Friday, August 7, 2020

2020 Themed Tea Party Blog Hop -- Vintage Paper Ephemera and Letters

Welcome to our first Themed Tea Party Blog Hop! I'm so excited to be hosting this fun event and I hope you'll take time to read through the posts that each lady has worked so hard on. You can find the complete list of participants at the end of this post.

In past years, I've done an elaborate spread of treats and creativity. They reflected where I was emotionally and were so much fun. I don't doubt I'll go back to similar themes in the future but this year I am in a different place, emotionally, and I wanted this post to reflect that, as well. I know we are all learning things about ourselves, others, and life through this pandemic and we will never be the same. These last six months, I've focused a lot on the kind of homemaker I want to be, as well as spent time helping others build long-distance friendships through my Victorian Letter Writers Guild. This year's tea party will be centered around home, relationships, and correspondence, with a vintage flair.

I'm serving a simple chocolate cake, shortbread cookies, and tea for my party. I've set up my table on our screened porch where I have a lovely view of our forest and can watch all kinds of wildlife like deer and birds. My children have a tree house on a nearby tree so it's fun to sit out there and listen to them play and imagine.

My chocolate mint tea was made from herbs grown in my front yard. It has a lovely scent and flavor and my kids can't get enough of it! We have such an abundance that I'll be sending some to my Mom early next week.

My last outing before COVID restrictions hit in March was to visit my friend Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage. She and I live less than an hour apart so Lynzie and I like to go up there now and then and spend time with her and her daughters. After enjoying lunch, dessert, and a wonderful visit, Lynzie and I stopped by one of our favorite antique stores on our way home. This shop has lots of antique paper ephemera and I love sifting through it for treasures. 

I've brought some of my purchases to share at this party so please grab some treats and a cup of tea and step into the past with me. There are happy bits and sad bits but all of them are treasures!

I began a fascination with the many World Fairs a few summers ago when I read through a run of books about carnivals, circuses, and World Fairs. I love collecting related memorabilia so it was a real treat to come across a little envelope of 10 souvenir photographs from the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. 

My favorite photo is the one on the bottom right because I'm curious about this man in the all-white uniform. He stands out among a sea of darkly-clad people, walking in the opposite direction as almost everyone else.

Underneath the photo envelope is a photograph that I've kept hidden on purpose. I believe I've found a very rare and precious Victorian Memento Mori. These Victorian death photos have always fascinated me but I've never seen one in person. While I can't imagine taking this sort of photo myself, I can understand why this would be something special for the remaining family who likely didn't have any other photo of their loved one. Since I know some people can be sensitive to this subject, I've opted to host the photo on another site. You can find that photo, as well as my comments, at a link at the end of this post. It is not a gruesome photo---it's beautiful and peaceful actually---but it does bring a bit of a shock if you understand what you're looking at.

Do you collect books? I have a pretty large antique book collection and I'm always looking for pretty ones to add to it. Here is a copy of John Ruskin's, Precious Thoughts, inscribed thus: To Johnnie from Bessie, Christmas 1913. I have several titles with a similar design. They're so pretty and great for staging photos too!

Next up is a collection of love letters written over the course of about four weeks during March-April 1930. (I know! Can you believe I found all this crazy cool stuff?!!) Just this handful of letters are very telling as engaged couple Maude and Walter plan their future, narrated by Maude. The first letter has her mooning on about the ring he bought her and all her friends' reactions. She talks of him working in Joplin and buying them a home. 

The second letter includes information on a home Maude wants Walter to go look at and some newspaper clippings about new railroads being built in the area. She uses all the normal not-so-sly wife tactics I use to get my husband to do something he's not 100% wanting to do. Ha! I call it "buttering up".

Letter number three mentions ex-girlfriend(?) Maggie and the surprise she'll receive at their marriage. Ms. Maude is quite the fiery one! In this letter she mentions "The Jew Lady" who told her fortune for 1930: marriage, giving Walter a son, and the death of two local women! Yikes! I wonder if any of that happened!

Letter four gives more of a glimpse into Maude's personal life. She includes a reply letter from her sister after asking if her sister would invite her to come visit---presumably so she could be closer to where Walter is? She says she'll bring her sister a pair of hose "since she has such a hard time" and talks about greasing her hair up with olive oil to make it grow faster. Putting two and two together, it sounds as if Maude has been secretive about her plans with Walter and they intend to surprise everyone with their marriage. I get the impression that the trip to her sister's is a ruse. Oh dear...

The final letter has Maude preparing to teach Sunday School and discussing her shopping trip the previous day to look for a white dress. She's anticipating her visit with Walter and wondering what kinds of tricks he plans to play on her while she's there. She talks about visiting Mrs. Whitwam (a regular character in almost every letter) and how her newest nurse is a "holy roller". Ha! I truly hope Walter and Maude had a long and lovely life together! In fact, after reading through these again today, I did a little digging online and found a pretty lengthy court document that sheds a lot of light on the life of Maude. It actually speaks to the trip in letter number four---but I'll let you figure out that mystery for yourself!

Finally, here is something very special. This letter dated April 25, 1906 was likely read once and put away, never to be revisited. The bits of cloth and hair were preserved within the folds of the letter and surely were long forgotten as I can't imagine someone not passing this precious package on to the next generation. The letter reads:

Dear Uncle,
     It has been such a long time since I wrote to you that I've forgotten whither I wrote to you last or not but I will write you again anyway. This leaves us only tolerably well.
     We have had so much work to do lately that we are all about worn out. I suppose you know everything about dear Mama's death. She passed away the 23rd of March and was burried (sic) the 25th. She had been very poorly all winter and was getting so she could not use her limbs and she wanted to go out to Belle's and stay awhile so we took her there thinking the change would do her good and she would be closer to the Dr. too. She was there only two weeks when the end came. She just gradually got worse and her sufferings were so great the last few days of her life yet she bore it patiently and was perfectly resigned to the Lord's will.
     She passed away very quickly and was gone before we hardly realized what had happened. I tell you Uncle it is the hardest thing we ever had to do was to give Mama up. She was so good to us and we miss her so much. Papa We had her funeral preached the 15th of this month. Bro. Richardson a Holiness preacher, preached the sermon from the 2nd chapter of Revelation and the last part of the tenth verse. His talk was real good and encouraging for us all to be faithful until this life was ended.
     I will send you and aunt Martha one of Mama's handkerchiefs and a lock of her hair and a piece of her burial dress. She was laid away in a white robe. She looked so natural and so sweet. I don't know whether it is right for us to weep for her or not for she is free from suffering now but it is lonely without her. We have broken up house keeping. Papa sold his farm and made a sale and sold off nearly every thing we had. He and I will make our home with Lizzie at present anyway. Uncle will stay at Belle's and Bro. Marshall has work out at Iola. We are scattered in a good many places already but such is death life. 
     Well Uncle I truly hope you will pardon me for not writing to you sooner but I've just been so busy and so many things to see too (sic) and moving up here and we haven't anything done up yet. I am about worked down but maybe we will get through after awhile. I must close now, please write to us soon and tell us all about the relations and your own family. I hope you are all well and prospering. With much love to everyone, I remain your Lov. Neice (sic),
Lillie West
Kincaid Kans.

I was very touched by Lillie's heartbreak over losing her mother, as well as her bravery at moving on. I love the voice of a past era and that the places named in the letter are so near to where I live now. This is a special treasure I will always cherish.

Well friends, my tea cup is empty and my plate has been cleaned of every crumb. I suppose it's time to wrap up this party. I hope you've enjoyed your stay! Here is the link to the Memento Mori photo and description, if you are interested. Click where it says "1 comment" at the bottom right to see what I've written about it.

 Thanks for stopping by and please don't forget to visit the other participants below!

Lynzie at Elegant Homemaking

Jean at Delightful Repast

Sherry at My Journey Back

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Homemaking Party: Sewing, Selling, Sweltering

Hi Friends! Welcome to The Homemaking Party! 
My goal this week was to spend some time sewing. Well...I really don't know where the first part of this week went, but I did get Avalon's dress done today! She wanted a plain charcoal gray dress so she could put together an outfit like Doctor Who's Amy Pond. I've learned to make their dresses a little roomy at this age and I think she'll get good use out of this one before it's too small.

My Pampered Chef business has been going pretty good the last few months. This month I'm helping hostesses earn an extra $100 in free products when they have a qualifying party. All my parties are held online which means you can invite your friends from anywhere to join! Let me know if you're interested in hosting.

Finally, I wanted to send a reminder about our Themed Tea Party Blog Hop! I've had several sign up already and I think it's gonna be great. Visit HERE if you are interested in participating! 

That's all for this week, folks! Hope you're staying happy and well! 

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Friday, July 10, 2020

The Homemaking Party: A Little Normalcy at VBS

Good Morning Friends! Welcome to The Homemaking Party!
Our family is experiencing a little bit of normal life this week as the kids are taking part in a very small evening VBS experience at a tiny local church. Last night was Pirate Night and kids and teens alike got into the spirit of things with fun costumes!

Miller Church was built around 1865 and is currently pastored by some sweet friends of our family. Each night this week they've shared the Gospel message with grade school age kids, and teens and young adults have assisted with games and crafts. 

Tuesday night was a hot dog cookout and tonight there will be hamburgers for the whole family. It's so fun to watch our kids run around, fellowship, and play games in the same grassy area that families have been doing so for at least 155 years! 

Hope you're all having a happy week and thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party. 
Shabbat Shalom!

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Friday, July 3, 2020

The Homemaking Party: A Move and an Invitation

Good Morning Friends! Welcome to The Homemaking Party! 
This week has flown by for me---has it for you? We have our sweet friend, Emily, staying for the week so there's been lots of late night movies and late morning wake-ups! After this weekend, we'll start back to our regular routine of getting up early and going to bed on time so we'll be prepared to start school in a couple weeks.

First big announcement: I'm moving The Homemaking Party to Fridays. This works much better for my schedule and I'm hoping that will allow me to be more consistent in visiting everyone's posts.

Secondly, I'm super excited to host the Themed Tea Party Blog Hop. I hope you'll join us! Visit that post here for all the details! 

Hope everyone is having a great day and looking forward to a fun weekend. It's Independence Day weekend here in the US. God Bless America---and the World!

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

1st Annual Themed Tea Party Blog Hop -- 2020

Hello Friends! 
I've had an idea brewing for quite awhile and I think now is the perfect time for an inspiring and encouraging blog hop! It's been four years since I've done a themed tea party (see below for past parties) and I'm ready for another! Do you want to do one too? Great! Read on for more info on this fun event!

It's easy to join the Themed Tea Party Blog Hop. Just follow these steps:

#1: Let me know you'd like to be included on the list by sending an email to sarah@classicalhomemaking.com and including a link to your blog's home page. (Post a comment below, too, so I know to look for your email!)

#2: Put together your own tea party post (see below for idea links) and make sure to post it on your blog no later than August 7th. Choose any theme you want!

#3: Come back here on August 8 to see the list of participants. Visit and comment on as many as you can and be inspired by everyone's creativity!

I'm so excited about this! I hope many of you will participate. 
We need something fun in the midst of this weird time in history! 

Here are a few past tea parties for inspiration:

Literary Themed Mad Tea Party 2016
Mad Tea Party 2015
Mad Tea Party 2014
Lynzie's Steampunk Alice Party 2016

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Beverly's Pink Saturday

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Homemaking Party: The Lazy Days of Summer

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! Has summer bloomed for everyone? It's pretty hot and buggy here in NW Arkansas and the sweet tea has been flowing! The lazy days of summer are on us...well, the not so lazy in my case. Ha!

The four littles and I have been reading a very special book series for a couple months now. Last night Liam (10) was looking for something to watch on Amazon and ran into the kitchen shouting... “Mom!! They made a MOVIE of Little House on the Prairie! It’s a LIVE ACTION!!!” A whole new world opened up to this dude...ha! The four littles have enjoyed several episodes today. The rare case when the show might be even better than the books.

Here's a picture of my daughters and I on our way to Shabbat fellowship last weekend. The pretty bush behind us is in full bloom and we have many hummingbirds and butterflies visiting it daily!

Well friends I'm excited to see what you've all got to share today at our party! Thank you for your patience with me. I know I'm a little late but I'm getting back into the groove! 

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Homemaking Party: Overwhelmed in the Ozarks

When I was a kid, I loved to read the newspaper---especially Dear Abby. I'd love to read the newspaper now but every time I buy one it ends up in a clutter pile that I never get to for days. Clutter is taking over my life. If I didn't live in a little corner of the forest on a cul-de-sac with zero traffic, I'd have me a big yard sale. I need a Goodwill trip or fifty. Anyway, all that to say---if I was writing to Abby today, I'd sign my letter, "Overwhelmed in the Ozarks".

It's not a bad overwhelmed---just a "not the best" sort of overwhelmed. I have literally cut every. single. responsibility. out of my life that doesn't specifically pertain to wife-ing/mom-ing/homemaking. I am bound and determined to focus on the best things here at home---even if that means cutting out some good things. I know what I've got to do... I just need to be motivated enough to do it. My house is usually a peaceful place but I've been in a busy rut and things are literally stacking up.

For instance, a couple months ago I went on a massive book-buying spree at my favorite used book shop because I wanted to start making money online selling books. It's gone really well and, after selling most of the books, I went back last week for another round. I've sold most of those too. BUT...the small box of unsold books is sitting here beside my bed and blocking my closet door. It's been here for weeks. Maybe even a couple months. I can barely get in and out of my closet...but every time I do, I have to climb over this little box of books. So, more often than not, my clean laundry piles up on my desk chair because it's so annoying to get into my closet. Is it worth this annoyance to make $20 or so off of these last few books? NO! Will I just take them to Goodwill so I can have access to my closet? PROBABLY NOT. See folks---that's the level of crazy we're dealing with here.

In the last little bit, I've noticed some of my favorite bloggers returning to the block. Has anyone noticed JES is back at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth? SO excited about that! I'm feeling inspired to be more active here on the blog. Maybe I should blog about all the junk I need to haul off and then I'll be motivated in both areas.

If you've read this far, you've realized this is just the overwhelmed ramblings of a maybe-too-long-quarantined housewife. Nothing too deep and wonderful today...Ha! But, I do wish you all a lovely week and I can't wait to see what you've got to share at The Homemaking Party!
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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easy Delicious Homemade Granola for The Homemaking Party

Good Morning!

After two days of record high temperatures, it's finally cooled off here in NW Arkansas! I'm taking advantage of these lower temps to do some baking today! I've got several things on the plan: zucchini bread, apple muffins, lemon bread, Monster Cookies, Rice Krispies Treats, meatloaf, and more. But first, granola!

Homemade granola is super easy to make and will save you a TON in cost, as well as unhealthy additives and sugars. You can add anything you like to it and it is very forgiving.

I always begin by greasing a large pan and dumping in lots of oats and barley. Then I sprinkle on coconut, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Sometimes I add other nuts and dried fruits. I plan to add chopped dates to their bowls once I serve them, but I keep our dates in the refrigerator so I'll wait to do that until breakfast time. After I've added all my dry mix-ins, I stir it all up. Then I pour on a generous amount of honey. Finally, I sprinkle on the tiny stuff like cinnamon, cloves, and flax seed. I do these after the honey to help them stick to the larger bits without getting lost at the bottom of the pan. Then I stir everything up again good and start baking it, uncovered, at 350 degrees.

I'm not actually baking anything, but rather toasting it. I stir the mixture up every 20 minutes or so until it's all toasted the way we like. This usually takes 2 hours or so for a big batch, so it's a great thing to start in the morning and work on for awhile if you're making a lot. Once it's done, I take the pan out and let it cool 15 minutes or so, stir, cool another 15 minutes, and repeat that process until it's all cooled. I store our granola in large clear plastic containers with plastic snap-on lids. The kids usually gobble it up within a couple weeks but I think it could easily store a month or so in that air-tight container. Yum yum!

What are you working on this week? Let me know in the comments. Have a happy week!
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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Potato and Sausage Bake for The Homemaking Party

Here's a frugal home-cooked meal for you during these cozy times at home: Potato and Sausage Bake. It's one of our favorites---inexpensive, makes a lot, and super filling. It was the first meal our teens learned to put it together so they're usually the ones I delegate to cook each time we have it.

I love meals that are simple and filling. We usually have this with some kind of canned fruit: peaches or mandarin oranges. It's comfort food at it's most frugal. Enjoy!

Potato & Sausage Bake (serves 10-12)
5 lb. potatoes
2 TB oil
salt & pepper
beef smoked sausage (1-2 or more, depending on preference)
8 oz. cheddar cheese

Wash potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces, placing them in a large bowl. Add 2 TB oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Slice sausages once lengthwise, then slice, widthwise, into bite-size pieces. Stir into the potatoes then pour the mixture into a large greased baking pan. I use a roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 350ยบ. Remove from oven and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Serve when cheese has melted.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Pink Books for Pink Saturday

Good Afternoon Friends!
Boy, I'm sure loving this time of getting back to blogging! So far this month I've written five posts! FIVE! Ha! I'm on a roll! Seriously though, it's been tricky finding my groove again after years of blogging for income. I used to love sharing fun things during Blue Monday, Vintage Thingie Thursday, and Pink Saturday. As far as I know, the only of these still around is Beverly's Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. I'll be sure to link up there today!

Even though I've not been blogging as much, I've definitely not disappeared from the internet all together. For the last few years, I've run another site called The Victorian Letter Writers Guild, where I facilitate a quarterly international ladies pen friend match up, among other things. I also started an Instagram page just for beautiful book photography. It's @readingresplendent.

I've been working on my pink books collection. It's coming along pretty nicely. It's a little difficult to find books that are all pink but I've had a lot of fun hunting!
I'm really excited to visit some of my old friends on Pink Saturday. If you're new to the fun, be sure to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the pinky goodness!

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Peach Orange Marmalade -- Yum! Yum! (No Pectin)

Good Morning! Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing day and keeping spirits up!
Wednesday I wrote about our big produce haul and pickled asparagus operation. Today I want to share what we did with some of the fruit we purchased.
I love to make jam as it's so simple and so pretty! I made two kinds of jam on Wednesday---mixed berry jam, using my freezer jam recipe, and peach orange marmalade, which I'd not made for about 15 years!

 To prepare the peaches for the marmalade, I began by using the boil/soak method to remove the skins. Just get a pot of water boiling and then set a bowl of ice water beside it. Put your peaches into the hot water first, letting them roll around for a couple of minutes, then plunge them into the ice bath. After a couple minutes in there, most of the skins will slide off very easily!

I also used this little zesting tool to remove just the part of the orange where the aromatic oils are found. When I was a kid, I despised marmalade because it was so bitter. That's because it contained pieces of the whole peel. Using just the zest will keep your jam sweet and flavorful.

After chopping up the peaches and oranges, I used this newly-devised method to crush the fruit. This is a photo of the mixed berries being crushed for my berry jam but I used the same method for the marmalade. It's important to crush the fruit so it will release the juices that make your jams so delicious. I used a stockpot with its strainer insert and this Pampered Chef Mix n' Chop tool. This allowed the juice to drain into the pot below and I was able to better crush up the berries. Before, I would do them all in a bowl but once it got pretty juicy, the pieces would slide around and were difficult to smash.

The last tip is in regard to the froth one will see when boiling the mixture. Jam can get pretty frothy and you don't want that in the jars, of course. I've found I just need to keep it boiling and it will eventually move past this super frothy stage as it thickens up. Any froth that is left on top when you're ready to fill your jars will be thick enough to easily remove with a slotted spoon.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Let me know if you try it out!

Peach Orange Marmalade

5 c. chopped and crushed peaches (about 4 lb.)
1 c. chopped and crushed oranges (2 oranges)
zest from one orange
2 TB lemon juice
6 c. sugar 

Wash fruit. Remove stems, skins, and pits from peaches. Zest one or both oranges, remove peel, pith (white portion), and seeds from oranges. Chop and then crush the fruit. Measure the fruit into a large pot, add the remaining ingredients, stir. Boil rapidly, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. (This will be about 9 degrees above the boiling point of water.) Remove from heat and skim off excess froth.

If you are freezing the marmalade or just storing in the refrigerator, you can fill plastic containers, let them cool on the counter, and then refrigerate/freeze. If you are canning the marmalade, read the following instructions entirely before beginning.

To can:

Before beginning the marmalade preparation, wash and sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. This recipe makes approximately 3.5 pints of marmalade. Leave your jars in the hot canning water until you're ready to fill them.

Proceed with the instructions above for preparing and cooking the marmalade. Then fill the hot jars with the hot marmalade, leaving about 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel, then adjust the lid/ring combo on top of the jar---firmly but not too tightly. Process in the water bath for 10 minutes (15 min. for 6,000 ft+). Remove the jars and let them sit for 24 hours before checking the seals to make sure they're secure. Label the lids and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Homemaking Party: A Very Big Pickled Asparagus Operation

Good Morning! Welcome to The Homemaking Party! 
How is everyone's social distancing going? We are starting to go a little stir crazy. Well...not me---I love being at home. But my super social kids are finding it a bit unnerving. Ha!

A local produce company who usually services the public school kitchens is selling their stock to the public at wholesale prices. I visited them last week to pick up some nice produce and have spent the last few days canning, freezing, drying, and baking it all up. Jamie and Elisha got in on the action and undertook a big pickled asparagus operation!

Making pickled asparagus is fairly simple and pretty rewarding. Pickled vegetables are healthy snacks and can be used in garnishes, hors d'oeuvres, or eaten plain. Most of our family loves it---I admit, I've not tried it! Ha!

Our favorite recipe is this one from AllRecipes.com. The kids like it better when we leave out the chili pepper flakes. Also, the store was out of dill seed this last time we made it so we used dill weed and it was just fine! 

It's been difficult to find our normal amounts and selection of groceries these last couple weeks, which just emphasizes to me the need to have a better stocked pantry and knowledge of cooking from scratch. I didn't realize how much I'd really slipped into being less and less of a traditional homemaker, especially in the kitchen, until all this corona crazy came along. It's nice to be able to hit "reset" and get back into some of the things I loved to do in my home.

Thanks for stopping by---I'm looking forward to seeing what you've got to share!

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

The World Looks Different But It's Ok

Well, I finally broke down this evening.

I was doing so good keeping it all together! (or so I thought...)

I've spent the last 10 days pretty much how many other American homemakers spent theirs: taking stock of my supplies, running out for provisions, growing more and more concerned over the lack of toilet paper, and thinking about how to navigate a new normal. It's amazing the evolution that "normal" has taken in just 10 days. At least for me, I've gone from "Hmm...well this is new" to "Dear me, how strange" to "I'm not sure how to respond to this" to "Is this really happening?" to "Whoa. This is really happening."

Tonight I had just had it. I'd spent the week trying to keep everything just how it should be. Spinning all the plates. Dotting all the "i"s and crossing all the "t"s. I was trying to make things not different. Truth is---everything is different. 

For our family, things are different in a better way. My husband's job as a computer programmer within the shipping industry is a double-whammy of secure. If our world stops needing programmers or stops needing shipping/distribution, we're gonna see a MUCH bigger issue than we have now. So having Daddy working from home and having all our busy schedules erased is probably the greatest thing that could happen to us. At least for now. We are financially secure and have an abundance of all we need. (We even found toilet paper today---score!)

However, there are so so many who are struggling on all levels, and this is where my freakout came into play today. I keep thinking of things we could be doing to be a blessing to others while still abiding by the new calls for social distancing. (Well, sort of. Right now I have four teenagers over that aren't mine...but they're here enough that they might as well be mine. AND our family already breaks the 10 or less rule anyway so...) If I wasn't so worried about trying to maintain normal in my home, we could be taking time off to write letters to people we know who don't have a gaggle of housemates to share this time with. I could be writing encouraging devotionals or sharing information on my blog to help others become less dependent on this fast-paced, drive-thru satisfaction sort of world that's come to a halt. Not to mention all the things we could be doing around the house like decluttering and listing things for sale online to the whole world who have suddenly become online shoppers by default. Most of all, I would have time to look outside my happy cottage in the forest and respond to a hurting world. God is allowing things to be different right now. I want to find out why.

I've spent the last 10 days fighting so hard for normal and it's really a losing battle. The world is different now. For me, this time is a gift and a ministry opportunity. For others, this time is scary and heartbreaking and chaotic. Life looks different now. It may be for a short time---it may be the new normal. Enough has already changed for some that life will never look the same. No matter how long it lasts, I don't want to be afraid to embrace the different and see what God will do in this time. Maybe He's writing a new normal for me that will be better than anything I could ever imagine.

What is your biggest concern right now? I'd love to remember you in prayer if you'd like to comment below.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Our Visit to Harvest Lane Cottage to see Mrs. Laura Lane

Hello friends! Welcome to the Homemaking Party!
Have you ever met someone and immediately felt comfortable---like you'd been friends for so long, or even family? Mrs. Laura Lane and I had been "blogging friends" for several years before finally meeting in person about three years ago. We were instant friends and have had the opportunity to get together several times since then.

Last Friday, Lynzie and I had the chance to spend the day with Mrs. Laura and her youngest daughter (who also became fast friends with Lynzie) at their Harvest Lane Cottage in SW Missouri. We shared a lovely lunch together and had a good chat. We even worked on a couple crafty projects---she knitting and me fussy cutting. The younger girls chatted up a storm and then took off for a coffee/tea run and a photo shoot in a nearby park.

Mrs. Laura made this fantastic chocolate sheet cake with homemade boiled icing. Wow---it was so delicious! Look how pretty her dishes are, too. What a special treat! 

After spending almost six hours with the Lanes, Lynzie and I headed downtown to visit our favorite antique shop in town. Mrs. Laura lives in a beautiful historic town with so many gorgeous Victorian and early Edwardian homes. We were snapping photos all up and down the streets! We love the fabulous downtown court house, the most. It's like a castle towering over the square!

I love finding bits of hidden architecture here and there. This painted tin or copper paneling peeked at me from a narrow passageway. There are so many beautiful things to see if we take the time!

Thanks so much for stopping by the Homemaking Party! I've missed my friends! 

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