Monday, November 28, 2011

Homespun Table

 There is a fiber in my soul that cannot decide between elegant, sleek, modern, Victorian....  or homespun...  This year, the homespun won out for the holiday table...
 Mom adores to use this overshot/undershot type of tablecloth, and my friend Karla gave us these cute placemats to go with our gingerbread finery...  so we decided to bring it on out into the dining room.
 Pip berries from the new store that took over my old storefront in Bevier, Jennings Mercantile...  and a cup or two from Friendly Village...  they just begged to be used through the holidays...
 These wax pinecones are from Valerie Par Hill, and they glow from within...
 We are ready to welcome our Christmas guests...  Come on over for a little spot of holiday tea, coffee, and a goodie...
Happy Monday...  After at least four hours of work on the phone with our internet provider and the help desk, I am back online...  Hallelujah!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Welcome to the Gingerbread Kitchen!

 Last night after my family had left and Mom was sitting in her favorite chair, I decided to take the newest gingerbread goodies, a gift from my friend Karla, and fix up a magical gingerbread kitchen.
 Karla gave us these pretty, tall gingerbread people, the pretty glass cannisters and the placemats that match..  Along with her ornamental cupcakes and candy, this corner of the kitchen reminds me of the window displays in St. Louis Stix, Baer and Fuller...  We used to go once a season to see the Ice Capades and visit the shops with Santa and his elves...
 The yellow tin is a perfectly awesome tin of Harney's tea blended for the Royal Wedding....  In the silk sachets are rose petals, blue cornflowers, and marigold...  along with tea, or course...  and vanilla pieces.  It is one yummy cuppa tea!
 Don't you love their happy faces?

 On the north wall, we have a gingerbread village mixed in with Mom's flow blue dishware collection.  I just bought the tall gingerbread girl and the lifelike popcorn tree and popcorn balls from my favorite Randolph Mercantile...
 If I could imagine myself tiny and festive, I would walk along those streets and visit every shop to try to finish up my holiday gift buying...  No black Friday for me!!!!
 She looks real, but she isn't...  Do you love gingerbread?  I confess I haven't had much real gingerbread.  I like gingersnaps from the store, and when I was young, my grandmother made Laura Ingalls Wilder's gingerbread cake... It was dark and tangy, kind of mysterious.  We always mixed up a form of cool whip called Dream Whip from a box, and it often had a little runnier texture than Cool Whip...  Gramma was a bit heavy on the vanilla, and that dream whip was food of the gods!!!!  She poured it over this cake when Christmas time came, and I thought I was ON Little House on the Prairie!!!
 One time Gramma offered to give me 100 dollars if I lost 50 pounds...  I thought that was a bunch of money back then, so I accepted the challenge..  the very next night when I got home from school, she had made this gingerbread...  (I think it was sabotage)---
 Those pounds have long been lost.....  and found again!!!!  And I would love to taste this lovely concoction again this season...  I found her recipe, so I may try it soon...  Bake it as you risk because gingerbread isn't for everyone...  I know my daddy didn't love it, and actually I'm not sure if I did or not...  Tastes change, but memories stay beautiful...

Have a fun weekend...  My vacation days have been fun, and the weekend isn't quite over yet...  Hallelujah!


1 cup brown sugar blended with
1/2 cup shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this.
2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
Mix all well.

To 3 cups of flour
add one teaspoon each of the following spices:
ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.
Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.
The mixture should be quite thin.

Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.

Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a vanilla frosting adds to the goodness.

A Glance at our Thanksgiving Table

 Today's table centers around my grandmother's Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes...
 We love to use these around this time of year...
 At the center sits a beautiful pumpkin tea light luminary from my dear friend Karla.
 Today was so warm and sunny.  Mom's dishes sparkled, didn't they?
 About this time the house smelled divine, and my friend brought his mother, Mom's college roommate by to say hello.  She lives in a convalescent home, but he was taking her to his house for a family dinner.
 After lunch, I pulled a little trick I reserve for holidays.  I slipped off to my room and relaxed while my son and his friend helped with the dishes and cleaning up...
 Just a few moments of stolen rest soothed my tired but happy spirit...
 After lunch we played a game of Spinner.  My partner and I were not the "spinner winners" today.
 And I was off to decorate the kitchen after our guests of honor left...  This year's theme will be gingerbread!!!
But there's still time for a quick cup of tea if you choose to drop in....  Happy Black Friday!!  I'm internet shopping for this one..

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 Crisp and golden, Thanksgiving Day is beautiful this year in Missouri.  Autumn always brings out the mellow gratitude in my soul.  The trees are almost bare, and the ground covered with wind-tosssed, russet clutter.  I love the look of the ground here the last few days before our first snows set in.
 Today we set the table for four, Mom, my son, my almost son, and myself...  The turkey smells delicious, and the stuffing and green bean casserole wait their turns in Mom's vintage gas range.  We baked two pumpkin pies at 5:30...  If I count right, that's three pieces each!!!
 Noodles, mashed potatoes, salads, cranberry sauce cooked down the old way from scratch, crescent rolls and Christmas Morning Jam from my friend Marguerite's kitchen.  Oh, baby....  Thanksgiving feasting sets the tone, but the real bounty is that which we've been given as children of God.  I am so grateful for the grace that surrounds us all, for my family, friends, students...  for each of you who write such beautiful blogs, snap those inspirational pictures, and those who read this blog, as well..  we are a community bonded by the written word and the magic of a culture not even imagined when I was a little girl.
From this night forward through the next few weeks, the light of Christmas, the Yuletide Magic, will illuminate each day and hallow every evening of our lives.  My magical, loving Thanksgiving wish for all of us is to truly appreciate the love of God, the grace of God, and the grateful spirit of a living Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving....... from Mom's house to yours!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


As I lie in bed, my candles glow....  and I consider the blessings of a cozy room, a cup of chamomile mint tea, family coming to dinner tomorrow.  Autumn gratitude for my life, my family, and all of you who take the time to read my blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm back...

What has happened to my blogging?  Here it is, my favorite season, and I'm out enjoying the weather, snuggling in tonight with a candle, a cup of Earl Grey tea, and some lovely music....  the rain pelts on the green metal roof overhead, and I begin to think about school in the morning...

I love it when the time changes, and what used to be midnight is only eleven...  What once was up at six o'clock becomes seven...  It is one of my favorite times of year anyway, and then the gift of extra hours seems overly abundant.

I put out the Fontanini nativity figures today...  their colors blend well with the autumnal colors, and they begin to invite me into the true beauty of the holy season ahead.  While I was in the spirit, I set out Mom's carolers on a cabinet beside the fireplace...  and I replaced all the Halloween and oranges with muted white ironstone tea leaf, bittersweet, treenware, and pilgrim greys...  I just wasn't ready for Christmas yet...  even though I know it is right around the corner and my original thought was to decorate the mantel with old world Santas...  My Thanksgiving heart called to me, and I changed my mind...

I have been home a few days with the virus that has claimed so many of my students...  It's a pity to waste a sick day being ill, but I just didn't feel like doing anything except snoozing, drinking hot tea, and catching a glimpse here and there of television...  One program blurred into another there for a while.

It's now getting late and lovely/stormy outside...  Underneath the cloud cover, I understand the moon is nearly full...  She missed Halloween by a week, but the moon maiden will bless our Thanksgiving season with her charms..

What are you thankful for this year?  Family, yes...  always and forever.  Friends, of course...  they are wonderful...  and for the grace of God to give so abundantly to his children...  Amen..