Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CHRISTmas eve's eve

The day is dark due to the bouts of pouring rain and  heavily clouded skies, but two electric candle lights burn in my sewing room casting a sweet glow. I am here to share two musings on this day referred to by Charlotte as" Christmas Eve's eve. "

Musing of a serious note: As I was rummaging through stacks of old magazines in the attic with high hopes of finding a particular recipe, I found a letter dated 3 May 1985. As I picked up the lavender- shaded envelope my heart began to be pricked with a cylinder sharp prick when I saw the return address, Mrs.______ ____ _____, 3rd. This a dear friend from college, we were sorority sisters and  bridesmaids in each other's weddings. I opened it with such a deep longing to call her. Instead I heard her voice across the pages of this ruffled letter. During the time she penned this letter, we were both young mothers, raising our firstborn children, sons. She was giving me details of Matthew's toddler life and heralding me with the news of the births of sons and daughters of other sorority sisters.
   "I think of you often and wish we saw more of each other. Love, Am-" 
 I slipped the letter into the envelope's pocket with thoughts this Christmas of her husband and three now grown sons. My dear friend, Amy, died three years ago. I do wish I could speak to her today.  But instead I see her handwriting, my memory hears her voice, and I remember her beautiful face. How thankful I am for the gift of inadvertently discovering that letter hidden under some old magazines this Christmas.

Musings of a funny note: The weather is the talk of all the Christmas gatherings this year. It has been...well...weird. These past days have been very warm, unseasonably so in the high 60's and 70's F.
Thunder and rain creating yards that even in the grass display deep puddles. I scooped up the vegetable scraps from meal preparations, slipped off my shoes and ran down to the raised garden beds to throw on for compost. The mud squished between my toes making me squeal and giggle with fun! Just think  bare feet and tepid mud to run through at Christmas!

Celebrating Jesus Christ at CHRISTmas with the joys as well as the sorrows life brings until HE returns.              

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Notes 2

An entire week later...

Housecleaning Notes:
Since today is a holiday and summer is chorusing its last siren song, my husband and I mustered up just the proper amount of motivation needed to continue with the ongoing window cleaning job. Now, keep in mind this housekeeping chore began Saturday before last, and we still have nine more windows to clean before we can shout, "We're Done!" But the joy we had when we could see the shine on those windows this afternoon as we sat down to have a cold drink was worth all the effort. Oh, I do not want to forget to mention something while I am about my housecleaning notes. Have you ever tried to clean with *Norwex* products? They are superb...just ask my husband...he is a new devotee after using them for cleaning the outside windows.

Baking Notes:
I love desserts. I love baking them and I love eating them. But common sense tells me that no one needs to eat dessert every day. At my house, in theory, that simply means we eat desserts on Sunday. But lately due to company, parties, and end of summer celebrations, dessert is becoming daily. So as soon as the Apple Crisp we baked on Saturday is all gone, we will do better. Enough said.

The crisp was made with the apple pie filling I canned last year. I have made this pie filling for the past two years and it tastes delicious as well as cutting the time it takes to prepare an apple dessert in half.
And please do not forget to serve it with vanilla ice cream!

Beekeeping Notes:

There is this notion that I think I could be an apiarist. But in year's past my reactions to bee stings were not good. And since I am highly allergic to Benedryl, watching my beekeepers at a safe distance seems the most sensible thing to do. I was outside earlier today and I could smell that woodsy smell of smoke from the smoker they use for quieting the bees, so I knew my beekepers were about working.

I hope your Monday was pleasant and you could work, rest, and play. Tomorrow starts a complete new routine, and I am ready.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Monday Notes

Nature Notes:
I drove my car parallel with a hawk this morning. The hawk was startled as I came around the curve and it flew right beside my car window for about 5 seconds, it was as if we were in a race. Magnificent beauty follows this bird. Yet, I know he is more than likely feeding on live prey in some one's back yard, unfortunately, at their stocked bird feeders.

Baking Notes:
I believe there is a link in the brain that is stroked whenever you enter your kitchen to bake something good to eat. Baking gives you feelings of comfort, home, warmth and love. Charlotte and I were so happy to bake some blueberry muffins this afternoon. A old recipe was scavenged, one that uses whole wheat flour and yogurt in its ingredients. Then we sat down and ate one warm from the oven.

Preserving Notes:
Two pints of cherry tomatoes were cut in half, mixed with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of basil, 2 tablespoons of oregano, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a dashing of salt and pepper.  They were spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and baked on a 220 degree oven for 2 hours.* They will rest in the closed oven overnight; tomorrow morning I will store my dried tomatoes in a glass jar and will receive pleasure to use them on homemade pizzas, appetizers, and salads in the days to come.
*adjust temperature and time accordingly, for example, 225 degrees for 1 -1 1/2 hour.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

open-air knitting

As long as I am able to carry my knitting along from here to there, I am content. Summer brings such  multitudes of opportunity to knit out in the open-air. 

My Opal striped sock was being knitted in the majority of these photos, the one exception being the black sock. If I could squeeze in a few more outside activities this summer, the striped sock would be completed. Then it can rest on top of my sock stack until cold weather makes its appearance and the need to dress my feet in wool is fully satisfied with a new pair of socks. I wish I could be like Elizabeth Zimmerman and fill a sock drawer with newly knitted socks, but I will be satisfied with what I have accomplished this summer.

“Now, have a good summer. Dabble your feet in the water, and fill the sock-drawer against next winter. I find this as satisfying as studying seed-catalogues by a roaring January fire.” – The Opinionated Knitter

And while not exactly open-air knitting, nonetheless, I knit as I travel. A new project was begun while in the car on the open road to Ohio two weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

a small state of chaos

I am discombobulated. This is due to the master bath renovation currently going on in my home. I am grateful for upstairs bathrooms  and upstairs bedrooms while the redo is going on downstairs. My husband vacuumed with a fierce spirit last night with frequent statements of how dirty the floors are under his feet. I grin inside because I know we all maintain ways of trying to cope with all the sheet rock dust, boards and paint as best we can, not to even mention the boxes of things moved temporarily upstairs causing great disarray there too.

As an attempt to take control, knowing it is useless to do my normal house cleaning duties at the present, I engage in a housekeeping duty of a small nature. I was thinking it would be beneficial to have a weekly housecleaning chore of those things I don't do on a regular basis. The other cleaning can wait to this weekend when the workers will be absent.

Housekeeping Duty of the Week:
Remove the kitchen faucet handles and scrub all the gunk that has accumulated around the edges. While you are at this job, be sure to remove the nozzle of the faucet, and likewise, clean the build-up gunk. This is one of those jobs that is not easily noticeable to the eye, but it makes one feel so much healthier after completing the chore.

And I might find it a good thing to consider a virtue to work on while I am evaluating how to make my home peaceful and calm in the midst of a higgledy piggledy state.

Virtue of the Week:
Generous, in spirit and in manner. I can afford to be understanding of others that live in the same house  and are living in the same chaos. If they want to run the vacuum in the evening with fierceness...I can smile even if I am tired and the vacuum makes my nerves go "BING". I can allow Charlotte a lunch break to watch an episode of House Hunters International. I can even take a cat nap after lunch if it helps with the sleepless nights due to being in a double versus queen bed.

What do you do when things of the physical nature are chaotic in your home?

Monday, August 24, 2015

lessons to learn

This mother of 32 plus years (my eldest son will be 33 in October) began another homeschool year with 12YO youngest daughter today. My second year of having only one student. My hats are off to those mothers with so many students to school in a day. I am slightly weary and worn around the edges this afternoon. I am taking a break from school instruction, laundry and household duties to post. I have a pretty teacup that Claire gave me setting by my side of freshly brewed tea with a dollop of "our honey" to sip for refreshment.

By seventh grade the holes in your child's academic record becomes more obvious, and a carefully laid out plan to remedy and close some of the gaps are devised. So much easier to speak about, but very difficult to bring about I must confess. I remember those days when my children were toddlers, the consistent discipline needed to  get them to obey was trying to the utmost, but promised to garner fruit in the end. The same principles are applied to schooling.

We will eat an early supper because ballet lessons begin tonight from 6-8. I think 7:00 is a perfect time for dinner, but 8:00 is simply too late to have a body digest a big meal and have a reasonable bedtime. I might just sit outside at the our local Food Coop and read, knit and do geography lesson plans for tomorrow. Or I might take my laptop and catch up reading some of my favorite blogs. Oh, the possibilities!

"Then let us all do what is right, 
strive with all our might toward the unattainable,
develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,
and never stop learning."

                        honey harvest

I hope your day went well!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

more scattergories

B  Bridesmaid Dresses
        (August 1)                                
Claire's sister got married on a beautiful evening on the first day of August. Three of the bridesmaids asked me to alter their dresses, which I so willingly and happily altered while listening to podcasts on the computer in my sewing room.

M Music Camp 
        (July 19-24)
                             Every morning Charlotte would travel to the next town's university to attend a summer music camp. She would leave home at 8:00 A.M. and get home somewhat weary at 10:45 P.M., full days of music for sure. My husband and I would take advantage of the time in the evening to dine out in a wonderful restaurant or sit outside at a campus coffee shop. On Friday we were able to be in the audience of two daytime informal student performance concerts, and one formal evening performance concert.

                    ballgame right outside restaurant's parking lot           practice room on old Baldwin piano

D Dip and Dots
What can I say...they stand on their own splendid merit.

C Creation Museum
           (August 14)

Situated right at the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana borders sets the most glorious museum. My advice is it is worth making the trip and experiencing this museum; God's Word is honored and upheld as total truth in this place. Ken Ham and his team ministry, Answers In Genesis, do a superb job of giving creationism validity. If you plan to go for a  visit, keep in mind it will take at least a full day to see this museum and planetarium.

O Ohio
        (August 15-16)

We visited with some dear friends that live in the middle of Amish country. As we sat outside on their side deck that morning, we were able to observe the horse and buggy wagons noisily ride by the road. Then later that day we rode through the green countryside and observed such wide open spaces and simple rural life living. We stopped at one farmhouse to buy a veneer basket and the wife offered to give us a tour of some of the rooms in her house. She was so kind and answered questions that must have seemed silly to her. 

It is Saturday, that makes tomorrow my Sabbath. I still have a few preparations to make to our Sunday meal, so I am signing off for now. Thank you for reading and leaving comments from time to time. I hope to visit your blogs this week and enjoy reading about what you have posted about recently. 
Lord willing.

Friday, August 21, 2015


One of the things that keeps me coming back to this place is the knowledge that I am able to just open my computer and begin to post. No one slaps my hand for however many months I have not posted while my blog lies dormant and silent. Gracious are those of you who check my blog from time to time. Melissa simply writes..."missing you" heart felt good for days after reading that comment. Thank you.

I am  giving this post the title scattergories. Have you ever played that game? It is a truly fun game when a group of people are gathered at your house and you are looking for a game to entertain. Everyone must find a word in the categories given with a key letter. So with that in mind this is my weak attempt to entertain you with some of what I have been doing this summer. Due to its length it will take at least two days of posting. It is not my intention to overwhelm after all....

F Fourth of July Celebration
        (July 4)
 We hosted a get together on the Fourth of July at our house. It was hot and humid outside with threatening thunder storms so we stayed inside where the air-conditioned rooms decorated in red, white, and blue kept us in a happy mood.
S Swimming
After many summers of no swimming I  made a plunge into the pool waters once again on a regular basis. From 10:30 to 11:30 I show up at the pool and I swim on the average of three to four times a week for the solid hour. 

P Pointe Shoes
      (July 7)

 The day arrived, finally arrived! Charlotte is dancing "en pointe". We made an appointment to have pointe shoes fitted at our local dance wear store. The sewing on of elastic and ribbons shortly followed enabling her to attend her first classes this summer on pointe. This was a very big deal indeed! I love seeing her on her toes.

T Tennis

Charlotte picked up her rack for a week long morning camp to improve her skills at playing tennis. Then I would take her to play with her friend on Saturday mornings.

While at the courts I met a lovely woman who sews lingerie. I have plans to contact her this fall so we can get together. She would like to learn to knit while I am enthralled with the desire to learn to sew lingerie. O the glories of those people one meets while waiting for children at various activities. Wouldn't you agree?

I glance at the clock on my computer screen and realize it is 5:05, hungry people live at my house and tonight we have the addition of a six year old we are keeping while his parents are celebrating their anniversary. So I will stop for now and hope to get back soon.

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

last day of june

I have finally come full circle to the knowledge that as women, some of us simply enjoy reading about another woman's day, as in the everyday things written down in a diary or common book of old. It rounds us as we can relate to the ordinary things that make another woman's daily life happenings so close to home.

...So on that note, here on this last of June, is a record of my day.

 6:00 Thankful for the summer light as I arouse from my sleep chamber and head to the kitchen. The cats, George and Serena precede me, begging for breakfast. I always oblige them finding that makes  my morning routine less distracting. I delight in the pink petunias outside the window while the coffee is set to brew.

6:15 A stretch routine while listening to Elisabeth Elliot on Gateway to Joy.

6:20 I step to the sun room and pick up my Bible, my journal, and prayer cards. Oh, and I see Charlotte has left her *little book* for me to read the message she left, whereupon I will leave her a note of encouragement in return.

To the back porch, coffee and books in hand. I sigh with contentment, sit quietly, and then begin my quiet time.

8:00 I am dressed in brown shorts, a blue denim top,*Jambu* walking shoes. I pluck the little bits of grass that have lodged themselves between the pavements waiting for A_____, my walking partner. We begin our daily walk and prayer regime after she arrives.

9:15 Home to discussing Charlotte's plans of the day; she manages a small schedule of schoolwork in the summertime. A load of towels put into the washer.

9:25 I am having a guest come for lunch at 11:30 on this day, so I begin to make the crust for the tomato tart I will be serving. I grab a colander and head to the garden to pick some sungold cherry sweet and delicious. Along the way I decide to cut a few hydrangea blooms for the table. A gathering of thyme, basil and mint are snipped in the kitchen garden too. One large Vidalia onion to caramelize in an iron skillet with butter. Watermelon cut, this will be doused with mint syrup and lime juice  and put into the *Cuisinart* later for a granita.
Tomato tart
Green salad
Watermelon Granita

9:40 My husband is working at home this morning in his office and has a question I must run upstairs and attend to.

10:00 Time to dress. A floral skirt of aqua and turquoise, a sleeveless white blouse. I don an apron over my head to remain spotless as I continue to chop, shred, and cut.

Charlotte shreds fontina and Gruyere cheese and stirs the onions as they are caramelizing beautifully and making my kitchen smell absolutely tantalizing. I set the table in the sun room and clean the powder room. The load of towels are switched to the dryer.

10:30 Green salad with beets, cranberries, almonds and Parmesan cheese placed in a bowl, add fresh thyme to simple vinaigrette which will be tossed with salad before serving.

I hurriedly rush into my bathroom to apply the lightest application of makeup and lipstick, just in case my time gets crunched. I find if I have covered all bases of my personal care at least an hour before my guests arrive, it saves me from immeasurable stress. Who wants your guest to show up only to find the hostess looking harried, or have to wait while she dresses?

11:00 Crust rolled out onto tart pan, layers of cheese, onions, tomatoes added. Put into the oven. Realize the dirty food processor in the dishwasher is needed to puree the watermelon. A quick wash  in sudsy hot water and in a mere 3 seconds the watermelon is ready to be put into the cold Cuisinart bowl.

11:30 She arrives right on time bearing a basket squash and cucumbers from her garden, and a jar of smiling black- Eye Susans.

She offers to help and keeps me company as I toss the salad, pull the tart out of the oven, and arrange the food on the plates.

4:15  Time on the clock failed to stand still and all too soon it was time to say "adieu".

5:00  Kitchen cleaned. Upstairs to work on post. A telephone call to Rose.

6:15 A large thunderstorm is now upon us. I watch the trees bend in the wind through the rain spattered windows. Lightening hits close! Charlotte is disappointed because the plan was for an evening swim with a friend at the pool. I am dreaming of leftover tomato tart...

*Seldom do I manage to get photos of events happening, so the photos were shot after the fact...
hopefully, you get the And the times are approximate...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

yarn along

I must say it is good to be able to skip over to Ginny's Yarn Along this Wednesday and see what some of you are knitting and reading. The Prairie Ridge Shawl  I was knitting last week was completed and is on the blocking board at the present. I know I will love pulling this shawl out of the cedar chest to wear this winter. For now knitting a sock in a self-striping Opal wool satisfies the "knitting need beast" in me. It carries well to the pool and in the car, especially since I found DP Wip Tubes to hold my sock knitting. I do not know about you, but I stuff my little projects like socks and mitts into my pocketbook or a carry along bag, but on numerous occasions I have been known to whip out my DP project only to  discover I have dropped stitches in transit. Not any more!

Opal Stadtgefluster Potpourri colorway knitted on 2.5 cm dp's in a plain simple sock. I begin this type of sock by casting on 64 stitches with a k2p2 ribbing. Mindless knitting but that is one of the glories of knitting socks of this sort, especially on hot summer days.

I did want to mention the needlework traditions magazine, Piecework. I love this bimonthly magazine that features some sort of handwork including, but not limited to, knitting, crocheting, tatting, embroidery, beading, or lace making.  Reading the history written about a featured type of needlework is informative along with project patterns you can create for yourself. I have yet to do so, but one can drool and dream!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

how I make my tabbouleh

Something about summer and the abundance of parsley in the garden puts me in the mood for making tabbouleh. When I was pregnant with Charlotte twelve years ago, I craved tabbouleh and would eat it for lunch several times a week. It was the most satisfying lunch eaten with crackers. It still is. Ingredient additions can vary somewhat depending on your personal taste. Here is how I make mine.


1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup cherry or roma tomatoes, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper

Pour boiling water over the bulgur wheat in a heat proof bowl. You may wish to add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the wheat at this time. Stir, cover, and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Your wheat will puff up and absorb the water. Add all the fresh ingredients and toss to mix well. Season to taste with the pepper and any extra salt, then cover and place in the refrigerator.  Tabbouleh is better if you wait until the next day and allow the flavors to mingle before eating it. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

a summer yarn along

It is a sizzling hot June day, and a perfect day to take part in Ginny's Yarn Along.

 Before leaving on the fifth of this month for Vermont, I considered what I wanted to take along to knit since we would be driving for two days to get to our destination in central Vermont. All in all it was a fairly easy decision to make since I had been wanting to knit a shawl for quite some time. I found this Prairie Ridge Shawl pattern, and as I sorted through my stash I ran across  two skeins of a hand-dyed single ply 100% wool yarn I had purchased a while back. I love the variations of the colors in this yarn, maybe that is the reason I hung the skeins on the door knob of my closet and left them there to admire for a spell about a year ago. I would from time to time hold the skeins in my hands and dream of what I could knit with this wool. This yarn is working out beautifully for this shawl. I am using addi turbo lace circular needles. The turbo lace needles have tapered points and are quite nice in the hands.

While in Vermont we were able to clean and paint the fellowship hall of a church in the small town of West Topsham. It was cold and rainy as we labored together for two solid days, but on Wednesday we awakened to the sun and temperatures that settled to a beautiful 72 degrees. We drove to Tunbridge where we had the most delightful visit with Sue Thomas. I remember watching a TV Show called Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye back in the 90's, a true story of a deaf woman hired by the FBI to solve cases due to her exceptional ability to read lips. I read Sue Thomas's book, Silent Night, while on the journey home, and I have just begun reading her second book, Staying in the Race. As we sat on her deck that afternoon her love of God was so evident, and His peace was sensed in every breath she spoke, because this remarkable woman speaks clearly in spite of her deafness. Silent Night tells this story and gives a thorough account of her life. We listened to her talk about God, and the vision and the work He has given her. All too soon it was time to leave.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

pickle addition

Egg Salad and I have a union of sorts. We go way back, and while I have my standby traditional not to be disputed addition of ingredients, where I do experiment is with the addition of pickle, the variety of pickle that is since either sweet or dill pickles will make a delicious egg salad. This day it was sweet gherkins.

Then I add a tad of mustard, a good helping of mayonaise, salt and pepper and spread it on whole wheat bread for a sandwich. It is also very good on a cracker.

Deviled eggs are basically the same ingredients. Though I do like to add a garnish of fresh chives when the herb garden is flourishing.

Friday, May 29, 2015

ten plus two

Days ago she woke up with visions of a lemon cake with lemon icing. Because at ten plus two birthday cakes are things to dream about and anticipate.  We pulled out the vintage cookbook and together we came up with a cake that satisfied her visionary lemony birthday cake.

 And then fishing rods and worms took center front...we headed to the pond of a good friend to fish. Maybe, just maybe we can hook a ten plus two dream here too!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

strawberries and smocking

A phone call last evening from my neighbor, it is the last days of strawberry picking, an invitation ensued. We headed out to the fields this morning and I came home with a gallon of the ending season's bounty. The strawberries this year have been deliciously sweet, and I have found a way to make them have a longer life if kept in the refrigerator with a few simple tips. Place unwashed berries in a Tupperware container, or any such container with a tight fit will work fine, then layer the berries with wax paper on the bottom and a paper towel on top. Tighlty secure the container's top and place it into the refrigerator. I was pleased to find the berries lasted over a week when prepared in this way. Since today's berries are the last of the crop, I do not expect them to last as long, but tomorrow I have big plans for them anyway.

The gentle art of smocking a garment keeps me happy. A pink batiste gown was completed and Charlotte is enjoying wearing it to bed at night. We are venturing to the Green Mountain State next Friday and Charlotte has asked if I might have her robe smocked and sewn so she will have it to wear. I was right on schedule, until I realized I had pleated, blocked, and smocked two right sides. Woe! I sat outside on the back porch and ripped out the gentle smocking, consoling myself that this was only a minor setback. Grace was applied, the pleating was completed, the blocking was done, and I plan to begin to smock once again his evening. Only a small kink!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

signatures of May

May comes with a pomp and a circumstance...leaving many signatures of activity that must be consciously enjoyed in their simplicity.

*cherry red geraniums potted for the front porch
*co-hosting a bridal shower with Claire, for her sister
*sweet strawberries to pick in the fields
*smocking a robe for Charlotte
*a barred owl to observe in the woods
*fermented lemonade set to brew
*listening to Elisabeth Elliot reruns
*suppers on the patio
*end of year testing
*preparing a trip to Vermont in early June
*visiting and shopping with Rose
*harvesting sage
*piano recitals
*a garden dance performance
*a strings concert in the backyard
*checking the bee hives
*graduation parties to attend

the completion of Middlemarch

It took exactly two months! I began reading Middlemarc h on May 7 and finished reading the Finale on July 7. It traveled within my home a...