Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SecondHand Treasure: Victorian Portrait

While browsing through a thrift store yesterday, I saw a stack of framed prints, and this one caught my eye! I thought it was lovely, and I immediatly bought it! "Without considering the price?" you ask. Rest assured, there was nothing to consider for $2.99!!

The frame is simple and large, 23" by 19". I'll be hanging this portrait up today!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Blessings of Multiple Generations

" 'Psalm 107:38,41 (NEB) says," He blesses them, and their numbers increase...and makes families increase like flocks of sheep." One or two sheep is not a flock. The family is where God loves people to be nurtured. His desire is for children to be in an environment with brothers and sisters, like a flock.' " from the book, "Be Fruitful and Multiply" by Nancy Campbell

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."
Psalm 127:3 (KJV)

I was inspired to do this post after reading an old copy of Reminisce Magazine. God really does bless those who are multi-generational minded--I love this picture and thought I'd share!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Herb of the Month: Chocolate Mint

True to it's name, Chocolate Mint has a strong mint flavor, with deep rich undertones of Chocolate. So far, its thriving in full sun, and I've contained it in a pot although its outside.

I bought the plant in early March {After hearing about it from a friend!}, and its grown so fast and is a fun alternative to regular peppermint! My favorite way to use Chocolate Mint is as a tea.

Here's an easy recipe:
Over 4 sprigs of mint {or a heaping 1/4 cup} leaves, I pour hot water, then let it steep for 15 minutes. When its ready, remove the leaves.

I like to add fresh lemon juice and honey {Yum!}

Then I garnished the tea with a sprig of mint :) It's delicious and soothing, especially before bed {with a great book, of course!}

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Concord Grape Harvest

Today we picked our grapes that (finally!) are ripe. We've been resisting not to eat them for the past few weeks. Below is a picture of a cluster of grapes in June. This is my favorite stage--Aren't the color's beautiful?!

But now that the birds are really getting involved, its 'harvest time'!!

Here's an upclose picture--We've been having luck using an old pair of scissors for cutting the stems of vegetables/fruits when our shears get dull. Works great! :)

Concord grapes ready to be harvested!

Here I am with a full basket of grapes! :)

We gathered about 5 lbs (more or less) and by the way, the reason the grapes look pale or "frosted" is because they haven't been rubbed or washed. Luckily, our garden is pesticide/fertilizer free, so we ate them freely!

When we came inside and started to sample the "fruit of our labor"(lol) My cat Jessie jumped up to see what all the excitement was about! How cute! Unfortunately, grapes aren't pet friendly..oh well, more for us? :)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To The Virgins To Make Much Of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
The Glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worst and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
By: Robert Herrick

Monday, July 14, 2008

Second-Hand Treasure: Antique Hand Mirror

While browsing through a local antique store, I came across this beautiful hand mirror. The store clerk told me that it belonged to a woman in her late 90's who had it as a girl. It may have belonged to her mother but I'm not sure of the age...

What I like about it is that its quite heavy, and the mirror itself is thick. It has some marks/dents on the side from age, but I believe that adds to the character!

In this last picture, you can see the detailed picture of a woman writing a letter by candlelight. I'm curious about the age/era of this mirror--does anyone have any suggestions? :)
I'm so glad I purchased this! Although the price was a little over $30, I felt it was one of a kind and a lovely treasure to own!~

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Harvesting & Drying Stevia

<----I pruned the Stevia plant to about half its height, taking about 14" off the top. Its best to prune right before they go to seed--I could already see the buds :)

^^While I was harvesting, I caught tiny green lizard sun-bathing on one of the leaves! :D

^^I got a good bundle of the Stevia (I took

the picture myself--sorry about the tight grip! lol) ^^

^^Rinsing the leaves!^^

^After washing, I dried the leaves on papertowels, then
spread them out on 2 cookie sheets^

^I put the Stevia in a 175 degree oven for 20 mins :)
You could definetely smell the aroma in the air...very, um, wood-sy?

^^lol! Like my homemade mortal & pestle? :)
Our gorgeous marble one broke a few months ago,
so I'm learning to make do! :D ^^

^The leaves were super crispy, so it only took about
5 minutes before it was powder^

^After being crushed and sifted...

Then I finished it off by putting it into a tiny tupperware container
for later use...I think I got 2 TBsp MAX.

*By the way, It tastes great! It had a somewhat "green" aftertaste though.
Its SUPER sweet (1 TBsp equivalent to 1 cup sugar!)
I added about 1/2 tsp-1 tsp of Stevia to our pot 'o afternoon tea :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pioneer Day--Treasures and a Recipe!

While at a local Rescue Mission, I found a few treasures:
A Cast-iron dutch oven and a gorgeous oil lamp! I've been looking for a lamp for a while, and never thought I'd find heavy-duty cookware for such a great price!! The pot was $7, and the lamp was $3. I'm so excited--I love the pioneer theme! I thought I'd post my favorite never-fail corn muffin recipe too :)

Old-Fashioned Honey Corn Muffins

First, you mix 1 cup each of Cornmeal & Flour

2. Then add 1 TBsp Baking Powder, and 1 tsp Salt...

3. And 1/3 cup Butter Flavored Shortening :)

4. Using a pastry blender, blend the shortening into the dry ingredients until it resembles small crumbs5. Add 2 large eggs, and 1 cup whole milk (or cream/half & half (The richer the better!! :)

6. Pour in a generous 1/2 cup of Honey (yum, my favorite ingredient!)

7. Gently mix all the ingredients together!

8. This is what the batter should look like--It's ok if its gooey, This makes for the moistest corn muffins!

9. To a greased muffin tin, carefully scoop (about 3 TBsps) batter into each cup, filling it 3/4 full.

10. Place prepared pan in your preheated 400 degree oven for 10-12 mins

11. After 10-12 minutes, Muffins should be dark brown around edges :)

12. Using a butter knife, you can gently remove the muffins from the tin--aah, Perfect!!

13. Yay! The muffins turned out great--Moist, sweet & buttery! :) For variety, try adding 1 TBsp of fresh herbs (May I recommend Sage or Rosemary?) as a delicious twist to the original ;)
ps)This can easily be skillet/regular cornbread! Just double the baking time!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The definition of a Homemaker


1. An individual who has the skills and abilities to maintain a home and actively functions in that capacity
2. A wife who manages a household while her husband earns the family income
3. A homemaker is a person whose prime occupation is to care for their family and/or home.

As an Aspiring Homemaker, I should be striving for these things unto the Lord.
So, I need to earnestly continue to learn many skills on maintaining my family's home, activally being involved.
Manage a household (Successfully take care of the house in cleaning, meals, garden etc) while my Dad is at work, so he comes home to a home of order & peacefulness (Ooh, we're still working on this one!)

Fill my time and occupation at home, growing deeper relationships with my siblings/parents and learn contentness and using my time at home wisely (practicing homemaking skills) and not wasting it with idle distractions!

"That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Secondhand Treasure: Lavender, Aprons, & Overalls

I found this priceless paperback book at a Salvation Army probably a month ago--I was instantly attracted by the cover, and unfortunately, hadn't started reading it until yesterday!
This book was written & published here in Georgia 15 yrs ago, by an older woman retelling her Grand-parents life in the late 1800's on a 60-acre working farm. Instantly putting you in their time, she goes through their humble beginning and incredible work ethic~

*Married at a young age & building their huge house shortly after

*Home Chores--Butter Churning, Milking cows, Curing meat, Canning & Preserving (remember there was no refrigeration!)

*Real workers--When they needed wood to build their shed, carriage house, smokehouse and barn, they logged pine trees themselves!

*Raising 7 children, (who by the way, wore handmade clothes 'till they were married and had families!)

*Selling butter, eggs, buttermilk & ribbon cane syrup (not to mention seasonal foods!) in the market in Tallahassee

*Traditions--Reunion Day every summer, Annual 2 weeks Revival (The pastor would visit and stay at all the farm families' humble homes about 2 nights at every house, where the best of everything was laid out for such an occasion!)
Written simply and fondly, she packs into such a small book 3 generations of joy, stories & memories passed down, all because of her grandparents strong value of faith, family & home. I wish I could quote the whole book to you, as I know this book review doesn't hold a candle to the books contents...but here's one of my favourite lines,

"Grandma's clothes were different, though. Maybe the trimming made the difference, because no garment went unadorned. Perhaps the texture was appealing to us--she used soft materials, such as voile and velvet. Those materials felt good when we hugged her. They also lent a depth to her many hues of lavender.

Accessories were very important to Grandma. She had morning beads and afternoon beads. It is inconceivable to think of a woman in the summer time in a kitchen, with a wood-burning stove and no air conditioning, wearing a long dress to her ankles, and no doubt a petticoat, stockings & some kind of drawers underneath, and wearing morning beads."

"Lavender and Old Lace" from Lavender, Aprons, and Overalls by Rilla Bellury