Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Real-Life Dangers of a Screen-Free Childhood

It all starts at a very young age when you choose not to introduce your children to the world of fancy, flashing electronics. You end up with a life of little schemes and threatened home security. A screen-free childhood can be VERY dangerous. Books are at risk, household odors develop, first aid is required, sleepless nights, added expenses and unauthorized uses of axes are all menacing situations you may encounter!

Children Playing Painting | Arpad Cserepy Oil Paintings

I remember when our child was just about five. Her showers seemed incredibly long. I began to suspect some foul play was involved but every time I interrogated her, I received no answers. Finally, after feeling the time had been extremely excessive, I crept into the bathroom, peeked through the curtain and behold! I see a child showering and a book held high away from the streaming water.

Those poor Bobbsey Twins were inches from their demise. No wonder she took so long in there, she was catching up on her reading!!! Those poor books didn't stand a chance.

Children Playing Outdoors Painting by MotionAge Designs

Let's fast forward to the age of nine. Her bedroom began to develop the most horrendous odor. Finally my husband and I maintained that this was no average farm aroma and began some investigating. And what did he find lurking suspiciously in a corner but a rotting jar of some kind of bubbling, fermented liquid! When we confronted our daughter on the subject, she exclaimed, "Carla Emory said the smell will last just a little while but eventually the juice will turn into vinegar".

She had transformed her bedroom into some kind of medieval laboratory! Can a child reading homestead books be safe? Perhaps a video game would keep her out of trouble because the unfortunate part of all that reading is that she wanted to start actually DOING.

Ball party, children playing Painting by Claude-Emile Schuffenecker

As we were studying England, she decided she was going to make a four-course dinner in honor of menus she had seen of those fabulous feasts. She wanted to do it all by herself (she was 10 but was becoming quite an accomplished chef with all this screen-free living). Apparently some fried potato item was on the menu and she got a bit too close to that splattering oil and received an unfortunate burn on her little arm. She didn't say anything until after the meal because she was enjoying herself too much. She had self-treated it in the meantime with a bottle of lavender which explained the heavy fragrance in the air (the audacity to administer her own first aid!).

While I did have to tone down her elaborate meal making schemes and create more ground rules (i.e., report any accidents immediately to headquarters), I must admit that she sure can cook right now! Anything she sees she can make or bake but imagine the chaotic kitchen at the time... Imagine Cal/OCIA!

Children At Play Artwork By William Jabez Muckley Oil Painting & Art Prints  On Canvas For Sale - PaintingStar.com Art Online Store

By the age of 11, the requests started coming in. She would like a book on making her own paint (who thinks of these things?). She would like some crochet thread and a hook and perhaps even some knitting needles. She would like to make a drop spindle (I didn't even know what this was). But how can this be when I didn't even know how to do these things? But there it was, the answer was presented to me with her chubby little fingers, The Complete Guide to Needlework was explaining everything (It wasn't an exciting book by any means but it was quite comprehensive!). "You simply follow the instructions mom!"

As a homeschooling teacher, I felt compelled to feed these hobbies but I'm sure some may think I should have just kept a television going to keep her occupied and the expenses down?

Children playing in the garden Painting by Czech

Then at the age of 13, I notice the sleeping habits became topsy-turvey. During the day she would be so tired (is this due to growing pains?). But no, apparently the issue was that she snuck into the library at night, removed the unabridged copy of Oliver Twist from the shelf and couldn't sleep until Dickens had told his complete tale! And this would happen with each new novel on the shelf. Teen rebellion at its finest. 

Maybe a big dose of social media would keep her more lethargic and sleepy? A love of books was certainly a problem in this household. After all, books were the norm many moons ago, perhaps this old fashioned childhood with "nothing exciting" to keep you busy was way too archaic? 

Children Playing with Dogs Painting | Narcisse Dìaz de la Peña Oil Paintings

And then there was the day I remember quite well. My husband and I had gone into town for supplies and our daughter (now 14 or 15) was to stay back, finish her homeschool work as well as have lunch ready for us when we returned. I remember coming home quite famished and was elated when I saw the meal. It was nice and hot chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy! We began to enjoy the hearty fare when I realized WAIT, we didn't HAVE any chicken in the freezer! Where in the world did this come from as our home is far from any store? And then she proceeded to tell us that she had butchered the chicken this morning. And yes, de-feathered and de-gutted it and all. Yes, she did indeed use an axe when no one was home to monitor her safety. I couldn't believe my ears! 

This screen-free childhood could be treacherous!

Sold Price: A very rare oil painting of playing children by Jetses - June  4, 0116 4:00 PM CEST

So, if you would like to refrain from any mischievous adventures, experiences and actual “extreme” learning in your home, then I suggest you make sure your child owns an IPAD, has 24 hour access to a television and can be tapping on a cell phone any time in between it all. Clearly, you can see where such thinking with books as their best friends and the great outdoors can lead. 

Reuben Hunt - 19th Century genre oil painting of children playing For Sale  at 1stDibs

As a side note, I remember growing up in the suberbs with my two brothers. We would climb trees, build forts, make fruit stands from our avocados, rally the neighborhood children to play basketball and baseball games. It was a beautiful childhood and it breaks my heart that so many children are growing up with artificial memories in front of screens. What kind of memories will they have to look upon when they are adults?

A Group Of Children Playing The Game 'oranges And Lemons' In A Domestic  Interior Artwork By Harry Brooker Oil Painting & Art Prints On Canvas For  Sale - PaintingStar.com Art Online Store

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
~ John 10:10

Kittys Tea Party Artwork By Harry Brooker Oil Painting & Art Prints On  Canvas For Sale - PaintingStar.com Art Online Store

I know this poem is a bit nerdy but I think it shares the concept of this subject that has been so dear to my heart. As I see more and more of this "modern childhood" experience, I feel the need to share about old fashioned childhoods - the ones that dreams are made of.

Too Old To Play Photograph by Harry Brooker


Each parent gets to decide....

A "Little House on the Prairie" life running across the lawn...

or a screen-filled life, boredom, yawn?

Shall I inspired a "Green Gables" imagination fulls of capers, plans and dreams...

or give them one more thing to robotically watch and stream?

Will I encourage a "Caddie Woodlawn" childhood full of family and fresh air...

or teach them to touch a screen as if no one is there?

We can give our children the beauty of these beloved classics in a real life home.

We can give them a "Secret Garden" or "Swiss family Robinson" abode.

British Paintings: Harry Brooker - The Young Kite Makers

Do you remember wishing you could live that life when you were a child?

That storybook life?

We can give that gift to our children.

We can give our children more than the flashing screens that this culture offers.

We can give them laughter, jumping, running, building, climbing, making, crafting, playing, creating, pretending, resourcefulness... pinecones, feathers, tents, paints, leaves, trees, forts, art, dress up, and old fashioned play.

We can give them a true childhood

We can give them the gift of memories.

"Preserve your memories. Keep them well.

What you forget you can never retell." 

~ Louisa May Alcott

Busy Hours - Harry Brooker as art print or hand painted oil.

You May Also Be Interested in:

The Gift of a Childhood (Playtime without Toys and Electronics - Creating a Home Library)

The Gift of a Childhood II

The Biblical Cure for Bored Children

DIY Projects Based on Books

Monday, December 6, 2021

The "Art" of Home-Making Mondays ~ Inspiration #12


"Women sigh for fame. They would be sculptors, and chisel out of the cold stone forms of beauty to fill the world with admiration of their skill. Or they would be poets, to write songs to thrill a nation and to be sung around the world. But is any work in marble so great as her who has an immortal life laid in her hands to shape for its destiny?"

"He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!"
~ Psalm 113:9

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Sacred Suppers ~ Snippets


Dearest homemaker,

Let us not underestimate the powers of love and spiritual growth that a home cooked meal served side-by-side provides for the family. There is nothing like a satisfied taste bud to bring about joy. There is beauty in this time around the table, when hands are clasped and a prayer of gratitude is given. This valuable age-old tradition, is a sacred part of the “old paths” of the New Testament believers who also gathered in one accord. The “fruit” that came forth from that fellowship was nothing less than amazing… Which blessings will be bestowed on your family when you take the time to serve a meal around the kitchen table?

🍞 🧺 🕯 

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers…. and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
 ~Acts 2:42-43b

Monday, November 15, 2021

DIY All Purpose Floral Salve and Lovely Lip Gloss ~ Great Gifts

“If we allow our "high creativity" to remain alive, we will never be bored. We can pray, standing in line at the super market. Or we can be lost in awe at all the people around us, their lives full of glory and tragedy, and suddenly we will have the beginnings of a painting, a story, a song.” 
~ Madeleine L'Engle

There are times in a homemaker's life where she may feel stagnant and dull. Though this is far from true, I have found that living creatively and maintaining little projects along the way, add an immense amount of joy to the homemaking role. THERE IS NEVER TIME TO BE BORED! In this case, I have been looking at all my beautiful dried flowers with a desire to use them in a lovely way. This salve came to mind as all of these favorites are excellent medicinal herbs for women's skin care as well as quite aromatic for the feminine heart.  I’m excited to share this “ode to femininity” salve which will make for an all-purpose skin healer and lip gloss. I’ve named it my “floral salve”.  


To make this, I placed an equal amount of each of the following flowers to a clean jar (you can use any size jar you want in order to get the yield you want). Leave about 1 - 2 inches headspace at the top of the jar to leave room for the oil to cover the herbs. 

- 1 part of dried rose petals
- 1 part of dried chamomile
- 1 part of dried lavender buds
- 1 part of dried calendula

Next I poured in extra virgin olive oil (you can also use a good quality almond oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and/or grape-seed oil).  Cover the flowers in the oil by at least 1-2 inches (making sure they are completely submerged the entire time. To keep the herbs covered, I usually shake the jar once a day or so). 

This is a very flexible recipe and I encourage you to use what you have. If your apothecary has lavender and chamomile, just use those. With the addition of essential oils at the end, you will still have a fine and worthy salve! I am the queen of making do and I encourage you to do the same if necessary (during certain times in my budget, it is necessary). 

Screw the lid on firmly and let the mixture steep in a warm, sunny spot for 2 - 3 weeks (you can cover the jar of oil with a light cloth if you want to avoid direct sunlight). I usually place my infusions on my kitchen sill. When the time is up, strain the solids through a fine cheesecloth or a piece of thin cotton/muslin to remove all particles. I found that double straining with a second time through cotton works best. Pour into a clean, dry jar and measure out the amount of oil you have.

In a double boiler, gently heat your (measured out) floral infused oil for a few minutes.

(To bypass excess clean up, save up some of your discarded canned food tins to make a disposable double boiler (that means you don't need to clean up the wax residue after - you just toss your can!). Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the wax to the can and you have a makeshift double boiler!)

Add in 1/4 c. of beeswax for every 1 cup of oil you measured (you can also add in some shea butter at this point for extra moisturizing abilities).

Stir occasionally until everything is gently melted together. I use a wooden skewer to stir so that it can be thrown away after for easy clean up.Remove your mixture from heat.  I divided my mixture in half at this point so that I could do half as all-purpose skin salves and half as tinted lip glosses. 

*Now is also the time to add in some coloring if you would like to make a tinted lip gloss that is shown in the pictures. It isn't necessary to add in the color, but it is fun. Once your beeswax and oil solution is melted, simply add in some lipstick (there is no ratio to this, just go by sight). I used an all-natural lipstick color that my daughter purchased which was too dark for her. Once it was added to the solution, it was a beautiful hue. But to be honest, it is very light on the lips (so don't expect a dark color, it is a lovely light gloss). This is also a great way to use up the bottom of the lipstick tube if you are a lipstick wearer. Just go in there with a toothpick or something to remove the excess and melt it into the warm solution. I used a whole tube of lipstick for one cup of floral oil. 

Once your mixture is removed from heat, stir it a bit to cool it off as you don't want to add the essential oils to a hot mixture (it will evaporate the oils). But you don't want it too cooled off as the oil mixture will start to set into a salve (if this happens, just warm it up again)!
Now -- stir in the essential oils. For the basic salve recipe I would add 10 drops of your favorite floral essential oil to every cup of your infused oil to give it a stronger potency of medicinal benefits and a longer shelf life.

For instance, I had a yield of 2 cups of oil. I used the following essential oils which are excellent for our skin:

- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of chamomile essential oil
- 5 drops of geranium essential oil
- 5 drops of rose absolute (you can use rose essential oil if you have the luxury or Palmarosa essential oil)

This equals 20 drops of oil - AKA -  10 drops of essential oil for every cup of floral oil used.

I usually stir the solution for another minute before pouring the warm liquid into lip gloss tins (0.5 ounce), salve tins (1.0 ounces), small canning jars or even recycled baby food jars. The salve will firm up within the hour or so.

This all-purpose skin salve can be used for many concerns such as bites, burns, stings, rashes, cuts, inflammation, chapped skin, wounds and/or dry skin conditions. It should last for six months to one year if stored in a cool, dark location. The lip gloss can simply be used as a lip moisturizer. I think these would also make lovely gifts for the sweet women in your life.

Happy herbal homemaking! 


Thursday, October 28, 2021

A True Home ~ Snippets

A true home...

built with prayers, sweat and tears,

a place to alleviate life's trials and fears.

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
~ Matthew 7:25


Dearest homemaker, continue to quietly build up your home, your efforts are never in vain. It takes guts, strength and determination but with His help you shall triumph through the bad weather.

Pictured: Savory spinach “parable”  pie 🥧

Monday, October 25, 2021

September 2021 Homemaking Newsletter (Autumn Nesting)

“I was brought up to believe in the modern myth that housekeeping is only drudgery, and the housewife is a downtrodden martyr. I thought that any seemingly contented housewives were only ‘making the best of it.’ When I first began housekeeping in my own home, I felt that I had entered the ranks of the mistreated.

After a time I began to realize, to my amazement, that I didn’t feel at all downtrodden, and that I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I began to look at other domestic ‘martyrs’ from a new angle, and I have learned many things.

I have found that there is romance in housework: and charm in it; and whimsy and humor without end. I have found that the housewife works hard, of course–but likes it. Most people who amount to anything do work hard, at whatever their job happens to be. The housewife’s job is home-making, and she is, in fact, ‘making the best of it’; making the best of it by bringing patience and loving care to her work; sympathy and understanding to her family; making the best of it by seeing all the fun in the day’s incidents and human relationships.

The housewife realizes that home-making is an investment in happiness. It pays everyone enormous dividends. There are huge compensations for the actual labor involved…

There are unhappy housewives, of course. But there are unhappy stenographers and editresses and concert singers. The housewife whose songs I sing as I go about my work, is the one who likes her job.”

~ Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Greetings gentle reader! I've been homemaking with all my heart because He said to. Do you join me in the Titus 2 forces? If so, perhaps you would care to read along in another monthly update in which we chat about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post. It is simply an old-fashioned homemaking newsletter. 

As we enter fall, we did our final preserving of "meat in the summer”...

I’ve processed 14 pints of freshly-caught-by-husband, bluefin-tuna. I pressure canned it with homegrown jalapeños, Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground pepper and topped the jars with olive oil. I can’t wait to open that first lid… HERE is the instructions for pressure canning the tuna that I used.

"There be four things which are little upon the earth
but they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
yet they prepare their meat in the summer…"
~ Proverbs 30:24-25

Sometimes a quiet morning spent measuring, pouring and packaging is tender therapy for all the loud things of this world. When you infuse this time with prayer, it can be powerful therapy. 

I’ve made these botanical perfumes as gifts for some lovely women in our church. I call them "relaxing rose perfumes". 

To prepare this all-natural essential oil blend, place 3 tiny dried rose buds inside a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Add 2 tsp. almond oil (or carrier oil of choice), 3 drops of geranium essential oil, 2 drops of Peru balsam essential oil, 1 drop of lavender (or frankincense) essential oil and 1 drop of sandalwood (or patchouli) essential oil. Top off the bottle with more carrier oil if necessary. Put on roller cap/lid and shake well. Your “relaxing rose” perfume is ready to use!

And now, you have also successfully bottled up some lovely aroma-therapy!

I've also begun infusing some of my favorite flowers in olive oil to make a lovely, floral, feminine salve. Here is the tutorial. These too, make lovely gifts!

As you can see, as the garden dwindled down, I became involved in many herbal homemaking projects. These prairie candles were so enjoyable to make and I shared the tutorial HERE in case you are interested. 

I've also been enjoying some autumn nesting… There are many methods to embracing the change of seasons in the home. It is probably one of the most enjoyable of the homemaking arts! My preference is in embellishing with everyday “replacements”. I’ve been a little squirrel packing away fall treasures in anticipation of my favorite season. Here is how I’m infusing autumn into our home:

- I’ll be replacing my every day dishes with this thrift-store “curated” collection of plates in browns, yellows & oranges. There are four different designs but I think they “match” beautifully.

- The cottage printed plate will replace a summery rose plate I have hanging on the wall. This will bring “warmth“ into the kitchen (shown in action on second-to-last picture on this post).

- I’ve collected a few secondhand baking dishes at thrift stores in browns. I will be using these to serve our meals. One is a vintage Pyrex & the other is a brown glass dish which came in a sweet custom-sized wicker serving basket!

- I have brought out my beeswax tapers & brass candlestick holders to enjoy once again.

- I’ve saved our butternut squash harvest to make our favorite soup come October. In the meantime, they are a lovely seasonal centerpiece.

- I will now be using the autumn inspired no-sew “prairie napkins” I made (shared below). It’s always fun to introduce new linens into the fold.

- I’ll be removing the white summer linen sheets and bedding and replacing them with a darker print sheet set and heavier down duvet.

- And lastly, I placed all my autumn inspired (thrifted) fabrics in a basket in order to prepare some projects for the home (this is written for accountability 😉). I had recently done a deep cleaning with some reorganizing. When I went through my closet, I saw all the secondhand sheets & flannels I found for great prices. But it isn’t great when it becomes clutter! Therefore, this will be my seasonal sewing basket (now you are my witnesses). I must produce!

What are your cozy home plans?

I repurposed another thrifted vintage fitted sheet into a set of “autumn prairie” napkins (without sewing)... I’m in love with this “snip-and-rip” process! I had made a set for spring and have used them constantly. I can’t wait to bring in the “new” fall collection. It’s so enjoyable to prepare handcrafted items for your home each season (especially when it costs next to nothing).

When I had purchased the secondhand sheet set, I really only wanted the flat sheet (I’ll share that project once finished) but since the fitted sheet came with it, I was obligated to put it to use (it’s in my frugal OCD nature 😉).

This set of napkins took me five minutes to measure and rip-to-size along with a slow evening spent pulling off excess threads. 

A step-by-step tutorial is shared HERE if you are interested.

These simple napkins give me such pleasure! To turn something obsolete into something useful plain gives me the happy homemaking chills ✨ have you felt that thrill I’m speaking of? when you repurpose little items to embellish your home life?

When purchasing something brand new and mass-produced, there is truly no comparison to the joy one gets from creating something from a castaway nothing.

“…it was not what one had that was important,
but what one made.” 
~ Elizabeth Goudge

I have also been baking up a storm. It seems like the moment the seasons change is the moment that oven becomes alive again after the heat of summer. I always double the recipe for my cookies and freeze the extra for impromptu company. It comes in so handy! 

“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us.” 
~ Edith Schaeffer

Perhaps this explains my love for pretty plates, lace curtains and dainty linens. It is a practical form of homemaking art that we can adorn our homes with. Why limit beauty to just paintings and portraits on the walls? Some of us like to sprinkle it into all our little tasks and rituals as a daily act of love. With the existence of thrift stores, it is possible to be a domestic artist in even the leanest of household budgets.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much…”
~ Luke 16:10

Pictured: freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (another work of homemaking art ☺️).

As far as books and movies go, my daughter and I have been on a fall frenzy and cozied up with popcorn and rented a Hallmark film called "Autumn Dreams". It was sweet and everything you expect in a Hallmark movie. We've also been reading lots of old home decoration books that we have found thrifting. It truly is a time for nesting. 

P.S. I added some new labels in our Etsy shop this month! These dainty calico printed labels are 2.5 inches (and are waterproof and removable) and could be used in so many ways: pantry labels, canning labels, homemade product labels, crafting labels, etc. Just wanted to share!

Pictured below: "Autumn nesting"... the replacement of that one “cottage” plate on the wall turns summer into cozy fall… 

Dearest homemaker, 

Now more than ever, the home needs to be a place of peace. Perhaps even a place of Aw and wonder as we face such ugliness in the world. The home should feel safe, comforting and most importantly, sacred. That each person who enters knows they have entered a refuge from the current reality. It is the way to show our children that THIS is what is “normal” and good. That there is so much difference in these walls from the world’s that their souls will instinctively know that God resides here and they will have a strong desire to be here also.

"My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..."
~ Isaiah 32:18

With that being said, 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 as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me! Also, I have been having trouble with my links. If you decide to click on any of them, would you mind letting me know if they are proper (in other words, do you find you end up where you expect to)? I am trying to troubleshoot this... but in the meantime I'm...

Happily homemaking,

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which help support this blog. Thank you!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Autumn Crazy Cake (No Butter, Eggs, Milk or Mess) ~ Inspired by the Depression Era Recipe (aka Wacky Cake) w/ GF Option

“The magic of autumn has seized the countryside; now that the sun isn't ripening anything it shines for the sake of the golden age; for the sake of Eden; to please the moon for all I know.” 
~ Elizabeth Coatsworth, Personal Geography

With each season, I am determined to make a crazy cake to compliment it... Because they don't require milk, eggs or butter, they are a perfect (and frugal) recipe to keep on hand for a rainy day or have ready in the spirit of preparedness or make for someone with food allergies or simply because they are an "everything from the pantry" creation (which you know I am obsessed with)! With items not always being available at the supermarket these days, I love to have these kinds of recipes as beautiful back up. So far I have shared Apply Crazy Cake, Banana Crazy CakeZucchini Crazy Cake, Chocolate Banana Crazy CakeCarrot Crazy Cake, Lemon Crazy Cake and Orange Crazy Cake. May I now present to you the crazy cake that can be prepared with either pumpkin or butternut squash puree? You can make them with a canned good from the pantry or pick a pumpkin from the patch! Either way this cake is an ode to fall and is a perfect seasonal treat.

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8 by 8 inch square baking pan. I was fortunate enough to find this pumpkin shaped pan for a dollar at the thrift store and I couldn't resist it! 

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour (all purpose or gluten-free flour blend) 
  • 1 c. white sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. Pumpkin pie spice (use only 1-2 tsp. if you're not into those kinds of spices)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (use 1 1/2 tsp. is using gluten-free flour blend) 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
Wet Ingredients: 
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil (we use sunflower) 
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar (use apple cider vinegar for gluten-free version) 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 c. water 
  • 1 c. Pureed pumpkin or butternut squash 
Measure out and mix all the dry ingredients together in your prepared baking pan (or in a large baking bowl if you have an odd shaped pan like I used). Make three wells in the baking pan, making sure one is large enough to contain the oil. (You will find more detailed pictures in the apple crazy cake recipe in case this is a new concept for you.) Pour the oil into the largest well and the vinegar and vanilla separately into the other impressions. Pour water over all the contents, add the puree and carefully mix your ingredients until combined and smooth. 

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes (it is finished when a toothpick inserted inside the center comes out clean). Cool on wire rack. Once it is completely cooled, you may frost it.

I used the recipe for icing from Sally's Baking Addiction and simply opted for the version using one cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 3 Tbs. heavy cream. This had a thicker consistency when using cream (rather than milk) which I liked for the heavy drizzle effect I desired. The nuts of course are optional but I felt the pecans added a pretty touch.

While I did include a printable link for this recipe HERE, some people have been having problems accessing our printables so I inserted a picture of the recipe below. Perhaps it can be printed directly from the picture? I would love some feedback to see if this works... or if you are able to access the file and print it via Google Docs with my recipe link. Either one I would be quite curious about! 

Now, this recipe can go inside your basic recipe book. It can also go into your preparedness notebook as it is a purely pantry recipe that can definitely come in handy. Or, it can go into your garden cookbook under winter squash. Decisions, decisions! What are your thoughts? To be honest, I will place it in all three as I don't like having all my eggs in one basket. 

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself,
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” 
~ Henry David Thoreau

And that is all there is to it my friends. This recipe comes together in minutes and is so very moist. I do hope you give it a try as baking is what autumn is all about in my world... As well as a cozy sofa full of throw blankets, hot cups of creamy liquids, candles, warm sweaters... I could go on and on! But I know you have much to do so I will leave you with a "happy homemaking"! 

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Hidden Life of a Homemaker ~ Snippets

No one sees the tears you wiped this very morning... no one sees the moments you keep quiet in order to maintain peace... no one sees the stress you carry (since you still smile) with the current "situations"... no one sees the messes you clean in order to keep cozy... no one sees the pie you baked in order to bring joy to the sorrowful... no one sees the sacrifices you make every hour of the day... no one sees what you go without so that others may have plenty... no one sees the prayers you send up for every one of those souls in your home and in your heart... 

No one sees... but Him.

Glory Hallelujah.

"For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

~ George Eliot

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven."

~ Matthew 6:1


(Note: These little "snippets" shared here and there are from some of my more special Instagram posts that I feel some of you may enjoy that aren't on it...)

Saturday, October 2, 2021

July/August 2021 Homemaking Newsletter (Plus Extra Pantry Talk)

"In her notes, she wrote that homekeeping wasn't just a matter of cleaning a house; it was a matter of presentation, hospitality, entertaining, etiquette, organizing, letter writing, caring for loved ones, cooking, sewing, and just plain general information that made for a thoughtful, meaningful, and considered life."

~ Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping by Miriam Lukken

Greetings my gentle readers! And here we find ourselves with another bi-monthly update in which we speak peacefully about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post. It is simply an old-fashioned homemaking newsletter. Would you like to join me in our little home for the happenings of July and August?

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I did spend much time in reorganizing and deep cleaning our home for the cozy autumn months ahead. This is what spurred on my herbal projects that I had posted of late. To go through all your closets and baskets and see what you put aside, compelled me to start making use of those lovely things and put to order everything else. I also have been quite intentional with my pantry as you shall soon see!

“Home life is important and housekeeping should be an enjoyable part of it.” 

Making pretty places in the home is something I find immense pleasure in doing. I love to create useful themed “areas” and bask in the organized beauty. In this case, I noticed a frantic rush for extra towels and linens whenever we would have overnight guests. Therefore, I carved out a little space in our spare-room closet to host these extra items for convenience. This is where my thrifted cotton sheet collection has become quite handy! Don’t forget a stack of fresh bath towels which feels luxuriously relaxing because the excess “closet things” are stored away in secondhand baskets. The delightful detail of fragrant soaps (also useful), tucked inside the linens, generously scents the air when one opens the tiny doors. These little homemaking scenes add such satisfaction to my homemaking senses! Do you like to make useful nooks and zones in your sweet sanctuary?

I also made up these scented wax sachets (in order to use up some of my herbal inventory and add a delightful scent to my "now" organized closets and drawers). You will find the DIY project here if you are interested. This autumn nesting was quite enjoyable. 

I also did much baking and have been adding to my freezer for spur of the moment hospitality. It feels good to have stacks of goodies to share on a moments notice or to take to someone for a spontaneous visit. I have been trying to put aside one day of the week for such baking activities. Cookies and bars freeze well and I always double the recipes to maximize my output. All that is left to do when folks arrive is fire up the tea kettle and brew a nice hot batch of coffee!

A large part of my days have also been spent in making the most of our harvests. I try to cook with our garden produce for all our meals and freeze the excess for future meals. There is nothing like homegrown vegetable dishes in the autumn and winter months. We had much summer squashes and I have tried to preserve every single ounce. 

How to store a zillion zucchini in a quarter-of-a-square foot. 

Dice and dehydrate. Dice and dehydrate. Dice and… 🎶 Until the whole army has been defeated 🔪😉 

I’ll use this surplus with a glad heart in autumn and winter casseroles, soups, stews and sauces.

It is also a blessing to know you have “fresh” food in your Proverbs 31 pantry… The simple joy of adding another full quart of provisions to our larder shelf. To me, food in jars are beautiful home decoration!

What do you do with your excess summer squash?

Are you trying to be more intentional with your harvests this year? Visit our blog post on “gentle preparedness“ for some extra “food for thought”.

I did all the things I could do with zucchini including baking with it. I was "forced" to make these chocolate cake zucchini bars because I don't believe in waste. It was difficult but frugality must be respected and so I just had to have a piece every day to honor this homemaking tradition. 

“It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt to take us at our own valuation.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

And so I do ♥️ and being I am in the kitchen a great deal of the day, I like to create special, helpful things to make my homemaking duties go more smoothly… and give them a bit of “importance”. As it is my career, I love to do things efficiently but prettily. 

In the summer (especially with all the zucchini) we make a lot of quiches! To make meal time easier, I had put together a little printable quiche recipe kit. You will find it freshly posted HERE if you are interested in adding a bit of homemaking “dignity” into your day 😉 

For me, what is outside in the world is so hard to relate to, that my home becomes more of a place that defines my vision for life.

We can make a difference to our family and give them a beautiful and noble world that is not represented in this modern culture.

And while we’re at it, we can also enjoy lovely things together like grandmother’s old tablecloth, serving food on pretty thrifted platters, flowers cut from the garden, food grown fresh on your own patch of earth, reading books about all the good things this life offers (like cultivating a godly family, home-keeping, gardening, biographies of people who inspire and of course, the “Good Book”).

Don’t forget to add a basket or two for some old fashioned warmth.

Just a little recipe for life.

Plus a picture of our eggplant harvest!

I probably made this tasty Italian-inspired eggplant and rice dish (pictured) about six times this summer! We don't tire of it as this is the only time of year I prepare it. This is what makes the little garden harvests special as they come with their own seasonal menus that are a treat to all!  We had quite the eggplant crop this year so I also dehydrated a few quarts to use in winter soups and sauces. 

The tomatoes kept coming and I continued to dehydrate as much as possible. These will be added to olive oil and placed onto winter pizzas and warm sourdough bread with cheese! 

I've pureed much of the tomatoes and froze them in recycled yogurt containers. They will definitely come in handy for soup making. 

The last jars of tomatoes were preserved into salsa on the last day of August… I used the “fresh salsa” recipe from the Ball website. I look forward to adding these lovelies to the pantry. I also love the feeling of being the proverbial “ant”… 

“Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer,
and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

~ Proverbs 6:7-8

I’ve kept a “pretty pantry shelf” in our kitchen as seasonal decoration and to inspire me to continue to add to the family larder. This tiny area holds four large baskets of tomatoes (sliced and dehydrated), 10 trays of diced and dried zucchini as well as two large baskets of tomatoes (preserved raw packed in canning jars). This shelf changes monthly and has become a little beacon in the home to encourage me to continue in the old ways and to inspire me to maintain a storage of homegrown food as our ancestors did. 

“Food security is not in the supermarket. It's not in the government. It's not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week's farmers' market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.”
~ Joel Salatin, Excerpt from Folks This Ain’t Normal

It also serves as a way to feel productive in a world that feels quite counterproductive.

Pictured is the August pantry shelf contents of:

- fresh yellow roses, clipped from our blooming bushes

- (more) dried tomato slices (5 square dehydrator trays)

- diced dried eggplant (5 square dehydrator trays)

- (more) diced dried zucchini (5 square dehydrator trays)

- 8 half-pint jars of salsa

- dried cayenne garland

"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come..."
~ Genesis 41:35a

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”
~ Gen. George S. Patton

And finally, I'd like to share my "pretend pantry"…

I shared earlier my desire to be more purposeful with filling my pantry this summer. But what I didn’t explain was my lack of space to expand it. As our home is small and our food storage is at capacity, we repurposed a bookshelf to store our excess canned and dehydrated goods. As it’s in my living room, I’ve tried to keep it looking tidy with a little lace curtain. 

I call it my “pretend pantry” as I imagine myself to be a pioneering woman preparing for the winter. I placed other items I came across at thrift stores inside to give it that homespun feel (stacks of ironstone dishes, baskets of eggs and linens). It inspires me to do that extra bit of work. Although I am currently surrounded by the convenience of grocery stores, I don’t want to lose sight of the old ways of providing for our family.

A year or so ago, we saw the modern storefront unable to provide all that the people wanted. This verified my decade-long desire to build up the larder and I’ll continue to add to our real “pretend” pantry for peace of mind.

As a child I marveled over the preparations the pioneering women did each season and I consider it an honor to partake in some of that history. It’s old fashioned but chock-full of common sense.

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
~ Joel Salatin

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

With that being said, 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 as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me!

Happily homemaking,

P.S. Pictured are these sweet little shabby rose "all purpose" gift tags from our Etsy Shop

“What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and work flow.” 

~ Martin Luther

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…”

~ Colossians 3:23

🕯 🧺 🕊 

I do find this work sacred and pleasing to the Almighty because he commissioned me to do it… (Titus 2:4-5) how can it be anything but holy?

“I suppose I am a sparrow, a stay-at-home bird.” 
― Gladys Taber

“Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You.”
— Psalm 84:3-4


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