Tuesday, March 31, 2015

... and I was published!

Image from Pinterest
 Yes, Mr. T and I were both published in Gooseberry Patch cookbooks this year and each received a free cookbook.  My recipe for potato wedges is found in Mom Knows Best.  You can also find it here at my kitchen table:  Oven Potato Wedges.

I haven't had too much of an opportunity to cook from this cookbook yet, though I have looked through it some.   I did make a couple of recipes, both from the "Ready When You Are!" section, and both slow cooker recipes.  One was Hawaiian Chicken, which includes sweet red or green peppers (I used both), pineapple chunks, and more, and is very flavorful.  The other was Mother's Sausage Supper, which includes potatoes, smoked sausage, and canned green beans and is simple but very good.  I find myself using slow cooker recipes more and more often because it's just so convenient to have supper cooking while I occupy myself with other things.  This chapter has a bunch more I want to try.

I pinned the following images to my I Love Gooseberry Patch! on Pinterest.

Here's the table of contents:
Image from Pinterest
And some sample pages:
Image from Pinterest
You might like to check out this book for your own cookbook collection.  I'm sure it will be a practical addition to mine!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

He was published!

Public domain photo from Pixabay
Yes, my dear hubby, Mr. T, recently had a recipe published by Gooseberry Patch.  It is called Grandpa's Sunday Waffles and is the waffle recipe he uses nearly every Sunday morning.   The cookbook he was published in is Christmas at Grandma’s, but unfortunately it is not going to be available for purchase until July or so.  We did receive an advance copy of the book, so we are already enjoying and using it.

If it is just us here for Sunday breakfast, we don't bother with waffles and have something simpler.  But most weekends our two older granddaughters are here, so we make waffles, bacon or sausage, and some special toppings.  I'm going to share our recipes for syrup and for berry sauce, which I usually make with strawberries because the girls prefer it and we have a freezer full of strawberries.

I’ve forgotten where I found the following recipe, but it is a good, easy pancake syrup. Here in New England, we produce real maple syrup and most of us prefer it to the fake stuff. But when frugality is the rule of the day, and we’re out of the real thing, I actually prefer this to the supermarket pancake syrup.


2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. water

Bring sugar and water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve warm. Store leftover syrup in refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups.

This easy homemade syrup is good on pancakes or waffles. It is much tastier than the artificially-flavored syrup, and of course much less expensive than real maple syrup. It makes a great substitute.


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
2 cups blueberries, raspberries, OR cut-up strawberries

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in the water. Add the fruit and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve warm. Makes about 2 cups.

This is a wonderful, versatile recipe that tastes so good on waffles in particular. It’s also good on pancakes or French toast and would probably be good on vanilla ice cream as well. You can make blueberry sauce, raspberry sauce, or strawberry sauce -- all are wonderful. Or you might like to use a mixture of these berries to make a mixed berry sauce. When I do this, I usually also add a few cranberries to the mixture.

Here's what the book looks like:
Photo from Pinterest
 I love the artwork -- but then, I love almost all of the artwork from Gooseberry Patch!

It's been so much fun for me over the years to acquire free books from Gooseberry Patch when they publish one of my recipes or crafts.  Now my hubby is getting in on the fun, too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

January and February 1953

Rather than wait until next January and February to show the pretty vintage calendar pages from the 1953 January Woman's Day magazine, I decided to go ahead and post them now.  It's interesting to see the Scripture verses that were chosen, and the illustrations are beautiful.  I need to learn more about the artist.

Above is January, of course, and here is the page for February:
You can see that the homeowner here has been spending his February days in a still snowy yard readying his firewood supply for the coming year.  Just what my hubby is currently doing!
Hope you have enjoyed this look at a vintage pocket calendar!  As one of my readers noted, it's really neat that the dates for the days are exactly the same for 2015 as they were in 1953!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Spring!

This picture of daffodils at my dad's house is from a previous year.  No sign of them yet in 2015!
No, there is not much of a spring look hereabouts in northern New England!  The daffodils above are still only a dream as yet.

It really looks much more like this, as the maple sugar producers begin to tap their trees and make syrup:

At my Grampa's sugarhouse, 1956
In the sugar orchard, 1956
So it may be spring by the calendar -- and yes, maple sugaring is a sign of spring up here -- but there are few other signs of it.  It will be all the sweeter when it finally gets here!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A vintage find

I can't even remember now where I came across this treasure, but I found it among things I had saved:  the Woman's Day 1953 Calendar.  You may remember, these calendars used to come as pages within the January issues of Woman's Day magazine.  They featured Scripture verses and lovely illustrations.  The pages were then cut up and assembled as pocket-sized calendars.

Isn't this beautiful?  The verse lettered around the edge of the calendar's cover is from Matthew 12:35 and reads, "A good man out of the treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things." 

The next page of the calendar has another verse, Genesis 1:14.  What a perfectly lovely verse to consider a new year in light of!

And then the months of the year begin.  I plan to show one for every month.  Here is the one for March.

Hope this beautifully illustrated vintage calendar and its Scripture verses has brightened your day today!  It certainly brightened mine!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Salted Caramel Oreo Icebox Cake

Photo from Inside BruCrew Life
This is another one of the recipes I chose for the dessert course of the teen progressive dinner back in February: Salted Caramel Oreo Icebox Cake.  Most teens love coffee as well as chocolate, and this has just enough of a coffee flavor to be barely noticeable.

For this recipe I again turned to Inside BruCrew Life and Jocelyn's inspired recipes.  She has a number of recipes for icebox cakes, and I will be posting about a couple of more of them in days to come.  They are made with oreos dipped in milk (or coffee, in this case), layered with cheesecake filling and various toppings, then chilled thoroughly so they cut like a cake.

I made this in a 9-inch square baking dish and it was the first dessert to disappear from the chocolate buffet I had prepared for the teens.  So the next week, I doubled the recipe for a 13x9-inch pan and took it to our weekly potluck lunch at church.  Again, a huge hit!

If you think you would not care for the coffee flavor in this, just dip the oreos in milk instead of coffee.  It's good either way!  I think a combination of coffee and milk might work well, too.

For more dessert inspiration, check out my Sweet Treats Pinterest board.  You will find dozens of new ideas!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Works in progress

Nearly finished crocheted boot cuff
... and one finished project!

But, before I show you the finish, here are a couple of UFOs.  The photo at top shows a nearly completed boot cuff from this pattern: cute and easy crocheted boot cuffs at Skip to My Lou.  I had made a set of these in a cream color for my granddaughter's birthday (but failed to take a picture of them).  Now I am working on the second cuff for a set in this linen color.

Here's the photo from Skip to My Lou of what they look like when worn.
Photo from Skip to My Lou
Here's another  work in progress, the ever-challenging "Snow Angels" cross stitch which I've showed you before.   It is on 18-count Aida and is quite the project.  The area that the kids are walking away from is going to show snow angels they have made.  You can just see the beginning of one of the "wings" of an angel toward the lower right.  I have found it a huge challenge to keep track of where I am on this chart.  It is huge and very complicated, lots of blended needles in the design.  Those "line minders" and magnetic chart holders just don't work for something this big.  I finally found a low-tech, simple solution: washi tape to mark my place.  I will do a blog post about this eventually.  Wish I had thought of it earlier!  I am trying to do a little on this cross-stitch every day, if possible.

And finally, here is the finished cross-stitched hand towel with the rose border.  It's a good feeling to have this finished, washed, dried, and ready to gift to the recipient.

I am living proof that UFOs can eventually be completed.  Take heart -- and pick up one of your own unfinished projects!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My early spring hutch

I'm simply going to share a few photos and captions of my hutch decorated for early spring.  Not too different from past years, but a couple of new things perhaps.
The lower shelf.  Pretty simple; I have a couple of pieces from the "Grandfather dishes" mentioned in an earlier post; a couple pieces from the Colonial Homestead dishes I collect; some Fiestaware salt & peppers, a St. Patrick's Day tag by my friend Judy; and all arranged on a crocheted-edge vintage cloth I made last summer.

Middle shelf -- this has pretty much stayed the same with a maple sugaring display, including a spile that was my grandfather's.

Top shelf; I used a different teapot this year and added my sweet "Thankful" sign that I got at The Wilds of New England.  It's appropriate for any time of year!

On the dining table, I've placed a wooden tree and a little maple syrup tin under glass in my small cake dome.

Hope you have enjoyed this look at my simple early spring decorating!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homemade Samoa Bars

Photo from Inside BruCrew Life
Yes, it is Girl Scout Cookie season!  Last Saturday my hubby and I went out for breakfast and made a quick stop at a Walmart in another town.  Girls and ladies were busily setting up a table to sell Girl Scout cookies in front of the store.  We determined then and there that we would stop on our way out.

Wow, was that table busy when we got back out there!  People were standing in line, and it was also obvious that some people had come there specifically to buy cookies.  They were literally driving up to the table!  We picked up a box each of our favorites, Thin Mints and Samoas.  The price has gone up over time and the boxes seem to have become smaller, but it's a good cause and the cookies are tasty.  It's sort of a March tradition for us to pick up a box or two.

But if you crave the taste of Samoas all year round and would like to replicate the flavor, here is the recipe for you:  Homemade Samoa Bars!  The recipe is from Jocelyn at  Inside BruCrew Life, one of the most prolific bakers out there.  I always turn to her blog or to recipes of hers I've pinned to my Sweet Treats Pinterest board if I am looking for a new and different treat.

I made these Homemade Samoa Bars back in February when we hosted the dessert course for a teen progressive dinner.  I had asked one of the teens for ideas, and her response was, "Anything chocolate!"  So I made four chocolate items to choose from, and these bars were one.  They got raves and disappeared quickly.

Another of the pins on my Sweet Treats Pinterest board is this wonderful assortment of Girl Scout Cookie-Themed Recipes from Julie’s Eats and Treats.  These bars are included in the collection, as well as loads of other Girl Scout Cookie-flavored treats.  You might want to try some of these for when your boxes of Girl Scout cookies run out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

She can bake!

Photo from Taste of Home
My hubby and I arrived home the other day to find that our 11-year-old granddaughter had baked up a storm while we were out.  She has been helping me cook and bake for many years, and knows her way around my kitchen pretty well by this point.  So, when she took the notion to bake something, she looked through my cookbooks and found this recipe: Triple Chocolate Quick Bread.

Then, she located the right size of loaf pans (a size I hardly ever use!) and made sure she had all the ingredients that would be needed.  When we came in, four lovely loaves of bread were cooling on a rack and the house smelled fantastic.  And was that chocolate bread ever good.  My hubby ate most of a smallish loaf within a couple of hours.  This girl can bake!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Low-tech learning

Photo from Photos Public Domain
 Although I work at memorizing God's Word regularly, this year I got more serious about it.  I set a goal to memorize or review one Scripture verse (or short passage of Scripture) every week in 2015.  I put the numbers 1 through 52 on a page in my prayer journal and began listing down verses I wanted to learn or review.  I think I have chosen verses for about half the weeks in the year, and am always coming across more in my Bible reading that I want to learn.

Memorizing has come quite easily to me in the past, but this year I have been really struggling with it.  (Think that's because I set a goal to be faithful in this area?  Possibly!) Over the months of January and February, I learned only three short passages -- a total of six verses.  Not bad, but far from the goal I had set.

I had written the verses for each week out on index cards, but then I would forget to read them over.  Years ago a friend had shared with me that reading a passage aloud three times each day helped her learn it, and I had tried that method and found it to be helpful.  Yet it didn't help if I forgot to pick up the card, or turn to it in the Bible, and read it.  I began to wonder what other helps I might try.

Then we had a discussion in Sunday School about combining disciplines to make time for prayer.  One of the thoughts that came out in the discussion was the tried-and-true practice of writing out a Bible verse and then propping it above the kitchen sink where you will see it every time you're at the sink.  I used to do this, years ago, but had gotten away from it.  So I decided to try it again.
From Photos Public Domain
I wrote out the next passage on my list on a card and propped it on the kitchen windowsill.  Wow!  What a difference that simple practice has made.  I invariably glance at the verse anytime I'm at the sink.  When I'm washing dishes, I find myself repeating the verse.  I think its truths are actually sinking down into my soul and taking root, rather than just being learned by rote.
The passage I'm currently learning
Do you use this Bible memory method?  Or does something else work better for you?  If you've not tried this, or if it's been awhile, grab an index card and jot down a verse to learn.  I think you'll be surprised.  It certainly is working well for me!

Monday, March 02, 2015

March goals

Sugaring time, 1956 in my grandfather's maple orchard
 Time to set some goals for a new month!  Here are my goals for March:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day.
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  (I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions -- now just have 2 weeks' worth left to go, but  I typically work on this only on Saturdays so it will take awhile)
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook
* Start new study for Sunday School -- Following God With All Your Heart
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to journal and implement what I learn
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times.
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night.
* Limit sugar.
* Drink enough water each day.
* Start writing kids' summer devotional
* Have a getaway with my hubby
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week.
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible
* Start writing blog posts for Christmas in July
* Create several handmade gifts for March and April birthdays
* Send package to Nevada
* Celebrate March birthdays
* Continue working on several UFO craft projects
* Start planning for visit from our Nevada family
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently
* Spend several hours updating my A-store.
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic
* Transfer important items to new computer
* Take items to thrift store
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law

MARCH'S HEALTHY HABIT:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water (I did well with the creativity part and was so encouraged I am focusing on these habits again this month!)


And here's how February went:
* Follow Bible reading plan each day -- DONE!
* Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study  (I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions) -- didn't finish these, but am continuing to work on them steadily
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- DONE!
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE!
* Keep up with my Sunday School study -- The Heart of a Woman Who Prays -- DONE!
* Start new study for Sunday School -- not started
* Continue to re-read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; continue to implement what I learn -- DONE!
* Exercise or walk at least 20 times -- not done
* Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night -- not done; it has been closer to 10-10:15
* Limit sugar -- not done consistently
* Drink enough water each day -- not done consistently
* Decide what to do for the kids' summer devotional; start writing-- have narrowed it down, but have not started writing.  This will be a re-write of an older one, so not as challenging as an entire new book.
* Plan a March getaway with my hubby -- not done
* Have a date night with my hubby -- DONE!
* Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done consistently
* Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- DONE!
* Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- think I managed three weeks out of four
* Spend several hours updating my A-store -- not done
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- haven't helped as much as I'd have liked
* Host a dessert course at our home for a teen progressive dinner -- DONE!
* Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE!
*  Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad -- DONE!
* Sort out and declutter my dad's attic -- not done, though I'm making a stab at it
* Transfer important items to new computer -- not done
* Finish typing some family history for my mother-in-law -- about 2/3 done with this project

FEBRUARY'S HEALTHY HABIT:  Nurture creativity/drink enough water -- did quite well with creativity and not too badly with water.

WORD FOR 2015: RENEWAL -- still very encouraged by my choice of this word!