Is it better to give?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, in between packing boxes and sweeping Godzilla-sized dust bunnies that have quietly come into existence over four years of behind-the-furniture neglect. This current upheaval in our lives has caused me to look back over the last several years and ask myself how we ever got here.  It has also made me ask myself what I would like to see in our future, if we are ever so blessed as to achieve our goal in finishing the house.

But mostly I have been pondering where we are at in this very moment- this tenuous, day to day, moment to moment craziness that our lives have suddenly become. I have had many people approach me with questions, trying to figure out just why we are doing what we are doing.  I have had people worrying, doubting, unsure of the wisdom of our decision. (which is totally understandable.  I am doing the same thing every day) For the most part, people have been understanding, but I have had the occasional person pitying poor me and my children for having a husband and father who is putting his family in this difficult position, declaring that if it were them, they would not stand for it.  This has been frustrating for me, since I do not like to be pitied, but I understand it is all part of putting our lives on display to some degree, as we have. I know our situation is confusing. And so I would like to try and clarify these things for people, and give some kind of outline to the jumble of emotions and myriad of extenuating circumstances that are defining our lives just now.

First of all, let me just say that this whole scheme is something I have been pushing hard for, not something my husband has been forcing me into.  It has been a decision made after much prayer and consultation with others.  And boy-o-li, as soon as we decided to take this crazy step and the prospect of getting out of our current house became a real one, the over-crowded feeling of seven people in two small bedrooms (and one bath)- the need to leave this less than friendly neighborhood- the urgent desire to finish a long awaited project- all of it intensified dramatically.  I suddenly felt that we had to get out or bust.

Sunday afternoon was particularly trying in this respect- Steve was out of town, we had come home from church slightly exhausted to a rainy, quiet afternoon.  I really wanted a nap, and so despite the rain, I told the boys I would like them to go play outside.

I had just dozed off when I was suddenly awakened by the unmistakable sounds of gunfire.  One, two, three, four, five, six shots in rapid succession, followed by a dramatic squealing of tires and shouts from down the street.  I remained on the couch, frozen for a second, realizing that I had just sent all of my children out into a war zone.  But before I could panic fully, they were all scurrying back inside, eyes wide, gasping about bad guys and guns and ‘what was happening?’  I herded them all to the kitchen, and then, peering cautiously out the curtains, tried to see what was going on.  But after the initial uproar, things quieted down, and it appeared that no one was hurt.  My heart stopped racing and I could breath again.

My sister and brother in law came by to keep me company for the rest of the afternoon.  As we tried to chat, the boys were noisily wrestling all over the living room, and several times I found myself trying to send them back outside.  But then I kept remembering that outside was not safe.  We made it through the evening, but the following morning, I was up with the sun, packing like there was no tomorrow.  This is only one of the compelling reasons for my preferring life in a trailer.

Of course there are days when the uncertain prospect of the future months has caused self-pity to creep into my heart, but it is far from my biggest struggle.  When I think about it, I am no stranger to roughing it.  It comes with the territory, being married to a contractor who is always moving on to the next renovation project.  But even if I had married a man with a normal 9-5 job, a man who followed the expectations of a society that considers having 2-3 children and a nice (finished) 4-bedroom house in the suburbs as ‘normal’, I’m not sure I would be content with such a life.  I love the challenge of a new project just as much as my husband.  I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty.  In fact, the busyness of renovation and the intense labor it requires satisfies something deep inside me.  I love going to bed at night, exhausted from a day of intense physical labor- feeling like I have accomplished something big.

I went out to coffee with some girlfriends several weeks back, and as we were talking about the house, one of them said-

“Nicky, if we had lived in the pioneer days, you would be the one up in the covered wagon with your bonnet on, heading west and we would be the ones staying put, waving goodbye and saying “Have a nice life.  We’ll miss you.”

I laughed heartily at this depiction of myself, and in a way, felt liberated that someone had recognized this fact about me and was willing to joke about it.  Because there are times when I feel ashamed of the fact that one of my favorite things to wear is a pair of sturdy shoes, a grubby t-shirt and a hankie over my hair.  I feel funny admitting that I like to come alongside my hubby and learn to swing a hammer or tackle an insanely large renovation project like the one before us.

Of course, I don’t want to live perpetually that way.  I am going to want to be settled in a proper home again, and probably sooner than is possible, given the amount of work we have to do.  But I don’t consider those things as the biggest obstacles to overcome.

What has been the hardest thing for me has been to finally get to the point of being forced to ask for help.  With that ‘pioneer spirit’ that I seem to possess comes a stubbornly independent streak- a determination that I will be beholden to no one.  For eight years we have held on, waiting for the time when we would have everything together, assuring everyone who asked that we would ‘figure it out somehow’.

And even now- even when I have put the word out that we are finally willing to accept help, I am humiliated and ashamed over the fact.  I avoid people’s eyes when they ask me about it. I find myself mumbling, making excuses, still trying to get out of further direct offers for help.   Deep down, I know this is all fear- fear of failure, fear of people donating their time and money and effort for a project that might ultimately fail.  It is an intense feeling of vulnerability- being this open.  The more people who are involved, the more responsibility I feel for making sure that we succeed- the more guilt I feel for having failed all these years.

In our struggle to come to this decision I have searched the Scriptures, hoping to learn how to be willing to graciously ask for help.  But when you read about helping in the Bible, it almost exclusively talks about being willing to help others, talks about being a cheerful giver- free with your time and money- not being stingy.  We have longed for years to be the kind of people that could be on the other side of the fence, helping other people out of tight spots, being the cheerful givers that God’s Word describes.

But being commanded to give to those in need presupposes that there will be those that are unable to give, at least of their money.  And I never wanted to be one of those kind of people- I can’t imagine anyone who would.

I was griping about this fact to one of my sisters once, and she gently reminded me that in my refusal to be willing to ask for help, I was denying other people the chance to fulfill that important function of the body of Christ.  I was willing to concede that she had a fair point.  But all that that left for me was an enormous piece of humble pie to swallow.  And humble pie is not tasty.

Since I posted our fundraiser link 5 days ago, we have received an average of 1,000 dollars a day.  How this makes me feel is difficult to describe- it isn’t exactly happiness- more of an uncertain gratitude that makes me second-guess everything about the worthiness of our goal and our right to ask for this generosity.

But slowly, tremulously, there is a new found joy underneath it all.  In our willingness to admit our need for help comes a death to self that is both painful and liberating.  It brings into view a larger picture than our own individual story, and characters are beginning to come into play from all over the world. It is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

So now I am simply praying for the grace required to play the humble role of receiver, trusting that if God allows it in the future, I will some day be able to be the most cheerful giver of all.  And I believe that begins with a simple Thank You.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it…..

Dear Readers,

Next week (Lord willing) will be the beginning of a new era in the life of our family. And, as promised, I am starting the whole process (and hope to continue doing so) by sharing with you what we are about to undertake. The story of how we have arrived in our current difficult position is so long and convoluted that I cannot explain it all here, but along the way, I can’t count the number of times I have been asked the following questions-

“How is the house is coming?”
“What do you have left to do on it?”
“Is it at least livable?”
“Do you know when you might get into it?”

And perhaps the most frequent of all-

“Is there anything we can do to help?”

I hope to answer these questions in the following post.

They say hindsight is twenty-twenty, and if we had known eight years ago what was going to transpire in our lives, what with job loss and financial upheaval, family emergencies and unexpected moves, (not to mention another baby and another and another) we never would have bought the house. But wise or not, we did it, and against all odds, we are still the owners. As I posted before, we have reached the point where it has become necessary to do something desperate. This will be the last try. If we don’t succeed, we will at least know that we have done everything in our power, and we trust God to open another path for us.

So, you asked how the house was coming on? What do we have left to do on it? Well, here is where we are at-

This is the front of our house. As you can see it has lovely dormer windows and an enormous porch. The entire front of the house needs to be scraped, sanded and repainted. The windows (throughout the entire house) need to be replaced, and the hubby is custom building them himself. These are just two “small” projects that need to be tackled.

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This is me, walking around the exterior. You will notice that about half of it is painted a different color than the original yellow, and all the windows are boarded up. We have had to go to some length to keep the burglars (and pigeons) out.

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This is the yard. Oh man, I feel like I would be willing to live just about anywhere to call this yard our own- even a trailer. The trailer has not yet arrived, but will go in the back corner where the parking area is. The boys have already marked out the spots for their new forts.

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I just realized I forgot to take any pictures of the front yard. It’s a good sized front yard that we leveled out a few years ago and ambitiously planted bulbs and trees. The bulbs and trees are starting to bloom, which seems like a good omen.

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You ask if the house is livable? I’ll let you decide by showing you the interior.
It’s a little difficult for me to share these with you, because it makes me feel vulnerable, like the whole world can now see what a mess we have to tackle. But I’m going recklessly on in hopes of some really amazing before and after shots down the road.

When you enter the house you are welcomed in, not by one, but by two living rooms.
The left one (which will hopefully be a library)

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And the right. It already has a functioning wood stove set up, so we won’t freeze to death if we haven’t finished before next winter. There is also a piano. We have to warm the soul as well as the body, right?

As you can see, the entire house needs to be wired and sheet rocked before anything else can be done. You might notice lots of empty blue electrical boxes which once upon a time were wired and ready to go. But stolen copper is good money apparently. So all that has to be redone.

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Walk through that room, and you arrive in my kitchen, the size of which makes me feel a little giddy. It’s not quite ready for cooking, unfortunately.

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And such a large kitchen needs a corresponding dining room. As soon as we move over there, I am tearing down the plywood on these enormous window holes. It will be such a beautifully light-filled room.

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I’m not bothering to show you any of the four bathrooms, (FOUR BATHROOMS!) or the enormous laundry room, (LAUNDRY ROOM!) since they don’t look like much yet. There are two very large bedrooms on the ground floor- our Master Suite, of which it is hard to get a good angle-

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And the guest suite, which is currently home to eight years worth of our excess stuff. The reason it looks so jumbled is that it has been ransacked on a few occasions by a person (or persons) unknown. Whoever they are, I hope they are enjoying all my old books. (Grrrr). My first job will be to go through this room, reorganize and probably throw most of it away. Fun!

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All right, bear with me- this is a huge house. Let’s head upstairs, shall we?

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This is the view at the top- the door to “The girl’s room.”

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We have called it the girl’s room ever since we started on the house. I am so glad we finally have a girl to put in it! Although it does seem like an awful lot of space for one little peanut, who currently lives in this much space.

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To get to the boys room you cross this large open area we aren’t sure what to call- the den? The playroom? The ‘what on earth am I gonna do with so much space?’ room?

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20150317-224237.jpg Oh, but wait- it goes around the corner too, and ends in some secret tunnels Daddy built in, just for his boys.

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Oh, and then there is this room. Just an extra, you know, for whatever.

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But the best of all, is of course, my own especial room, to do whatever I want with. There will be a lock on the door and much crafting within.

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So then you asked, “When do you think you might be able to move in?”

Well, I hope you have seen that we have a looooong way to go before this house can become a home. That is obviously the scariest and riskiest part of this whole venture. There is simply no guarantee and no timeline in place. All I can really say is, the sooner the better. Which leads me to your last question-

“What can we do to help?”

Oh friends, the time has come for me to be very transparent. This is not an easy thing for me.
There are two things that we need- skilled labor and money. My hubby is one of the most skilled laborers I know, but he is one man and he is finite. If he must, he will build this house one inch at a time over the next twenty years. Obviously, this is not ideal, and we would like to be able to hire out most of the work. But without going into financial detail, we are stuck. We don’t have the money to finish the house, and yet we cannot keep the house if we do not make this last effort. We have prayed so long for an answer to this conundrum, but it has seemed insurmountable. My hubby has worked tirelessly over many years now to build his fledgling business, and has accomplished amazing things. But it is a fledgling business still. I would like to build my own business as well, but cannot without a larger space.

Then one day a friend suggested that I just ask people for donations.

I snorted- I scoffed- my pride recoiled at the suggestion. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. A thousand objections arose, but still it nagged. I wrote my family about it, asking advice- they said I should do it. I still resisted.
Then one night, before I went to bed, I asked the Lord to make it clear what we should do. Before I even closed my eyes, a message pinged on my ipad. It was a facebook friend, not someone I am particularly close with, but someone who apparently had been thinking of us and our situation. She simply asked if I had ever considered setting up a fundraiser so that people who would like to see us get into our house could donate. Stunned by the timely message, I asked her if she had been talking to my family at all lately. Perhaps they had mentioned the idea to her. She said no- that the idea had just popped into her head.
Well folks, what would you do?
I caved.
So without any more hemming and hawing, I am here today to ask if you would consider helping us reach our long-awaited goal by donating to the following site.
http://www.gofundme.com/pctz2w

And of course, if you are not in a position to help financially, any and all prayers would be most welcome!
We (and the children) thank you!

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A Domain of my Own

Hey folks!  Just a few little announcements here tonight.  The first being, I purchased my own domain name for my blog!   Basically all that means is that instead of being climbingvineclothing@wordpress.com, I am now just climbingvine.net.  I decided it was high time I got rid of the ‘clothing’ in my blog title since I haven’t been doing clothing since the very beginning of this blog.  It is also much easier to tell people I am at climbingvine.net, than that other, longer title.  But don’t worry, if you are still typing in the old address, it will redirect you to my new one.  I have updated a few of my pages, and hope maybe to do some design update as well.

I thought it was a good time for a change, since I think the content of my blog is about to change quite a bit as well.  We are hoping to move in about two weeks, which means my needle is already packed away.  I hope it will be out again and stitching with renewed vigor by the next holiday season, but all of that is a bit up in the air because of the house.  You remember the house? I may have mention it a time or two.   I am really hoping, if the Lord and money allows, to take my loyal readers through all of the many steps needed to complete this mammoth task before us.  I think it will be fun, but there is no telling how long it will take, so stay tuned.

In order to help fund this project, I have almost decided to take this cake making business to the next level.  I have sold so many of them in such a short period of time that I think it will really be a help.  I have had a few generous offers from friends for kitchens that I might be able to use since I will be without one for the foreseeable future, but I still have lots of little details on that to work out. I’ll try to keep people posted on that.

Of course, I am not sure what kind of internet access I am going to have at our property, so posting will probably be spotty, but I really hope not to let this old blog fall by the wayside.  I have so enjoyed writing it, and looking back over almost two years now, and seeing how far we have come constantly surprises me.  So thank you for being willing to read my stuff and for supporting me in all my little endeavors.  It has truly been an encouragement to me.

And prayers would be appreciated.  We are headed into uncharted waters here, which leaves me inexplicably excited and a little bit terrified.  Eek!

Desperate times……

Well folks, I’m not sure exactly how to go about writing this post.   I guess the best place to start is to refer back to this post that I wrote long ago, at the inception of this blog.
It’s simply the tale of a certain house that we own, and that we have been trying to get into for many years now.
We have attempted time and again to push forward and finish the project, but have been continually hampered by circumstances (time, money, logistics etc.) Each fresh attempt has ground to yet another halt. So many people have wanted to help, but it was so difficult to know how to let them, and if we should put more money into it, when every time we have, someone has broken in and robbed us.
And so we have tried to make the best of living in our tiny house in the Projects- still hoping, praying and, working towards that day when everything would line up just right for us to finally finish and move in.
And I am here today to tell you that we still have not reached that day.
But we have decided to move anyway.
Lord willing, in about six weeks, we will be moving onto our property and into a trailer, where we can be on the spot to make one last ditch attempt to finish our house.
Now I know that many people will think this is a crazy plan.
And guess what- it totally is.
But we have talked and prayed long about it, and we are at peace with the decision. I am actually excited at the prospect. Don’t get me wrong- I am well aware that it ain’t gonna be no picnic.
But I am excited because we will finally be out of our tiny house, and though we will be sleeping in a trailer, we will be spending our days in an enormous (though unfinished) house. My boys will be able to run free in a huge yard, instead of being confined to a yard that literally hems them in with barbed wire. We will be in a neighborhood that has parks and places to walk without fearing for our safety. Daddy will be close to work. (and mommy much closer to her sister : ) There are so many other reasons that we feel that, as insane as it might sound, this is the wisest thing we can do right now.
But most of all, I am excited because we are literally stepping out in faith, trusting that since God has allowed us to keep the house for so long, that he will help us to finish it. And even if nothing goes according to plan, and we lose the house in the end, there will finally be some closure to a burden that has long been weighing us down.

Of course, this has implications for everything that I have been building with my little business over the last couple of years. Climbing Vine will have to go on hiatus for a while, which is difficult for me, especially since it seems like, with just a little effort, I could add a successful cake-making side to the business. But reality has struck lately, as I try to juggle so many hats. My current house seems to shrink by the week, making running a business here more and more difficult, I might almost say impossible. But there is a craft room of prodigious size waiting for me in another location, if only we can get there.
And we are going to do our darndest.
So pray with us as we begin this endeavor. I will be continuing to blog if possible, and hope to keep regular updates of what is happening there. I also hope to keep writing if I have a second. But if you want a doll (or a cake) let me know. It might be your last chance for a while.
But don’t despair- I’ve noticed that climbing vines are hardy plants that transplant very well.

Why I homeschool my kids

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I’ve been wanting to blog lately, but have been coming up dry for a topic. I’m still cooking and sewing and telling childhood tales, but most of my energy lately has been focused on homeschooling. And since I haven’t ever addressed that topic on this blog, I figured why not?
Last year, when my shop was going great guns, homeschool took a back seat. I was still doing it, but I had stopped making it my primary object. We took a break when the new baby came, but started up again in July, part time. In August, when the hubby took my oldest boy to France for a month, I took the time to reassess what exactly I wanted homeschool to look like.
I found I didn’t really have a clear answer. I’m writing this to try and clear the cobwebs out of my own mind, but feel free to keep reading and tell me what you think.
To be honest, I never really wanted to homeschool. I have no great theories as to why homeschool is the best, or why going to school is bad. The main reason I started was pragmatic. It was a financial issue. The hubby had just lost his job, so we took my oldest out of first grade at a local private school. Public school is not an option for us. We are zoned for some of the worst schools in the city, and my own small experience in public schools has left me a little scarred. So we brought him home.
He was and is such a smart boy- a strong reader and writer by the end of Kindergarten, and eager to please. All I needed to do was give him a stack of books, and a bit of guidance. He did the rest. Easy-peasy.
But things are different now. I am now teaching three. And two of them haven’t already learned to read and write from a competent teacher. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am not a good teacher. In fact, I will go so far as to say I really don’t care much for teaching at all. I have never been taught how to teach others and it doesn’t come naturally.
So now, instead of a quiet, studious six year old independently reading high school level books on my couch while his little brothers play blocks in the bedroom, I find myself in a totally different scenario.

Days begin with a nursing baby, a really grumpy three year old who never wakes up on the right side of the bed, and three big hungry boys who hardly let me get a shower before banging on the door, asking what there is to eat. Coffee is slurped while eggs fry, and then we multitask lessons. Daddy speaks french while they eat breakfast, while mommy drills them on Bible verses after they have put down their forks. Chores are completed.
Then the juggling of three separate classes- different levels of piano instruction, handwriting practice, grammar, phonics, reading, math- workbooks, pencils, crayons and notebooks scattered pell mell over our tiny house.

And then-
My nine year old is starting to push boundaries, to question why Mom is making him do all this.
My seven year old is often found crying in a corner because reading is still so hard for him and his little brother is passing him up.
My five year old is just five and can’t sit still for more than three seconds at a time.
My three year old- well, my three year old is a hilariously naughty piece of work. I’ll leave it at that.
And my baby. My sweet, lovely baby is wonderful and adorable and needs to be everlasting fed and changed and burped and bounced.
But every day I force myself to push on. My goal is to finish school with a group history or science lesson at lunch. And then we are done. More often than not, we succeed in getting most of it done.

I hope those who may be contemplating homeschool are not scared off by this picture. I know that homeschool is not for everyone. There have been many, many days when I wonder is it is right for us. I’ve read the pros and cons until I am blue in the face. I live in constant fear of failing my kids, of failing to teach them what they need to know. But for us, it still comes down to being the only viable option right now. Our house is too small, our resources are limited, my patience wears thin, but this is where we are. So I must look to the bright side. And there are more than one.

My oldest boy and I have discovered a shared love of writing stories. He is writing a thrilling chapter book, and every day I look forward to see what he has written next. We discuss plots and characters and he eagerly reads me each completed page.
And getting to assign him all my favorite books to read so we can discuss them together? Priceless.

My second boy is slow in picking up new things, but homeschool has allowed me to see a different side of him. Instead of being at the bottom of his class in a schoolroom, I have been able to see his slowness as a strength. A mind full of curiosity that has the patience to sit and figure out how a thing works- a passion for observing nature, and a willingness to keep at a task until he gets it right, no matter the time it takes.

And my sweet and goofy third child- his incessantly moving limbs would have him in constant trouble in a classroom. He seems to learn best swinging by his feet from the top bunk, and that is something I can let him do. The other day, he read an entire book while standing on his head. A little unorthodox, but it does the trick. He’ll learn to sit still someday.

And my three year old. He is hilarious and naughty and very bright. He is absorbing all that is going on around him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he taught himself to read by the end of the year. That would be a bonus.

And with all of them, when tears and temper and frustration inevitably erupt, I can put a pause on everything until it is resolved. I can deal with their hearts as well as their heads. I am seeing more and more how terribly important that is.

And with all the crazy of my mornings, I find the craziness is just about compensated for the freedom of the afternoon. No homework, no racing around town, no extra curricular mayhem. Just time to play- to take a walk, have a leisurely lunch or a picnic. And of course, take a nap!

So I suppose it’s not really a question of which is better. It’s more a matter of putting the best face on what is before me and being thankful for the ability to do it. And I trust, if we ever did put the kids in school, it would be the same.

Summer’s Bounty (otherwise entitled- Too Many Tomatoes!)

I’m going to pretend that I have made all the necessary excuses for my long blogging absence, and just dive right back in here. Or at least put my toe in. Life’s a little unpredictable these days.
It’s been forever since I have posted a recipe, which I blame mostly on the fact that I haven’t been cooking much lately. People have been bringing us meals, and we’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches, but I could no longer ignore the produce that seems to be bursting out of my garden this year, so it’s back to the kitchen I go.
Gardening is a funny thing. Last year I spent hours upon hours nurturing my garden, only to have it all rot in the excess rain. This year, too pregnant to care much, I haphazardly threw some tomato, pepper, corn and squash starts into the ground, and I am getting a bumper crop- especially tomatoes. Go figure.
So what to do?
One of my favorite ways to eat fresh tomatoes is in a caprese salad- you know, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil with a splash of balsamic vinegar? Well, this super easy recipe just takes that idea one step further. It’s a bread salad, and makes for a very light, satisfying dinner. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover crusty bread you may have lying around. Here’s what you need.

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And for the dressing

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The only cooking involved here is making the croutons. But I warn you, once you start making homemade croutons, it’s hard to go back to the store bought ones in a box. I happened to have this chunk of wonderful sourdough staling on my countertop, but most french style breads will work. Just cut it up into rough cubes. I like mine on the big side.

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Then throw them in a pan and liberally drizzle olive oil over them.

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Also a generous sprinkling of salt.

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Turn the stove on to medium high, and shake the pan occasionally to toast them evenly. Let them get nicely golden brown and crispy on the outside, but still a little soft on the inside. Remove them from the heat.

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Now just dice up the tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella.

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Then slice up a few basil leaves, which I do by stacking them, rolling them up tightly and slicing thinly. This is called a chiffonade, I think.

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Put the bread in the bowl, followed by the cheese, basil and tomatoes. Or the other way around. It doesn’t matter.

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A good dousing of olive oil is called for here, and a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.

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Toss it with a little salt and pepper and garnish it with a sprig more of basil if you have it.

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And that’s it. A great way to make a dent in your pile of tomatoes, if you have one. We have also served this with leftover sliced chicken or beef for a heartier meal. Quite delish. But serve it quickly or the croutons will be soggy. Enjoy!

Caroline’s Corner

Well, this was the last stage in my quest for baby space, and my last big project before this baby makes her appearance.  As I posted before,   I managed to find a little armoire for my girl, but I needed a place to put it, some clothing to fill it, and a crib of some kind.

After serving four boys, I had decided not to store all their old baby stuff, and so have been starting from scratch for this baby, as far as supplies go.

I made some lists of what I would need, measured and brainstormed, and finally decided to make this space Caroline’s corner.

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Yes, it is in my room, and yes, that is my closet, full of stuff.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I won’t show you all four corners of this room.   Steve’s cluttered and paper covered office, and the other closet aren’t really worth mentioning. Suffice it to say, we did a lot of reorganizing, filing, and tossing of stuff throughout the room to help make space.

This beautiful chest that the hubby made in college was just too big (and too prone to be covered in clutter) so I ended up rearranging the whole living room to make space for it in there.

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Don’t you just love the chain reaction of reorganizing?

This needed to be done, however, because……

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…look what I found under all the furniture!  Don’t look mom!  Ugghh!

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I stole this much smaller chest from the boys room, dumped their train tracks, filled it with my fabric scraps, and decided that the top would be the perfect perch for a Moses basket, since I didn’t want to get a whole new bassinet.

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So this corner is actually where she will be sleeping the first weeks of her life.

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The Moses basket was a gift from the ladies at church.

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Now it was time to tackle the closet. It had been way too long since I had taken an honest reckoning of the contents of my closet. I had to ask those difficult questions like, “when is the last time you wore this?” or “do you really think you will ever be able to fit into that again?”

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I purged mercilessly and as a result, was easily able to fit my remaining clothing into the boys much bigger closet.  The shoes suffered a similar fate.  It was very liberating.

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Then it was time for the closet doors (which have been half-way broken since we moved in) to be removed.  I cracked up when I realized there was still a last remaining piece of the old pink carpet in there, which used to cover all our lovely hardwood floors.  Pink carpet!  It was a sign.

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Once everything was finally removed, I brought the armoire in. I had found another small shelving unit that would fit into the closet, which is currently housing all the unsold merchandise from my Etsy shop.  I thought Caroline might like the stuffed animals.

I had also hunted up the smallest pack and play/crib I could find online and thanks again to the ladies at church, was able to purchase it.   A few little decorative touches later and we were in business!

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It’s cozy, but I think it just might work for the time being.

And it has been awfully fun filling up the armoire.  As you can see, I am not too worried about coming up with clothes for her!

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So that’s that!  Now I can put my swollen feet up and play the waiting game for the next few weeks.  Seeing that crib all ready makes me so impatient!