Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I walk by this particular deadly sin literally hundreds of times a day, it's in the main traffic pattern....uh....well, there's really only ONE traffic pattern in our house. But anyway, I just can't help myself. Once I take ONE little handful....I. Just. Can't. Stop! Lord help me, it's the perfect mix of salty and sweet and it's just like the PAYDAY candy bar (do they still make those?). Oh help!....I need to stop. I see an extra five pounds by the time Christmas season is over and it all starts with these little criminals.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Use What You Have...or Have Been Given....for a Happy Fall!

Saturday, Luke had his old friend Ben over for the day and the night, and his friend's mom is a dear friend. She sent with him a bag of gourds! She grew them herself! Thanks, Pam!

They're so colorful and cute, I have them scattered around the house, a few spilling from a small galvanized bucket on the front porch, some on the dining room table around a fall candleholder on top of a fall tablecloth, and a few along with a colorful fall leaf sits on our kitchen table. I picked up the glass dome at a garage sale this summer and it just fits this $1 cake plate I picked up earlier this spring at another sale. It's a lot of fun to change the display...sometimes you may even find it has cupcakes or other desserts sitting under the glass!

It's just the little things to make you happy when the seasons change and they're also the simplest: a homegrown gift from a friend, and someone else's castaways that make your home and your table brighter!


The weather-man says a possibility of snow tonight....brrr! It's a little late this year. I was looking at some images I've saved and I have a picture of snow on October 12 and it was a good inch, either last fall or in 2006. It covered the pumpkins and the cornshocks pretty well. Maybe I'll have some real snow pictures to put up tomorrow!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some Treasures From the Past...

Each year when I trek up to the attic to pull out the tote marked "FALL", I am bombarded with memories. I pull out this pumpkin, Mark painted it in elementary, it has survived the years and its tempura paint surface combined with the dried out construction paper gives me the willies when I touch it. But I love it anyway. It has an adorably crooked mouth and the stem fell off long ago, but it brings back memories of my sweet little boy, with his husky voice bringing it home with a happy smile. Did you see that backward "G"? He switched certain letters perfectly backwards when he was young. As a mom I worried about it, alot, worrying did me no good, but it did correct itself. These are the things that I think of when I look at Mark's pumpkin. I love how it brightens up the kitchen on these dreary fall days.
Jamie made the black cat in elementary school. Some caring teacher cut out the head and the tail, the legs and the bottom of the body, the rest is made of the old standby and a best friend of preschool, kindergarten and elementary teachers: popsicle sticks. The kids painted the body, added eyes, nose, whiskers made of twine and a jaunty bow. I have kept this ever since because I can see my delicate little blonde daughter, bent over it in complete concentration, taking special care and love, because she especially loved (and still loves) kittens and cats. She put the best into everything she did and I'm almost sure when the whole class had finished and they lined them up on the counter by the windows to dry, that her cat looked the best of them all.
I hope she can use it one day to put her peanut butter MaryJanes into at Halloween! These things I treasure and these things make me glad sometimes that I tend to be a packrat. What treasures do you keep? I think the things that are most valuable to me tend to be the ones that could never be replaced.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Corners of My Home

Built 1898, this house is now 110 years old!
Click on any photo to enlarge!

Welcome! Come on in! Have a look around our Old Centennial Farmhouse! It's an ongoing project, still lots to be done, even after living here for seventeen years!

The porch, another thing to love about the old place...and our view. Corn is my favorite crop to live with in the spring, summer, and fall. It provides a nice windbreak and it also gives us some rare privacy since everything is very wide open out here. I love it most right before it's time to cut!

We can only hang asparagus ferns on the porch, because the wind out here kills any other kind of hanging flowers...nothing is as tough as these ferns and they last through fall. Birds build nests and have their babies in these pots each spring! It's fun to watch and when we had an outside kitty, a little scary to see if she would find them before they learned to fly on their own.

A few years back, Lem patiently tore down the old porch, and rebuilt the whole thing, and cut out all the pieces of gingerbread trim, sanded and reinstalled all of it. I appreciate that so much. The floor was rotting and sagging and he put new decking on that was pressure treated so we hope it lasts a good long time!

This is a tricycle just like Jamie and Mark, our oldest two kids, used to have (I bought it at a garage sale this summer for $10! A bargain just for the nostalgia!) It even has a little bell on it. The old wagon wheel I bought years ago at an antique shop here in Flushing. I try to change displays with the seasons if I can. This summer I scored some sleds and some ice skates that will go in this corner when the snow flies.

One of the best things about this place is the woodwork, five panel doors, the tall baseboards, corner moldings, wooden doorstops, and the black porcelain doorknobs. Amazingly, none of the woodwork in this house has ever been painted over. It's all original.

The shelf here and in the photo just above it, is built into the wall, there are three of them and we were told that they are old clock shelves. They have nail holes from years of stockings or other objects or decorations being hung from them! I like the old nail holes and wouldn't have it any other way.

In fact, I like to think of all the celebrations that may have taken place out here over the years. All the dings and scrapes and scratches in the old woodwork is fine with me. They've been here for 110 years, and they will be for as long as we're around!

This is our old buffet, that Lem's dad used to have and Lem refinished. It was a miraculous transformation as the old finish on this had turned kind of black and you couldn't see the grain of the oak through it. (Pardon me, the door on one side is not latched and you can see my stuff!)

The old radio on the buffet is another great old project left behind for us by Levi. It is in working order, or used to be, I haven't plugged her in for a while, but that old radio can pull in some really far-off stations, you should see the tubes in that thing! They're huge!

Some of my blue and white china....too much of that in one place, I think! But I've always loved blue and white dishes and pick them up here and there at antique stores or garage sales if I find them!

A lot of my siblings love antiques and it could be because our grandfather on my mom's side retired from education and went into the nursery business for himself and also opened a really large antique store in a large outbuilding on his property. When we visited grandpa, we would spend time out in the barn looking at the pieces he had still to refinish, and also the beautiful stuff that he already remade and refinished.

I loved the smell of the place, looking into old trunks and dressers and finding treasures, and still to this day think that a day spent in a flea market or antique store or at garage sales is one of the best times ever!

And this is some transferware in burgundy hues, too! I'd really like to start finding more and branch out into the brown and black transferware. They're all gorgeous.

We added another bathroom and Lem ordered all the old-style fixtures and I sure do love the tub. It looks genuine, but it weighs very little, it's made of fiberglass! There's nothing like a soak in a tub like this when you're aching or weary....light a few candles and you're all set!

The original oak floors in the bathroom, which at one time was a downstairs bedroom.

This stained glass flag hangs on our front door....I love red, white and blue, just in case you couldn't tell! That's what my living room theme is, all Americana!

I bought this old grain bucket for magazines! I have another couple I bought at the same time that I use for other things around the house.

From my red, white, and blue living room, you can see Old Glory waving away, it seems like it's almost always windy out here. Any of you who've been here to visit know that!

This tall old shelf here was left to us by Lem's dad. He was a recycler before recycling was cool, and he made this thing out of old lumber and an old shelf. We've had it in every house we've ever lived in and it's been several colors. Hopefully soon it's going to have another remake! I want to add some moldings to it and repaint. In fact, the whole house will be due for a repaint this winter sometime.

This is one of my very favorite things, my sister Mary embroidered this old flag with part of George W. Bush's speech after 9-11-01. She stitched it and had it framed and gave it to me for Christmas! I will always treasure it.

The eagle in the frame is a pencil drawing Mark did while he was in eighth grade. It fits in really well with my patriotic theme and I'm happy to have such a great use for this drawing.

This is an old dresser that used to be my Grandpa Pettit's, he gave it to my mom who passed it on to me. As with everything else around here, Lem refinished it for me and I because it was grandpa's, it's special and an heirloom I value.

On the dresser top are three pictures of the kids taken on a trip to Alabama after Jamie moved there! The mirror also belonged to Lem's dad and the corners of the mirrors have tiny flowers etched in the corners.

This bed looks old, but it's not, it's called a Garden Gate bed. I got it because I wanted it to look good with our old furniture! It fit the bill and hopefully my kids will keep it and it could be an heirloom. Our bedroom is in what was once the parlor. The house used to be a three-bedroom, now it's considered four.

I hope you enjoyed your visit. Perhaps another time I can show you more. I have a 1920's kitchen, that I really am not too fond of but it really is kind of neat if you didn't have to cook in it or use it for any practical purpose.

I have a niece that thinks we are terrible for wanting to replace it. I'm touched that she likes it and feels like it belongs. Maybe we can figure out a way to make a NEW kitchen to look 1920's....and find a clever way to disguise a modern dishwasher!

Oh, and I sure would love to hear from any of you who look in from time to time. I love to get comments! (Click on "comments" at the bottom of the post.) Stop over sometime, we'd love to see you!

Here's your dose of peacefulness for today.....

Do I need to say anything...? This just makes me feel so calm. And, I don't have much time today for writing up a longer entry. So, here you go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where did my baby go?

It hasn't been much more than a couple of years between the upper and lower pictures. But the difference in looks, in how much he weighs, his height are all very great. Luke grew so much since Jamie's wedding, it's not funny.

At Jamie's wedding, she was still the taller one, not any more. At Jamie's wedding, Mom was still the taller one. Not any more! Shortly, he will overtake his dad in height, and he's not quite thirteen yet. His feet are bigger than his dad's, and they are getting close to being as big as Mark's feet are! He's a beanpole with size eleven feet!

Where did my little boy in bib overalls, my little chatterbox go? My little buddy who would sit and listen to me read for as long as I would read to him? How I wish I had taken more video...so I could still hear his little voice.

But, as moms we have to welcome the changes, because if the changes didn't come, then it would certainly mean something was wrong. But do I have to like it when he needs to shave already?

Monday, October 20, 2008

She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes.....

Frankenmuth, MI 2007
click to enlarge

She's comin' for Thanksgiving! YAY! And, of course, so is my son-in-law...and that makes me, well all of us really HAPPY! It gives an anticipation, and excitement builds the closer the day that we'll see them comes! The morning they leave you think about them as they pack off the dogs, say goodbye to the kitties.... and get the Suburban packed....drive down the mountain and get to the interstate to start the long trip north. And you say little prayers all day long that they'll have a safe trip back home. It's a long, long day until they finally pull in the driveway!
But oh, what a wonderful feeling it is to have them within your reach and the sound of your voice again! You just want to cook them everything they like and take them places, and of course you look forward to a couple lively nights that you can PLAY SCRABBLE together.
This picture of Jamie was taken on the wooden bridge in Frankenmuth a couple years ago, and I hope we get a chance to get back up there again....oh the familiar things that become dear to you once you move far, far away! The visits to Michigan aren't long enough for all that we'd like to do!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What we have in common....

Today I was invited to my neighbor Joyce's house, a neighbor who has been such a good and dear friend since we moved into this old house 17 years ago. Joyce had invited a few people over to her farmhouse (theirs is a working farm and fall is always a fun time to be there for all the excitement going on!) for lunch.
One guest was Bernice, a sweet and spunky little lady who was born in our house, she is now in her upper eighties, and our house just turned 110.
Another guest was Jan, the woman who was the second owner of our house, who is one of the smartest and most creative people that I've ever met. Joyce's daughter, Alison was there too, as she had babysat for Jan's four kids when they lived here.
We had lunch, a delicious crusted spinach quiche that Joyce made and a gorgeous fruit salad and a wonderful cinnamon bread with frosting, yum! What we all have in common is this old house: Joyce and her family farm the original land that was with this farmhouse, their farm is another family farm original to this section of land, and their place adjoined it and now they have one big farm.
The lady in her eighties, Bernice, was born here and her family back down the line in the 1880's was the original farm family to come out here, get their farm up and running and then built this old house.
Jan was the mom of the family before us, who had her four kids and rocked them all here, a city girl out in the middle of nowhere, and finally we are the newest and, I believe, only the third owners of this place.
Before Jan moved away from here, she introduced me to Joyce and Bernice and we've all kept in touch. The photo that you see here is something I printed off and gave to each of the ladies, the house turned 110 years old this year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Want to make your family drool when it's time for breakfast, or time for breakfast for supper? Here's what you do, make your own hashbrowns! Don't groan, you CAN do this. You can look like a gourmet cook even if you're not (and for sure, I am not!)
What you'll need:
Baked potatoes that are leftover (I never bake potatoes without throwing a few extra in, they come in handy for so many dishes! More on that later....)
An old fashioned grater, and please DO pardon my bent and nasty looking grater, it has survived years of me slamming these old farmhouse drawers on it and smashing the handle!
Some canola oil for frying
Sea salt & Coarsely ground pepper
You can probaby guess what you'll be doing. You take the cold, sad-looking wrinkled and saggin' baked potatoes, (and tell yourself you will look the same way soon when you get old and your kids are having kids) and don't even think of removing the skins, the skin is where the FLAVOR'S at, man! Leave the skin on and grate them on the side of the grater with the largest holes. Easy, peasy, right?
Get your oil hot and fry those babies up, in clumps...do NOT spread them all over the pan. They brown best when they have some breathing room between piles. Don't flip them until they are GOOD AND BROWN, as shown above, and try to flip them in nice clumps, too. When done, sprinkle generously with coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt. YUM! Serve with eggs cooked your favotite way (sunny side up!) and some nice wheat toast with homemade raspberry jam. Your husband will worship you!