Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lemon Cake and Pansies

Well if you haven't forgotten me here I am again. So much to say and yet so little time to say it I suppose.  I've been popping in here and there to visit you but I have woefully neglected my own writing.  That signals time for a change in my mind.  I seem to have backed myself into the corner of 
saying yes to way too many projects and I am feeling a bit the worse for wear because of it.   That feeling of being overwhelmed and overbooked has finally made me sit down and re prioritize. I will be giving up some things I like in favor of some things I love, this blog being one of the things I love.
Triple Lemon Blueberry cake made by sweet hubby for my birthday!
 I suppose turning 58 last week triggered some of those deep thoughts.  Fifty-eight!  I spent the day with a dear friend who I have known since I was first married. (We had the best day, Coffee, estate sales, lunch, junking, ending with ice cream!) At one point I turned to her and said, did you ever think we would be this old? We discussed it for a while, decided we didn't feel old and that is what mattered and continued our adventure. Still, a little thought about where we are going in life is warranted every once in a while.
Find the recipe HERE
 The cake was made by my darling husband to celebrate my birthday, it certainly made getting a year older much sweeter! It's one of my favorites. If chocolate isn't on the menu, I want lemon :)
 I got these violas and pansies on clearance at the grocery store.  Searching my generous stash of "junque" in the basement I found an old tin baking mold that I knew I would never use and it had a slightly rusty patina that appealed to me. I poked some drainage holes in the bottom and popped my pansies inside.  
They are topping the tiered plate holder that I use for fruit on my counter top.  The morning sun lit them so beautifully I had to share :)

So that is the quick update. More to come I swear! (You know you are in trouble when your daughter texts "I demand a new blog post!")

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

I know I promised another hospitality post, but Mother's Day is tomorrow and I just have to write what is on my heart, namely, my girls. Forgive the old 110 photos scanned into this post. Oh how I wish I had my DSLR back then!

I often wonder what special memories they have from their childhood.  We can never know how others view events that we share, we all look at things through a different lens.  I can tell you this, I have nothing but good and happy memories of my children.  Much as the pain of childbirth disappears when they put that precious new life in your arms, I have no memories of my children ever having done anything wrong.  I remember disciplining them on occasion, and I know that Victoria will never let us forget how horribly we punished a minor infraction by removing her beloved books from her room! But truly in my eyes no two more perfect and lovely children have ever walked the face of this earth.

I remember rocking them and singing to them and the warm chubby little bundles of beauty they were.
I remember their smiles and how they make me laugh. Birthday parties and hugs and kisses and prayers at bedtime followed by endless repetitions of Charlotte's Web on tape as they went to sleep. They wore out 2 sets of cassette tapes of that story and never seemed to tire of it.

I remember when Lauren was in 3rd grade and Victoria in first, I had the flu, and a fever and after picking them up at the bus stop collapsing on the couch with chills. Lauren pulled a stool up to the stove and made dinner and Victoria sat near the sofa where I lay, stroked my forehead with little cool hands and read me Dr. Seuss, At some point I realized she was reading the whole book and I hadn't known she could read until then! They were capable children and I love that.

I remember camping trips up north at our favorite beach campground and first snowmen and dance recitals, and dress up tea parties with their friends. Homeschooling, field trips where they dressed up as pioneer girls, and watching Earl read them the entire Chronicles of Narnia when they were so little that one sat sucking her thumb and the other sat with her pacifier, still and rapt and enthralled by the stories unfolding and their father's beautiful voice.

Christmas baking and Christmas hayrides to cut the perfect tree.

I remember teen years and parties with friends and the laughter and joy. Graduation open houses full of family and friends.

And finally wedding dress shopping and weddings.

I could spend all day recounting the fun we had. Family vacations to Washington D.C. and Boston, and so many happy times.  Mother's Day is for celebrating mothers, I know, but for me it is a day to celebrate the incomparable joy that these two girls have brought,  and continue to bring to my life.  They are married now, and I miss them every single day. We get together as often as we can and we talk and text often.  But nothing compares to wrapping my arms around these dear children of mine and just holding them close for a while. One of the perks of them being married is that now I have sons! As a mother of girls, I find these men funny and sweet and sometimes incomprehensible. Boys are so different in so many ways and I sometimes catch a glimpse of what they must have been like growing up.  Just plain fun.  My girls chose well and my new sons fit into the family seamlessly.  I love them all.  On this Mother's day I feel blessed. I am blessed.  So I celebrate the wonderful girls who make this day so special,  Lauren and Victoria, I love you. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Merry Merry Month of May

Happy May!  My favorite month, with green grass, flowering trees, lilacs blooming, (in a couple weeks!) family birthdays, carpets of violets on the lawn, bare feet, and the garden finally coming to life.   That's right, while you southern and California girls have been picking your flowers and enjoying Spring for a month or more, Spring is just now arriving at our doorstep in Michigan.
Thank you Jesus.
I enter this beautiful season with a renewed determination to get off my hiney, walk more, (eat less, ahem) get the garden in order, work on projects in the yard and a million other things that call my name after what seems like a winter spent hibernating. This past weekend was spent wandering a  huge vintage and antique show at the local fairgrounds, the season's first Farmers Market visit and time with friends.  I'm planning picnics, barbeques and visits with the kids. The calendar is filling up fast!  I'll be back later this week with another installment of my series on entertaining. 

 Have you started filling up your spring and summer calendar? What fun do you have planned?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The New Flock

There isn't much in this world that's more fun than a hand full of baby chicks.
 We went and got the new flock yesterday while the sun was shining and it was warm and beautiful.  The babies were brought home and put in a clean, snug coop under the warmth of my grandfather's old brooder light to keep them toasty.  His old glass chick waterer was set up and feeders were set out for them.  It's always so much fun to watch them run around and explore. Eating and drinking and tipping over on their little faces as they fall asleep on their feet. One minute they are awake and the next they have fallen face first into a nap.
 This little guy is one of the tinier chicks.  We got a mixture of breeds so they are all different ages.  Earl was trying to get it to relax and fall asleep in his hand. Such a cutie. The chick is cute too ;)
We got 2 each of Wellsummers, ISA Browns, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Australorp and  Gold Laced Wyandotte, all brown egg layers, and two Aracaunas that will lay green or blue eggs.  It will be a while, but I'm hoping this flock will be as sweet and beautiful as our last  flock was.

I'm looking forward to fresh eggs this fall!  Lots happening here and I'll be sharing more next week.
Have a great week and enjoy the sunshine and warmth. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Plain and Simple

I'm putting it all out there today.  My daughters have asked me several times to do a series on entertaining and since I know so many sweet girls just starting out and since I am starting up a hospitality ministry in our church, I think now might be the time.  

I think a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of having people over.  Nobody sees your flaws and the flaws of your home like you do.  Sometimes we are afraid we just don't measure up, our things aren't as nice as other people's, everything is so imperfect.
I am here to tell you, that is no reason not to ask people over.  As bloggers we tend to fancy things up for that Pinterest pin.  I happen to be one of those people who has rarely seen a set of dishes I didn't covet.  I have at least 6 sets to mix and match, and I love to set a nice table.  I like pretty things, and what guests don't realize is that with my skin flinty ways I get those things dirt cheap.

But some of the best times of friendship and fun I have had, have been when the table was piled with paper plates, cups and napkins and the food consisted of  chips, dip and whatever someone wanted to share for the potluck.  The food is not the focus. The people are.
What you see here is my table. My grandmother's table first, and now mine, still scarred from crafts from when the girls were little, (and my own crafts have made a few marks!).  I never cared if it got scratched or marred because their fun and creativity was more important.  I usually throw a yard sale tablecloth over it when folks come over. I have plans to refinish it some day, but I'm ok with it not being picture perfect for now.

When we invite people over for dinner or any other time, I want to focus on getting to know them.  People are more important than dishes, perfect table settings or perfect menus.  I'm not afraid to let people see my scratched table or the holes that my vintage table cloth may have.  We all just enjoy being together and getting to know each other on a deeper level. 

As picnic and party season approaches, I encourage you to open your homes and your hearts to people you love and those you would like to know better. Don't worry about the worn rug, the scratches on the table, don't even worry about what you will serve, make it pot luck if you have to. Just do it.  The friendships that will deepen and the joy you will gain are so worth it.