A Haven for Vee

Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Time on My Hands-The Story of Grace McCance Snyder

In Blogdom, I have been reading so many wonderful Year in Review posts in the past couple of days. It has all felt familiar because, for the past several weeks, I have been reading a life in review.

The biography autobiography is No Time on My Hands. It is traveling around the country because Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife created a book swap and lined up an itinerary from the bloggers who expressed an interest in reading it.

The book is based on the life of Grace McCance Snyder who grew up in Nebraska during the 1880s and 1890s. Her dream as a girl was to grow up to marry a cowboy, to create exquisite quilts, and to fly above the clouds. It's a Little House on the Prairie sort of book for adults. Death and Weather feature prominently and more vividly than many of the characters.

Whether Grace married a cowboy or flew above the clouds, I'll not say, but I will give it away that she did create exquisite quilts. Her famous flower basket quilt is at the bottom of *this list* where you can click on her quilt to see it more closely and you can read the amazing details of its creation.

This book is much more, however, than a story about quilting. In fact, quilting does not feature prominently until the final chapter. No Time on My Hands is the story of a pioneer life homesteading in Nebraska. Grace lived a remarkable life in a remarkable time.

Often as I was reading, I thought that the book could be made into a compelling movie. Imagine my surprise reading in the Epilogue to learn that it had been made into a play called Quilters. I loved the description of the play (except for one clinker) and would love to see it performed. Life is like a quilt with thousands of pieces making up the whole.

On this last day of 2011, I want to thank you for visiting me here in my little spot in Blogdom. I am living an unremarkable life (though I may be living in a remarkable time). That you honor me by visiting and commenting never ceases to amaze me. With about gazillion four hundred million blogs from which to choose,  I am humbled that you're reading here today. I also look forward to another year of blogging together. Blogdom is remarkable...

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year filled with God's richest blessings!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tea and Mug Cozy and an Offer Easily Refused

Slow start this morning because I stayed up reading until I fell asleep in my book. I read the first 250 pages or so in snatches over the past two weeks and nearly that much more in just one afternoon and evening. I so prefer to sit down and read a book straight through from cover to cover. I understand that it is a luxury that few of us can afford; however, I highly recommend it. Yes, I am going to discuss the book briefly here, but I do need to finish the final chapter and the Epilogue first.

Let's chat about tea, specifically the rooibos tea that Gwen gifted me with just before Christmas. John remembered that he had two tea balls in his desk at the Ponderosa so I was able to brew my cup today. Two words: smooth and delicious. I'm not sure if it's the tea or the flavor of the tea—Red Caramel Night.

I followed directions to the letter. Did you know that your tea is only as good as the water you use? So says the package. Knowing that my tap water has chlorine, I switched out to some bottled water, which I happen to know is delicious.

*This* is where I found the mug cozy directions. I used them some of the time and the rest of the time, I made up my own pattern. I have made three for three special gals. I'm just testing this one out to see if it works. Seems to!

And this is the offer so easily refused.

Sell back my copy for a mere $5.44? They're nuts. I was quite surprised to find this offer at Amazon this morning. Is there a shortage of Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbooks? Perhaps Lovella, Judy or Ellen could answer that one!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gifts Glimpses~Day Four/Five

A driving rain blew through leaving the screens filled with raindrops and taking all our snow — again!

Thought I'd share some Christmas gifts. I'm even going to share my nighty. Still wearing it, too, at this late hour. May wear it all day. I'm feeling rebellious like that.

The tree is still up and will be until January 7. The cat will probably have a nervous breakdown when it goes and I'll probably have to purchase her one of those fancy schmancy cat condos.

Let's take a closer look to the left where we'll find John's work station and his new radio on the top shelf there. He's a radio man for sure.

This radio replaces his former one with an unwieldy antenna at his former work station, which was obviously also used to corral wrapping paper.

I so very happily removed it to the upstairs where I can listen while working in my sewing room.

A gift from the grands...a sweet little tea cup pin cushion. Sam is going to help me load it with pins next time he comes. He'll be feeling better then.

My daughter gave the family a gift that proves that everything old is new again.

It'll be one of those roving gifts. Whenever anyone's in the mood for Atari, it'll land in that home. Haven't figured out how to use it yet, but I'm sure one of the geeks will show up eventually.

This is a gift from my son and daughter-in-law. Have you seen these? It's from T*emp-t*ations. It's an extremely versatile serving dish that can be used for chip and dips, crudites and dips, and as a cake server. I'm using it to serve up this leftover cake.

And lastly my new powder blue white polka-dotted flannel nighty. I do adore a flannel nighty. This is a gift from John.

< photo removed >

I've so admired all the gals who were not invisible this Christmas season and who shared photos of themselves. Thought I'd join them! (Hahahahahhahahahahhahahaha...)

Oh, you'd like to see the nighty? Here you go...

Have a wonderful day, my friend. I'm repairing to the sofa and my book with a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day Three/Four of Christmas

Today is the 4th Day of Christmas and I can paint you a word picture. It'll be me scurrying about to clean up those empty boxes and the Styrofoam packing that have been hanging around for the past few days.

Hanging out Watching a Movie on the New TV

Yesterday (3rd Day of Christmas) Sam and I had a rousing game of "Hook the Foot." It involved swinging the Styrofoam around and round on one foot then letting it fly across the room to land on the other's foot, if all went well. It didn't always go well. In fact, sometimes it was downright scary. Fun times!

Buzz and Buzz Incorporated Hanging Out Christmas Day

Yesterday, though we still had our date, Sam wasn't feeling so well...a cold. He spent some of his day lying low watching a movie, reading books, playing school, and the like. Yes, Molly got her bath, too! I build a fine ship of two overstuffed chairs pushed together. It makes the most amazing cozy spot for a little person. I remember them well from my childhood stays at my Nana H's home. She was an expert at cozy bed-making.

Sam's Ship

The afternoon ended, as all good afternoons do, with ice cream. By that time we had the baby grand in tow and so had a lovely time with both boys. Grands make life grand!

Have a wonderful Wednesday...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sledding, Et Cetera

Sledding Day

There's a whole lot going on in this little mosaic, especially in the first photo. My daughter-in-law stuffing the baby grand into his boots is reminiscent of the scene in A Christmas Story where Randy's mother stuffs him into his snowsuit: Getting ready to go to school was like getting ready for extended deep-sea diving. Yup, saw a little bit of that today.

My son is also scouting out the lay of the land because he was hooking up the new tv system for us, which is the reason why one could find John earlier in the morning doing this...

Goodbye, tv, you've served us well. You are now too heavy for us old folks and we can't even justify hauling you up the stairs to the bedroom.

The oldest grand made a date with me on Christmas Day. He is quite the little salesman and began his proposition with a little clearing of the throat as an attention-getting ploy. Seems he was concerned about all this free time that he has on his hands what with school vacation and all. He wondered if I might consider going out for breakfast with a morning of bike riding after. I reminded him that the cemetery is closed. He said, "Oh forget it." By last night, he had reconsidered and will now be going out for breakfast this morning after all and later helping me bathe Molly. It's the little things. =)

A happy day to you...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day Two of Christmas—we enjoy celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas at the haven—and we're still going strong. The grands will be by soon for an afternoon of sledding and then we'll enjoy leftovers for supper. We'll have a quiet evening as three of our group must return either to work or to school on Day Three. Bummer!

Last Minute Tweaking

Making Music on the I-Phone

Help with Unwrapping A Gift

A Special Book to Auntie via S*hutterfly

Three Boys on the Sofa

Wishing you all the joys of this wonderful time of year. Merry On!

Somebody's Got to Wear the Hat!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Journey to Bethlehem

My friend Diane, who has a private blog (that I wish could be public because she shares the neatest things) recently shared this Journey to Bethlehem at Ramblin Gardener. I so enjoyed the journey that I thought you might, too.

And this will be a sign to you; You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Luke 2:12

I am so glad that He was willing to come to us—to be one of us, to teach us, to die for us, and now to live for us.

Christmas Blessings to you...

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Snowing!

It's snowing! I've been waiting. I was up early to get those blue haze/purple haze kind of pictures.

It may be that you'll think that I am the worst sort of prideful gal to show all these photos. True. Just for today. I bought this home nearly eighteen years ago when I was a struggling schoolteacher with two teenagers and a failed marriage. My former home had to be sold; things were bleak. That I was able to purchase this wee haven at all was something of a miracle. It served us well, though it had, and continues to have, some issues. So through all these years, I have lived in a home that looked shabby and forlorn. I did the best I could, though as John says you can't make a purse out of a sow's ear. Nevertheless, I certainly tried. (Thank you, Darling Man, for all that you've poured in to this place.)

One of my favorite things is to catch a glimpse of home when driving from the upper road. It lasts about two seconds, just long enough to know that she's sitting there. Yesterday, I walked up to see if I could capture it through the trees and across three neighbors' back lawns. I doubt you'll find it so lovely as I do. =)

From the Upper Road

Nestled at the Bottom of the Hill

Nestled in Snow This Morning

The New Storm Door, New Outside Light, Wreath on the Door At Last

Going In~Ivory Flakes Kind of Snow

That Lovely Light or A Chair Filled with Christmas Movies

Thank you for indulging me!

Another gift in the mail! Another gift from Miss Sandy@Quill Cottage! This little bird makes my heart sing. He arrived so beautifully presented.

And on the tree! He is such a handsome fellow...

You can find the directions for making him yourself right *here.* I'm going to begin early for next year having flopped this year. (I told Miss Sandy that there's no way this little bird is getting packed away for next Christmas. He's staying out all year. I have found him the perfect nest where he can observe all the goings on at our little haven.)

Now if you've the time, do tell me what's going on in your corner today!

Merry On!

Edited to Add:


Because it is confusing, the first comment on this post was written by John. Laura said that at first she thought I was talking to myself. Believe me, Laura, it'd not be the first time someone caught me talking to myself!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


So I had just nicely settled into my nest on the sofa where I was finishing up some crocheted items. I had been reading TipNut on Making Bacon in the Oven and so had two trays of bacon at 350° and a timer ticking away the 23 minutes or so. I recall now that I was feeling pretty good about my levels of multi-tasking—smug and self-righteous was I. Settling into the cushions, I said, "John, if you smell anything burning, tell me."

It was not five minutes later when he began to talk about burning bacon. Truly, I heard him, but I was busy counting stitches and, besides, I thought he was teasing me. Another five minutes and he mentioned it again with a most perplexed look. I had to laugh because his look was, well, so perplexed.

Another five minutes when he said, "Are flames going to have to shoot out of the oven for you to do something?!"

The nicely done tray on the right was put in the oven just ahead of the badly burned tray on the left. That's correct. Both trays baked in the very same oven on the very same shelf. Apparently 'tis the season for sensors to give up the ghost. First the camera and now the oven. Sigh. There go all my dreams of perfectly baked cookies and cakes and breads for Christmas. Wah. I feel like Mr. Parker wailing for his turkey in The Christmas Story. If only I had listened!

Any mishaps at your place lately?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Late in the afternoon, John finished the last row on the house. (The garage will wait for spring.) A mighty cheer rose up when it was accomplished now let me tell you.

Both men, John working on the house and our neighbor working on the fallen limb, labored all day long and in the end, both succeeded.

Now all that's needed is a storm door (waiting in the garage), weather stripping for said door (waiting on the bed), a wreath upon the door (waiting at Wal*Mart), and a snow storm right on cue and we'll have ourselves a cozy little home like this...

Thank you for your good thoughts and prayers for my niece. This procedure went the best of the three prior. That's right, I got the number wrong so this was her fourth time not her third. She's giving the tranquilizer she accepted all the glory; I'm giving God all the glory. ☺

Another happy day to you!

photo source

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Early Christmas Gifts

Busy enough yet? "Uncle" will soon be my song. I see that you might have reached that point twice yourself.

Today, I am taking my niece for some day surgery, which will mean that I will have some down time for reading my book. I'm not happy that my niece requires this surgery for the third time, but I am looking forward to that couple of hours...in a lobby...with a lot of sick people. No! No, I am not. Where's the echinacea? I'm taking some stat.

John and I have been blessed with early Christmas gifts. This sweet package arrived from Gwen (Gwendolyn's Guests) and her husband late last week. Another book in the missionary genre, which John is already reading. John does love adventure books where God is the hero.

What's Going on Down River by Rob Greenslade along with a package of rooibos tea. Red Caramel Night sounds tasty. (I'm just noticing the verbiage on the package "taste and see." Now that sounds familiar.) I told Gwen that I was getting a tea ball as soon as possible. I used to have one... The doily was also a part of the gift. Gwen used it to add another layer of wrapping. Everything looked so darling and then I had to rip into it before getting the photo. (You can see how I used the doily in Sunday's post.) Gwen tells me that rooibos tea is known for its inflammatory pain relief properties...arthritis and such. I'll get back to you on that. Have you ever tried rooibos tea?

And yesterday, I received a sweet card with this beautiful tag from Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage. It's so detailed and beautiful and I'm beginning to see the difference between myself and the real talents. I am not getting the layers and levels. I'm doing whatever the project and saying, "There! Good enough" actually brushing my hands together and shaking off the glitter. I must push myself a bit harder.

The next is a little set of blue birds made by my New York niece (formerly my Boston niece). I love them! (They're a set of salt and pepper shakers.) One day, I'll show you the bowl that she made for me as well.

Lastly, Karen at Places of My Heart has posted a beautiful song called The Cross in Christmas with quotes from A*nn V*oskamp included. If you find yourself with unexpected time on your hands or need to refocus before scurrying on, please sit down, relax, and listen. You'll be blessed. Amen!

A blessed day to you...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mostly Mosaics

Niece, Sister, Grand, Daughter-in-law

Lighthouses of the US Bingo or Tiddly Winks


And a lovely weekend was had by all. It began with a Saturday morning breakfast, some gift opening, some games, some crafts, and ended with cookies being delivered by a grand and his mom last evening. Perfect!

A happy week to you...