December 26, 2008

New Custom Boa Scarves

boa picI am now offering my plush boa scarves in the Maidens of Virtue Shoppe as custom made - you pick the color. I had been selling these before but with a few set colors from which to choose. But I decided that it would serve my customers better if they could request the color they wanted, and then I could give them some specific yarn colors that match their request.

All the scarves will come in a homespun style yarn (an example is on the site). I will, however, try to accommodate requests for other types of yarn, such as chenille, bulky, feathery, or cotton, etc. (Depending on what type of yarn, this may necessitate a price change - therefore, default yarn is the homespun, and if you want a different yarn, make a note of it in the note section when ordering).

What do you think? I would appreciate any comments on whether you think this is a positive or negative change.

December 24, 2008

Singing the Psalms

Psalter, Vision ForumA while ago our church purchased a bunch of Psalters and we started singing them in our services each week. We as a family also purchased one and use it in our personal family singing.

These are literally the entire book of Psalms set to music. We have really enjoyed learning them in 4 part harmony (I am soprano, my sister is alto, my self-sacrificing mom sings tenor when possible, and Dad is bass).

Singing the Psalms are a great way to memorize them, and these are not "childish" tunes as many Scripture songs are; these are more like hymns - some of the Psalms are actually set to hymn melodies. Of course, the Psalms are "edited" to fit the verses (not word-for-word out of the KJV).

If you have not already purchased this book, I would strongly recommend that you do so! You can buy it from Vision Forum HERE.

Also, if you want to learn these in 4 part, you can get tutorial CDs. Each CD has the Psalms with the full-harmony, and then afterward the parts are broken up so each person can learn their part. Great for learning the Psalms in the car! (We have volumes 1 and 2, and I can't remember which one it is but one doesn't have very good audio quality - still it's helpful if you do better learning by ear):

O Sing A New Psalm: Learn to Sing the Psalms in 4 Part Harmony, Vol. I

Songs of the Remnant (Vol. II)

Nations Praise (Vol. III)

December 13, 2008

Thoughts on the Temperance Movement

Before you think, "Where on earth did she get the idea to write on the temperance movement?" let me explain. My sister just celebrated her 15th birthday and for that special occasion she received a huge stack of Isabella Alden books. We love these books and between the two of us, we are already well on our way to finishing the whole lot of them. :-)

Ok, so how does this tie into temperance? If you have read many of Isabella Alden's books, you may know. Ms. Alden was very fond of incorporating this subject into her stories. It was something she was obviously passionate about. However, I find that I disagree with her stance on the topic, though she errs on the side of caution.

In reading Ms. Alden's books you will find that many of her characters hold the view that all dancing, card games and drinking is a sin. There are no exceptions to the rule; in fact the reader gets the impression that anyone who does any of these three things is not a Christian. I do realize that dancing and card games back then were probably different than now - card games were played exclusively for money, for example - and therefore the characters have good reason to choose to not do them. Ironically, Ms. Alden's Christian characters are very much in favor of women speaking and praying in prayer meeting; so it is interesting to note that while the Bible does not speak of dancing, card games or drinking (in moderation) as sin, it is very clear that women are not to speak in church!

The Bible clearly condemns drinking in excess.
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Prov. 20:1)

"Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." (Prov. 23:20-21)  (Winebibber = a habitual drinker of wine)

"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." (Prov. 23:29-35)

"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!" (Isaiah 5:11)
Yet it does not condemn the drinking of wine in moderation (with the exception of those in the role of priests, elders, etc.). In 1 Timothy 5, Timothy must have been prone to some illness, and Paul recommends that he take wine for it.
"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1 Tim. 5:23)

"[The Lord] causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart." (Psalm 104:14-15)

"Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always." (Deut. 14:22-23)
That said, there are those who do not believe you should drink wine and the Bible does not wish us to drink it if when we do it we cause another to stumble.
"For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." (Rom. 14:20-21)
Ok, so you get the point. Now we can get to the temperance movement. :-) (Long intro, eh?)

The temperance movement actually began by advocating the moderate use of alcohol, rather than total abstinence. Later it changed to a complete rejection of alcohol, which is the stand that Isabella Alden takes. The temperance societies would hold large rallies with lectures on the evils of drink from all angles. They also endeavored to shut down as many saloons as possible. They saw the damage these businesses were doing to men's health and family life as drunkeness was often the cause of abuse.

Now, all these things are good; it is good to get rid of saloons and it's good to educate people about the effects of alcohol; but the problem with the temperance movement was that, though many churches and Christians were involved, they were so preoccupied with alcohol itself that they missed the root problem: sin.

If they had focused more on addressing the issue as sin instead of treating the surface problem by shutting down saloons, this and a host of other problems would have been resolved. If you simply treat the symptoms and not the root issue, you won't get very far. Suppose they had succeeded in closing every saloon in the country and completely abolished the manufacturing of alcohol. The alcohol problem would have been "solved"; but sinful men who are addicted to something will not simply give up on their own. They would go and find something else equally as disastrous or more so.

So all this to say that though the intent of the temperance movement was good, I think they went about the business incorrectly. Signing the total abstinence pledge will not keep an addicted man (or woman for that matter) from drinking; only Jesus can!

(All that said, I still heartily recommend Isabella Alden's books. :-) Just be aware you will encounter this subject often in reading them!).

I hope you will forgive my rambling on so long about this - it just happens to be the topic that I've been thinking about the last couple days since reading the books! :-)

December 5, 2008

Tagged Again!

And guess what... it's Sarah from Destiny of One who did it - again! :-)

However, this one I like because it's not just the usual "random things about me"...

6 to 10 Things that I do daily:

1. Have my quiet time (read the Bible, pray, journal)

2. Do chores

3. Check my email

4. Pet and spoil the cats

5. Make lunch

6. Check blogs

7. Generally write something - letters, stories, blog posts, nature journal

8. Practice my instruments (piano & harp) - sometimes this gets missed but I'm trying to do better about doing it EVERY day

9. Wait eagerly for the mail

Now I am supposed to tag 5 people (this is usually the hardest thing for me - I always end up tagging the same people!)

R.J. (


Emily Jo

Miss Jocelyn (

Jessica McDonald

For those of you who have been so amazingly blessed to be tagged :-), here are the rules:

*Post the six to ten things that you do on a daily basis
*Link to the person who tagged you.
*Tag five other people
*Leave a comment on the blog of the person that tagged you letting them know that have posted this to your blog.

December 3, 2008

New from Sense & Sensibility


That's right. Patterns that you download instantly after payment. You purchase, download and print them yourself! Obviously some pieces that are larger will need to be taped together since you can only print what will fit on 8.5 x 11" paper (unless you have a special printer...) BUT I think it's worth it since the e-patterns are priced MUCH lower than the regular patterns. Besides, Mrs. Chancey's regular patterns come printed on heavy paper and you have to trace them onto tissue anyway, which isn't that different than taping pieces together.

This is a great option for someone who needs to make a last minute project and can't wait for a printed pattern to ship. Almost all the regular patterns are available in the e-pattern format. Check it out!

S&S long affiliate banner

November 27, 2008

Things for which I am thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a very random and by no means exhaustive list of the things for which I am thankful to God. They are not in order of importance, but just as I think of them.


• Salvation & Forgiveness of sin • A roof over my head • A dad who loves and protects me • Food to eat! • My sister who is always there for me • Warmth in cold weather • The beautiful land we live on • My wonderful mom • My wonderful extended family • BOOKS • The freedom to worship the one true God and read His word without fear • The fact that my dad has a job and provides for us • Chocolate (especially when it's hazelnut flavored...) • All my fabulous friends • The United States Postal Service and those who send me letters through it • Coffee • Air to breathe and water to drink • The beautiful flowers, trees and plants God has created • And in light of that, for cameras • Cookie dough • Clothes to wear • My parents choice to homeschool us • The way God always provides • Libraries • My parents' forcing me to keep playing piano when I was ready to quit • Music • Babies (and their moms who let me hold them) • Sewing and the ability to do it • Garlic • The harp that God graciously provided for me to learn on, through my sweet friend Raeanne • Quite appropriately, the smell of roasting turkey wafting through the house • My ability to write and all the other gifts God has given me • Creme brulee • Gardens in which we may grow our own food (and some weeds to boot...) • Vacations • History • My cat, Gavana • Mom's cat, Basha • The memory of Tara's cat, Scamper • And all other cats who have played a role in my life :-) • Good bread •

I could sit here all day and just keep adding to this list... but I will refrain from doing so. This is probably already so long that you didn't even read the whole thing. :-) Oh, well... it was fun for me anyway!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

November 25, 2008

Fresh Irish Soda Bread...mmmm

irish soda bread

Nov. 26 update: For Miss Jocelyn and the rest of you who would like to taste this fabulous bread for yourselves:

Mrs. C.'s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup raisins
2 Tbsp. caraway seeds (optional)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, raisins, caraway seeds, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs and 2 Tbsp. butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients to form a dough.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 4 minutes; add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Form dough into a 9-inch round; place on prepared baking sheet. Brush loaf with remaining Tbsp. of butter. Using a sharp knife, score an X on top of loaf.
Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack before serving. Enjoy!
This is one of my absolute favorite breads! It mixes up pretty quickly and has a sweet flavor - sometimes we like to sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar (or other "large chunk" sugar) before baking. YUM!

October 17, 2008

6 Things About Me

Sarah over at Destiny of One tagged me to tell 6 random things about myself. So....

1. My favorite music types are classical, hymns, and some celtic.

2. My favorite sounds are fallen leaves crunching under my feet, rushing water, cats purring, birds singing, and wind whispering through the trees (my sister, who is sitting with me as  I type this, says, "You're so poetic!" - jokingly, of course *smile*).

3. My favorite scents are bread baking in the oven, roses, pine needles, ground coffee (or coffee in any form, come to think of it - except black).

4. If you can't tell, I'm going with favorites here - favorite colors: rose pink, pale green, lavender purple, various shades of blue, dark red... um... I think that's all!

5. I love sewing, especially historical outfits.

ONE MORE! I can do this!!!

6. Ummmmmmm....... OH - favorite flowers: roses, lilacs, irises, and apple and cherry blossoms.

There! I did it. Now I am supposed to tag 6 (ish) other people.

R.J. at Virtuous Girlhood

Miss Taylor at the Godly Girlhood blog

Raeanne Ailene



Well.... that was 6-ISH all right. :-)

Here are the rules for those I tagged (if you all want to do it, of course!) :
*Link to the person who tagged you.
*Post the rules on your blog.
*Write six random things about yourself.
*'Tag' six-or-so other people at the bottom of your post-
*And leave comments on their blogs letting them know they've been tagged.
*Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post.

Have fun! :-)

October 3, 2008

Movie Review: Felicity

felicity movie My dad is out of town on business, and when he is gone we girls usually watch movies more than we normally would. Yesterday we watched "Felicity: An American Girl Adventure."

Though my sister and I are a little old for American Girl dolls now, several people we know had said the movie was good, so we thought we'd give it a shot since we love the Colonial time period, and we figured that since it was put out by American Girl and geared toward younger girls, it would be pretty clean (which it was).

On the whole, the movie was very well done, with much higher quality than I expected. There were some cute parts, notably the ones with Felicity's little sister, Nan, who is just so cute you could eat her up. But we found some major problems with the story line.

In the very beginning, Felicity "falls in love" with a beautiful horse owned by a grouchy old man, Jiggy Nye who abuses her. So the horse is mistrustful of humans in general, but Felicity determines to tame her. So far so good. But then the problem comes - Felicity sneaks out at night and feeds an apple to Penny (as she calls the horse). She does this multiple times, once getting caught by Mr. Nye. Then one morning Felicity's grandfather tells her that he saw her coming back to the house, and she pleads with him not to tell. He agrees, but admonishes her to not do it anymore because she is fooling with someone else's property. Felicity says, "Yes, grandfather." And I was thinking, "Phew, now she'll stop this nonsense."

Or not.

That night she goes AGAIN, despite her grandfather's command. Oh, and meanwhile she takes her father's apprentice's Sunday breeches from the mending basket, and rides Penny at night. Then Ben (the apprentice) catches her putting on the breeches in the barn, and of course demands a reason for her taking them.  So she takes him to see Penny, and while they are there, Jiggy Nye comes out and they duck behind the fence. Mr. Nye is in a temper for some reason, and is about to beat Penny, when she rips the rope and gallops off. Mr. Nye is in a rage and yells, "Well, anyone who can ride ye can have ye! I hope ye never come back!" and stomps into the house.

Now Felicity thinks she has the right to own Penny, because she can ride her. So she goes off and finds her, takes her home, and of course Mr. Nye shows up and takes her back. Felicity flees to the barn in tears. Then her father comes in and is all sympathetic. Instead of punishing her for stealing a horse, he praises her for "helping" it! And he tells her, "You've done everything you can."  She responds,"Not everything."

Here I think she has to be done sneaking out there, but noooo.... off she goes again in the middle of the night, and frees Penny - without permission from anyone.

Later Penny is found by some horse sellers, and Felicity's grandfather buys her for Felicity. That seems like it's fine, and now Felicity lawfully owns her but it's not. She let the horse go, not Jiggy Nye!

The other thing that had us disagreeing with the film was the whole spirit of independence that is promoted throughout the movie. I could call it feminism. When the subject of Patriots versus Loyalists comes up, Felicity's family is Patriot, but her grandfather (and best friend) are Loyalists. In bed one night, Felicity asks her mother, "Mother, what should I be?" And - can you believe this - the mother says, oh so tenderly, "You'll have to decide that for yourself." Uh, beg your pardon? She's TEN!

One other less noticeable, but still there problem was the dresses - Felicity's gowns are VERY low cut. Of course, she's ten, so it's not showing anything, but still... There are also older ladies in the film who have low dresses and there is some cleavage.

And one last thing we noticed - though it is VERY subtle - is the fact that Felicity and her father's apprentice Ben always "happen" to be thrown together - he escorts her to her lessons, and for the ball her father suddenly can't escort her, so Ben goes with her, etc. And while it's not that big of a part, you still get the impression that Felicity and Ben probably get married when they are grown up! And remember - she's TEN.

After we finished watching it, my mom said, "And this is the girl that is being touted as someone little girls should look up to?" I mean, in an hour and a half they show her breaking the 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th (you might even say the 1st...) commandments, and imply that it's okay! I wouldn't have minded it if she got a good hard spankin' after being found out, but instead she is praised!

Here's some comments from others that I found on Amazon's listing:

"...For [the] story's sake, it might embellish on some truths such as little girls disobeying their parents without retribution (although I'm sure most of today's youngsters will not follow Felicity's lead in this)."  
 Not sure where she gets that idea. Kids WILL follow examples, and there are many little girls out there who idolize Felicity.

"...I have been a costumes researcher for several period plays, and I can vouch that these costumes have been "modernized" (in terms of the low cut) as have the costumes worn by the actors in Williamsburg and most other historic sites. You can't judge by such sites. I have to agree with the two previous reveiwers who mentioned it; the mother's costumes in this piece are pretty far fetched, historically speaking. This point, btw, has got nothing to do with moralizing, but just being historically accurate. The upstanding mother of small children and the wife of a township store proprietor wouldn't dress like a floozey and get away with it (the townspeople would have more reason to boycott his store than loyalist politics!!)."
 Preach it! :-)

"...I have heard so many great things about this series, that I was really looking forward to sharing the movie with my kids. The sets and costumes were beautiful to look at, but I sat opened mouthed as I watched this little terror of a child in action. I don't see anything heroic or daring or admirable about her sneaking out of the house night after night to get into a pen with a dangerous horse, that isn't hers. She steals the horse, and when she is finally forced to return it, she lets it go. The consequence of her behavior? Her indulgent grandfather finds the horse and buys it for her. It just seemed like whoever wrote it was trying to fasten their ideas to historical characters, and it just sounded overtly preachy. I have a hard time believing a child in colonial times would have gone around sounding like a mini-Betty Friedan. Ultimately, Felicity ends up learning to do housework and drink tea, and gets all excited about getting dressed up to go to a I'm not even sure what message the movie was trying to get across, other that it is OK to steal from mean ugly people with Scottish accents."
 Had to laugh over that one... but she's right...

"FELICITY is a beautiful film and a loving recreation of an era which one doesn't often see on the screen. The cast is great and the film is entertaining. BUT the main idea presented to kids via the main character is indeed 'disobey your parents and all will turn out well'."
So, I suppose it is needless to say that I wouldn't necessarily recommend this movie. :-)

September 6, 2008

The Importance of Dating

Now, please don't just click out of the screen in disgust. I am not talking about dating vs. courtship or anything like that. What I mean is putting the date on things.

What kind of things? Well - anything. Journal entries. Drawings or paintings you do. The letters and cards you write. The linens you make for your hope chest. For those of you mothers reading this, the little pictures you save that your children give you when they are little. You can find an inconspicuous spot on nearly anything to put a date.

Why? For generations to come. Hundreds of years from now, things you have made and written may have survived. How disappointing it would be for one of your great-great-great grandchildren to find them and know that they are old, but don't know HOW old! Beatrix Potter, for example, wrote many letters and dated most of them; but only two, written to her father, survive from her childhood and they are UNDATED. I love finding things that have the date written on them so that I know exactly how old it was. When looking at old books in antique stores, the first thing I almost always do is look at the publication year - the older it is, the more chance that I will buy it. :-)

That said, I would also encourage you to write the full year. Instead of writing "September 6, 08" write "September 6, 2008." Why? Because in a couple hundred years, people may not know which "08" it is! They may be able to guess based on the actual item, but it is only a guess. For instance, we have an antique woodstove dated Jan. 06. Well, it must have been from 1906 since it couldn't possibly be from two years ago! But you see we use the same abbreviation for 2006 as 1906.

I hope this helps you to remember to take one more second to add the date. It's important! :-)

August 19, 2008

Crock Pot Recipes

Herb Potato Orange Roughy
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup water
4 fresh or thawed orange roughy fillets
2 cups diced & cooked potatoes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Lemon wedges for garnish

Combine the soup and water. Pour half into crock pot. Place the fillets on top, and put potatoes on top of the fillets. Pour the rest of the soup/water mixture over the top.
Mix cheese and herbs and sprinkle over the other ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, being care to not overcook the fish.
Serve with lemon wedges if desired (squeezing lemon over the top really enhances the flavor).
Great served with acorn squash!
Serves 4.

Apple Raisin Lamb Chops
6 lamb chops
2 apples, chopped
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place chops in crockpot. Top with onion slices, apples & raisins. Mix water, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Pour over top. Cook on high about 4 to 6 hours or until meat is tender. Enjoy!

August 6, 2008

Food for Thought

Somwhere between sunrise and sunset
One golden hour, set with sixty diamond minutes.
No reward is offered, for it is gone forever.

- Unknown

July 2, 2008

Natural Beauty

White begonia

Purple Coneflower

Orange Daylily

White Columbine


May 31, 2008

2008 Poetry Contest Results

The day is here - time to announce the winners of the Maidens of Virtue Poetry Contest! We got some very good entries and it was difficult to choose!

Here are all the "announcements" and the actual poems follow:

The Grand Prize Winner in the 9-12 age category, "Having Joy in My Heart," is:

Miss Kiah C.!

Honorable Mentions for this category are:

Miss Rebecca G. & Miss Robyn G. (sisters! :-) )

The Grand Prize Winner in the 13-25 age category, "A Sister's Role in Her Sibling's Life," is:

Miss Kathryn I.!

Honorable Mentions for this category are:

Miss Heather E. & Miss Moriah O.


And now for the poems...

Joy - 9-12 Grand Prize Winner

By Miss Kiah C.

Joy is as heavy as a hug

And as light as air.

Joy is in serving your family.

It is uplifting

And a trial to hold

And may be a sunbeam to carry

But most of all you find your joy

In the Lord. He gives it to us through

Friends and neighbors.

Joy is in the Lord Jesus.

Having Joy in My Heart - 9-12 Honorable Mention

By Miss Rebecca G.

I have joy in my heart with His love and His kindness,

I have joy in my heart with His mercy and grace,

I have joy in my heart with His loving care,

I have joy in my heart with His outstanding power

I have joy in my heart with His outstanding care,

Oh I have joy in my heart from Him!

Let's Remember Paul - 9-12 Honorable Mention

By Miss Robyn G.

When I’m feeling low I turn to the bible and that gives me joy!

God wants us to read His word so we can have joy!

The book I love most is Philippians; I love all the verses in it!

Paul tells us to rejoice in all things and that we should count it all joy!

He also says to think on right things, so when we grumble and complain,

Are we counting it all joy? No.

So let's remember Paul when he was sitting in chains in a Roman prison,

If he can count it all joy so can we.

We who live in comfortable houses and don’t have to wear chains!

So when we are tempted to grumble about doing the dishes or just doing our chores;

Remember Paul and have


Blessed Sisterhood - 13-25 Grand Prize Winner

By Miss Kathryn I.

There is a special role, which only girls can fill,

Created by the Lord, part of His Sovereign will.

A mighty power have we, who have sister for a name,

A role to be desired, much more than wealth or fame.

We as sisters must be gentle, - patient, loving, kind,

Not thinking of ourselves, but having others on our mind.

Whenever you speak, seek to build up another,

Give loving praise, to your sister and your brother.

We must submit to authority, and respectfully obey,

Carrying fully out with joy, all that our parents say.

For we set an example, we are watched in all we do,

May our actions honor Christ, our words please Him too.

I tell you dear maiden, with siblings in your life,

Be a blessing unto others, not to them a source of strife.

Embrace the role of sister, thank God that you can see,

That He’s placed you where you are, in your own family.

When eager little hands, wish to join you in a task,

Do not sigh within your heart, and wish they did not ask.

Instead, pause and pray, that God would give to you,

Patience and forbearance, for those who follow you.

Speak of the Lord, and all that He has done,

From the beginning of each day, to the setting of the sun.

We are told to remember, the mercies of the Lord,

So speak often of His deeds, the blessings He’s out poured.

How often we forget, who’ve been blessed with sisterhood,

What a help we can be, a blessing if we would.

God’s given us a task, may it be our great delight,

To embrace this noble call, serve Him with all our might!

A Sister's Influence - 13-25 Honorable Mention

By Miss Heather E.

A sisters role is needed,

To make the home a happy place;

To gently guide and encourage,

Her vital role can never be erased.

Her siblings depend on her instruction,

They look to her to lead;

To be the example of obedience,

The cornerstone of the family.

O Sister, I know your life is busy,

With many burdens along the way;

Do not neglect your duty,

Care for them day by day.

You have the power to influence,

Use it wisely and you shall see;

The fruitful vines rise up,

Around that olive tree.

Sister's Place - 13-25 Honorable Mention

By Miss Moriah O.

A sister sits -

hands covering face.

What is my duty -

where is my place.

Little does she know

her place sits all around.

Her siblings lives

is where her duty's found.

A kind word -

a cheerful smile,

these things can lighten

a sibling's trial.

Her encouragement

and her grace,

bring a smile

to a sibling's face.

Oh, sister

look and see

what kind of person

each aims to be.

Encourage them

along life's way.

Encourage them

in Christ to stay.

Congratulations everyone! You all did wonderful work!

April 28, 2008

Deadline Extended!

Well, it looks like we will be having a repeat of last year, and the Maidens of Virtue Poetry Contest deadline will have to be extended! I will let you in on a little secret and tell you that I have had an amazingly low number of entries. I won't tell you how many, :-) but I will say that chances of winning are extremely good as of today.

If possible I do not want to have to cancel the contest... and it is that bad... so I beg of you, if you enjoy poetry, PLEASE consider entering! You have nothing to lose except 41¢ (unless you submit electronically, which is free!) and there are fantastic prizes...

The contest is now in effect until Tuesday, May 20th, 2008. And if you need to see the complete contest details, click here.

April 23, 2008

Don't Forget!

Just a reminder that the deadline for the Maidens of Virtue poetry contest is just one week away!

Get your entries in soon!

(Haven't heard about it yet? Click here to find out more!)

April 16, 2008

Send Someone a Letter

mailboxDo it today - send a letter or even a short note to someone you know. Letter writing is becoming a lost art in today's world of fast, free email. It's sad, because letters are such wonderful things, both for the sender and the recipient. Who doesn't like getting "real" mail - something other than catalogs and bills? Sure, it costs 41¢ (and counting...); but think about it. You're paying 41¢ for a relative miracle that will bring joy to someone else - I mean, really, isn't it amazing that you can simply write a person's name, and some more words that are represent where they live, and it will get there even if it's somewhere on the other side of the world (most of the time...)?

So, that said, write a letter to someone. It can be a simple note card or a volume that's bordering on breaking the world record. Just do it. When you mail it know that you are sending off a day-brightener - and it only cost you a little time and 41¢.

(End note: Rumor has it that letter writing can be a double blessing - if you send mail, you are more likely to receive it! Makes sense to me...)

April 11, 2008

Thought for the Day

"Some people complain that God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses on thorns."

- Anonymous

March 31, 2008


By Miss Melanie K.

Home is where a traveler can find a place to stay,
Home is where the children gather at their play.
Home is where a mother works and oversees,
Home is where God's word brings gentleness and peace.
Home is where a baby coos in soft delight,
Home is where the husband comes back to every night.
Home is where the lawn shows special loving care,
Home is where flowers are sprinkled everywhere.
Home is where a new life begins and where it ends,
Home is where you gather in safety with your friends.
Home is where History is taught and where it's learned,
Home is where forgiveness abounds, where apologies are returned.
Home is where the daughter trains to be a wife,
Home is where the son prepares himself for life.
Home is where families begin and where they end,
Home is where Jesus is found the best of friends.

March 10, 2008

Poetry Contest!

M of V 2008 Poetry contest buttonYes, it's been a year, and I am excited to announce the 2nd annual Maidens of Virtue Poetry Contest!

Like last year, there are two categories: ages 9 to 12, and 13 to 20. This year's topics are, respectively,

"Having Joy in Your Heart" and
"A Sister's Role in Her Sibling's Life"

You can find out more information by clicking here. This contest is open until April 30, 2008.

I look forward to receiving your entries!!

March 8, 2008

Friendship Quilt

folded friendship quiltFor my last birthday, my sister gave me a friendship quilt, though it wasn't all put together yet. It's one of the best gifts I've ever been given - a quilt made up of squares that my friends embroidered for me! Tara (my sister) organized the whole thing, and my friends each handmade a square. It was very neat to open each one out and see how each reflected the personality of the giver! Anyway, I am writing this because yesterday my sister finished sewing it all together, and I thought I'd post a couple pictures of it.
T-T Basting in batting
Here she is basting in the batting (that's the back of the quilt)

Friendship Quilt
The finished quilt (sorry the picture is a little dark)
And there was an unexpected benefit that came with this quilt as far as Tara is concerned - she's found that she's hooked on quilting! :-)

February 28, 2008

Presentation is Everything: How to Serve a Simple Meal in Elegant Style

Did you know that you can make even the simplest meal special by the way you serve it?

The secret is summed up in one word: presentation. My aunt was a caterer at one time and she lived with us a for a few years, and one of the things that she continually impressed upon us was that "it's all in the presentation." We kind of made a joke out of it at the time, but it's true.

So, how can we dress up our meals to appear at their very best? Let's look at a couple of ways to make the dishes we serve appealing.

1. Attractive Arrangement
Don't just dump the food you have made on to a plate to serve it. Look for ways that you could tastefully arrange the food on the plate to make it more attractive. For instance, see what kind of garnishes you could put on the side to give it a little "oomph." Just a little sprig of parsley or rosemary can change the whole look of the dish. For soups, they look amazingly more appetizing when you add a garnish. The type of garnish will of course depend on the soup (or dish), but I made baked potato soup, and garnished it with a sprinkling of cheese in the center and a little chopped green onion. There are lots of fun garnishing how-to books out there as well that can teach you more elaborate, creative garnishes. Another point is that it does matter what kind of dish you serve the food in! We have one dish that I love because it is very pretty and somehow always makes it look like there is a lot of food in it even if there isn't! (It also fits asparagus perfectly :-)) Now, I realize that sometimes we just don't have time and it's all we can do to even get dinner on the table, let alone dress it up. That's okay! But when we do have the time, we should try to make it a little fancy.

2. Dress Up the Table
Aside from the actual dishes, presentation includes your table. Put a tablecloth on, and maybe a couple of tall candles in the center. It's amazing how this can transform the whole feel of your table - especially if you choose a richly colored tablecloth. If you don't have time for attractively arranging your dishes, this takes mere seconds. Another fun thing that really adds presentation is creative napkin folding. There are some instructions for a few simple napkin folds here. This really impresses guests too!

So there are my thoughts on presentation... it's the way to make the plainest meal delightful!

January 25, 2008

The best thing since sliced bread is...

...soft, fresh butter to go on it!
Our family has just discovered a wonderful little kitchen accessory - a butter keeper. Ever heard of it? It's a device that keeps butter fresh at room temperature, leaving it soft and spreadable. It's two pieces, one piece being the dish that holds the butter. This piece then flips upside down into a slightly larger dish, which you fill with about 1/2 inch of cool water. The water then seals in the butter to keep it fresh!
Clever, isn't it? We have found, however, that you do have to consistently change the water every few days, and it helps to use the butter up fairly quickly, as it only stays fresh for so long. It keeps fresh for about a week, I would say, before it starts to turn rancid. Most butter keepers that I have seen hold one stick of butter (1/2 cup).
Here are a few butter keepers I found on For a more extensive selection, click on this link: Butter Keepers on Amazon (note that there are a few other butter-related products listed that just came up in the search results).

Plain butter keeper Butter Keeper

White Floral Butter keeper White Floral Butter Keeper

Floral Butter Keeper Floral Butter Keeper with Knife 

Of course, to be frugal you can also pack the butter into a regular bowl, and then fit it into a larger bowl filled with 1/2 an inch of water as well. It just wouldn't be as "pretty." :-)

January 8, 2008

The Thrifty Seamstress

Lately we've been doing a lot of sewing. And lately we've noticed something:

Every time you want to sew something, it costs money.

And some projects are more expensive than others. So, here are a few tips for pinching your pennies when it comes to sewing.

Fabric: Don't buy it. Now, don't get me wrong here, I do realize it helps to have fabric when you are sewing. I just mean don't buy fabric from the fabric stores. You can often find good fabric at very inexpensive prices at thrift shops. And here's another thing - you can use sheets! Generally sheets can be found at thrift stores too, but even some brand new sheets are cheaper than new fabric. Of course, I'm not laying down the law and saying that it's a sin to go and buy new fabric from the store! That's fine too. But if you're pinching pennies and/or don't have any particular fabric in mind, the options already mentioned just might save you a little cash.

Buttons: Buttons can really add up especially if you need them for the front of a skirt or dress. Next time you "purge" your closet, before throwing out clothing that is too worn to be given away, rip off any buttons that might be on them. Most button-up sweaters will have 5 or 6 buttons, while dresses and skirts could have 10 or more! If you save these, you will have a handy store of matching sets of buttons for use in your future sewing projects. Oh - and thrift stores come in handy here too. If you have a project where you need a large amount of buttons but don't have any worn out button-up clothes, head to the thrift store and pick up a dress with buttons that you like (it can be the ugliest dress in the world - as long as the buttons are nice! :-). An average dress at a thrift store would cost between $4 to $10, and 10 brand new buttons would have easily cost you $20 or more.

Boning: I'm not sure how often you would need boning, but if you're like me you love making historical costumes - and those generally seem to call for boning. And boning is ex-pen-sive! Well, a friend of ours let us in on a great tip: go to the hardware store and pick up a bag of those plastic tie-wraps. They are about the perfect length for boning in a bodice (and could always be trimmed). You can get a bag of around 100 tie-wraps for less than $10 - and that sure is cheaper than boning!

I hope this is helpful and if I come across any more money-saving tips I'll be sure to pass them on! Happy sewing!