Tuesday, June 28

The music room

Or the very first room you see when opening the front door. The room I always keep clean, so it makes me feel like the rest of the house is not imploding in from chaos. It get's the morning sun, is the smallest room on the first floor, and the most popular for hanging out it.

2011 06 12_1581When we first moved in this room was empty. We had come from a small house to one twice the size. Almost everything in this room is from a yard sale, a family heirloom, or handmade. I found the rug at Pottery Barn outlet for 350.00, it is an 8x10 and I still remember the first day we laid it down. I was so excited to cut down on the echo noise an empty room creates!

The clock is from my grandparent's home. It graced their mantel and chimed on the hour. The painting on the wall was done by my husband's grandmother.2011 06 17_1617  My grandfather made this lamp and when he passed away my mother brought it to me.2011 06 17_1609This little sewing machine tucked inside the cabinet still works and someday my girls will use it. I have plans to refinish the cabinet and bench. I did the cross stitch when I was in high school .2011 06 17_1614 This table is also from my grandparents. 2011 06 17_1618The little chair from my husband's Aunt. I love using things in my home that bring back memories or have a story behind them. 2011 06 17_1616

Friday, June 17


Last week we had strawberries from our own yard. So many that we made a batch of jam, a batch of syrup, and a batch of strawberry lemonade concentrate. I figured we picked about 20 quarts and that doesn't count the large amounts that disappeared into our stomachs. The children ate so many that they were getting tummy aches from all the fresh fruit.
2011 06 06_1479 I was so excited because I really thought we wouldn't have any since I hadn't taken care of them in the fall. With all the rain they were plump and juicy. Although they were hard to pick because there were no rows. I have since learned the value rows for ease of picking.2011 06 17_1621 2011 06 06_1456This is the first time I have made syrup. It was very easy to do and I processed 14 half-pints. I plan to use it to flavor our teas and slushies over the coming months. I suppose it would be good over pancakes also, I just prefer maple syrup. I also plan to make up a batch of strawberry lemonade concentrate, but we had a house showing last night so I had to clean up instead of making a bigger mess. Hopefully I'll get to that today. 2011 06 17_1607

Tuesday, June 14

Canning Fail

Anyone ever had a canning fail?  Well, I have had many, from breaking jars, to jam not setting in the decades I have been canning. So many things can go wrong. But this one tops them all. I made my pickles to spicy. Yes, all 24 pints of  dill pickles. I was so excited that my pickles were actually crispy. This is something I have been working on for a while. Then I bit into one. Ouch! 2011 06 12_1572 I finally had my Mom through them out when she visited. I just couldn't do it. After all I worked hard to make them last season, despite the fact that they burn your throat going down. Even my husband couldn't take them, vinegar and spice do not mix! This is my great Grandmother's pickle recipe and apparently I misread the directions, even though I have made them before.2011 06 12_1573Lesson learned. So sad.

But I will have crispy tasty dill pickles one year.

Monday, June 13

Breakfast at the park

The other day were had a scheduled showing at 10:00 in the morning. This happens to be right smack in the middle of our school day. As I was thinking of what to do I decided upon a breakfast at the park. I whipped a batch of Cinnamon Ripple Muffins to make the house smell good, grabbed some water and some yogurt and off we went.

2011 06 12_1583 It was a great time to go to the park, it was still cool, and no one else was there. We played for about an hour and then headed to the library to do our lessons. It turned out to be such a nice change of pace from our normal routine we might just have to do it more often.2011 06 12_1584   2011 06 12_1604

2011 06 12_1601

2011 06 12_1602

Sunday, June 12

The Foyer

Welcome to our home! I finally dug through my photo chaos archives to find a picture of when we first moved in. You can see the boring builder beige on the walls and our mess. :) Moving In (7)This is what it looks like now. We painted the foyer last year and I have slowly added pieces of furniture that fit our needs. During my great house purge this space needed little work. I just touched up the walls and changed some of the accessories. This is standing at the front door looking in. The black dresser holds all of our hats, scarves, mittens, summer hats, swim goggles, and grocery bags. I love that I don't have to change out for the season. Everything has it's place. Even the cat has a drawer for her brush and leash.
2011 06 12_1575 
Can a foyer be a favorite room? This is what sold me on this house layout, I love the open foyer and all the light it lets in. The children play in this space as much as anywhere else in the house. It's the perfect airplane launch, or hot wheels race way. Here you can see the big window above the door. I have some old shutters I was going to hang up there, but they are now coming with me.  2011 06 12_1578
I LOVE the chandelier, it has been so easy to clean since it doesn't have any glass. If I could take it with me I could.
2011 06 12_1579This is standing in the corner behind the door. You can see me in the mirror. :) The white cabinet is empty, except for two drawers. One holds flashlights and the other my husbands keys. 2011 06 12_1581Again, standing at the front door looking up. The pink cabinet is one of my projects. Someday I will get it painted! Right now the bottom holds water jugs and water bottles, for those times we need them. The top holds some of our old books and hymnals. I have nothing on the walls going up the stairs. That was to be this years project.2011 06 12_1582 I took these photos as we were leaving right before a showing. That should explain why it is so clean.  I had just mopped the floors, so they really shine. Now four days later and they need to be cleaned again. sigh. I took a little break from keeping it clean to spend the day with my parents yesterday. They stopped by on their way to Vermont. It was nice to visit with them and I can't wait until they return for a couple of days on their way home next week. In the meantime I need to get some projects done before my Mom does them for me!

Thursday, June 9

Elegant Chicken Rolls

It's been way to long since I have posted any recipes. We had these chicken rolls the other night and I realized I have never shared them here.
I served fresh beets and beet leaves, which all of my children like to nibble on. They don't particularly like to eat the beets but they like the leaves, and it makes for a pretty presentation. These rolls are one of the more time consuming things I make, which makes the a great choice for freezing!
2011 06 06_1459
6 chicken breasts
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 Tablespoon roasted red peppers, chopped
12-18 large spinach leaves
6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
1 cup seasoned croutons (crumbs)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk

Pound chicken breast to 1/4 inch thick. In a small bowl combine cream cheese, feta cheese, basil, and pepper, blend well.
For each chicken breast cover with spinach leaves, top with a scoop of cheese mixture, sprinkle with red pepper, and cover with two slices of the ham.
Roll up, jelly roll fashion, tucking in the ends when possible. Freeze

Thaw rolls in fridge overnight.  Combine milk and egg in one bowl, and bread crumbs in another. Dip each roll in the egg mixture and then coat with crumbs. Place seam side down and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees of until chicken is no longer pink.

Wednesday, June 8

Happy Birthday Gwen

Today was the day for Gwen's party. I had to time it just right, so although her actually birthday is May 22nd, today was the day we celebrated. I kept having images of cake crumb floors and piles of wrapping paper everywhere and someone would want to come look at the house. Sure enough we have another showing tomorrow morning so I have spent the evening cleaning and putting things back to order. She wanted a tea party this year as her theme.
2011 06 07_1544I  made cupcakes with purple flowers on top for her cake, very simple and easy.2011 06 07_1504We used the fine china, even though the menu was pizza and fruit to make is special. :)
2011 06 07_1500 The dress was made a couple of years ago when I made one similar for Fiona. Thank-goodness I didn't have to make one this year, I'm not sure I could have pulled that one off! 2011 06 07_15292011 06 07_1525One of her gifts was a porcelain tea set. She was so excited to have her own, just like Fiona's! We are all ready planning a little party for tomorrow afternoon for snack time. 2011 06 07_1542 Her other gift was a new doll with hair that could be brushed. She named her Emily and is sleeping with her tonight. Gwen told me it was that "bestest birthday ever". I am so glad she enjoyed it!2011 06 07_1534Happy Birthday to my Gwen!

Monday, June 6

It's Official!

 2011 06 06_1475 Our house went on the market 2 weeks ago! We have had three showings so far, in this market things are slow, but we are hopeful. In order to sell our house we did a few things here and there to spruce it up. I worked for 6 weeks non-stop painting, cleaning, and de-cluttering. At that point I was averaging 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. So for the past two weeks I have been resting and cooking. It is so much easier keeping a house clean than it is getting it ready to sell!
I thought it would be fun to share each part of my house and what I or in some cases my husband did to get the house ready. I can honestly say it has never looked so good. :)
2011 06 06_1464 Let's start with the front yard. Everyone knows curb appeal is important and first impressions are vital. We hired a landscaping company to finish up the stone wall, mulch, and add some bushes to the front and side yard. This is so much better than the weed patch we were cultivating before. Our original plans were to terrace the side with cold frames.
2011 06 06_1466 I repainted the front door a nice bright red, washed the siding and the glass in the fixtures. My husband finished up the front walk and we added the house number on the right. I bought those numbers 5 years ago when we first moved in. We do get around to finishing projects eventually. :) I also added the planters on either side of the door and a new welcome mat. 2011 06 06_1475The planter between the garage doors is a peach tree we grew from a seed in our compost pile. I wanted to make sure we could take it with us so we moved it before the sign went in the yard.
2011 06 06_1462 One of the things I have wanted to do this move is make it as smooth a transition as possible. We have moved many times before and I have learned something new each time. I went through everything in our house and got rid of thousands of things that do need and don't need to take with us. I redid the filing system to make it easier to find important papers. I cooked 4 months worth of meals so we don't have to eat out when things are hectic. I plan to share this as I take you on my little house tour. So stay tuned for the next stop as I welcome you into our home.


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