There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grandma to the rescue (how hard it that)

Our little Savannah is just a tiny peanut.  She's 15 months old and wears only 9 month tops and 12 month bottoms.  The only problem is that the length on the 12 month is great but they are too big around.  It cracks me up to see her crawl out of her pants.  But now that the weather is changing we can't have that little girl getting cold so grandma got out her patterns and some fabric and went to work.

The sparkly denim is leftover from a skirt her auntie made a few years ago and the purple butterflies and stripes are leftover from Savannah's quilt.  Put them all together and you get some custom-made jeans that are all girl and fit her perfectly.

But wait, we aren't done yet. Grandma has a bunch of other pants cut out and ready to go as soon as I stock up on elastic.

Product Review

I am not in the habit of plugging products online, or anywhere for that matter.  But today I thought I would make an exception. 
     Yesterday Melissa and I got this new Shark Fabric Steamer.  Over the years I have gone through about three irons each year.  Between ironing for sewing, table linens, and my family's clothing any iron that comes into this house is not long for this world.  In the past couple of weeks we have killed two because they just couldn't stand up to the work load.  It was time to do something.
     After doing some research and a lot of reading we found this fabric steamer at our local WalMart at an affordable price with a two-year extended warranty!
     Today I put it to the test.  I went through two baskets of accumulation including several very large antique tablecloths and a couple of runners that were edged in battenburg lace (not a fun thing to iron).  This steamer made short work of the whole load!!
     My tablecloths look like they are brand-new! The battenburg and the crochetted lace are ironed perfectly without the usual headache and aching back.  All the shirts, skirts, and napkins got done too.  After I got done with all that I set it to work on some heavy duty denim that I was cutting for pants for Savannah.
     The steamer flattened the seams in the first pass!  I think this one is a keeper.
The price at WalMart was $49.99 with $5.00 for the two year warranty.  I wish we had gotten this years ago.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Breathless

I look around me and all I see is the wonders of creation, may I never take these for granted.
Each day I sit on my porch and watch the steady change of the leaves as they surrender to the change of the season.
The cold under my feet as it creeps up into my bones is a warning as much as it is a herald.
The human side, the carnal wishes to store, stash and hoard just like the squirrels that I see in the trees.
The soul, the spiritual the part that sees and understands desires that I stop.
Stand still, see, soak and appreciate.
Each leaf, splash of color and cold blast is a gift deep and profound.
Without the heart, soul and head I pass it all by never knowing the gift that is before me.

Changing leaves, sunsets, and full moons are stored up in my mind and heart to be taken out
on another day.
Like the paintings of the masters each brush stroke on the canvas of life is singular and unique.
Made just for me.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another leave over, another crack in my heart.

So, the large one was home for a week.  He got to spend leave time with the bulk of the family doing all kinds of fun family things and just generally relaxing.  His way of relaxing when he is here is to pour cement, clean chimneys, cut, split, and load wood into the basement, cut weeds in the garden, move countless wheelbarrow loads of stuff, and eat lots of food.
Through all of that we talked, laughed, hugged (a lot), and generally acted as if he had never been gone.  Now, though my heart breaks to have him away again, I'm a mother what can I say, it is also bursting with pride.  He's the man I always dreamed he would be and more.  My heart and mind are packed full of memories of him with his brothers, father, sister, nephew and niece.  Every corner of this place once again rings with the sounds of his voice singing and laughing.  

Go with God my beloved son. You have not only my prayers for continued growth in the Spirit but Layn's as well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 24 September 2012

Outside my window...it's a bit nippy out there!  The temperatures in the morning are decidedly cold.  Yesterday we lit the stove for the first time and boy does it feel good to come downstairs to a warm house.  The bluejay has started to come to the feeder out front regularly which is a sure sign that fall is in the air.  The smell out there is heavenly too.  A heady mixture of maple leaves, harvesting corn, newly turned earth, and wood smoke.
I am thinking...perhaps Archie shouldn't be allowed inside the house any more.  MK just found him up on the dining room table.  
I am thankful for...wood stoves with fires in them, blue jays eating sunflower seeds, and woodpeckers that try to defend their territory against much larger birds.
From the kitchen...how about a nice warm, filling fall meal.  Chicken and gravy over rice with fresh baby carrots from the garden.  I think yes!
I am wearing...blue capris and a pink tee shirt.
I am creating...all the good things I can think of; warmth, comfort, light, and love.
I am going...to town to get some essentials.  We need apples from the orchard and needles from the sewing store.
I am reading...The Heart of Virtue by Donald De Marco
I am hoping...that time slows to a crawl for the next couple of days.  The dude has to leave on Wednesday which is far too soon.
I am hearing...Layn walking all over while he eats his animal crackers, MK talking to herself in the kitchen as she makes her ever-present list, Doug in the kitchen too wiping up the counters from breakfast.
Around the house...MK is back into her organizing mode, Layn is in the playroom listening to his Kid Songs CD, the washer has already begun its service for the day, and lists are already made to keep me busy.
One of my favorite things...the usualness of the atmosphere in this house. 
A few plans for the rest of the week...wring every second of time with Ryan of its memories.  Send letters to Matthew, enjoy those close by, and generally live a life of thankfulness and purpose.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you... (actually two pictures)
Melissa has gone on a trail ride this weekend so Ian is being a single-father.  I love the way that he steps up to the task of fatherhood.  Layn could not be in better hands.

Christy, Brett, and Doug by the fire last night.  A rousing game of non-sequiter and plenty of togetherness and marshmallows make for some good family fun.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

He's home!

Layn and I hit the airport last night so we could pick up the Big Uncle.  Even though he hasn't seen him in a year Layn took to Dude as if they had seen each other last week.  The two chatted like old friends in the car all the way home.  It truly would have warmed my heart, if I had one.
Auntie Cake had pizza waiting for us when we got home and Kim and Savannah came to welcome the Dude home.  Savannah recognized another man to be wrapped around her little digit and took to him as well.  She was even willing to share her stuffed horse with him.

Ryan is in the house and all is right with the world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ooops! My bad turns into my good.

Yesterday's pork roast turned out to be a ham!  In my own defense the man who does our pork labeled it as a pork roast and not ham.  Of course in this carnivorous household there were no complaints, meat is meat!

So this morning out comes the rest of the ham, the potatoes that Doug dug last night, and my trusty chicken broth that I keep for just such an occasion. (not purchased but homemade and frozen)  A few magic words and viola! Scalloped potatoes and ham in the crockpot!  Time will tell how good this is but I don't see it failing, after all I made it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another pot of yumminess!

Today I put our supper together in three crockpots and got them going around 9 this morning.  Here it is 3:40 and supper is smelling yummy and it is nearly ready.

A few weeks ago I saw something on pinterest and thought I would give it a try. It has since become a big hit in this house; crockpot baked potatoes.  Today, since there are no potatoes dug I tried this with some sweet potatoes that Melissa had gotten on sale at the grocery last week.

I scrubbed the potatoes good so that all the dirt was gone off the skins.  Don't dry them since you want some moisture in the pot to help them cook.  Then I placed the potatoes in my largest crock. I think there are 10 or 11 of them in there.  Fit the lid on tightly and DON'T LIFT THE LID! Turn the pot on high and leave them for 6-8 hours.

They are cooked to a turn and very tasty done this way. You can even eat the skins if you want to.

The pork roast that is currently cooking to a turn has been in another pot cooking all day with apple cider, salt and pepper along with the meat.  When it is time to serve I will just take the roast out and slice it. Those who want can spoon the cider over their potatoes.

Finally I have a zucchini casserole in another pot.  In that one I cut three med. size zucchini up into 1" chunks and placed them in the pot.  Then I added salt, garlic powder, pepper, and some dried basil.  On top of that I poured a quart jar of tomatoes that I canned.  I topped the whole thing with some homemade bread crumbs, dotted it with butter and sprinkled shredded colby-jack cheese on top.  That pot has been on low all day.  The zucchini is tender and all the flavors have melded together.

I love it when I get my act together like this.  I am already thinking about what I can throw into the pots for tomorrow.

Yummy pot of goodness better known as Chicken Taco Stew

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler.  Both are a sure sign that comfort and food are going to be a large part of the vocabulary in the coming months.  This past week I found a recipe that is not only easy but delicious and satisfying; two ingredients that are sure to catapult it into the most comfortable of comfort foods list.

Chicken Taco Stew

1 can corn
1 sm. onion chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 lg. can diced tomatoes
1 med green pepper chopped
1 packet of dry taco seasoning
1/2 c salsa
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Dump all the ingredients into a crockpot. Put the chicken breasts on top. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours, low 6-8 hrs.  When it is done take out the chicken, shred and add back to the pot.  Maybe served over tortilla chips with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook 17 September 2012

Outside my window...it is dark.  By the clock the new day has begun but the sun won't make it's appearance for several hours yet.  But, if today is anything like the previous one it will be a cool, sunny fall day. Perfect here in Central New York
I am thinking...about things to come.  The Big Dude is supposed to be home this week for a short leave.  Fall activities have commenced and along with them the busyness that comes with participation.
I am thankful for...a husband who sits through an afternoon of chamber music just to please his culture hungry wife.
From the kitchen...something without beans I think. We are all beaned out after the fare this past weekend. It was good but the environment needs a break.
I am wearing...jammies.  It is way too early to be thinking about my attire for the day.
I am creating...home!
I am going...to get so much done today that I won't even recognize myself (I hope).
I am reading...The Heart of Virtue by Donald DeMarco
I am hoping...to finish this and possibly go to sleep...finally!
I am hearing...MK's dog snoring in the kennel behind me, the water bubbling in the fish tank in the living room, and the night time sighs and groans from this old house.
Around the house...all is quiet and sleeping.  There is no rush for the new day to begin.
One of my favorite things...driving around the fall countryside.
A few plans for the rest of the week...get a lot of work done before Big Dude gets here so I can enjoy his visit.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
I can never get enough of seeing this guy and being with him.  This is the love of my life!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The bounty of the season

One only has to take a walk, with eyes wide and mind open to the gift of life that is all around, and suddenly the abundance of the season becomes evident in the form of sights and scents.
Meadows and ditches are still glorious with their own seasonal offerings.  The Queen Anne Lace dots the land here and there making a valiant last effort to grace the landscape along with clover and chickory.  Even the lowly and often unloved ragweed leaves a golden glow on the landscape in the late afternoons.

A walk through the grape arbor fills the senses with the heady wine of fall while passing under the vines loaded with their burden of fruit.  The birds eat their daily fill while the homeowner presses and packs away the sweet goodness against cold and snow.

The hop vines with their offering of mature blossom give off another type of perfume.  Their scent is reminiscent of cozy fires and frothy mugs and feet curled beneath a warm throw.

Though the nights are cooler and mornings are heavy with damp the vegetable garden bravely goes on fulfilling the promise of late spring.  The sharp tang of peppers on the plant hint at savory dishes that will warm the heart and beat back any chill.

While the rich, summery scent of the tomatoes promise comfort and satisfaction for future meals that will be undertaken.  Even the warm glow of the tomato on the vine is more like a prayer of hope than a luscious fruit hanging there.

Even the roses, though June bearing, seem to pray for length of days and a never ending season of sun and warmth.

While the rose continues to bloom the hydrangea quietly deepens her color and begs to be brought in and saved for the darker days to come.  Each delicate petal seems to promise a sweetness for the days to come if only someone would cut it and bring it inside.

The clown of the garden is the zucchini.  He seems never to know when to quit.  Long after we have all eaten our fill he is out there growing and producing.  His service is legendary and this specimen is determined to live up to that legend.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


It's all a matter of perspective

When you get to be my age your eyesight begins to change (along with every other function in your body) and not for the better.  My distance vision is still perfect but I get a lot of ribbing because my arms aren't long enough to hold the book out far enough for me to see it clearly.  I like to think of it as a different perspective not poor eyesight.  Sometimes there are things in life that force us to get up and change our perspective in order to be able to see clearly.
Take life in general.  My daughter works hard.  For awhile there she was not only taking online classes to further her education but she is holding down two part-time jobs, helping around here, taking responsibility for her own flock of chickens and pigs, as well as dealing with some persistent health issues.  That's a lot on the plate of a 22 year-old.  She does it all, however with a lot of energy, grace, and caring but as with everyone on this planet, her perspective gets off once in awhile.
We all do it, you know, becoming goal oriented and measuring yourself and your days by what you accomplished and how much you completed rather than by a more important measuring tool, how much you loved.  I do it a lot.  My husband will come home from work and I will immediately list what I accomplished that day.  Not that he measures my worth that way but because I feel as if I have not "earned my keep" on that particular day.  Perhaps Layn was cranky all day and so there is no supper ready and the laundry is still in process because I spent the better part of the day playing with him and rocking him.  It is then that my husband will remind me that it was one of my more productive days because I spent it loving another person who needed me so much.  
So it is with all of us, my daughter included, what is your perspective?  How do you measure your worth?  Yesterday I took her away from her lists and all that needed to be done at home, and believe me the list never ends.  We sat in a lovely garden and chatted and dreamed.  We ate ice cream and watched the geese and ducks on a pond and worked out just the right words to a new poem that she is writing.

We went into two stores and browsed knowing full well that we cannot afford to shop, just to look and be together.  We didn't even talk about anything earth shattering, just stuff, and it was good.

And when we got home and I told my husband what I had done that day he was pleased that I had spent the whole day loving someone who needed it so much.  What did my daughter accomplish yesterday?  She spent time with her mother who loves her and let me revel in the remarkable woman that she is becoming.  She also wrote an amazing poem.
That's our perspective, love for each other.  I hope my arms never get too short to see that clearly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Contentment

My mother used to have a cross stitch hanging in her kitchen that my sister worked for her.  On it was the verse: Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of what you already have.
When I was a stupid kid I truly did not understand what that phrase meant.  I have since begun to grow up and am learning the lesson in that everyday of my life.
Contentment can be found in the smallest and most unexpected places.  This morning I find it in the sound of my grandson's voice speaking in full sentences (maybe not grammatical ones but sentences nonetheless).
Several months ago there was a question about his language abilities.  He was behind and really wasn't talking as a two-year-old should.  With a little work and persistence this summer and he is repeating what is said in his world and stringing words together to make meaning for all of us.

Contentment is watching him play with his current favorite toy.  He calls it a "dig-dump" and he is happiest when he is driving that little toy tractor all over the house.  This morning he pointed at it and told me, "Papa, drive dig-dump."  Of course he is right and he got a big hug for that.  Papa does indeed drive a backhoe.

Contentment is found in the simplicity of little children.  Grown-ups shower them with toys as if the child desired them or needed them.  The truth is that this little tractor, which was once owned by his Uncle Matt, is all the little guy needs or wants.  Oh, and a lot of hugs from grandma.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook 10 September 2012

Outside my window...it's a bit nippy out there!  The morning has dawned bright and crisp and sunny.  Looks like fall is on her way just in time.  My husband has broken out the Carharts so it has to be cold out there.  Time for fires in the evening, hooded sweatshirts, and hot cups of tea!
I am thinking...just when they are finally widening the cement out front the days of my sitting out there in the morning are numbered.  
I am thankful for...the bright sun in the morning, cool temps to make working a bit more pleasant, and all the glorious scents that go along with the end of the season.
From the kitchen...I think I will turn the leftover sausage, peppers, and onions into some kind of pasta dish for tonight's supper.
I am wearing...warm flannel jammies!
I am creating...reuseable covers for the swiffer!!!! No more having to buy covers to have to throw them away.  I am notorious for not liking to buy something for the sole purpose of having to throw it away.
I am going...to stay home all day!!!!!  If there is anyone out there in cyberland who needs a car you can borrow mine. Just bring it back full!
I am hoping...now that Matthew has officially started basic training he has so much to do he can't be bored!
I am hearing....Melissa cleaning the bathroom, MK and Layn making a list of things to do today, and the washer starting it's first load for the day.
Around the house...everything is in a state of controlled chaos.  It is the usual state of this place on a Monday morning.  MK has already mapped out her plan of attack for the house, Melissa has the day off and has commandeered the laundry room, and I am in charge of food for the day.  
One of my favorite things...this time of year.  I tend to wax poetic when it comes to fall.  The sights, smells, and feel of the changing season are part of the reason that living in New York State is necessary to my well being.
A few plans for the rest of the week....school and family are first and foremost.  
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
                                                         MK and Layn playing horsie!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The start of MK's quilt

I am not playing hooky today! But I guess a day happily spent creatively did me a world of good.  Or could it have been the many visits from Kim and Savannah lately?  Whatever it is the words flowed this morning and today's writing is done!  So I put these four blocks together for MK's quilt.

This one is a little more involved than the other one that I am doing.  But she loves it and it truly does reflect her colorful and busy personality!  Besides that, though you cannot see it in this picture, there are chickens in two of the prints which is part of why this is particularly for MK.

Back to cutting squares and making triangles.  Just between you, me and the wall it is not as complicated as it looks.  I just don't like doing triangles.

Playing hookey.

Yesterday I decided that school was over rated and that I would take the day off.  Actually I was caught up and needed some creativity therapy.  (like retail therapy but you stay at home and make big messes)  I had started a quilt for a friend and pictures of it kept rolling around in my head which usually means work on it pronto before the inspiration wears off. 

So I cleaned up the kitchen really fast, took my shower, and got Layn started with his trains.  Then I sat down to the machine and the above picture is part of yesterday's results.  I love the colors and the pattern but the results are not up to my usual form.  My iron broke and I can't get a new one right yet. Without steam it is hard to get everything to come out nice and square and smooth.  But it is bright and cheerful which is what I was trying to achieve.  This quilt is going to a young lady who has started college this fall far from home.  I really think that she is in need of some cheerful colors and a friendly reminder of the love that is going her way.

Later I will post a pic of the other quilt that I started as well.  It has a chicken theme and is a bit more intricate.  My daughter is the chicken lover and I have been collecting and saving chicken prints for years now in preparation for building this quilt for her. 

But, today it is back to academics which means I can only look up and gaze at my work from afar.  On second thought, maybe I can get done early and spend some more quality time with my sewing machine.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My beautiful daughter.

The first of our children to graduate from college now has a second degree.  I am so proud of the way that you set goals and go after them MK.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Old Sew n Sew is open for business!

Mary-Kate finished my sign and they are hanging it as we speak!  What can I whip up for you?

The Simple Womans Daybook 3 September 2012

Outside my window...the sun is shining and a light breeze is blowing.  It is shaping up to be another beautiful day here on the farm.  The men have a long list of things to do because it is Labor Day don't you know and that means it is a good time to labor. 
I am thinking...about all the blessings that have been heaped on this family.  The greatest blessing is the gift of work.  I often watch my husband an sons working and am so blessed by the fact that they work without complaint.  Rather they do their chores in companionship and with an attitude of love and service.
I am thankful for...the man that I married and the gift of love that he gives to me everyday.
From the kitchen...I am sure that there will be something not only nourishing but delicious coming forth at the appointed time.  Personally I haven't a clue what is going to be cooked today.
I am wearing...shorts and a sleep shirt.
I am creating...an atmosphere of love and acceptance.  I want all who come here to feel that they can relax and be themselves while they are here on the farm.
I am going...to stay home all day!  I really cannot think of any reason to go anywhere today.
I am reading....nothing at the moment.
I am hoping...that Matthew's transition from in processing to basic training is smooth and uneventful.
I am hearing...Layn in the kitchen asking for a drink, MK talking with him, and Melissa in the laundry room starting today's first load of laundry.
Around the house...it is beginning to look like a long weekend is in progress. 
One of my favorite things...listening to Ian tell Layn stories while Layn is sitting on the potty.
A few plans for the rest of the week...school! There are tomatoes to can, lots of laundry to do, the house needs some serious cleaning, and this week commences the yearly activities at church.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
Savannah has been here quite a lot lately.  I love to watch her sit quietly on the floor and play with her toys. 

Layn, on the other hand doesn't not sit quietly anywhere.  His middle name is go, go, go!