February 14, 2013

Simple Joys

Would you mind some reminiscing?

Way back when, our family of three traveled to Oregon and I fell deeply in love.  Columbia River Gorge, International Rose Test Garden, Mt. Hood, Powell's City of Books, Portland Japanese Gardens, Saturday Market. Those are the well known attractions, each of them so very special in their own way.    What stands out most prominently in my mind though, is our one-night stay at the Kennedy School.  It had recently opened, a salvaged elementary school repurposed so whimsically into a place of lodging.

I've always loved chalkboards and have fond memories of dusty erasers and the tool that made lines for handwriting.  Do you remember those? What struck me most about the Kennedy School was the chalkboard, still in tact, in our guest room.  It just felt so right, so warm, and so happy.

We recreated the full-wall-width chalkboard in our previous home's guest room.  It was a conversation piece; well loved and well used.  When our house was on the market, one family left us a message the old fashioned way.  Turns out, that family now lives in our home.

Today we have a small board that hangs just above the sink in the mudroom.  It's strategically placed so it's the first thing you see when you enter from the garage.  When hubby's been away on travel he'll always find a message upon return.  When the kids come to visit, loving words of welcome are waiting.    And sometimes, in the wee hours of the morning, hubby writes a little something on the chalkboard right before leaving for work.  That's what happened this morning.  It's a simple joy we share. ❤

February 13, 2013


The flu virus is making it's rounds in our circle.  It hasn't hit home but our dear friends next door are suffering.  I'm practicing what I know for prevention and trying some new-to-me strategies as well.

Hand washing's a must and there's lots of that going on.  Breakfast was sautéed collards with garlic, walnuts, dried cranberries, a splash of balsamic vinegar and sprinklings of salt and pepper.  Remind me to grow collards in the Potager garden this year.  Thorough hand washing and filling the body with highly nutritious food.  These things I know.

Elderberry syrup is new to me.  I'd hoped to make my own last month but elderberries were nowhere to be found.  Completely sold out.  I interpreted that as confirmation that there's something important and special about the healing power of these berries so prepackaged syrup became the next best choice.  A teaspoon per day for prevention.  That's what the bottle says.  It's super thick and flavorful :: almost like dessert.

And essential oils.  Sigh.  I'm falling in love with essential oils.  So, in addition to good hygiene, densely nutritious food, and elderberry syrup, we've been diffusing and breathing essential oils specific to cold and flu prevention.  Is it working?  So far so good.  And one more thing.  The bedroom window's open just a tad to allow for fresh air exchange.  If the flu hits our home this season it certainly won't be due to lack of effort.

I pieced the backing for my Liberty quilt and am looking forward to sandwiching and quilting.  Be well, friends.

February 5, 2013

Happiness on a Wall

It was Thanksgiving Day, twenty-five or so years ago that my dad photographed Matthew in front of the antique chest.  He had been crying.  Perhaps it had something to do with the bow tie, suspenders, and knee socks.  Yes, I seem to recall that it did.  Anyway, it was on this same chest that my mom first taught me the miracle of Old English polish.  

I'm a sucker for vintage floral prints.  They needn't be expensive and I'm happiest when they're found hidden in a heap at our local thrift shop. What a thrill it is to pull the velvet Elvis print forward and find a little beauty just waiting to be loved.  I don't believe the nicks and scratches are always there at donation time.  Most likely, it has to do with the rummaging that goes along with thrifting.  

Very slowly, our library is being transformed.  The walls were painted a soothing shade of gray, and we recently assembled a storage unit so there's ample room for books and things.  I'm letting the space evolve, rather than trying to pull it all together at once.  It needs to feel good because I spend a lot of time there.  The vintage floral print came home with me last week.  The moment I saw it I knew exactly where it belonged.  It needed a bit of spiffing up with my trusty bottle of Old English polish, but now it's good as new.  I'm swooning over this one.

January 30, 2013

Muffins and Valentines

Carrot spice muffins fresh out of the oven before sunrise this morning. The ladies always appreciate a few goodies made with love.  Healthful and delicious is the goal, and this book never lets me down.

I searched for a grandmother-friendly paper punch but this one didn't quite fit the bill.  No problem. We worked as a team, punching and cutting, gluing and stringing, chatting all the while.  Two weeks to go and we're well on our way to being festive and ready for Valentine's Day.

Mary Katherine's growing flats of pea shoots in the high tunnel this year and we brought a bag of them home in our CSA share.  They were the base to our salad last evening, along with roasted beets (also from the farm), sliced avocado, and a few drizzles of white balsamic vinaigrette. Lucky for us, there's enough for a repeat tonight and I'm thinking a crustless vegetable quiche might be a nice accompaniment.

I'm navigating a relationship with a particularly difficult person (immediate family excluded), and setting boundaries that would have been better set many years ago.  This boundary thing is new to me (I'm a little slow) but, oh, what a beautiful thing it is.  This quote rings so true.

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
~W. Clement Stone

January 29, 2013

One Thing Led to Another

One thing led to another today and I found myself working in the garden in the middle of winter.

It started out as an ordinary Tuesday. A few morning chores, my one cup of coffee with homemade almond milk, and out the door to run errands.  My mom and I are crafting with the ladies tomorrow and we needed a punch to use with the super-cute paper I found last week. We're making garland and valentines.

I happened to notice how beautiful the weather was and could hardly wait to get home and take a walk around the yard with my camera.  It's fun to find bits of color tucked here and there, and the stationary garden life makes me smile.

The garden looked a little unkept.  Apparently I neglected to do a final cleanup before hunkering down for the winter.  Snip snip, rake rake. Much better.  A hefty rabbit scurried out from under the thyme.  I believe he's been munching on spinach, kale and mustard greens.  I'll bet he has a very strong immune system.

A few sprigs of gorgeous rosemary found their way into the house. Those crackers were SO yummy last week.  Another batch will be very nice.  We'll have them with our leftover chicken stew tonight.

One thing led to another and it turned out to be a spontaneously scattered, peaceful, and oh so beautiful day.  Happy Tuesday, Friends.