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 the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week of Lists: Wednesday

We've waited ever so long for salads the likes of these.  Well worth it.

It's Wednesday...we're halfway to the weekend!

Big Projects for Today:

- Non-food party prep
- Master Bedroom
- Living Room

* put away folded laundry from other day
* wash/hang/fold one load of laundry and put away
* freezer seal in bags flash-frozen huckleberries
* rinse and flash freeze blueberries picked yesterday
* take any yard sale books/duplicates to granary
* cut in hunks and marinate chicken breast for speidies
* make/glitter butterflies for flower vases
* Gather enough pint canning jars for cups (35-40).  Gather enough canning jars for vases (8-10) (Thank goodness canning season hasn't yet arrived!)  Wash them.
* Put plasticware in canning jars and set aside with plates and cups.
* Cut burlap into table runners
* Gather tablecloths for outside
* make strawberry freezer jam
* make another double batch of yogurt 
* harvest goodies from the garden
* tie postcard sets with string for garden brunch favors
* put replacement bulbs in garden lights
* set up picnic tables ( thanks to Matt and Gary)
* Call Jennifer about brunch
* hardboil eggs for with supper
* water plants
* hang white wicker bird cage in tree by tables
* sew a cover for the old, nasty, stained cushion for wicker loveseat and then...
* put away sewing machine that has been sitting out for two weeks to mend things (but HASN'T!).  Won't be mending until AFTER the parties.  (and at this rate, IF then.)
* have someone rake Skeeter poo and put in compost (who shall it be, who shall it be?)
* tie ribbon around candle for Aunt Margie.  Write a birthday card.
* Tidy bedroom and sweep floor.
* Dust living room furniture. (three elderchilder)
* Sweep and vacuum living room. (Corynn)
* Mop living room wood parts, especially corners and under armoire (Andrew)
* take Fiddle book to the Smiths
* dinner: summer salad with hard-boiled eggs and sunflower seeds, pickles, cornbread
* dishes

There are a few more hours in the day, but thanks to an all-day headache, I am SO ready for bed. 

See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Week of Lists: Tuesday

During a performance, MagiCorynn pulled this out of her magician's hat for a lucky Mama in the audience.  It happened to be me.  Lucky!
To-Do for Today
(an overly-ambitious list, mind you.)

Big jobs today:
-Spare Oom
-School Room
-Garden chores
-Blueberry picking

* freezer seal flash-frozen huckleberries
* thin beets (two rows)

* wash beet greens
* weedwhack flower circle
* two buckets of weeds from garden (Corynn and Andrew plus my own)
* finish wedding/newspapering/hay mulching asparagus bed  (Andrew helped by hauling hay)
* plant peas, lettuce, spinach
* put away folded laundry from last night
* pick blueberries (at a bonafide patch!) at noon.  (Get enough blueberries to finish our winter supply AND have enough for two desserts for this weekend.) (16 pounds worth and SO much more fun-and productive- to pick than huckleberries.  Wow!)
* rinse and flash freeze blueberries
* take any yard sale books/duplicates to granary
* cut in hunks and marinate chicken breast
* make/glitter butterflies for flower vases
* see if I can find several vintage blue canning jars for vases (I MAY have some...I hope).  Wash.
* Cut burlap into table runners
* Tidy and sweep School Room - put junk out of place back into 'place'
* Clean, dust, orgnanize and sweep Spare Oom
* tidy desk, organize bill/writing desk
* empty cradle of mending (that just isn't getting done.)  Put that stuff away.
* Tidy armoire (Adele')
* Vacuum living room
* hang white wicker bird cage in tree by tables (I drug it out of storage though...)
* sew a cover for the old, nasty, stained cushion for wicker loveseat and then...
* put away sewing machine that has been sitting out for two weeks to mend things (but HASN'T!).  Won't be mending until AFTER the parties.  (and at this rate, IF then.)
* have someone rake Skeeter poo and put in compost (who shall it be, who shall it be?)
* dinner:  sausage and bean pot, beet greens, homemade yogurt with blueberries
* dishes
* gather garbage from house for garbage day tomorrow
* change water in vases around house (just emptied the vases- the f;lowers were done.)

* summer reading program: return library books and turn in summer reading program slips

I could have gotten a bit more accomplished than I did today, but you see, after dinner, Matt suggested we go for a walk to see the devastation progress of the log company in clearing the land so I chose to do that instead of working on the list.  (Wise woman.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Week of Lists: Monday

This Saturday I am hosting a Newman family picnic.  (The second of what seems to be turning into an annual tradition.)  Then, because August days are filling up so quickly with things I also scheduled to host a library ladies garden brunch the day before, on FRIDAY.  My theory was I could kill two birds with one stone or: two (parties) with one (deep house cleaning).  In theory, it sounds fabulous- in reality, it may not be. It is curious that everyone I have told has thought I was insane.  Matt said I am a glutton for punishment.

Needless to say, this week is going to be VERY busy planning (and preparing) to host two shin-digs in one weekend.  Yesterday I took my Sabbath rest seriously.  I crocheted, I wrote letters, I read- all in the flower garden.  I did nothing else.  At all.

In lieu of normal blog posts this week, I am going to post my to-do lists for each day.  Nothing like a public accountability to motivate someone to get things done!  Plus, I know for a fact that a few of you like sneak peeks into daily activities.  For those who don't....sorry about this.  But it is either this or I disappear for a week.  :-)

These lists are overly-ambitious, but that helps to keep me chugging along.  Anything I miss will be rolled-over into tomorrow's list.  I'll let you know how I did tonight!

To-Do for To-Day

* put away three baskets of folded laundry from over weekend
* change sheets on childrens' beds and add mattress covers
* wash sheets/hang to dry/fold/put away
* do load of clothes and a load of towels (all caught up on laundry if this gets done!)
* fold said loads and put away
* figure out the MENU I will be serving at both shin-digs / write grocery list
* write must-do's before parties
* take Corynn to last American Girl Class at library
* grocery shopping day- go to town while Corynn is in her class.
* mail letters from yesterday
* thin beets
* finish wedding/newspapering/hay mulching asparagus bed
* plant peas, lettuce, spinach
* make refrigerator pickles
* weed two buckets worth from garden (Corynn and Andrew- a bucket each)
* sweep hallway floor (Andrew)
* make/drop off invite to library brunch
* freezer seal flash-frozen huckleberries
* dinner (gazpacho and grilled crusty bread)
* dishes
* call Linda and Ruth about party
* have Matt epoxy kitchen countertop (he did!)
* planted three perennial clumps my MIL brought over (this wasn't originally on the list, but it had to happen for them to transplant well.)

BIG JOB for the day:
* organize bookshelves in stairway (Adele' and Corynn helped)
* take any yard sale books/duplicates to granary
* dust cobwebs in stairway
* shelve piles of books on stairs
* sweep and wash stairs (Adele' washed, Corynn swept)

Have a good day!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ice Cream "Sundays"

A self-inflicted challenge to come up with a new frozen dessert once a week from now until the end of summer (although it could extend into fall thanks to caramel apple ice cream, and pumpkin pie ice cream and gingersnap swirl ice cream...) in an effort to...

1) rid ourselves of high fructose corn syrup poison (slightly dramatic there...for effect)
2) feed our insatiable appetite for frozen sweets
3) sap some creativity into my sometimes same-old, same-old kitchen
4) to blow the dust off a long-since abandoned recipe blog
has resulted in...

 here on Renaissance.

Last week was our very first go-round and I decided, after having spent three mornings of that week picking huckleberries, that I would make Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

Check out Kitchen Riches to see how we liked it... and to make some yourself.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Booklist for Corynn (age 9)


My Corynn is a reader.  The girl can devour a book like nobody's business...which is one thing I just adore about her.  The problem (if you could call it that) is satiating that appetite!  And not just with books akin to junk food- but with quality literature!

We go to the library once a week and because we live in the country, it is a small library with a limited supply of books.  While there are some gems tucked in and around the young adult book corner, there are plenty of stupid books too.  (Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Jessica Wants to Be Cool in Highschool-type books.)  Other books, are harmless but fruitless too.  There are only so many times you can read the Boxcar series.

I was getting frustrated with her selections for a while, until I had an epiphany.  "I am her mother!"  I realized.  I can DO something about this!

So this summer, when there is more time for her nose to be shoved in the spine of a book than during the school year when her attentions are stretched, I knew I had to be prepared.  So I made a list of books I thought she would enjoy reading.  Some of them she will devour in an hour or two...some she could chew on for a few days.  Some are 'educational' and some are just for fun. All, I think, are quality.

And thanks to Barnes and Nobles summer reading incentive program, when she checks off eight of them- she gets a free book!  (She already has.)

Here is the list I made for her.  I hope it will last her the summer...

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates
Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs
Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrims Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 by William Bradford
Calico Bush by Rachel Field
Master Skylark by John Bennett
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
Shakespeare's Scribe by Gary Blackwood
Shakespeare's Spy by Gary Blackwood
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
The Story of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Two Mighty Rivers: Son of Pocahantas by Mari Hanes
Good-bye, My Lady by James Street
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Carlson
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
The Tree of Freedom by Rebecca Caudill
Ink on His Fingers by Louise Vernon
Poor Richard by James Daugherty

And here are some that she has already finishes this summer (and enjoyed immensely)...

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Inkheart by Cornelia Funk
Inkspell by Cornelia Funk
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funk
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George
The Jungle Doctor series  by Paul White
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Five Children and It by E. Nasbit

If you have any more suggestions- I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

It has been a while since I did a {P.H.F.R} post and I say, it's high time I did it again!  Busyness, I suppose- but hey!  That's no excuse!  ;-)  Since I missed a few, I'll give a few pictures for each category, how's that?


The day was came to a close in a grand way last night.

A happy hummingbird moth in the bee balm.  I really love bee balm because it is always positively SWARMING with life.  Not to mention, even the now dying flowers still look gorgeous from afar.  That is a lovely characteristic of flowers.  I wish the daisies would take note.

(By the way, if it encourages you any, I took this photo without a macro lens.)


This boy was ridiculously happy when a neighbor-friend stopped by to take him fishing.  This is his trying-to-contain-himself-and-act-like-it-is-no-big-deal look.  It was a VERY big deal.

Happy wrinkles, the one wrinkle I don't mind terribly having.  That long vertical furrow on my forehead? That is another matter entirely.


I was drying off from a shower when I looked down and noticed...

Not many people can say they grow mushrooms in their bathroom.  But WE can.  (Don't be jealous.)

A word of warning:

Be VERY WARY of asking to use a calculator at our house.


Has the circus come to town?!?!

No.  THIS real is not an 'exciting' real.  It is a make-me-sick-deep-down-in-my-soul kinda real.

When we bought this house, we got it for a good price.  That good price came at a cost though. One of the contingencies was that the previous owners (Matt's family trust) were to keep the gas/oil rights which allowed them to make decisions and reap profits from the place in regards to gas pipelines going through.

If it were up to me I would have said NO!  If it were up to me, somethings money can't buy.  If it were up to me...but it isn't.

The day finally came (this week) that the gas people were going to break ground.  They will tear up fields (temporarily) and make a landing strip in our woods (permanantly) to put a pipeline in.  


(On a side note: it is hard to believe after last weeks' near 100 degree weather that it was cool enough to wear a COAT this morning!)

Things are changing here on the hill.  And in this particular case, not for the better.

Things won't ever be the same.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013



The huckleberry bushes are at Grandma and Grandpa's, along with a nice, big lake to cool off in afterward.  (A handy bribe to keep in my back pocket for hard work.)

I usually make a gallon of ice cold lemonade and a big bowl of pasta salad and head off, buckets, duct tape, belts and towels in hand.

We pick and we pick until I don't think I can manage to keep the children civil any longer and then we swim.  I can pick a gallon bucket in the time it takes the big kids to pick 1/3rd or so- they do plenty of eating.  The little children pick for a few minutes- pick berries to eat the rest of the time and then, as is most often the case, fall and spill the berries that they DID put in their buckets at some point of the morning.

Corynn asked the other day why the littles didn't have to pick as many as the biggles (with an inkling of "It's NOT FAIR!")  I explained to her that the job of the littles right now is to be content when there is work to be done.  2 and 4 year olds can't possibly pick like 7 and 9 year olds and we shouldn't expect them to.  But, in bringing them with us and expecting them to be out in the heat and among the berries for hours at a time (without complaining), they are PRACTICING to be good berry pickers.  

SOMEDAY I hope these little hands will be more productive...all of them.  But for now, I am glad that they are out there with me- practicing.  Plus, it is more fun this way.

2012 "Put 'Em Up" List

Well.  It's that time again!

We went huckleberry picking twice last week (and hopefully we will get out once more before the season is over!) which means the official 'preserving the harvest' has begun!  Time to record last years list and wipe the slate (and sidebar) clean! 

The 2012 "Put 'Em Up List"


* Broccoli, 5 gallons
* Huckleberries, 22.25 pounds
* Beet Greens, 8 pounds
* Swiss Chard, 2 pounds
* Peach wedges, 9 pounds
* Yellow squash, 12 large squash
* Pesto, about 9 cups so far
Pork "Cracklings" 7 gallons
Corn, 50 ears
Pumpkin, 14 cups
Roasted Red Peppers, 22 peppers
cilantro, 12 cubes


* Peaches, 21 qts
* Bread and Butter Pickles, 9 pts
* Zucchini Relish, 7 jars
* Squash "Pineapple", 8 pts
* Pickled Beets, 12 pts.
* Beets, 5 qts and 9 pts.
* Jalapeno Jelly, 7 jars
Potatoes, 7 qts.
White Corn and Black Bean Salsa, 11 pints
Spaghetti Sauce, 24 qts. and 9 pints
Green Beans, 7 qts. and 10 pints
Applesauce, 28 qts.
Apple Butter, 35 jars


*Bananas, 11 pounds
*Bell Peppers, 30
*Summer squash, 19

*Corn, about 30 ears
* Sun-dried Tomatoes, 2 pints
* Lemon Verbena
* Lavender
* Chamomile
* Calendula

~ Other ~

* Rendered Lard, 6 gallons and 5 qt., Rendered Tallow 3 gallons
* Infused Oils~ plantain, calendula, lavender, lemon verbena
Pumpkins, Winter squashes (buttercup, acorn and delicata), 4 bushels
Onions, 135
* SOAPS: peppermint, lemon verbena, orange creamsicle, vanilla brown sugar

Monday, July 22, 2013


There were fresh flowers to cut and new bouquets to replace the old..

There was reading this book in the cool of the morning while eating a scrambled omelet with peppers and cheese and while sitting all alone in the flower circle.

There was scrubbing the new (to us) fridge, unloading the old fridge of all its' food, moving the old fridge out,  using a shopvac on the floor and wall around it, bringing the new fridge to the kitchen- only to realize that the new (to us) fridge won't fit!  (arg!)  So then there was scrubbing the old fridge, returning the new fridge to our milkhouse to be used as the Cow Milk Storage Fridge (when the time comes), returning the food to the old (but clean) fridge and being slightly irritated at all the work that didn't really have to be done.  (But it is nice to have a clean fridge, albeit an old one.)

There was ice cream making (more on that later!) and huckleberry freezing and packing away.

There was sneaking out at rest time for just a *few*  childless hours of flea-marketing.  Ah, blissful hours.

I wanted this basket bassinet so so so badly.  I have somewhat of a basket addiction.  It was only $10.00.  My little practical voice kept saying "Where will you PUT it without it being in the way?  We already HAVE a cradle.  What if you never have another baby?"  and my little dreamy voice kept saying "But I could have THIS one downstairs and that other one upstairs- for when baby needs to be downstairs!  But look at that canary yellow!  But look at the folding legs!  It is so darling!  It is in such nice shape!  It is only $10.00!"  Eventually, my practical voice won over...but I can't promise I will listen to it next time.

I tend to go for the flea-market priced things versus the antique-priced things but I do enjoy looking at the gorgeous antiquey things.

The loot I brought home:

I can't decide if I should keep the fancy dress or try and resell it at the consignment shop.  It would make a fabulous Cinderella dress for a Halloween costume and a great Easter dress for Adele' in a few years. But it is from a bridal shop, so maybe I could get a healthy return on it.  Haven't decided.

The truck is for a stocking stuffer for a certain littlest Mister come Christmas time.

The slip is massive but has the most gorgeous pleated edging on bottom.  I will cut it off and make an underskirt to go under dresses for some flair (and a bit of length).  

The enamelware is enamelware.  What can I say?  I can't wait to see how the bread pan works.  (There was another one there that I can go back for if it works well.)

          Doilies, enamelware....very ME.  The only thing missing is colored glass and some vintage hankies.  and that adorable canary and white baby bassinet.

There was hair-cutting and handsome boys all around.

There was delicious lemon cookies, and BLT's and coleslaw and picnics.

There was first harvests from the garden and pasta salad.

There was visiting family from Kentucky at my sisters' house.  Grandma and Aunt Bridget, who we haven't seen since Andrew was a baby, are all that is left of Dad's side of the family besides a few cousins who I haven't seen since....oh, I was a kid myself.  

Even still, we make for a pretty big family photo!  (Elizabeth's husband was being a dork and hid himself perfectly behind me...which is why it appears that I have three arms in this picture.)

See?   There he is.  (He THOUGHT he could get out of a picture...)

Aunt Bridget asked for a quick family picture so.....

And that was our weekend.  

And now- a new week is before us! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bugs and Blooms


Not much to say other than- IT IS HOT.

Speaking of which- I have a confession to make.

When it is HOT, I am a serious ice cream junkie.  I mean- it is bad.  We eat ice cream every weekend.  And when it is really hot for many consecutive days, I might just (definitely) justify the non-weekend ice cream too.  (And the fact is, it doesn't HAVE to be hot for me to want it, either.)

But store-bought ice cream's second ingredient is often high fructose corn syrup and it isn't exactly easy on the grocery budget either!  But how can I NOT eat ice cream?!?

So I decided I would give myself a new kitchen challenge.  (I do love them so.)

Creating a frozen dessert once a week every week for the rest of summer!  Popsicles, ice cream, sorbets and now that I am a yogurt maker, there should be PLENTY of frozen yogurt.  

It should be helpful to the grocery budget and it should be helpful to our waistlines.  (Though I won't guarantee they are going to be 'healthy', plenty will be.)  Challenges are so fun for me to liven things up in the sometimes-stagnant kitchen. Each week I'll post the pictures here and the recipes at Kitchen Riches, my sorely neglected food blog.

Get ready for a yummy summer!