September 30, 2008

it's complete!

The food theme...
yes, yes it was to be 30 days of food, but a few adjustments to the labels has made me feel as if I've accomplished the task {see the right sidebar label titles}!

So, twenty days it is. I mean really, this has progressed over several weeks of my life, though that was partially the intention :: my family teases that the '30 days of food' would have spanned over 6 months! With our fall rhythm and schedule in full swing, kitchen duties & food preparations are not quite following the slower pace of the summer. And, I'm simply forgetting to take photographs of that part of my domestic pursuits.

Time to release unnecessary pressure. Hope you enjoyed!

gratitude grows here

128. the voices of little girls :: laughing, exchanging numerous ideas and thoughts

129. simple entertainment :: dress-ups die cuts thrifted at a price that made Mama quite happy

130. hours and hours of creative play! {oh mom, do we have to stop now?}

131. growing friendship and sisterhood between the two

132. more 'people' in our home :: cutout mamas, daddies, girls, boys, grandpas, farmers, community workers...the list goes on {mom, we could make a whole town of people, couldn't we!? }

133. time for Mama to happily read while the little women play....

I'll do a book review on Laying Down the Rails in the near future
consider starting your own gratitude list?

September 26, 2008

book review (sort of)

I'm hardly qualified to review this book since I've not finished it. Actually, not sure I'm even mid-way! But, it is so interesting and there is true enjoyment received from reading the pages. The Gentle Art of Domesticity is an odd book and that is said with much respect and appreciation. Let me explain.

The author shares quite eclectically {is that a word?} about what she calls the 'gentle arts' :: baking, knitting, gardening, & stitching among others. By eclectic I mean that she proclaims to be a bit of everything, not solely a knitter, photographer, etc. By the way, her photography is gorgeous. But this is not a cookbook {though there are some recipes}, or a book of patterns for knitting or quilting, or even instructions on how to photograph :: it's very much a journal of this woman's adventures in learning the gentle arts and a documentation of her experiences.

Ms. Brocket does have some reflections I find interesting. For example, a quote from the first chapter:

on speaking about her days in college...."The few who did dare to follow their artistic bent were seen as rebels and likely to come to no good. And this...was the 1970s, not the 1870s, but I cannot recall a single mention of the three Ms : Men, Marriage and Motherhood. No heed was paid to the fact that we were all women, most of us likely to have relationships with the opposite sex and make babies, and inhabit a domestic space of some sort. And yet, there we were, educated in the height of the second wave of the feminist movement, in collective denial about one immensely significant aspect of our future lives."


She later talks of her bit of rejection of that mindset and the further embracing of her creative, domestic self and encourages this for all women, regardless of profession.

I appreciate her sharing that the book is not about domestication :: organizing, keeping the home neat & tidy, etc. While I whole-heartedly agree with order and a system for accomplishing household tasks, my thoughts echo the author's in that the media, magazines, tv programs and the like are way too taken up with this area of domestic life. Just my two cents.

Not sure I would necessarily buy this book as a gift for another person unless I knew for sure their enjoyment of it would be guaranteed, but I was happy to receive it as a gift! I'm thrilled to find another soul who understands the topsy-turvy life of the never-ending pursuits of the 'domestic butterfly'--flitting and floating from one project to the next!


September 24, 2008

Pizza Rewards

To go along with day 20 of the food theme....

Homeschool families can now enroll individually with Pizza Hut's popular Book-It reading program; it's very easy to enroll online and the site has information about the program if you're new to it.

Days of Food :: 20

Just a reminder about a simple recipe that you've probably made before. Don't you just love tried and true and great stand-by foods? Well, veggie pizza is one of ours :: actually, I think we have several, pepperoni bread being another pizza-type comfort food. An appetizer or main meal, veggie pizza goes well with our family's palate. I enjoy serving it with other items when having guests over as it's an easy crowd-pleaser. Another favorite (and hot!) pizza we like is the turkey club pizza.

Any great tried and true foods or dishes your family enjoys?


September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Yes! I've been eagerly anticipating the arrival of fall. Last week the weather cooled and got me all happy and then it warmed up again {sigh}. Soon enough the days will stay on the lower end of the thermometer. Having grown up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, I didn't really experience seasons as we do here in the north. So the releasing of one season in exchange for the next brings out the kid in me. Happy 1st day of autumn to you whatever the weather in your area.

Opting for a farm that had pumpkins & gourds available instead tromping through a real pumpkin patch, the three kiddos and I selected a few for decor around our home and yard. And then to make some pies of course. The girls carefully studied each one before choosing, while my son ran around yelling 'so many pumpkins!' or 'look Mommy...another pumpkin!!'. I think they were happy to see us go?

It was a wonderful way to usher in the fall season.....

September 17, 2008

His Favorites

A list of Josiah's (age 2.5) current favorites:

1. Five Little Monkeys video on YouTube. Asked for numerous times in a week :: allowed several times a week!

2. Painting! Fingerpainting at the table or using brushes at the easel...'can we have painting today Mommy?' is daily question.

3. 'Painting' on the computer when Mommy allows it. Click to change colors, press the space bar to start over.

4. Music! Playing the piano is definitely a favorite and keeps him occupied. Currently, this CD checked out from our library is the one asked for all of the time. Scroll down for samples on the left sidebar :: 'Five String on my Banjo' sends Josiah into a fit of giggles.

5. Water play :: great entertainment when it's necessary for Mom to be doing table work with the girls, but Josiah needs to be close by. Messy, but great.

6. Being outdoors...such fun.


September 16, 2008

Days of Food :: 19

I enjoy the ease of this recipe and the convenience. Make a bunch, stick it in the fridge, eat for lunch, snack, as a side dish, as a topping over fish, with tortilla's delicious! And each time it's been our dish to be shared at a potluck, I end up giving out the recipe. This creation is not originally mine though, so can't take the credit.

Black Bean Salsa
3 cans (15 oz ea) black beans, rinsed & drained
3 cans (14-15 oz ea) corn (I use a large bag of frozen)
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, drained, but not rinsed
1/2 cup salsa or picante sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup (about 3) green onions, sliced thin

in a small container that has a lid add:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (more or less to taste if you wish)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 TBsp garlic, minced
close lid and shake vigorously. pour over salsa and mix well.

using a fork, you can mash some of the beans for a smoother texture.

add salt & pepper if wanted (I don't usually)

if you give it 2-3 hours to marinate, it will taste even better (stir a few times)

this recipes makes a fairly good amount! reduce as wanted.


September 12, 2008

Days of Food :: 18

Just a note found while cleaning through my cookbooks. I'm unable to give credit to any source since it's just a cutout from a magazine; and I couldn't begin to tell you which one.

Eat Right, Sleep Tight :: for evening meals and when possible, opt for foods that promote sleep, such as....
  • milk
  • tuna
  • halibut
  • pumpkin
  • artichokes
  • avocados
  • almonds
  • eggs
  • peaches
  • walnuts
  • apricots
  • oats
  • asparagus
  • potatoes
  • bananas

It's a rainy day here in our neck of the woods, so sleep is on my mind.

Hope that you can slow down this weekend and savor the moments.


September 11, 2008

Homeschooling Outdoors

We have spent many of our days outside as the 'classroom' for our schooling. Soon enough the harsher winter days will be upon us and also force the use of our actual schoolroom in the basement {though we love it down there too!}. For now, we enjoy the natural surroundings.

picture of nature notebooks in progress
Janelle reading to her siblings, giving Mama time to fix lunch


Days of Food :: 17

Ummm....these blueberry muffins are very, very good. The recipe claims it to be the best, and they come fairly close in my book. The children and I had them for dinner tonight.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dinner. With milk.

And yes, hubby is out of town. Old habits die hard.

Substitute the brown sugar if wanted.


September 8, 2008


That wasn't hard at all! If you look closely, you'll find it. See it as you scroll down.

I've combined our blogs! Our schooling & life with the children blog began a year ago with really no intention of doing anything beyond that. Then the idea of a personal blog had me starting 'Domestic Serenity' back in January.

I love both blogs and keeping up with them has been really enjoyable, a creative outlet. But really, isn't it all one life? All of it my life here on the home front :: the domestic pursuits, the homeschooling, the children's funny antics or updates, our family life in general? After a bit of thinking of how to simplify time spent online each day, it was like a 'duh' moment. Yes, yes, it's all a part of this one-pieced life I'm trying to live, so let me put it all in one place!

Like I said...'duh'.

Plans are to clean it up some and merge the side bar information as well into a more pleasing format. But first, some cooking coming up soon!


September 5, 2008

Days of Food :: 16

Oh, wow. I think this may be the best caesar salad dressing we've tried so far {um, we do not use anchovies!}.

soak up the last few days of summer & relax this weekend.


September 4, 2008

Days of Food :: 15

Herbal Iced Tea

4 Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea bags
4 Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea bags
4 cups pure apple juice

Steep the 8 tea bags in 4 cups of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags; I used tongs to pick them up & to squeeze a bit more flavor into the tea.

Combine the tea with the apple juice and refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice. No caffeine, no added sugar and no complaints from this household. I doubled the recipe so we'd have plenty. Recipe from a cookbook I bought earlier this year.


September 3, 2008


123. time around a campfire, sharing, talking, being with friends

124. for an exchange not only of words, but of soul-cries and heart whispers

125. for humor, a good medicine

126. no need for wearing a mask & pretending, true selves and lives laying bare

127. for His Spirit always with us, knowing, hearing and ever-present

"A faithful friend is a strong defense:
and he that hath found such a one
hath found a treasure."


Couplet Poetry

After reading a fun & whimsical book on homes, Janelle wrote a couplet style poem with a similar theme:

My garage is a house to my bike,
a trail is a house to a hike.
A stage is a house to a play,
while a barn is home to some hay.
A teacup is a house to a spoon,
and the sky is a house to the moon.
A hive is home to a bee,
and I'm glad there's a house for me!

The book is a great read-aloud to any elementary-age child, even pre-school. See if your library has this one!

September 2, 2008

Consider Quietly

This one is for the homeschooling and any other Mamas reading...from one of my favorite blogs:

"Whenever parents create ceremonies, or a rhythmic routine, around any daily activity, we impose order on the environment, instead of on our children".

Think on this one for a bit. Routine allows the environment to speak to the child, telling them that it's time...for this or for that, but it's time to move on to the next activity or quiet down from the previous one. So we don't nag. We establish routines that speak to our children.

Days of Food :: 14

I finally went grocery shopping :: even I will confess that it was a bit overdue. A collective sigh could probably be heard from my dear family as they opened pantry & refrigerator doors yesterday. It's been a desperate situation, well, at least according to a few members in our home.
But before an excursion to the produce market and grocery store, and when things have gotten a little scarce...I play this game in my head.

"We have plenty of food in this house!"

"Why, I probably don't need to shop for another few days, maybe even a few weeks!!"

Um yeah, it's pretty silly. But it's just something I do; got it from my mother I think.

So imagine my family's delight when I pulled off this meal. Something from nothing {again, according to them}! Tostadas topped with refried beans, shredded chicken, onions, cheese, lettuce & sour cream. There was just a little bit of each item to make this work; then I added a side of the last two boxes of Spanish rice found deep in the pantry.

For those who may not know, tostadas are basically flat tacos. Take a tortilla (corn works best) & spray with oil and bake until crispy or simply fry them in an inch or two of oil. Since I was talking to my sister while trying to cook ours, mine came out a wee bit darker than the norm. So much for multi-tasking. Oh well, they were delicious. And my mother would be proud!

This week I hope to try out new recipes & review some of our favorites. One claims to be the best blueberry muffins ever, there's the black bean salsa that I swoon over, and an herbal iced tea that uses no sugar and calls for only 3 ingredients. It's gonna be a yummy few days!

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