Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To Mark Independence Day

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

--Ronald Wilson Reagan


This movie is a favorite of mine, and is a wonderful way to celebrate the fourth of July, by remembering those who have purchased freedom with their own lives.

Please leave a comment and make sure I have your email address if you do not already own this movie.  

Winner to be announced on July 5th!

This movie is worth having and keeping, and especially worth watching during the celebration: we must remember the sacrifices of men who made it possible for us to live this unique American life.  

This movie is based on a true story, that of Chance Phelps; and it shows that any man who gives his life in service to his country is just as worthy as the man who did so before him:  there are no ranks at Dover--every man is treated the same.  

This movie is done with so much respect and reverence, and Kevin Bacon was superb in his depiction of a fellow Marine who voluntarily accompanies Chance's body home to his family.  

May it always be so, and may we always be willing to keep it so, it is up to us, you know, to guard freedom here at home while our soldiers guard it from afar.

Celebrate the Fourth of July while you can, for independence may become something we must fight for.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Lofty Skies

I live in a prairie-like area.  Flat land, you can see for a couple miles in one direction or another from just about anywhere out here.

Sometimes, folks might think that to be quite dull.

But in the evenings, at sunset, it's not dull very often.

I get gifts like this all the time, given free for the taking!

It never ceases to amaze.  

I might not have mountains to look at, but there are mountainous clouds to frame our landscape from time to time.

And upon closer inspection, a photographer learns what to focus in on, the bigger picture is beautiful, but sometimes, you have to pick a focal point and just zoom in.

It's like that with our lives, too.

Sometimes, we can't see the bigger picture.  But if we'll look at what's right in front of us, we can see it's something worth appreciating.  Light bursts through the clouds every now and then and we see something that gives us hope.

For this Sunday, I leave you with this beautiful old hymn, the words a sermon all on their own; when I saw this particular sunset, I thought of this hymn.

I Sing the Mighty Power of God
Isaac Watts

1. I sing the almighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.

2. I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command,
And all the stars obey.

3. I sing the goodness of the Lord,
That filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His Word,
And then pronounced them good.

4. Lord! how Thy wonders are displayed
Where'er I turn mine eye!
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky!

5. There's not a plant or flower below
But makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise and tempests blow,
By order from Thy throne.

6. Creatures that borrow life from Thee
Are subject to Thy care;
There's not a place where we can flee,
But God is present there.

(This was a hymn written originally for children!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winners Announced!

The time has come for the winners of the drawing for a set of six diner baskets to be drawn....

And the winners are...


Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...
Those are so cute. Sign me up. My kids would love them.
Karen~The Barely There Primitive Bear said...
These are awesome! Thanks for the opportunity to win these, please enter me. You should have my email address.
Have a great week, Joni. :)

Bear Hugs & Blessings~Karen

Friday, June 15, 2012

His Paintings...

I feel like the evening sky is a painting, done just for those who will see it, really look, and enjoy it.  

It's a spectacular window into the studio God uses, painting with His invisible hand,  right in front of our human eyes.  

It's simply stunning, no matter how many times you've seen it. Changing over a matter of just minutes.  

Silently, subtly, before you can catch your breath, the sun has sunk into the roundness of the earth.  Leaving behind shades and shadows of glory.

Doesn't He do the best work?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Layering: Farmhouse Style

Morning shadows enticed me to take this "shadow shot" for you...

My family knows not to use the dishtowels hanging from the oven door. They're just for looks.  I love this "sweet corn" towel, one in a package of older Martha Stewart Living dishtowel from Kmart eons ago...

I really miss going in there just to look at the good Martha stuff they had for the kitchen and other textiles for the home.  In fact, I loved her dishtowels so much I used them all over the house for anything but dishtowels and I still have many of them, some of the favorites of mine are these:

Gingham with contrasting rick-rack on each edge from Martha Stewart's line at Kmart.  I use these for dresser scarves in my guest bedroom...

The dishtowel on my oven door handle underneath, came from an antique or thrift store somewhere, in the exact bright and cheery colors I like in my kitchen.

Do you have your favorite "don't touch" dishtowels?  

I need a new source for cute textiles for the kitchen, as Martha isn't putting out the kind of stuff that's for me anymore.  


A reader suggested this company:  Mary Lake Thompson; made right here in the USA.  Thanks, Becka!  

My sister, Mary, recommends this company for vintage-style textiles for the kitchen:  see MODA HOME.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Farmhouse Diner Drawing!

I have two sets of these diner baskets in sets of six I found one day while shopping with my sister, Pam, at TJ Maxx. 

I'd like to have you enter to win, if you don't already have a set!  They are fun to use, and I use them on sandwich night when we have a sandwich and chips or sandwich and fries.  I just line the basket with a paper towel.  

Clean-up is simple and kids love it!

They are so cheerful, sunny yellow and bright red!  Now don't you think you need a set?!  

Leave your name and MAKE SURE you're a follower, and that I have your email address so I can let you know that you won!  

The DRAWING will take place on Tuesday, June 19!

There will be TWO WINNERS!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunny Summer Days

Summer is...Simple.  

Strap marks on your backside when you get up from a lawn chair.

Hot dogs on the grill, the simplest, best tasting supper, especially when burnt just a little.

Fireflies at twilight.

Crickets you listen to from the porch.

A frog hopping under the plants as you water your flowers.

Watching the sun reflect in the water, enjoying the bright flashes as the ripples move through it.

Fresh laundry flapping in the wind.

The almost silent swoosh of a curtain as it blows out, then falls again to the window.

Sloshing through the water from the hose and suds flying as you wash the car.

The smell of summer on a cool evening after a hot, sunny day.

The beauty of a tomato plant with promises of what's to come hanging from it.

The peony waving in the wind.

The sound of the hoe in the dirt.

Flip flops on sand.

A picnic on a quilt.

The smell before a thunderstorm.

Kids blowing bubbles and giggles chasing them.

Watching a classic car drive by.


The sound of the crowd as the fireworks begin.



Anything you'd like to add?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Fiery Sunset

Lately, our sunsets have been unusually brilliant: colors so breathtaking that you think heaven has opened up just to show you a little taste of what it will be like.

Like each of us, every sunset is unique.  

And some stand out more than others. 

But see the orange right around that sun?  The really bright stuff?  
I wanted to see more of that.

So I changed my lenses, and lookie here what I got!  

I took these on May 22 as the sun set so brilliantly it could not be ignored. 

This shot and the one below were taken aiming straight into the sun with the telephoto lens on.  The orange just makes my heart go pitty-pat.  

Where I live it's rare for me not to notice the sun setting.

When I am not at home, and I can't see the sunset, I am somewhat disoriented.

I shoot so many sunsets, that if my kids or husband notice a nice one and I'm not out there with my camera yet, they come and get me.  That's just one of the nice little gifts my family gives to me year-round: photo opportunities.  

Wide open spaces are where I belong.  Can't stand to feel confined!

And...this song sums up our part of the country and what I love about our country just fine!  

Before the Dixie Chicks cut their noses off to spite their faces with a lot of us in flyover country, this was also song I could sing along heartily to...

Do you like wide open spaces?

Can you see the sunset from where you live? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farmhouse Diner: Perfect French Toast

Girlfriends, I found the very BEST French toast recipe and I just have to share it with you.  

This is a restaurant-quality recipe and of course, we enjoy having breakfast for supper about once a week at least.  With fresh strawberries right from the patch, this is seasonal food that is so wonderful to enjoy this time of year.  Nothing beats a strawberry right from the garden!

Served with a slice or two of good butcher-shop bacon, it's sweet with garden-fresh strawberries and some confectioner's sugar.   

I can't wait to try this again, with some new variations...for one, I am going to trade out the white sugar for brown, and I also want to add nutmeg to it. 

This is a custard-like dip for your french toast with a nice substance and a good finish and feel.  The difference in this recipe that is something I never had done before is the flour in the recipe.  It coats the bread in a substantial way and prevents sogginess.  

See what you think!  

Farmhouse French Toast
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. white sugar
12 slices of thick bread

1.  Measure flour into a large bowl or I put it into the mixer bowl on the Kitchen-aid; it worked really well for me...  

2.  Whisk into the flour the milk, then eggs, then salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar; and mix or whisk until smooth. 

3.  Lightly oil a griddle or frypan over medium heat.

4.  Dip each bread slice on each side to soak; and the cook on a griddle until golden brown.

SERVE your way!  ENJOY! 

Strawberries!  I love them, and I love anything with strawberries on it!  
And I also love gingham--it's in my kitchen.
They go together so well.

This time of year, I pull out a single napkin my daughter Jamie gave to me, with a single strawberry embroidered on it, and I place it over the valance in my kitchen window over the sink.  Simple and fun.  I can do this throughout the year with different themes if they match my red gingham!  

And here is a red gingham strawberry I place in different spots around the kitchen, right now, it's a "topper" to a vintage milk bottle with adorable red graphics.  More RED here.  

Do you enjoy a breakfast for dinner every now and then?  

Monday, June 4, 2012

So Fair...

Oh, what is so fair as a day in June?

Not much, that I can think of!

This month has, so far, been cooler than normal.  Yet, still the color bursts forth from everywhere that I look;  from the bluest of skies, and the puffy white clouds, to the green carpet of grass below my feet. 

There are peonies, clematis, and there are garden seeds bursting from the good ground, strawberries and raspberries forming tiny berries, all the beginnings of a wonderful process that gives us food from a little patch of dirt we tend to and can care for, healing our minds and spirits as we do, rewarding diligence while it feeds our bodies.

What is so fair?

Not much.

Enjoy some photos I snapped with my iPhone while I was on the mower today.

As the sheets flapped in the breeze on the clothesline nearby, I had the pleasure of taking passes past scenes like this one, no one can beat me when it comes to getting on the mower in the spring time.  What a joy!

Peonies never cease to amaze, although they come out and show themselves each June, still have the delicate beauty that is fleeting, and the scent to make me swoon--we must enjoy because we know it doesn't last long.

A bud or two naturally must come in with me to be placed into a small vintage pop have time to open and impress us again with ruffled layers of bright pink.

June is new, fresh life with a softness that comes to reward us for making it through yet another winter, June is a blush on a bride, and a breeze to the graduate, blowing them to new adventures and a new life...a pleasure to behold for just thirty days in the year.