Monday, February 28, 2011

Think Spring!

(A Get-Well Gift from Mr. Graham)

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for all of your well wishes and prayers; they mean so much to us! We think that we may be getting over the worst of the "yuckies" here (thank goodness!), and the sun is shining today, which is a wonderful treat. Last week was a blur of hot tea and tissues (our hankie collection is not THAT big! :) ), but we still found time to . . .

Find a cute little 2-year Dachshund on Craigslist (His name is Bilbo Baggins)~

Ponder on the meaning of life~

Or was it, "Why DO teeth fall out?"~

We explored the creek behind our house and found signs of spring~

And discovered "ribbons" of ice in the freezing rain!

Darth Maul seems to be enjoying his new family. . .

 Who is about to have a new addition!

We were thrilled to see hyacinths and daffodils coming up in the yard. . .

And geese grazing in the field behind the house~

 And Audrey practiced her lunar photography (Amazing!)~

We hope that you found time to make some magic, too!

Till next time,



Things Work Out

Because it rains when we wish it wouldn’t,
Because men do what they often shouldn’t,
Because crops fail, and plans go wrong-
Some of us grumble all day long.
But somehow, in spite of the care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.
Because we lose where we hoped to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we’d like to play-
Some of us whimper along life’s way.
But somehow, as day always follows the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.
Because we cannot forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust awhile,
Because we think that the way is long-
Some of us whimper that life’s all wrong.
But somehow we live and our sky grows bright,
And everything seems to work out all right.
So bend to your trouble and meet your care,
For the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair.
Let the rain come down, as it must and will,
But keep on working and hoping still.
For in spite of the grumblers who stand about,
Somehow, it seems, all things work out.

~by Edgar Guest

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Motivation

Dear Friends,

We hope that you are having a good start to your week~ It seems that "Mr. Flubird" has come to visit our home for a while! We thought that it would be a good time to post some more positive affirmation videos for all of us to enjoy, and to focus on the good in life.

May we all feel of His love this upcoming week.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It Was a Merry Valentine's

Dear Friends,

A happy day to you! We had such a fun time yesterday, enjoying the company of our sweet mother-and-father-and-sister-in-law, that we wanted to share it with you.
~*Grandma and Grandpa Graham*~

Aunt Shannon and her date, Frankie (She says she normally likes taller men, but she made an exception this time, just for us.)~

 Chinese stir-fry, soba noodles, brown rice, and spring rolls were the entree~

 Oops! It looks like we mis-judged Grandpa's height a bit~

 Before dinner (which was served restaurant style by the oldest girls) there was a musical program, put on by the Graham Sisters.

And before the program there were little gifts of unsweetened organic chocolate with agave-sweetened gummy bears (they taste yummy together)! We are grateful that there are many sugar-free treats available today.

We were so glad that it was sunny enough yesterday to air out the cottage and play outside, since it looks like this outside today.

But for every weather there is an activity, and today finds us sorting through papers, cutting scraps of wood to make a fairy village, and finishing our dress and a quilt for Audrey!

We were asked for more information about our diet. We are, for the most part, vegetarians, just because our bodies don't do well with meat (It makes AnnaMarie's feet tingle, which is not good for a diabetic). We do eat it on occasion, and certainly would never judge anyone else who does! My father was an avid hunter and meat-eater, and I love wild game, but I can tell that my body is more sluggish after eating it. Sometimes when I have morning sickness, I do crave it (especially fish), and honor my body's cravings.

We do use meat substitutes such as Morning Star Farms and Quorn brands, but only occasionally, as they taste a little too "processed" for everyday use. We focus on getting as much fresh produce in our diets are possible, and are really looking forward to spring with its abundance of greens and mushrooms!

We wish you and yours the very best today, from all of us at Birdsong Cottage.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweet Friends!

Dear Friends,

We are busily preparing for our at-home family celebration tonight, but I had to take a few minutes and tell you how much I love each and every one of you! 

Cupid? Is that you?

I hope that you take a few minutes to tell the most important person in your life, YOURSELF, how much you love and appreciate them! Don't wait for someone else to do it for you, or it may never happen! You are loveable and loved, just the way you are. Isn't that wonderful? Now give yourself a hug, kiss your hand, and go out and spread the love you feel inside!

Love and blessings, 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Lessons From the Thrift Store

Dear Friends,

Thank you for coming by Birdsong Cottage for another visit~ Let me get you a cup of tea! :)

(First we'll have to clear the dress-and-quilt-in-progress off of the couch, though!)

We are busily preparing for Valentine's. We have invited the Grandparents Graham over for a romantic in-house restaurant experience (the girls do this for us every year), so we've been decorating with hearts and flowers, and making up menus and place cards!

There will even be live entertainment!
While treasure-hunting at the thrift store today, I couldn't help but notice how most folks were walking around with a scowl on their face, just out of habit. Suddenly, I heard two ladies coming up behind me, happily conversing about this and that. I turned around to let them pass, and noticed that one of them was missing a leg, and had to support herself with crutches. Immediately the little poem "I had the blues because I had no shoes, Until on the street I met a man with no feet" came to mind.

How many times do we focus on the little "grumbles" of life, while walking around on two perfectly good legs! And how about those eyes that we can see with, and the ears to hear the song of the birds!

Another lady approached the two happy ladies, and told them that her mother had just had a leg amputated. She said that her mother was in a wheelchair and didn't think that she could be mobile again. The ladies informed her that there wasn't anything the one could do that the other couldn't, even with her crutches. They both attested that life can be wonderful, even with such a great handicap.

My heart burned within me, as I pondered on the lesson that they had taught me that day.

May this little story bless your lives today, as well.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yet Another Snow Day!

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for all your sweet comments~ We love that our simple life is inspiring to others! You all inspire us, too, in more ways than we can say. What a blessing to be able to see the creativity and fun things that you are doing.

We've had even more snow here in Kansas City, although not so much this time. It was a little cold for sledding this morning, but the morning sun was so beautiful on the snow, that we had to go out and enjoy it.

Rubber boots are great for exploring creeks, 
but they do tend to get sucked off in the mud!
Our makeshift "feeder" and "waterer" for the birds~
I can't get over how huge the vines are here in Missouri!

My mother-in-law gave us this wonderful little "cabinet" to use for emergencies~ Just perfect for our enamelware chamber pot! :)

And a kind elderly gentleman from our church gave us this box of hats and fur collars, since he noticed us wearing our chapeaux every week!

Maria asked if we would share some of the videos that we watch to help encourage us in the morning. I decided to put my own video on YouTube, so I could share it with you more easily. There is something powerful about the combination of uplifting words, pictures, and music, especially first thing in the morning, and right before bed. I have been watching my little movie (and others) since last August, and I have noticed a difference in the way I feel about everythings I'm definitely going to keep it up!

I hope your week has been wonderful; it's hard to believe that it's half over already! Time flies when you're having fun! :)



Monday, February 7, 2011

A Typical Day at Birdsong Cottage~

Dear Friends,

A happy Monday morning to you! We hope that you had a restful weekend, and are off to a good start on all those never-ending, wonderful things that you have planned in your life. Remember to take it a moment at a time, and if you don't get everything done, don't worry! Even the Savior's work was not declared "finished" until the end of His life, so why should we try to do better than He?

We thought we'd share a few things that we are doing today, a typical day here at home. We start off with prayers as Mr. Graham goes off to work, and hopefully a hymn sung together, and a scripture (we don't always achieve this, and have noticed that the days go a little rougher when we don't!). I also like to watch affirmation videos, either on YouTube, or the "vision movie" slideshow that I made of our dream home and farm, paired with music to help us remember our goals that we are working toward.

Then in the winter we'll do "Trimnastics" with Jack LaLanne videos, and when the weather is nice we have a daily nature walk.

Breakfast is usually a green smoothie, followed by oatmeal or toast. Rebecca wakes up at about 8:30 and is ready for some snuggling, before she's off for lots of exploring. Frankie and Evangeline have lately discovered the joy of imagination, and play for hours at a time with their toys (with a few heated discussions here and there, of course!). Audrey, AnnaMarie, and Tasha practice the piano/violin for about a half an hour, and help with dishes, laundry, and cleaning the floors while we listen to uplifting music.

We're making sprouted bread/crackers/rolls today, so Tasha, Frankie, and Evangeline have volunteered to help~ It's so nice to have lots of helpers!

I encourage the older children to write in their regular journal, as well as nature journals and gratitude journals. We do a LOT of independent reading, as well; right now AnnaMarie is reading "Anne of Green Gables", Audrey is reading "Little House in the Big Woods", and Tasha has been reading an old reader from the early 1900s. Oh yes, and scripture study, too! Frankie and Evangeline love to be read to, and Evangeline is learning how to read by herself.

We love the sound of old, scratchy records!

Each older girl has a magazine or newsletter that she puts out once a month (hopefully) to encourage creative writing, and these have been really fun to read and see the imaginations that they have.

Lunch is usually a super-duper salad or soup with bread, depending on the time of year. Our goal is to eat as much food in-season and fresh as possible (We would like to be 100% raw, but we do our best if we can't all the time.).

Our nature studies go on throughout the day, as we watch the birds at the feeders or go exploring in the woods. I spend about an hour a day reading books or looking on the internet for information on the plants, birds, and etc. that we don't know, and also looking for fun ideas for crafts, lessons, etc. If the girls want to play on the computer, I ask that they sew a button or do one item of mending for every ten minutes they are on (This doesn't always work, but it's a good idea, eh? :) ).

YouTube is a godsend for educational videos, and we have used it for science, history, math, art, and many other things.  There is so much in the world to learn about, and I want more than anything for my children to have a love of learning that lasts throughout their lives.

Dinner doesn't always happen like we would like, since Mr. Graham works late hours, but we usually have more salad, and maybe baked potatoes, yams, or squash. The children love snacking on fruit throughout the day, and we make sure that they eat at least a couple of carrots, too.

If everyone has done their chores, they'll watch something like "Little House on the Prairie" or an educational video before getting ready for bed. Each day is a little different, and seasons come and go. We are learning to enjoy the gifts of each day, and to live "in the now."

And now we're off to go make some more memories!

Blessings to you all,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Visit to the Wornall House

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for coming over today~ Our snow from the blizzard has begun to melt away, but they say that six inches or so are coming tomorrow. It seems that we've brought our Idaho snow with us to Missouri! We don't mind, though, since it is so beautiful and we have our own sledding hill here. :)

Yesterday we had the opportunity to go visit a historic home in Kansas City that became a makeshift hospital during the Civil War.

It was home to the Wornall family, who were farmers that made their fortune supplying wheat, corn, and pork to the pioneers heading west.

Don't forget to leave your card in the tray!

We would LOVE to try some hearth cooking!

The elegant yet simple dressing table, complete with hair receiver and hair jewelry.

A cozy corner for a mother to dream in while rocking the baby~

Beautiful and elegant clothing in the clothes press~
We loved so much touching and feeling the energy of time-worn things that were loved long ago~ At one point, Evangeline threw her arms around me and said, "Mommy, can we have this house?"

Home Sweet School

Ah, the latest Godey's has just arrived in the post!

Our hostess Margarite did a wonderful job taking us through the home and explaining things to us~ And she's from Idaho, too! 

I was allowed to play the grand old piano, which must way at least a ton~ I felt like Marianne Dashwood (almost).

This doll-sized house is an exact duplicate of the Warnall House; quite amazing!

 Gentleman's and lady's chairs in the parlor~ The lady's chair has no arms and a straight back to make room for the cage crinolines of the 1860s.

This wreath was made out of the hair of family members. We hear that the world's only hair museum is located in nearby Independence!

We hope that you enjoyed the tour as much as we did! Of course, pictures can never convey the true atmosphere of a grand old home. We came away with a renewed desire to leave a legacy of refinement, grace, and familt love that will last long after we have left this earthly life behind.

Love and blessings to you all,