Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Wearin' o' the Green

I decided to begin Spring cleaning. What a process! It is hard to see all the dust and clutter in the coziness of winter. But let us have one glorious, sunshiny afternoon and the jig's up. I kinda like that anvil in the face (Wile E. Coyote style) when I look at my exhausted butter cream Christmas tree and rescue him for a well-deserved rest after a full SIX MONTHS of service... What was I thinking to leave it out so long??????



My dear, bedraggled little tree limped to the "plunder room," as I affectionately call my dad's bedroom. I heard that old butter cream mumbling weakly something about wasn't he going to be an Easter tree (as well as Halloween, Autumn, Christmas and Valentine).... ?   .... but I just said no!


This year my kitchen has become an Irish haven. Most people find it hard to believe I don't own any green dishes... yet. I am good with that. I do want to find my lovely, green Depression plates in the Adam pattern, though. Kind of afraid they are at my son's house...  (translation: not this year).



I looked back through this blog and discovered how little the scope of my posts has become in comparison to the past. I didn't really seem to realize when my life became narrow, but I recognized it as I flipped back a few short years ago.  I watch a lot of YouTube videos with limited scope so I guess that just translated that it was okay to just go on this way, but I am promising myself to stretch out a bit this year and do more exploring and day trips and excursions. You know that means I will be taking you with me when I do...


My life and my blog reflect the fact I last left this cozy house on December 22. I won't call my existence stagnant because I have had far too much fun, and I do keep stirring the pot by changing things up for the seasons, using different sets of china, altering my menus and rearranging furniture. But how does it happen that I find myself still sitting here as I did the last year I took care of my mom? Then I could not leave, but now???  I online shop till I drop, but the last time I was in a grocery store was December 15, 2015. And not that it matters to anyone, but the last time I was in Wal-Mart was November or early December of 2013. (Yet their doors have remarkably stayed open.)



Tonight I am listening to my very favorite "music," gentle rain pouring on our roof. Mid-Missouri has been in the midst of the dryest winter, but creeks, farmlands and nature are at last getting a chilly drink. 44 degrees and rain, according to Alexa. That's about how I like my root beer!



Since it's only 28 days until spring, I will leave you with my very favorite Carrot Cake recipe. I posted it a few years ago, so here is the link and a picture of that cake. Moist and just about perfect for a crowd, this cake goes through a lot of ingredients, but it is worth it. The original was posted online as Grampa Sam's Carrot Cake. I would love a piece of it with hot Irish Breakfast tea at dawn tomorrow. But... not yet.


Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

12 Years!

Indeed a dozen years ago I decided to sit at my computer in another home, another life really, and begin a blog. At the time I read two blogs: My Romantic Home and my very first ever, Brocante Home.

Now I read so many and I count you and the ones who read this blog as friends... My life has changed, to say the least. Many of you have made radical changes, as well...  I want to hug you all and say thank you for the inspiration and the motivation!





Whimsy and Hugs!

Friday, February 16, 2018

French Toast Friday




I usually fix the same breakfast every day for my son, but on Fridays we declared from the first week he was here: FRENCH TOAST FRIDAY. Now to be honest, this is NOT a picture of our breakfast. It is just too early for me to style our fare.... or take its picture! Today I used 45 calorie bread, and it was fabulous! Some weeks we have made it with Texas toast, too...  My recipe is too easy...  One egg and about 1 T. creamer...  whipped together. I usually fix it in a pan sprayed with olive oil that I've reheated precooked breakfast sausages in...  Always pure maple syrup from a farm in Vermont...that I get on Amazon.


If there's an Indiana farm available, I order from them because I know that would be Mom's choice. Her uncle had  maple sugar grove in Centerpoint, Indiana. Mom always had a lot of stories to tell... and she brought our beautiful sugar maple in the front yard from her uncle's farm. The tree made the trip to Missouri in a coffee can. It is a show-off in fall.


I hope your morning is going well...  It really isn't too late to save it with some French toast!


Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Sweetest Thing


Morning breaks in a personal Valentine, and our house is filled with the delicious aroma of chocolate chip cookies. I am sending a big, heart-shaped bowl of cookies with my son for his co-workers to enjoy. His breakfast eggs were served in a little, heart ceramic bowl. Seasonal living really helps me as I continue the traditions my mother planted in my heart. As destiny has it, my life is not shared with a husband or local beau, so Valentine's Day is much more of a Sweetest Day. But I love it...  I can shut my eyes and taste the sugar cookies iced in pink with cinnamon red-hots studding each heart. My grandmother made these every year, and I carefully nibbled right up to the red-hot to save it for that last bite-supreme. I am looking forward to a movie and possibly some barbecue when my son gets off work.


Last night some dear friends came to have a little supper. My friends brought delicious bread sticks, crisp salads, chicken wings and crab ran-goon!!! Lots of laughter, treats for the soul.



I created a little Valentine stack with chocolate and pink or red on red choices. Each little section has a tiny treat inside. 




My sister/cousin came down super early for coffee on Tuesday,  bringing pretty valentines, cheerful tulips, and a darling red-work wall hanging. I dearly love a gift that is hand made.




A dear friend also visited Monday night and brought such treats for my laundry room. She brought wonderful scented sachets for the dryer, lavendar detergent and hand soap. Stay tuned for a post about country laundry.






Shh! Callie the Valentine cat dreams of a field full of catnip. She is getting a fire-red cardinal toy that chirps when she hits it!!!


I changed out the china in this cabinet. Dessert Rose Franciscan china from my grandmother, compotes in lead crystal from my great-grandmother. Covered tureens from Mama  and tiny pip berries and an angel from my collections.




A few years ago my Sweetie sent this cute Snowcatcher  music box. I love to hear it this time of year. We are warming up, but still Missouri needs rain or snow. It is really dry. 

                                                                                                                                                                                        







Well, enjoy the day! Let me know in the comments how you spend the Sweetest Day.








Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Whimsy and Hugs!

Taking a break! I will be back Valentine's Day or a bit before!


Monday, January 29, 2018

Favorite Books this Winter





We have really had some cold and windy days, so I have had a chance to cozy in on some projects and a few really good books. I would love to hear your favorites right now. 

I have a Kindle or two, so I usually read on that, but at times nothing can compare to holding a book and maybe adding a note in the margin. I thought about organizing a book club and that may develop just a bit in the future. Here are just  few you might like. Links to the books are clickable on the titles.

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I read Beth Moore's first novel, The Undoing of St. Sylvanus. I am a long-time Beth Moore lover, and I really thought she did a great job with this first fiction work. I also bought the workbook. Turns out she has some really cool extras free on a web page. HERE. I also wanted to get in on a free livestream, but I actually forgot! I don't think it is available now. 


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Even though I am certainly not getting any older,I enjoyed this book so much two years ago that I am starting it again. The Beauty of Aging. It has much to ponder and it is very uplifting really. I think my mom and grammas all set good examples of staying involved and fun most of their lives. Grace. It is one of the prettiest words in our lives. Grace, Gratitude, and Grit...... good words. She has a wonderful website and newsletter. HERE. This book is available on Amazon through third party sellers or on Kindle.


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Another book I brought out of the vault is Giada de Laurentis Feel Good Food. I bought this about four years ago, but it turns out you actually have to eat this way for it to turn you into Giada. I can't say her food is my family brand whatsoever, but the recipes I have tried, I like.... I have to laugh when I recall Mom's opinion of this beautiful little woman on the Food Network. (She never failed to hiss a bit about Giada's cleavage. Those of you who know my mom will laugh. Mrs. Modesty.)


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I recommend any book by Sally Clarkson. This one, The Life Giving Table, is on my short list waiting in the wings. She brings some really good ideas to daily life. I have enjoyed her other books also. 



I hope you are enjoying your favorite things this winter. I may pop on with a couple more books later if you like this kind of thing. Let me know in the comments what you want. 

Stay cozy. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

For Mama


Unbelievable. Today marks the anniversary of the day our mother and granny passed away.


Isn't it true that major events, both happy and sad seem to live in two paradoxical time waves. It simultaneously seems like forever ago... and it feels like yesterday. I wonder if the changes in our lives are visible.


My mother had the gift of hospitality. Who else would plan a birthday party-extravaganza from a hospital bed in the middle of the living room? Who else really, really wanted to be a queen for her last Halloween...  so much that her dear nurse wanted her to have a tiara. Mama, Granny to her dearest grandson, was the epitome of a gentle, fierce warrior-cookie baker-queen created to persevere, to live, to survive. She got this grit from her mama, my little gramma.


Mama was my ultimate encouragement, one I looked toward for earthly inspiration, for approval, and for comfort. She was the most generous person in our world.


My earliest memories find her doing the little, marvelous things that feed the soul... taking a picnic outside with me and our perfect cat Sally and collie dog Laddie.... painting popcorn with pink fingernail polish and gluing it to branches that also framed little blown-out eggs with magical Easter scenes inside...... proudly viewing a summer's work of over a hundred cans of green beans, 80+ quarts of old-packed tomatoes, and bag after bag of golden freezer corn, fresh green peas, and juicy strawberries and peaches And like the little red hen story she adored, she did it all herself, with any help my dad could give after his full time job and farming.


Mom and I played school until the day I walked into first grade in an embroidered gingham skirt with a teacher's bouquet of zinnias carefully wrapped --- first in a wet paper towel and then aluminum foil. My mother had taught first grade and couldn't wait for me to experience the magic of learning. She was purposeful in not teaching me to read before I went to school. I think she wanted to be fair, to give the teacher what was hers, to create in me a lifelong love of the classroom. It worked for us.


We did our hair and put on Evening in Paris perfume in front of her waterfall vanity. Her contant mantra of "pretty is as pretty does" is as central to my core as the wonderful clothes, coats, boots and purses she bought me. She spent her clothing budget on me, that's for sure.


We read together in her old gray rocker until my feet nearly touched the floor. For every silly, happy, angry, sad, or confused word that came out of my mouth, she provided undivided attention. Only a mother wants to listen 24 and a half hours a day!


Losing our mothers is a life-changing event. Where is that person living here with me who has Saturday planned to run by the Amish, have lunch in town, and watch a Hallmark movie in the dark? I need her to remind me to dust that shelf, to make a plan and stick to it, to roast her a hot dog until it is "good and burnt."



Through the past 11 years I have lived in her house. Even after her major stroke had done its worst, she managed to tell the nurse, "I do not live with my daughter...  she lives with me." My son has given up a lot, as well.  She needed help. I am glad, so glad, it worked out we could give what she needed. He says he would do it again. Our story worked for us. We feel she gave us even more.


Dolls. How could I ever write about Mom without mentioning her dolls. Such beautiful little faces. I have given a few away, but the rest of them have been waiting in the shadows and wondering about their futures. I suspect the majority of these girls will continue to live here at Meadow Lane... I told the buyer at a major auction house I wasn't selling any of the dolls who spoke to me. That must have been overheard because they have been speaking up more lately.


In the end of our lives here on earth it is good to leave with eyes fixed on Heaven. My mother spoke and demonstrated her love and faith. I heard her pray aloud after her stroke. She always thanked the Lord for her life and for her family. She asked for strength to be a better person. She asked for God to watch and help us all.



Much more I could say, but this seems enough for today. Mothers, when things go right, are perfect for the children they create.



And so it goes. I wanted to write this, and it is, after all, my blog. I can say what I feel.....

We miss you, Mama.