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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Homemaking Party: Writing an Heirloom Cookbook


Welcome to the Homemaking Party! Today I'm reviving an article I wrote for Raising Homemakers last year about writing an heirloom cookbook.

Do you have a book wish list? I do and one book at the very top of it is the modern version of Martha Lloyd's cookbook. Martha Lloyd was the close friend of Jane Austen's family who lived with the author, her sister, and her widowed mother before eventually marrying Jane's brother, Frank. She kept a handwritten book of recipes that has recently been published for Austen fans to enjoy. When I was in England in September, I spent a day in the village of Chawton where Lloyd and the Austens lived in a not-so-little cottage owned by Jane's wealthy older brother. It was my second time visiting the cottage, but this time I noticed something on display that I hadn't before: Martha Lloyd's cookbook.

In my opinion, there are few things more special a homemaker can leave for future generations than recipes written in her own hand. I've mentioned several times on my blog that my family gave me a box of my great grandmother's recipes and cookbooks when she passed away. There were things in that box that even came from my great-great grandmother. They're very special gifts to me--a legacy that she left without knowing who would benefit.

In our techy, 21st century world, it's so easy to type up our recipes, add a staged, beautifully edited photo, and pin it to Pinterest for the whole world to see. As a homemaking blogger, I've shared countless recipes this way. However, I want to leave my family more than a link to a Pinterest board, so I've begun writing an heirloom cookbook. It's very simple---but so was Martha Lloyd's and so were my great grandma's. In both cases, these women used a simple bound book and filled in the pages with things that came to mind. Martha's contains recipes at the beginning and household tips toward the end. My grandma's books are not organized by recipe type and even feature the same recipes more than once throughout.

My heirloom cookbook is simple on purpose. I tend to be a perfectionist but with my big family and busy life, I've found that perfectionism leads to procrastination. Therefore, rather than waiting for a trip to Hobby Lobby where I can spend $40 buying supplies to make a fancy, color-coordinated notebook with paper flags and ribbon bookmarks, I chose a notebook from my kids' school supply shelf. In fact, I just grabbed one right from the top of the pile. I might snazz it up later on with pretties (that's what my other great grandma would call them) but for now, I'm going simple. Simple means I'll actually get the job done while I'm still here to do it. Whenever I have some time while waiting for something to bake or boil, I jot down a recipe. Sometimes they're family favorites that are requested over and over---other times they're simple lists of instructions I've memorized for making basic things. The point is that these recipes now exist somewhere besides my memory---somewhere my children and grandchildren can access.

Writing a simple heirloom cookbook is a beautiful way to preserve your personality, thoughts, quirks, and handwriting for generations to come. I even include notes like, Jamie (my husband) loves this or I made this for Selah's 7th birthday dinner. It's exciting to know I've joined with generations of homemakers before me in preserving special family memories.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Visiting The Old Mill at Little Rock

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party! Today I'm sharing about our trip to our state capitol, Little Rock. Our family had never been there before but Brenna had an appointment at the Children's Hospital so Jamie took a day off and the three of us went on an adventure! Thankfully, we received all good news and Brenna's heart is fine. (In an ironic twist that we won't make much of), Daddy treated her to her first Happy Meal!

I was looking forward to seeing our capitol building but since we'd left the kids home with Lynzie to babysit, we didn't want to get home too late. It was the capitol or The Old Mill. Since The Old Mill is one of my bucket list things, I opted for the mill!

Now I'm going to stall with a few pictures that are not the mill. Ha!! I'll get to that in a minute. The mill is situated in a pretty park in North Little Rock. It features many neat stone carvings that are made to look like wood, done by the faux bois (fake wood) sculptor, Dionicio Rodriguez, in the 1930s. We thought this bridge looked pretty neat and since a couple was getting engagement photos taken by the mill, we decided to start here.

Daddy and Brenna enter the bridge.

They're at the top! The carved stones throughout the park were worn very smooth and there were still some icy spots here and there so this park was not for the faint of heart!

"Dedicated August 6, 1933, as Pugh's Memorial Park, the Old Mill is a replica of an abandoned water-powered grist mill that would have been used by Arkansas pioneers in the 1800s. Although the Old Mill never actually operated as a mill, the iron grist mill on the first floor of the building is authentic and dates to 1828. It served the Cale family of Pope County for three generations. Developer Justin Matthews intended for the Old Mill to appear as the ruins of a bygone era supplanted by modern methods. 'Now completely forgotten by the hurrying world around it, the Old Mill quietly weathers the years in the depths of its secluded valley.' Matthews said of his vision. A memorial to his friend and business partner, Thomas R. Pugh of Portland, Arkansas, the Old Mill with its wheel turning symbolizes Pugh's tireless energy. Millstones on the second floor of the building came from the Ashley County plantation of Tom Knoble. Pugh's grandfather, Frank Carmean of the Matthews Company designed the park and Bob Massey supervised the project. Matthews commissioned Dionicio Rodriguez, a noted Mexican sculptor, whose faux bois (or fake wood) style was perfected in the details of this remarkable work of art. The Old Mill appeared in the opening credits of the 1939 movie, Gone With the Wind."

Brenna and I inside the mill house

1828 iron grist mill

millstone

Here it is! The Old Mill from Gone With the Wind. I like what the sign said, "Developer Justin Matthews intended for the Old Mill to appear as the ruins of a bygone era supplanted by modern methods." That's exactly the symbolism and message of the movie, isn't it?

This was such a great experience. I'm so glad we stopped!

After we hung out at the mill a little while, we made our way back around the park toward the car. Brenna found a pretty leaf and then discovered the tree it fell from. It was a great day of memories with her. I hope she'll remember our fun day out!

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party! Have a beautiful week!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Looking Forward to a Year of Peace and Quiet!

{Hello from Miss Brenna Evangeline who turned four last month!}

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! Whew! I don't know about you but this. year. This year. I don't really know what to say about 2016. It was a really tough one for us. Not relationally---praise God for that!! Just financially, emotionally---2016 just took it's toll on our family and I was not sad to kiss it goodbye!!

But 2017!!!! Oh yes! I have such hope for this coming year. One thing--the biggest most wonderful thing I'm going to do this year is a whole lot of nothing. Ha!! Well---nothing that I don't want to do. Do you ever just need one of those no-obligation years? I need one now. I'm gonna take it. {Watch this space to see how long this resolution holds out...hahaha!}

One beautiful thing about my husband is that he knows me well. Without even meaning to sometimes, he just does things that especially bless me and are meaningful in huge ways. This year's Christmas presents are a great example. He just chose things he knew I'd love and in so doing, he ended up getting something to represent each thing I'm going to make a priority this year. Totally didn't mean to---he's just awesome like that.

First was this new Kitchen Aid mixer. He won it in a drawing at work---can you believe it? Apparently, there's a drawing for one every Christmas season. So awesome! He'd bought me a red one back in 2005 or so but with constant use for a family of 11, that old girl is really showing her age. To me, this new mixer represents a renewed desire to provide wholesome nourishment for my family---and not just with food.

Secondly, he ordered this set of letter writing materials from Lost Art Revived. It's the Jane Austen Letter Writing Society Kit. How awesome is that? That's a second priority for this year---to keep in better contact with my pen friends and even establish some new pen pal relationships!

Third was this calendar. Jamie has bought me a new calendar every year since our first Christmas together. It's just a tradition that he started and I love it! He always picks one with beautiful artwork. What I love about the scenes in this one is that they're all peaceful and idyllic representations of American family life. One of my goals this year is to keep this calendar as empty as possible!

Next are these sweet Pioneer Woman bowls. They are one of the many things that I collect and display in my home to make it peaceful and inviting. These represent my desire to strive to create a comfortable place for family and friends to rest.

Finally, this beautiful Victorian-themed bookmark. One of the main things I want to fill my time with this year is reading lots of wonderful literature. I'm even hosting a Victorian Reading Challenge on my literature blog, Belle's Library.

In reality, I have no idea how this year will look! It could be a year of wildness and craziness bigger than I've ever seen! I suppose my resolution isn't so much to force a year of nothingness---but to be careful to leave my schedule and emotions free to handle the things that come my way unexpectedly.

Thanks so much for stopping by The Homemaking Party! I can't wait to see what you've got to share!

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