Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Recipes from the Heart of the Home

 "No one shall appear with his hands empty before the Lord; but everyone shall offer according to what he has, according to the blessing of the Lord his God shall give him." Deut. 16:16-17

If you have followed my blog before, you know I find happy faces in the oddest places. 

Hello Ladies~

I hope you are well. I chose the verse above because it reminds me each week to bring an offering (in my heart) to the Lord when I go to church. My offering is what I have made by hand through the week. It gives me a sense of doing for Him.

Today I am writing to you from the Heart of the Home - the Kitchen. I am often in here, either cooking or making something for the house. 

In all the years I have posted blog posts, I have never shared my homemade All-Purpose Cleaner. Now, I know there are many lovely ladies who post all kinds of variations. Truth be told, I have tried many and always come back to this one. 

It sanitizes, it cleans and it smells good.  Since I cook so much from scratch my counters are wiped down daily and I trust this version. Some are too complicated. Some leave me wondering if my counters are really sanitized. 

I always seem to come back to my old faithful. You know that saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Well, there is nothing wrong with it, I just try other variations. But always end up with a giggle when I am getting out my 20 year old trusty plastic squirt bottle that the recipe is taped to the front! I am not always THAT creative with those fancy labels I see today.

Ingredients for my All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner

1 Qt warm water
1 tsp Borax
1 tsp dish soap (or 13 squirts from a dispenser)
1/4 c. vinegar
20 drops lemon oil
10 drops tea tree oil

Mix in spray bottle. Great at cutting grease!

I am truly not aware of where I got the basics of this, but as with all recipes. I take the basics and add what I want or take away something that doesn't appeal to me. Since this has been with me for almost 20 years, I have no idea where I may have seen it. But it works!

Now for my other recipe this week. 

From my little nook, an herb crust for chicken.

This one is a rub I use for cooking chicken. It gives a lovely crust and tastes delicious when reheated. The original recipe, called Rub for meats -AIP, has variations that I don't use. I don't think I ever follow a recipe exactly.

Herb Crust for Chicken

1 1/2     tsp sea salt
2 T     powdered garlic
1 T     dried oregano
2 tsp     thyme
1/2 tsp     cinnamon
1 tsp     dried minced onion
1/4 tsp     ground ginger
1/4 tsp     dried dill

I blend them in a small coffee grinder that I use only for herbs. Store in a glass jar.

When I am cooking chicken, I use a bit of oil on it then I use a teaspoon to scoop a bit from the jar and tap it gently to "sprinkle" the crust mix on the chicken. If I use the spoon alone and sprinkle it tends to use way too much for each piece. My goal is a bit for flavor not completely covered.

Well, that's all for this week. We are preparing for Lent next week. In the mean time, please fix yourself a little cup of tea and sit down to gaze out the window at the beauty God has made right where you live.

May God's peace be with you,

Mrs. Peterson

I will close with a bit of humor for you from a little book we have called Holy Humor by Cal & Rose Samra:

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." Victor Hugo

Monday, January 18, 2021

Audio book Marriage to a Difficult Man

Sunrise at our country home.

 Hello Ladies,

I am stepping out of my usually once a week post to share a book that has been mentioned many times in paths I've crossed, whether online blogs or in person friends. The book is called Marriage to a Difficult Man by Ms. Dobbs.

The audio book found here Marriage to a Difficult Man is on and is free. The story is something I am enjoying as I go about my housework, though it is not as clear of a recording I would like, but I'm grateful it's free.

A free audio supports my goal this year to not purchase anything new unless it's replacing something. I am finding this is challenging, which is very good for me. 

Have a blessed day. Enjoy a cozy afternoon and cup of tea, and know I'm praying for you.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Christmas memories

Hello Ladies~

It's always a bittersweet time of year for me when we are past the Epiphany and it's time to take down the Christmas decorations. Before I do, I wanted to share wonderful Christmas memories.  These memories are made mostly during my marriage of almost 29 years. Prior to this, some memories are great and others not so great. 

I heard once we can recreate our holidays based on what makes us happy rather than what we are "suppose" to do. One lady I know started collecting holiday socks to wear, as a child she was not given that opportunity. Another story I've heard is of wearing fun holiday earrings, whether for Easter, Christmas, or Valentines, even her birthday she had little present earrings. So much fun!

For me, it was choosing to go away from the fancy decorated trees to a simple tree. Filled with memories. My husband and I love nice things, but in our hearts we are simple and love homemade and meaningful things. 

So my tree is a memory tree. My whole family knows this and each year before Christmas we scan the year and ask "What was the one most meaningful thing to us this year?" And then we hunt for an ornament. 

I even have an ornament of a tent camper with a little fire next to the tent. All you see is eyes peeking out from the tent and bear tracks outside. Well, this happened to us 3 years ago! We were tent camping and forgot to lock up the dog food and a bear stole the whole container! We found it off in the woods of the campground, with holes from his teeth and he/she ate the whole bag of dog food. Probably had a belly ache later. 

So we've been able to find all sorts of ornaments that represent the one major event of the year. This year, we wondered? Mask? or kitten? I don't want a mask ornament, so we are still hunting for a Ragdoll kitten ornament. So sweet and soft!

Here are some favorites on my tree:

The hand print of my grandson at 2 years old. They put glue on this hand, dipped in glitter then wrapped it around the little ball.  I love anything with handprints!

This was a magical year for me. I had always wanted to ride the Polar Express since we moved here. One year my husband's son, Evan, came out and graciously paid for all of us to ride the Polar Express. (The local train converts every year and we take a short ride north of town to the North Pole and see real reindeer). This was my ticket. My bell is on the tree too, and if you are wondering, yes we all wore pajamas. I had full footed bunny pj's with my snow boots, long coat, hat and scarf. It was so cold outside!

My sweet husband painted this for me when we were dating. I used to paint ceramics for fun, and he joined in one day. I have always treasured this as this is not something he usually does.

This sweet and simple little bell brings back a host of memories. We were stationed in Okinawa and my husband was gone. My youngest step-daughter was in Kindergarten and the school had a Christmas performance that each student held one of these to ring as they sang Jingle Bells. Oh my goodness were they cute!

1976  was one of the years I was in Brownies and we made these after school with our troop leader.  Such a long time ago, but good memories.

There is poor lighting here, but this is our lovely manger scene. Baby Jesus is hidden from view somewhere near until Christmas. Then the wise men "travel" across my living room from Christmas day to the Epiphany when they arrive at the stable. Yes, we still do this even though the kids are gone. One year the grandchildren helped move them along, that was fun. 

Sometimes I want to replace our stockings I made back in the first year of our marriage, but I always choose not to. The decorations on them were found at the Okinawan dollar store and the felt is what I had on hand. The toe of the girls stockings had a button that when pressed sang Jingle Bells. Memories. 

Thanks for letting me share with you. I hope this may inspire you to think of Creating your own Christmas or holiday memories.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New year,

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Today is my birthday!

This is my favorite type of tea: frozen or fresh blueberries, hot water, and whipped cinnamon honey. So comforting!

Hello there to you!

Today is my birthday and I am so excited:

I have been through many things through my 50 something years and am excited to see what God has for me in the remaining years.  

My word this year is Create. To create joy, create relationships, create fun with my husband, create order and beauty in my home.

I have healed from Lyme, am journeying through menopause (albeit a rough one!), and can now say I have survived COVID. I have learned a great deal of Hope and Trust in God.  For it is by His hand that I am where I am today.

This season in my life has been much about reaching into that place in me that I so loved as a child, before the world said "you must do x", "your suppose to x".  What about the space of wonder, the place that gets terrible excited to get a bicycle bell for her new bike! (Yes, that was me last Christmas).  My husband as seen this part of me through the years, but now it's time to be genuine of those things I love. 

Like making baskets and weaving in recycled material, and doing away with plastic bags as much as possible. I've written about that before, so I won't go say too much here.

That I love to sit outside in the morning hours and watch the sun come up and thank the Lord for all the wonders of the earth and how they awaken more and more as the sun comes closer to full rise.

I love homemaking, but am learning it can't be my all. God created me to also create. The greatest flattery is imitation, I plan to use my word of the year to create more, and see what God has for me in learning more about "Create." To be more intentional about using recycled materials.

Seeing first hand how much I declutter, and take car loads down - but you can't tell, has opened my eyes to all the clutter I manage.  I have learned the term "inventory to manage" from Minimal Mom on you tube.  She has inspired me to relook at all the things sitting around that is actually using my mental energy. Trying to find time to clean out, put away, oil, tend to, dust, find a home for. All these things are "inventory to manage". I have other things I want to do in my life, so I am managing much inventory right out the door.

Since my oldest daughter and her family now live 4 hours from us, and my youngest daughter and her family (40 min from us) are very tied up with schooling from home and full time work, I am growing through a new season as a step-mom.  I raised them, but now see I can't put my life all around them. God made me for many things, this was one of them.

Fun is a word that I want to incorporate after almost a year of being home. Speaking of!!! 

Starting today! My husband joined me on a little walk on our snow packed gravel road. Coming back I noticed the road was very slippery so we did something WAY fun! I held his hands while being behind him and he ran just a bit so I could "ski". His shoes gripped better than my snow boots, so I was able to slide. Oh how fun! We did something like that YEARS ago when he was training in the Marine Corps. I put on my skates, and he put a jump rope around his waist and ran with me behind him. Oh you can only imagine!

Most of all my heart longs to reach out to every person who is home, lonely and forgotten. The ones that have no family. The ones who do have family but they are not involved for whatever reason. I would love to hug you and give you a lovely cup of tea to say "you ARE me and Someone greater than me."

Have a blessed day! If you have tea today pray for me, and I will pray for you.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Merry Christmas from the quiet cottage

 May your Christmas and the following 8 days of celebration be merry & bright!  

We had a quiet Christmas. No Zoom, no large meals, but we do have our own traditions that we developed since the kids have grown and gone.

Each year for Christmas we get up, make something hot, start a fire and open our stockings.

While it's simple, it gives us so much excitement in the simplicity of it.

Then we make breakfast, go to church and come home.

After declaring "comfy clothes" we get something hot to drink and settle down to open our presents. 

Each year we try to keep presents simple. Not a lot. Only 3. Like the 3 gifts of the Wise Men.

We have tried in the past to do 3 gifts with a dollar amount, but that became too stressful. 

Keep it simple.

3 gifts. 

Our stockings are also simple. I needed help years ago because the girls stockings were getting out of hand. Not to mention extended family also contributed. Then I ran across this jingle:

Stocking stuffer guidelines:

*Something to eat

*Something to read

*Something to play with

*Something you need

These have served us well, and we still use them today. My husband has several little puzzle type things on his desk, of which he uses in those meetings that aren't always attention getters ;-) 

I hope you enjoy the pictures. It has been awhile. I will post more later. But know if you are reading this, I have prayed for you, for your needs, and for God's peace to rest in your heart.


A little tree someone decorated on the trail.

A tiny little tree growing amongst those who are quiet.

A lone Christmas ball hanging on another tree.

 Fascinated at the tiny leaves with spots on them.

C and I on our Sunday walk. That hill behind us is not the one we walked. It is to the left out of the picture.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Kitchen happenings

Hello Ladies~

Today I wanted to share some events the past week in the Heart of the Home, my kitchen. 

I have been busy with the watering of my garden and trees and trying to keep up with homemaking, all while supporting my husband in his busy schedule right now. These photos are a few things I enjoy and wanted to share today.

The collards are from our garden. I cook collards or kale each morning to go with breakfast. Some folks say they have to "work in their greens". I say, we learned and loved these since we living in South Georgia. The locals taught me about greens for breakfast, or any meal, and I hav done this since. My husband now enjoys them too. 

Though we have a bit of difference on how cooked they should be. He likes crispy, I like them soft. But crispy is good so that is what we have.

Fresh collards from the garden.

Cooked up with a bit of butter to go with breakfast. We eat kale or collards each day to  get our greens and for calcium.

Next up in todays sharing is my hardy sage bush. I started this from seed in Ohio.  When we knew we were moving I knew I was taking my sage bush with me.  So we dug it up, put it in a pot and it went in our little U-haul.  Then 4 days across the country to our new home.

I planted it within the first week and it has stayed here ever since. Many folks here in southern Colorado tell me herbs don't over-winter well here. I believe this one has done so well because it is up close to the house. So the amount of snow we get isn't always covering it.

What do I use sage for, that would make me bring it with me? Well, the bringing it with me is a bit of pride. I started it from a seed!

What do I do with it?  I make my own breakfast sausage every 6 weeks out of ground turkey, and this sage is one of the main ingredients. See the little brown jar. That has 6 armfuls of dried sage all into that jar. That much will last about 3 to 4 batches of sausage.

This year my sage really loves the attention it is getting. It is home to a cute little frog too. He helps with the bug control.

My sage bush!


Also the past couple weeks I have been making and preserving goat milk keifer. I am happy to share that I don't do this day in and day out, but we do drink a bit every day. Just a little. It takes a little less than 24 hours to ferment and then it's ready.

After this batch is done, I will strain it with a plastic strainer and pour the wonderful kefir into a clean jar, then the grains go into the next clean jar. A lid, loose. and their off again to make kefir.

Since we don't drink a bunch, I freeze it in ice cube trays. This allows me to pull out a couple every other day and that's our tasty treat.  Putting it over fresh blueberries is so delicious.

This method seems to have helped repopulate my gut. I've had years of yogurt, but I heard yogurt may feed the good bacteria and kefir may help repopulate. I don't know if that is true, but my tests came back recently with good bacteria being in the range it should be. Maybe this kefir is helping!

Making goat milk keifer.

And this is a peek into my heart. I LOVE to recycle. My husband knows I am bohemian/hippie at heart and I just can't toss plastic in the trash. There is a story behind this that dates back to being a kid. I was in elementary school and we watched a video about our environment.  One of the images showed a barge off the coast of Calif. Somewhere in the ocean, LOADED with all of our trash. They had no where to put it and so it was loaded and sent off to sea. For all I know it's still there!

This impacted me so greatly that I have always recycled since. Even while camping. All plastic comes home with us. My husband used to groan, but now participates because he knows it is important to me. I don't want my trash to contribute to that heap! Now, I am not a fanatic and try to do zero based trash. I am sensible, but when I can this is what I do.

For plastic bags, I use them and then once a week I wash them with soap and about 10 drops of tea tree oil in my dish water to help clean. Then they get hung up on my handy-dandy drying rack :-)

A string with clothes pins on it.  This came about in my tiny little nook in Ohio. I just didn't have the room there for much. You can see it on any link labeled "kitchen" on the side bar.
Drying bags to re-use. 

Lastly is my fancy green beans. They grow purple and cook to be green. A few years ago while in Ohio, a wonderful woman from Territorial Seeds understood my need to grow something fun, and yet my husband doesn't like anything funky. Just green beans. So she taught me about these. I get the satisfaction of growing something fun, he gets to eat "normal" green beans. We both benefit.

Now you see them...

Now you don't! 
I hope you enjoyed my sharing of what's been happening in the Heart of my Home. There is so much done in the little corner where I work, and I'm sure in yours too. I like to stand back and take a moment to be grateful to God for all that he gives me that I can create in my little corner. 

Blessings and His peace be with you,
Mrs. Peterson

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Grandma's Apron

Hello Ladies~

One of the items I consider part of my daily wardrobe is my apron.  It helps me feel like I've got work to focus on, but also protects my clothes.

My first apron I made, last year. No pattern, just brown butcher paper and tracing my old favorite.

 When I first started homemaking, I was taught by many seasoned homemakers that an apron will cut down on laundry by protecting your clothes, and lifts your mood so you get your mind into your work. Other than actually getting dressed and out of my morning walking clothes, this one thing helps do just what they've said.

My great-grandmother always had something tied on, either a waist type apron or full length.  It's something that through the years I have found it protects my clothing, but also helps my attitude towards my daily work.
Great-Grandma Gates

Here is my old faithful to the left. It is thread bare  from so much use, but I just love the vegetable teapots. The one on the right was a gift from a friend. The embroider is so lovely, and the pockets are teacups. This one is for those days I don't have much dirty work to do.

I'm told, even my granddaughters love to put on an apron at home so they can be like grandma. I love my girls!

There is one apron I have that is a sort of canvas that wraps all the way around, but I don't usually wear much anymore.

Here is a fun apron I found.  It has Cinderellas carriage on it. I use to wear it on light cleaning days and pretend like my prince will be home soon.  Today, I am older and wiser and wear a full apron.

My Cinderella apron

Here is a story I found years ago, it's not coming out in a picture so I will type it for you:

     "I don't think our children understand what an apron is. The principal use of the cotton pinafore was to protect the dress underneath because a woman often had very few. It was also easier to launder aprons than dresses.

     An apron served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for blotting children's tears. From the chicken coop, an apron was a pouch for carrying eggs, fussy chicks and sometimes half-hatched eggs headed to a warming oven.

     When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. When the weather turned cold, Grandmother would wrap it around her chilled arms. Those big old aprons moped many a perspiring brow, whether bent over a hot wood stove or picking snap peas in the garden.  Her apron served as a carrier for kindling and wood ships brought into the kitchen to stoke the fire.  From the garden, it carried the fresh vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

     Come Autumn, the apron bundled the apples indoors for preparing apple butter and pies.  When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.  Toys and showed were toted to bedrooms in it as well.

     When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out on to the porch and waved her apron as an alert to the menfolk to come in from the fields for her buttery biscuits.

     Times have changed. While Grandmother once set her hot baked pies in the window sill to cool, her granddaughters set theirs out to thaw. There are many cooks today that would fret over the stains and germs on Grandmother's apron...but it is doubtful that anyone caught anything form her apron but love."

I don't know where I got this, I've had it for so many years. But I thought you may enjoy it.  

Done your apron proudly, it shows there is work to be done!

Wishing you peace,
Mrs. Peterson