Monday, March 29, 2010

Kitchen Love

'Cooking properly is a great skill but it is also an act of love and so impacts on us in an emotional way. The smells that arise from the baking of bread or an exotically fragrant dish waiting to be eaten fills the air of the kitchen and the house with delight and anticipation, drawing the members of the household into the kitchen making it the focal point of the house. The visible presence of fruit, vegetables, herbs, condiments and food cooking all add atmosphere, turning a collection of furniture and fittings into a living kitchen.'

- from 'The Art of Kitchen Design' by Johnny Grey

On my fridge! I love stoves such as Agas!

If you were to redefine your own cooking as an 'act of love' how would it change you and how you see your kitchen? For if cooking is an act of love it means that this act of domesticity involves a lot more than just the preparation of food, cooking is transformed into an art and a kitchen becomes much more than just a place where food is prepared or just assembled. (God forbid!) If cooking is an art, that means my kitchen is my creative studio and I need some visual inspiration - it is why I love to pile produce into baskets and bowls and herbs are my kitchen bouquets ready to be snipped at a moment's notice. Kitchens are the place in the home where we do what we have to do with food and I need to ask you some questions specific to food.

If cooking is an act of love .......

Would it influence what you cooked? The type of foods you chose to stock your pantry and fridge/freezer with? Would you be more careful, taking time at the store to read the lists of ingredients on packets and tins? Would you be prepared to pay a little more for good olive oil or healthier bread? Do you take the time to visit your farmer's market to source locally grown fresh produce rather than buying everything wrapped in plastic at the supermarket or better still do you put in time and effort to establish your own food gardens at home or grow vegetables and herbs in pots on a windowsill, patio or balcony?

Tamarillo and Pear Chutney

Would you be prepared to cook more meals from scratch and extend your repertoire of recipes? Trying out new ideas, flavours and cuisines? Learning as much as you can about nutrition and the art of food preparation? And are you going to pass on this skill to the next generation educating your children in a domestic art which will pay a generous dividend - for their future health, household economy and well being?

Or do you reach for another packet of macaroni and cheese?
Or add water to a packet mix and call it home baked. Love goes the extra mile, so can I encourage you to teach your children to cook and bake with real ingredients. My youngest daughters are only four and if you are not sure how to make pancakes from scratch just ask them - they will give you the list of ingredients!
If cooking is an act of love would it change how you cooked? That is the attitude you chose to bring into the kitchen when you need to prepare a meal or snack? If it truly is an act of love, regardless of the circumstances - a limited budget, limited bench space, limited time or all three plus tiredness - cooking takes on a whole new dimension. Even the preparation of a humble plate of sandwiches becomes an opportunity to meet a need and minister to someone - even a hungry toddler! A pot of homemade soup on the stove that required your attention as it needed to be stirred and have you adjust the seasoning will be dished out in love. It has become soup for the soul.

If cooking is an act of love would it change how you served your food? Do you hand the teenager a bag of chips to take to his room or do you bake a big batch of biscuits - the aroma will draw him out of his room and into the kitchen. Oh Johnny Grey you are so right!

Do you chop up some herbs to garnish and transform your dish, whip up a simple dressing for the salad and serve it in a pretty bowl - or do you plonk a plastic bottle of vinaigrette next to the salad bowl? Did you even bother about a dressing?

Do you take the time to set the table, ensuring each person has a water glass, do you light a candle, or float a few flower heads in a bowl of water for a simple but effective table decoration - simple acts of love. Kitchen love. Table love. Family love.

You may have noticed that there are not many pictures of my actual kitchen, for this post is not about kitchen design. I could have shown you pictures of magazine kitchens to drool over but that is not what I wanted to share - I just wanted to spread some kitchen love!

And I have fallen in love with my kitchen over again, even with its limitations and it has reaffirmed its place as the most important room in my house thanks to the book I took my opening quotation from. I have read 'The Art of Kitchen Design' from cover to cover, it is not just a book about kitchen design to flick through over a coffee but rather an examination of what kitchens are all about. I was taken to my kitchen heaven, I took notes and became quite emotional as I read the insights of a man who knows kitchens and understands their true purpose! I might even review this book in more detail if anyone is interested but for now I will close with another quote from Johnny Grey 's introduction to his book. He is considered to be one of the world's best kitchen designers and he is also the nephew of Elizabeth David. If I were rich I would have him redesign my kitchen but in the meantime I have lots of pictures of plate racks and pantries to inspire me (my husband has told me to think outside the 'corner pantry' and one day he will build me a new pantry and a plate rack. It is in writing now!)

I hope this has helped you to also find some kitchen love!

'... a comfortable kitchen is one of the necessities of a civilized life and a major contributor to a happy household. It is after all a refuge, a creative space, a cradle of sociability and hospitality, a place synonymous with sustenance and a room that offers a constancy against the backdrop of the ebb and flow of family life.'

With Kitchen Love and Joy,

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conversations at the Change Table

For the past three months I have been meeting with this beautiful little man at the change table.

If I was to write out a transcript of our conversations this is what you would be likely to read.

'Hello ........ Are you going to give your mum a smile?' His eyes light up, he is so excited to hear my voice and the corners of his mouth turn up and I am rewarded with the most wonderful beaming smile. A moment later, another smile and then another.

'You are such a happy boy!' 'I am so blessed to have you as my son.'
'You know that your mummy loves, you daddy loves you, your brothers and your sisters love you.'

'God loves you. Jesus loves you. You are a gift to this family from our Heavenly Father.'

He can't help himself - he smiles again.
'You are such a charmer!' Oh please, not another smile - I've changed your nappy, I have dishes to do.' At this point he starts to laugh, he knows I do not want to race off to clean up the kitchen when I can be here conversing at the change table or wherever we happen to be, maybe sitting on the sofa following a leisurely feed, surrounded by people who just adore him and love to tickle his tummy and hear him giggle and laugh out loud.

The conversation is never one sided. When I stop speaking he responds with a speech of his own, I do not know what he is saying to me but it sounds intelligent, he knows what he is saying I'm sure, there are different intonations in his voice, he has quite a lot to say, my little man!
I interject his address to the world with 'Is that right?' ' Are you sure?' 'Mmm- I 've heard that too'. I have to ask him 'Tell me, what are your views on baby wearing?' He gives a few oohs and ahhs. He says he rather likes it. He's quite in favour of it!

It is just about time to leave the change table. He's looking serious now.
'What are you thinking about?' I ask him. 'Oh, let me guess'. And the inevitable happens, number threes. He wants to remind me that I almost forgot to pray for him this morning.

I place my hand on his head and thank God for my little man, for the blessing he is to our family. I ask for strength for each day as I take on board my role as his mother, to care for him tenderly, to raise him up together with my husband, in the fear and admonition of the Lord, according to the principles found in God's Word, be all that God intends a man of God to be - a lover of God, a man of the Word and a man of his word = integrity, a leader of his family, a provider, strong, faithful, courageous, courteous, loving, wise - the list is so long!

To this end, I even pray for his future wife and the home that they will establish when the baton is passed on to another generation to continue in the faith.

'Why is this so important', you ask, 'to pray for his future?' He's just a baby, his manhood is years away. The answer is - I believe he is already on the path to manhood, he's my little man and I also know the power of a praying mother and I understand the times we are living in and the perilous times that are coming as Paul wrote to Timothy and warned him that in the last days, men would be 'lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of Godliness but denying its power.' (2 Timothy 3 v1-7) These are the traits I never wish to see in my son and like Paul we will urge him to turn away from such people. That he will be able to stand strong in the days of testing that lie ahead and honour Christ. This is why I pray for him now even though he is only a babe.

Paul reminds Timothy that from childhood he had known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make one wise for for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' What stands out for me is the phrase 'From childhood' - in the home! I have no doubt that Timothy was immersed in the Word and that his mother Eunice prayed for him fervently, from the day of his birth, for in Timothy dwells a genuine faith that was in his mother and also in her mother Lois. I suspect she was also a praying mother who prayed for her daughter and later her grandson.

Did Eunice pray for Timothy as she attended to his everyday care when he was just a tiny baby? Those tasks we sometimes consider menial such as changing nappies or wiping noses? She may not have stood at a change table but I'm sure as she gave tender care to her son and prayed for him, that they conversed and that she was rewarded with smiles and later on the knowledge that her son became a man who loved and served the Lord wholeheartedly.

This is my desire also and its why I love my conversations at the change table!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

I've gone bananas over lemon myrtle!

What's a girl to do with yet another bunch of bananas? I didn't think it was possible to run out of baskets (I love my baskets and I have a few, okay, it is more than a few!) but every basket I own is filled with bananas and they are ripening one by one.

As soon as they ripen the bananas disappear. The twins have not spotted these two yellow ones!

A green harvest - most of the produce we are harvesting at the moment is green. So much mint I use it not just for cooking( though I love it finely chopped and added to yoghurt to accompany a pumpkin curry) but to simply decorate my kitchen bench. I love the fresh scent and it helps to repel the flies. Need a bay leaf? I have a never ending supply from our bay tree! I always pop one into sauces and stews.

Not as many limes this year after last season's prolific harvest but there are still enough to pick, slice and squeeze to add to salad dressings or to squeeze over the chicken before it goes into the oven to roast. Or to add to a cake recipe for an extra zing!

This is lemon myrtle yoghurt, lime and coconut cake. Absolutely delicious! My invention so if you want the recipe just ask - you could substitute lemon but lemon myrtle makes it extra special. It's an Australian bush food and one of my favourite flavours.

My local supermarket sells lemon myrtle yoghurt in 500 gram tubs. Buy in bulk I say! Much better value for money but seriously half a kilo of Hastings Valley's Lemon Myrtle and Honey yoghurt is way too much temptation. It really is an Australian indulgence! Now I did add a good dollop to the cake batter but ......

I couldn't help myself!

I have now purchased a lemon myrtle bush (it is the leaves that produce the scent not fruit!) and I also have powdered lemon myrtle in the fridge. I'm thinking of adding it to beeswax to make a wood polish. Anyone tried this? I used to buy an all natural commercial lemon myrtle furniture polish but I loved the scent so much I became addicted to polishing and used the tub up in record time, the furniture wasn't even dusty! I even used the polish to shine and condition my favourite leather boots and during autumn and winter took the scent with me when I went into town. I could hear people asking 'Can you smell lemon?' as I stood in queues at the checkout!

What are you enjoying today as you stand at your kitchen sink? Unless you live in Australia you are probably not enjoying the scent or taste of lemon myrtle. Sorry! Wish I could do a scented blog post. Just imagine lemon but sharper, fresher. Today I am sighing at the sight of the first camellias of the season. Cooler months are on the way! I'm going to make another sweet sourdough fruit and nut bread today packed with plump, juicy, non- sulphured dried apricots. It's our favourite supper treat at the moment. I might serve up slices on these glass plates. My only garage sale purchase on the weekend.

I just love these pair of wine goblets. There were only two but at 50 cents each I was not leaving them behind. The stack of plates were $5. They will make lovely dessert plates.

Although it is autumn, it is still warm enough to swim. This is where we were yesterday! Oh the joys and exhilaration of swimming in chemical free water in a beautiful natural setting. It just happens to be my home - I am so blessed.

With love and joy,

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Monday, March 15, 2010

I would peg out the washing but ....

This sweet photograph was taken earlier this year. Friends had invited us for dinner on a lovely summer evening and we were sitting out on the deck. My little man had gone to sleep in my arms just as we were about to sit down and eat. Sue brought over her laundry basket which made a perfect bassinet for my boy's nap. He was so obliging and allowed me to enjoy both mains and dessert!

It was so nice to be invited out to dinner. Some of the lovely ladies in my church were providing meals for my family during the early busy weeks of motherhood. They do this for all new mothers, whether it is your first or your seventh! Sue knew how much we enjoy fellowship with other families and rather than drop off a meal to our home she invited us for dinner. I usually offer to take a salad or dessert as a contribution but on this occasion I was under strict orders not to! We really enjoyed our dinner on the deck - family, good food, friends - what hospitality is all about!

We host all our birthday parties at home.
It is a wonderful way to teach your children about hospitality.

Some would be daunted by inviting out a family of nine but can I encourage you not to be! Early on in our marriage we decided not to only invite friends of our own age back for meals, just whoever God laid on our hearts. Young couples, singles, elderly people, backpackers, work colleagues and big families. I soon realized that the families with four plus children were very organized and they always brought along extra food - desserts, bread rolls, drinks but they were the ones who often missed out on the invitations for lunch or dinner. I did not realize it then but preparing a meal for a big family was God's way of preparing me for the future when I would have a big family of my own to cook for. It also gave me the confidence to occasionally cook for crowds. On one occasion, the youth group gatecrashed a 'Christmas in July' celebration we were hosting. Instead of a dinner for 12 or so people we ended up feeding over 40 young people! Amazingly, because friends bought along extra dishes we had plenty of food to go around.

Last year I cooked dinner for this mob who have hearty appetites especially after working bees. I didn't spend hours peeling potatoes to accompany the lamb but rather introduced them to quinoa - the wholegrain with superior levels of protein. My daughter made the desserts . We even sat down to dinner - a few spare trestle tables in the shed come in handy.

Now we are a big family, I really do appreciate it when people invite us to their homes for a meal.
So thank you Sue (and family) for your friendship, the lovely meal and the loan of your laundry basket! I hope you enjoyed the Colour conference.

With Love and Joy,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Invented Amalgamated Housewife

Today I would like you to meet the invented amalgamated housewife or Tiah for short (pronounced Tee-a), she is not real of course, I invented her and I'll explain the amalgamated part later but I wanted you to meet her, for you might recognize yourself in the descriptions. This is a kind of reality check blog post because Tiah can pop over to my house sometimes and is often on my mind, she is someone I have to ask to leave. Does she ever visit you? I bet she does, especially when you are blogging!

Anyway, Tiah invited us to go and visit her home and not wanting to offend I agreed and RSVPed to her hand made, exquisite invitation card. We park the van in the driveway - no skateboards or bikes parked out front of course but Tiah does have children in case you are wondering! Tiah's home has a white picket fence, a rose covered pergola and a veranda - I haven't even stepped inside and already I am gushing. Tiah decorates her veranda for whatever season we happen to be in. It's all so lovely. I take five minutes admiring the potted colour, door wreaths and antique urns standing sentinel on either side of the wooden door which she painted herself, a fetching shade of ruby.

I finally ring the polished brass doorbell and Tiah comes to the door. She is as manicured as her green lawn, as neat as the rows of cottage flowers in the front beds and doesn't realize it but her front door matches her lipstick! Tiah has never experienced a bad hair day (February was so humid I christened it bad hair month!) She invites us in and we try not to gasp, it is all so lovely, the type of home that real estate agents describe as immaculate. Her tiled floors sparkle, the wooden floor area glows, it has such a lovely patina. The chandelier is just breathtaking - we have to take a breath and stop ourselves from saying 'Wow'!

Tiah invites us to sit on the sofa, soft cashmere throws are folded neatly on the arm (I have throws, they are not cashmere which is probably a good thing as they tend to be used to make tents and playhouses) and a hand stitched quilt in coordinating colours is draped gracefully over the back. You comment about the lovely quilt and Tiah tells us it is took just a couple of weeks but she was very happy with how it turned out. You decide not to share about the quilt you have been working on for the past two years!

Tiah was expecting us and is so organized and well prepared, she pops on her 50's vintage apron and excuses herself to go and take the freshly baked cranberry muffins out of the oven - so that was the delicious aroma! You love Tiah's kitchen - it is rustic farmhouse chic combined with Parisienne style. Tiah herself limewashed the cabinets. Her modern stainless steel stove shows not a finger mark (I think they should be called 'mark more' steel rather than stain less !) and she is not embarrassed to open the door of her new side by side stainless fridge/ freezer which matches the oven of course and all the other appliances apart from the Kitchen Aid mixer - she had to have the red one to match the lipstick!

A glimpse of my pantry - it is not 'pantry perfection', it is quite impractical but I do the best with what I have and try to keep it clean, well organized and well stocked.

Have I told you Tiah is an excellent cook. She makes everything from scratch. The vegetables artfully arranged in her copper bowl all come from her organic kitchen garden, her potager. The fruit is from their orchard. She bakes her own bread using freshly milled flour (OK I know I'm guilty of this - just had to pop it in!) Her cook books are pristine, neatly arranged in a special compartment in the kitchen island. Jaime and Nigella fight for position but the domestic goddess wins every time. Tiah opens her pantry to find the icing sugar to dust over the muffins. No rummaging around in this pantry - everything is in glass jars, labeled, standing to attention. You will not find half opened packets of flax meal, old spices or items past their expiration date. It is just pantry perfection!

After enjoying the cranberry muffins served with fragrant herbal tea in vintage china tea cups on a tray bedecked with a crocheted lace mat and tiny rosebud in a vase. Tiah takes us on a guided tour of her home. We are such sticky beaks we cannot turn down this offer. We see her living room, a picture of elegance, a polished piano is home to silver plated photo frames of sepia toned photographs of distinguished ancestors and beautifully posed family portraits - dad and all the boys in crisp white shirts and linen pants.

Quilts feature throughout Tiah's home. They hang over stair rails and are stacked in armoires and of course every member of the family has their own quilt folded neatly across the foot of their bed. Tiah made every quilt, she is such a talented sewer. She even has a room set aside for crafting. The shelves are stacked in an orderly fashion with colourful fabrics, trims and ribbons. The sewing machine is ready for action and Tiah knows how to make full use of all the embroidery functions.

Tiah also scrapbooks, knits and crochets. She is even a talented laundress.
Her linen cupboard is scented with lavender. Some linen is even tied up in ribbon. The organic cotton sheets are folded in sets even the elasticated bottom sheet. (So someone mastered this skill - I tried to follow Martha's instructions but gave up and stuffed the sheet into its pillowcase - oh well it keeps the set together I suppose!) Tiah's washing line is pegged out perfection. Snowy white pillowcases flap in the breeze. Wooden clothes pegs all stay in the hand sewn peg bag and no child forgets to bring it in when it rains!

Oh there is so much more I could show you in Tiah's home - I did use the bathroom and it was so lovely to have hand made goats milk soap (did I tell you Tiah also kept goats!) and embroidered towels to use but it is time to go now. We have stayed far too long but Tiah is such a gracious hostess. We thank her so much for having us and stroll back along the garden path to my van - I would call it a people mover but let's face it, it's a van, stereotypical of the homeschool family (ever see that funny video clip on You Tube?)

I never introduced you to Tia's sisters, the invented amalgamated mother or the invented amalgamated homeschool mother and you did not get to meet her children. Never mind, maybe next time but as you do realize Tia and her sisters are not real. She is my invention and my amalgamation - the amalgamation of all those skills, talents and wonderful creative qualities that all the blogs that I visit display. I do appreciate and love to see all the evidence of so many talented homemakers so vividly portrayed but I am guilty of sometimes amalgamating all that talent and turning it into desire. Not just saying 'I wish I could do that' but going away and striving to do it and falling short. Trying to do it all, wearing myself out and blaming myself - feeling guilty because I do not make my own soap or knit my own dishcloths. That my white tiled floors do not always sparkle unless the children have spilled glitter again and that my towels are not fluffy - sometimes they are just down right stiff due to the lack of wind - I cannot get my pillowcases to flap, maybe a flutter but definitely not a flap!

I have a pergola but no roses climb over. Don't look up - we have cobwebs!

Please note, I did not say any of these things were wrong or that dreaming was not allowed! I love verandas and I dream of a rose covered pergola. I love to see the creative ways in which different homemakers decorate their verandas. At Christmas time a hand made garland is to be found at my front entrance. I don't have a wooden front door but if I did I would probably paint it red or maybe aqua blue. But I don't have a veranda, just an uneven brick paver patio and at the moment it's renovation season (it's a very long season too!) and my patio is decorated with bags of concrete, a wheelbarrow, shovels, spades, levels and half a hundred other tools! I'm learning to be a patient renovator, I am thankful that I have a husband who is always busy working with his hands to make improvements to our home but I have to be careful that I do not become irritated or inpatient, renovations can be a messy business and having the children put away the tools when they have been left out intentionally because my husband is hoping to do some more landscaping work when he arrives home from work is not helpful to him. I should have checked first but I just wanted a tidy patio after seeing that wonderful front porch on someone's blog.

There were a number of things from Tiah's home that you will find in my home and there were features that I do truly admire in homes such as well organized pantries. I have a white tiled floor which is mopped every day but I also have children who forget to wipe their feet or realize too late that they have a leech attached to their toe until they spot the trail of blood through the house! (we are having leeches in plague proportions at the moment, anyone else experiencing this?!) We have a piano, not always polished and not often played but a lovely place to display the sepia toned photographs but as of yet there is no professionally posed family portrait -I would have to persuade the husband to dress in a white shirt, in fact I don't even think he owns a white shirt! Oh one day I know one of my children will learn to play the piano but none have really expressed an interest, one daughter has said 'maybe' but she would have to give up her Mandarin lessons for us to afford the piano lesson. In her eyes, Mandarin is the best, piano would be nice but she would not give up Mandarin for piano, for Asian culture is her passion, not music.

I mentioned being guilty of the bread making. Tiah made her own bread from freshly milled flour. Yes, that's one aspect of me. Making bread was one of the skills I chose to learn because it would bring so many health and financial benefits to my family. I chose the best for us but never want others to feel guilty because they buy bread from the store. There are some good breads appearing on the shelves now as consumers demand bread without artificial additives. Yes, the principal that is working for me is 'Choose the BEST and leave the REST'. The best is what works out to be most beneficial for your family.

There are so many skills I would love to learn but not enough hours in my day. I would love to make my own soap (and candles) but as I have young children who love to be around when I am making things and soap making involves a few risky processes I have decided 'not yet' - maybe when the children are older I will give soap making a go. For now, I can buy beautiful handmade soap at my farmer's markets, there are quite a number of locals making and selling their own soap. By purchasing their soap I am supporting local enterprises and I am happy to do so.

Quilts were quite the decorating feature in Tiah's home. I love quilts, a reminder of our colonial past, of the pursuits of pioneers, such a womanly art, homespun, hand made, injecting colour and warmth into a home. I just love them but I have never made one but maybe one day I will try my hand. I even have two quilts made by neighbour given to me waiting to be finished, one needs to be bound, the other is a half finished project that will give me a head start but not just yet. So the lesson here is don't be afraid to learn something new just don't take on too much. Weigh up the costs, effort, time involved, the location - do you have to leave the home on a regular basis? Do you need to go to classes or can you teach yourself from blog tutorials or better still can a friend call round to show you the ropes? Will this new pursuit benefit the whole family? Will it save you money or cost you money? Don't procrastinate - you say you don't have time but maybe you could sacrifice a few television shows but if you know this is going to overwhelm you right now, don't be afraid to say no and file it away for the future. 'One day I WILL learn to'.... and don't forget it's never too late. My auntie is in her eighties and is taking on technology - learning how use email and surf the net. It means she can stay in touch with family and receive photographs which she is thrilled to receive so soon!

I once visited the home of a lady who was a talented quilter. Her home was just beautiful and also operated as a bed and breakfast. Her quilts were in every room and even colour coordinated with the flower beds outside the windows - I still remember the blueberry room! She was such a lovely Christian lady, a very talented homemaker and I made the assumption that she had been quilting for many years. Then she told us (because I just had to ask, I was in awe!) that she did not take up quilting until all of her children had left home. Now she had the time to learn how to and this was her main creative pursuit. Until this time she had stitched together the home and family rather than pieces of fabric. I left inspired and hopeful. I understood I did not need to do all those creative pursuits at once or be accomplished in every home art. Choose the best, leave the rest and save some for later in life. It is something to look forward to, I can prepare by reading books and being inspired at blogs but the actual pursuit is for another season in my life.

My not so perfect patio. The birds, two budgies and a cockatiel have been moved outside for disturbing the peace- just look at where the cat has decided to rest. And which male left the petrol container there?

So let's give ourselves permission to choose the best (for us) and leave the rest and not be embarrassed to admit that life is not about the pursuit of perfection. Be aware that images and words can draw us in to this scenario and tempt us to take on too much, for words can be evocative, descriptions such as 'gracious host', 'sweet scented soap', 'snowy white linen.' I have accepted my linen will never be pure white, maybe antique white but never snowy, thanks to the tannin from gum leaves in the rain water - our beautiful trees come at a price. Did you recognize some of yourself in Tiah? Maybe your version of Tiah is different to mine because we are different and have different tastes and aspirations, though I must ask why so many gals choose the red Kitchen Aid mixer - I would love to own one but funds do not allow and a wooden spoon and mixing bowl is just fine at the moment! I can still make cakes without one but I am not resentful of those who own one. Another key - contentment not resentment!

My 'kitchen aid'!

I may never own a Kitchen Aid mixer, have my home feature in an interior's mag, be nominated for the beautiful blog awards or master quilting. I have to be content and accept that maybe I never will. I do choose to be dedicated to the upkeep of my home (there is no excuse for laziness) without obsessing and I choose to be faithful with the talents and passions that God has given me, sharing my ideas, passions and aspirations with others, especially at Christmas time. I am happy to open up my home to others too . If you visit just watch out for skateboards and bikes on the driveway when you pull up and I have warned you about the leeches! I decorate for Christmas but not the other seasons. I may even make you cranberry muffins dusted with icing sugar and take you on a tour of my garden, don't mind the weeds. I will probably apologize for them anyway because they are always with me in this kind of climate. It's a never ending task!

I will be happy to show you how I make my silk flower wreaths and when I visit you I will admire your latest quilt. And as for Tiah- don't expect to be invited back again, she's still recovering from the last time we called over!

With Love and Joy,


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