Sunday, March 29, 2009

David Wilkerson's Urgent Message

My church does NOT follow strange predictions or conspiracy theories. My pastor has been quick to denounce such things. However, we are taking this prophecy seriously:

Whether or not you believe this, it is a good reminder to keep an emergency store in your own home.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Accomplished Saturday

This morning the clouds hovered in the sky and I was sure it was going to rain. In preparation of a rainy day, I planned on working on the basement. Instead, the sun came out and the day warmed up to a comfortable mid-60's farenheit! We had an excellent day.

Hubby went off to help a friend fix fences at his farm, so the morning was spent doing some minor housework, making pizza dough and making kombucha. After daughter woke up for her nap, I packed the kiddos off to go to the post office and to the grocery store. The grocery store has potted herbs and I hoped for parsley. They didn't have any. We drove by a house for sale, in fact, THE house I pointed out to my sister last year that I thought would be perfect for her. I HAD to call the number and I did only to find out that there's already a bid on it. I told my sister anyway.

Once home, we had a quick lunch. Bubby had bread and cheese, raisins, carrots and some "fishy crackers." Daughter had mashed potatoes with turkey and gravy processed in her food mill. I had carrots, a few "fishy crackers" and an egg sandwich dressed with mayo, mustard and horseradish. The children played merrily in the living room and I set to work laying a new floor in the little porch off my kitchen. Oh, it looks so much better!

Once daughter went down for her nap, Bubby and I went outside to do yardwork. We received a visitor who dropped off a toy horse for Bubby to ride on. Then, hubby came home and approved of the toy horse, my yardwork efforts and the new floor in the porch. He set to work in the yard and Bubby joined him. I returned indoors, tidied up, phoned a friend, and started making pizza. Daughter was up from her nap by then and after spending some time with me, played happily in the living room while I cooked.

Bubby worked up quite the appetite helping Daddy. In between bites of his own little pizza that I made him, he repeatedly told me that it was delicious and that I did a good job making it. :) After dinner, it was clean-up, baths, story-time, bedtime and I went to work making a dessert for the church dinner tomorrow.

Now, I'm on here and getting off pronto. Bed is calling me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another Birthday Boy

This time it is hubby's birthday! To celebrate his special day, I'm making him a thick, juicy steak from one of the local farms along with baked potatoes and cheesy california blend veggies. I had my mom make him his favorite apple crumb-top pie for dessert.

His official birthday present is mounted antlers. I finally sent the antlers from his beautiful (and apologies to any vegetarians out there) buck to the taxedermist to have them mounted. It's going to be a while before we get them back. So, to supplement, I framed a picture of him and the buck.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Book Arrived!

I know that in this increasingly global economy getting things from overseas isn't a big deal anymore. However, the Anglophile in me can't help but be excited that my book arrived from Sussex, England! I bought an original copy of "A Thousand Ways to Please a Family With Bettina's Best Recipes" by Louise Bennett Weaver.

I know Bettina is a fictional character and a bit too perfect to be 100% believeable, but I wish she were a blogger today as she does inspire. Her recipes are good, too! I'll probably be making her Graham Cracker Cake sometime this weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday Boy!

Today is my son's 3rd birthday! I can hardly believe he's 3 already! His party is at a later date, but we still celebrated such a special day. He opened his presents from us and I took him to the mall. I had to go to Kmart anyway to get a birthday present for my neice and Kmart had double coupons! At the mall, I remembered to bring a handful of quarters so Bubby could ride the rides. Then, I took him out for a little lunch and ice cream.

His poor sister was terribly upset at being at the mall so we didn't stay long. She's become quite clingy and more of a homebody. She reminds me of someone I know.....oh yeah....ME! I was like that as a child.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My daughter's Easter dress!

The bow and collar binding.
I love pleating, so I pleated the sleeves rather than gathered them.

Here's the back view.

The front sash and carrot charms.

The front.
I just LOVE how it turned out! I saw this fabric at JoAnn's a while back and it stuck in my mind. After a couple more visits to JoAnn's, I couldn't get it out of my mind! I just HAD to make a dress out of it!
Now, I have lined up a ladybug dress and a Beatrix Potter dress.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I love hand-sewing

I love hand-sewing. It's relaxing, peaceful, simple and an easy task to do while watching the children. I love how the garments turn out when finished by hand. There's just something old-fashioned and beautiful about hand-sewn items. Right now, I'm hand-sewing a ribbon collar onto my daughter's Resurrection Sunday dress.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recipe Results, Garden Stuff

Thanks to all who voted on my recipe poll. Looks like I'll be making the Graham Cracker Cake. Of course, I'll post the recipe. :) It's going to be a little bit before I make the cake because I forgot to buy graham crackers!! So, bear with me. I'll be running errands on Saturday.

I had my first garden harvest of 2009 today!! Now, what could I possibly harvest while there is still snow around?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Pictoral Look At This Afternoon

Here's what is left of our wood for the winter. We should have enough to get us through to our May furnace turn-off date.
Here is our outdoor wood boiler furnace after I loaded it this afternoon. With this nice weather, we're only loading it once a day instead of twice.

Thank you, hubby for buying me these cute, practical and comfy wellingtons. They came in handy today.

My little man was a big help cleaning up some of the yard today.

Here's my little princess hanging out in her brother's beanbag chair that he got for Christmas from his paternal grandparents. This picture wasn't taken today, but I just had to include it. :)

St. Patrick's Day

We had Corned Beef and Cabbage at my parents' house on Sunday, so today we're having Bangers and Mash. YUM!! It's one of my hubby's favorite dinners.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Antique Cookbooks

If you like to collect antique cookbooks, visit She is closing her business and her books are on sale.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stifling Giggles

I just found out that "Taigh Beag," the name we named our house that is literally translated "Little House" is a Scots Gaelic term for toilet!! Oops!

Spring Cleaning the Porch, etc.

Today, I spring cleaned my enclosed porch. I put the garage sale accumulations into the shed, fixed the window seat, tidied and reorganized and moved my sewing machine out there. It's a really loud machine and it keeps my daughter awake and annoys my son. My little dilemma is what to put where my sewing machine used to be? I stuck a chair there for now just to block the outlet so my daughter's curious fingers don't end up thee. It doesn't look right. I'm thinking a storage bench of some sort would like great there. I'm always rearranging.

Anyhow, back to the porch, right now the window seat has a feather mattress encased in a flannel sheet. Instead, I want to sew an upholstery slip cover for the mattress to make it look more tidy. The fabric I originally wanted to use is not being made anymore and is very difficult to find. It's the Waverly Highland Sample in Jewel (not pastel).

I also cleaned out my filing chest and have a shelf to spare. What to put there, what to put there....

Having a small house, storage and organization are always a challenge, especially in this season of my life where everything is constantly changing. I like trying to find better ways to keeping things. My problem is my creativity gets the better of me and I find myself wanting to get rid of the old and buy the new. For example, if we could get a flat panel TV for our armoire, it would free up tons of storage space inside the armoire! We could actually install the shelf that came with the armoire and I could buy those cute drawer-like baskets and put the CDs or DVDs in there instead! See what I mean? It's a madness in a way. :b

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Going Green" tips or just living smartly?

"Going Green" tips are everywhere now. It's the new fad, the new buzz-word. I believe in being a good steward of God's creation, but I have to chuckle at many of these tips. After all, wise housewives have been implementing them for generations!

Hang clothes to dry.
Turn off lights when not in use.
Make your own meals.
Grow a garden.
Conserve water.

The list goes on and on! Many a housewife doesn't even need to jump on the "going green" bandwagon. She's been riding it the whole time. It's just that someone took the bandwagon's "live smartly" sign down and replaced it with the new buzz-word..."going green." After all, being a smart housewife went out with Leave it to Beaver.

Some of these tips don't even make sense to me. For instance, they say to take a shower rather than a bath. So, I tried my own experiment. I plugged up my bathtub and took a normal shower. By the time the shower was over, the tub was nearly 3/4 full! So, I figured I just needed to take a quicker shower. The next day, I went as fast as I could without sacrificing cleanliness, but I still filled the tub half way! I can take a bath in only a 1/4 filled tub. In fact, I find it faster, more thorough, and it doesn't leave my skin all dried out.

The other tip is to use a dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand. When hubby and I had a dishwasher, our electric bill went sky-high (and we always ran out of hot water.) I stopped using it and went to hand-washing. I can see where a dishwasher could save if you tend to run the hot water the entire time you're hand-washing. But if you're frugal with your water while hand-washing, it seems to me a greater savings. Also, when we had our dishwasher, most of the time I had to wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher! Or, I'd have to run the dishwasher twice because there would still be food stuck to the dishes (or transferred from one dish to another.) Granted, there are better models of dishwashers out there, if you can afford the price.

I've been "green" for some time now. Or should I say, I've been frugal for some time, it's just that someone slapped the "green" label over my frugal label.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Living a Vision

Plop down on the couch, look around in discust or despair and wonder angrily why your life isn't the way you want it. I've done that before.

I've been in deep thought these last few days about the vision I have for my life and my home. It's a vision I've had since before I even got married. It's a vision that, in general, has come into existance. I am married and quite happily so, I have children, I have a home and garden, and I am blessed to stay home. For all this I am exceedingly thankful. It's the details of the vision that often don't come to pass: how I want the rooms to look, how I want my gardens to look, how I want my children to behave, how I want to dress, what I want the family to eat, etc.

Then, I realized, "Why can't I have my vision?" I can do it and here's how I'm doing it:

Step One: EVERYTHING in the vision must be under the realm of Christ's Truth. It's no use having a vision of, say, popularity with a string of gossipy girl friends to take up your time.

Step Two: The vision should be realistic. If your vision is to have a colonial mansion on 100 acres with a field full of horses, you're probably being covetous and prideful (thinking you deserve better than what God gave you.)

Step Three: The vision should include the happiness and well-being of your family. If you have a vision to, say, wear dresses only, but your husband thinks that's just too much, honor him and happily and rationally come to a compromise. If your vision includes turning the backyard into a garden retreat full to the hilt with flowers, but your husband wants a putting green, and the kids want a soccer field, put your creativity to work to come up with something everyone can enjoy.

Step Four: Repent of your despair and anger, especially at others. Perhaps you're seething at the kiddos for the toys everywhere. Perhaps you're resentful of hubby because he's never cleaned out the shed he promised would be your potting shed. Perhaps you're angry and blaming a fellow housekeeper or a website because what works for them hasn't worked for you. We think, "Why do they have a perfect life? Why can't I have a perfect life? Maybe they're lying. Maybe something's wrong with them. They're too legalistic, etc." We think, "I'll never have my vision with toys cluttering every corner" or "My hubby would never go for that." (Why not just ask rather than assume?)

Step Five: Repent of any other sins. Laziness, selfishness, procrastination. A lot of things go undone because we get caught up in me-me-me. If someone wants to run a marathon, they don't sit on the couch and watch "American Idol." They get up and get training! Say you have a vision of dressing more femininely. Sure, it's easy to just throw on the same pair of jeans and t-shirt, but why not take just that little extra effort and put on a skirt and blouse instead? Part of your vision may include finally cleaning out that desk, but every day you walk by it and think, "I'll do it another time." It never gets done, does it?

Step Six: Forgive yourself. It's NOT going to be perfect. Your vision isn't going to be like a hollywood movie. You may have to amend it a little now and again. There are days you honestly only have time to throw on that pair of jeans and t-shirt. The point is to be honest with yourself and discern what can be done and what can't be done.

Step Seven: Ask the Lord for Wisdom and discernment. Let's face it...we can't do it alone. Life just doesn't work out on our own. God is there to help us.

Step Eight: Put down that book, turn off the TV and stop surfing the 'net! Depending on how involved your vision is, you're going to need extra time to get things done! Say your vision includes reading to the kiddos every night, but you find yourself throwing them in bed with a hurried prayer so you won't miss a second of "American Idol," then turn off the TV! Don't put down your Bible, though. You're gonna need it!

Step Nine: Lay out your vision and start implementing it. Perhaps write it down in your journal or post it on the fridge. Know what you want to do and do it!

Step Ten: Realize that it is going to take time and adjustment, but don't give up!

So, you're wondering what my vision is? It's hard to explain, as most visions are. My vision is kind of a feeling, but also a lifestyle. I am drawn to simplicity. Not Amish-simplicity, but more of a vintage simplicity...a 1940's style simplicity. Back then women were feminine, but strong. Their homes were neat and company always welcomed. They had victory gardens and still made home-made meals, but there was enough store-bought stuff to make life fairly convenient. That's really just the "review on the back of the DVD case" sort of explanation, but it's the best I can do right now. My alarm just went off alerting me to the need to get my yogurt started.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bettina's Recipes

The cookbook/fiction book "A Thousand Ways To Please a Husband With Bettina's Best Recipes," is separated not only by chapters, but by months. For fun, I went through all the chapters in March and decided it would be neat to try one of her recipes. My dilemma is which one? So, I'm leaving it up to you, my dear readers. Please choose one of Bettina's recipes in the poll to the right. Thank you!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bragging Rights

I asked my son (who's nearly 3) to write a note in his cousin's birthday card. I really just expected some quick scribbles, but what he did took my by complete surprise. He took the pen and with absolutely no help or prompting from me, he scrawled the above out, dictating as he went along, "P, O, E, O, E, Jazz." (Jazz meant "J") When I looked over his shoulder, to my amazement, his scrawling actually looked like the letters he dictated! Coincidence? I'm not sure!
In other news, I just purchased a book I've been wanting for quite some time. And I got it for a really good price! I purchased "A Thousand Ways To Please a Family With Bettina's Best Recipes" by Louise Bennett Weaver. I have the first book, "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" and really enjoyed it. It's an antique cookbook that's a fictional story and a charming one at that. I almost wish Bettina were real and a blogger!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Projects

In my vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook, I found a recipe for "Quick Buttermilk Bread." It only needs to rise once for about an hour. I used their variation and added sharp cheddar cheese to the batter. I can't wait to try it! Here it is risen and ready to pop in the oven.

30 minutes later, it's baked and looks scrumptious! I also baked oatmeal coconut raisin cookies.

Bubby helped me with the cookies and made his own pizza for dinner. Here he is enjoying the fruits of his labor. He's a very good helper and loves working in the kitchen beside me.

I finished the fabric doll house for my daughter's birthday. Here is the front.

Here is the back. It closes by looping the tag around a big button that says I love you. Now, all I have to do is make some furniture and a doll or two for it.

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I took them with my cell phone.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Naming Your Home

Naming your home was a foreign concept to me for 15 years of my life. Then, I became penpals with a young gentleman from Scotland who's family home had a name. I still remember the name, too, though we haven't been in contact for nearly 10 years now. (I dropped contact when I met the man who would become my husband. I felt it improper to continue a relationship with another man.) For some reason, having a house named left an imprint on me. Where I live, many farms are named, but not houses. Beach cottages might be named, but not someone's regular dwelling.

I mentioned naming our home to hubby as we moved into our current cottage on the hill. He liked the idea and we decided to dig back into his Scottish roots and use a Scots Gaelic name. I admit, I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct, but our little cottage on less than an acre of land is called "Taigh Beag." It's pronounced (to the best of my limited ability) Tie Beck and means small house. It's fitting, sounds cute and looks fantastic written down.

Last year, I mentioned to my older brother that he should name his small hobby farm. Indeed he did. It's a very clever name, too. I wish I could tell you, but I don't have his permission to put it online.

I am a bit of an advocate for house naming and it thrills me that some of my fellow bloggers have named their little cottages, homesteads and houses.

In All Creatures Great and Small, Zeigfried's house was called Skeldale House and it was just a row house in Yorkshire. So, go ahead. Have fun. Name your house, cottage, trailer, yurt or apartment.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Preparing For Yard Sales

The season is upon us. Soon, garage doors will be flung open to the cool spring mornings and the onslaught of bargain hunters pawing through one man's trash in order to find their personal treasure for a few bucks. My mom and I are among these bargain hunters. We love the thrill of a good yard sale. :)

I'm preparing for this season's cheap, used bounty by starting a list of things I'm looking for. I'll also put together a list of books I'm seeking and what series I already have. For example, I love the Boxcar Children series and have many books that I can't keep track of in the series. A simple list will let me know what books I have and what books I don't have should I find some of the series at a sale.

On this year's list so far I'm looking for:

Thomas the Tank Engine Take Along sets that my son doesn't have
A cake stand with a cover (not plastic)
A Desk
A shelf for the children's room

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bathroom Spring Cleaning...Done!

From top to bottom, my bathroom is Spring Cleaned! I even had plenty of time to paint the radiator AND repaint under the sink in my kitchen. Actually, I was able to finish all my chores by lunchtime. The rest of the early afternoon was spent playing with my kiddos. Once they were down for their naps, I indulged myself by watching Sense and Sensibility (the one with Kate Winslet) while cutting out the pattern and fabric pieces for my daughter's Ressurection Sunday dress.

If it's sunny tomorrow, I want to tackle my 3-seasons porch.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Spring Cleaning, Pretty Economy

It took a touch of ambition and working around the schedule of a clingy 9 month old, but I managed to get some Spring Cleaning done in the bathroom. I gave the bathroom it's usual cleaning, but really scrubbed the shower walls and bathtub. I tackled the vanity, too. For a small cottage, we have a good-sized vanity in the bathroom with 6 drawers, a two-door cabinet and plenty of counterspace. In fact, I use one side of the counter as a changing table until my babies get too wiggly. I emptied everything out of the vanity, threw away a ton of useless, old stuff like make-up, lotions, tub toys that got a little mildewy, etc. Then, I washed it out and put in contact paper. That really brightened it up. Afterwards, I reorganized everything and put them away neatly. It's actually nice to open the cabinet or pull out drawers now.

Tomorrow, I hope to wash the ceiling, walls and vanity light fixture shades in the bathroom. I'd also like to repaint the radiator in the bathroom, but we'll see how much time I have. There's also sewing to finish, and everyday chores to accomplish. I also make sure I spend enough play-time and education-time with my kiddos. I moved my work-out time to the afternoon. Instead of doing boring aerobics in the wee hours of the morning, I play some music and dance with my kiddos in the afternoon.

As the economy looks more and more grim, I'm sure many a housewife has had to economize more on the grocery budget. Perhaps we're eating more casseroles, or leftovers or soups, or yet another unique way to prepare the large amount of something we got on sale. A trick of the depression era was to serve a less than appealing dinner as prettily as possible. Do you have a soup tureen? Use it! A gravy boat? Use it! Pull out the finer china! Set the table prettily. And always serve up dinner with a smile. A happy dinner table makes any meal shine. I'd rather share a can of pork and beans with happy company than a filet mignon dinner with grumpy company.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Looking Forward to a Busy March

March is going to be a busy month. I have plenty of sewing to do and several birthdays to celebrate and plan for, but my biggest project is Spring Cleaning! I'm starting tomorrow with a good, solid cleaning of my bathroom.