Monday, June 10, 2019

We're Moving, and I Need A Little Break!

Well friends, it's move out week! Which means I am going to be super busy boxing everything up, cleaning up, and moving out!  Our move in date is this Friday, June 14, and we couldn't be more excited!  The following week, of course we or to be honest, for the most part "I" will be unpacking, organizing and decorating my little heart out making the space into a home.

With that, I am not sure how often I will have time to post, so rather than be sporadic, I am just going to take the next two weeks off from this space, and hopefully be able to resume posting again around the 24th, but most likely I won't resume a regular schedule until the first of July.  There is a chance that things might turn around sooner, but I'm going to give myself some time and make room to breathe. I'm going to miss sharing with you during this time, but I'm also super excited because we will now have windows and light, and I might actually be able to take a decent picture! 

Once I'm back I'll share the final results of my Make it Mid-Summer Meal Challenge, which is going GREAT by the way! And I've decided to change the start date of my Journal of Delight and Discovery for July 1 - September 21, so if you've been looking for those or you want to participate with me in keeping a journal, check back in a few weeks!

Until then friends, savor the days of summer!

Kim

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Come To The Table!




"Sunday night suppers have a charm all of their own - a warm, informal intimacy that sets them apart from all the other meals of the week.  Six and half days of serious menu labors are out of the way. Now is the perfect time for a bit of frivolity.

The whole family can be included in the casual preparation of Sunday night suppers. Tie an apron on Pop.  Let Sis stir up a batch of cookies or a quick bead.  Invite a couple of guests or a whole roomful.  Everything is easier, simpler, more friendly in the relaxed pace of a quiet Sunday evening."

- from The Culinary Institute's Sunday Suppers Cookbook

Moving is, at least for me, a fresh start.  Everything is clean and bright and fresh. Rooms present like a blank canvas upon which to paint lovely scenes of home. As the flow of our days takes shape and we become familiar with our new space, daily routines and tasks may need to be adjusted. For instance, in our new apartment I'll have a dishwasher, a luxury I've been without for four years now. And, a nearby community dumpster will eliminate weekly trips to the city dump, for which we are most grateful!

As I've contemplated these changes, I've realized that one of the things we've become lax on is coming together for meals. With both Bill and Kate working retail jobs, this has become more of a challenge in recent months, and I'm afraid I haven't given it the attention it deserves.

Thinking ahead, and assuming things remain as they are, I considered that we are all home most Sunday afternoons, although Bill has to work one Sunday a month, Kate typically doesn't go in until later in the day. Bill is also home almost every evening, and while Kate's plans are a little unknown, I know that if I am intentional in setting aside a specific day, she will do her best to be there. With that, I'm thinking Sunday's and Wednesday's will be our primary days for gathering around the table together.  I'll be more intentional with the menu and presentation on these days. As there are only the three of us at home now, it isn't necessary for me to cook a different meal every night, as most meals feed us the next day, as well.  But Sunday and Wednesday's and possibly Friday's will become the days when I'll plan on serving up something special.

Families coming together to share meals is a tradition that has fallen out of fashion over the past decade, at least on a daily basis. When the children were younger we ate together almost every night. But as each one of our girls grew up and became involved in outside activities and outings with friends, it became less of a priority, primarily because it became difficult for me to keep up with all the conflicting schedules. But even then, I did make sure we managed to make it happen at least a couple of times a week, and it's high time we got back into the routine.

If you're like me, and planning family meals has become challenging, there are a number of books that speak to this and to the importance of gathering around the table, especially if your children are young.  But to be honest, I don't think it ever loses its importance, regardless of what stage of life you find yourself in. Here are a few of my favorites!

 - Come to the Table - The Kindle edition is just $1.99
by Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef

- Dinner: A Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- Dinner: The Playbook: A 30 Day Plan For Mastering The Art Of The Family Meal
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- How to Celebrate Anything:
Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners and Every Day In Between
by Jenny Rosenstrach

- The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids One Meal At A Time
by Laurie David

In closing, I want to share a poem I've had in my collection for several years now, by one of my favorite authors and poets, Grace Noll Crowell.  I hope that it will inspire you, as well!

The preparation of the evening meal
By any woman, anywhere, may be
A ceremony, beautiful to see,

Recalling clear, sweet evenings long ago
At Emmaus, or Bethany, when One
Beloved guest had come at set of sun.

And oh, that other quiet evening meal
Within an upper room - the grace He said
Above the scarlet wine, the broken bread!

An evening meal is such a gracious thing,
It matters not how plain may be the fare
So long as love and loyalty are there.

The supper hour - a magnet drawing home
The ones who have the need of food and rest!
All women know this hour of the day is best.

~ Grace Noll Crowell

I just love these sweet sentiments, and the recollection of the meals I shared with my family as a child.  It's time we got back to memory building once again!  What about you?

Until then, friends, gather around!

- Kim

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June Has Now Come


June has now come, bending beneath her weight of roses, to ornament the halls and bowers which summer has hung with green.  For this is the Month of Roses and their beauty and fragrance conjure up again many in poetical creation which memory had buried.  We think of Herrick's Sappho and how the roses were always white until they tried to rival her fair complexion, and blushing for shame because they were vanquished, have ever since remained red; of Shakespeare's Juliet, musing as she leant over the balcony in the moonlight, and thinking that a rose "by any other name would smell as sweet."  They carry us back to Chaucer's Emilie, whom we again see pacing the garden in the early morning, her hair blown backward, while as she gathers roses, carefully, she "thrusts the thorns her little hand."  We again see Milton's Eve in Eden, standing half-veiled in a cloud of fragrance - "so thick the blushing roses round about her blow."

CHARACTERISTICS OF JUNE

Though the summer solstice takes place on the 21st day, June is only the third month of the year in respect of temperature, being preceded in this respect by July and August.  The mornings, in the early part of the month especially, are liable to be even frosty, to the extensive damage of the buds of the fruit trees.  Nevertheless, June is the month of greatest summer beauty - the month during which the trees are in their best and freshest garniture. "The leafy month of June," Coleridge well calls it, the month when the flowers are at the richest in hue and profusion.  In English landscape, the conical busters of the chestnut buds, and the tassels of the laburnum and lilac, vie above with the variegated show of wild-flowers below.  Nature is now a pretty maiden of seventeen, she may show caterer charms afterwards, but she can never be again so gaily so freshly beautiful.  Dr. Aikin says justly that June is in reality, in this climate, what the poets only dream May to be.  The mean temperature of the air was given by an observer in Scotland as 59 degrees Fahrenheit, against 60 degrees for August and 61 degrees for July.

The sun, formula speaking, reaches the most northerly point in the zodiac, and enters the constellation of Cancer on the 21st of June; but for several days about that time there is no observable difference in his position, or his hours of rising and setting.  The length of the day is about 16 hours 15 minutes. at Edinburgh, the longest ay is about 17 1/2 hours.  At that season, in Scotland, there is a glow equal to dawn, in the north, through the whole of the brief night.  The present writer was able at Edinburgh to read the title-page of a book by the light of the northern sky, at midnight of the 14th of June 1849.  In Shetland, the light at midnight is like a good twilight, and the text of any ordinary book may be easily read.

KEY TO THE CALENDAR

11 - St. Barnabas the Apostle, a holiday of the Church of England.  In the old style, the 11th of June was the longest day; hence an ancient rhyme;

Barnaby Bright
The longest day and the shortest night.

15 - St. Vitus's Day - St. Vitus was a Sicilian martyr.  From him, though for what reason is doubtful, is named a well-know nervous affection of the limbs, proceeding from a disordered state of the visceral system.  It was a popular belief that rain on this ay indicated rain for thirty days thereafter.

24 - St. John's Day - the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, a holiday of the Church of England.  The Eve of St. John, variously called Midsummer Eve, was formerly a time of high observance amongst the English, as it still is in Catholic countries.  Bonfires were everywhere lighted, round which the people danced with joyful demonstrations, occasionally leaping through the flame.  A certain number of citizens formed a watch, which perambulated the streets all night.  It was also believed that on this eve, by fasting, waking, pulling certain herbs and going through certain ceremonies, it was possible to obtain an insight into futurity on some important points.  Fasting St. John's Fast was a great feat of young women a century or two ago.  There was a custom of holding vigil in the church porch, precisely the same as described under St. Mark's Day (April 25).

29 - St. Peter's Day, a high festival of the Romish Church, and a holiday of the Church of England.  It is celebrated at Rome with illuminations and magnificent ceremonials.

from All Round the Year, A Monthly Garland and Key To The Calendar
by Thomas Miller


Monday, June 3, 2019

Celebrate the Ordinary in June!

SPECIAL DAYS TO CELEBRATE THIS MONTH

June 6
National Drive In Movie Day
Unfortunately the closest drive in movie around our area is almost two hours away, so we won't be participating in this one. But, if you're lucky enough to have one of these vintage gems near you, this would be a fun activity to enjoy with the family this summer!

June 7
National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
Now here's a day I can get into, and my ice cream is even sugar free!  For my husband every day is ice cream day!  If you have an old fashioned ice cream maker, you might try your hand at coming up with you own recipe! It's also National Donut Day, so two for one!

June 10
National Iced Tea Day
I mentioned in my last entry that my husband loves ice cream, but for me it's iced tea!  I've had to cut way back or go sugar free in recent years, because, well, I just don't have the metabolism to support drinking it all-day-every-day anymore like I used to!  But occasionally I still enjoy a cold glass of sweet iced tea!

June 11
National Corn on the Cob Day
Corn on the cob has been a favorite since I was a little girl.  And to this day I love biting into a that sweet, savory goodness!  And have you ever had Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob??  Oh my stars!  You should add this to your summer cookout rotation, it's amazing!

June 12
National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
Peanut Butter Cookies are definitely a favorite in our house, although we don't consume nearly as many as we once did.  But for an occasional treat, this is my favorite recipe. So easy!

June 14 
National Flag Day, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Flip Flop Day
There are so many celebrations from the end of spring into late summer that celebrate our patriotism, and today is so exception!  Today's the day to wave you flag high!  This time of year you can find them in all sizes, and even. few small ones tucked into potted plants adds a celebratory touch to your porch!

And what says summer in America better than strawberry shortcake? I really like this recipe, because anytime I hear "streusel", I'm sold!  If you scroll down you'll also see that there are links for Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes, and cheesecake, and donuts, so take your pick!

And who doesn't love a good pair of flip flops?  They are so handy for just quickly slipping on in a hurry, whether to water your flowers, head to the pool, and make a quick run to the store! And today at Old Navy, they are on sale for $1!  And there's no kick back here, they just happen to be my favorite!

June 16
Father's Day
Don't forget to celebrate dear old dad today! Maybe fire up the grill and make his favorite meal? I'm not really sure what our plans are this year as we will have moved into our new apartment just the day before! But I'm hoping we'll at least have things settled enough that we can take the day off and get on a trail somewhere!  Dad's are typically pretty easy when it comes to things like this, at least ours is!  But do take time to express your love and appreciation today, and every day!

June 20
National Ice Cream Soda Day
Confession, I am not a fan of ice cream soda!  But I many people, including my husband, who are and if you're among them, today is your day!  They do make a fun summer tradition, and an Ice Cream Soda Bar, complete with 2-3 different flavors of ice cream and sodas, along with some whipped cream, cherries and maybe even some sprinkles, mini M&M's or chocolate chips would top it off nicely! Kid's especially, would enjoy seeing who could come up with the craziest concoction! So if you're looking for a fun activity to host this summer, consider celebrating National Ice Cream Soda Day!

June 21
Summer Solstice
Today is the FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, and the longest day of the year, with more hours of sunlight that any other day on the calendar.  Celebrating the turning of the seasons are some of my favorite days of the year and this year will be no exception.  We should be pretty settled in our apartment by then, and I'm hoping to share a special meal on the patio, though I haven't even begun to think about what that might be and should probably have that figure out BEFORE we move!  I'll be posting more about that maybe later this week!

June 23
National Pecan Sandies Day
Pecan Sandies always remind me of my mom! They were one of her favorites.  It's not a cookie I've made much over the years, but if you like pecan sandies like my mom did, maybe give this recipe a try! Martha never gets it wrong!

June 29
National Waffle Iron Day
I'm not sure what happened to our waffle iron, I think it must have been lost or misplaced in one of our moves? But I've had this idea, using boxed cake mix, tucked away for several years now but have never tried it. I doubt if I will replace our waffle iron as we honestly seldom used it, but I'm wondering if you could do something similar with the batter and make pancakes instead?  At any rate, if you have a waffle iron this is a fun idea and would make a unique dessert!  If you try it, let me know how they turned out!

June 30
National Meteor Watch Day
It's interesting that this day is celebrated in June, as The American Meteor Society states that June is actually a pretty slow month for meteors, at least it is this year!  But observing the night sky is one of my favorite summer activities!  I'll be writing up a post soon about what to look for this summer, so if you're interested in that sort of thing, be sure to check back!

Until then friends, I pray you have a joy-filled June!


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Through All The Varying Year: June

June has been the 6th month of the year, since Numa reformed the Roman Calendar, but the reason of its name is uncertain. Our Saxon forefathers called it Weyd=Monat, or Meadow Month, and afterwards Sere-Monat, or dry month, it being the least variable month in the year. On the 21st is the Summer Solstice, when the sun appears to stand still. It is the longest day of the year with 16 hours, 34 minutes and 5 seconds between sunrise and sunset. The 5th is called St. Boniface Day, in memory of the “Apostle of the Germans,” a native of Devonshire, who went to preach the Gospel in Friesland and was appointed primate of Germany. He suffered martyrdom in 755 AA. D. The 11th of the Month is dedicated to St. Barnabus, “a son of consolation” and the companion of St. Paul, who was stoned to death in 73 A. D. The 15th is the day on which the Nile begins to rise. Mid-summer day, the 24th, is dedicated to John the Baptist. The 29th is dedicated to St. Peter, who was crucified under Nero, A. D. 65, on the same day on which St. Paul was beheaded.

June is a busy and joyous month in the country. Sheep shearing takes place if the weather is fine, grass and corn are in full flower, and haymaking begins in the end of June if possible, before the seeds of the grass are fully ripe. Towards the end of the month the birds are too much occupied in rearing their young to have leisure for singing. The cuckoo changes his note, and then ceases to repeat his call - hardly a note being heard in the woods, but a short song, evening and morning, from the lark and blackbird. Swallows may be seen daring about in search of insects for their young, and barn owls pounce upon the mice for the same purpose, grasshoppers, beetles, and flies become numerous and the anglers May-fly may be seen, over ponds and streams, any fine evening from the 6th to the 20th of June. The nests of wasps are at times plundered by anglers, who find their large to be excellent bait for fish. There is not much to do in gardens, where plants are mostly coming to maturity, beyond weeding and watering, training climbing plants and blossoms. Strawberries are ripe, gooseberries and currants are ripening, and new potatoes are brought to table.

- M Jeaffreson
 from Through All the Varying Year: A Calendar of Nature