Friday, June 30, 2023

Of Ducks and Diners

Meet Anna and Emma, a nod to our favorite Jane Austen novel, our female Rouen ducks. I think ducks are my favorite farm animal, with their waggly walk and quackety quacks. They are simply delightful!

The girls primary job during the day is tick and bug patrol. We've had guineas in the past, who worked splendidly at keeping our property tick free, but their looks and temperment were not much to our liking. So after a bit of research, we decided to give the ducks a try. Here's hoping they work as well, because they are much so much cuter!

Yesterday I decided to go into town and spend some time at Barnes & Noble while my daughter was working, and we decided to leave a little early and have lunch together.  Woodruff's Store Cafe and Pie Shop is legendary in our neck of the woods, but until yesterday, we had never eaten there. To be honest, it's so remote that it took me awhile to even find it. But when we were house hunting last summer we finally came across it, and to my delight we now live relatively close by. We've been planning for some time to finally make it over, and yesterday was the day.

I have to say, I am often disappointed when something gets a lot of hype, be it a movie, a restaurant, you name it. Maybe I'm just pickier than the average person, but when something seems too good to be true, for me at least, it often is. But thankfully Woodruff's proved to be as good it claims, and we were not disappointed! 

We had the chicken salad sandwich on a ciabatta roll with chips and an pickle, and I have to admit, I think I may like it even better than my own! My recipe was one that through trial and error, I finally arrived it while trying to mimick another chicken salad sandwich we loved when we lived in Texas, from The Great Outdoors. Their chicken salad sandwich is served on a croissant, and I always got mine with lettuce, tomatoe, avocado salt and pepper and vinegar and oil and it was DIVINE! It took me awhile to get the recipe as close to theirs as possible, but in the end both my daughter and I were satisfied with the results. I love it so much I typically make up a batch at least once a week. Woodruff's recipe is actually very similar, but perhaps slightly sweeter than The Great Outdoors, and I think I know how they do it! Not that we could be kept away even if I were to figure out how to make something relatively close, because the pie! The pies are what they are known for, and now I know why! 

We decided to split a piece, and we ended up choosing Chocolate Chess. This was our first time tasting Chocolate Chess pie and it was simply divine! The flavor actually reminded me of my mom's, though it is actually a meringue pie, but since I detest meringue we eat it every year without it. Chocolate Chess pie has more of a fudgy consistency, I guess you would say, almost a cross between a brownie and a pie. I decided to do a quick search for a recipe for one and I'm thinking of making it for the 4th. So far, I like the looks of this one.

Our plans for Independence Day are a little scattered, primarily because for whatever reason almost no one in our area has fireworks on the 4th? There's a big display happening tonight in downtown, which we had originally planned to attend, but with my daughter working we decided instead to do what we've done in years past and go to the one that is hosted by Liberty University, which is always on the Sunday before the 4th. So our plans for the actual day are to grill some hot dogs and spend a leisurely day at home. I picked up a package of sparklers, and maybe we'll finally break in the fire pit I got for Mother's Day this year.

What are your plans for the 4th, my friends?  Do you follow long held traditions for celebrating the day, or wing it and try something new every year? About the only thing that is traditional for us is the menu. It's one of the few days each year that we have hot dogs because I personally, am not a big fan. But there's something about the three summer holidays, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day that just call for hot dogs, it is a decidedly summer menu in our home!

Until then, my friends, I hope you are finding wasy to slowly savor the summer days!

Thursday, June 29, 2023

From My Reading: Gather & Give

"As believers in Jesus, we each have a calling on our lives to tell our faith stories, to "shine among them" like beacons of light to the world as we "hold firmly to the word of life" (Philippians 2:15-16). We are called to show compassion, to promote peace and to speak grace. We are encouraged to lean in, to hear people, to see people, to invest in relationships, and to build community with those around us. We are created to have fellowship with one another. We are commanded to love people well. We are exhorted to live lives that exemplify Christ's love and sacrifice for His beloved humanity. And in Romans 12:13, Paul told us one way we can do that is to "practice hospitality."

And this is what He does . . .

Fueled by His desire to make Himself known to the hearts of humanity, God takes our obedience, our yearning to be used by Him, and our longing to be joy in he world, and He turns our simple soup things into significant spiritual things. Did you catch that? Simple things become significant things. Soup things become spiritual things. We surrender our lives, we understand the significant impact of simple hospitality, we invite people in and ask God to move, to bring life change, to show off His heart of service and grace, and to be the one who receives applause.  

When we as God's people seek to use our homes and our holy welcomes to usher in the goodness of God and minister to those around us, the wonder of biblical hospitality takes place. We offer up whatever means God has given us to show the world the love of Jesus and the hope we've found in Him. We invite folks in, and we invest in them. We choose people over perfection. We brew unremarkable pots of coffee and serve bundt cakes that are better on taste than technique. And we let loose the Spirit of God to do whatever He purposes in the lives of those in our chairs, at our tables, and on our porches.

God takes small things and makes them significant things. He turns soup things into spiritual things. All we have to do is open our homes, invite people in and ask Him to."


I read this book earlier this year and highly recommend it. In fact, I loved it so much I think it may be time for a re-read.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2023


"Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen, not to voices but to the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity. And then, in some unexplained way, we discover it ourselves."


Less than a ten minute drive from my front door, a lovely little pocket of solitude tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

A Considered Childhood

I have decided to re-launch my homeschool blog, A Considered Childhood.  I have several years of posts in the archives that I'll be updating and adding new resources as I find them, as well. At this time I think I will be posting there on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week, which will be fairly easy as all the content is already there. I am creating a direct link to it here in the right side bar so that you can easily find it at any time. If you are a homeschooling family or know someone who is, I have a wealth of information, links to curriculum (most of it is FREE!), and other resources, as well. Though we have not been homeschool for close to five years now, it is still very near and dear to my heart and I want to help other families. I have four posts currently up and I'll be posting again on Thursday.You can find it at the link below and as I said, at the permanent link in the right side bar! Please note that while there are a number of categories and links in the side bars, because the posts are archived they are not all working at this time. But I promise that in time, they all will!


Monday, June 26, 2023

My Favorite Summer Movies - Father Goose

I'm back today with another one of my favorite old movies, Father Goose!  While this movie doesn't necessarily indicate that it is supposed to be summer, the island setting definitely lends a summertime feel for me!

I love just about everything that Cary Grant stars in, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, or That Touch of Mink, just to name a few! But Father Goose is definitely one of my favorites!  Lesley Caron is an actrees I've only seen in a few films, including Father Goose.  I liked her in Gigi but I'm not familiar with many other of her films. Perhaps I'll have to check them out and see if I can add a few new-to-me favorites! But the chemistry between Cary and Lesley is fabulous and watching Cary be charmed by a group of litle girls is simply endearing!

The story is set at the height of World War II, when Walter Ecklund (Grant), is coersed into taking a postion as a temportary lookout for Japanese war planes on a remote island. But when another lookout turns up missing, Ecklund is sent on a welfare check where he discovers chaperone Catherine Freneau and her seven young charges, who were sent to the island on an emergency evacuation. Forced to return his post with Freneau and the girls in tow, the eight island mates must now learn how to live together without being discovered by the enemy and becoming enemies themselves. Ecklund's drinking habit and poor manners, and Freneau's strict standards set the stage for some hilarious debate!

And while I love the chemistry and banter between Grant/Caron, it's the children in the movie who really make it for me, especially their interactions with Grant.
Seven girls, Harriet (Harry), Elizabeth, who develops a bit of a crush on Ecklund, Christine, Jenny, who wouldn't talk for awhile until Ecklund helps her find her voice again, Anglique, Dominque and Anne who mistakes a stick for a snake and convinces Walter that Ms. Freneua is dying. I would have to say that of all the girls Jenny is probably my favorite, and I particularly like Harriet, or Harry, as she prefers to be called. In the beginning Ecklund is all but repulsed at the idea of sharing an island with a bossy woman and seven little girls, and the women do take some liberties in "setting up house". But it is sweet to see as over time they all begin to soften and grow to care for one another.


Father Goose is a delightful movie and one that I would recommend for families with older middle school to high school aged children primarily due to Grant's character having a drinking problem. Though it adds a humerous element to the storyline, it is undeniable that Walter Ecklund loves his whiskey, and hits the bottle, frequently. Please understand that this is simply my recommendation based on my own personal experience. It is up to each individual family to decide what they deem as appropriate viewing for the children in their household. You can watch the trailer above to give you a feel for the content. If you've watched Father Goose and loved it, or not . . . I'd love to hear from you! And if you've never seen it and decide to give it a try, let me know!

Until then, my friends, keep savoring the summer days!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

First Road Trip of the Summer - Colonial Williamsburg

One of the things our daughter asked for her birthday this year, was a day trip to Colonial Williamsburg as a family.  It took us awhile for everyone to be able to coordinate their work schedules, but that finally happened on Monday. Williamburg is about 4 hours from where we live, so we knew that this would be a quick up and back trip and that we wouldn't be able to see everything.  But at this point we've been so many times that it's okay. On quick trips like this, we choose a few of our favorite spots and focus on those.

Probably my favorite place in all of Colonial Williamsburg is a little garden that is tucked in behind the Printer's Shoppe. It's small, but there is a creek that runs through it that you can cross over two small wooden bridges, and a stone wall that divides the Printer's shoppe and another building, which I think is used for storage. I fell in love with this space the very first time we visited and I've made it a point to walk through it every time we come.

We drove to Surry, which added about 30 minutes to our trip, to ride the Jamestown Scotland Ferry across the James River. I tried to take a few pictures, but the day started out very hazy and they didn't turn out well. We don't always take the ferry, but it's a fun experience now and then. You can see Historic Jamestowne another one of my favorite places, along the shoreline. We're considering visiting it again on our next trip.

The heat was a little more than we were prepared for, and this was my first time doing any kind of extended walking since suffering with a pinched sciatic nerve this Spring. But thankfully I did well and my leg didn't begin to tire until close to the time we were ready to leave.
This is the little creek that runs through the garden. One of my favorite sounds on earth is the sound of a bubbling creek.
As I said, we've been so many times now that I find I no longer take pictures of the more popular places like The Governor's Palace, Bruton Parish Church, or the trademen's shoppes.  But we are planning a trip in Autumn and hopefully again at Christmas for the Grand Illumination, so I'll try to remember to take some more then and share them with you. I realized while writing this post that almost all of the pictures I have from our earlier visits are printed and I don't really have that many digital pictures.

Since we were gone all day Monday, yesterday was filled with routine household duties, and unpacking the car. We have a few errands to run this morning, and today is the Summer Solstice! We'll be keeping things pretty low key here, and since rain is in the forecast for most of the week, that's does put a damper on most of our traditional plans. We may end up putting off an official celebration until the weather clears up, because there is never a wrong time to celebrate Summer. But, we're off to a great start! I couldn't think of a better way to kick off the season than a day trip to Williamsburg. The laid back charm and depictions of simpler times definitely sets the pace!

Until then, my friends, take the slow lane!

Monday, June 19, 2023

Four Scriptural Images of Home

Good morning, friends!

My family and I are away today visiting Colonial Williamsburg, so I thought I would share this post that I originally posted almost a year ago now.  It is from the book Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life, and I just love these three biblical depictions of home. I hope you'll enjoy it, and I'll see you back here in a few day!

Making a home involves constructing and maintaining an environment in which people can flourish in ways in which God desires for people to flourish. Four images, each of them rooted in Christian scripture and tradition, suggest themselves as ways in which Christians can picture what home is for and thus some of what might be involved in making a home.

"In the first place, a home is an inn. An inn is a place where a traveler can find a meal and shelter for the night, usually in the company of other travelers. It is a modest sort of place, offering simple accomodations to people of modest means, and with normal, forseeable human needs. Joseph and Mary sought refuge at an inn when Mary's time of delivery drew near. The Good Samaritan took the man who had fallen among theives to an inn, where he cared for the man. So also should a home be a place where it is safe to be if you are hungry or tired, or sick, or a new parent, or newly born yourself, for that matter, because meals and beds and the care that goes with them are available there as a matter of course.

A home is also a sanctuary. A santuary is a place to set apart for encounter, whose separateness exists for the sake of relationship. When God led the people of Israel out of Egypt, he commanded them to build him a sanctuary so that he could dwell in their midst. The psalmist sings of entering the sanctuary of God and having his despair turn to confidence as he encounters God and God's renewing comfort. A sanctuary, in other words, is not a cocoon whose inhabitants dwell in splendid, inpenetrable isolation. A sanctuary has boundaries that are meant to be crossed. A home, likewise, should be a place with a door that can be opened and closed. A place whose very separateness serves to foster relationship both within and across its boundaries. 

A home is a city. Again and again in scripture we find God's desire for human flourishing expressed in terms of a city, from the earthly Jerusalem of the prophet and psalmist, to the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation. A city is an active place, there are a lot of people there, and they are busy with a lot of things. A city is very different from a suburb, the central notion of which involves getting away from other people and the everyday commotion of urban life. Often we can be surprised when running a household involves more or less continuous activity. We shouldn't be. The life of a city ebbs and flows with the hour and the season, but it never ceases altogether; so it is with the life of a home.

And finally, a home is a castle. When scripture describes the dwelling place that God designs for himself and for humans, it does so in terms that call to mind the rich ceremonious beauty of a castle with all its pomp and pageantry; the tabernacle, with all its rich fabrics and woods, the jewel-encrusted New Jerusalem. This kind of labor-intensive richness is out of fashion nowadays; and we want everything to be quick and easy, or we think we do. But there is something in the human soul that longs for beauty beyond necessity. Of course, it is easier not to make the bed. But there is a substantial difference between turning down a neatly made bed in the evening and lying down in a mess of sheets left from the night before. To be beautiful, a home need not be luxurious in size or in contents. The beauty of a well-kept home may arise simply from structure and ritual and attention to detail, things that can be present even in the most modest of homes.

Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Small Things 6.17.23

"Life is not, for most of us, a pageant of splendor, but is made up of many small things, rather like an old-fashioned piecework quilt. No two people have the same, but we all have our own, whether it be listening to Beethoven's fifth with a beloved friend, or seeing a neighbor at the back door with a basket of white dahlias. Or after a long, hard day, having the family say, "That was a good supper." 


In no particular order, here are six small things that inspired me this week;

I have a little craft room and office off of the side of our house that I am hoping to turn into something similar.

Worth reading!

I love this!

I think I might have to give this recipe a try this summer!

This sounds good, but to be perfectly honest, I haven't listened to it yet, but I will.  I included it in today's list, however, because the title alone inspired me to add in some "pleasure reading" to my summer of slow.  

And that's it for today, my friends! Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, June 16, 2023

A Slow Summer Days Playlist

 Naturally, since I intend to take summer at a slower pace, it calls for a SLOW SUMMER DAYS PLAYLIST!

Nice n' Easy


It's A Lovely Day Today

Summer Is A Comin' In

 A Sunday Kind of Love

Someone To Watch Over Me

I Love You (For Sentimental Reasons)

Time After Time

A Kiss To Build A Dream On

It's Impossible


Come Rain or Come Shine

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

Catch a Falling Star


As Time Goes By

On The Street Where You Live


You can listen to it, here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Slowly Savoring Summer

You might recall in this post I mentioned that I have declared an objective for the days between July 18 through the end of August as SLOWLY SAVORING SUMMER. To be honest, as we speak I still have not formulated much of a plan, though I do have a few ideas of things I'd like to do.

Things like . . . .

- Lay under the night sky and look at the stars.

- Drive up to the mountains and watch the sun set.

- Spend at day at a local swimming hole.

- Go on a hike, or two. 

- Visit a waterfall.

- Go to an outdoor concert or movie.

- Shop local yard sales and thrift shops.

These are just a few of my ideas. 

But more than a list of things to "do", it is a way "to be", a mindset, I suppose. Of course there will still be bills to pay, laundry to do, meals to cook, the natural rhythm of life will, on some level, prevail. But what I am hoping for is to be more intentional about how I spend my leisure time. I want to make more time for reading, cross-stitching, crafting, watching old movies, overall, just doing more of the things I love. I have a tendency to want to cram too much into my days and often the things I really want to do never happen, so hopefully with a little thoughtful planning, I'll arrive at the end of August with a summer of wonderful experiences, accomplishments and still fee refreshed.

With that in mind, I made up a little form that I'm calling, Seven Ways To Savor Summer. My plan is to try using it the first few weeks and see how it works.

As you can see there are seven categories; Crafting, Cooking/Baking, Canning/Preserving, Reading, Movies, Time in Nature and Road Trip, as well as a place to jot down a few notes as needed. My goal is to sit down, preferrably the weekend before, and list one thing in each category that I'd like to do in the coming week. In a few of the categories I might even list two things. After that, I'll  look at my schedule and decide which day each activity would fit best. The goal is to be intentional but flexible, not allowing it to become rigid or cause me to feel like if I don't get it all done that it's a failure. These are all things I would like to do, but they are more of a suggestion than a requirement. 

I came across this "Permission Slip" recently, which became the inspiration for this idea of savoring summer.

I, _________________ give myself permission ___________________. I’m letting myself say no to __________________________________ and yes to ____________________________. It’s OK to take some time to ____________________________________________________________________________________
Nothing bad will happen if I allow myself to daydream about ____________________________________
I’m finally going to __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As for me . . .

I'm giving myself permission to slowly savor summer. I'm letting myself say no to more commitments and yes to more time spent at home. It's ok to take some time to be by myself.  Nothing bad will happen if I allow myself to daydream about next years garden (this year has been a learning curve), and begin making plans for a larger flower garden.  I'm finally going to get the curtains made for the kitchen in the dining room and bathroom.

So what will you give yourself permission to do this summer? What are some ways that you could slow down and savor this lovely season? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And, if you are interested in using my form, Seven Ways To Savor Summer, you can download a copy, here.

Until then, my friends! Savor the days!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

From Grandma's Kitchen - Small Batch Strawberry Jam

My girls and I spent some time in the kitchen yesterday making a small batch of Strawberry Jam! This is my third year making jam, but the first time I've ever made strawberry jam. I know, I know, but blackberries and figs are my favorite, and as I was on a learning curve and just getting comfortable with the process of water bath canning the first two years, I didn't venture too far!

This recipe is so good, and turned out perfect in spite of it being a rainy, somewhat humid day. I was reluctant because there are those who will warn, "don't make jam on a rainy day!".  So, I sought out the opinion of someone I consider an expert, and she had never had an issue, so we went for it. I'm happy to report everything turned out great! Not a smidge of a problem with too much moisture and getting the jam to set. 

This is the recipe we used;

5 cups Crushed strawberries, approximately 2 1/2 – 3 pounds
3 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Fresh lemon juice This is approximately the juice from three lemons.
Lemon rinds Use the lemon rinds leftover from squeezing out the fresh lemon juice.

On high heat, combine crushed strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rinds in a large deep pot.

Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Skim off any foam that has accumulated on the top of the jam.

Turn heat down to medium and allow the jam to simmer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the pot from heat and remove lemon rinds.

Ladle hot jam into the jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a debubbler.

Wipe jar rim with a paper towel or a clean rag that has been dipped in white vinegar.

Place canning lid on each jar and secure with band.

Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.  


If you've never used a water bath canner, there are You Tube video that you can learn from. As I said, this is only my third year canning, so I do not consider myself an expert or even a teacher. But, I will say, if I can do this, anyone can!

I wish I had a picture of the little jars of jam all finished up, I took a few, but the lighting wasn't good. I'm going to be making another batch this week, so hopefully I'll be able to get a better shot then and I'll add it to the post. By the way, this made 3 small 8 oz. jars, which is perfect for us!  There was just a little bit, maybe 2-3 tablespoons left over which I just put in a little jar and placed in the refrigerator to eat right away. I like to make 3-4 varieties of jams and jellies each year, just enough for maybe 1-2 jars a month, and that works fine for us. Making it in 8 oz. jars is perfect, as well, so that we eat t it all before we open another, helping to eliminate waste.

Do you like to can? I was a little late to the game in life learning this skill, but now that I have I absolutely love it! I have several more recipes I want to try and more of my favorite to make this season, so be on the look out if this is something you enjoy!

Monday, June 12, 2023

My Favorite Summer Movies - Summer Magic

As many of you know, I am a HUGE Old Movies fan. I would even dare to say that 90% of what I watch on a weekly basis was released in the late 40's, 50's, 60's and some 70's. Occassionally you might even find a few titles from the 80's thrown in there, but it is s-e-l-d-o-m that I watch anything made after that, with the exception of period pieces from PBS.

It is pretty common to have a longer list of movies that you enjoy watching during the Christmas holidays, but being a seasonal soul, I have movies that I watch in almost every season, and summer is no exception. And so, with the solstice coming up next week, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite summer movies with you over the next few months, and I thought we'd begin today, with  . .

with Hayley Mills 

Oddly enough, though it's my first choice for this series, Summer Magic is, traditionally, a movie that I watch closer to the autumn equinox. A bit of a nod, if you will, to the slowly dying days of summer. .

Based upon the book, Mother Carey's ChickensSummer Magic and depicts the life of the Carey family. When Margaret (Dorothy MacGuire), a Bostonian widow and her three children fall on hard financial times, Nancy Carey (Hayley Mills), works with Postmaster Ostia "Osh" Popham (Burl Ives) to move into a run-down old house in Maine. But isn't long before they learn that the house is actually owned by the mysterious Tom Hamilton (Peter Brown), who Osh assures them, never comes around. But when snooty cousin Julia (Deborah Walley) moves in, and  Mr. Hamilton makes a surprise visit, the fun and adventures begin!

I have loved this movie since the first time I saw it in elementary school. Every year on the last day before Christmas break, the entire school would assemble in the auditorium and we would watch a movie. There was always popcorn and soda and the teachers would usually have candy waiting for us on our desk, as well. It was always a highlight of the holiday season, knowing that Christmas was coming and you didn't have to go to school for two whole weeks! One year, I think when I was in about 3rd-4th grade, this was the movie that was featured.

I have long loved Hayley Mills, but I'm fond of Deborah Walley, too, especially in this role. She became a bit of a beach movie queen during the 60's, and I'll actually be sharing a post soon that will feature some of those movies. But her depection of Julia, the uppity cousin who turns out not to be all that she appears, is charming.

I also like the music featured in this movie. It's dubbed a musical, and I guess if I really think about it, it definitely is, but somehow the music seems to flow a bit more seamless than you typically find, at least for me. Some are also not a fan of Burl Ives when it comes to singing, and granted, he would have never made it in today's world. But I personally find him charming. A few of my favorite songs from the movie are;

- On The Front Porch - My absolute favorite!
- The Ugly Bug Ball - My girls loved this one when they were little!
- Femininity - A cute little old fashioned song. Definitely don't condone "hide the real you"

If you've never watched Summer Magic, I highly recommend it. It's a movie the whole family will enjoy and suitable for all ages. Perfect on a cool summer night with the windows open. You could make up a couple of big bowls of popcorn and some fresh lemonade and enjoy spending some time together!  Here the trailer to give you a little more of a feel for it!

As I said, if you've never watched it, I think you'll enjoy it, and please let me know if you do, even if its one you're already familiar with and have watched a dozen times or me, like me! And if you have your own list of favorite summer movies, please leave your suggestions in the comments. It just might be possible I may have missed a few!  I'll be sharing more movies on my list in the weeks to come, so if you enjoyed this post, but sure to come back for more!

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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Small Things - 6.10.23

1. This cute God Bless This House printable.

2.  I enjoyed reading this series, Cultivating Hospitality, Part 1, Part 2.

3. The Daily Examen, I've been practicing a Weekly Examen for a little over a year now, but I like this idea as well.  I'm thinking about incorporating it into Slowly Savoring Summer.

4. Lisa is one my favorite Instagram accounts, and I love her blog, This Pilgrim Life, as well. She mentioned how she re-sets each season some time ago, but I was just reminded of it again this week.  I really love this idea and I'm thinking of tweaking it a little to suit my stage of life.

5. Growing up in Texas, Tex-Mex makes our menu plan at least once a week, sometimes more. I love a good old fashioned taco more than just about anything. But the minute I saw this recipe, I knew I had to add it to our summer rotation. My favorite brisket and chili recipes both include cocoa, so I'm really eager to give these tacos a try.

6. And his sweet little poem; 

 Little Things

We sometimes get impatient doing simple little things,
Like stitching, buttons, washing gloves - the trifling task life brings.
We think we're wasting precious time and grumble terribly,
Because we think we're fitted for a higher destiny.

But God did not despise the doing of the tiny things,
He spent a lot of time making flowers, making wings.
He made the mountains and the seas, the whirling worlds on high,
And yet He deigned to make the ant, the bee, the butterfly.
The spider and the snowflake and the smallest bird that sings,
So surely we with grace and care can do the little things.


Thursday, June 8, 2023

From Grandma's Kitchen - Chip Nut Bars

I think I must have been about 9 years old the first time I remember my mom making these, and they quickly became a family favorite.  A cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie, similar to a blondie, but with the added ingredient of instant coffee makes these CHIP NUT BARS a family favorite! They are the perfect snack to have on hand during the summer with all the kids home from school, and a hit at cook outs and family reunions! Everyone will love them, guaranteed!

1 c. shortening*
1 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. instant coffee
1 c. chopped pecans
1 pckg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.Mix all ingredients together. Place in greased/floured 13x9x2 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothipick inserted in center is clean. Yields 24 bars.

*This is how you know that this recipe has been around awhile. You can use Crisco if you want, but these days I substitute with butter and it works just fine.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Make This Home A Peaceful Place

Bless this house,
O Lord, we pray.
Let your joy
shine here today.
Fill each corner
with Your grace.
Make this home
a peaceful place.
Let laughter ring
throughout the halls.
Bring harmony
to these four walls.
May all who enter
Be at rest as 
Your love touches,
every guest.


Poetry, especially sweet verses like this one which beckon to the peace and harmony that we desire within the walls of our homes, speaks to me on such a deep level. I'll be sharing more poems like these from a fairly vast collection I've curated over the years in the coming months. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

With that, I've been cross stitching a little more recently. I tend to go through "seasons", I suppose you could say, when I pick up my needle almost daily until for reasons I'm not even sure of, I realize one day that it has been weeks. But, beginning June 18, the Sunday just prior to the Summer Solstice, and through the end August, I'm instituting a practice I'm dubbing, Slowly Savoring Summer. At the heart of this endeavor is a need to quiet to my spirit, still my soul, reduce the stessors in my life.  I'll be doing that by intentionally focusing more on some of the things I love. I don't have all the pieces in place yet, just a lot of ideas on paper that I need to formulate into a plan, but if you're interested, stay tuned.  There's more to come.

Monday, June 5, 2023

A Longing For The Comforts Of Home

"One of the most fundamental of human longings is the longing for home. We long for a place that feels like the right place, where we belong,  where we ourselves are longed for and welcomed.  And for all its spiritual and psychological dimensions, this longing is physical and material as well.  We want there to be a place where waiting for us is a room, a bed, a chair, a meal - the things that meet the basic needs of embodied things like ourselves.  We want “the comforts of home”, not just somewhere away from home - a fancy hotel, say - but at home, where, we sense, they are supposed to be.” 

Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

Now that my leg is on the mend from a pinched sciatic nerve, I'm slowly immersing myself in all things homekeeping, especially vintage housekeeping, which still resonates so deeply with me. I can't get enough of images like these, the sweet scenes of home and a wife and mother tending to the needs of her family.  Don't get me wrong, I don't judge or begrudge any woman the right to pursue a career, that's just not at the heart of who I am, and as such, its what you'll always find this reflected here in this space.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a mother in the home. My mother didn't go to work until I was in high school  and it was a great comfort to me. Regardless of what may have been happening in my life, knowing my mother was home and available to me at any moment grounded me, I suppose you could say. I liked knowing she was there and would be there to greet me any time I returned. Though our relationship wasn't perfect, her choice to be a stay-at-home mom is a gift I will always treasure, and it greatly influenced my life as a young girl.

Something I enjoy is perusing the plethora of vintage housekeeping books that are available on the Internet Archives. While nothing replaces holding a book in your hand, since there is no way I could or should own every book that catches my eye, the archives serves as a useful tool.

A few favorites I've come across are the Mrs. Beeton's Books. Her first book, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, published in 1836, was an instant success. There are actually what look to be a number of updated and revised versions at the archives, including;

and this one looks interesting,

I just love perusing these old texts, which are often filled with practical, as well as a lot of out-dated but still fun ideas. If you enjoy vintage housekeeping, too, I encourage you to spend some time searching them out on the archives.  I often do an initial search on Pinterest, which usually provides me with a number of images of covers and titles and then seek them out on the archives. I find them quite fun, like stepping back to a time when life seemed simpler.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Small Things - 6/3/2023

"Life is not, for most of us, a pageant of splendor, but is made up of many small things, rather like an old-fashioned piecework quilt. No two people have the same, but we all have our own, whether it be listening to Beethoven's fifth with a beloved friend, or seeing a neighbor at the back door with a basket of white dahlias. Or after a long, hard day, having the family say, "That was a good supper." 


In no particular order, here are six small things that inspired me this week.

2. I really appreciated this post from @silkandsonder on The Seven Types of Rest.  This is something I want to consider for my weekly Sabbath as well as for extended sabbaticals.

3. I spent some time this week looking for meals that won't heat up the kitchen during the hot summer months. I despise air-conditioning. And while I'm not oppossed to turning it on for a few hours late in the day to cool the house down, I LOVE open windows and bringing the sounds of nature in. So, I do what I can to keep the temperature indoors as cool as possible,which means either baking early in the day, or not at all. With that, I thought these Hasselback Tomatoe Clubs looked yummy, though I would substitute something for the processed meat, maybe just the veggies and make it more of a modified BLT? If you have some favorite no-heat summer recipes, share them in the comments!

4.  I really enjoyed this post from Back Road and Bloom, Old Fashioned Homemaking: What Is It And Is It For You?  It's always been my thing on one level or another and more so since we moved into our house last summer.

5. Came across Heart's Content Homestead and saved it to my bookmarks.  I haven't been able to spend much time there yet, but I love the way she has her recipes broken down by season.  I'm hoping to peruse her summer offerings, soon.

6. And finally, this quote;

"The humblest take are made beautiful, when loving hands do them." 


Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Gentle Arts

“For the gentle arts are just that, gentle.  They do no demand to be practiced. No one is obliged to pursue them. They have not been taken up by any government department and regulated and repackaged with health and safety messages and warnings. They are a matter of individual and personal choice. They can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest and the ability to thread a needle, break an egg, choose a color or wield a pair of scissors. They don’t require complicated skills, qualifications, training or equipment. They don’t take up much space, create dirt and mess (although you may find yourself leaving the house covered in little threads or fibers) or impinge on others’ lives.

What they do require, though, is a conscious choice to do something “old-fashioned’ and “quaint”, to choose not to buy and consume endlessly, but to make and create for a change.

The gentle arts are not all-or-nothing decisions though. Fortunately, there are no legal guidelines about how much is good for you. So you can consider yourself a practioner whether you decide to bake a cake or knit a sock once in a while, or live a life packed with quilting and stitching. It’s the awareness of the worth of the gentle arts that counts, the ability to see that the feminists of the 1970’s were misguided when they thought that teaching young girls to devalue domesticity constituted progress.

Just as its possible to combine the gentle arts with all sorts of lifestyles - full time work, part-time work, unpaid work - so it’s possible to combine a range of skills. Many how-to craft books catergorize readers as knitters or quilters or embroiderers, without considering the possibility that they may be all of these, and more. Anyone who likes knitting may enjoy crochet, those who work with a needle may love hand-quilting  or embroidering, an embroiderer may want to bake cakes as a subject for a textile piece. And so the connections go on to create a world of colorful tactile possibilites that are limited only by your reluctance to try something new.”

The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art and the Comforts of Home

Welcome June!