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Thursday, February 28, 2019

An Hour Unspent - Book Review

We girls love a good story and this series by Roseanna M. White has been a delight.

The series is called 'Shadows Over England'. It is (so far) a three book series that This follows a family of orphans that have bound themselves together and have grown to love and care for one another and have become an endearing family.

White transports you seamlessly to 1915 London during the dark days of World War I as Germany wages a war for domination.  This third book 'An Hour Unspent' focus' on Barclay Pierce, a reformed master thief and head of the family now employed for his skills by the British Admiralty in protecting the country as only a former thief can. Follow the family as they move from the rough streets of Poplar to the fine neighborhood of Hammersmith as he joins with a clockmaker to try to change the tide of the war by helping this unlikely craftsman with his invention that could help them win the war. Can they keep the clockmaker and his beautiful Suffragette daughter safe from the mysterious thief that attacked her and has tried to break into their home. Tensions rise... love starts to bloom, dangerous plots are carried out... a kidnapping... and self-sacrifice.

This is a great book. I love as a believer, the way that he struggles to fight old patterns of sin and fights to become a better man. One that will get him the approval of not only man but of the God that he loves.

A Name Unknown
A Song Unheard
An Hour Unspent


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Spring Greenhouse Tablescape

The daffodils and hyacinths have bloomed, the tulips we planted last year are beginning to poke their heads above the ground, and the peach tree at the end of the yard is in full bloom which means we have spring on our minds! So we put together this spring tablescape, we wanted it to feel like a cozy greenhouse with lots of layers and textures. 

Farmhouse chicken feeder with vintage and reclaimed decor

Farmhouse decor, cottage style,

We went with a galvanized chicken feeder for the centerpiece, we wanted to keep with the colors of spring, so we used different kinds of mosses here and there and wove a leafy garland through the mix. We also added a few candles, we used our vintage silver candlesticks and these beautiful french rose candleholders. I love the nod it gives towards a French farmhouse look. We also added a few little animal figurines to give it that classic cozy farmhouse feel and some old books in the same color family. In one section we stacked three terra cotta pots at an angle with some reindeer moss slipped between the layers, to the top we nested some cute little bluebird salt and pepper shakers.

We used lace placemats for four of our places, and deep green ones for the end seats, white chargers and yellow flower plates with peony napkin rings and a milk jug make up each place setting.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jambalaya Recipe

Nothing beats a spicy batch of Jambalaya! This is a family favorite here at the Cottage, it's really easy to make and tastes amazing! 


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes
10 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, saute sausage until browned. Remove from pan retaining the oil, add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery in the pan and saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, Tabasco sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Add sausage to the pan, cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, stir in rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Walking Wounded

So often we're walking wounded, we've been through battle after battle, and we've faced so many storms. Everyone said we fail, that we'd fall but here we are walking wounded. Carrying the word that cut us deep, the actions of others that pierced our hearts. But we're still walking, we tell ourselves that day after day, pushing away the pain because we don't have time to deal with that. Words aren't supposed to injure, we aren't responsible for their actions so we refuse to acknowledge the wounds they leave us. But if we aren't careful we can start walking in the wounds, we can start lashing out at our friends, at our families at the woman behind the cash register, the guy in the car in front of you. We can let the wound drive a wedge between us and God, and before we know it everything we touch becomes infected because we're living and reacting from the wounds. Like an injured animal we are taking the pain, the wounds that we won't deal with and we're attacking those around us because some small way tearing them down keeps us from having to look at our gaping wounds.

We hurt and so we hurt others, the infection rages on infecting others spreading from one wound to the next. We find ourselves saying things, thinking things that we never should of. We attack others, instead of seeing the heart of the one we're attacking. We lash out and wound with heartless abandon instead of encouraging. Instead of building others up, we tear down. Instead of seeing the accomplishment, we see everything they didn't do, everything they could have done better. Those wounds we've been carrying around, become hard places, maybe it doesn't hurt quite so much now so we get comfortable ignoring the wounds, we get satisfied walking wounded.

Maybe those wounds haven't come that far, or some other walking wounded has just wounded you with exquisite accuracy they hit you just right. Perhaps it's a word of criticism, maybe it's an accusation and you find yourself saying "I thought you knew me." Like hungry sharks, others have smelled the blood from your wounds and the circling, each leaving their own set of wounds. Hurting people will leave others hurt, it's a vicious cycle that goes on and on. Our words, our actions have power, they are the epicenter ground zero- they can unleash a chain of hurt and destruction or they can build up.

We can choose to live out of these wounds that others have given us, or we've given ourselves, we can react out of them and the effect everything we do. Like soldiers entrenched in deep crevices we lob our words like bombs at what we perceive as the enemy, but we never see their faces or the wounds our words leave. If we react out of the pain and the anger and the bitterness we will always, always leave wounds in our wake. Or we can peel back those hard places over our wounds, and expose them to the light. We can acknowledge the pain and bring it to the cross so that He can deal with the root.

The price of healing is the pain. Becoming whole hurts, but that pain is a promise that today may be bad, but tomorrow's coming and with each day that pain is knitting us back together. That pain means that healing is happening. It means that your healer is at work.

Your feelings will always lie to you because we're all in a healing process in desperate need of a master healer. We're all walking wounded but in different stages of healing. Some of are still really raw, some of us are a little closer to whole but we all bear the scars of where we've been. We all need Him to heal what's broken in us, but it requires pain, it means that we have to stop running, to stop just surviving and come face to face with the root of the infection and then let God heal it. It's not a one time deal, it's a lifetime of letting Him mend, of letting Him knit things back together and learning to lean on Him instead of reacting to the wounds.

Your words, your actions have an impact. They can wound or the can pick up other wounded and draw them toward wholeness with you.

Pain is a sign of a wound, but it's also the sign of healing, a sign that skin and bone are knitting back together. You can never be whole without Him. You can look whole, throw a little makeup over the top, cover it with a mask but without Him, it will always be just beneath the surface.

I don't know what you've seen, I don't what you've experienced, what you've been through- but I know someone who does. I know someone who can heal every wound

you've gathered, who can wash away every name you've been called. Who will never abandon you, who will never love you any more or any less than He does right now and He's waiting for you to let Him heal those wounds you've been carrying.

Sometimes what God is doing in our lives hurts, sometimes it feels like He's doing a lot of tearing open- but it's the first step toward walking whole.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Sky Above Us Book Review

This is the second book in the Sunrise At Normandy series which follows the lives of brothers split apart by one tragic night, this time around we meet Lt. Adler Paxton a fighter pilot in the US 375th fighter group who doesn't let anyone past his carefully constructed walls. Step into the story and experience war-torn England as D-Day rolls closer, and the deadly battle for control of the sky rages over France. 

In this book, we also meet Violet a member of the Red Cross who has always wanted to be a missionary, she does her best to find a balance between serving the men of the 375th by running the Aeroclub, setting up programs for the local children and dealing with her own disappointments. Thrown together with very different dreams, they must decide which voice is God's and which is their own telling them what to do. When secrets come to the surface, and the invasion looming their delicate relationship is threatened. Are forgiveness and grace enough to right all of the wrongs? 

I've never read a Sarah Sundin book that I didn't love and The Sky Above Us was no exception! I was hooked from page one and stayed up all night reading it. It is an absolutely beautiful story woven together in the setting of World War II, I laughed, I cried and I wanted to sob to when I got to the last page because I now have to wait until the next one comes out. 

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Caring For Laying Hens

We love our feathery friends at the Cottage, they are so fun to keep, and their antics keep us entertained for hours. So we thought we would share some tips on how to care for you laying hens. 

  • Food-

Your local feed store can help direct you on what to feed your chickens, most will have an option of crumble or pellet food for you to pick from. You also have to decide if you care if your hens are fed Organic feed or not. We get our feed from a local Amish community, they grow all of the grains and then process it at the mill. It's really neat to watch the process (plus it supports local small businesses) and our girls love it! 

You can use a self-feeding feeder or feed your girls a set measurement of food. I use the self-feeding feeder simply because it is one less thing I need to worry about in a day. All I have to do is add more food whenever it gets low. Make sure your feed is staying clean, a good way to do this is to hang it so that bedding can't get in it. Also, make sure that it isn't directly under the roosting area and in a covered place where the elements aren't going to mess it up.

Chickens make great waste prevention, they will eat almost anything scrap wise- but not everything is good for them. Avoid feeding them things like citrus peels (this can reduce egg production), garlic and onions (this can flavor your eggs), bones, avocado peels or pits, and raw potato peels. Some other things you should avoid are morning glories and daffodils as these are poisonous to chickens. 

  • Water-

Chickens need access to clean water at all times, be forewarned if they can find a way to get stuff in their water they will do it. A good way to keep it clean is to set it on top of a flat object that raises it a little off the ground. This keeps it away from any shavings while still keeping it within reach of the chickens. If you live in a very hot climate check the water several times a day. We live in the south and have very hot and muggy summers, so we try to go out two to three times a day to make sure everyone looks ok. If the water containers look slimy wash them out, a simple spray nozzle will often work.  You should sanitize the containers at least once a month to kill any bacteria that tries to get a foothold.

  • Bedding-

Pine shavings, sand, and straw can all be used in your coop. Just don't use cedar shavings.

  • Nesting Boxes-

You need 1 nesting box per 3 hens. Train new laying hens to lay inside the nesting box using golf balls or Easter eggs or anything else that looks similar to an egg. Keep the nesting boxes clean and dry, remove any wet pieces and replace with clean dry bedding. 

  • Coops-

Hens need about 2 feet of space but the more room the merrier. 

  • Cleaning your coop-

If you live in the city or a suburban area you'll want to clean your coop at least once a month, to keep your neighbors from complaining about the smell. If you live in a more rural community you can use the deep litter method of placing 3 inches of shavings in your coop and adding more every month. Clean it all out once a year. You can compost all of the bedding to use next year in the garden. Once a year clean everything out of your coop and sanitize it. 

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Korean Chicken with No Soy

We had a friend tell us about this recipe and she changed it out to make it so she could eat it by changing the coconut oil to another oil. We changed it to remove the soy since this cottage has a soy allergy. This is a really flavorful recipe. Mr. Cottage is in love and wants to go back to the store to buy the ingredients to eat it again. Try it, and let us know!


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups of Fresh Broccoli Chopped
1 pound of Carrots Cut in 1" circles
8 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
8 Tbsp Raw Organic Sugar
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
4 tsp Sriracha sauce (or red pepper flakes to taste)
4 Cloves of Garlic


Toss all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Remove half and marinate your chicken for an hour or overnight in the refrigerator.  Toss ingredients in the sauce and cook on a cookie sheet in a single layer at 375 degrees F. for 20 - 30 min or until chicken is done. You can also cook this on the stove top until all of the veggies and meat are done. Serve over a bed of rice.

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