Thursday, July 28, 2011
It is evening and we have had our dinner hour and everyone is now relaxing for a while with their own pursuits. We had a lovely dinner, simple as it was. I baked a large pan full of hamburgers, served them with buns and all the accouterments and also had green beans and a salad. A fresh strawberry cake (I'll share the recipe next week during the Tuesday blog parties) rounded everything out quite nicely. It was a simple meal, yes but I wanted to make it nice for my family. So even though it was only hamburgers and sides, I set the table with my blue willow and a pretty embroidered tablecloth that has been in the family for ages.
It is so easy to let life get in the way. When we allow that to happen it is even easier for us to slip into what I and my husband call survival mode. To us, survival mode is when you are going through life at full tilt, doing just what you have to do to get by and letting small details fall through the cracks. Believe me, I have been guilty of it myself and it is no fun. The danger of survival mode is that some people do not ever make the realization that they are in it and that it is how they are living. In turn, it continues day after day and year after year - like a hamster on a wheel.
So that is why I like to elevate the common things in life. Perhaps the fare for supper was not anything special but it was served with care and beauty and taken together as a family. Taking the time to pay attention to details and make things pretty truly helps to keep oneself out of survival mode. Everything from how you fold your towels to taking time out to do special things will all help keep you and your family out of the dreaded survival mode.
I understand that sometimes it is a necessary thing to fall into that frame of mind. For example, when taking care of a sick loved one (perhaps for an extended period of time) or when arriving home after a long trip and you find yourself exceptionally tired with lots of unpacking to do. Sometimes life truly does happen to us and things get put on our plate that causes us to slip into a time of letting the sweet details of life pass us by. Sometimes (as in the examples above)it can be something we cannot avoid and a bridge we must cross. However, I personally feel that slipping into survival mode for no good reason ~ simply because we cannot be bothered with the effort required to do otherwise - is a shameful thing. So many people don't care about the niceties of life and manners and good sense simply because they do not want to and it has not served us well as a people.
So ~ you may be only serving hot dogs and a side but set your table with the good dishes anyway. You may be only running to the local store for milk but fix yourself up anyway. You may only have a front stoop consisting of two steps and nothing else but put some flowers on those steps anyway. The masses have stopped doing these types of things. Do you really want to be like them?
Monday, July 25, 2011
For Tuesday's homemaking/cooking blog parties, I offer you my newest recipe find. Peanut butter & white chocolate biscotti. I had the best excuse to make them today. It was our once monthly women's Bible study. It is hosted in someone's home each month and each lady in attendance brings a dish. I was so excited to try my biscotti out and take it to share with everyone tonight. I had a basic recipe to work with, then I changed it around to suit my taste.
Above is a picture of the biscotti in mid-process, after the initial baking. There are 3 bake times. You make two loaves and one loaf is cut and the other is how it will look after the first bake. These will spread while baking, so account for that when you place them on your baking sheet.
Here is the recipe:
1 package Duncan Hines moist deluxe classic yellow cake mix
1 C. all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. finely grated sea salt
1/2 C. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
So all I had to do was zap it in the microwave and then dip the biscotti. Very quick and easy with practically no mess! Once they were dipped I put them in the refrigerator so the chocolate would harden off. They did great. These were really good and would be perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. I know the recipe seems long, but it really wasn't difficult at all. I am sure I will make these again.
Blog parties I am joining:
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I really admire the character of Aunt Bea. Truth be told, the "lifestyle" that is lived in Andy and Aunt Bea's home is very close to my own childhood. My parents were older when they had me in the 1970s. My mother even favored Aunt Bea a bit and our home was very much like that which was portrayed in the show. A set dinner hour, the table always set, the family always eating together, a calm and quiet atmosphere at most times. So I suppose it is no wonder that the show and especially Aunt Bea seem very comforting to me.
How is it that we have lost so much in just one or two generations time? I'll admit it's a challenge, even to me who was raised that way, to hold the standard. Life in general is so much...different now. Which makes me want to hold to that old standard all the harder. Also, when did it become this taboo thing for women to grow old gracefully and naturally? Aunt Bea would have laughed at the lengthes women go to to try and appear younger than they are. Shouldn't we be proud of the years we have lived and the wisdom we have gained?
I remember growing up how my mother and the other women of her generation held their weekly hair appointments as a sacred thing not to be dilly dallied with on the schedule! Their appearance and the impression they gave really meant a great deal to them. But their intention was not to hold on to the vanity of youth. It was simply a matter of self respect.
Even simple things like going to the local grocer was worthy of getting dressed up in a respectful manner. They would not have dreamed to leave the house looking like a ragamuffin. They took a lot of pride in the small details of their life - the simple things like going to the store - and treated them accordingly. But now it seems that those same small details of life mean...nothing really and most women are quite content to plop their hair atop their head in a scrunchie and prance around the store in their pajamas. Where has our pride and self respect gone?
Even when their entire day consisted of staying in the home and cooking and doing housework, these ladies always looked presentable, acted respectable, took pride in the appearance of their homes, and expected nothing less than that from those around them. ~~ Yes, we could all definitely take a lesson from Aunt Bea!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
This is just a little ramble of my own private thoughts. Take it for what you will. :)
I have a natural tendency (and I've shared this on my blog before) to want to hole up a bit in my own life and attempt to turn a deaf ear to all of the hurtful, evil and scary things this world has to offer. I don't want to look at the news to see who is killing who or who is sleeping with who or who is divorcing who. I don't want to see rubble from bombs or hear about debt ceilings. It is all just too much. When I was younger, it didn't bother me so much. But I think perhaps it's like a bucket you start filling with sand one grain at a time. At some point, your bucket will be full and about to overflow and then just one more grain of sand is all it takes for it to all start spilling out. My bucket got full and overflowed. And I am purposely trying to not let it refill.
But, on the other hand, I want to make sure that I do not give myself over to trying to stay out of the world's ills so much that I become self centered. I don't want to be blind to those around me that I can help with problems I can do something about. This life I am living is not all about me. At all. Our lives are to be about what we can do for others.
And so I try to hit a balance. A balance between staying away from and putting up walls against all the gratuitous drama of the world at large while staying open (through observance and prayer) to the opportunities the Father puts in front of me to step up and help or encourage others.
Sometimes I still give myself a bit of grief over the walls I put up to keep the world at bay because I fear that in doing so I will, at some point, become the self centered person I do not want to be. But this morning when I woke up, Philippians 4:8 came to my mind.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
I realized that there is nothing wrong with keeping out drama and violence that is there simply for the sake of drama and violence. There is no wrong doing there. As long as we are open to the opportunities placed before us to show God's love to those that need it, we are doing God's will while also filling our minds with the virtuous things He wants for us.
May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home! ~~**~~**~~**~~
Monday, July 18, 2011
This cake was so simple to make and it came together very quickly. If a cake batter could ever be described as pretty, this one was. Very smooth and almost glossy ~ more so than other cake batters. The yogurt makes the cake bake up like a pudding cake ~ very moist. The top comes out with just a hint of crunch. I think it would be good to bake it with a crumb topping. Maybe I'll try that out in the future. I also think cinnamon would be a good addition. There is no need for any icing or even powdered sugar on this one. It stands alone on it's own just fine.
I did substitute white sugar for the brown sugar because I wanted it to be a light cake. And it was. Also, I didn't bake as long as recommended. In my oven it was ready at 37 minutes. And I know I had the temperature right because I had my oven thermometer inside the oven keeping track. :-)
This recipe is a keeper.
Yogurt Bundt Cake
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour a 9 inch bundt pan. Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in egg till smooth. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder; stir in the batter alternately with the yogurt. Spread batter in the pan. Bake for 50 minutes until knife comes out clean.
I'm linking to the following blog parties:
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Today will be filled with puttering in the garden and kitchen, fixing new treats, and some time spent in the Word and with my stitching. I hope that everyone who reads here has a wonderful Saturday! May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home! ~~
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I recently went into our local Wal-Mart to pick up my treasured periodicals. Usually, they are on a shelf surrounded by other magazines about cozy cottages, romantically styled homes and Victorian gardens. But this time, instead of all of these lovelies, my eyes were accosted by Cosmopolitan and others of it's ilk. Row after row of gaudy covers with scantily clad women and headlines blaring about things that a few generations ago would not have even been whispered about in closed company. At first I was hoping they had simply moved my choices to another spot. But no. They are gone. Completely.
Why have we become a people that would rather have...or even worse expect to see/have/purchase/partake of the baser things this world has to offer instead of things that are more refined and dignified? Now I realize that many would laugh at me for taking on the world's ills over the magazine selection at my local Wal-Mart, but is it not a result of the public's feelings, expectations, and preferences? Yes - it is, and quite frankly, the public at large is making some very grave errors for which we and the future generations will pay for dearly.
When your average woman (it is the women these magazines are geared towards after all) who is a wife or mother or teacher or whatever - would rather pick up a magazine with a sensuous woman on the front and one that is filled with articles talking about spending $200 on one dress and what a good deal that is and how to make their intimate relations more wild....well, when did we become that??? Because we can look back in history - not too far mind you - and see that we absolutely, positively were not that. How did we become this and why are we continuing to let it happen? Who looked at us and said that this was ok and please continue in this vein?
As women shouldn't we be concerned about being a dignified example for the next generation to follow? Are the women who feel the way that I do really that sorely out numbered? Because if we are, then may God help us. We are surely going to need it.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Do you know who Anthea Turner is? I discovered her quite by accident. She is from the other side of the pond and seems to be their version of Martha Stewart. There are a precious few videos of her on Youtube and I wanted to share this one with you. I love the method of folding towels that she shares in it and I have been folding my towels this way since I first saw this video. Granted, it takes a bit more time but the end result looks so nice. Making a house a home is a whole that is made up of many very small details. Everything right down to how you fold the towels.
I'm linking to the Domestically Divine Tuesday Link Up party at Far Above Rubies.
I'm also linking to A Titus 2sday Link Up at a Time Warp Wife. May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home! ~~~
Monday, July 11, 2011
Monday ~ meatloaf fixed low carb style
Tuesday ~ shredded pork roast
Wednesday ~ teen meal at church, I'll be bringing a dessert & some turkey
Thursday ~ fresh roasted chicken (from chickens that we raised ourselves)
Friday ~ leftover night
Saturday ~ apple & sage pork chops
Sunday Dinner ~ garlic baked chicken
I'm linking to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie. ~~
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I believe there is a decided lack of maturity in out culture. Where once a certain level of maturity was a thing to be admired and cultivated, it is now something that so many look at with scorn. Has anyone else noticed that a teenager who exhibits a proper level of maturity will more often than not be met with insults and degradation by most of their peers? This is so sad.
I am not necessarily speaking of age either. I have met very young men and women who were remarkably mature. By the same token, I have met older men and women who were so immature they really should have been ashamed of themselves, but were not.
So many details of our lives would run so much smoother if people would take seriously the matter of maturity. If they would strive to behave themselves in a civilized, mature manner. The reason this seems so far out of the grasp of most adults is truly beyond me.
Your level of maturity is evident in so many of our every day tasks. Let me give you some examples.
1. Being on time. When you have somewhere to go or someone to meet, are you perhaps 15 minutes early or are you the woman rushing through the door 15 minutes late in such a harried state that no one would dare take you seriously?
2. Speed limits. This one goes hand in hand with number one. When you have somewhere to be, do you plan your time such that you have plenty of driving time? Do you obey the speed limits? Or do you see them as mere guidelines? They are not guidelines. They are the law of the land. They should be treated as such.
3. Tone of voice. Yes. One's tone of voice is a very good indicator as to their level of maturity. Do small annoyances get under your skin so much that your volume starts going up? This is something that everyone should try very hard to overcome. The person that can go through a stressful situation with a normal tone of voice intact is showing a good level of maturity.
4. Details. Are the details of your life attended to? Things like bills filed into folders, junk mail disposed of (as opposed to piling up), all the behind the scenes work that needs to be done for your family in order for their needs to be met? Or are these things that get pushed to the back of your mind. Please, make no mistake that small daily details are very important! They make up the whole of our experience and without them nothing is accomplished. It takes a mature person to consistently attend to all the details that need attention. It is not something that can be done one day and then not thought about again for weeks on end. As a matter of fact, it is not something that should be put to the wayside even for one day! Chaos can truly take over in a days time.
These are just some examples, but I'm sure you could think of more that would be applicable to your own life. Please, feel free to share them in the comments section. We can all use inspiring ideas from others who are like minded!
Remember ladies, we are building the foundation for our children and their children as well. If we are not mature enough to do a quality job of it, how sad for them! Children deserve mature parents. They deserve to be raised in a home where a mature mother and father are consistently taking care of the day's details. So much of who your children will be depends on your maturity level. Please, don't ever forget that.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Well, I'm off for now to finish my tea. May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home. ~~~~~
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I don't even remember now where I found this recipe. But they taste just like the Little Debbie's but better because they will be fresher. They can be wrapped individually for a bake sale, taken on a picnic or tailgate and are equally at home set upon a pretty platter for a tea party.
Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookies
1 C butter
3/4 C light brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbls molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 C quick oatmeal
14 oz. marshmallow cream
1 C shortening
2/3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the first six ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to your creamed ingredients and stir in the oatmeal. Place tablespoon size drops of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving lot of room for spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350*. You want them just brown along the edges and still soft. Do not over bake.
(I always double this amount.) Mix marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Spread on the underside of one cookie and top with another.
There you have it. If you try these, I promise you will not be disappointed.
~~~ Blog Parties ~~ I'm linking to Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and Domestically Divine Tuesday Homemaking Link up at Far Above Rubies~~~
Monday, July 4, 2011
I have a recipe for homemade chocolate peanut butter cups that taste very close to Reese's. My daughter is a Reese's connoisseur and these make the grade with her, so I know they are good!
I made a large platter of them yesterday for a church function. They got rave reviews and I came home with an empty platter. (I'm proud to say I didn't eat any of them ~ yay me!) I may have to make these a staple in my arsenal of recipes for our many church dinners.
So without further ado, here is the wonderful recipe. ~~~
1 Cup butter, melted
2 Cups graham crackers, crushed
2 Cups confectioner's sugar
1 Cup peanut butter
1 1/2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 Tbls. peanut butter
Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray with cooking spray. Mix together butter, graham crackers, confectioner's sugar, and 1 Cup of peanut butter. Press about 1 1/2 Tbls. of the mixture into the bottom of the paper liners. Melt the chocolate chips and 4 Tbls. of peanut butter in a double boiler. Spoon over the filling and smooth with the back of a spoon. Put in the refrigerator to set and keep cool during storage.