Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Break Continues

I've told you it doesn't take much to make us happy, haven't I? Well here goes! Yesterday our exciting event was that a pair of ducks came to our house and ate our bread crumbs and drank our mud puddle water! It was so exciting. They acted like they really enjoyed spending the day with us. They would look from side to side at us as we talked to them and little princess thought it was so amazing that they knew to walk away from us when we walked behind them, when their eyes are in the front of their head and they are looking straight ahead. Did you get that?
This morning she was surprised and excited that they stayed all night. Oh boy, what have we done? Now if I can just figure out how to get that beautiful bird to lay a golden egg, we'll have it made!
I know...I sound crazy don't I? But you can have fun if you try, I think. The yummy food item that we enjoyed was homemade strawberry syrup for our pancakes! OK so now I've gone off the deep end and told you way more that you care to know about our Spring Break right? Well, I'm just trying to keep it interesting around here!
So how 'bout looking at a photo of this stack of bricks that has been by our front porch for quite a while...like a really long time. The project that we had hope to use them for hasn't happened, so Mr. RP and the kiddos started this.

It is a sidewalk from the gravel drive to the back porch!
I'm so excited! No longer will I have to tiptoe through the wet and mud in my high heels to jump into the car. We have a gravel drive and when I get discouraged about all the mud and dirt that gets tracked in, I remind myself that it is dirt and mud from happy and healthy feet and I am blessed beyond measure!
So I will soon be able to walk daintily from the house to the car in my high heels no matter the weather. My heart will smile. My lips will sigh. And I will show you a photo of the completed project just as soon as we get more sand.
Aren't Mr. RP and the kiddos doing a great job?
So that's the project I promised to show you.
Love, Rachel

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Break and Frugal Living!

OOhh AAhh (with angels singing and violins playing sweetly in the background) these little darlings will be popping into full bloom soon and then I will have a "whole 'nother" (you do know what "whole 'nother" means don't you?!) set of bleeding heart pictures to drool over all Summer Fall and Winter! Spring Break officially began for our family at 3:15 PM on Friday. Friday evening we had fun just hanging around the house, the kids rode their bikes and did other things of miscellaneous interest. I made a yummy supper (at least they told me it was yummy) in the electric skillet and the teenagers in the family looked forward to sleeping as late as they wanted on Saturday morning. We let them. After they got their late morning start, we went to see the baby chicks. See it doesn't take much to make us happy does it?
You should have tasted the apple cobbler that I pulled from the oven for lunch. Oh my, it was gone in a heartbeat. As a last minute thought on Saturday evening we ended up serving as ushers (we found out we were needed...imagine that) for a 3rdRowBoys and Mark Lowery concert. An unexpected joy from that was that we got to enjoy the entire concert, and laughed ourselves silly. I laughed till I cried, and we've thrown Mark's jokes back and forth since then.
Sunday was cold and rainy and snowy but in the evening after attending church about 8:30 we drove downtown to see where ABC's Make Over Home Edition is rebuilding a home for a needy family this week. It was fascinating.
So we've made special memories for 3 days now...all frugally! We're still trying to decide what the special moment for this evening will be.
On Tuesday night we're making a bonfire and having the kiddos friends come over. Maybe we'll make some s'mores. I know it's not Fall, but it's still cold. Wanna come? Well come on!
One evening we will have homemade ice cream. It's a tradition here for Spring Break. We're making it all happen as we go. Spring. Break. Frugally. right. here. at. A. Romantic. Porch. It is fun to live each day with intentionality and purpose of making great memories. It doesn't have to be just during Spring Break does it? What are your Spring Break plans?
One of my friends is on a cruise with her husband and teenage sons. At one port they will enjoy themselves doing whatever their son's want. At the other ports she had contacted people ahead of time and they will be working in an orphanage, painting houses and doing other things for the impoverished families that live there. What a great idea!
Well, I see that I have ended up being a bit chatty this morning, and if you've read all the way to this point, I thank you. Have a wonderful day.
Love, Rachel
P.S. I haven't forgotten to show you the project that Mr. RP and the kiddos are doing, but it's been raining and cold...have I told you it's been cold here? And we need a few more bags of sand! So what do you think?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Above Average?

Last night I was listening to the news and when my brain (yes I have one!) clued into what the "news man" was saying, I'm almost positive I heard him say the average American does something related to looking at a screen such as computer stuff, texting, blackberries, TV etc. for 8 1/2 hours per day. I think I'll just continue to be above average! *smile sigh* If I were plugged in all the time, when would I have time for taking walks and smelling flowers? I don't want the best things in life to pass me by!
I don't want my life to just go down the drain! EeeeeeeeeeKKKKKKKKkkkkkkk! I better get off of here! I know you understand!

Have a wonderful Saturday. And occasionally stop and savor the sights and smells of life around you.

Love, Rachel

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just Checkin' In

I'm still dusting and fluffing!
I have a few other things to add and then mark off of my "To Do List" that happened along the way yesterday. One of them is hanging the hummingbird feeder.
I don't usually hang it until later in April, but I wondered if the birds would come earlier than usual if I hang it sooner. It still seems too cold for the tiny creatures, but who knows they may be up in our tree tops wondering where the "goods" are and why I'm not feeding them.
How early do you hang your hummingbird feeder?
Love, Rachel
P.S. I can't wait to show you what Mr. Romantic and the kiddos have been doing! I'll show you in a couple of days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My "To Do List"!

We picked these beautiful flowers last year mid-April. So I know we will get to do that again. This week I'm on a fast pace to mark several "inside jobs" off my "To Do List". When the weather warms up I want to be outside!
"To Do"
Sew 3 outfits and a jacket for little princess
Design and sew 7 costumes 4 of which are Roman Soldiers
Finish 3 pillows and a window treatment that I've already started for someone
Rearrange the furniture
Dust and fluff everything...also known as Spring Cleaning
Go through a stack of papers that I don't want to be a stack anymore!
Plant the garden seeds to sprout in potting soil
Oops, oh yeah,
regular work
hug my kids and Mr. RP
love my neighbors!
What's on your "To Do List" for the week?
I'm sure the list will grow as I go along. Sometimes I write things on there that I've already done, just so I can mark it off! It is so totally fun! Do you ever do that?
Love, Rachel
P.S. Yes, I realize the list is a tiny bit challenging...but you've gotta get aggressive occasionally, huh?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yay! It's Spring!

The first day of Spring is today!
The excitement can be heard in the tiny chirping voices of the birds.
The tree branches are swollen with sap.
The most courageous of cold weather blooms wear their colorful blossoms.
The crisp and clear sunshine defy the thermometer...it's 27 degrees F...bbbbbrrrrrrr!
Yay! It's Spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Violets and Dandelions

I can't wait until these pretty little splashes of color begin to appear in our lawn. Do you like random "pretty - ness" to grow in your yard, or do you prefer a green carpet of only grass?

Love, Rachel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


...St. Patrick's Day y'all! That's all!
Love, Rachel
P.S. Did you know that St. Patrick wasn't Irish? Well, that's what someone told me anyway!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Spring Chick!

Did you know that chickens have personalities?
Or is that chickenalities?
Neither did I! I grew up running barefoot with farm animals all around.
Who knew? I learned something new!
These little black chickies will begin to lay eggs in about 20 weeks. When I got too close with the camera they chirped to the top of their tiny lungs and ran in a flock to the corner of the little box as if to say, "Help help, the sky is falling!
The sky is ffffaaaaaaaallllllllinnngggggg!"
This darling ball of fluffy yellow softness sat quietly on the chicken feeder and his brothers and sisters (or relatives of some such...or are they even related they are all from different eggs...um I don't know) lay on the pine bedding stretched out under the heat lamp. There was no fear here in this box. Life was good for them. Food and water, a heat lamp and a soft place to land is all these puff balls needed to be happy.
And so I learned that chickens have chickenalities.
Oh, I just looove to learn!
Hey how 'bout loading the van with your kiddos or go by yourself if you want (that's OK too), and take a trip to the local farm store or co-op?
Inhale deeply of all the smells of chicken feed, mixed with the scent of hemp in the new ropes, or the freshly tanned leather of the bridle straps.
The smells and sights and sounds of a farm store pull from the far recesses of my mind, memories of my childhood, good memories!
If you've never experienced a farm store, you should. Well, there's really nothing quite like it!
You might learn something new too! Oh, I love to learn. Do you?
Love, Rachel
P.S. Laurel, Happy Birthday! I can't find you! Where are you?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seeking The Best!

One of the things that I enjoy about winter is seeing the fabulous shapes of trees without their leaves. To me the tree trunks and branches look like black lace etched against the sky. This is one of my favorite tree shapes on a street near the school in town. With Spring approaching, I know that soon this tree will be a big fluffy green puff of leaves and I won't see this shape for several months.
I want to make sure that the things that are my focus are truthful and sound and full of the right purposes so that my days are filled with the best activities for my life and not just good ones that take up a lot of my time. It is a balance to sift through everything there is to do and all of the things that I hear calling for my attention. Still I try to live with purpose and finding the best to fill my time.
When my life is over and the fluffy green puff of activities are all said and done, I still want to have a legacy of strength beneath it all just like the tree trunks and branches of my favorite trees. Does this make sense?
New Testament Philippians chapter 1 verses 9, 10 and 11 states:
And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.
I couldn't have said it any better.
Love, Rachel

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm Hopeful!

After a whole lot of this frosty and cold,
signs of Spring are beginning to emerge. Even Ivory our son's ferret has begun to lie on top of her blanket instead of burrowed beneath it!
And these beautiful jewels are sure to spring to life soon. I took this picture last year, but my rhubarb has begun to unfurl one crisp green leaf above the soil and the bleeding hearts have sent a few sturdy stalks of plant life above ground. The tulips have courageously grown dark green blades and I'm sure I will see little tulip blooms soon!
So I'm hopeful! I just love love love Spring. Winter will be over soon, and I want to finish those unfinished projects and get outside.
Spring cleaning to commence soon!
Well as soon as I can get warm enough to "unburrow" (yes spell check I will call "unburrow" a word) and lie on top of my blankets instead of burrowed beneath them!
Just kidding!
What projects do you have planned for this Spring?
Have a fun day y'all!

Love, Rachel

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here It Is! and the sauce winner!

I've never really written on my blog much about my love of fashion and fashion design.
I have designed many things from shoes and purses to dresses and clothing for tiny tots and big tots...girls and boys alike and wedding gowns and miscellaneous and sundry items for every other imaginable purpose, but in this posting I will focus on formal wear.
Every summer or fall during wedding season, I usually alter at least one wedding gown and usually several bridesmaids or other dresses. It is a small thing I do to help a bride achieve the dress and wedding of her dreams.
Many times she has purchased it from the "rack" for a great price, but something about it is just not right.
My husband and a very good friend have told me repeatedly that I need to take pictures and document the transformation process, because the finished creation is usually nothing like it was when I started.
My most challenging project was when I ENLARGED a dress by 8 inches! She found the perfect dress, but alas it was just too small! But back to the picture thing, I guess I'm so focused on pleasing the bride that I am designing for, that I don't allow time for what is important to me.
The photo above is the fabric and lace overlay that a friend brought to me. She also had a picture and said she wanted her wedding dress to look like "this". Could I do that? Yes, a picture was enough, so I got out my scissors and some fabric that I had on hand and started cutting and shaping the prototype for her first fitting. After about 2 1/2 weeks we had the finished product and a very happy bride.
Her wedding was small and elegantly beautiful. She and her groom seemed very happy with their special day which was this past Saturday. On our way to deliver the wedding dress and bridesmaid's dresses and ties that I had shortened, as Mr. Romantic pulled from our drive with me in the passenger seat, he said, "Did you get all of your pictures made?"
Well, I'm sorry to admit that once again, I failed in the photography department, but the bride sure was happy. And I heard her daughter tell her that the dress was cute! I thought that was a darling comment coming from a teenager.

The ivory knee length dress had a fitted bodice and a scoop neckline with taupe Chantilly lace overlay. Sheer Chantilly lace made the sleeves. The waist was fitted and supported a knee length removable bustle in the back. A narrow belt accented the waist and was accessorized with a bow. The belt, bow and bustle were fashioned from the ivory fabric only. The contrast between the fabric and the lace overlay doesn't show in this photo, but I really loved the illusion that it created.
And in spite of all my good intentions at having really great photos for you, the one above was taken with my phone as I draped over the end of the pew in the little chapel. Not to mention that the professional photographer with her "3 foot camera lens" (slightly exaggerated!) was squatting in the aisle right beside me...just snapping away. Inwardly I was chuckling and wondering if she was looking at MY attempts at photography. The bride told me she would give me some "real pictures" though, so I'll see how those turn out.
*Sigh*...I guess I really can't do it all!
So that is one of the things I've done in my "spare" time in the last 3 weeks.
Now for the sauce!!!
I wanted to tell you that I had used a random number generator to select 2 winners from my 5,456 comment entries, but instead I thought it would be so much sweeter and romantical (pretending romantical is a word) and special and cozy in keeping with the special wedding this past weekend and all of that, if we just had little princess choose 2 numbers between 1 and 30.(actually that was the comment amount) She immediately chose #7 and #10 because she said those are her favorite numbers (I didn't know we had favorite numbers) and just for kicks she also told me that her new favorite color is orange! (Well that is news to me!)And the news I have for you that I'm so happy to announce is that comment #7 is from Sandi at My Yellow Door. You will love getting to know Sandi. And comment #10 is from Francis Moore a sweet friend who doesn't have a blog but she tells me that she reads my blog every day. So ladies, we'll get your email address sent to the rep at "County Bob's" and soon you'll have 2 bottles of their delicious sauce!
If you've hung with me all the way to the end of this long long posting, I thank you. AND if you left a comment and participated in the "Country Bob's" sauce give away, I thank you all over again! I've tried to zip my happy little self all around to thank you personally, but just in case I left someone out, I want you to know how much I appreciate it...you're comments made it all worth while! And I really mean that!
Happy wedding dress sauciness or something like that!
Love, Rachel

I Haven't Forgotten!

Hey y'all, I haven't forgotten you! I just haven't had time on the computer today. I will announce the sauce winner as soon as I can get back on here!
Have a fun day.
Are you having a "daylight savings time hangover"?
Love, Rachel

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ah, So Comfy!

Tiny princess styled and shot this photo! I found it in my picture files. I love it...it's perfect for a day like today. I'm going to take a tiny blog break until Tuesday morning when I announce the winner of the giveaway mentioned here.

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

I will try my best today to get some better pictures of this, because I still plan to tell you about it next week.

Thank you for the birthday greetings from yesterday. She loved them!

I'll be back on Tuesday. Please click on the link above to leave a comment for the giveaway!

Love, Rachel

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Loveable Reminder!

Hug your family, show each other how much you love them!
We are celebrating little princess's birthday today, so there are lots of happy hugs and kisses all around here today.
Have a wonderful day!
Love, Rachel
P.S. You may still enter the giveaway...just scroll down and leave a comment on the post below. We will keep the giveaway open until Monday at midnight. The winners will be announced on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fun Day For A Giveaway!

About 3 weeks ago, I received an email from a representative of "Country Bob's" asking me to sample their sauce (which they would provide) and give it a review on my blog. After checking a few things out, I thought, "That sounds like a fun thing to do!"
So I pondered and pondered just the approach to take for sampling this special sauce. I thought about hiding it in the crook of my elbow and just try a tiny nibble on my fingertip. That didn't seem quite appropriate! I thought about inviting all of my neighbors...you know, just include the whole block, but that moment of pondering lasted about 2.5 seconds...ditched that idea!
I fixed a tiny meal just for us, and the teenagers LOVED it. Then in a few days, the perfect opportunity came along where I had the delightful honor of feeding 12 family members all at once! I fixed picnic pork on homemade rolls. Then each person could add extra "Country Bob's" if they wanted too. Well, I made sure they did! Our family loved it.
Nope, I don't have photos of that special meal, because you know, I'm just not savvy like that...snapping pics just before the food is consumed...I should make that as a new goal of mine. Right now, I'm just happy to delight myself with the joys of a camera on my phone...however meager it may be.
Now for the giveaway! If you leave a comment here, "Country Bob's" has told me I can draw two names from my comments. Then they will send 2 bottles of sauce to the two names who are drawn! How neat is that? So if you leave a comment, and don't have a blog, please be sure to leave your email address. And let me know if you've ever used this sauce!
If you'd like to know more about "Country Bob's" All Purpose Sauce, click here. But be sure and leave a comment on my blog, to be entered into the giveaway!
The sauce is yummy!
Have a saucy day, y'all!
Love, Rachel

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's A Girl To Do?

In February 2008, I started sharing the romantic porches from my blogging friends here on my blog. It is so much fun to find other people who love porches like I do.
I have wanted to make one of those widget thingies that says something like "Featured at A Romantic Porch". Then I can send it to the friend who has their porch featured and it would link back to their feature over here on my blog. I can send one to the friends who've already had their porches featured. It sounds like so much fun to be sending things all around cyperspace doesn't it?!
When I was talking to Claudia about her porch, we were discussing this, and she suggested that I just ask right here on my blog. Well now, I never thought of that! Great idea, Claudia! She said that she was sure there was someone out there who could help me. I'm sure she's right. You bloggers amaze me with all the neat sparkly and flashy and beautiful things you put on your blogs and send all around to cheer each other up.
So well, gulp, can anyone help me? There now, I said it! I got it out! Just remember that I am oh so not technosavy (I made that word up!...it means I don't know very much about these computers) and I have very limited time to figure all of this out...maybe that's my problem...I'm not spending enough time at it.
Anyway, I'm open to advice and I hope you have a wonderful day getting everything done that is on your to do list. For now...I gotta scram! See my brown curls bouncin' in the breeze as I go?
Love, Rachel

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Claudia's Porch

I am pleased to feature Claudia's porch for the month of March. You will enjoy meeting Claudia and learning about her life and work far away from the comfort of her husband, doggies, friends and home. This is what Claudia has to say about her cozy porch.
"I grew up with a porch. In my suburban neighborhood, it was the place we sat and talked, called out to our neighbors, read, ate, sheltered from the rain and sat watching the 4th of July fireworks.

When we were looking for a house to buy, we had many ‘wants’. One of them was a porch. On the day we saw our house for the first time, we walked onto the porch and saw that it was a wraparound porch
with a lovely railing and a floor made of blue stone. I stood there and thought, ‘This is it.’
Many of the things on our want list didn’t come to be, but the porch was better than we ever dreamed.
It is full of potted and hanging plants, an old rusty glider (that I wouldn’t change) with comfy cushions, a wicker rocker, some wooden benches and a table. The dogs love nothing better than to lie there looking at the world outside, while I read or knit and my husband plays his guitar. I can survey my garden and all is right with the world.
I love my porch and hope it is a welcome sight to those who pass by."
Claudia, thank you for sharing your darling porch with us. Thank you sweet blog friends for hopping over to Claudia's blog and getting to know her. You'll be glad you did.
Have a wonderful day, y'all.
Love, Rachel

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Game We Play

" How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon," I ask?
"Eight", replies little princess.
Then it is her turn.
"How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon," she asks?
"Forty~five," I say.
"Nope! Sixty~three," she giggles.
The game goes on and on if you want it too! Just pick a number...any number...if the other person guesses it, they have a turn...sometimes I give in and the number she says is the number I decide for it to be...well what else is the queen supposed to do for the princess!
I'm off to measure to the moon!
Love, Rachel

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Do Have Choices

Life can just get flat~out~ wacky~ sometimes...no matter how hard we strive to maintain control or keep things balanced. Situations can sometimes be beyond our control. I can easily become "paralyzed", so to speak, by negative words and emotions. When I allow myself to hash and rehash in my mind or hear those things which I cannot change, I can easily be filled with fear of the future and uncertainty of the unknown. I am ever challenged with balance and maintaining focus of purpose.
However I do have choices! I will share two of them here!
1~ Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
New Testament Philippians chapter 4 verses 8 & 9
2~ When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
Old Testament Psalm chapter 56 verses 3 & 4
I choose to fill my mind with excellence and praise and trust. Have I perfected this technique? No, but I still work at it...life seems better when I change my focus and try to gain a new perspective.
So what do you do when life tries to bring you down? What choices do you make?
Have a restful day filled with happy thoughts.
Love, Rachel