New Vids Coming Soon -- The West Ladies

Heads up for the lovers of all things domestic, and fans of the West Ladies:

New films coming out late summer. I received this in my email:

Yes, that's right -- Three New Films by the Wests: The Art of Gardening, The Art of Canning, and The Art of Herbs.

I can't wait.

Here's a great video by the Wests, filmed on their property, where you can see their beautiful gardens.

And lots more photos at the Homestead Blessings Site.

Better Homes and Gardens.

Don't I wish. LOL.

Anyway, here are some pics of the home and garden as it was this morning.

First bouquet of the year -- lilacs which scented the whole house within an hour or two.


I fell in love with these sweet red old-fashioned roses and had to buy them. They remind me of fairy tales for some reason. Do you like?


Joman planted two pots for me, to stand by the front door. Here is one of them. Joman really enjoyed gardening and did much of the planting.


I forget what this is called. It is supposed to be a ground cover but is very invasive and has all but swallowed up several shrubs. According to the description I found of it in a gardening book, the flowers should be cut back because they are "unattractive." I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because I love the flowers. They look like Queen Anne's Lace to me, only they last much longer as cut flowers.


Another plant I've drooled over, and now have in my garden. This lavendar clematis is growing up the lamp post. I have another deep purple one, which is climbing the front wall of the house.


These hostas by the front door just popped right up this year. We planted about 6 or 7 more in a shady area by the mudroom door. They are doing fantastically well, and the deer must be happy eating elsewhere, because so far they have not touched the hostas.


This looks a lot better in real life. LOL


So does this. But now you have some idea of how things are laid out. A lot of what looks like weeds, isn't -- it's ivy (foreground) or small plants. But a lot of it is weeds. We mulched, but the weeds are going to continue to be a problem.


I bought a "knockout" rose this year. Along with the rest of the city. I think they are very popular this year. Seem to do quite well with the heavy clay soil though, so I hope it's a keeper. You know these plants will all have to fend for themselves. :-)


Second bouquet of the year -- peonies for looks, lilac for scent, and that Queen Anne's Lace - looking stuff just cuz I like it. :-) This bouquet is almost a week old now, and looks well for its age, don't you think?


Oh, I almost forgot the things in the window this year. Daddy planted the pots for the window this year -- several herbs and this morning glory, which grew well from seed and is starting to flower. I've always wanted morning glories. :-)


My dear children gave me this cup-o-tea planter for Mothers Day. LOL.

Sorry for the brief descriptions on it all...but I gotta hit the sack.

Love you guys!

Happy Mothers Day

To all the mothers out there -- the ones who have borne children and the ones who have nurtured children, or teens, or adults.

Nancy Campbell says that all women have a nurturing spirit built into them by God, and unless it is corrupted or damaged, that nurturing spirit will find a way to be expressed. Thank you, women, for your mothering of the world. Pray for the right priorities to be established!

Speaking of Nancy, she recently had a severe accident to her arm and is having trouble paying the medical costs it will take to have her arm properly repaired. She has been living in pain for quite some time and is hesitant to spend the money it needs to be properly mended. If you would like to send some money to help cover her costs, here is a link to do so.

I've been thinking today about my own mother, who is very far away from me in distance, but very close in heart.

I wish her a very, very happy Mothers Day and I'd like to tell you a little bit about her as a mother. This is hard to do, because I don't want to sell her short, as I almost certainly will.

My mother was a very young mom. She was married and pregnant with me before she graduated from college. She was, and is, one of the most talented people I have ever known. I can't actually think of anyone I have ever met with more gifted ability than she has. If she puts her mind to doing something, she will do it.

And yet, with all the talent she has, she never failed to make a home for her five children. She never made us feel like an obstacle or burden to her success. She raised daughters who were not fearful or anxious about becoming mothers, themselves; and felt free and bold to marry and begin families of their own. What a gift to us that is!

She is constantly encouraging and faithful.

She faces adversity and hardship with bravery and an underlying joy. She entrusts her life and the lives of her children to God's tender care.

She honors her husband, my father, in every way. She treats him respectfully and helps him in every way possible, going far beyond her own comfort.

She has been faithful in her marriage for 39 years; faithful as a mother for 37 years; faithful as a grandmother for 12 years; faithful to God since her childhood.

Who has a mother like that?

I do.

And I have definitely sold her short.

We love you Mom, and Happy Mothers Day.

A Gift for a Friend


Remember this post?

Well, our dear friend has been faithfully delivering Panera bread and bagels as often as she has them -- usually, weekly.

I have thanked her, but wanted to do something a (very little) bit special for her, since it's Mothers' Day coming up and she has always been an example of a mothering, gentle heart, to me.

She was the first person I ever knew personally who homeschooled, braided rag rugs, made tortillas from scratch, home birthed, belonged to a food co-op....
in short, she was a whole new breed of woman to me as a young wife and new mother.

She nurtured me and was always available to help me out when I needed it. If I was sad, or hurt, her eyes would fill with tears.

Her advice and help was in action, not words.

And it still is, now, about 13 years and a lot of life-changes later.

Thankyou, M, and Happy Mothers Day!

(oh -- in the crocheted box: two crocheted dishcloths; a box of Celestial Seasonings Fruit Sampler tea; a bottle of Mrs Meyers Geranium-scented Dish Soap (smells wonderful!), and space for a jar of freshly-made, still-warm lemon curd.)

Tea for Two (cents)

I was attempting to get a week's worth of groceries, including paper products and cleaners, for $75 tonight. I am very well stocked up at the moment, so I have to use some of the things I have already bought. So, it will take some time to work out how much it actually costs to feed us all.

All that to say:

Now I really *need* to experiment with store brands. I usually buy store brand "everything" but I almost always buy Lipton tea. If you have been reading this blog for long, or if you know me IRL, you know I have a love affair with tea. I'm not too picky, I like most tea; but of all the teas I've tasted in my life (and there have been a LOT,) Lipton suits me best.


Lipton costs around $4.50 a box, which is 8oz, or 100 tea bags. (It is about $4/lb for loose tea which you would put in a teapot, but that's not always time efficient.) We go through about a box per week. Yes, that would be 100 tea bags every week, so for Lipton, it costs about $230/year.

The store brand tea at Aldi is $1.69 / box, and the Value brand at Kroger is $1.49 / box (8oz, 100 tea bags.)

I was buying Aldi brand, because most of their products are, IMO, good value for the cost, in terms of quality and flavor.

Their tea, though...well, it's sort of gamey. It tastes like it has a good bit of Darjeeling in it, with its pungent, green-ish flavor. It doesn't really taste at all like Lipton.

So tonight, I bought a little ol' box of Value brand from Kroger, the cheapest on the rack. No tags. Gotta dig the soggy little teabags out of the cup with a spoon. That's fine though -- less waste, less cost. Both good things.

The flavor was surprisingly good! None of that Darjeeling gamey flavor -- it's not the quality of Lipton, but it was quite good. Really. first post of "Better Than" goes to Kroger Value tea bags, for being better than Aldi in flavor and cost. And it is definitely a good enough flavor to keep me happy while saving more than $150 per year. :-)

I can get a lot of yarn for that much money.

B P B & J Muffins

Because Roks wanted a treat today.


Banana Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins.



Okay, here is the, um, "recipe." LOL

More accurately described as "approximately what was in these here muffins." (Made 18 muffins)

2 largish ripe bananas, mashed
1 C buttermilk
3/4 C peanut butter
1 egg

2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Jam (I used seedless blackberry, about 1/2 cup)

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Fill baking cups 1/3 full (I used paper baking cups in case the jam leaked out and stuck.)

Make a little indent in each cup of batter. Place 1/2 - 1 tsp jam in each indent. Top with the remaining batter and try to enclose the jam because it will be wanting to find a way out of your muffin.

Bake 375 for 15-20 minutes (mine took 20).

Cool, and glaze with peanut butter glaze (below).


Glaze: 2 tbsp peanut butter
1 C powdered sugar
milk to thin to glaze consistency
a drop of vanilla

Good luck with THAT recipe. Ha ha.

Pardon Me for a Minute

Well, I was trying to get a post-a-day for all you folks back home, but I'm not going to be successful at that.

Some of you know I've been fighting mild but fatiguing illness for a month, and so things have gotten...out of control, maybe a little.

I have my energy back and now I have a MILLION ZILLION things I need/want to learn/grow/sew/clean/do, and that's what I'm doing.

So if the posts are a leeeetle bit sporadic, that's why.

God Bless!!

Color Therapy

New Project.

Joined a crochet-along.

Yes, I do realize that I have zillions of UFO's, but I frogged thisand have had many little balls of yarn sitting around crying softly to be reworked into something new.

Daddy bought me

Blue Ribbon Afghans from America's State Fairs: 40 Prize-Winning Crocheted Designs

so naturally I had to do the gorgeous whirlygig of colors from the cover of the book.

Aaah, I love color.
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