Red, White, and Blue


It’s all red, white, and blue in the sewing room right now. Two aprons is the plan…one for me (maybe) and one for the shop. I’m really loving these vintage-style prints and colors. And the vintage apron pattern will complement them nicely!

A Full Saturday


The day began washing cars for Max’s civics’ club fundraiser…at 8:30 in the morning…36 degrees. Coldest morning in a long time. Wouldn’t you know? But money was raised and everyone had some fresh air and exercise.


The day ended with presents…



…and birthday cake in celebration of Technohubby’s birthday!



And it also included a glass of Merlot, a hot soak in the tub, and lots of giggling on Theo's part as he was chased around the house by Walter. An excellent day!

Changing Sunsets


I’m savoring these sunsets. The trees are leafing out now, and soon the sunsets will disappear behind a curtain of lush green foliage. And it will be beautiful then…how the last rays of light peak between the leaves. But for now, I’m enjoying their last full performances.

Today's Tasks


It was “all hands on deck” for three and a half hours of uninterrupted spring cleaning today. Whew! It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in that time! Progress was made: in cleaning out closets, tidying up the mudroom area of the basement from a winter’s worth of boots, ski clothes, and the like, sorting through linens, cleaning baskets (accomplished most efficiently with the air compressor), vaccuming under furniture, and so much more.


I turned my attention to the formal dining room, which got cleaned from top to bottom. The silver was polished.



And every piece of china and crystal was hand washed.



Cleaning the formal dining room is very gratifying, because everything shines and sparkles when it’s done.

Polishing Furniture

This is my favorite furniture polish. It’s not the sort I use very often…just for spring cleaning times. I like how the label says it’s “Produced by lots of bees and Cambridge Traditional Products.” It’s so kind of them to give the bees their proper credit, don’t you agree? And my furniture loves it. You can almost see it soaking it in…like big gulps of refreshing water on a hot day. It does have a potent smell though, like something from a different era. I think the maids of Downton Abbey would’ve used this stuff. It makes your cleaning smell very thorough indeed. I highly recommend it!



Sabbath Rest

Fresh, new leaves on the trees this week.
"Behold, the lofty sky
Declares its Maker God.
And all His starry works on high
Proclaim His power abroad."

-Issac Watts

Crackles

Note that lovely crack in the top of Colette’s bread, just to the left of center.


There are many delights of her artisan bread baking. The way it makes the house smell? Definitely one of them! But for me, one of the unexpected delights is this…when removed from the oven it’s still expanding, and you can listen to it splitting open like that (crackle, crackle, crackle), and if you look really closely…you can even see it happen! Delightful!

Cleaning in Earnest

Today I tackled spring cleaning in earnest. The entry is done! Everything is sparkly clean from top to bottom!



Here’s how it played out:

- Coat closets were cleaned out and items were either returned to the closet, put in a bag for charity, or put in a bag to consign.

- The contents of the mahogany bureau sorted through, yielding various items that needed to find another place to live…scrapbooking paper, musical flash cards, and a full-size pirate flag. We all own one, right?

- Furniture polished.

- All smudges and fingerprints removed from walls, door mouldings, and doors.

- Baseboards thoroughly cleaned.

- Every stair bannister wiped down on all sides to remove dust and smudges. There are 83 of them, but who was counting?



- All the normal dusting done.

- Room swept top to bottom.

- Entry rug vaccumed, then taken outside and beaten for good measure.

- Scuff marks scrubbed from all stair risers.

- Floor scrubbed with hot water and a rag, and buffed with a dry cloth to a beautiful sheen.

On to the formal dining room next!

The Last One

The last gardening smock was listed in the shop today!  We shot the photos for it in front of a nearby barn. This is the second time we’ve asked to shoot pictures there. Both times the farmer (and his wife) have apologized for the peeling paint on their barn. But that’s the reason I chose this site! They’re quite self-conscious about the state of their barn, but to me…it’s beautiful!



Sabbath Rest

Sunday's crockpot chicken dinner.  Click here for the reicpe.  Yum!
"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."

-Phillipians 3:8-9


Laughing

When Theo came to play last week, he brought his ball and chain.


Enjoying a shared sense of humor, the girls and I couldn’t resist attaching it near his ankle and watching him toddle around…dragging it behing him.

Blooms

Spring has arrived…in a slow sort of way this year. The front flower beds are adorned with patches of bright yellow…forsythia and daffodils. And then, just in the last few days, the muscari armeniacum came up! No tulips yet, which is sort of strange, because they’re usually making an appearance around the same time as the daffodils.

Tulips after the rain.
I pointed out some flower as we drove away from the house yesterday, and Max said, “Mom, you talk about the flowers every time we leave home!” Well….yeah! How can I resisit? They’re so beautiful!

Menu Plan for the Week

Today I did menu planning, with an eye on using more of the Easter ham and eating from the pantry and freezer to a great extent. Here’s the plan for the week:

Thursday – Stuffed Potatoes, Green Salads

Friday – Chef Salads, Colette’s Herb Bread

Saturday – Flautas, Tortilla Chips/Homemade Salsa/Copycat Chipotle Gaucamole (trying this for the first time; recipe here), Green Salads

Sunday – Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken (trying this recipe for the first time; recipe here), Herbed Rice, Steamed Carrots

Monday – Colette cooking – Pasta with Bolognese Sauce, Green Salads

Tuesday - my own Chicken Enchiladas, Tortilla Chips/Homemade Salsa, Green Salads

Wednesday – Colette cooking – Pioneer Woman’s Penne a la Betsy (trying for the first time; swapping out the shrimp for chicken; recipe here), Green Salads

Prepping with Quiches

Before we know it, summer guests will be making an appearance! Colette has a friend coming to stay for eight days in June. And some other friends are thinking of coming in August. And whenever I know guests are coming, my thoughts turn to FOOD! Now that it’s springtime, the local chickens are laying really delicious eggs. Time to make and freeze some quiches in preparation for guests!

I had a variety of leftovers that went into making the quiches. This one is stuffed full of: onion (from last year’s garden), bacon (leftover from Easter breakfast), red bell pepper (leftover from Felicity’s birthday salad bar), cheddar cheese, and asparagus.


And I made others that had: onions, asparagus, cheddar cheese, Baby Bella mushrooms, baby spinach (leftover from her birthday party), and applewood smoked ham (leftover from Easter dinner).

It was a good day of putting into practice “waste not, want not”.

Easter at Our House

We had a very blessed Easter Sunday praising God for his gift of salvation! We hope you did too!

Walter, Felicity, and Theo spent the day with Walter’s family. So it was a quiet afternoon at our home…quiet, but delicious! And I had a fun time setting and decorating the table.

I had seen an Easter centerpiece idea online, so I did my own take on it. I used a large, antique wash basin with a prickly wreath (symbolic of the crown of thorns), and in the center I placed yellow tulips (symbols of new life). Pretty, although it was difficult to see each other well.


I used my new linen, hem-stitched table runner…a true find at the thrift store…Williams-Sonoma tag still on it, but selling there for $3.99! Score! And did anyone else try those new coconut M&M’s this Easter? Yum!


This year we tried dyeing brown eggs from a local farm. (Their egg cartons have a tag attached that says, “From free-ranging, organically-fed, HAPPY chickens!”) We used food coloring to dye them, and got some really fabulous shades with the brown eggs.


A good day!


Easter

Glory to God! The morn appointed breaks,
And earth awakes from all the woeful past;
For, with the morn, the Lord of life awakes,
And sin and death into the grave are cast.

Glory to God! The cross, with all its shame,
Now sheds its glory o’er a ransomed world;
For He Who bore the burden of our blame,
With pierc├Ęd hands the foe to hell hath hurled.

Glory to God! Sing, ransomed souls again,
And let your songs our glorious Victor laud,
Who by His might hath snapped the tyrant’s chain,
And set us free to rise with Him to God.

Darkness and night, farewell! The morn is here;
Welcome! the light that ushers in the day;
Visions of joy before our sight appear,
And, like the clouds, our sorrows melt away.

Great Son of God, immortal and renowned!
Brighter than morn the glory on Thy brow;
Crowns must be won, and Thou are nobly crowned,
For death is dead, and sin is vanquished now.

-John Brownlie (1911)

Easter Menu

Easter Menu

Spiral-Sliced Ham

Roasted Red Potatoes with Chives and Smoked Sea Salt

Fruit Salad

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Cloverleaf Rolls

Lemon-Blackberry Cheesecake

A Birthday Celebration

This week we celebrated Felicity’s birthday! The birthday girl requested a salad bar dinner with: green salad with all the toppings, her mother-in-law’s orzo salad, my fruit salad, and Colette’s baguettes and chocolate cake.

Colette did a masterful job on the cake…oh my! It was slathered in ganache, which was allowed to set before another softer layer of ganache was pooled up on top, dribbling down the sides just a tad, and crowned with fresh raspberries. Yum!


There were pink tulips!


Colette set the table.


Deluxe fruit salad, as requested.


The happy birthday girl!


For the greens part of the salad bar, we had: mixed field greens, baby spinach, chopped romaine, cucumber, grilled chicken, red bell pepper, green onions, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, parmesan cheese, onion crisps, croutons, bacon bits, black pepper, ranch dressing, Italian dressing, ceasar dressing, and raspberry-walnut dressing.


"Happy Birthday to you..."



And So It Begins...


Spring cleaning began today! I haven’t yet made a good plan for getting it all done, but it had to start somewhere. So, taking advantage of a nicely blustery day with no bugs, just warm enough that we didn’t mind if the windows were open a bit, we team tackled the windows…inside and out…the tracks…the sill corners. Now they’re all ready for the screens to go back on anytime. Winter is over. Spring is here!

Timely Information: How To Hard Boil Eggs So They Peel Easily

This week, with Easter just around the corner, many of us will be hard boiling eggs. Here’s how to do it so that the shells peel off easily. I tried it today for the first time, and was thrilled with the results!

Put a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil.


Next, you want to use a push pin to poke a hole in the fat end of each egg. You don’t want to poke it all the way through the shell, just part way. (If you happen to poke it all the way through, some egg white will leak out as you boil your egg, and your egg will have a flat part on one end instead of being nicely oval.) I cushioned my egg carton by placing a thick kitchen towel between it and my countertop, so that it I felt a little more secure that I wasn’t going to break an egg doing this. Not sure if that helped or not, but it made me feel better.




Carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water.


Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.


Remove eggs from water and drain in a colander or seive.


Immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Let sit in ice water for 16 minutes.


Peel eggs, rejoicing that this is so easy!


As an added bonus, when you use this method, you don’t get any strange gray-green color around your egg yolk…just nice yellow and white eggs.


Easy! Delicious!

For the source for how I learned to do this (with more detailed information) click here.

Sabbath Rest


Pink tulips on the Sunday dinner table today.

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

-Hebrews 10:8-10
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