As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Recipe Edition




For this week's Thrifty Thursday, Kristin has asked us to share a thrifty recipe. As I considered a recipe to share, my thoughts turned to my mother-in-law, who is probably the thriftiest person I know. All of her children fondly remember her making biscuits day after day. She raised eight children on those biscuits! And why not? Biscuits are easy to make, the ingredients are cheap, and they extend the meal.

So for Thrifty Thursday, I decided to share my own biscuit recipe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


BAKING POWDER BISCUITS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 stick of butter
2/3 cup milk


1. Mix all dry ingredients.

2. Using pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.


3. Add milk; stir quickly with fork.

4. On floured surface, knead gently 10-12 strokes, just until dough holds together. Roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out.




5. Bake in hot (450°) oven for 9 minutes. Tops will be lightly golden.



Variations:
~ Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits: Sprinkle a little cinnamon and a few raisins on dough, then fold over and cut out. Drizzle with a glaze of confectioner's sugar and a few drops of water.

~ Herb Biscuits: Stir in a tablespoon or two of dried or fresh herbs (dill, thyme, other) with the dry ingredients.

~ Shortcakes: Increase sugar to 1/4 cup. Cut out with a larger cutter (I use a drinking glass). Top with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maddie, Our Treasure


"What games are you going to play at your party, Maddie?" enthused Owen (Mr. Sameness, game aficionado) as he thought ahead to his sister's birthday party planned for the next day.

"I am not going to play any games," answered Maddie. Games can get out of hand. And I don't want anything to get out of hand at my birthday party."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


When Kristin called me to share this conversation that she had overheard, I could picture it, right down to the expression on Maddie's face! She had determined that she wanted a "quiet party," and things "getting out of hand" was just not in her plans. She also knew what she did want, from the guest list to the table centerpiece to the cake that she would help to bake.

This little girl is such a treasure to our family! She entered the world on a hot summer day as a deluge of rain flooded the streets of our town. She stayed in her mama's lap, peacefully observing the world until her first birthday. On that day, she totally ceased being a contented observer and became an active participant and a girl with an opinion. Her mama jokes that she got a 'tude for her first birthday!

Our Maddie tenderly nurtures everything from her little brothers to backyard toads and caterpillars to plants. She loves to help her mama bake and clean. She is a girl with enthusiasm and ideas and plans. She loves peas and corn-on-the-cob and strawberries. She is a slowpoke. And she loves books. No matter what her mama is reading, whether it is one of baby brother Ben's board books, or one of her own favorite Kit (American Girl) books, Maddie appears on the sofa eager to listen.


Happy 6th Birthday dear Maddie! We can't imagine our world without you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Unexpected Pleasure"


We all love presents. Traditionally we’ve grown to expect a birthday or an anniversary present, but we are especially touched when we receive something out of the blue. Think of your gift-giving as bringing an unexpected pleasure to someone you care about. An element of surprise intensifies satisfaction. There is a double emotional impact when a present is given to you because someone thought of you, or came across a book that “has your name on it.”


~ from Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Twice recently, I've had "unexpected pleasure" from two precious friends from my church fellowship.

Sweet Frances, after learning of my infatuation with napkins, surprised me one Sunday morning with these beautiful ones.



And dear Terri, knowing that I am a bit sheep-ish, delighted me with her yard sale find, "Peggy in Her Field." Peggy has found a home here. :-)



My mother is a longtime "just because" gift giver. When is the last time you have surprised someone with a gift...just because? I have determined to do this more often.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Commonplace Stretch

Summer seems endless this year. The heat goes on and on and on. (Have I mentioned that I don't like the heat? Probably so.) I need to be taking advantage of these school-less days, but my motivation is lagging. So when I came across these words in Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, they touched a chord in my own heart, and I wanted to hug dear Caddie for understanding!

The tender new leaves on the trees were almost as many-colored as in autumn. Some were softly yellow, some pinkish-red, some like bronze or copper. Later they would all be green, and they would grow dusty with summer and look tired and languid in the heat. But now everything was fresh and young.

“A magic time of year,” Caddie called it to herself. She loved both spring and fall. At the turning of the year things seemed to stir in her that were lost sight of in the commonplace stretches of winter and summer.

Yes, I am "tired and languid" in this "commonplace stretch" of summer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Blessing of Eve

Our precious granddaughter Eve is now three years old!


Eve loves her mommy and daddy, her sister Nora, and her dog Lucy.
She loves watching Little House on the Prairie.
She loves her doll Johnny Johnson.
She loves walks with her family.
She loves camping.
She loves kayaking.
She loves talking (a lot, so I hear).





I love hearing her voice on calls from across the miles.
I love hearing her say, "Hi, Gran!"
I love hearing her recite her new Bible verse for me.
I love her sweet, happy smile.
I love seeing new pictures of her.
I love her long blonde hair.
I love getting a card that Eve made herself.
I love that she is full of life.

And I love you, Eve...to the moon and back.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another First

My daughter started her first job today.

Yesterday, I was rocking her to sleep and singing "You Are My Sunshine" to her...and today she is working at a bookstore thousands of miles away from me. How can this be?

When I spoke with Kati this evening, she was enthused, and so I am enthused too. We are thanking the Lord for working out all the details (and they were many!) of getting a work permit for a homeschooled student who is not a permanent resident of the state where she is working.

This job will last about six weeks, and Kati will be returning home at the end of the summer, just in time to begin her senior year in homeschool. And again I say, "How can this be?"

Tonight, I turn to my Heavenly Father, for He is Grace. I ask Him to watch over Kati as she takes another new step in this year of firsts. I am thankful that she has made Him her dwelling place.
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Psalm 90:1,2

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Faraway Family

One of the nice things about Kati visiting her faraway family is that she can provide us with beautiful family pictures like this:

Sarah, Eve, Nora, and Ryan


...and this:

The family in their element!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love these photos!
I love these people!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Such Sweetness...

Was yesterday the day to see sweet posts about my grandbabies? It must have been!

If you think that you can take such sweetness, visit the little girls here, and the little boys here! Awwwww.......

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some Summer Snapshots

Summer window

Summer contemplation

Summer memories made with family-friends

Summer sipping (Eastern black swallowtail)


Summer gatherings

Summer blessings!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A "Fweet" Idea For Summer

As so many of us admit that we, like preschool Bekah, feed ourselves "fweets", I thought I'd share a recipe for a pie that we have enjoyed several times this summer. It is cool and creamy and I do not have to turn on my oven. (If only I could claim that it was low in calories...but, alas, I cannot.)



Blueberry Cheese Pie

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 9-inch graham cracker crust
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  1. Whip cream until fairly stiff.
  2. Beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar together until creamy.
  3. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and pour into graham cracker crust.
  4. Bring blueberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice to a boil.
  5. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water; stir into boiling mixture. Stir until berries are thickened.
  6. Cool. Spread over pie.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fweets

When Bekah was small, she wanted me to feed her. I don't mean provide food for her to eat...I mean pick it up on the fork and place it in her mouth. And this was after the age where she was perfectly capable of doing it herself. Somehow, she could manage to eat her dinner if the food got to her mouth, but could not manage to make herself eat it alone. Go figure. But when you're a forty-something mom, and you know from experience that kids do indeed move on to the next stage eventually, you choose to feed the little one rather than have mealtime disintegrate into a coaching session of now-you-pick-up-more-food-and-now-you-put-the-bite-into-your-mouth that seems to go on endlessly and interrupts normal conversation and pleasantries. It just isn't worth it.

source
One evening, I had gone through the regular routine of spoon-feeding the preschooler. Dinner was over, but Ron had brought home a box of Tastykake chocolate cupcakes. I opened a two-pack, offering a cupcake to Bekah. When I next looked, she had already devoured both of the cupcakes, too quick to talk about!

Amazed, I questioned her. "Bekah, why is it that I have to feed you dinner, and then you eat two cupcakes that fast by yourself?"

"Oh," she replied simply, "I feed myself fweets."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Earthly Sight or Spiritual Sight?

Fanny Crosby was one of the most prolific hymn writers who ever lived. She penned literally thousands of hymns during her lifetime, including such enduring works as "Blessed Assurance", "Praise Him, Praise Him!", "To God Be the Glory", and "Saved By Grace".

Fanny was blinded in infancy by an improper medical procedure. However, she harbored no self-pity, no bitterness about her lifetime of blindness. Instead she declared:

"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Confession

Napkins.

I. Love. Them.

It is an illness, I think.

(But a rather pleasant one, if you ask me.)

Then again, it could be genetic, because my mother suffers from the same thing.


Here is a peek at my napkin nook. (Don't laugh.)


And here they are all spread out. These are my spring/summer/general napkins.


Of course, my collection of Christmas napkins, and my wonderful collection of fall napkins are in storage boxes in my attic. And there are a few packages hiding out in my laundry room...



But you need to be well-prepared with such things. You never know when you're going to need lovely napkins to go along with coffee...or dessert...or a party...or a family celebration.



These sheep napkins were a stocking stuffer from Ron...and matched the table runner that Ryan and Sarah gave me! (I think they know me well.)



I keep a stack in a basket by my coffee pot.



Sometimes the napkins inspire the table setting, as did these beautiful toile napkins that Mom chose for Mother's Day.



And sometimes the napkins are chosen to go along with a specific theme, as these bandana napkins that Bekah helped me select to complement this Father's Day's western theme...



...or these florals which were carefully selected to set a beautiful table for Bekah's American Girl birthday tea party...


... and Kati chose these gorgeous fan-shaped napkins for her Jane Austen-themed birthday dinner party.



Even Sunday afternoon dessert tastes better when you can wipe your fingers or blot your lips with a cheerful napkin.



I swoon at beautiful tables. If Ye Olde Farmhouse had more storage, I'd probably collect dishes. But napkins are easy to store, they add color to a table set with basic white dishes, and they really don't cost a lot! What's not to love?

I collect cotton and linen napkins too, but they cost more for the number that I want (family celebrations can have anywhere from ten to twenty people), and require more space to store.


So there's my confession. Now you know.
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