"I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives."
~ Ann Voskamp
Greetings gentle reader! Here we are with another monthly newsletter in which I talk about books I have read, things I have watched, projects I have been working on and any other ponderings which really don't fit into its own post! It's pretty much some old-fashioned homemaking chit-chat. July was filled with many family engagements mingled in with the beautiful routine of everyday life. This included some light traveling and trying to maintain the home and laundry in-between. Homemaking is much easier when you remain home. It flows like honey... but when you are a traveling busy bee, it can certainly sting!
The garden was busy producing lots of sweet, vine-ripe tomatoes. If there was one vegetable I was able to choose to grow year-round, it would be tomatoes. What they sell in the markets doesn't resemble a real tomato in the least. Due to our temporary small garden space, we haven't had an abundance to preserve and to be honest, I have been really enjoying the freshness of them (and probably have been over-eating them)! We made lots of salsas, green salads, caprese salads, marinated vegetables, black bean salads and every Friday it is pizza Marguerite!
There are various ways to make a Marguerite pizza. From what I understand, it traditionally includes fresh basil, mozzarella and sliced tomatoes to mimic the Italian flag (green, white, red). This is my version... I infuse freshly minced garlic in extra-virgin olive oil for an hour or so while I work on dinner preparation. Then I par-bake our sourdough crust until the bottom gets golden. Next I smear on the olive oil and garlic across the entire crust (this acts as the "pizza sauce") and place sliced garden tomatoes across the entire pizza. Follow with a heavy sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Finally, I place the pizza back in the oven until the cheese is bubbly, add some freshly chopped basil to the top and drizzle any leftover garlic-infused olive oil over it all. It is delicious!
One of the projects I have been working on is our pantry extension. Do you recall that I increased our pantry area about 8 months ago by adding a stand-alone linen closet? By removing all our linens from the hallway closet, we were able to free up more cupboard space for our food supply! In the meantime, we were storing our second level of food storage in the garage (you can read up on my system and goals of pantry building here). This was certainly not an ideal location because of the summer heat. So, we started bringing in our storehouse supply into the small spare room (aka hubby's study and our sewing space) where the average temperature is 75 degrees.
To remedy piles of bulk flour, sugar and so forth on the floor, we bought a cabinet to store our excess at a second-hand store. We painted it up nice and pretty (white of course!) and attached a spring rod across to keep the area looking tidy. Now I feel we have a nice storeroom area that blends in with the house while maintaining the food storage goals our family has.
I cut an old tablecloth that was too small for our kitchen table in half and sewed it into a curtain to cover the contents (I will make dish towels with the other half as I love the cotton neutral stripes!). I put two thrift store baskets on top for additional storage. I am really pleased to have this extra space!
While on the subject of pantry building, I wanted to share the new Etsy Store I opened! This is going to be my little hobby since I finished homeschooling. I enjoy pantry building, decorating my food storage and organizing my home. I think this little cottage industry employs all my homemaking interests! If you would like to take a peek, please visit Mistress of the House.
One of the books I enjoyed last month was "Simply Living Well" by Julia Watkins. It is a guide to creating a natural, low-waste home. I will be honest and say that I read these "green living" type of books for the frugal living inspiration. You can glean many money saving concepts from the "zero-waste" movement. She shares many lovely recipes, diy tutorials and of course, pretty pictures to make it all beautiful!
As far as movies go, I have nothing to recommend this month. The culture is reflected in the media and it is hard to relate to most of the shows they are offering. Even the period dramas that were always my favorite (here is my list) (and most of the time were clean viewing) have become absolutely scandalous. It seems there has to be a marital affair (with the heroine being the culprit!) or other forms of un-godly relationships in order to attract a modern audience. And the depth of what they show on the screen! It is hard to gloss over. But I digress...
On another note, our "Pretty in Pink" giveaway ends soon in case you haven't yet entered! It is a set of feminine favorites that I find romantic and pretty. I have to say that my favorite part about the giveaways I have been doing is reading all the comments! You are all such wonderful women and kindred spirits!
Lastly, I wanted to take this opportunity to say that although I seem silent regarding the current state of affairs in this world, I definitely am aware of all that is going on in it. While I have been talking much about pink, pantries and other pretty things, I do not have on rose-colored glasses. I am well-informed. However, this blog is meant to occupy and inspire the keeper at home and so this is where I choose to keep my focus... in the home. While I have covered and will continue to cover pantries and preparedness, it has never been from a spirit of fear but in an act of Proverbs 31 prudence. Also, I never wanted to keep a controversial blog because I didn't want to be focusing on "battleground" comments all day while trying to peacefully raise a family. I certainly have opinions on all that is going on -- strong ones. But I hope you understand that this place here is meant to be nurturing ground. It is a place of encouragement and all the beautiful Philippians 4:8 tidings. I just wanted to clear the air in case any of you were wondering and had too much good manners to ask :)
Now, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated and just reading about your projects inspires me!
Verse of the Month:
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
~ Philippians 4:8