Friday, October 12, 2012

Queen of Cozy


Hello again, all, and a very happy Autumn to you!
Oh, it's always hard to start over again, isn't it?
My blogging joints feel a little bit creaky, a little bit rusty, but here I am,
finally, again.
 
I can't even really begin to back-track on all that the moving entailed. It's only been in the last few weeks that I've even considered getting back to these pages. Our new school year is in full swing now and it's taken some getting used to in addition to the settling-in that continues as we make this house our home.
 
That schedule has required a good deal of planning that I intend to talk about in another post, but speaking of home...
 
This was the view from our front picture window just over a week ago. My camera doesn't do it justice and I can't find my photo editing software (don't ask), so for now, these pictures will just have to do. It took only a few days - one particularly windy one at that - to cause some of this full-blown GLORY to scatter, but I can tell you that my whole family is thoroughly enjoying the technicolor splendor that is autumn in Minnesota - our first in eight years!!
 

 
 We've had a few chilly nights and our days are averaging in the 50's F this week, so inside is kept niiiiice and warm and I dubbed myself the "Queen of Cozy" as I began pulling out all my autumn decor.


Now, I decorated every year in Florida too, but there honestly wasn't a whole lot of need to be cozy
from anything, really. In fact, while there were subtle seasonal changes on the gulf coast,
my decorating really was autumn to my daughters. Now, they have learned that it is so much more.
 

And speaking of cozy...
these are just a couple of random kitchen shots from my new kitchen.
Storage space-wise, this is probably the smallest kitchen I have ever had to work in.
It doesn't bother me; it was kind of like a puzzle putting it all together, seeing where I might be able to fit everything. In the end, everything simply does not fit.
I really wondered at the family that lived here before we did. I guessed that it must have been a single man or a couple without children. I was very surprised to learn that they actually had three sons!
So... either they didn't cook much or they did what I do and made a makeshift pantry in my laundry room downstairs. We have plenty of storage space down there, as the laundry room runs the entire length of the house, so it's worked out nicely.
 My favorite thing in my little kitchen is my little kitchen window over the sink. Can you believe I have never had one?? They always seem so common, and yet, in the time I have been an adult moved away from my family of origin, I have never had a window over my sink... and I just love it!
This particular little spot reminds me of my mother's last Minnesota home before she moved to Florida. It's not exactly the same set-up that she had, but it is similar and I think of her often when I stand at my sink, especially in the mornings when it is still dark out, I am making my tea, and I only have the light on over the sink. Very cozy, indeed. :) Wouldn't you agree, Mom?
 

 
It was this very time of day when I took these pictures as you can see by the kitchen reflected in the window. The lace panel is actually a small runner that my grandmother or great-grandmother tatted, I believe. Eve found this bit of hydrangea the other day as we were taking a walk. In the other corner of the window-sill are some scented geraniums in a little jar that we are hoping to root for a school project. I had never seen scented geraniums before, but I am completely charmed by them!
 
 
My bakers rack is now set up in our little kitchen and is proving to be very useful for all my cookbooks. Well, these are not ALL my cookbooks, but the ones I use most often. Below, I keep my spices. It's funny, because I've had this bakers rack for about a decade now and it's never been used for what it's meant to have been used for until now. It's still only partly utilitarian, but is much more kitchen-oriented than it has ever been.
 
But do you see that wee little picture down there behind the basket?
Look, look! It's my now big teenage girls when they were just wee ones themselves!
Oh, I LOVE this picture of them! Maia is reading The Three Little Pigs to Eve. And even better is that it is the very copy of the the book my sibs and I had growing up. It's held together with a bit of tape these days, but it's still a great book!


Other than some freezer pickles and one small batch of refrigerator pickles made with my sister, I haven't had time to do any canning this year. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy trying to preserve as much of our summer garden that I can! I did quite a bit of freezing of our tomatoes, basil, pesto, and kale. I've still been harvesting things at my sister's place, so while it's been wonderful to have all the fresh produce (thank you, Lael and Mike!!), it will be nice next year to think that I will only need to walk a few steps into my own back yard for my harvest.
Oh, the plans are many...

In the meantime, as the weather cools, we've been making sure that the birds are getting their share...
 


...ahem.

 
The pumpkins have been selected as well, but are living inside for the present. The little, theiving critters above completely mowed down the gourds I had on our front steps, so we're being more cautious with our pumpkins until the jack-o-lanterns are carved! :)
 
Actually, I don't mind sharing with the squirrels for the most part. I like watching them as much as birds. I just hope our tulip bulbs will survive. We don't have many - just 5 in a pot on the deck. See the rock around the base of the tree in the picture above? That's all around our house in our flower beds too. Yes, it does make it all maintenance-free, but not very colorful. That's a springtime project. So, for now, we'll put the handful of tulips in the pot on the deck and plant them in a more permanent place next fall.
 
And speaking of pots, I brought in the geranium yesterday too. She'll hang out with us this winter and go back out in the spring.

And finally, I just thought I'd show you the cool stamp I made this week with a styrofoam tray from the grocers. A large portion of our curriculum this year is based on the Anne of Green Gables Unit Study, Where the Brook and the River Meet. It is chock full of activities and one of which was this. Two other homeschooling families that we know are doing this curriculum this year too and so we meet together weekly to share some activities together. We had the girls practice on styrofoam trays before they committed their designs to the linoleum blocks we got for them.
 


It is hard to just sit by and watch the girls have all the fun, so I joined them with my own design: knitting needles and yarn, of course! :)
And speaking of knitting, I have a sweater here on the needles that is just begging to get off, so I'd better wrap things up here.
 
I hope you're all enjoying the fullness of this season, whether it be sunny and warm or cool and crisp. Aren't you just so thankful for the diversity that is life on this planet?
Have a terrific weekend, friends, and I hope to be talking with you again very soon!
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