Monday, August 29, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

"Every saint in heaven is as a flower in the garden of God, 
and holy love is the fragrance and sweet odor that they all send forth, 
and with which they fill the bowers of that paradise above. 
Every soul there is as a note in some concert of delightful music 
that sweetly harmonizes with every other note, 
and all together blend in the most rapturous strains 
in praising God and the Lamb forever."

-- Jonathan Edwards

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Indiana State Fair

 This year I got my fill of State Fair fun! Between family and friend trips I made it there four times! (plus two more times to pick up and drop things off!)

The last time I went we had to wait for 20 minutes in the car while a random thunder shower passed over. The after effects made for beautiful photos! Speaking of weather, we've had about 6 tornadoes in our small suburban town this week! The weather has been crazy! Very thankful that no one I know personally has been affected.

Michael and I decided to have a date night to the fair. We caught the last bit of horse racing.

And we enjoyed some fair food which was a rare treat. Yum yum!

Going to see "world's largest pig" is always fun, except that I feel badly for the poor thing -- especially when the weather is so very hot.

The sheep barn is the next best thing to driving the Scottish countryside, right? Plenty of sheep to photograph and exclaim over.

For dinner I chose chicken on a stick and fried pickles. The pickles were better than I expected and had a sweet note to them.

I love the Lego farm scene and I wouldn't mind having it in my house (well, maybe in smaller versions). Farms have always held a very special place in my heart.

There was a new Lego exhibit celebrating Indiana's Bicentennial. Loved the covered bridge.

Another Bicentennial idea was painted Bisons (Bison-tennial, right? but of course the bison features on the state seal). The county groups that entered were so creative!

I loved all the country scenes that captured what Indiana is like.

The painting was quite good on so many of these!

The Pioneer Village is one of our favorite parts of the fair and it's a must-stop at the penny candy store where you can still buy candy for a penny! (limit of 20)

The vintage kitchen always draws me in.

The younger kids and I went to the fair for a school field trip. We had rain on this visit too. But we had fun and had a few laughs at the Pirate Show.

I love the horse barns because they remind me of Windy Foot at the County Fair, one of my favorite childhood books, which we just had to start re-reading after our fair trip.

The pig barn always has two mother pigs who have recently given birth and it is so entertaining to watch the adorable baby pigs and how much trouble they cause!

 The horses in the horse barn are beautiful! We didn't get to see any horse shows but we did walk around and admire the horses in their stalls.

We loved this sheep with his crazy hair!!!! Reminds me of a certain relation of mine.

The sheep have to look perfect for the shows! So different than when they are in the fields.

I loved seeing all the zinnia entries in the agriculture building. Every year at fair entry time I am way too stressed to think about trying to enter anything and then when the fair rolls around a few weeks later and school is underway with a regular routine I always think, "I could enter some things! Maybe next year." Someday I will.

There was a record-setting giant pumpkin at the fair this year. Can you imagine driving by a field and seeing these things growing??!

Another tradition of mine is stopping by the rug hooking table and thinking that maybe I will one day take up rug hooking. I loved this flower version with the flowers coming right up out of the rug.

The church ladies met one evening at the fair and that gave me a chance to get into the arts and crafts building and see quilts, and knitting, crochet, and other needle arts. So much fun!! These items were all made with wool from Indiana!

The rain produced a rainbow at the fair!

 A friend recommended the smoked pulled pork and I was so glad I took her up on that idea! It was amazingly delicious!

We stopped into the historic drugstore on the fairgrounds.

The pulled pork friend also introduced me to this candy -- anything maple is an easy win with me.

The ladies raved about these smoothies from the giant strawberry stand.

We ended the ladies' night with a trip to the bunny barn. How can one resist these cute animals?!!

This bunny had eye makeup on like a teenager.

Don't you want to cuddle one of these?!

This bunny seemed to be a true velveteen.

No wonder Beatrix Potter drew bunnies!

The ears on this variety were quite amazing!

I think all the women wanted to take a bunny home.

And so that ends our fair adventures for this year! It's fun how things you do year after year become family traditions.

It's another wet day here and the forecast says more crazy weather for the next five days or so! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Words and Wool

Keeping to a bare minimum of knitting has done wonders for my wrists. No pain and no wearing of the braces. However, the pain seems to return quickly if I pick up a large knitting project. Very thankful to report that this toddler hat went along fine and did not cause problems! I loved using the little linen bag with the amber weighted ties as a knitting project bag! The bag was a gift from a friend who recently travelled to Lithuania! For this hat I used the Sweet Pea Hat pattern I always use and just modified the top not to contain any pea pod!

I was very excited to finish my Jane Brocket inspired quilt last month!!! It's been many years in progress and now it's decorating the back of my couch. I love it! I used large stitches and Perle Cotton to quilt it.
I've been trying to spend more time on painting over the summer months and hope to continue this. I met up with my mom in Zionsville to "paint what we ate". 

Or "what we saw":

The next best thing to creating beautiful things is finding them for bargain prices at thrift stores. I had the chance to spend an hour or two one summer morning at my local Goodwill Outlet and came away with this stash for about $5.

Switching over to book conversations......after a lot of thought I decided to start a second blog focused solely on book reviews for books set in Scotland! So "Reading Scotland" is recently up and running and I look forward to posting lots of fun books and corresponding travel ideas over on that blog.

 Scottish books are not the only thing I read though, so I will continue to post my regular book reviews here. And so to catch up from the summer:

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle is a beautiful lifestyle book focused on living simply, functionally, yet beautifully in whatever space you have. I loved the photos and the practical ideas.

 Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller. As always, Keller nails his topic, pointing out with painful clarity how easily we turn our love from the true God to "counterfeit gods" such as fame, relationships, money, or security and how we can return to the only God who can fill that gaping hole in our hearts.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Here is another author whose books can be counted on to be challenging and growth-promoting. Brown talks about vulnerability and the need to rise strong after failures.

Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories by Emma Bridgewater was a beautiful and inspiring book (I can't figure out where Amazon got this cover photo from because the cover of the book I read was far more beautiful). Inside the book, which is filled with gorgeous photography, Emma weaves her creative story of becoming a pottery artist and eventually founding and running the Emma Bridgewater Pottery company. Her pottery has become almost iconic in the UK and has spread around the world. Loved this book!

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer told the incredible (and recently discovered) story of Irena Sendler who rescued thousands of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. It is amazing to me every time I read of the courage of those that worked in resistance movements across Europe during that war. What huge sacrifices and great risks these people took. It all sounds incredible when you read it, but the book also brings out the great heaviness that many of these people bore for the rest of their lives as they lived with the memories of those they could not save. To this day so many in Poland are still suffering from the effects of the war. Strangely enough this brought to mind the fact that my grandfather's own sufferings in the war, and the strained relationships that led to, effect my life everyday now too. Yes, war is a terrible thing. All that considered, this book really does tell an amazing story and I have another book waiting on my "to-read" shelf also about Irena Sendler. If you haven't heard of her, definitely consider reading her story.

The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose is such an enjoyable book if you love birds or nature. In this book Zickefoose shares her stories of personal interaction with bird species after bird species. I loved the beautiful watercolors and drawings that illustrated the pages. Her newest book is on my to-read list!

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie Martin is a book I actually bought as soon as I heard of it which is saying a lot considering I normally limit myself to books I can get from my library. Fortunately, this book was a great buy and I am using it in our homeschool this year. Martin has collected an amazing list of book recommendations for teaching your child about the world. The book is broken down by continent and contains recommendations for age 4-6, age 6-8, age 8-10, and age 10-12. Martin also tells their own family's story of being brought together from many countries as well as gives ideas on how you can incorporate world studies into your household.

Mother and Son: The Respect Effect by Emerson Eggerichs was a very helpful book for examining the parenting of my sons and what kinds of speech and actions best communicate love (er, respect) to them.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller. This was a great book. Keller takes all the current arguments against belief in the God of the Bible and examines them through Scripture and logic . If you have friends who are stuck on certain arguments and can't seem to find a way beyond them you might want to check this book out and see if Keller's words could help you in understanding and communicating with your friend. This is a great book for using with teenagers as well.

The Mom Factor[ THE MOM FACTOR ] by Cloud, Henry (Author) Sep-15-98[ Paperback ] by Henry Cloud and John Townsend will definitely rank as one of the best books I've read this year. The authors examine the role mom plays in our growing to adulthood and how different mothering bents can positively or negatively affect that growth. The authors provide plenty of help on how to overcome the negative effects of childhood and grow into maturity at whatever age you may be. This book would be helpful for: those who grew up with difficult mothers, those having a difficult relationship with their mom presently, those wanting to understand their own bent as a mother and how it can/is affecting their children, those wanting to avoid pitfalls in their current parenting of their own children, those desiring reconciliation with their mother.

Phew! That's all for now!

For more ideas on knitting and reading visit Ginny's Yarn Along.

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