There's no place like home.

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 29 October 2012

Outside my window....the sky is overcast and sad looking.  But the birds are still singing merrily and flitting happily from the feeder to the bushes and back again as if there were no big storm predicted.  

I am thinking...about living, loving, and growing from the experiences of life.  Being a mother is a joyous thing  indeed but sometimes the pain makes you wonder.

I am thankful for...faith in God and the teachings of the Catholic Church.  When the road has bends and curves and I don't know what to do next, my faith and prayers are what hold me up and provide the direction that I need.

From the kitchen...I think that chicken salad sandwiches will be on tonight's menu. I did more cooking yesterday than I ever do on a Sunday. I think I need a break today.

I am wearing...warm, comfy jammies.  Layn and I haven't really started our day yet.

I am creating...some things of beauty for my grand-niece Anna Grace.

I am going....to the fabric store, unfortunately, to pick-up a few things that I need to finish projects. Just for Anna Grace I am going to, once again, attempt to master the zipper.

I am reading...True Devotion to Mary

I am hoping...that this whole huge storm thing turns out to be nothing more than an autumn shower.

I am hearing...geese flying by outside, Layn making tractor noises as he plays with his toys in the playroom, Andrea Bocceli singing the Ave Maria on the stereo.

Around the house....it is a mess!!!! This was a messy, neglectful weekend and I had a ball.  I figure that with some kind of weather coming in there is plenty to keep me indoors and busy with sewing projects and a house that needs to be cleaned.  Did I mention that mount washmore is beginning to rear it's ugly head too?

One of my favorite things...being a wife and a mom.

A few plans for the rest of the week....not much.  I thought that Layn and I would ride out the weather that everyone is talking about right here at home.  We have plenty to do, eat, and to keep us warm and dry.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
The colors of fall have just about all faded but it is still a beautiful place that I live in.  That little white house in the middle of the picture is mine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 22 October 2012

Outside my window...the sun is up but the sky is cloudy.  The weatherman promises that it is supposed to get sunnier and warmer today.  With the chill that we have been having in the mornings I fear that the sunnier and warmer days are at a premium.  My long walks outside are shortly coming to an end and the treadmill will soon be pressed into service.

I am thinking...of lists.  Lists of things to do and items that need to be procured.  Lists of all kinds populate my mind and my desktop.  The man who invented sticky-notes should get the next Nobel prize.

I am thankful for...silliness and a loving family.  There was a mishap in the kitchen yesterday which spoiled supper.  Rather than face it with anger or annoyance my family laughed, joked and make do with what we had.

From the kitchen...only time will tell what will be on tonight's menu.  There isn't much leftover in the refrigerator which means that I must get creative.  Perhaps I will continue on my soup kick or maybe I will branch out and make something a little more adventurous.

I am wearing...warm, cozy pajamas!!!!

I am creating...loving gifts from the heart for my family for Christmas.

I am going...to stay home today.  I shopped on Saturday and am well stocked with ingredients for cooking.  The sewing room is also well stocked.  So it is home for me to stay and creativity will reign today.

I am reading...The Story of a Soul.  I am on a "revisiting old loves" kick right now.

I am hoping...for answered prayers.

I am hearing...Layn and Melissa sitting together. She's showing him how to "knit" using one of the round looms.  

Around the house...the fire is burning in the stove, the coffee is scenting the kitchen, and the dogs are asleep on the hearth. Yep, things are the way that they should be.

One of my favorite things...shuffling through the leaves on the way into church yesterday morning.  The scent of fallen maple leaves was with me all through mass.

A few plans for the rest of the week....write letters, mail out packages, work on projects, serve my Lord and care for my family.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
                      Saturday after the rain the sun came out and so did this rainbow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Passing it on.

I am a firm believer in the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."  But my interpretation of that phrase has always had some really broad implications.  In this instance I am talking about all the toys that my kids had to play with.  I never allowed them all their toys out at once nor were they ever available all at the same time.  I liked to rotate toys and even keep some only for very special occasions so that they always had something that was relatively "new" and unfamiliar to them.  Even now with Layn in the house I like to keep things back for "special" play.  
Today seemed the right day for taking out just such toys.  Grandma woke up with a migraine and needed a two-year-old who was unusually quiet and calm today...enter Uncle Matt's Lincoln Logs from the attic.

These toys did just the trick.  Not only did they keep Layn occupied for a couple of hours but his Auntie was totally enthralled too.  What memories flooded back while watching him fill the corrals that Auntie built with his plastic horses.

I could almost seem my boys sprawled out on the rug making log cabins and playing cowboy and Indian.


Fortunately the time for lunch came before the novelty wore off.  He helped Auntie pick up all the toys without any trouble and the box is stashed away for another day when grandma needs some peace and quiet.  Out will come the Lincoln Logs and more stories of Uncle Matt playing with these very same toys when he was a little boy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 15 October 2012

Outside my window...it is a very deceptive day.  The sky is dark with clouds and the wind has a slight bite to it.  But the thermometer reads 70 degrees and the sun teases by coming out periodically.  It is definitely one of those fall days where you dress your kids for all four seasons when you send him to school.
I am thinking...about opportunities.  Many opportunities that have been passed by and others that have been taken.  I am not ordinarily a person to dwell on the past but today seems a day for wondering "what if?"
I am thankful for...a husband who loves me enough to let me beat him at Scrabble, go for a bike ride with me and go at my slow pace, then share a plate of loaded nachos with me and let me have all the black olives.
From the kitchen...a big warm pot of pasta e fagiole!!!! What could be better on such a dark and dreary day.
I am wearing...sweats and a tee shirt. It's just a day to be comfy and not do too much.
I am creating...a bubble of peace and tranquility.
I am going...to stay home for the rest of the day.  We have already been to WalMart and Lowes today and that is way too much running for me especially on a Monday.
I am reading...The Confessions of St. Augustine
I am hoping...that this migraine that I got from going to the store goes away soon! I cannot serve my family when I am in such pain.
I am hearing...Layn outside the door playing with his trucks and MK in the kitchen making his lunch.
Around the house...nothing has gotten done today.  
One of my favorite things...talking on the phone with Matthew last night and hearing how happy and sure he is in the path that he has chosen.
A few plans for the rest of the week...meet with the realtor and buyers tomorrow about the land sale, plan and begin some Christmas sewing, clean this house, and get some laundry done.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you....
My wonderful husband getting ready for our bide ride yesterday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More 18" doll fun.

This dress is a party dress in lavender and purple with a purple velvet jacket.

Set sells for $15 + $5 shipping.  email me at annkraeger@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Time for Christmas shopping!

For Sale: Wedding dress sized to fit 18" dolls.
Comes complete with headpiece with fingertip veil.

Detachable train.

Bouquet.

Price: $25 + $5 shipping.  email me at annkraeger@gmail.com

Monday, October 8, 2012

I love my home.


I love where I live. Where else can you get a call in the morning saying, "There's a balloon coming down!"  You hop in the car and drive out to the north 76 and there it is!

Then you and your grandson sit on the hood of the car and watch the men bring it down and enjoy the cool, crisp morning and the wonder and glory of God's creation.

Fall in full swing

Matthew asked that I send pictures from home.  He wanted to see the colors of the trees changing.  So yesterday I took a walk with my camera.  Feast your heart this is what I got and will print and send to him.







The Simple Womans Daybook 8 October 2012

Outside my window...the clouds are hanging low in the sky.  It rained hard yesterday evening and now everything is wet and slick with it.  The temperature is in the 40's and not likely to get much higher today.  
I am thinking...about home and family.  How sad and lonely it is for those who have no family or who are alienated from theirs.  They will be in my prayers today.
I am thankful for...the fact that we installed the stove.  It is shaping up to be a good book and a hot cup by the stove day.
From the kitchen...pork chops! with other stuff.
I am wearing...flannel pants and my favorite sweatshirt.
I am creating...memories.
I am going...to stay home today.  I cannot think of a single place that I need to go.  Of course that could all change but for now I will anticipate a whole day spent at home.
I am reading...nothing. I am between books right now but that will change real soon.
I am hoping...to clear the machine and get going on some a couple of gifts today.
I am hearing...someone in the kitchen rattling dishes, MK and Melissa chatting in the living room, and Isabella fussing about in her crate.
Around the house...everyone and everything is getting a slow start this morning.  I am sitting here enjoying these early morning sounds immensely.
One of my favorite things...a stack of crisp folded fabric in a rainbow of colors just waiting for me to turn it into something beautiful.
A few plans for the rest of the week...a quick trip to the fabric store one day this week along with my holy hours, the class that I teach on Thursday and that should be all the running that I have to do.  The rest of the week will be spent caring for my family and indulging in creative pursuits.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
The view of our farm from 1/4 mile up the road.  It's breathtaking.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taking orders.

While thinking about more lady-like times and trends I constructed these two hostess aprons.  What makes them different is that they are intended to be worn after all the preparations are over and the lady of the house is now playing hostess.  

Each is made from heavy weight fabric which will hold up to washing and wearing and still be crisp and pretty.  The top one is a polished apple print with corded piping along the bottom ruffle and across the pockets.  The pockets and ruffle are also trimmed in lace.  
The bottom one is made with a Waverly decorator fabric.  The bib is gathered gently at the top as are the pockets.  The straps go over the shoulders and attach to the waistband.

The half apron starts at $45 depending on the cost of the fabric chosen.  The bibbed version runs about $75 again depending on the fabric chosen.  Email me at annkraeger@gmail.com for inquiries.  These two models however are not for sale.

More graciousness

I heard a while ago that mismatched in the kitchen and dining room is in vogue.  How fortunate since this house has been mismatched for the last 29 years.  When you have a large family dreams of having matching dishes, glasses, and cutlery is just that, a dream.  Kids helping in the kitchen equals broken dishes and glasses and silverware that has inadvertently been tossed out with the garbage.  Then there are the spills, splashes and splatters that leave a mother wondering if she can ever set a lovely table again.  I say a most resounding YES! Not only can you but you must especially if you have boys.  (No Ryan I no longer believe in totally taming the male of the species) But boys too need to learn to function in gentler more civilized settings.  
So how do you go about this without both expense and loss of sanity?  Over the years we have always used linens on the table.  Not because I am a grand person or anything like that but because economically they are just smarter.  Anything and everything can become a table cloth.  The one below is an Edie Bauer shower curtain that was purchased at a consignment store!  I have used yard goods bought on clearance that were simply hemmed to finish, antique linens from yard, estate, and consignment sales bought for a song.  Napkins can be made from dish towels bought at the dollar store, cut in two and finished.  Into the regular laundry they go, no special upkeep.  As for table cloths an inexpensive plastic cover can be bought at WalMart or by the yard at the fabric store.  Place it over your table cloth and it will save washing that cloth after every spill and splatter.

To make the table more seasonal I simply choose cloths with appropriate colors rather than looking for something with a theme print.  Then I layer up cheap runners (they can be gotten second hand usually with some defect) and finish with a bowl or teacup and saucer that coordinate.  The holes or tears or scorches in runners or table cloths that are purchased second hand become invisible when they are layered or covered with pretty dishes or a jar of flowers.
Presenting a pretty table not only makes you feel that your home is more welcoming but it inspires everyone who sits at your table to harken back to a simpler time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quintessential Fall

The chill in the air that marks the coming of fall is distinctly different from that soon to warm up nip that means springtime. In the same way, there are certain scents and flavors in the kitchen that are all about the fall of the year and no other time.  
That is true for this Sage-Scented Butternut Squash Soup.

If you don't have a pressure cooker now is the time to go out and invest in one.  This soup is not only warm and satisfying but it is fast and easy to make courtesy of the trusty pressure cooker and a readily available supply of butternut squash at this time of year.
For the soup you need:
1 TBL. butter or oil
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
1 tsp. salt
3 lbs. butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried sage

Heat the butter in a 4-quart or larger cooker. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add the broth, water, salt, and squash.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Quick-release the pressure or allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, turning it away from you to allow steam to escape.
Stir in the sage. If the squash is not very soft, cover and simmer for a few minutes. Let cool slightly. Pass the soup through a food mill or puree using a standard or immersion blender. Reheat and adjust the seasonings. This is also good with sweet potatoes. Just substitute 1/2 tsp cinnamon for the sage.

The essence of woman

I have two nieces (actually I have a whole bunch of nieces) who are the originators of an online magazine.  Their magazine, Dignitas Magazine is all about everything that is woman.  It is about the wonder, mystery, and dignity that is femininity.  They seek, and rightfully so, to encourage the resurrection of everything truly feminine.  This world is in danger of losing the anchor of graciousness and civilization that God provided when he created woman.
I have been thinking about those two nieces lately and their purpose and this apron is the result.  The need for the world to recapture the modesty, tenderness, and purity that woman was meant to be must start one apron, one suitably modest skirt, one truly feminine attitude at a time. May God bless and prosper their intentions.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What is work anyway?

     I recently had a FB friend say "It's always work, work, work at your house, take the day off." as a comment to something that I posted.  That has gotten me thinking about what work is and whether I really do work.
     I have to admit, on paper a lot of things seem to get done around here.  On any given day several loads of laundry get washed, dried, and folded (I like my laundry room empty at the end of the day).  Then there is the cooking.  Meals do get prepared and served along with the commensurate dish washing and cleaning up that goes along with any meal preparation. (In this house that is often a mountain of dishes since there are special diets and no prepared foods.) Everything is made from scratch.  Then there is the whole farm thing going on.  There are always animals to tend, pens to clean, machinery to maintain, and other sundry things that I am not going to list but they are always waiting for attention.
     Now it's really starting to sound like "work, work, work!"  But I keep thinking about it and still I don't feel like there is a lot of work going on around here.  Then I got to thinking about one very important ingredient that may be missing from other places that is here in abundance; joy.  We all like what we do and we love each other.  As I have reminded all my kids at one time or another: "Remember why you are doing this and for whom you do it. If it isn't done for love, don't bother."
     That's the key! Now, don't get me wrong there aren't a bunch of lovey, huggey, saints running around this place.  We all have our moments both of joy and of dissent.  But by and large what goes on around here is for the good of all, the service of others and it is done with a joyful attitude.  Sure, there are jobs that we all dislike doing.  I for one despise making beds!  I used to work as the bath aide at a local nursing home. When you have to make 15-20 beds in a shift (without fitted sheets) you don't learn to love it.  But you do learn to find a reason to do it, fast, well, and with a good attitude.  No one makes a bed faster or better than I do.  Nor do I like ironing but I do that too.  I love freshly ironed linens on the table and I love how my family looks in the clothing that I have prepared for them to wear to church. They are the reason to do it and do it well.
     I guess the point that I am trying to make is that work is only that if you make it so.  I like the fact that Ian cranks the tunes in the shop when he is working on a tractor and it isn't going his way.  It isn't to drown out the bad language but to help the time pass.  I love how Matthew sings at the top of his lungs while he is hoeing the potatoes.  It is certainly not because hoeing is just a joyful job but because he is a joyful person.  I love MK playing music while she shovels out the pig pen and chats with her animals while she does it.  She certainly isn't enjoying the smell of the manure, she's enjoying the fact that the job will be done and the animals will be healthy as a result.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 1 October 2012

Outside my window...it is truly a fall day! The clouds are lowering, the wind is blowing and it is threatening rain again.  Today is a good day for doing one of two things; either curling up with a good book and a hot cuppa' or cleaning the house in order to keep the blood up and the body warm.  I plan on getting to both of those things today.
I am thinking...about motherhood a lot lately.  Thinking about the difference in my heart between being a mother and being a grandmother.
I am thankful for...a loving husband and a good massager!  The old hips were giving me trouble because of this damp weather but heat and massage took care of that!
From the kitchen...something warm, nourishing and filling I think.  Potato soup!!!
I am wearing...long, warm, pink flannel nightgown.
I am creating...comfort and peace.
I am going...to make a holy hour at 11 and to do some shopping later in the afternoon.
I am reading...C S Lewis' A Mind Awake
I am hoping...to get the house clean before I have to leave for holy hour.
I am hearing...Layn talking about his tractor, Melissa answering him, Doug out in the washroom dressing for work, and the bluejays calling outside my window.  
Around the house...this place looks lived in!
One of my favorite things...the smell of fallen maple leaves.
A few plans for the rest of the week...I have two quilts that need to be finished and delivered.  There is a pile of mending that needs attention now that the ironing is done, and then there is always the usual laundry, cleaning, cooking and stuff.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
Looking up into a tree that Matthew used to hang out in all the time. Today is his 21st birthday. I shall make a cake and we will celebrate this youngest son of ours.