Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yesterday I helped my in-laws get a few Christmas decorations up.
While poking around in the Christmas closet, looking for a small floral box that contained the string and clips that have held their christmas cards on display year after year, Lucinda pulled out this or that and would comment:
'oh yes, and this is from my childhood, though I only remember there being two of them...'
'someone gave that to us for Christmas one year and I have never none what to do with it, would you like to take it?'
'if you see anything you need for your Christmas decorating, be sure to take it home with you'.
It was nice to look through some of the treasures in that closet, it got me thinking about my undecorated home down the hill.

Anyway, today I pulled out our one box of Christmas decorations from the closet.
I discovered that we don't have much decorating work to do until we get a tree - it seems that all we own are two strings of Christmas lights and tree ornaments. Oh, yes and three red and white stripped candles that I think have been sitting unused in the box since we were married.

I kept out the candles and two tree ornaments, then put the rest away till we get our tree.

Its a start...I think later this week I will take Lucinda up on her offer to pick out a few Christmas decorations from their wonderful Christmas closet.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last Thursday I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by's kinda lonely cooking a big meal all by yourself. I was missing the company of my mom and my sisters and my sisters-in-laws. Throwing caution to the wind I called home - we all know that it is dangerous to cook and talk on the phone at the same time, you never know what mistakes will be made!
After being passed around the ladies in the kitchen I was passed (very smart of them) to Mercy who was not yet on duty and who was actually enjoying a bit of breakfast.  She was eating an all time Newton favorite - Cranberry Coffee Cake.  We discussed it - this is kinda how it went:

me: I love that coffee cake, I wish I made it for our breakfast.
Mercy: Yeah, its pretty delicious...but I just wish it had more cream cheese in it you know?  It's just that I love cream cheese so much.
me: Maybe you should talk to Mom about that...maybe the cake could have a cream cheese icing instead of powered sugar.

Anyway, I don't know if you talked to Mom about that cream cheese idea Mercy, but I was inspired by our conversation to make the Cranberry Coffee Cake for the guys tomorrow for breakfast. I considered, for about 5 seconds, how to add more cream cheese for you Mercy but in the end I figured you wouldn't be here to try it so I had just better stick to the recipe.

Cranberry Coffee Cake:
preheat oven at 350 F 
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 cup butter/margerine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of cranberries (sorry, I don't know if these are supposed to be chopped or not...I did a bit of both. hehe. anyone who knows, do fill the rest of us in!)

Cream the sugar, cream cheese and the butter then add the vanilla and eggs.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and the salt then add to the butter mixture.
Once combined add the cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.
Spoon into a greased bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour, check after 50 min - it's done when a knife comes out clean!


Monday, November 28, 2011

isn't this adorable?
(find out all about it here.)

paper doll model
Sunday brunch jacket by Oliver + S

maybe a nice sewing project for these up-coming long winter days & nights.

I'm thinking it could be a lite Spring coat for florence.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


dear Naomi - it's so good to be asked about how memorizing colossians is going.

lets just say I have had my ups and downs...but I have been pressing on.
we are using a scheme from this website.  the basic idea is to memorize 2 verses a week and by the end of a year you will have memorized the entire book!  it has been so good - but I tell you what those first two chapters are jammed packed with mind boggling theology.  so good, so intense.  it has taken me a bit to get them memorized properly.
at the rate I am going, I think I am on the 2 year plan.  and that's ok, disciplining myself in memorizing scripture is always worth it even if I get off schedule! it is amazing how memorizing scripture reinforces and cements truth in my heart and mind. 
I think the coat from Selma will be just perfect for the cute, even with the sleeves rolled!.

the Thanksgiving center piece. 

nice. simple. little. perfect.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A picture of Autumns last burst of color
I think there must be two kinds of cold - one that makes you want to bake and create wonderful things in the kitchen, and the other one makes you want to cuddle under a blanket, read a book and really do nothing.  yesterday was a cuddle up under a blanket and do nothing sort of cold - lets just say I was not terribly productive.

Nathaniel was so kind as to eat left overs from the night before so I didn't have to make dinner but I still needed to make something for the guys.  I was planning on making an cinnamon type roll with an orange flair - a recipe I tore out of a magazine years ago and never got around to making. 
Due to my 'do nothing' state I didn't get around to starting my baking till 6.30 - not enough time to make a yeast dough unless I was planning on staying up till 11, which I was not.  Instead I flipped to a banana bread recipe in my recipe binder...the title on the recipe: Real Simple Banana Bread.
real simple thats what I needed...and it really was really simple. nice - I hardly had to think while putting this together.
So I guess most of you out there already have a really simple go to banana recipe but for those of you who don't tuck this one away it may just come in handy.

1 stick of butter melted
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
3 mashed ripe bananas
*and I added 1/2 tsp of salt and left out the 1/2 cup nuts*

mix in order given
pour into a large greased loaf pan
bake at 350 F for 50 minutes until golden brown
cool on wire rack 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely

I did over cook mine - we were having issues with our heater, you understand how one can get distracted by heaters right?  See, because it was so cold in our house we turned the heater on in the afternoon - but then it wouldn't shut off so that it was 84 degrees in our house and climbing at 7.30 last night.
I told Nathaniel that this was the only time in my life we would have our home so warm in the winter and I wasn't even being able to enjoy it because I was stressing out as to whether the heater would ever shut off.  Anyway I was a little distracted and the bread over cooked. but here is the thing - it was still delicious, it just needed a little...ok fine, a lot of butter.
Also - I think this recipe is courtesy of Gab, at least it looks like her hand writing...thanks for passing along this great recipe I have been looking for something like this for ages and silly me, I had it all along.

Friday, November 11, 2011

last week I bought some molasses - I have been thinking about gingerbread.
for this morning I made a pan of gingerbread, a Jackson family recipe.
I don't think I realized that gingerbread could be anything but cutout cookies until Nathaniel and I got married.
as it turns out gingerbread is one of Nathaniel's favorites - loves it at breakfast, tea, dessert with a bit of whipped cream...

Everyone can use a good gingerbread recipe - especially with Christmas around the corner (Ahhh! Christmas is coming!).  Please, please, please make this recipe at some point in the next two months and especially eat it with freshly whipped cream and a cup of coffee.

mix together:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

in a different bowl mix together
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup of molasses
1 egg

mix all the ingredients together until smooth
pour into a 8-9 inch cake pan
bake at 325 F for 35 minutes

I ate a piece while skyping with Gab this morning - I restrained myself from exclaiming out loud just how delicious it was because I didn't want her to be sad not to have a piece of her own.
I definitely do not make this recipe enough.

I don't make it nearly often enough.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

coconut banana bread

our yummy bread from last Friday morning.
Nathaniel called it Caribbean banana bread.
he loved it - Florence had a little nibble of my piece, she was wild about it. She would have eaten my entire piece if I had let her get her little hands on it.  Thanks for the suggestion Jamey!
(the picture is from the
when the days get really cold this winter I will whip up a batch of this bread and pretend we are far away in the Virgin Islands.
For those of you interested check out the recipe here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

At some point in the early summer, my sister-in-law, Gillian came over for dinner.
Because she is totally awesome she stayed around to help with the clean up. After poking around under the sink a bit she turned and asked me where I kept my rubber gloves for washing dishes.
I told her that I actually didn't own any - simply put she was baffled.
I have my reasons -
  • those yellow gloves are always soooo huge! when I use them I feel like I am clunking around in them
  • because they are huge, water always gets in them and they take forever to dry out - gross
  • probably the biggest reason is that really, I can't be bothered with them - I don't want to take the time to pull out the rubber gloves and put them on when by the time I do all that I could have my dishes washed (in theory!)
Gillian listened to my reasons and simply said, 'I don't know, you might find that you like them...'

A couple weeks later, I am opening my birthday present from Gillian...she bought me a pair of rubber gloves.  Size x-small the package said, and they are purple not yellow. Gillian smiled - you never know...

Ah - well those gloves have sat under my counter unused since July. 
Last week I was washing up the blender and cut my finger on the blade (because I was lazy and didn't take the blender apart the way I should have done), a terrible inconvenience.  I remembered the gloves under my sink and decided they might just keep my fingers dry (remember - size x-small!?) and I could keep washing up without the risk of infection.

I think I have been converted.  These purple gloves have done everything Gillian said they would do and then some. So I don't know - come over some time and offer to do my dishes, I might even let you use my awesome purple gloves that are not clunky, keep your hands dry and if the sponge is smelly your hands don't get smelly too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

falling behind...

but still here.

This Friday the plan was to make the coconut lime banana bread recommended by Jamey.
However come Thursday my bananas were just not ripe enough - It has taken me long enough to learn that if I go ahead a make the bread before those bananas are ripe I am ALWAYS disappointed.
I decided to wait a week.
Ha! now you know what I have in store for next week - finally I am ahead again!
Anyway, I decided to take some of the coconut that I had for the banana bread and make some scones mom and I made while she was here.
chocolate - coconut - almond scones. This recipe is also thanks to Joy the Baker and you can take a look here.
Here's the thing, I have always been very anti-chocolate in my breakfast.  Never - ever would you catch me with chocolate chips in my pancakes, muffins, banana name it - it just never happened. And yet here I am make scones with chocolate chips...and would you believe I love them?  I don't think that I have been converted to chocolate chips in my pancakes, but I think I am beginning to understand a little bit.
Absolutely delicious.  and it makes more scones than my other recipe, which means that here we are on Sunday still enjoying them - grant it a little stale, but nothing a little warming up in the toaster and some butter can't cover up.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

my Central New York baby

loves apples. 

as you can see, one apple is just not enough,

she will share as long as she gets to hold the apple 
- & it doesn't interrupt her own enjoyment of it

she can hardly stop gnawing away for a picture,

ah, but I guess she comes by 
it honestly!

After a wonderful and inspiring visit with mom this past week I came to last night with a resounding crash.  I was missing having someone to discuss baking ideas with and then the companionship that comes when you have someone working in the kitchen with you.
What in the world was I going to make for Friday morning - there I was searching through my cupboards remembering that it can't be anything that calls for too much baking powder because mom and I used so much last week I hardly had any left...and I was not about to go out and buy some.
I found a can of pumpkin puree. Perfect!
Pumpkin bread it would be. It will be a nice break from all the apples I have been feeding them.
The recipe comes from Martha Stewart - she makes it in loaf pans, I went with the bunt pan (prettier that way).
I am going to do the cheater way and I won't take the time to write it out.  Have a look at the recipe here.

A few thoughts...
  • if you like pumpkin pie - you will love this. It is still cake like while somehow also being creamy and dense.  Though, perhaps the denseness of it has to with the fact that I may have slightly undercooked it?
  • instead of the plain icing the recipe called for I made a cream cheese icing.  This I highly recommend, it is a bit more decadent/desserty but there is something so wonderful about cream cheese and pumpkin. 
  • and on a personal preference - I wouldn't make this recipe again for myself. I tend to like my pumpkin bread to be bread and not so  much like pie. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

I apologize ahead of time - this is going to be a long post...and I am also sorry to say that it will have no pictures of my creations, I was a bit too groggy at 5.30 this morning to remember to grab the camera to take a picture of them just out of the oven.

So, this morning, the guys enjoyed giant cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
I have grown in my cinnamon roll making over the last few years - gathering tips from my sisters, and my mom.
I now have a couple different dough recipes to use depending on what is around in my kitchen, yesterday I made what I call the deluxe version, which involves milk and an egg.

Step 1:
1 package of dry active yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup of warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
dissolve yeast and sugar in the water and set aside,

Step 2:
1 cup scalded milk (cooled)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
pour the milk over the oil, sugar and salt. stir till combined & sugar is dissolved.  If needed continue to let cool.

Step 3:
1 egg wisked
in a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture and the egg.  gradually add -

5 cups of flour
stir till all the flour is mixed in,  turn the dough out onto a floured surface and place the bowl over the top. Let it rest for 10 min.
After resting, knead dough till smooth and springy (using more flour as necessary - I find it to be a rather sticky dough). return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Step 4:
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle - large but not too thin!
Melt 1 stick of butter -  and spread over rectangle, pour excess into baking pan.
* a sweet trick I learned from Naomi:  put the butter in the microwave & almost just barely start to melt it so most of it is still solid just very very soft. It makes less mess that way when spreading onto the dough, and when rolling them up*
Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and brown sugar
and if you like - it's always fun to add raisins/ cranberries (my favorite)/ toasted nuts...

Step 5:
Roll the dough loosely into a giant log (roll up the long end of the dough), with a knife slice the log into about 1 1/2 inch rolls and place them into a 8 1/2 x 11 pan.
Don't squeeze them together - I generally do a 2-1-2-1-2 with the rolls, this gives them room to grow and (I personally think) helps them cook through properly.
I generally have overflow and need to put 3 of the rolls into a pie dish (this will depend on how thick you make the rolls).

Step 6:
You can now do one of two things
- cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator to bake later, I have stored them this way for up to two days no problem.  I take them out of the fridge 30 min - 1 hour before I want to bake them.
- bake them right away and of course, enjoy!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

and finally make an icing to go over the rolls out of confectioners sugar and milk - or I like to use half&half.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I did get these made in a timely fashion yesterday, I just didn't manage to get it written down.
I found this recipe in a cookbook I borrowed from the library, The Sono Baking Company Cookbook by John Barricelli.
This is about the third time I have borrowed it - I love the pictures and the recipes, but I have never actually made anything from it.  Today was the day!

I chose a recipe that would work with all the apples I have lying around my kitchen.

Apple Handpies:
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs granulated sugar (I used brown sugar...)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
2 Granny Smith (or cooking apples) cored & sliced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 (14 oz) sheet of puff pastry
1 large egg beaten, for egg wash
1-2 Tbs coarse sugar, for finishing 

  • Preheat the oven at 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (not necessary but terribly convenient for clean-up).
  • In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt over medium-low heat, stir to melt the butter. Add the apple slices and the lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender. Use a potato masher or fork to mash 1/4 of the apples to create a chunky sauce to help bind the rest of the apple slices. Set aside to cool
  • Roll out the puff pastry to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.  (these can be cut to whatever size and shape you fancy...for my purposes, I cut squares so I could have triangle handpies).  Cut into desired shape, brush around half of the rim of each square with egg wash then spoon in a generous amount of the apple mixture into the center of each.  Fold the un-egg washed side over the filling and press the edges together with your fingers to seal.  Place them on the prepared baking sheet, brush all over with egg wash.  Sprinkle with sugar and cut slits into the pies to let the steam out. 
  • Bake, rotating the baking sheet about half way through, until the pastries are golden brown - about 15 minutes.
I was delighted with how they came out. Next time I may try a different filling...pears? berries of some kind? anyway definitely a keeper.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Florence and I walk to the Library on a regular basis.
(I sometimes feel like I am live in sweet luxury because I have a library, a coffee shop and a second hand shop three blocks from my house.) 
When we went yesterday we looked through the tables covered with leftover books from the book sale this past weekend.
Florence found a book about all things red - nice colour my little girl!
I found Bill Cosby, Himself on VHS for .50 cents.
we don't own a VHS player, but...seriously how much fun would it be to watch.
I totally bought it.
Now I just need to find someone who has a VHS player and claim one of Nathaniel's free nights so we can watch it together.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

doing double duty

My sister-in-law, Kate, is coming over this morning for coffee. I decided to make the all time classic Newton scone that can do double duty for coffee this morning and for the guys tomorrow morning. 

I made the lemon poppy seed version.  While making them I was remembering how I would make these when living at 10 Montague with Aunt Gillian.  It took a few tries before I was able to figure out the correct conversion for butter - in England butter comes in blocks of 250 gms. I would borrow the poppy seeds from Aunt Gillian's spice shelf.  If I could manage, especially while they were fresh from the oven, I would bring 2 or 3 down to share with Aunt Gillian to have with her coffee, or tea depending on the time of day.
 She would always exclaim over them - then generously spread butter on the halves, which she said was the best way to eat a scone even if it did give her indigestion.

Newton's lemon poppy seed scone:
2 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup butter (8 Tbs)
3/4 cup of butter milk/plain yoghurt/soured milk
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbs poppy seeds
  • mix dry ingredients, poppy seeds and lemon zest
  • cut in butter - using pastry cutter or food processor
  • mix in the butter milk, if using a food processor (which I have been using) dump flour butter mixture onto the counter or into a bowl and fold in the buttermilk. 
  • gently knead the dough 3-4 times then pat into a round about 3/4 inch thick
  • cut 6-8 pie slices and place on a rimmed cookie sheet
  • bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes 
for the icing -
2 cups powdered sugar - give or take a little for the right consistency
1-2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp milk
1 tsp light corn syrup *optional* I sometimes like to use it to help harden the icing a tiny little bit
  • mix all ingredients with a wisk
  • ice the tops of scones (or entire thing if you desire) after the scones have cooled  
These keep for about two days if you put them in an airtight container, but are best eaten as soon as possible.

and if you are feeling indulgent, you might try your with a thick
spread of butter as recommended by Aunt Gillian.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today smelled like Fall, the wind blew like Fall, the leaves in the trees rustled like Fall and the leaves on the ground crunched like Fall.  The temperature, not so much.  But I was still inspired.

Florence wore her new sweater from Gran, and I wore a tights under my dress.
I made oatmeal cranberry cookies with lots of cinnamon to take with me to visit a friend for lunch.
At lunch we ate winter squash soup, the squash fresh from the garden.
'I need someone to come pick some of the apples off my tree - are you interested?' my mother in law said in a phone message...Yes! we will be there. Right after Florence wakes from her nap!

Nathaniel came with us, we picked two big bags full. The apples are now sitting on my kitchen floor.
I am thinking homemade applesauce, apple cake, apple tart titan, apple muffins...hmm Fall has such a cozy feel to it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

hmm - so you probably thought I forgot - go on, admit it!

Tonight I am trying a recipe from Everyday Foods, a coffee cake muffin.
Something I love to eat but have never actually made. I think it is because I have a love-hate relationship with streusel toppings.  I love to eat them, I hate that every time I make it something seems to go wrong with it.

You can find all the details here on the Martha Stewart web page.

For the muffins- 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used yogurt instead)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
For the streusel-
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter
preheat oven at 350          butter muffin tins - this should make 12 muffins
  1. mix streusel together (I used the food processor) and set aside for later
  2. mix wet ingredients adding eggs last one at a time
  3. add the dry ingredients
  4. fill muffin cups half way with batter, put a spoonful of streusel into each cup then fill the cups with the remaining batter.  cover the tops of the muffins with streusel.
  5. bake for 25-30 min.

So I just pulled them out of the oven.  the streusel disappeared - stink! - I did however cut one in half for a taste. pretty yummy, but they did not look like the picture.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

friday morning treats

At 9pm last Thursday I was sweetly reminded that, well - it was Thursday night, & the next morning was Friday when Nathaniel had prayer at 6am with the guys.

I am so thankful that these men faithfully get together every week to pray - it is such a blessing and an encouragement to me to see them make prayer together a priority in their lives.

Wanting to show them how thankful I am - I try to make some sort of nice breakfast treat to eat with their tea & know, bless them in return.

More often then not, Thursday sneaks up on me as it did last week and I end up scrambling to whip something up.

When mom was here in July we chatted -

there are men who come bright and early to their house to pray with Papi.  We laughed together as she shared about the time she and Papi overslept while the guys waited patiently out in their cars - yes those mornings happen at our house too, waking with a start hearing a knock at the door!
We also talked about how we can encourage our guys to continue on in this worthy pursuit. 

I'm thinking about this -
one idea I have is to strive to get to bed at a decent hour on Thursday nights so it is not so hard to get up in the morning.  And, I realize if I really want to continue bake something nice for them to eat in the morning I Cannot be remembering it is Thursday at 9 o'clock at night.  The way it goes now, we never get to bed before 11.

To help me be diligent in this area of my life I am going to start sharing with you guys what I am planning on making for Friday morning.
And as I go along if you have any yummy recipes that are a hit in your house do let me know - I would love to give the recipe a go!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a new love in the kitchen

mom brought me a cast iron skillet when they came to visit in July.

papi showed me how to season it, and mom made an an apple tarte tatin (from one of mom's favorite food blogs) in it for desert when we hosted my in-laws for dinner.

brilliant! I love, love, love it. I'm wondering what in the world I did without it all these years.
The other day, I found being cast iron skillet greedy when the thought flickered through my mind, "if only I had two skillets then I could...". hmmm.

truth be told, I have been enjoying thinking on how we discover things about ourselves. I remember going to a wedding shower while in college where the bride was absolutely delighted to receive a cast iron skillet - I sat there wondering who wanted a pan that you needed to season?  Now I understand.

Thanks mom for holding on to this cast iron skillet for months & months, and remembering to pack it into your car when you and papi drove up this summer. Its been such a blessing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

our little family took a New England holiday last weekend.
from New York to New Hampshire to Massachusetts to Rhode Island...nice.
we spent a day in Boston - a place I feel like I have always wanted to go.

walking & walking & walking - I quickly discovered how out of walking shape I have become in just one short year! - taking in all the sights! we followed the Freedom Trail, along the way we stopped into an Italian bakery and picked up a cannoli.

in the late afternoon Nathaniel insisted on treating me to a coffee (sweet husband...I was feeling pretty worn out!) & we rested our weary feet in a park near the harbor while enjoying our canolli.

look what will get this little girl crawling...

after a clam chowder dinner - a first for me, and it was delicious...probably due to all the cream and butter it contained - we were back on the road again.
as we left I wondered to myself if perhaps I might get another chance to get to know Boston a little better...perhaps just perhaps.

Monday, August 8, 2011

oh my...

a sweater to make
for my next sweet baby perhaps?
Or perhaps...
for one of my adorable nieces?

i found it here at the purl bee.

Whit's Knits: Little Baby Sweater

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 matching dresses

you might call it - the Jackson's Antique Attic Boutique, its where they come from.
three little white dresses, all just about the same size.

Three baby girls were born into the greater Jackson family: Florence, Anastasia & Liesl
Three little cousins almost the same age, all just about the same size.
While everyone was in town this weekend, we subjected our little girls to a matching dress photo op.

unfortunately the pictures did not come out very well - but the girls were terribly cute!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Remember this lovely fabric - from this post last spring?

After making a table cloth and a dress for myself (which didn't quite come out, and I am not sure if I will ever actually wear it) there was still fabric left.  I loved the fabric so much I couldn't bear to leave it in London & I managed to justify bringing it back with us by using it to wrap around some breakable items that were being mailed from Bromley to Syracuse.

Recently I was rooting through my bag of fabrics and was inspired to make a little dress for Florence.  With all the interruptions of life I only just put the final touches on it.

I went back and forth about what buttons I should use - see I was so very drawn to those red buttons. But would it look like a Christmas tree Nathaniel asked? he had a point there.
In the end I went with my heart and used the red buttons, and I am so glad...hardly christmassy at all.

It's a bit big here and a bit wonky there, but she looks so stinking cute in it. 
*and if you put her on the table - she practically disappears !*

Saturday, June 25, 2011

life these days

it seems to be spilling out all over my floors!

And lack of sleep at night from time to time results in mid-project naps.
My floors don't always look like this but it is more often then I would like, and I am learning about choices in the home these days.
As lovely as it is to have a clean home, it is not lovely if I am cleaning my home at the expense of spending time reading the Bible and quieting my heart before God. 
Sometimes it is hard for me to choose time with God, but I am learning it is totally worth it.

Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Prov. 30:5 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer in Syracuse is...

Summer in Syracuse (for me at least) = visits to the ice cream stand as often as is reasonable - the hotter it gets the more often those reasonable visits occur.

ice cream outing with the nephews and niece

Here is how it goes down in the Jackson home -
  • You pile into the car, calling a friend or two as you do to see if they want to meet up.
  • On the way to ice cream stand you discuss what you will get this time - a very important decision.
  • While in line you study the menu options and continue to discuss what kind you are going to get (unless you are one of those people who always gets the same thing), and perhaps ask the people in line around you if they have tried such and such a flavor.
  • With ice cream in hand you settle down to enjoy the buzz of activity around you and some good conversation - sometimes you can even snag a table to sit at.
  • You make sure to sample the ice cream of those around you - using extra care when trading licks with the toddler sitting next to you!
  • You load back into the car happy (and sometimes a little sticky) and usually spend the ride home discussing the good & bad of the ice cream you chose and what you will try the next time.
This was just a little advert to entice people to come to Syracuse - !! - we would love a visit any time and I promise a visit to the ice cream stand as long as you arrive in the summer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I remember grocery shopping with my mom early Saturday mornings growing up (she would go really early so I don't think I made the trip very often...).
Now, I am practically all grown up - and I have a family of my own to shop for. I don't always manage to go early in the morning, though have found it is the most pleasant time to shop - you guys out there probably know what I am talking about.
I find myself doing things she would do, studying the meat prices - is there any super amazing deal this week?, browsing the flowers - sometime I buy some as a treat like she would, and if it is one of those rare early morning I get a small coffee to enjoy as I do my shopping - just like mom would.

I remember one day we went down the isle the Hersey's dark cocoa powder lives. As she grabbed one from the shelf she told me, 'This is something that I squeeze into the budget because I know that Papi really loves his cocoa, and it is a way I know that I can show him I love him.'

So sometimes when I am shopping and I make my way down the isle that the jam and fruit preserves live, I remember this wonderful practical way of loving my husband! Instead of the store brand, I grab Bonne Maman Raspberry preserves because I know Nathaniel really enjoys having some on his toast in the morning.

We may skip having something else in the house that week - but it is absolutely worth the squeeze!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A treat at 317

So, Monday Nathaniel had the day off. In the late afternoon he asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. It was windy, a bit chilly and raining here and there but I love walks so of course I said yes!

The plan was - walk around the park, through the rose garden that has no roses blooming yet and then up the giant cobblestone hill to 317 Clarendon Street where Nathaniel's parents live to stop in for a cup of tea.

Florence got in her bear suite, I put on my boots, Nathaniel grabbed our Spring coats and we both grabbed umbrellas then we were out the door. It was a lovely walk - and invigorating! We got to 317 out of breath from walking up the hill, a bit chilled by the wind & the rain and ready for a good cup of tea.

Nathaniel making the fire

How lovely it was inside, Nathaniel was sent to make a fire in the fire place and Lucinda was whipping up a new scone recipe for us to try. Florence and I snuggled by the fire with a magazine until the tea and scones were ready. And what a treat those scones were! Ginger scones...with honey butter. Yum!
So we happily spent our late afternoon - a lovely fire, yummy tea and a good chat with people we was such a nice time we stayed for supper and finally took ourselves home at 9.00pm!

Before we left though, I wrote down the recipe for those scones because I knew I would want to try them again.
Florence watching the fire intently in the arms of her
Grandma 'Cinda

Maybe you would like to try it too?

Ginger Scones

3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/3 cups chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup butter milk
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven at 425 F
1) Mix the dry ingredients together in the food processor then add the butter cut up into chunks. Pulse together till butter is in small pea sized pieces.
2) Pour into a mixing bowl and add the pecans & crystallized ginger & grated ginger.
3) Mix in the butter milk and the vanilla.
4) Turn dough out onto the counter and knead 8-10 times.
5) Form a disk about an 1inch thick & cut these on your cookie sheet.
6) Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar and crystallized ginger then bake for about 20 minutes.

Then to make the honey butter...(which is not necessary but oh so delicious)

1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of honey

*you can do this in a mixer if you want to*
Place butter in a bowl and beat in honey gradually with a wooden spoon (or your favorite spoon).
Serve immediately or put into the fridge for later use.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

5 years ago Nathaniel brought me to Syracuse to meet his family. He cleverly brought me in April when Spring is just beginning to burst forth. Every where I looked it seemed there were daffodils, lovely and cheerful. I thought perhaps Syracuse was the most beautiful places in the world! Oh to live in a place where daffodils grow even on the side of the highway.

Well, I do now.

And I now love daffodils even more, because now I understand the hardness of a long cold winter that precedes the glories of blooming daffodils other such bulb flowers. They remind me that winter has lost it's hold (even though there may still be snow from time to time) and they brighten up the grey days we still get with their cheerful bright yellow.

Did I mention that the daffodils are out in full force now? Lovely.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
William Wordsworth

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dear Naomi -

Remember when we came to visit you in Spain? do you remember that conversation we had about what to do with the left over coffee while cleaning the kitchen up the morning after a late night of coffee, cards and conversation...and probably cake?

You said something like -
Keep it! you know lately I have been enjoying the coffee that is a day or two old better then fresh, it seems to get richer and more bold that way.

I was not too sure about that, but I poured the coffee into a glass and put it in the refrigerator for you to enjoy later that day...or whenever.

Well this morning I found some leftover coffee from the day before, thinking to myself what a shame that I didn't finish it! Then I remembered our conversation about coffee.
So I pulled down my favorite coffee cup, poured the coffee into my cup, popped it in the microwave, and stirred in a bit of milk (actually quite a bit of milk as it really does get more intense). So here I am drinking my day old coffee and enjoying it with my toast (made with stale home made bread ...but you can hardly tell when it is toasted you know!).
Thanks for passing on such nuggets of daily wisdom...I might have poured that coffee down the drain if it hadn't been for you.

I miss you Naomi!

Love, me

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blue for Florence

Way back before Florence was born and we were still wondering whether she was going to be a boy or a girl, my sister Rachel began to knit a special sweater. A pattern that is crazy hard, and oh so pretty, Rachel started it trusting that we would have a girl - otherwise she said it was our loss.

The sweater was hand delivered last month, when Rachel and her husband Brett came for a visit. Rachel still knitting in every spare moment while they were here to make sure it would be finished before they had to leave.
Rachel and I had a nice sister outing to pick out appropriate buttons, and when at last the sweater was tried on we discovered it was the perfect fit. All fears that it might be too boyish in blue were dispelled. (not that I ever had any concerns really)

Florence is absolutely lovely in her blue sweater...she practically lives in it so to get as much use out of it as possible before she grows out of it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The sun came out this past week, and not wanting to waste this precious sunshine the three of us went out for a walk around the neighborhood.
We saw and heard many exciting signs of Spring - tiny buds on the trees and flowering crocus', then there was the noisy honking of Canadian Geese above our heads flying north.
As we approached the end of our walk - across the street from our house - another sign of Spring, people clearing out their basements and clutter that has gathered up over the winter months.

Poking out of the large pile of junk we happened to see just the piece of furniture missing in our living room. A coffee table. After a quick glace over, it seemed decent enough so I picked up one end and Nathaniel the other and we walked it across the street to our little home.

Will you paint it I asked?
Nathaniel said he would do, and also said he would find something to fill the space where there used to be glass.

How good God is to provide a coffee table for us that is exactly within our budget and the then skills to spruce it up a bit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The other day Nathaniel was keeping an eye on Florence for me while I got a few jobs done around the house.

At some point he came into the room I was working and said very seriously:

I think there is a problem...
(me slightly concerned) Whats that?
See, Florence just wants to be kissed all the time and so I can't get anything done...
I laughed and agreed I had the very same problem.

yes our Florence has the most kissable little face...
with cheeks like this who could resist?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

reminding myself

Sometimes March can be a hard month in Syracuse.

The magic of winter and snow worn off, weary of clearing snow off cars, and putting on (and taking off) layer after layer of clothing, people start to speak hopefully of Spring.

I remember my first winter here, my sister-in-law Sarah gave me The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, as if to say "just wait till you see what you are getting in for!" I read it for the first time in my life and I admit to feeling a little nervous about the winter months ahead of me.

I laugh now - certainly winter in Syracuse is a lovely thing and the only negative really is that the weather does seem to tease you during the months of March and April. A week of temperatures in the low 40s (warm as some people here call it) will melt away the snow and tempt you to wear fewer layers when out and about. Suddenly without warning the following week there will be a snow storm dropping a 15 inches of snow leaving you with freezing temperatures and often a cold because 40 degrees really is not that warm to be traipsing about with fewer layers!

This very thing happened over the weekend...

our car is the one on the took N a good part of the morning to
shovel the snow enough so we could get out.

- and so this week instead of grumbling, I have been reminding myself of the beauty of winter, relishing my cozy sweaters, and making up my favorite soups.

And really I know that Spring Must come sometime, so I must not waste my time wishing for something that is not yet and enjoy the here and now!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today, Florence is 5 weeks old.

We celebrated by taking a couple steps into 'normal' life.
(whatever that is anyway...)

  • We got out of the house by 7 - I was in sweats and a hoodie, and Florence was still in her 'jammies, but still - We met up with some girls from church for our Thursday morning get together. This is the first one we have made it to since Florence arrived.
  • We went to the grocery store, sure it wasn't a big shopping venture - just to pick up a few items to make Nathaniel his special birthday desert! - but there were no melt downs by either of us and we didn't forget anything. I would count that outing a success.
  • We went for a walk - it was below freezing but Florence was snugged up in a couple blankets, and a lovely warm wool hat from her Gran and buttoned up into a carrier. It was good to get some fresh air even if my fingers felt frozen as I am glove less at the moment. (by the way mom - if you are reading this, I think I should try to make those sweet fingerless gloves you were wearing while you were here...where can I get my cold fingers on that pattern!?)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

dear baby...

We've got a car seat to put in the car so you can come with us everywhere we go when you arrive.

There are tiny little diapers tucked away in a drawer.

Gran has reserved her flight to Syracuse.

I am waddling more and more as you get bigger and bigger.
('try to be graceful - and stop making those grunts every time you put on your boots or get out of the car', I tell myself - sorry if I squish you).

A bag is packed and ready for a trip to the hospital.

We can't wait to meet you little baby - please come soon...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

new years resolutions

Have I mentioned this before?
I do really love the new year, there is something about having a set time to reflect and start fresh.
I generally don't make an exhaustive list of resolutions but I do try to pick one or two areas in my life I would like to focus on particularly.
A staple to my list every year seems to be remembering all the birthdays in my least remember siblings birthdays I tell myself. It keeps being a resolution because be the time January is out I have missed about 3 or 4 already!

Well I have kept my list to 3 this year:

1. Keep an updated calendar - contrary to what I may feel, they are not there just to look pretty, but to keep me organized.

2. Learn how to make a Danish pastry - my mother-in-law gave me a sweet old Danish cook book to remind me it is good connect with my family history - my heritage as she puts it.

and the one I am most excited about...

3. Memorize the book of Colossians - I am doing it with 3 friends from church, we are using this bible memory scheme here where we memorize 2 verses a week over the course of
the year.

Want to join us? It would be fabulous if you did... even if you have to stop after a bit - even a small portion of scripture memory is valuable!
check out the site, they provide adorable memory cards you can print out to aid with the memorization. The cards are in NIV, which I think we may end up using the ESV translation instead - but the cards are so cute I may try to recreate them in the ESV.

*As you can see birthdays didn't make it to the list this year... I thought perhaps I needed to take the pressure off and see if keeping a calendar (resolution #1!) will naturally result in my remembering the birthdays of all my loved ones...*