me profoundly,  A Holy Experience.  I was challenged to start memorizing some scripture.  I realized that too much time has passed since memorizing my last scripture. During our first year of marriage I memorized Isaiah 35. This experience led me into deeper communion with the Lord and it was life-giving to have these words dancing through my thoughts throughout the day.    How could I be discouraged with these promises on my mind and tongue?

Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs. (vs. 6, 7)

I think I'm going to start with Romans 8.  Would you like to join me?

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, November 9, 2009

FOR TODAY... November 9, 2009
Outside my window... It's dark early, but oh-so-deliciously temperate!
I am thinking... About my "Where the Wild Things Are" lesson plan for tomorrows art classes.
I am thankful for... quiet nights in bed with Mr. James, blogging and kind of watching old Seinfeld episodes.
From the kitchen... My lovely neighbors brought us some soup, salad and rolls tonight because we are busy packing up the house.  What a blessing.
I am wearing... Brian's shirt, because I always wear them when I'm feeling especially needy and tired.  They smell devine.
I am creating...plans and ideas for the new house.
I am sleep soon.
I am reading... inbetween books at the moment. I'm waiting to borrow "Look Me in the Eye".  Story of a man with Asperger's.
I am hoping... that I will practice the presence of Christ this week.
I am hearing... gentle hum of my space heater and Brian cuddling the kitty.
Around the house... boxes and mayhem!
One of my favorite things... my space heater.
A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm packing my week away.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
A lingering sign of summer...

Soli Deo Gloria

One Thousand Gifts - Kick Off!

Good Morning Monday,

You've begun with a bang.  I'll take this much needed break in my work day to begin my list of  1,000 gifts of grace.  Here goes nothin' ....

1 - a new "old" house (1 week till closing!)

2 - 8 students' smiling faces on a Monday morning

3 - Veggie bagels from Bagel World

4 - a weekend spent with my love

5 - tickets to my first New England Patriots game (Thanks Uncle Jon!)

6 - an unseasonably warm weekend mid-November

7 - a job I love

8 - listening to my students talk about their heritage for our Heritage Month projects

9- my warm bed and warm bed-fellow

10 - my co-workers

11- packing, with its melancholy and excitement

12- kind neighbors bringing warm soup to the tired packers!

13- Soft guitar strumming from the next room

14- music

15- promise of tomorrow

16- opportunities to serve in small ways - decorating the church for Christmas

17- Your presence - for not ever hiding from me.

Thank you, Lord.  Soli Deo Gloria

holy experience

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mr. James and I danced the night away at Jess and Jesse Hiendel's Fundraiser. I must be out of shape because today I'm SORE. These two friends are leaving in December to serve in Peru. Money for this trip was raised in unlikely ways. Beer, Karoke, and a raffle basket full of romance novels. May God be glorified. Here's to hoping that Mr. James and I can get down like this in 50 years.

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Looking forward to starting my list of 1000 Gifts on Monday. 
Stay tuned.

holy experience


I started packing up the house today.  I hate packing.  I can't stand the blank walls, piles of boxes and empty shelves.  It's so lonely.

 I love my home, no matter where it is (I've had A LOT of places I've called home).  I love decorating it and making it a warm place for us and those who come through our doors.  I don't consider myself too materialistic, but I do love my beautiful little things that make my house my home.  It's always a little sad picking up each thing so loving and specifically placed and hiding it in a box for a time.

The minute I get into the new place, I know excitement will hit me and I'll relish in the joy of making my new home.  For now, I'm melancholy.  I'm desperately hoping that I remember all the blessings and beautiful moments that filled this home.

Dmitri doesn't seem to be taking it all this seriously...hmmmm

Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sea Kettle - Pre-moving in

More pictures that we took during the home inspection.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sea Kettle

Some sneak peeks at the new homestead.  Meet Sea Kettle - Built in 1811 by a Philip Kimball.

Looking forward to your visit.

Soli Deo Gloria

Sea Kettle Diaries

Sea Kettle Diaries. Stories of a girl and her guy and the life they're building together. We move into our first house on November 16th. It is old and cute and yellow and it has a name: Sea Kettle.

Soli Deo Gloria