Kitchen Tour Feed

Playing Catch Up!

Hello my friends, and Happy Tuesday! And for that matter ... Happy June! :)

Gosh, it's been a while since I've posted ... and I'm sorry about that. Everything is fine here, we're just extra busy as the year winds down and a few computer issues have slowed me down a bit, too. I hope to find more blogging time this Summer because I have an awful lot of ideas and things I want to talk with you all about!

But for today, I'd like to play a little catch up and share some pictures from the past few weeks, as this will give you a glimpse of what's been going on around here ... most significantly ...


Chicks 1

Our baby chicks arrived three weeks ago! Aren't they sweet?

We ordered six one-day-old pullets and they sent us seven. Unfortunately, one of them didn't make it so we now have the original six. They are doing quite well, I'm happy to report! They are getting so big and Bill and the boys are working hard to finish the coop and pen! 

Chicken pen

We've got a few more weeks to get it done ...

Here are my "Full Flower Moon" cupcakes from a couple of weeks ago. We baked these as part of our seasonal homeschooling rhythm. (That week's theme was "Spring Flowers.") You probably saw these if you follow me on Facebook, but they're too pretty not to share again! :)

Flower cupcakes

More flowers from the spring garden .... also gathered during "Spring Flower" week.

Flowers 1

I love pretty vases and old pitchers, but nothing is more charming than a plain old Mason jar. :)

Here is a lovely pond in our neighborhood ...

Morning pond

On this walk I had Little Bear with me as you can see. We were saying "Good Morning" to the geese and frogs and turtles and blackbirds ... and whoever else we could hear on this breezy May day!


Some of the pretty purple phlox that bloomed last month ...

O party 17

Oh, and here is Little Bear's birthday cake! My mum made the cake and I supplied the trucks and "rock wall." Mum added Oreo crumbs to make the construction site!

Rugs 1

And here is a close up of a braided rug set we purchased for our kitchen - I am so in love with these colors! Bill and I stopped in at a moving sale up the street and I just could not pass these rugs up. (Two runners and an under-table rug.) They look great in the kitchen! Braided rugs just say "cozy home" to me ...

Rugs 3

Thankfully, Archie approved the purchase ... ;)

Kitchen table with peonies

The largest rug fit our breakfast nook perfectly! It means a little more vacuuming, but I'm ok with that. :)

O and l reading 1

Oh and did I mention, Bookworm (our college boy) is home? He arrived mid-May and is with us till the end of August. It is SO good to have him home - to have ALL my chicks back in the nest! And of course, Little Bear is just soaking up all the extra big-brother attention. ðŸ’™

But back to the garden ...

Yarrow 2

I love this little herb-and-flower patch, which I'm hoping to expand this summer. The yellow flowers are Yarrow, and the purpley things are Coral Bells, which the hummingbirds absolutely adore. They drink deep from those tiny pink blooms!

Peonies 3

On the other end of the scale - here are my gigantic pink blooms, our lovely Peonies! I wish they would linger longer ... they are the most photogenic flowers and do they ever smell heavenly!

But my Foxgloves are really stealing the show this Spring ...

Foxgloves sunshine

Foxgloves pink

Foxgloves 1

Foxgloves are biennial so they didn't bloom last year and the year before that was their first so they were fairly small. This year though, boy oh boy are they doing well! (And to think, we almost pulled them up thinking they were weeds!) Also known as Fairy Thimbles (or properly, Digitalis purpurea), this plant is one of my all-time favorites ... it reminds me of Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor ... a sweet, old-fashioned, country cottage kind of flower!

One last shot, here they are this morning under our glorious American flag ...

Flag day foxgloves

(Happy Flag Day!)

Ok, and finally, a little more wildlife news ... we have a woodchuck family living in our backyard!

Woodchuck 1

This is the mother - who, I think, wintered under our old shed on the hill and then spent the spring making herself a few dens here and there around our property. (We'd see her hurrying across the yard, with her mouth full of leaves!) Well, yesterday we watched her and her THREE babies enjoying our plentiful (organic, weedy) grass! They are so cute I can't stand it!

This picture doesn't really show them that well, but it was hard to get a picture through the sunroom window ...

Woochuck 2

I can't wait to watch them this Summer!

We also have a red squirrel family that visits our deck every day for the seed I scatter ... there can be up to six squirrels at a time! There are also lots of chipmunks and gray squirrels, of course. The usual songbirds - goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, mourning doves, woodpeckers, wrens, cardinals - and a pair of HUGE ravens that are so incredibly majestic.

Oh, and a gorgeous fox trotted through our yard the other night as we sat in the kitchen nook enjoying our dinner. We have never seen one before!

(And yes, we are planning to keep our chickens in a pen! They will be allowed to roam "free" with supervision.)


Well my friends, that's all I have time for right now! I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures and I thank you so much for joining me. I can't promise when my next post will be up, but I hope it won't be too long ... I would like to do a Q&A roundup and show you all how the Day Designer is working for me now that I've used it for a whole two weeks. :)

I do hope you are all enjoying your June so far - has your Summer begun yet? - and I wish you all a pleasant evening (or day as the case might be) ...

See you here again very soon! 

Hello & Happy June ...

And Rabbit-Rabbit, my friends!


It's a cool and rainy day here - which is a good thing, actually! We are in sore need of rain in our region, whereas other parts of our country have been deluged with it lately. (My prayers are with those suffering through destructive storms and their aftermath.) Generally speaking though, here in New England the Spring has been lovely ... but I can tell Summer is nipping at its heels!

Well, it's been a while since my last post and I hope you've all been well! We are winding down our homeschooling year here, though we have lots of summer learning planned, natch! We've been quite focused on projects around the house lately and I'd like to share some photos this morning if I may?

First up, these great second-hand planters!

Front door planters 1 

I've wanted a pair of planters like this for our front doorway since we moved here nearly two years ago - but gosh, they are expensive if bought new! Well, Bill happened upon a pair bring thrown out - and scooped them from the side of the road and brought them home. We plan to clean them up and repaint them (solid black) and then fill them with some nice plants - geraniums, perhaps?

And here's how my kitchen wall looks now ...

Kitchen prints 1

You might remember it once held large maps and a calendar - useful, but not necessarily what I wanted here. Well, I absolutely love botanical prints so I was looking online for some to purchase when I came across a series that looked vintage and interesting and kind of "French Country." I ordered the 22x28 prints (about $5 each) and then kept my eyes open for frame sales at the craft store. We found the frames for 60% off at Michaels (!) and splurged on custom-cut mats ...

Bill added hardware to the backs and hung them for me as a surprise while I was at Mass yesterday morning. I am beyond thrilled with how they look here! Here are a couple of close-ups:

Kitchen prints 2

Kitchen prints 3

Aren't they lovely?

Now here's a glimpse at a new binder I've made for myself ...

Herbal book 1

This is my plant journal - or Household Herbal - where I'm recording information and observations for each of the plants we are growing in our yard. (And those I hope to grow someday.) I'm using alphabetical tabs to organize the information for now. I also have gardening goals listed in here and sketches/plot plans ... as well as a section on using herbs for health and housekeeping. This past weekend we visited a local farm that specializes in organically grown plants and really stocked up!

Here are some pretty "botanical" papers I picked up recently ...

Herbal book 2

I'll use them for dividers by cutting them to fit and adding tabs to the edges.

Oh, and here are some of the herbs awaiting planting!

Herbs 1

We have rosemary, lavender, thyme, bee balm, calendula, horehound, Lady's mantle, scented geranium, peppermint, nasturtium, lemon balm, marshmallow, morning glories, catnip, St. John's Wort, yarrow, sage and chives to name a few ... :)

Also, here is another project we've been working on - and by "we" I mean, mostly Bill:

Orchard 1

Our fledgling home orchard!

So far we have six semi-dwarf apple trees and three pear trees as well as two hazelnuts. It will take some time for the trees to bear fruit (and nuts) but it's just great to have them in our midst ... we've wanted fruit trees for the longest time!

Here's Bill getting them in ...

Ochard planting 2

(And if you're wondering, yes - the chickens and bees are on hold. We hope to get around to them next year. Too much on our plate this year!)

Also, remember the birdhouse I had at the old house? The one the boys gave me for Mother's Day years ago? Well, we left that for the new owners to enjoy, but I have been generously gifted with another!

Birdhouse 1

And at its base we planted a deep purple, climbing clematis vine. The front of the house faces north so it gets partial shade through the day. Bleeding hearts and ferns grow well here.

This is the herb garden under construction out back. In the foreground is an already established bed of various flowers - phlox, forget-me-nots, sedum and coneflowers. The little black pot holds a moonflower plant and we're adding yarrow and herbs. And just beyond, under the windows is a full-sun bed for rhubarb and cherry tomatoes, pickling cukes, hot peppers and wee pumpkins. The wood on the ground will form a raised bed where some more herbs and flowers will go, those that can tolerate partial shade ... and there will be containers will move around on the sunny patio. The herbs that need full sun will go in these.

Herbs 3

We're eager to add fruit bushes as well - elderberries, blackberries and blueberries. We do have some wild raspberries and strawberries right now, but eventually we'd like to add more formal hedgerows.

Finally, here is a rather majestic fellow, sitting atop some spent spirea ... 

Dragonfly 1

Our yard is full of dragonflies these days! Which is a good thing, because it's also full of mosquitos ...

Well I'd best wrap up now as I could go on and on but this post would never be published! Are you planting anything new this year? I will keep you posted on how our little pocket farm develops ... it sure is benefitting from all this rain but I am looking forward to warm sunny days ahead.

Well, my friends - thanks so much for stopping by! I pray you are all well and enjoying your Spring wherever you are in the world. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and I will see you here again sometime soon!

The Week on the Wall

Hello everyone, and Happy Thursday!

Chalkboard 8

So, this is something I'm very excited about ...

Above you see our "learning wall" in the kitchen ... you might remember I had my Susan Branch wall calendar here (and a homemade calendar before that), but I found that no one was really looking at those big month-at-a-glances. (Not even me, lol!) There was just too much information to take in at once, I think. So I decided it might be better to focus on one week at a time - as I do with my planner.

I had seen these chalkboard wall panels in a catalog sometime before Christmas and I was VERY intrigued. But I have a thing about chalkboard - as in, I cannot STAND to be around it. The sound - even the threat of a sound being made - on that surface drives me absolutely batty. It's why I can't hang a traditional chalkboard in my "schoolhouse" much as I'd like to. But these "panels" are not made of that dry, scratchy (ugh, I'm freaking myself out even typing these descriptive words) material ... they're a vinyl kind of thing. Adhesive backed, and reposition-able. I bought two packages (eight panels in all) and a package of liquid chalk markers that sounded neat. I had Bill help me position the panels in the center of our kitchen "learning wall," right between our large maps ...

Chalkboard 1

 And I wrote the name of each day with Saturday/Sunday sharing a "weekend" panel.

  Chalkboard 2

The chalk markers are WONDERFUL. They write smoothly and are quite vivid against the black. I purchased a pack of eight bright colors.

Chalkboard 9

I haven't completely ironed out how I'll use them, but for the purposes of my post, I filled them out as I envision they might work: different colors for different aspects of weekly family life. I may end up changing this around a bit, but for the time being ...

Green = Classes/activities

Red = Suppers

Blue = Housekeeping

Yellow = Seasonal/Natural

Purple = Seasonal/Liturgical

White = General

(The package also comes with pink and orange.)

Chalkboard 6

I LOVE the way it looks!!

Bill was a bit skeptical when I first showed him the panels (in the package) - as he usually is when it comes to hanging things on the wall, lol - but he conceded the end result is neat and pretty. :) And for the record, the chalk wipes off easily and neatly with a damp paper towel. No residue left behind ... Anyhoo, I wanted to share this with you all because I know many of you are organization "junkies" like me. These are worth the money in my opinion!

Ok, then - on with the day! A snowy one here (natch) and a busy one, too. I hope yours is a good one, wherever it takes you ... thanks so much for stopping by!

See you here again very soon ... 

p.s. Next post: Answering Helena's question, "What do you mean by "give each day a story?" 


Flowers for the Fourth

Fourth flowers on table

On my kitchen table today:

A gathering of New England wildflowers (tickseed and asters from the yard), Macintosh apples and our Grand Old Flag (in miniature). In the background, a pretty wall hanging that was left to us by our previous home's original owners. An image of my favorite flag style: the Betsy Ross!

A very simple, last-minute arrangement, but I love how cozy it all looks.


What's on your kitchen (or dining) table today? Do you like to display seasonal or holiday items in this spot, or perhaps on your kitchen counter? I take great joy in this very simple, homey act. Doesn't cost much, doesn't take long, but never fails to make me smile. I'm always tempted by the pretty flowers at the farmer's market, but like it best when I can use things I find in my yard. :)

Well, my friends, I'm wishing you all a lovey Friday the Fourth, and a wonderful weekend ahead. Wish it were a little sunnier here today - heavy rains from "Hurricane Arthur" are expected throughout the afternoon. Thankfully we'll be spared any damaging winds ... and there's a beautiful weekend to come, according to those in the know!

See you here again very soon!

Kitchen Chat, Week Eight: Cookbooks!

Bs&c graphic 2

Good Monday morning, my friends!

Welcome to another week of Kitchen Chat! Please help yourself to the bread basket - a warm rhubarb scone, perhaps? - and pour yourself a hot cuppa something - tea or coffee, there's plenty of both. Let's settle in and talk about COOKBOOKS! From conversations I've had, and comments I've read - here and elsewhere - I think it's safe to say a great many of us have a bit of a cookbook obsession!

So to start, I have just a couple of "cookbook questions" for you all today ... so if you have the time and inclination, please leave your answers in the comments box below.


Where do you store/display your cookbooks?

What is (are) your favorite cookbook(s) - and why?



I also have several wonderful cookbook pictures to share and I must thank the lovely ladies - Michelle, Jo, Shirley, Carol and Mary - who sent me photos for this post! I think it adds such a fun element to these chats when we open our kitchens up to each other!

Cookbooks 5 

As for me, I store my cookbooks in a kitchen cabinet ... as of about five minutes ago, lol! They've been packed in boxes since we moved here last summer ... but this upcoming post gave me incentive to get them out of those boxes and into a cabinet! (And I'm still missing a few favorites, so there's got to be another box around here somewhere ... hmmm.)

Cookbooks 2

At the old house I kept my cookbooks on the counter to the right of the stove, but since I now have more cabinets to "play" with, I felt I could devote a shelf (maybe a shelf and half) to these books. I like how they look here - I can obviously see them through the glass, and it makes me smile to see them on display.

Cookbooks 6

I've been collecting cookbooks since I was a teen ... I loved looking through my mother's and grandmother's cookbooks - especially the really old ones, with the super-thin pages and personal notes in the margins. I would say my favorites to read through nowadays are The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook (currently, MIA) and Jamie at Home, shown above. I tend to enjoy books that reflect New England and British cuisine/lifestyle as well as those that feature baked goods and organic/seasonal recipes. I can read a cookbook like Pippa Middleton's Celebrate, front to back, just for the comfort and joy it inspires!

But that's enough from me ... now let's hear from some dear friends - regular readers, all - who are also sharing their own cookbooks today!

From Jo:

Cookbooks jo

"Here are some of my favorites in their home in our kitchen. Some of them are books that I just enjoy looking through. Others, like the Indian Vegetarian cookbook, are cherished ones that I use for inspiration regularly."

From Shirley:

Cookbooks shirley 1

Cookbooks shirley 2

Cookbooks shirley 3

"I have attached a few pics of my cookbooks. My favourite ones are falling apart! One of them is stored in a Ziplock bag to keep it all together. Of course the pages have splashes and stains - all evidence of being well used and well loved. I am lucky to have a very convenient little shelf in my main storage cupboard that holds all my cookbooks beautifully. I have not really added to the collection for years as the Internet is a wonderful free source of endless recipes."

*And here I must add that I agree with Shirley - I used to buy cookbooks quite often, but these days I find most of my recipes online or in magazines. That said, I would buy another Barefoot Contessa or Jamie Oliver cookbook in a heartbeat - just on sheer principle. ;)

From Michelle:

Cookbooks michelle 1

Cookbooks michelle 3

"My cookbooks are special to me because most of them have been given to me as gifts. My family and friends know how much I enjoy cooking and baking so I am always excited when I receive new recipes to try. In the modern age of technology it is easy to find recipes online but I like to sit down with my cookbooks and thumb through the pages. I just like the feel of the book in my hands, the smell of the pages, and being able to write things down in them.  Hopefully they will be passed on and cherished by my future daughter in laws or even my boys. They like to cook also. Some of my favorite cookbooks are ones I received as wedding gifts over 23 years ago. I am also fond of the Southern Living (circa 1970'S) cookbooks that my 
grandmother gave to me. I display my cookbooks in my kitchen on shelves that are below my kitchen cabinets, but I also have several binders that contain printed recipes stored inside my kitchen cabinets. And last but not least, sitting on my kitchen countertop is my tried and true recipe box holder. It contains handwritten recipes that I have used for years and years."
From Carol:

Cookbooks carol 1

Cookbooks carol 2

 "Here at Chestnut Hill I have cookbooks in many places. I have this Shaker Shelf in the kitchen between the large wood cook Stove and the Electric stove. I keep every day cookbooks, and anything that will fit on the shelves. Then in the living room I have some stacks of overflow or of cookbooks that I do not want regularly exposed to grease and wood stove dander. I would love to have a Library or at least nice built in shelves, but our home is almost 200 years old and neither are possible. Favorite Cookbooks . .  tough . . .

 College Cooking by Megan and Jill Carle 

Motherhood and Apple Pie by Junior Leaque Rochester NY

Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman
From Mary:

Cookbooks mary 1

Cookbooks mary 2

Cookbooks mary 3

Cookbooks mary 4

Cookbooks mary 5

Cookbooks mary 6

Cookbooks mary 7

Cookbooks mary 8

Cookbooks mary 9

Cookbooks mary 10

(Note: Mary told me I could share whichever pictures I wanted but I had to include them all - there are so many wonderful titles to peruse!)

"I've included assorted pictures of my cookbooks. I have over 1,000! My mother was a collector and passed that gene on to me. :-) Together, we have amassed quite the collection over the years. In my home, our dining room also functions as our library.  In addition to the "library", I also stash my cookbooks into every available nook and cranny I can find! I once read that Nigella Lawson brought in a librarian to catalog all her cookbooks ... what a dream that would be! :-)"

From Theresa:

Cookbooks theresa 1

Cookbooks theresa 2

From Elizabeth:

Cookbooks elizabeth

"My husband put together a couple of bookcases for me over the weekend to put in my breakfast area to hold my cookbooks. I recently weeded out my cookbooks because our eating style has changed. I am starting a new collection to match the way we eat now.
Each month I get a few more with my book money."


Well, my friends, I hope you've enjoyed our cookbook photos and comments. I would love to hear about yours ... so if you can, please take a few moments and leave a comment answering this week's questions (shown near the top of the post). And if you want to send me a photo, please don't hesitate - I can always update this post with more submissions.

I'm thinking for next week ... how about "kids in the kitchen?" I'll post more on that idea, but in the meantime, if you have a suggestion, please let me know! 

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone ... I'll see you back here again very soon!

Kitchen Chat, Week Six: Food Storage

Bs&c graphic 2

Happy Monday, my friends! I hope you are all feeling refreshed and ready for a new week. :)

Welcome to another Kitchen Chat! I hope you'll pull up a counter stool and join me for a hot cup of brew and something warm and buttery from the oven - how do blueberry scones sound this morning?

This week we're chatting about food storage ... where you keep food and how you keep it, and what you have on hand. Below I have my questions for you all, I hope you'll take a moment to leave your thoughts! I have some visuals to share as well ... with sincere thanks to Elizabeth, Mary and Tanya for sharing their own food storage photos!


But before I get to the pictures, first let me ask you my questions:

Name 10 things in your pantry right now.

10 things in your fridge?

How about 10 things in your freezer?

Please describe the area(s) where you keep food. Are you happy with your current food storage space(s)? What would you change if you could?

Do you preserve food in any way - canning or drying, perhaps?

Do you ever shop in bulk?


 Noq, I'm going to work backwards in answering myself ...

Do I shop in bulk? Not really, no. But it's not for lack of interest - I just don't really have the time/energy to get organized on that front. I love the idea, though ...

I do not currently can or dry foods in any way (except for the occasional year when I make picalilli). I would love to do this someday, however. I'm forever collecting articles and even books on the topic of preserving food. :)

And I am quite happy with my food storage space at the moment (we have much more space than we did at the old house), though I would love to add a separate freezer - chest or upright, not sure? - downstairs. We have a set of cabinets in our kitchen which are really well sized for dry good storage. 

10 Things in My Freezer:


chicken nuggets * french fries/alphatots * frozen waffles * kernel corn * ice cream & sorbet * frozen tortellini * fish sticks * frozen juice * frozen fruit (raspberries, in particilar) * meatballs

10 Things in My Fridge:


yogurt * milk (1% for drinking, whole for tea and the baby) * half-and-half * butter * eggs * pizza dough * leftovers * hummus * chicken * pasta sauce

10 Things in My Pantry:

Pantry open 1

 Take your pick, lol!

 macaroni & cheese * pasta * sauces * baby food * cereal * cookies * crackers * baking needs (flour/sugar/spices/etc.) * canned soups  * tea


Clearly, there's a lot more on those shelves than just those 10 items! But the ones I mentioned are real stalwarts of our family meals. And I must confess, I did clean those pantry cabinets before taking pictures ... I really had not done too much with them since we moved. I purged a lot of out-of-date foods and tried to organize the three main areas by food types. It could be much better organized certainly, but it's a start. :)

(The fridge and freezer are hopeless at the moment, in dire need of a pruning, scouring and sorting. But I wanted to show you what I'm working with, and well ... that's it!)

And now for some wonderful thoughts and photos from my dear friends, Elizabeth, Mary and Tanya ... thank you, ladies for taking the time to put your submissions together!

From Elizabeth:

Pantries 1

Pantries 2

 "As you can see I don't keep much in the pantry. We eat mostly fresh foods. I keep mostly ingredients on hand for baking and cooking from scratch. The bottom picture is my new refrigerator. Which I love. It has a bottom freezer and double top doors."

From Mary:

Pantries 3

Pantries 4

Pantries 5

Pantries 6

"For storing food, I use my pantry, and my refrigerators - one in the kitchen, the other in the laundry room.

The first picture is of my kitchen fridge. It's a french-door top fridge I found on sale at Home Depot ... and I love it! (It replaced a 20+ year old fridge!) You can't see the doors on either side but there is a special place to store milk, butter, etc. which is nice, as it gives me more room in the main part of the fridge where I like to use plastic bins to help organize things. In the second picture is the freezer. It's on the bottom and has multiple "draws" that slide back and forth to make searching for things easier. It's not very organized at this moment...more of work in progress! ;-)

The third and fourth pictures are of my pantry. It's packed! The fourth picture is of the deep side of the pantry that goes rather far back. It's even hard to take a picture! This is where, I will confess, things get lost! ;-) I try using some tiered shelving and wire baskets that pull in and out to help corral the teas, herbs, and spices, but everything else is sort of in an "every man for himself" state of affairs!  LOL!! ;-)"

From Tanya:

Pantries 7

"These show two areas of our kitchen storage that I'm still quite happy with over a year after we moved in. When we started unpacking, I tried to create some stations within my kitchen to make everyday tasks easier and more efficient. The picture on the left is my tea and coffee cupboard. It's situated right above the alcove where the coffee maker and electric kettle are.

On the right, the two photos are the top and bottom cupboards of my baking station. The top cupboard holds sugar/baking necessities/chocolate chips etc. The bottom cupboard holds our flours and oils. Gluten free flours on the top shelf and wheat flours on the bottom one. The drawer you can just see above the bottom shelf holds our mixing utensils, measuring cups and spoons.

I've really loved having these stations set up in our kitchen ~ I find baking and other tasks so much easier since I have everything I need within reach!"


Well, I would be so happy to hear from you on the subject of food storage - if you have thoughts to share and the time to share them, please do so below. (And please feel free to answer one, two or all of the questions!) I think it's such fun to hear about how other people make these household areas work best for them ... to compare notes, challenges and strategies, etc.!

So I do hope to hear from you ...  but in any account, I will say goodbye for now and wish you all a good day ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... and I will see you here again very soon!

Kitchen Chat, Week Five: Kitchen Style!

Bs&c graphic 2

Good Monday morning, my friends!

I am so excited to share this post with you! This whole series has been fun, but today's post is truly special because I have many contributors helping me out this week. Today we're talking about "kitchen style" and so, first off, I have a bunch of questions for you all ... and then I have my own "take on the topic" ... and finally, I have a whole lot of pictures to share!

So! Let me start by posing our questions for this week ... if you have the time to share your thoughts, please leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear about your kitchen and how you feel about kitchen style ...


In as many (or as few!) words as you'd like, please describe your kitchen.

What kitchen "style" do you like best? (e.g. country, retro, modern, etc.)

What do you like best about your kitchen?

If money was no object, how would you change/improve your kitchen?


 You've all seen snippets of my kitchen since we've moved here, but I did share some new pictures at the bottom of the post ...

What I like best about my kitchen is the space. I was very fond of my old kitchen but it was a bit small for the amount of cooking I like to do (and the amount of children I have, with whom I love to cook and craft). Our new kitchen has a healthy amount of counter space as well as a lot of storage. Not that it's well organized mind you ... but it will be ... someday!

If money was no object, I would love to replace some of the appliances - notably, the double ovens, fridge and cooktop. I'd really love an induction cooktop someday ...

And now it's time for some pictures!  

I had several kind readers send me pictures of their kitchens ... some folks had one picture to share, some had a few ... and some had lots to say, while others had just a simple reflection. I loved EVERY submission and I am very grateful to all the ladies who took the time to help me out with this project. I'm so pleased this post struck a chord with so many!

So without further ado, please join me for a little kitchen tour ...

From Marianna:

Kitchen chat 1

"The kitchen is truly the heart of the home here so I’m thrilled to be able to share mine. This was taken during dinner prep one night last week. I couldn’t resist the way the sunlight was coming in." 

From Michelle:

Kitchen chat 2

Kitchen chat 3

Kitchen chat 23

"We hold almost all family gatherings at our house becuase we built this kitchen so that many family and friends could gather together. My husband runs a resturant so we are used to cooking for a lot of people. I would say 90% of my family's day is spent in the kitchen area. The kitchen table is to the right (where you see the tip of the chairs) and to the left back of the picture there is a seating area with two couches, t.v., and a fireplace. A view of fireplace and the sitting area and the couches are behind my boys. I LOVE my kitchen! It is warm and cozy. I love cooking, baking, and canning in my kitchen, but most of all I love it when there are many people gathered around eating good food, talking, laughing, and making great family memories!"

From Andrea:

Kitchen chat 4

"Our kitchen is small (not a lot of counter space), and it doesn't have a dishwasher. Those are the things I look forward to having one day! But apart from that, I like my small kitchen. It's painted yellow, and it has a window and screen door (lots of lovely light). And since I don't have a window over my sink, I put up a bulletin board that I love (top right in the photo). It holds my recipes, so it's very practical. But it also allows me to put up photos, Scriptures, quotes, and hymns. We added a small shelf below the bulletin board that holds the remote for my kitchen radio, a candle and a vase for small flowers. My kitchen also has some shelves where I store some of my most-used cookbooks and some other supplies and decorative items. So even though my kitchen is small, it has a very homey feel, which I'm thankful for."

From Elizabeth:

Kitchen chat 5

Kitchen chat 6

"Here are pictures of the kitchen in my new house. Top view is looking out toward the great room and the bottom one is looking toward the breakfast room. I love the extended island my husband had made for me. The counter tops have a touch of pink in them, my favorite color. My mixer is pink. :) My sink is a deep black farm house sink. The appliances are black."

From Tanya: 

Kitchen chat 7

"This is one of my favourite rooms in our (relatively) new house and was the thing I loved the most when we moved in last year. Our previous kitchen faced out at the next door neighbour's siding ... not a favourite view! Our new kitchen faces out towards a 1924 house across the road and a large stand of ancient Garry Oak trees. I love it! I also love our kitchen cupboards space and am so pleased at how we were able to set it up when we moved in. The only downside to our kitchen is that lovely large island which so easily gets cluttered up with papers and whatnot."

 From Divina:

Kitchen chat 8

A serene spot in her kitchen .. a sunny windowsill with a St. Francis statue.

From Mary:

Kitchen chat 9

"A picture of one of my favorite spots in my kitchen ... It is my wing-back reading chair near the fire place. I love to sit here and read and pray and jot down notes and sometimes just plain collapse! ;-) When my son was young he would cuddle up on the chair and cover himself with the quilt while I made breakfast. Also, many a visiting mom has enjoyed nursing a baby here ... including me! The chair has a lot of nice memories. And who knew it when I purchased it so many years ago as a single woman. On the little table next to the chair I keep my various notebooks nearby to make my lists, etc. along with a few books that I am perusing. The table is hand carved and was found by my Mom many years ago on one of our many "junking" adventures. ;-) I remember it in our home as a child."

From Heather, a handcrafted treat from her kitchen:

Kitchen chat 10

"I put together this little platter for our Bible study group that meets our house on Thursday nights. The hand-dipped straweberries took less than ten minutes from start to finish and that delightful Lindt bunny came out of hiding last night to adorn the platter. He's an Easter gift for our kids."

From Jo:

Kitchen chat 11

A peek at the corner where she bakes with her children. :)

From Shirley Ann:

Kitchen chat 15

Kitchen chat 17

Kitchen chat 18

A few favorite spots in her kitchen (which is in England, so naturally I'm especially enthralled!).

From Arlene:

Kitchen chat 13

Kitchen chat 14

"A favorite spot in my kitchen. Living in a townhouse, we do not have a huge kitchen but I like it! I have white cabinets, gray granite countertops and black appliances. I needed additional storage so I found this cute hutch at Hobby Lobby. It is filled with my Bachelor Button Louisville Stoneware and topped with my favorite blue and white ceramics that are scattered through out my kitchen. I love pears so my kitchen is "popped" with some bright green touches. I love how it looks with the blue and white ceramics as well as my black appliances. (Bottom photo) My "Purse Bench". I got this little bench and painted it bright green, put it in the hallway from the garage. Now I have a place to put my purse and anything else I am carrying so it does not get dumped on the kitchen cabinets or table!!"

From Erin:

Kitchen chat 25

Kitchen chat 26

Kitchen chat 16

Itchen chat 19

Kitchen chat 19

"First photo: This is a corner of my counter space, which I have recently found to be much more functional if it has very little on it! I used to have a bread machine out here, and since clearing it and other things off the counters, I have enjoyed the space much more. I have my cookbook stand, a pretty bird tray, and a pottery canister made by my old college roommate in her pottery class - I like to keep it there because it matches the birds on the tray! 

Second photo: My handy shelf along one wall of the kitchen ... this was here when we moved in, and I found, after years of keeping decorative knick-knacks on it, that it was much better for keeping canisters of grains, seeds, etc. Plus my pottery cup that matches the canister in the previous photo, my catch-all home for writing utensils in the kitchen. And just for a bit of decor, my very first tin of Republic of Tea's Earl Greyer tea, my very favorite type. I have saved this tin since 1998, according to the date on the side, and have gone through several more cans of it over the years!

Third photo: This is just a zoomed out shot that shows the location of the wall shelf. I have debated putting hooks on the underside for hanging teacups/mugs, but it may look too cluttered. Maybe I need to lose the corkboards to open it up a bit!
Fourth photo: The view through my kitchen sink "window." Most kitchens have a window over the sink that looks into the yard, but mine looks into our sunroom, which was an addition to the house before we moved in. I have my little chicken decorations hanging above it, and in the sunroom, I can see my lisence plate collection hung up as a border along the top of the wall, which makes me happy to look at ... and the sunroom lets lots of light in for a cheerful view!

Last photo: This is the same counter space as in the first picture, which makes itself available to keep birthday cupcakes and other such goodies."

From Jen:

Kitchen chat 20

Kitchen chat 21

Kitchen chat 22 

"The "island" is an old workbench that I rescued from the trash. I cleaned it up and finished it with a protectant to the wood so we could use it in the kitchen. We added casters to the bottom and an old shutter as a shelf so I would have more storage. I use it as a kitchen workspace and we eat at it all the time. Stools are just a Target find.

The shelf underneath holds my beloved Kitchen-Aid mixer a few other bits and bobbles. I use an old Coca-Cola crate to store my spices. They are in small glass jars with labels on top. They are actually very handy in that spot!

The red hutch is a hutch that was in our home when I was growing up. I painted it red and distressed it a bit. It now holds my collection of white dishes."

From Helene:

Kitchen chat 24

"Here is our kitchen. We had a small "renovation" last year when our dishwasher leaked and ruined our flooring and cabinets. We had to replace nearly everything but the best part was that we added an island! I didn't think our kitchen was big enough for this, but we we're told it would be fine. And now I don't think I could live without it! The extra storage underneath and the extra countertop space are indispensable for our big family."

From Sylvia:

Kitchen chat 27

Kitchen chat 28

Pretty splashes of color! :)

From Lorelei:

Kitchen chat 29

Kitchen chat 30

Kitchen chat 31

"Our log house was built entirely by my husband. He cut the trees, milled the wood into "logs" (square) and lumber for the floors, cabinets and trims. It seems the kitchen is the heart of our homes. Mine is no exception. The eating area is just next to the counter. Open concept, with the patio doors opening to the deck. If you lived closer, I would love to invite you for coffee on our deck, watching the sun as it descends. My favorite place. No need for traveling to exotic places ... I already live there."

From Emily ... who offers a lovely tour of her kitchen in this post:

"My husband is an Orthodox priest and we live in a rectory that is attached to the church building and fellowship hall. Our kitchen is very beautiful and far more than we deserve. The property was originally a house and business for a man who ran a tile installation company and his home was his showcase for all of the beautiful tile work that he did. Everything was in pristine order when we moved in two years ago, which was good because the parish had to take on a monumental task of converting a three car garage, office, and bedroom into our sanctuary!"


And finally, from Dawn (me): 

My kitchen 2

My kitchen 6 

My kitchen 3

My kitchen 1

My kitchen 8

My kitchen 9

I feel very much at home in my new kitchen ("new" as of last summer). When we first saw it last spring, I liked it immediately, even if at first glance I would not have picked the color scheme for myself. (I have since come to appreciate the soft colors and black accents.) I love spending time in here, which is a good thing considering I find myself here more often than not through the day!

Top picture shows my kitchen sink and the window above that looks out at the back yard and woods beyond. I love this view, and the light (and breeze) that comes in through here ...

Second and third photos show the breakfast nook, another spot where we spend a lot of time. Little Bear's high chair tucks in nicely here and he divides his time looking out the window and   watching all the "action" around him. In the lower photo he's having a snack with his Daddy.

Fourth photo shows the pantry cabinets which line the wall between the breakfast nook and dining room. (That's the family room just beyond.) Lot of great storage here which is something I really yearned for in our old kitchen. I've got Yankee blood in me, I like to stock up on supplies. :)

 Next photo shows the island and other end of the kitchen. In all honesty, the counters are never quite this clean, lol! The peninsula, roomy as it is, tends to get littered with newspapers and mail and whatnot. (Tanya, I feel you on this!) We're trying to figure out a better way of storing all that stuff - in a drawer? Or a basket? Hmmm ...

Final photo, my sturdy little cross with one of my favorite scripture verses ... it sat above my old kitchen sink as well and it brings me peace and energy when I need it.


Well, ok then!

That was quite a long post, but I do hope you enjoyed it! I had such fun putting it together and am very grateful to all the lovely ladies who sent in photos for me to share. And thank you to all who stop by to read and say hi! If you have a moment, please join the conversation and fill us in a little on your kitchen ... just leave a comment below! :)

As for next week's topic ... I'm thinking food storage perhaps? Pantry/freezer/fridge ... but more on that later. For now I'm ready to start the morning ... with a hot cup of coffee and a wedge of raspberry crumb cake leftover from Sunday brunch! 

Care to join me? :)

See you all here again soon ...

p.s. I have not yet caught up with Call the Midwife which began a new season last night on PBS. So I'm torn over posting "Masterpiece Monday" at the moment ... I don't want to "spoil" myself until I've watched, so please bear with me while I do just that. I'll have a chat post up as soon as I can. :)

Mondays in the Kitchen ...

Primroses on sill

Good Monday afternoon, my friends!

So I have a little idea I thought I'd throw out there and see what you all think. I'd like to start a new series of postings (on Mondays), to bridge the gap between Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife ... how about we talk about a new "kitchen" topic each week?

We'll officially begin next Monday, giving us four weeks to chat, and four topics to address. I thought I'd kick off this idea with a picture of my kitchen window view above. I was gazing out it this morning as I washed dishes and it struck me how much I enjoy my kitchen. I really loved my old kitchen so I was pleased to realize this new one now feels ... not so new anymore .... but really, very much like home. :)

So I'm open to suggestions - what kitchen topics are you keen to discuss? Meal plans? Pantries? Kitchen style? Lenten recipes? Kitchen memories? Kids in the kitchen? Those are just a few thoughts, but I'd love to hear your ideas if you have a moment to share them ...


Thanks for taking the time to stop by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

Advent: Moments of Peace & Joy

Some simple, joyful moments on St. Lucia Day ...

Advent joy saint lucia buns

Cinnamon rolls (the easy kind that come from a can that happen to also be the natural kind that Earlybird can have). One of these years I *will* make homemade Lucia bun. I mean it.


Note the adorable "shooting star" beeswax birthday candle.

 Advent joy hook apron 1 

This brushed nickel hook - oh, how I've waited for it! Bill finally got the hook installed on the back of a kitchen door, so I can hang my beautiful winter apron here - a treasured "Vermont" gift from my parents last year ...

Advent joy hook apron 2 

I think it looks nice in this spot, close to the oven ... makes me want to bake!

Advent joy calendar 1

 And while we're in the kitchen ... my monthly wall calendar always makes me smile. I have it hanging on the fridge. The art of Susan Winget (Lang Co.) is just beautiful.


And now for a couple of moments today when I truly "took" peace ...

 Advent peace driveway

Walking back from getting the mail - cold air, icy ground, flurries in the midst - so still and quiet, as I made my way up our drive. I could feel Winter's approach ...

Advent peace tea

Back inside, a cup of tea for warmth and (soul) nourishment.


And now we're at the weekend ... with a snowstorm pressing upon us here in New England. We have some quiet homey plans, a special boy's birthday to celebrate, a bit of a breather, I hope ... but I'll be back again soon to share the peace and joy I am stumbling upon ...

Blessings to you all! 

☀ Welcome to My New Kitchen!

Now, I must preface this post with a disclaimer that the kitchen (the whole house, in fact) is still in quite a desperate state of disorder. Things are not yet organized or set up as we'd like, but I thought I'd show you "what's what" so far in the kitchen ...

After all, I spend a whole lot of time in - and blogging about - my kitchen!

(Note: Some of these photos were taken on a very dark and stormy afternoon - but the windows face southward so the room gets really nice light throughout the day.)

New kitchen 1

The kitchen is situated at the back of the house, and at first glance you can see it is painted and much lighter than my old cherry kitchen! But I really love the soft gray-green shade of the cabinetry, and I like the overall layout and size. The window over the sink looks out at the patio and backyard ...

At one end of the room there is a large picture window and space for a table and chairs.

New kitchen 2

New kitchen 3

This is a "new" table and chairs set that my mother-in-law found for us:

New kitchen 9

(And by "new" I mean, "new for us," and by "found" I mean, "salvaged from her local transfer station"! Isn't it nice?)

And oh, I absolutely love this window! That tree in the background - seen in the far right windowpane - is where we plan to post all (or most of) our birdfeeders.

New kitchen 7

The floor-to-ceiling cabinets along this wall form a wonderful pantry ...

New kitchen 4

(I'll do a whole pantry post once I've got it all organized.)

New kitchen 5

(Do not let the number of pots on the cooktop fool you - they are just waiting to be put away. I have yet to do any significant cooking in this kitchen as of yet.)

New kitchen 6

And in this alcove there will be ...

New kitchen 8

Well, we're not sure yet!

A cabinet or hutch of some kind ... perhaps for homeschool supplies or table linens/candles/decorations or maybe this will be home to our new nature corner ... we'll just have to see.

(The room just beyond the kitchen - where Bookworm is sitting - is the family room.)


So there's my new kitchen in a nutshell! I will post more photos later once I get things set up as I'd like ... it's quite a mess right now ... but I can hardly wait to get baking in here!


(And for my homekeeping friends ~ well, you can just bet I'm re-tooling my "weekly housekeeping routine" and a post on that will be forthcoming as well.

Happy Friday, my friends ~ have yourselves a great weekend!


Weekly Kitchen Routines

I actually began this post yesterday on "Kitchen Day," and what I mean by that is, on Wednesdays I focus my "housekeeping energy" on the kitchen. This week I put a little extra effort in my cleaning, and it got me thinking about all the steps that are involved in running a family kitchen. I have all these steps listed on my daily chore cards, and though I don't do them all every week, I do have a routine that I stick to as closely as possible. Without it, I'd have a pretty messy kitchen and some pretty hungry kids!

Of course as I was cleaning (and thinking), a post started formulating ... so I took pictures as I worked and I thought I'd do that through the rest of the week, so I (we!) can take a closer look at my (and perhaps, your?) kitchen routines. :)

So on Wednesdays, I look through the food supply "spaces" (kitchen cabinets, fridge, freezer, pantry) and make note of what needs replacing. I start a shopping list in my small shopping notebook. And some weeks (but certainly not all) I give these spaces a thorough cleaning - vacuuming crumbs and wiping surfaces, allowing them to air dry before replacing (and re-organizing) the contents.

This is one of our food supply cabinets - it had some pretty old things collecting in its corners! (Valentine's candy, anyone?)

Kitchen tab 1

In here we store, from top to bottom:

Cereal (hot and cold), as well as Earlybird's cocoa rice bars. We keep them up here because he can't reach them and he would eat these all day long if we let him!

Crackers, cookies, croutons, peanut butter (Fluff/Nutella/Cookie Butter), applesauce and dried fruts.

Bread items, like rolls, sandwich bread, pita pockets, etc. (Some of the more perishable "whole grain" products move to the fridge in very hot weather.)

Once that space was tidied, I turned to the refrigerator ... and goodness, that was a mess!

Kitchen tab 2

The main section is now pretty much sorted and streamlined, but the stuff on the door is another matter, entirely ... for example, the expiration dates on some of the dressings? Yikes!

Next I took a look inside the freezer:

Freezer 1

Freezer 2

I got rid of some old stuff and voila, there was light! But those bags of frozen vegetables really need pruning - for a family that doesn't like peas, we sure have a lot of them!

So once I've finished cleaning the kitchen, I work a little more in my shopping notebook. I try to look at the pantry/fridge/freezer and see what can be used up and transformed into dinners. 

Kitchen tab 3

I still use my marketing binder for coupon sorting and storage, but I found it a bit bulky for actual marketing. So currently I am using a small spiral-bound notebook for my grocery lists. I clip current coupons (ones that are soon to expire or match up with sales) onto the notebook page itself. The clip marks my place and holds my coupons (keeping them in sight, in mind).

Kitchen tab 4

(By the way, I can never have enough bulldog clips - I use them in all sizes!)

And here is my daily chore card on display ...

Kitchen tab 6

If you see at the bottom of my chore list for Wednesday, I have written, "organize trash and recycling." (Thursday is our trash collection day). Well, as you can see I had to table that task for a bit ...

Kitchen tab 5


And here is one more thing in my kitchen to show you - my little index card file box.

Kitchen tab 7

I'm not doing much with it currently, but I really like having it close at hand. Inside are multicolored index cards which I use in different ways. I love the idea of the SHE system, but can't seem to commit completely.


So that was yesterday's role in the overall kitchen routine. Today (Thursday) I am working on next week's dinner menu. On this day I prepare a new weekly planning folder, and take a look at the calendar - upcoming activities, events, celebrations, etc. Getting a feel for what the next week brings helps me plan dinners accordingly. Also, the sales flyers arrive in today's paper so I can look those over and add things to my shopping list (notes/coupons). 

Flyers 1

My actual shopping trip will take place either tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday morning. I try to go as early as possible in the day, before the crowds and the heat builds. I will do a post about the excursion, along with a little "shop talk" if you will. (Much like my "beauty shop" post, but this time listing preferred grocery items.) So stay tuned for that!

As always, you know I love to hear from you, so if you'd care to share your thoughts on kitchen routines (or anything!), please leave a comment below. Either way, I hope you all have a nice Thursday, and please take care of yourself and your loved ones...

I'll see you here again very soon!


Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry Shelves

Pantry post 1

Wednesdays are my usual "kitchen days," but I actually worked a little on my pantry yesterday. I was looking for the nutmeg (for a soup I was starting in the crockpot), and not only could I not find it, but things just kept falling out or tipping over and then I noticed the oregano had spilled everywhere ...

So I decided it was time to do a little sorting!

First, I took everything out and grouped things in general piles, and then I vacuumed out the cabinet thoroughly. Next, I turned my attention to the piles ...

Old things went out (and oh my goodness there were some very old things), and overstock got moved downstairs the the big pantry. The rest of the stuff I moved back into the cabinet, as neatly as possible. Now this particular cabinet is situated to the left of our stove and it's what I'd call our "main" cabinet, housing the items we use everyday: coffee and tea supplies, baking goods and pasta-related things.

So here's a little tour ...

First up, bottom left shelf - baking goods:

Pantry post 3

Decorative toppings and chocolate chips, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and other most commonly used spices. The pull-out drawer seen at the very top of this photo holds seasoning packets and decorating supplies like food dye and gels.

Next shelf up, savory spices:

Pantry post 2

Whole things like nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, and star anise, etc. Then, in back of the savory spices I have all the flavored extracts, save vanilla. The vanilla is up front in the lower right shelf - I use it so often I need it quite handy. 

Pantry post 4

This shelf also holds our salt/pepper, cocoa, instant coffee (for baking), honey and favorite tinned teas. In the roll-out rack just above, there are two containers of frequently used tea (black, regular).

Just above that shelf, we have prepared foods, jarred sauces and pastas ...

Pantry post 5

As well as the cooking spray and coffee beans.

The top shelves are for less frequently used items ...

Pantry post 6

Extra pasta, sauce-making things, pickling spices and preserves.

And to the left, bottled things like Worcestershire, sesame oil, rose water, molasses, minced garlic, etc. 

Pantry post 7

And since I was moving all this stuff downstairs, I figured it was a good time to neaten the "big" pantry ... which is really just a hodgepodge of shelving at the bottom of our stairs.

The lighting isn't great, so these photos are dark ...

Pantry post 8

On top of these cabinets, I have two open bins - one holds energy bars and hot cereal packets and the other contains an assortment of herb teas. These are easy to reach from the steps and so handy when someone needs to grab a power bar or if I have people over and want to offer a variety of tea.

Pantry post 10

This is just an old bookcase fitted into a space where a freezer used to be. I really want to replace that old freezer and move the shelves just around the corner. If we get a stand up, that is, rather than a chest freezer. (Still debating that point ...)

Pantry post 9

Collected here are also random kitchen appliances like the bread machine, foodsaver, ice cream maker, etc. And for some reason, a folding tray, lol.

So there you have it! It's not as organized as it should be, but at least now it's a bit neater!


Well, my friends, I hope you're having a good week! Thanks for stopping by today ... I'll be back here again very soon!


A Peek into my Pantry: The Corner Cupboard

Well, when I proposed sometime back that I would do a whole big post on my kitchen I honestly had only the best intentions. But then no matter how hard I tried, I would get the kitchen almost clean - photo ready so to speak - only to have it get messed up before I could work up a post.

(Kind of like how I can get my laundry caught up for, oh, about 10 minutes and then I have to start all over again?)

So, new tactic. I'm going to do my kitchen post little by little. I'm tackling corners of the kitchen one at a time and I'll post about each as I go.

Today's focus: the corner kitchen cupboard, currently known as the pantry.


As you can see our cupboards are a deep cherry color. I didn't pick them - the previous owners had them installed - but I do like the dark shade; I find it cozy. This cabinet sits in the corner of our kitchen, beneath the countertop (which is almond as you can see). 
Inside is a lazy susan type of device, and here's what we've got in there, turning the cupboard from left to right:


Here we have the toaster, various cooking oils and vinegar, shortening, canned pie filings, and a plastic container filled with sugars. (I had BIG plans for quick breads this Christmas, hence the many cans of pumpkin.)


Turning the cabinet a bit we have bread crumbs, soups and broth, pasta, canned fruit and spreads (fig and squash pictured).


And finally, pasta sauces, more pasta, the crockpot, flours and baking mixes.

Next up, we'll take a look at the sink area. :)

But while we wait, why don't you join me here at the island for a hot cup of tea? I'm brewing a fresh pot of this and I just took some rhubarb bread out of the oven.
Let's talk Mother's Day menus, shall we?