Joy’s Baby Shower (also, meet Esme!)

(I am drowning in a back-log of photos that I want to get posted to this blog. It’s my need to stay organized. No, my dream. I never get it fully accomplished in real life.)

Today is a special post– my sister joy’s baby shower! She was glowing and beautiful on the day of her shower. Well, always really.

Here is what she looks like if she thinks you are really funny. Not me, whoever it was that told her that joke. I’d say that is a Miller guffaw. Millers like to laugh.

Some of the decor– basically mom, Julana and I all brought stuff, then tossed it together.

Julana and I each hand selected only 1 child to bring to the party (it was by the water!). Here are the two “chosen ones”.
I picked Sterling because he has legs, yet cannot walk. Oh, and because I am his only food group.

By the water– we had it on one of my parent’s bed and breakfast cabin decks.


Hot day- drinks were a must.

Sterling asked that no more pictures be taken of him for the day. Gracie said, I’m still open! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lovely scenery.

Sister Jacinta with the pom-poms she made.

Julana and Joy– looking pretty.

Mom and Jacinta confer about who’s turn it is to take out the trash. jk…

Love me some pink flowers.

Joy and two co-worker friends.

Mother โ™ฅ daughter…

We had an AWESOME turn-out. A shot of a few of the guests at the par-tay.

Esmeralda Kate (Esme) was born June 20, 2013. (8lbs 11.5 oz 21.5 in long) WHAT a blessing she is! A prayed for, longed for, and beloved baby. Thank you Jesus for the beauty and preciousness of her…

I have a ton of pictures of her, on my camera with my San Diego pictures. So far, I have been too lazy (read: overwhelmed) to get them off of my camera. So until later, here are 3 pictures I, without shame, stole from Joy’s Facebook. I can be SUCH a bad-girl every now and again.
We love, love, love little Esme!

Joy at home with her bebe.

Esme looking hip as a fiddle.

Lovely Gracie and her new baby cousin.

Have a super day… I need to go make food, get groceries, and pack for Kauffman family summer weekend!






Elle’s Pictures.

My daughter Elle is five, she turns six in July.ย  She spends 80% of her day drawing- the rest of her day she divides equally between mothering her brother, begging for popsicles, and interacting with Laila (in both positive and negative ways). I had to Google how to spell popsicle- isn’t that sad?

I so admire her creativity. Although we both love to “make stuff”, her gift of drawing is not from me.
In the one above, I admire how she has the girl in correct dimension from the skyscrapers. I love the little American flag. Also how the girl appears to have a mother that reads Pinterest, because I see she mastered the elusive Fishtail braid. All the other kids made fun of her hands and called her “captain hook”, but at least she had well designed hair.

Here is another favorite. A self portrait. I love how when she draws herself. In her selfies,ย  Elle always has the most gorgeous, long, lustrous auburn hair. Anne Shirley would be jealous. Elle also doesn’t own an exquisite, red, evening dress such as pictured, but hey in her mind she does.

I may have shared this one from before, this is an old one, but Elle loves to copy covers. Sometimes she takes out the covers of her DVDS, draws a counterfeit that mimics the real cover, typography and everything,ย  and then inserts her cover and leaves the original (piece of craptastic manufactured JUNK!) laying on the playroom floor for me to dispose of.

Here she is drawing a one-room schoolhouse for her History Fair project.

The beginnings- pre-details.

Oh. Wait. What is this?

“This is some shirt she has on.” I say, “So…. what is this a picture of?”
“Oh, it’s a hula-girl falling in love with a sailor”, She says.
So…. DO. NOT. JUDGE. Because judging is mean. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, that was my shortie for today. That and a picture of pretty flowers from my own gnarled flowerbeds. Hope one of them blesses you!



Pasta Par-tay.


We did a really fun activity with our small group…. we got sitters for the kids and went to Joel & Annie’s to make “pasta from scratch”. I can’t tell you how curious I was.

Here Annie is mixing the pasta right out on the counter. In the end, it will be ravioli.ย  I don’t know what all she put in it, but I saw lots of eggs and flour.

Dough babies.

The most fascinating part of this process was when they lifted the dough and threaded it through the machine that flattened it and made it PAPER thin. It was just so fun to watch.

And watch we did.

Who is this handsome man, you ask? Well, he is the father of all my children.
Anywho…. he is now filling in little blobbets of delicious cheese mixture– which will be the center of the ravioli.

Here Jerel makes sure every little pasta/cheese packet is sealed before boiling.

Joel and Annie’s house is amazing. They bought an old, unloved, two-story house in town and loved it back to life. I took this picture to showcase the beautiful dark wooden floors.

There were some cute baby boys there. Judah….

and, Sterling…

Of course, we had to put on a spread and celebrate the Feast of Raviolis. What is with men not liking salads with strawberries on it? Or maybe it’s just mine and the few that I know. Women tend to like strawberry salads- it makes them feel healthy and fancy and lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rachel and I raided Annie’s china cupboard. I love the results.

What a fun, special night of eating and talking! And ok, so like, I thought this HOMEMADE ravioli would be good. Sure. I mean, it’s homemade right? But how could it better than say the pasta I had at Broken Rocks Cafe in Wooster once (the best I had had up to that point). But- wow, it. was. so. good. It kinda melted in your mouth, like it was very soft and delicate, like melted cheese almost. I can’t really describe it.

Refreshing. I actually hate the word refreshing, but what else would you say with this picture?!

Another shot featuring the woodwork. I sometimes I feel I cannot say in words, how MUCH I love old houses and seeing their character. Like I would walk into a stranger’s house if that meant I got to see it. They fascinate me to the core. I would even say I find it more exciting to see an old house, than it is to see a new baby at the hospital. A human baby. Yes, I have issues.

And if I am chatting with someone and they mention they renovated an old house… I try not to walk right over top of them to get an invitation to look. ULTIMATE JOY.

Hand to mouth, guys. Hand to mouth.

They turned the leftover dough into noodle-form (fettuccine?)– which dried while we ate dinner.

GREAT NIGHT! Thanks, Hostetlers….



School Is Out!

Way back when….

Her first day of school- (Kindergarten). ^^


And now:

Last day of school! May 2013.

Looks like her uniform hung in there faithfully for her. I can’t believe my baby turned into a novice school girl. She has grown up SO much in the last school year. THANK YOU, Mrs. Mullet.


A few more pictures:

I bought a few cheap annuals for the girls to plant as “their” flowers. They loved it.

So many pretty flowers in bloom right now.

Laila mans her “man-babies.

She is such a good #2 mommy to him. We all adore Sterling. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a FAR OUT Pasta Party the other night with our small group. We made ravioli from scratch- fabulous.

One picture from my sister Joy’s baby shower. Cannot wait to meet her girlie.

Elin’s field trip to The Farm- fun, hot day.

I have got to git! Baby crying…….





Sterling is almost 6 months. Time flies. I have never had a baby get to 6 mo so fast, literally it seems like he was born a month ago (in my head).

The girls, cutting out magazines and making cool books.

I LOVE strolling on Sunday afternoons with my boy. It’s like quality time + exercise + fresh air.

Blueberry eyes.

Silly pants-es, I call mine.

Mr. Handsome Jr.

And now you know…. the rest of the story.

Sterling: “Laila girl, what you doing loving on another brother?!”


My washer broke last week so I have to do another laundromat run today WITH THREE CHILDREN. Life is a little bit crazy & go-go-go lately. We are loving it though- we call it life. And we savor the slower times- with friends, as a family, good conversations, and the times of connecting here and there. Those are the times that make life worth living, I think.

EDIT: My husband fixed my washer last night! He is just so resourceful and brilliant. And I am SO thankful to have my friend, the clothes-cleaner back. If you don’t appreciate yours- go hug it now. Going without something makes you so thankful.



It’s Tuesday.

Hello, I am home alone with the kids tonight- husband has a GNO tonight. Nope. That’s not gyno you read, it’s guys night out. So I thought maybe I would upload a few pictures from March so far.
The girls are playing their usual “Stable Club” adventures all over the house. If you have ever watched this show you will understand when I say I am thoroughly entertained by their stories of their best-friendship and the mean deeds of “Heronica”. (Veronica) That Heronica! She acts up all day long, doesn’t that girl ever tire of her evil schemes? I guess not.

Sterling is going wild these days. He is so solid and heavy and kick-y! Like i can almost not hold him on my lap these days without hanging on. He literally was not like that 4 days ago. Babies change SO fast.

(I’m kinda writing that because this blog is also our family baby book. Hi there, grownup children! Your mother was not lazy- just too busy taking you on cool adventures to do a baby book.)

I am working on choc cookies in and out of the oven tonight. (Cookies take a lot of work, feel loved, children.) And had a great healthy salad for supper– lettuce, strawberries, feta cheese, plain pecans and fat-free Hartville sweet & sour dressing. That sweet and sour is kinda bitter (gross) so I drizzle honey over it too. GOOD STUFF.

Here is a recent family portrait by Elle.

I guess this was back when Galen was all into his gangsta beard and blue plaid sports-jacket.

Elle (the lovely red-head) is sporting a Christmas-lights necklace and an 18th century waistline.

Me? I always hold my baby, like Madonna holding the Christchild. (Elle told me, “I just couldn’t get your eyes right!”)

Laila has the prettiest perm, and she doesn’t look like a poodle at ALL.

I โ™ฅ my family– whatever we look like.

Cookies I mentioned earlier. Thought the light was nice.

Every now and then you make a breakfast so good you have to go all foodie on it and snap a picture.

Let me explain the sandwich. Way back when husband was “new husband”, he got me started on them– and I used to hate hard-boiled eggs. Ingredients:ย  whole-wheat toast, (G butters his), hard-boiled egg, fresh ground pepper, hot sauce, and mustard. It just scratches that itch, you know? So good.

My men. The other night, when I climbed in bed, after standing for about 5 minutes staring at the gorgeouss-ness of Sterling sleeping in his crib…..

I told G,
“I don’t love Sterling more than you or the girls, but I have NEVER loved someone this way before. I never had a SON before, you know? I just ache with my love for him.”
We like him a bit, yes.

This is my “mothering chair area”.ย  It holds so many memories… from me barking at Elle to get off my shoulders while I am nursing the baby… to sleeping there for a week when I was too weak from surgery to climb the steps.

He has his father’s handsomeness.

My .25 coffee cup. A beloved companion.

“Oh daddy! That’s a wee bit too much, aye?”

These 2 are becoming besties– especially on the days when Elle is at school. I really think Laila has found her place again- she is so sweet lately.

Braids & mini puzzles.

This was, the moment before she touched it, a brand new roll of tin foil. When I asked why in the world she did that– she said,

“I JUST did not KNOW I was going to do a naughty thing.”

Helpful hands. Thanks, Laila.

Making Peep Houses via Kasey Buick’s blog. I know I wrote a scathing review of how it all went down on Facebook. But really, once I was patient and not in such a fried mood, and LET THE WHITE CHOCOLATE DRY they were sturdy as little bricks and were quite cute.

A little before and after…….

The ugliest wall in the house. And this is the first wall you lay your eyes on when you walk in the front door so…. I decided to spring-it-up a notch.

We have two rooms in out basement that were never dealt with, since we moved here. The rooms could be so cute with a little work– the one room has an old wooden door and brick walls– but ANYWAY, there is all kinds of wood, old shelves, and doors laying around in the one room. I went down there and found this beauty. Not. But I thought she might work.

I tore off the bottom 2 pieces hanging from it, filled in the nail holes, and painted over it to finish it off.

Inspiration for this shelf/radiator idea came from here.

Here is how it looks NOW, not AFTER. I love it though! The paint color is “Celery” from SW.

I still have 3 things I need to finish before I will say “it is finished”.

Want to paint the radiator a glossy white (have the paint, just need the time), and I want a basket similar to this photoย  (basket with the pencils in it) for the fern, and the clock is from Sterling’s room, so someday it needs to be returned (and hung higher). I have my eye on a really pricey one at Tarjay from the Threshold collection. Maybe in 2016 I will have saved the $$ for it. ha

Jones Design Co. had a 50% off online sale, a few weeks ago. I snagged 2 prints– this is one of them. It likes to live within it’s $4 thrift store frame. I feel like I am channeling her with that fern beside it, I know Emily likes her ferns!

Yes, I know her SO WELL. (So well, that I had to go over to her blog to remember her first name.) Jones Design Co. is one of my top 5 favorite blogs of all time.

Since this post has no theme at this point, I’ll post this really quick yet. I read this last night and my heart just squeezed with agreement. I so wish I had known this when I had my first baby!

This is really true also.

Love to all, Jenny



Flowers a house-guest left here (she had been given them for a gift). I saved them, picked all the droopy leaves off, and had me a PRETTY bouquet that lasted a few more days. Funny, how fresh flowers brighten a woman’s day.

What is that one (non- staple) item that you always HAVE to have in your fridge? Mine is this salsa (Walmart!). De-lish. It is really good layered in a wheat tortilla with lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken, lettuce, rice, cilantro, and some sour cream. SAH-lay me now.

Flowers keep popping up.

My nemesis PollyPockets. Laila is really going through a stage right now were she begs to get them out a lot. Anything for my high maintenance 4 year old. That girl tugs at my heart like none other. She is so soft and beautiful and made of sugar….. but boy, can she be a handful! I was telling my dad the other day, some days I cannot please her. She hates HATES attention from people other than her family. In fact, look at her too long and she will bust out crying. BUT, give her not enough attention here at home and you have a wailing mess on your hands. My dad pointed out that that is pretty common among humans- the need for just the right amount of attention. So that made me feel better. These are all reasons to lay on the floor and cry:
Her milky was hot
Her milky was cold
Her pink coat is in the laundry
I carried Sterling down the steps and left her at the top
(In the morning) she remembers she went to bedย  THE NIGHT BEFORE without a milky
Her uncle Jason teased her (lovingly)
Three people she doesn’t know smiled and looked her at the same time (school tourney)
The cashier at Walmart talked to her
She can’t find _________ (insert anything at all)

Sterling slobbered on her doll (“It’s ruined!”)
Kitty is missing

She makes me laugh so much though. Last night, I said, “come to bed, my sweet, tiny Laila.” That made her mad, she wanted to be “BIG LAILA”. Fine then, I will call you “Big Laila”. She is so tiny and blonde-y, calling her Big Laila just gave me fits of laughter like she is a big cow or something. Then she was mad (I was laughing) so she said, “You’re making fun of me!” “Well, just because you are so cute…”

Ah! writing this makes me love her all over again! I’m gonna go hunt her down and kiss her. Just kidding- she is right here.

Sterly Burley… Still the perfect baby since 2012! Right now he looks like he ran through a briar patch and he has such severe cradle cap that I finally got a prescription for him. As far as the briar patch? I guess he is scratching himself. Dunno, he kinda looks like a nightmare. Today I picked him up and his inner eye had a drop of blood. Laila told me she was just trying to get the boogers out of his eyes and “it was an accident”. Oh, my…

He had a phlegm cough (yum) last week- so I figured it was a time-saver to just wear a bib on him like clothing.

It helps when you have an uber-cool, sewing friend, like April that sends you cool packages!

Hook me up with some spring, please.

Her majesty and the royal baby.

AH! EVERY spare minute of mine is spent sewing baby stuff in my sewing room the last while.ย  I have probably 15 different fabrics scattered around- mixing and matching. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bibs, burp rags, security blankets, washcloths are a few of the things I am having fun making. Both my sisters are expecting girls in the next year- so I am having fun getting a few do-dads ready for them. (The reason I didn’t post pics of the rest of my fabrics.) Inspiration has come from Pinterest… I am ready to copy this pattern. Also, April & Clarita have hugely inspired me with their beautiful, handmade baby gifts they sent me. Thanks, girls!

A few pictures from Laila’s 4th birthday party. She 4 little friends from church over.

Four year olds are so cutey pants.

I love my birthday girl. The morning after her birthday, she cried because she thought we forgot to sing Happy Birthday to her the night before (we really didn’t). I am pretty sure she was just crying because she was sad her party was over, she she didn’t know why she was sad.

Big bossy birthday sister! I mean she isn’t so bossy in real life, but WOW on the night of the party I guess she was feeling “oldest”…. at least they had a leader. ha
If I get time I will post more pics of the party- G and I took a lot!

have a fabulous Tuesday! My oldest is at school today. Sterling, Laila, and I love our quiet days on school days. Laila plays alone so well I hardly see her at times. Sterling and I cuddle and drink milk…




A few snaps from my sewing room.

I feel like I have not had one second lately to do the things I love.ย  Sometimes I get kind of angry how every month in the winter is supposed to be SLOW, but it never is. I feel like winter broke a promise to me. YOU TOLD ME we would would spend hours being lazy together

The other day after I dropped Elle (Oops, I mean Elin, she is supposed to be Elin at school now) off at school, then me and the two littler onesย  ran into one of my favorite Mennonite thrift stores. You know why I love the Menno ones? Because they sell fabric.

I bought this green striped fabric for .50. I am sorry, but THAT is a rush right there. It kinda got me in a short creative mood that day so I snapped a few pictures. I lost my Art room to Sterling’s room. I am so fine with that. I now sew in the guest room. It is probably my favorite room in the house. I love the paint I picked for this room, the room is usually clean because no one sleeps in it, and the room is big- and those are the three reasons why I love it.

I laughed all the way to the bank on this one. I found these pillowcases on clearance at target that I wanted for our bed, but they were those long King-sized ones. So I brought them home and trimmed them off. There was pretty much fabric left. I ended up making this FREE skirt for the girls out of the waste fabric. Score-sies.

Working on spring clothes for the girls. Shannon was talking lately about how cool JCPenneys is. I agree! I just bought a few blouses for the girls there that are lovely- a few are pictured here.

Sterling is 3 months now. He hangs out on the bed when I am working.

I LOVE dreamy paper. I found a large vintage roll of beautiful, quality paper at the thrift the other day. Personally? I thought it looked delicious in this delicate, green frame I had.

Had to you know, blow off some dust and freshen up a few things while I was in there.

Hello, gorgeous.

If you have an old clock that does not work- taking it apart and framing something in it is fun. Paper or a photo of any kind.

Hi, Baby bunny!

That is the face I kiss a million times a day.

A fun pillow I slapped together out of a faded dishtowel. I like it’s laid back vibe. Faded dish towel, meet thrift store insert. Live happily together forever.

Another shot of the guest room.

ANOTHER shot of little Burley Sterly.

I picked up this skillet from a THRIFT STORE (Where else? I am sick of typing the word ‘thrift’- it’s kinda hard to type!) for under $20 bucks. I love it so much I want to marry it. Making things in this pan, changes E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I have a gas stove, so that plus this = almost camping. ๐Ÿ™‚

OKAY. Well, I have about 1 million more things I would love to say. Soul & heart type conversations. Sometimes I just LONG to write and write and write, but I never can. I love the stage I am in right now with my little family, and feel I have probably never been happier. But I do so want to spend time being here more- writing about things that matter– not the latest little do-dad that I sewed or whatever. My soul just craves it sometimes. And right now there is so much on my mind, I might have ponderings overload. (Mission conference + 7 by Jen Hatmaker: chapters Waste and Spending + great conversations with women/my husband I look up to + WCRF + media fast)

If you are in the mood for a good read, check this out. We heard Mike Yankoski speak the other night. WAS NOT DONE LISTENING when he finished speaking!

Also, this song was a favorite at the mission conference: Beautiful & convicting.

Well, I need to lickety-split. For now, that’s all I have time for. It is literally bedtime on the dot right now.

So what are you pondering these days?




I love Shutterfly.

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Visit here to get yours…

I had fun making this card this morning and thought I would share it! And yes, I get “cred” for sharing this and it’s totally worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Shutterfly most of all, because they send such great coupons to my email addy.

Make someone’s day with a personal V-day card today…

Enter CARD4U for one free card today. (Shipping is around $1)



Monday Stuffs.

Just a regular fun/crusty/stressful Monday here.

I have a love/hate relationship with BOTH winter and Monday– so imagine the conflicted feelings I feel today.

In case anyone thinks I think just because I like to blog means I have great photography skills- I do not (Obviously!). Taking pictures is fun though…

Sneaky little chef.

{Laundry down my steps… waiting for me.} I was gone on funday all day Saturday since my husband was gone. And today I pay for it! It was so worth it though. What did we do? My 3 children, my sister Joy, and I met other Yoders & Millers at the Massilion McDonalds mega-playplace. We hung out for hours while the kids played. Then we hit Target and Aldi– just a fun day of great finds and family fun. Drove home after dark in a light snow. Unloaded 3 sleeping kids and 3 loads of purchases all alone. Felt pretty accomplished once they were all PJed up, and tucked in bed.

This annoying thing sits in the middle of my living room on snow days. I a little bit loathe it.

I love to look at and read stuff. Kinda a whole bunch of books/mags going on at once usually. One day I had this bright idea to make a little “mom box” that stays beside my “mothering chair”. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it- can you believe my stuff just floated all over the house before. Being organized is so simple, why does it take such determination?

Yup, lots going on.

Clipboard with shopping list great to have in there too. For when you are feeding the baby and you remember you need ____.

Fun package came in the mail for me a few days ago. My kind of fun!

Elle blows my mind with her art. Even when she watches a movie, she will draw as many characters as she can. Here she drew this book cover.

“Heeeey, how you DOIN’?”

“MOM. You lookin’ FINE. Whoever said pajama pants and your ‘cleaning look’ isn’t hot– is W-R-O-N-G. And how is my ‘more milk’ order coming along?”

“Pick me up, pick me up, pick me up. If you can resist me, your heart is made of steel.”

Happy Monday to ya! What did you do today? I would love to hear… even if it was just laundry, hardwood mopping, scalded milk in a cup, veggie burrito, and Mumford & Sons like me.


PS. Oh, and Curious Carol wants to know: Whatcha making for supper?

Page 2 of 74«123456»102030...Last »