Thursday, September 28, 2017

tired, just like my garden

It was not initially my idea, but a heart surging with compassion and with steadfast thoughts of optimism that stated, "Yes, I can do it, at least for a short period of time",  I agreed to do it. I was actually looking forward to spending extended time keeping her, allowing a much needed break for Rose.
What I do not like to admit is how overwhelmed I am with tiredness,  all my usual daily routines completely tossed out the window, hurled as far as the moon so it feels.

But to have her chubby toddler arms circle my neck and feel her wet kisses on my cheek, to delight in her outgoing emerging perrsonality, and to hear her say "Gamma", I am so in love. And I am glad my heart and thoughts made for the right decision.

I do not function in the lofty, I am embarrassingly pragmatic most of the time, and that is even faced  with a certain mien of resoluteness. With that as my future compass, next time I agree to keep her for an extended time it will have different aspects perhaps. But then every month changes with a toddler, it will not look this way ever again.

And as we  enjoyed the late September afternoon yesterday, I noticed how tired my garden looked, and I felt I was in like company.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

roasted chicken

... for supper

 Most of my Wednesday mornings are spent rushing from here to there with Charlotte for violin and piano lessons; I have approximately two hours before Bible students arrive to clean my kitchen, do a moderate straightening of the house, and to prepare supper, because as soon as the Bible study is over and everyone leaves, we eat dinner and head out the door once again.

I try to prepare simple but nourishing meals on Wednesdays. Roasting a chicken meets the bill and is satisfyingly delicious, plus its aroma wafts through your house while it is cooking (promoting being at home).

Here is how I prepare a hen for roasting:

*I always use an organic hen, rinse and  pat it dry.
*Generously salt and pepper the cavity and then stuff the hen with celery (quartered pieces),
       onions(quartered pieces), garlic(whole), and fresh bunches  of parsley, sage,  rosemary and thyme
                     And while I am in the garden snipping those herbs, without a doubt I will be
                                  singing the song in my brain!                       

*Keep a small portion of the fresh herbs to chop and mix with olive oil, salt and freshly-cracked pepper.

* Carefully lift the skin from the breast of the chicken and rub this olive oil mixture over the  chicken,           
                               I slide my fingers as far as I can reach.                                                          

 *Use kitchen string to tie the chicken, start under the back, over the wings, cross over the breast, back under and around the legs, then tie string securely.

* Smear softened butter over entire outer skin and lavishly apply salt and pepper

*Bake 325 degrees for about 1 hour 20 minutes, check for doneness (165 degrees at thickest part of thigh)

Monday, September 18, 2017

orchid nursery

Once upon a time I bought an died.

Years later, someone gave me an died.

I thought there was more to orchid growing success than I was willing to invest at the time, I put it on the back burner of my to do list, the "one day" list.

Revival of the orchids entered this spring when I was gifted  a white orchid for Mothers' Day, and then in early June I inherited my neighbor's pink orchid because she was moving away. These two orchid plants provided me with the most gorgeous orchid flowers until late July. Then they rested...

Some of the information I read online is totally opposite of how to care for them, therefore, I choose to trust several sights that agree and plan to follow their advice. I am a student in the orchid nursery for now, but I am not giving up; I gave in to the temptation and purchased  another one last week, and one of my other orchids is putting out another bloom!

                                                    crecente lacus

Saturday, September 16, 2017

luggage rack success

 I woke up this morning with a thought I could not believe I had not even considered yesterday. Bed, Bath, And Beyond...check it out!!!

My husand and I made the trip this morning and came home with the most perfect suitcase rack of all times, constructed in wood, completely assembled, and ready to be placed in the guest room. Accomodating my honored guests in the simple things .

And I appreciated GretchenJoanna's suggestions about what she uses in her guest room, a desk or lower chest of drawers. All so much better than having to stoop down on the floor.

Friday, September 15, 2017

hosting out of town guests

There is much to be read online about the art of hosting out of town guests in your home, but since I am fortunate to be able to open my home to  guests coming in for a wedding this weekend, I have been busily preparing the room in which they will stay.

Yes, it is easier if you have a guest room already established. But if not, there are still certain things to consider before your guests arrive.

When houseguests leave my home, I immediately strip the used bed sheets to launder and pull the bedspread up over the mattress cover. Then when the day comes that I am preparing the room for my guest(s), I toss the bedspread into the dryer with a cotton ball laced with a tad of lavender oil while I make the bed with clean sheets.

I clean the bathroom thoroughly. This also involves placing clean towels on the racks, checking for fresh soaps both in the shower and sink, setting out toiletries they may need, filling the toilet paper rack with a new roll, while making sure there is another roll under the sink. I like to have a night light  in the bathroom too.

I put out reading material appropriate for the particular guests, sometimes this may include magazines. Recently I have included a little picture frame where Charlotte has written our wifi  passcode on the glass.

 Then last, but not least, I like to set out a tray of small treats I think my guests will like: things such as bottled water, crackers, pretzels or nuts, mints, and of course, a special chocolate bar

Making sure there is a proper place to hang clothes is usually needed. One thing I still lack, a suitcase" tray", you know those things that hotels provide to keep your suitcase off the floor. I am considering placing a small table in the room this weekend for this purpose. Do any of you have something that works for this?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

a Precepts Bible Study...and sea salt brownies

With all my heart I believe we have a responsibility to the next generation, to diligently teach them the ways of God, to know Him, which means the Word of God must be center front in this advancement of His kingdom. I have found that the Precepts Inductive Bible Studies are an excellent resource for leading a group of students to learn how to study the Holy Scriptures in this manner.*
Last year we studied the first book in the  series called Abraham, this year we continue with the study of Joseph. We do our part and the Holy Spirit will do His.

*observation, interpretation, and application

And we began our study this past Wednesday afternoon with a snack, sea salt brownies,  baked that morning with dark chocolate. You bite into the  rich brownie sprinkled with sea salt and your taste buds tingle a bit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maine Bound

When the robins returned to my back yard last late winter, I sat at my computer and planned a bucket list vacation. Those many hours of planning became a reality when we traveled to Maine this past August. We traveled up the coast of Maine from Portland, Camden, and many towns in between until we reached Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, then on the way back we stopped at destinations in New Hampshire, and Vermont. Now I am waiting to get the pictures developed so I can create a scrapbook of a wonderful vacation filled with beauty and a load of memories.

                               Frenchman's Bay, Bar Harbor Inn, at sunrise

                                                  Portland Main Lighthouse

                     I was looking forward to a stop at the Swan's Island Store in Camden. Then we were fortunate enough to head to Northport the next day to Swan Island Factory and Showroom.

                             Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Crossing the sand bar at low tide to Bar Island

The morning was cloudy, chilly and windy, but we drove to the top of Mount Washington on the Auto Road.

                     In 2008 we only visited the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont
 and took a photo at this spot. 
This time we stayed there for two nights, in nine years we definitely recognized
 some changes, 
  but still a very peaceful place to stay.
(think Sound of Music...the Vonn Trapps)

Burlington, Vermont

Monday, September 11, 2017

a kitchen hint

It is Monday, lugubrious to the core, so I was hoping a helpful hint from the kitchen would provide a little sunshine.

Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen prepared to bake a cake, or at least thought you were prepared, until you realized the recipe called for cake flour rather than all-purpose flour? No worries, simply replace two tablespoons of the all-purpose flour with two tablespoons of cornstarch.
A definite lightness is creeping into the day already!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

and it was Friday

Beef stew made earlier and set into the crock pot to simmer all afternoon, a leaf blower swooshed across the stone-paved patio to remove the daily accumulation of falling leaves, a fire started  to ward off the approaching chill that enabled us to remain barefooted  and in our summer clothes a bit longer, but only until grabbing a sweater became quite  necessary as darkness fell.

Friday, September 8, 2017

as autumn slithers in

We have survived the first full week of September with flying colors, 
Charlotte  beginning her first year of high school. I have been this route three other times, thus I know how quickly these next four years will pass. She opted to take some coop classes this year, so that has changed the flavor of our schooling days somewhat. I teach her only two classes, Physical Science and Latin IV, the remaining classes are taken on Friday and Tuesday.

It is different. But all is good and I see such benefit for this daughter who is already planning her course of study somewhat when she graduates from high school in 2021.

I am presently knitting on a shawl I named  Maine Bound, the knitting project I carried along as we traveled to Maine back in August. The pattern for this shawl can be found here. There is an   interesting 30 line diamond pattern in between the solid garter knitting which makes it a nice knit by providing that proviso of extra mind attention I so desperately need.

About three years ago a friend gave me a  box of her large DMC floss collection. This has a been like a running stream of help when it comes to embroidery and smocking projects. I organized my sewing room by filing several of my scattered skeins yesterday in the appropriate envelopes. 

muckles of summer

As summer begins in June I always delve into a myriad of activity like one whose life depends on great accomplishment in order to deem success, yet, I never lose the clear visions of lazy days of summer echoing with great accordance in the back recesses of my mind. Now that we are officially at the end of the month of August, I realize how rich the past three months have been, providing both times of activity and rest.

A Bridal Shower

 A Fair Isle Sweater finished and packed into the cedar chest until cold weather comes, and it will.

Honey Harvest

And a afternoon of reading while the first leaves fall

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...