Monday, October 24, 2016


Last weekend I navigated my way to a nearby orchard to pick apples. I couldn't believe how many other folks were at the orchard-- an entire field of parked cars! However,  most folks were just picking a few apples-- or maybe just buying doughnuts :).

The trees were loaded with giant apples, and picking was heaps of fun. The sad thing was it only took me about 5 or 10 minutes to pick all four of my bags full!

I brought my apples home and made some apple sauce (Golden Delicious), which I have been enjoying. Great apples are a definite perk of living in one of the top-ten apple-producing states (Pennsylvania and Michigan are both part of that list).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Favor.avor.avor... making

Last Saturday, Susanna and John hosted a volunteer day of favor-making for their upcoming big day. Susanna's siblings and I participated in the event.

I estimate we spent around 40 man-hours laboring over the little decorative boxes on Saturday. 
Crafting 200 tiny suitcases is no small task.
We had completed fourteen-- yes, 14-- suitcases by lunchtime Saturday afternoon. 
Needless to say, 40 hours was not enough time to craft 200 miniature suitcases. Though nearly all of the boxes are now in some stage of the suitcase development process, the completed suitcase favor count for Saturday was just over 60.

let the fun begin...

and let the fun continue...


for size comparison

Friday, October 14, 2016

If two Cookies Buy an Old House...

...Chances are a mouse will come with the house...
and of course it (singular?), er, THEY... (way too many of them)... did!

Oh yes, mice and bats and all sorts of nice things have been part of our home-owning days.

posing at the front door the day we purchased our home

After four other attempts at purchasing a home, five years ago today, Amy and I signed mortgage papers for the Cookie House. A couple weeks ago I sent my final mortgage payment! HUZZAH! (Amy finished her mortgage around the time I returned from Zambia). My heart is full of thankfulness and celebration for the gift God has given us in providing the Cookie House.

Our house is nothing fancy or structurally remarkable [in fact, it's rather quirky and creaky]-- it's just a century-old Michigan farmhouse five minutes from Dad and Mom's, surrounded by an acre of lovely gardens and trees (and my garage!), filled with antique treasures and more than a few houseplants, complemented by unique bits of old architectural charm, and finished with Amy's creative touches.

The Cookie House is home for me, and I treasure the moments I spend there... even with the realities (mice, bats, the basement, broken things...) that are part of owning an old home.

In case you haven't yet signed our door, I snagged a few (okay, a lot) of photos off from Amy's blog to share some pieces of our Cookie House history the past half-a-decade.

Also, you're invited to come for cookies and tea some day, and to sign the guest door :).

Charlie at the back door

garden out the kitchen window

the kitchen in the raw

Christmas Eve
the sitting room

upstairs landing

cleaning the heat stove

our internationally themed office

Sunday dinner on the front lawn
kids night off dinner on the back patio
looking towards the kitchen

view from the office window
three varieties of lilacs!
spring is lovely in the gardens

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

To Market

looking down over Central Market from the second floor landing

Malinda and I made plans to check out the National Apple Harvest Festival in Gettsyburg last Saturday morning. Months ago, Vicky and Heather made plans to spend their weekend in Savannah, Georgia. Well... the weather adjusted all of our weekend plans (obviously Vicky and Heather's significantly more than Malinda's and mine!)... 
so we made new plans :).

Vicky is always driving here and there to meet up and hang out with those of us west of the Susquehanna river, so to mix things up a bit Saturday morning, we headed over to Vicky's home territory and found ourselves wandering the aisles of Lancaster's famous Central Market. What a treat.

As you know, I love markets. Central Market ranked pretty high on my market measurement scale. Though it was crowded, the variety was great, and the prices were reasonable... well except for those "fifty cent-er" pumpkins for which I paid $1.75 each (eek!). I even found a tasty cup of fresh cider.

our little crew with our goodies

We had a swell time at market and concluded our Lancaster visit with lunch at Rachel's Creperie (ever so tasty!). Fun times.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


The Galt House Hotel on the Ohio River

Last week I spent a couple days in Louisville, Kentucky for a work conference. Since I had a free morning before the opening session Thursday, Uncle Wayne drove over from Bowling Green so we could spend some time together. After my afternoon sessions at the conference, we drove to Lexington and visited with the cousins over dinner. It was a lovely blessing to spend time with family in the middle of a work trip.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

cooking fun

make-ahead cooking date

The ensuing nuptials necessitate all sorts of tasks and events. 
Sara and I spent a recent evening layering lasagnas for the freezer. We spent another evening at the kitchen table with our date books and brainstorming notebooks. The dry erase board calendar on the fridge says "wedding planning" next weekend as well. 
Oh so many details as we prep for the celebration ahead :).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

maternity shopping

One fun thing about having a pregnant sister is assisting with her expanding (haha...) wardrobe. Any time I'm at a second hand store these days I browse the maternity section to see if I can find any Blueberry-Betsy-ish items.

Although my sisters and I have differing clothing styles, we always keep an eye out for each other as we're shopping for ourselves. Betsy's baby gives us a broadened clothes shopping opportunity.

Of course, as much as possible, I try to stick to Betsy and Josh's standard closet color theme ;).