Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Friends and Visitors,

I see that a lot of people are coming to this post through out the year, which was originally about my taking a blogging break due to sickness. Please paste the following link into your brower:


This will take you to current posts.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Show & Tell Friday/Thrift Store Finds

Welcome Friends and Visitors!

Today, I am showing you some thrift store finds that I bought quite awhile back, but I love them and would like to share.

First, I have two of this plate which go beautifully with my white china in my hutch. My livingroom/diningroom colors are sage green and pastels (for Spring and Summer, anyway). These cute plates are a wonderful accent which pick up the colors in the room.
This soup tureen originally cost me a dollar! I love creams and whites in my display hutch. Those light colors next to the walnut finish of the wood look so lovely to the eye...

Next, I picked up this dress for a song (thrifting, of course) in order to make an apron out of it. I just pulled it out to work on it and decided I'd like to show you.
Don't you think it will make a sweet apron, maybe even two?
For more Show and Tell Fridays...

...please visit Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Summer Morning

Photo by Sarah

The robins and blackbirds awoke me at dawn
Out in the wet orchard, beyond the green lawn,

For there they were holding a grand jubilee,
And no one had wakened to hear it but me.

The sweet honeysuckles were sprinkled with dew;
There were hundreds of spider-webs wet with it too,

And pussy-cat, out by the lilacs, I saw
Was stopping and shaking the drops from her paw.

I dressed in the silence as still as a mouse,
And groped down the stairway and out of the house.

There, dim in the dawning, the garden paths lay,
Where yesterday evening we shouted at play.

By the borders of box-wood, and under the trees
There was nothing astir but the birds and the bees.

And if all the world had been made just for me,
I thought, what a wonderful thing that would be.

``K. Pyle


Summer mornings are among the greatest joys of this earth experience. When all the household is sleeping and it is just oneself that is astir, it is possible to fully appreciate the brilliance of early morning sunshine, the warmth of summer breezes and the glorious chirping of birds eager to greet the day. Don't let this moment pass you by. It is a gift. Standing out on one's porch, stretching the night stiffness from one's body, pondering Life and God, or thinking nothing at all in particular, is a revelation. Just to breathe and be still.

In our haste, we forget to drink deeply from the day. And yet I find that if I stop for awhile the gratitude that is suppose to be felt fills my heart quite readily. Gratitude brings joy, no matter how difficult our present challenges.

May we stop to feel the mornings is my prayer, for one beautiful morning can light the whole rest of our day well on into the night.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Afternoon Nap

Sunday afternoon I decided to sit out in the backyard under our apple tree. It was so wonderful to rest in the grass and look up at the sky which was a gorgeous blue. I found that I wasn't the only one to seek the shade. Two sleeping pussycats had already found a favorite spot.
They love the soft dirt of this raised bed. It is cool and the green boughs of the apple tree provide a canopy from the sun.
There is nothing like a long afternoon nap on a quiet Sunday. Here lies a sun dappled kitty, far away in dreamland.
Makes me want to lie down for a gentle snooze myself.

For more Cats on Tuesday, please visit Gattina's blog.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

The Sweet Pea Fairies, from the Garden Fairy series

Happy Summer Solstice!
Of course, we in the United States don't really celebrate this longest day of the year the way those in Britain and northern Europe do (or so I have read). However, this day has long been a favorite of our family. Sometimes we would celebrate it on the actual solstice (today!) and sometimes on June 24th, official Midsummer Day, but we usually would have a family feast of Summery foods and then build fairy houses for fairy visits.
A charming fair house from Enchanted Gardens

The fairies would usually leave something behind for the bits of cake and drink left out for them. Their gifts more often than not were seashells, from fairies visiting from the sea, lovely smooth stones and little trinkets.

O, the lovely memories of Midsummers past. Alas, my children are not interested in fairies anymore, but I am a child a heart and I love the make believe and play involved with this day. I just now need grandchildren to celebrate with.
"Night-time stars and bonfires bright
Families and friends sing on good St. John's Night
Summer sun, the sweet smell of hay,
And Children all dancing on Midsummer Day.

At Midsummer time the fairies come out,
If children could see them with glee they would shout!
On Midsummer's Eve even gnomes try to dance,
In fairy-ring revels they awkwardly prance.
On Midsummer Day elves and fairies all fly
From acorns and buttercups up to the sky."
_ Mala Powe
Even now, we still love to celebrate these days of Midsummer with special foods and much dining al fresco.

Do you celebrate Solstice or Midsummer's Day? Tell me all about it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blustery Wednesday

Anyone know what this lovely flower is that grows spontaneously in our garden?

Last night, I went to a class given through my church congregation on how to make yogurt and mozzarella cheese. It was fascinating and looked pretty straightforward and simple. My friend Laurie, who passed along to me the laundry soap recipe below, has an even simpler way of making yogurt, but the way we learned last night was how to make it using dry milk, which many of us keep in long term food storage. I am going to try all the methods this week and then report back here to let you know how it all goes and to share the recipes. It really is MUCH cheaper to make yogurt than to by it in the store. Also, homemade mozzarella tastes MUCH better than store bought, but the initial expense of buying the citric acid ($15 for half of a bottle - OUCH!) may be difficult for some frugal moms. Anyway, it was all very tasty.

Do any of you out there ever make your own butter? Let me know.

Well, today, is windy, partly sunny and threatening of rain on and off. My veggie garden is very happy with all of this mild and wet weather. I have really enjoyed being outside this late Spring. It is a joy.

Next, week is Summer Solstice. Do any of you celebrate it? My family loves nature and the beautiful changing of the seasons, so we mark each solstice. For Summer, we make lots of fresh foods and eat al fresco and enjoy the late summer day. When the children were young we would make fairy houses, however those days are no more until grandchildren.

Well, onwards and upwards. I have dishes piled high and breakfast to make.

Have a lovely day and remember to give thanks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Monday

Mr. and Mrs. House Finch
Did you know that house finches sing for their supper? Well, they do. They sit on the feeder and sing in between bites. They are very musical. Here is a link to their SONG. Isn't it beautiful? I enjoy them very much.

Well, a wonderfully happy Monday to you. This past weekend was dreary, cold and rainy. Today the sun is brilliant in the sky and that alone makes me feel like dancing. I look forward to getting out into the front yard garden beds to do some much needed work. They have been neglected while my attention was on the backyard vegetable garden.

Normally, I post a menu for the week, but I haven't gotten around to figuring one out. I think that I will fly by the seat of my pants over the next few days. That may or may not be a great idea, but it's the best I can do right now.

If you are interested in checking out menus and recipes for the week, visit Laura's Blog at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Laurie's Homemade Laundry Soap

My friend, Laurie, shared this recipe with me and it is really terrific. It works well and is very inexpensive.

1 c. of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 c. of Borax
1 bar of Fels-Naptha, grated

Laurie says.."Grate the soap and let it dry for a day, then pulse it to a powder, then mix it with the borax and washing soda. I use just 2 Tablespoons in a large (or even extra large) load. "


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Simple Womans Daybook, June 8th

One lone Johnny Jump Up greets the day

Outside my window... It is a beautiful day. The sky is clear following an evening rain storm, which freshened up the air and gave long drinks to the yard and all of my plants. Temperatures are warm, but not hot. What a perfect day in which to do a little outside puttering.
I am thinking...what a gift it is to live a simple life, surrounded by loved ones. I am so thankful that I have learned how precious are the small things in life.
I am hoping...that the Lord will bless my husband in this new job as he is working very hard and many hours...
I am thankful... for a calm day spent at home with the children, working hard, of course. I am always thankful for any time spent with the children.
From the learning rooms...my son, Robert, is spending many hours listening to CDs of the book, "Blood, Red Horse", Book 1 of a trilogy about the Crusades. Sarah is searching for another book for her Summer reading hours.
From the kitchen...there will be bread today, Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch and homemade Lasagna for tonight. Always lots to do! :)
I am wearing...jeans and a short-sleeves, zippered sweat top. I'm casual for work in the garden.
I am creating... an herb garden today and perusing the house for containers to use as planters. There will be basil, cilantro, italian parsley, lavendar, lemon sage, sage, thyme...
I am going...to run a few errands and then remain at home. I am looking forward to time in the backyard swing, for the reading of scriptures and my "sitting prayers". Sometimes I pray better while my body is in motion, go figure!
I am reading...
nothing yet. Any suggestions for Summer reading? I love really well written historical novels without graphic sexual situations.
I am hearing...two house finches, a husband and wife, sing to each other as they sit atop a feeder in the backyard. I wonder what they are saying...
Around the house...there is straightening, washing, ironing and cooking to do. Monday is usually my washing day, but I got really behind yesterday.
One of my favorite things...puttering around in the garden. I know I should wear gloves, but I adore the feel of dirt in my hands. Living close to the earth centers me and reminds me of my relationship with the great Creator, our loving Heavenly Father.
A few plans for the rest of the week:More practical concerns...car repairs, updating our registration, getting another drivers license (where the heck is that thing?!), and lots of time spent outdoors.
Here is a picture I am sharing...
Three homemade birdfeeders that are going strong this summer. For instructions on how to make them, click HERE.
For more daybooks, please visit HERE,

Have a lovely one!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Friends, Neighbors and Visitors, greetings! I hope you are having a lovely day as you are reading this. I have just had a three days visit with my dad and now I am ready to begin the new week.

I have been working feverishly on menu planning for all three meals, so here goes...


Monday - Eggs & Polenta (grits)
Tuesday - Cheese Toast & Fruit
Wednesday - Breakfast Quiche
Thursday - Oatmeal & Cinnamon Toast
Friday - Waffles & Fruit
Saturday - Cereal & Juice
Sunday - Bagels, Cream Cheese and Melons


Monday - Tacos & Pineapple
Tuesday - Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Wednesday - Meatloaf Burger
Thursday - Pasta Salad
Friday - Chicken Strips and Potato Sticks
Saturday - Tuna Salad Sandwiches and Chips
Sunday - Chinese Chicken Salad


Monday - Blackened Chicken Quesadillas
Tuesday - Lasagna, Salad and Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Fish Tacos and Avacado Salsa
Thursday - Hoppin John, Greens and Fruit
Friday - Homemade Sushi: California Rolls and Cucumber Rolls
Saturday - No Cooking
Sunday - Grilled Asian Chicken with Bok Choy, Mushrooms and Radishes, Ginger Cilantro Rice

Hope my menus inspire yummy ideas for you and your family.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Farewell to Elementary School

Well, it's over. My son's 6th Grade graduation assembly was this morning and now it is over. No more elementary school. By the end of the Summer I will have two teenagers in middle school. How in the world did this happen?

It's bittersweet, you know. Although this transition fills me with excitement for a future of watching my children blossom into the adults they will be, I am filled with sadness. I have loved being the mother of children. Kids. I have loved it all.

I volunteered much of my time at the elementary school, teaching in special programs and assisting in classrooms. I loved every minute of it. It bonded me to my children's classmates, filled my days with purposeful work and allowed me to share my children's school experience.

Of course, I can volunteer at the Middle School level, but that experience is much different, no involvement in my children's classes. My intense involvement is over and I am a little heart sore over it.

Anyone else out there experiencing a similar transition or have already experienced it? What were your feelings?


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... It is cloudy and overcast. A gray day.
I am thinking...of all the household tasks which need my attention today. I am committing myself to them with the passion that I am nurturing my family and making a nice home for them.
I am hoping... for a nice, short rain shower to bless my young veggie garden.
I am thankful for...more in our paycheck than I expected from the interim job where Mark worked before this new one. I'm grateful for Mark's employment - what a blessing!
From the learning rooms...I have been checking out books on tape and CD from the library for my son to listen to when he goes to sleep. He has listened to "Sounder" and also a biography of Leonardi Di Vince, which he especially liked. My 14 yo daughter has been asking me to read to her from Grimms and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. She says that she has missed me reading to her. Awwww.
From the kitchen...Cupcakes are baking for supper tonight and to take around to some sweet children whom I teach Sunday School. Later, there will be bread, too.
I am wearing...Oh, I am casually dressed, but I will spruce up before the children arrive home so they can have an attractive mother..
I am creating... nothing as yet, just a clean and organized house.
I am going... on maybe a walk later today?? Don't know if I will have time. I definitely will sit out in our swing and read scriptures later.
I am reading... A wonderful recipe magazine, Cuisine Tonight's Sandwiches & Salads. I am planning on all the wonderful lunches I will serve the children this summer. Fun.
I am hearing... two very angry birds, a magpie and a mountain jay, cussing out my cat for being near the feeders where they have come for their lunch. Ooh, are they angry! I think Sunny has met his match!
Around the house...Oh, my, another mess that I am working to clean up. How does this happen?
One of my favorite things...curling up with my children on a day like today and reading aloud from a loved book.
A few plans for the rest of the week:Now that the veggie garden is in, I will be planting an herb garden in another bed and working on flowers around the house. Lots of wonderful time spent outdoors. I would also like all my chores done and then some by the last day of school for my beautiful children. Can't wait to have them home!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

For more Simple Woman's Daybooks, please visit the link.

God bless!