Thursday, June 18, 2020

May 2020 Newsletter

Hello dear reader! I thought it would be fun to share a monthly newsletter of sorts 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! At the same time, I would love to hear what you have been reading, watching and doing! Recommendations are much appreciated! It will be based on the reflection of the month before. It is essentially some homemaking chit-chat...

πŸ’•But before I begin, I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome! Your prayers and encouragement mean so much! Your sweet comments are greatly treasured in my heart! πŸ’•And I send a huge embrace your way! πŸ’• For some reason I am having trouble commenting. There must have been some kind of glitch or update I didn’t get during my time off but I hope to rectify it soon. Thanks for understanding!


Without going into all the nitty-gritty details of last month (as you all have lived through it yourself), I found that my instinct is to burrow into my little Hobbit hole, pour myself a hot cup of coffee and nest! I enjoyed this little book -- Cozy White Cottage, 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home by Liz Marie Galvan -- the title itself being very appropriate in so many ways to the theme of this blog! The author shares lovely photographs to inspire you and writes to encourage you to love your home, ways to decorate it and invest time and energy into it. I like how each concept is given a number and a few pages. This way, I was able to sit down and peruse a few inspirations a day without the feeling of needing to "finish a chapter". It was light reading and just what I needed at that time! You may be able to find this sweet little book at your local library or on Amazon.


Finding books to read has been a lot more easier than finding things to watch! Now to give you some background, we haven't owned a television for many years so I haven't been kept up to date on the latest shows and so forth. What we do is judiciously choose movies and old television series to watch on the computer. I can’t tell you how many television series we have started that appeared to be “clean” only to find out there were disturbing scenes and themes in the later seasons. What is frustrating is that you get into the plot and it takes some willpower to walk away from the show (and never finding out what happens!!!). But alas...

What we ended up enjoying (and in my opinion was completely appropriate -- and I know that differs with each household) was Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye. We were able to enjoy all 3 seasons! It was such a heartwarming and exciting series with extremely likable characters! It is especially nice that it is a show that both husband and wife can enjoy together (and not just a sappy romance you need to beg hubby to watch). The first few episodes are a bit slow as it sets up the stage for the main character to begin work for the FBI. The neat part is that this is based on a real-life deaf woman's career. I would call it an inspirational FBI drama with a splash of comedy and clean (squeaky clean) romance. Sue even shares about her faith to encourage the characters in the show. Have you ever watched this series? I feel like it is a diamond in the rough as I had never heard of it before (but remember, give it a chance into the first three episodes and then it gets exciting).

Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye - Season 1

Some excerpts from Amazon -- "Inspired by a true story, Sue Thomas is a deaf woman hired by the F.B.I. to use her ability to read lips as part of an elite investigative unit. She meets her professional and personal challenges with her trademark common sense, humor and faith."


I have been dabbling with the sewing machine again. You can see from the seams that I am a beginner! But grandmother always taught me to iron in every step and I do hope that redeems the crazy stitching I ended up with! I like to make up burp cloths in my spare time so I always have something to give to a new mother when visiting her new bundle (I also add some all-natural baby products to round out the gift). The leftover fabric I used to make dusting cloths (from the idea found here). I purchased the soft flannel at a thrift shop and it appeared to be brand new but I always wash and soak them really well when using fabrics from second-hand stores! Placing your purchases in a hot dryer for 20 minutes will sanitize everything (I received this tip from an exterminator). The sun is also a wonderful sanitizer! 

Pantry maintenance has been a daily upkeep! Six months ago I actually freed up two extra sections for food storage (where I used to store my linens) and opened up lots more space. I was very happy I did that due to our current circumstances! I bought a used cabinet on Craigslist and made that into a stand alone linen closet so we were able to increase storage tremendously. Ever since then I have been trying to fine tune everything, decant what I can and assess the "zone" areas (what foods to keep together and so forth). Honestly, it is still a hobby I enjoy. I tell my husband I must be a weirdo but he says a woman who is placing time and value on areas to store nourishing items for her family is not a weirdo (love is a wonderful thing!). 

In the Garden...

It's zucchini season! As I have mentioned in the posts of zucchini pasts, I feel it is my homemaking duty to share at least one zucchini recipe each season! This month I will be sharing this very simple crustless quiche. You can actually use any summer squash in this flavorful casserole.

As the old adage says, "April showers bring May flowers"... and with that came lovely hydrangea blooms that we continue to enjoy in June! These are the planters of flowers that produce for my kitchen table. I love being able to have my own free flower market on my front porch!


I noticed I was starting to feel a little loopy (not my same positive self). It turns out I am low on vitamin D! It wasn’t too surprising considering the current situation and the fact that I lost my clothesline which was my daily fellowship with the sun. The truth is that vitamin D deficiency does affect your mood. Please consider this if you have been feeling “emotionally off” lately. Other symptoms can include getting sick more often, fatigue and tiredness, bone and back pain, depression (uh-huh), impaired wound healing, and bone loss (source). I began taking brisk, 20-minute outdoor walks (in addition to my normal health routine) every day I am able (I used to do this daily on the farm but our current situation in the city hadn't made it so appealing). I also have started taking a supplement. I am already beginning to feel some positive results from this and I share this information in the event that it may help someone else going through a rough patch as well.

And finally, if you haven't entered our "Happy Homemaking Giveaway", you still have a few days to do so! I am really enjoying reading what everyone’s favorite part about homemaking is! It looks like cooking is high on the list by many which kind of surprised me! My favorite parts would be organizing, pantry building/maintenance, fluffing the house and setting the dinner table. Though my meals are usually simple, I love to make the setting look abundant through colorful salads, any toppings or sides that would compliment the dish and using pretty serving bowls and platters to bring about loveliness and fulness to the table.

Now, what about you dear homemaker, what have you been up to?

Verse of the Month:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love
and of a sound mind.”
~ 2 Timothy 1:7


  1. You have more of those beautiful hydrangea - wowza!!! In regards to your vit. D, using the light bulbs that are "natural light" helps. We called them "Happy lights" when my children were younger and we had long winters. Now that summer is here might not be needed as much:-) And as for books, I've been reading the Gladys Taber 'Stillmeadow' books. They are lovely and all about home as you would expect to hear it recalled by your Gma. I think you would enjoy them. They have certainly been an asset to my peace of mind thru the past month. HOpe your day is filled with all you love~

  2. Dear Jes!

    Home, for me, is the place where I can thrive on learning to implement the basics of life ..... the basics that make life so beautiful! One such basic thing, recently, was soaking cloths with ash in the water. This lye water is amazingly effective!!

    On these cold winter nights, I have found some nice things to watch on youtube - “Beyond the Prairie”; other episodes of “The Little House on the Prairie” series; and a few episodes of “Highway to Heaven”. For reading, I have mostly been doing online research regarding my projects regarding basics. Currently, this involves polycarbonate greenhouses, and USB-powered lights. I live off-grid, and prefer to use my portable solar-powered battery hub rather than starting up the generator.. I also found a free book in front of the local mechanic’s shop. It is a twenty year old Rachel Ashwell book - which is about shabby chic interior decorating ...... home again!

    What have I been doing? Well, I have been gathering funds by doing virus cleaning at the local avocado pack house, as well as doing some smaller cleaning jobs on days off. This stems from the window cleaning work that I started before the virus restrictions took place. I also am doing outdoor work at home, including setting up a kitchen garden! I bought broccoli seedlings at the op shop the other day, and they are planted up high in old buckets/flower pots attached to very tall posts, to give them that vitamin D sunshine that we all need!

    I feel so much better at home!! Haha!!


  3. Natural daylight works wonders and really is Health Giving ~ The book seems like something I would enjoy.

    I have been organising a few things around my Home and I am waiting on some
    Paint to arrive for a little kitchen Revamp.

    Take Care 🌼 x

  4. Like Lady Locust, I too love reading Gladys Taber. Every year in Spring I read her books from the library as well as the books of her friend Hal Borland, who writes books on nature. Liz Marie has a blog -- that you may be interested in.

  5. I repeat, I am so happy you are back! My family used to watch the FB Eye show also when it was on television so long ago. We really enjoyed it. I also was having a lot of the problems you talked about, and I finally realized that I was suffering from vitamin D deficiency. I asked my chiropractor about it, and he made a daily dosage recommendation. I picked up a brand I trust from the dollar store, and within days I saw a HUGE improvement. It was like someone flipped a switch in my brain, and I have been much more upbeat and productive. I am about to begin working on the patio, setting it up so we can spend more time outside this summer, and I know that will help my whole family, especially my beloved Redneck, because he works nights and sleeps days.

  6. I do enjoy cooking, but it can be very challenging in a household of 4 adults and 2 kids, but we make it work.
    My chore of choice is vacuuming the floors. We live in the 'country' and with the in and out of everyone, coupled with 3 dogs, they get really gritty. I love being able to walk in my bare feet and not feel the grit and grim

  7. Our state came out of lockdown but while we were on stay at home order, I sewed masks in order to practice sewing again. I'm in many ways a beginner myself as I have trouble with straight lines too. JES, Simplicity has a beginner apron pattern. It's 8826 and I just made a child size one. I made many mistakes with it so I will, Lord willing remake it and make one for her mom. I have to admit, I didn't take the time to fully read and understand the directions. I also took shortcuts that affected the look of the apron.
    Also while on lockdown I made some from scratch recipes.My goal I wrote on my blog January 1st was to make more things from scratch. Little did I know that I'd be forced to do this because of COVID-19 and stores being out of stock of many items.
    Finally I signed up for Instagram. I have trouble posting comments to posts because it keeps submitting before I'm done writing and it won't let me edit. One of these days I'll figure it out.
    Have a great day!

  8. That Sue Thomas show was actually filmed here in Canada and her co-star Yannick Bisson has starred in the Murdoch Mysteries now for many years and I think you would enjoy it. He is a police detective in the 1890's and it is charming and very popular all around the world. It is based on a series of books by a Canadian writer, Maureen Jennings and a few years ago a group I belong to organized a walk, led by her, and based on the locations from the series that you can still see here in Toronto. We normally got about 15 to 20 people for these sorts of walks but over 75 people showed up for this one!
    Since we are still only in stage 1 of reopening I only go into the office once or twice a week (for about 3 hours) and otherwise do what I can from home. I'm lucky in that we have been able to take advantage of one of the Govt. pandemic benefits (they will pay 75% of someone's pay while the employer pays the other 25% and keeps you on the books) so I have been paid for my 25 hours per week as per usual. This, along with my pension money means that I've been fine financially - thank God.
    I've been reorganizing my pantry as well and restocking bit by bit. Wish that I could say that my apt. is totally spic and span but that would be a lie! I've done a lot but need to spend this weekend getting some dusting and vacuuming done!
    Some books suggestions - have you read the Darling Dahlias series by Susan Witting Albert - set in the south at the start of the Depression - there are mysteries to be solved, gardens to be sorted and food to be cooked - I find it charming.
    I would also suggest the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear - it starts with Maisie at around 18 in WWI and I'm now up to about 1938. I really enjoy them.

    1. Thanks for posting about The Murdoch Mysteries. I will be looking for those thru' my library as well.
      I second your support for The Darling Dahlia series. I gobbled those up and loved them all. I admit that it did give me flower envy!!

  9. Hello Jess and great to see you blogging again I have read your blog for sometime from Australia and always found it to be happy and uplifting so thank you :) .

    You have been so proactive and glad you were able to increase your grocery stockpile before all this happened for your family :). We fortunately had done likewise and it has served us well.

    We are still seeing shortages here on things like towels, sheets, ladies underwear and socks, clothing and things like chainsaws as well. I took advantage of huge online sales for new clothing at mostly $3 - $5 ea and bought a lot of clothing to replace items worn out in DH's and my wardrobes and some spares as well before these shortages happened so I am glad I prepared ahead.

    Being winter here we saw a business property that had bulldozed a whole heap of trees to put up a fence so we rang them and asked if we would be able to cut it up to clear the area for them and they said yes. It will provide our home with free ironbark firewood for years to come and some for others as we cut for welfare purposes too to help others. I have also learned under my husbands guidance to use a chainsaw more proficiently and cut firewood too. I have learned to use our new hydraulic log splitter and also to sharpen chainsaw chains :) . Strange lady I am but I love machinery and want to learn how to use it for self reliance purposes.

    We have also been deep cleaning the home room by room and filling garden beds and planting our vegetables which are now getting rather large and are getting our first harvests. These have been blanched and frozen for advanced food supplies in our freezer. Frozen vegetables was another thing we saw shortages on during the pandemic but things are slowly getting back to normal here but we are still finding the strangest things are out of stock when we go and buy them still.

    This week I have stocked up on vegetable seeds for seasons ahead as they are in short supply everywhere so when I see more I will buy them at the right price.

    Have a wonderful week ahead :).


  10. Jes I am so excited to find out you are blogging again. I have your blog on my blog's sidebar and didn't notice that you havenwritten a few new posts. I was thinking about you the other day actually. Welcome back to Blogland. In Australia we have had our libraries and business etc. closed down in March but restrictions are being eased now as we have had 102 people pass away from the virus which is so sad for their families but nothing like the numbers overseas so stay safe. I have downloaded a lot of eBooks from our library and have found some wonderful new to me Christian authors like Lynn Austin, Tessa Afshar, Connilyn Cossette, Kristy Cambron and Kate Breslin. Now I have to go back and read your new posts but just wanted to say hello.

  11. It is so good to find you have returned. You are a great encouragement to homemakers young and old. I am looking forward to reading your new blog entries. It is so timely that you have returned just now. You are needed in the situation we are living in. May blessings abound! Pam from Kansas

  12. A late welcome back from me in Kansas, USA, Jess! I was so happy when I read in Annabelle's post that you were posting again. I've been down, literally on my butt, from a knee injury. I can't get in to see the ortho for another month so I can only diagnose it as "Ouch, I can't walk." We have a loaner wheelchair and that has helped immensely. I hate being helpless and as a career housewife, losing that control has been a true test of my patience. I don't know what the Lord has in mind, but I'm sure there will be a lesson here somewhere, as there usually is with trials in life.

    That said, I'm sending my dear husband out to look and see if my hydrangeas are blooming as I don't know where you are!! I've enjoyed beautiful vases of daffodils, tulips, irises, peonies, and I impatiently await my favorite hydrangeas. Mine usually bloom in periwinkle and a light green mix with an occasional pink or purple one.

    I hope our library can get us the Sue Thomas FBEye show. I think my husband will be especially interested as he is a Deaf Studies major and has interpreted for most of his life. Thanks for the recommendation. And I love that it's clean. If you enjoy WWII era shows, we watched World on Fire on PBS in spring and while heartwrenching, it was very good and clean. I think they block the profanity. I'm so busy reading the closed captioning that I probably miss that!

    Sorry for blathering on. Stay safe!
    Debby in Kansas, USA

  13. I remember watching Sue Thomas FB Eye--- good, clean and interesting series. Glad you are blogging again.

  14. My favorite part of homemaking is sewing, dehydrating and pantry building. It is also growing herbs.

  15. Oh, JES, it is SO good to have you back!!!!! My family has also greatly enjoyed Sue Thomas, FB Eye and I agree that it is so hard to find good wholesome things to watch. We also love the Kendrick Brothers movies, if you haven't seen those... Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, War Room and Overcomer. Not only are they clean, but they also have great messages. Your flowers are beautiful. Again, it is so good to have you back. :)

  16. It is good to have you back and sharing good stuff. I've been enjoying reading Laura Child's Tea Shop Mysteries and sampling the various teas that are in the titles as well as some of the recipes included in the books. I just blogged about the first book, tea, and recipe and hope to continue weekly updates.

  17. Jes,how lovely to see you blogging again! I have missed you! We have all lived (and continue to live) through the strangest of times. And yet, we have survived, thanks to our homemaking skills. I'm looking forward to my regular dose of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth again, to uplift and encourage me. Mimi xxx

  18. I am so happy you are back. I am really blessed with your wisdom.
    God Bless you