Do you remember licking the spoon?
We lived on a very tight budget so Nana didn't waste anything but she did always leave a wee bit of cake batter on the mixing spoon for me to sample.
"How does that taste, Jennifer? Do you think Pop will like our cake?"
Being her taste tester was one of the most exciting 'chores' for a little girl who thought her Nana was the best cook in the whole wide world.
This is one of the blocks in my next BOM, Phyllis May's Kitchen. In fact, it's the final block.
I still have a cover to create (oops, did I drop a hint as to what this BOM will be???) and then I can bring all the blocks together at last.
This week I've licked the spoon a few times from my own bowl and it was a bit more than a wee bit I must admit.
Cupcakes for Cully May, Rafaella and Blossom to take on my visit to them...
These were simple vanilla cupcakes with a lemon buttercream icing, one proud blueberry and coconut sprinkled over the top - but they were so yummy!
I tried the butterfly cakes recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks...
...and have decided to use this one for cupcakes and butterfly cakes from now on because its the nicest batter, flavour and texture of any small cakes I've ever baked.
Fortunately I baked a double batch so Mr E and I enjoyed ours as butterfly cakes with lemon curd filling for a few days afterwards.
You know how this year I'm following the instructions God gave me to "use what you already have"?
Well that advice spills over into every area of life and as the months pass I ask myself this question each day quite naturally, in many and varied situations.
From a cook and homemaker's perspective a lot of dollars are being saved, food is not being wasted, and I'm gradually kicking some lazy habits such as not planning enough meals with the food already in my pantry/fridge/freezer before grocery shopping.
Last weekend we enjoyed a Sunday roast with chicken, veggies and lashings of gravy, but I still had lots of chicken leftover so last night I searched online for some easy recipes which use leftover cooked chicken - recipes I'd not made before. This one looked good and I knew Blossom would appreciate me making extra for her little ones dinner one night...
I had all the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge, but added more vegetables.
With plenty to spare we'll have it again tonight with a tossed salad and I'll drop Cully May and Rafella's portion to Blossom tomorrow.
We had raspberries in the fridge which needed to be used last night as well, so while the pasta bake was in the oven I mixed up a batch of Toasted Macadamia, Raspberry and Chocolate Brownies which went in to bake next.
Oh my word, these were seriously delicious!!
If we're mindful these will last us through the weekend...I hope.
Apart from baking I've also been cleaning appliances and scrubbing those hidden places we often forget about. You know, the little chores that only take 5 minutes but you have your eyes so firmly fixed on the big things that you overlook the small ones.
I noticed how dusty the outside of my washing machine was and how there was a build up of lint inside the door so I lovingly took a cloth and my miracle spray and wiped it down until the door sparkled. Such a simple thing but I realise now that many simple chores get neglected and it's usually because I have so many things running through my mind that I tend to focus mainly on big things.
This week, well, these past two weeks actually, I've slowed down considerably, been aware of each moment and become consciously engaged in each task, project and conversation...and it's been truly beautiful.
Appreciating my home and choosing to feel gratitude for the chores I'm required to do is increasingly filling my heart with joy and a warm sense of satisfaction. The deep desire which began about five years ago, to embrace all that being a gentle domestic homemaker entails, is being fulfilled...and it's so much more than I thought it was during all those homeschooling years with the children.
It's not a list to tick off, a schedule to cling to, a burden to cripple...it's a privilege.
Designing is still part of what I do, but it's what I do now when I feel like it, when I have time, when it's not taking me away from caring for the people I love and for our much-longed-for home.
I'm sure God saw all this happening a long time ago, but finally buying a home of our own after raising our family has opened my eyes and understanding to many lessons previously not taught. And one of the biggest lessons has been to show gratitude to our home by caring for it in such a way that joy overflows each day.
I'll share more about these lessons another day, but today I just wanted to share how happy I am having followed the Lord's prompting to slow down my life, use what I already have, and give care to the little things which are often overlooked.
This 1946 issue of the Australian Home Journal came home with me from a garage sale before Christmas and I'd planned to share a lot of what's inside over the course of this year but with the floods and the aftermath of clean up etc it was put aside.
Anyhow, it's brilliant, and next week I'll begin showing you some of the articles inside, which include loads of hints and tips for the gentle domestic homemaker.
Our little grandson Austin is three this month and Aisha asked if I'd make a bunting to hang behind his bed. Austin is crazy about trucks, cars and motorbikes so I fussy cut sections of suitable fabric for the bunting flags and added one A flag as well.
The bunting is 2 metres long (6 feet) and I left plenty of length at the end for ties.
I've also been playing around with my favourite quilt block, the churn dash, and made a mini quilt for above my desk using one of the stitcheries for May's issue of Rewind.
With Easter almost here I thought you might like to one of my older patterns?
The Greatest Love...
The pattern is a free gift and can be downloaded here
May you be blessed.
About three years ago I bought a dirty white shelf for $10 from a garage sale and told my husband that one day it would hang in our own home and we'd give it a fresh coat of white and then I'd shabby it up a bit.
A few weeks ago we were at the hardware store shopping for paint to give it that makeover.
Destined to be hung in our front entrance the plan was still to go with white.
But then I had a change of heart.
Since moving here there has been less white, less pastels - but there has definitely been an increase of colour popping up here and there.
So I chose a deep aqua paint for my shelf and wow, we love it!
Over time the little pegs beneath will each hold something special, but for now I'm loving the front entrance and how happy the orange door and aqua shelf look side by side.
Gradually the house is also filling with plants. Do you remember how I always bought a bunch of flowers to have on the table? They were never expensive, no more than $10 a bunch and usually marked down to $5. Having flowers in the various rental homes we resided in over the decades of our marriage was very important to me, yet since we moved into our home here I've not bought a single bunch. Six months have passed and the living plants which continue to multiply in every room bring me more joy than you know.
Gosh, that was a big ramble wasn't it!?
I haven't written a regular 'from the homemaker heart' post for a few weeks now and to be honest they are the ones which make my heart happier than any other so I guess now that life is slowing and I have a better idea of the direction God is leading these will become the words of life I'll choose to share each week.
The school term finished today so Mr E is home for two weeks now and he has quite a list of things around the home he'd like to do but he's quite unwell at the moment so if you wouldn't mind praying for a speedy recovery we'd be most grateful.
Now I'd best sign off and go think about that salad which needs to sit alongside last night's leftovers.
May your weekend be one that offers many homemaker joys, meaningful moments with those you love, and reasons to slow down and smell the roses...