Join a Tolkien Blog Party!

If you are like me, and love all things Tolkien, you will want to jump over to the Edge of the Precipice and get in on the Tolkien blog party going on right now! I was bummed to miss out last year due to traveling (and unlike most people I know, I don’t carry the Internet in my pocket) . . . and this year I’m a bit late and will probably have to bow out early due to our WONDERFUL new addition to the family: our own little Samwise. 🙂 But ya’ll hop on over, try to win some prizes, and revel in all things Tolkien.



 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10: 14-16

I’ve been reflecting on how thankful I am for my adoption into God’s family. I am one of His own; one he laid down his life for, one with him and one with his flock. Thank God that left the ninety-nine and went in search of the one. Thank God that he went for the other sheep and expanded his family to include me. Thank God.


What’s for Breakfast?


When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A. A. Milne

Ten Tips to Save You Some Work

I’m the mom of a toddler and anticipating #2 to join our family someday soon (hopefully . . . adoption doesn’t allow really knowing the “when” for sure)! But anyway, being raised in a large family has caused me to apply some time-saving tips to my daily routines to give me a cleaner environment faster and more time to spend doing what I like with my baby and husband. These ideas probably won’t work across the board for everyone, but hopefully they will help some folks out there.

1. Eat foods that just produce crumbs on paper napkins or paper towels. (No dishes to wash.)

2. Reuse the same bowls and pans to cook multiple dishes. For example, I cook my bacon, then cook my eggs in the same pan. I mix up my casserole, then use the same bowl to mix up biscuit dough. I reuse dishes and cutlery where I can, as long as there is no cross-contamination with raw foods like meat.

3. Throw all your dirty laundry into the washing machine that tend to collect around that area (like wet dishclothes). Wash everything on cold like baby clothes, dish rags, etc. You can put in a Shout color catcher sheet if there is something in there you really care about not changing color. For me, I’m fine washing most things together.

4. Wash like items together (like baby clothes or sheets/towels). It will save time sorting afterwards.

5. Skip folding toddler clothes. They will get wrinkled again. Just keep enough to fit loosely in a drawer and they won’t get wrinkled that much anyway.

6. Freeze leftovers to eat later!

7. If you can afford it, buy chopped frozen vegetables like onions, peppers, celery, carrots, etc. They are fresh when frozen and work in any sort of cooked meal. Save yourself the time.

8. Buy vs. make any kind of bread dough you need, like pizza crust, rolls, pie crust, pastry dough. It will probably mean the difference between you making that kind of food or not.

9. Use a microfiber cloth and water to wash your face at night. Or just wash your face the next day in the shower with a soap. If you can, shorten the whole nighttime beauty routine.

10. Turn off Facebook for the day. It’s amazing how much more time you’ll have. 🙂

Well, that’s all for now. What is YOUR best time-saving tip? I’d love to hear it!

Recent Shop Work

More recent shop work: painting, collaging, and decoupage. Getting it cranked out while I have some extra time on my hands!

Some of these I’m keeping for gifts and some I’m putting up for sale at The Ring and the Lion Etsy Shop!

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Fresh Mint Tea

There’s nothing quite so refreshing as fresh mint tea. Getting that burst of flavor from green, growing leaves is so invigorating and relaxing at the same time. I think it is because it looks so pretty that I enjoy it so much. And the fact that I nurse my little mint plant out on the patio faithfully. Although, now that we’ve got some rain recently, it doesn’t need nearly so much tending. Just snip and steep and the plant will grow like crazy. So easy and so tasty!

I picked up this little teapot for a dollar and some at a thrift store last week. I love it! And that’s a little bit of German rock sugar at the bottom of the empty cup (another thrift store find—25 cents!)


Some Etsy Shop Work

The Ring and the Lion is getting some major flood of additions, as I have been gearing up to actually paint EARLY this year and beat the Christmas rush. This year is going to be relaxed for real . . . no more taking tons of custom orders in December and rushing all the shipping. What you see is what you get! 🙂 At least, that is my resolve now. We’ll see how I feel in December . . . I always want to make people happy at the holidays and it’s hard to say no. 🙂

So here are some of my recent shop additions. They are all for sale at The Ring and the Lion.

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Children’s Books That Are Good for the Soul


My two-year-old is at that age where he loves to read the same books over and over again. And I’m happy to oblige. Reading aloud has been one of my favorite activities for many years now. So when Jadon brings me a book, I try to pause what I’m doing if at all possible and read to him. I know I won’t get to feel his little curly head leaned up against my shoulder and see his little upturned face as he turns back to the beginning and waits for me to start over again. As long as you read the right sorts of books (as C. S. Lewis would urge), than re-reading 50 times a day is not only worthwhile, it becomes endearing with repetition. (At least, most of the time.)

I know I’ve recommended a few of these books before, but they are worth mentioning again.

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Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

Ah, The Runaway Bunny. Can a parent read that line and fail to be moved? Can a Christian parent read that line and fail to thank God that He is such a Parent? Talk about good for the soul! The whole book follows the story of a bunny who resists and runs, and the patient mother rabbit who follows and finds. Excellent stuff. And Margaret Wise Brown is a favorite of mine.


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“When Jack McTavish married sweet Marion McGillicuddy, they counted their money and talked things over seriously. ‘We can either afford a speedy new car that never breaks down, or we can have lots of children,’ said Jack McTavish. ‘What a pity we can’t have both.’ ‘Perhaps we can have a few children–just six or seven—and get by with an old rattlebang,’ suggested the new Mrs. McTavish.”

The Rattlebang Picnic is a great pick! Coming from a large family, I especially love this book. It details the adventures of a family whose family quirks and creativity ultimately come to their rescue when they must escape from a volcanic eruption. 🙂 Zany family fun at its best. 🙂

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Despite the creepy cover, Fanny’s Dream is a really great book. I like this review I found online: “Fanny is a hard working farm girl, who dreams of marrying a handsome prince. But when Heber proposes, Fanny decides to give up her dream. She and Heber are happy, raising children and laughing by the firelight. Then one night, Fanny’s fairy godmother shows up. Fanny’s Dream is about shedding girlhood fantasies and working to fill real life with love and laughter.” Amen.

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And this is not a kids’ book, but it’s a nice one to have if you can find it. I found mine at a book recycling program, so it was free to me. But it’s not too expensive on Amazon, etc. It’s a book from 1950 that has some great ideas for how to have family fun. The advice is well-grounded and reading it, you feel like you really CAN do something with your children besides plop them in front on a mobile device to watch netflix! 🙂 Relevant ideas for those who want to live simply. It’s not too expensive, either. Check it out here or here.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for more book recommendations in the future!

Resource: New City Catechism

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A website that I’ve found to be a great resource for families who’d like a Bible course for homeschooling or a Bible study resource for the parents is New City Catechism. The website is easy to look at, easy to use, and easily accessible via mobile devices. (Although, I’ve only used it in a browser myself, but it’s worked great for me that way.) Anyway, you’ve got a question, an answer, a commentary selection from a long-dead classic author, a video commentary from a modern teacher, and a prayer. It’s a great resource for deepening your walk with God. I haven’t gone through the whole course myself, but what I have done I’ve really liked. I recommend taking a look and seeing if this site can be a help to you in your spiritual walk.