Fall Feast | Multitude Monday

When a friend and I first read this post, we were inspired. And so began our seasonal supper club.

This weekend it was our turn to host. We rearranged our whole house, swapping the dinning room with the living room.

Josh made his favorite drink, Mississippi Buck, for the occasion. Complete with candied ginger.

I made two ducks with an orange glaze. I was so nervous about them, but they turned out great, thanks to directions by Nigella.

It ended up being a cold and snowy (yes snow in October!) night. Perfect for filling a warm house with friends, lit candles, tasty food, and good conversation and laughs. It also makes it to the top of my thankfulness list this week . . .

494. Friends who love food and conversation as much as we do.

495. Tasting delicious new recipes: puréed cauliflower (so flavorful), sweet potato gratin (garnished with sage, parmesan and bacon), and crème brûlée (with a perfectly crunch sugared topping).

496. A play date with my friend Diana and her two littles earlier in the week.

497. A restful week with no evenings out at all last week. A rarity for us! I felt like I truly got to experience Margin in my life and liked it!

498. The boys being able to spend the night at my mom's and make fun memories baking, reading, and watching movies.

499. Time with just Josh and Sophia on Sunday. A little trip to Panera.

500. For another awesome Sunday sermon and being reminded that the cross is there for hypocrites like me.

Multitude Monday #20

479. Sophia's kisses and love pats.

480. Owen's name for me: "My sweetheart Mommy."

481. Duncan's politeness.

482. Fresh gingerbread.

483. The first draft of an article finished for Ungrind.

484. Creamed Kale.

485. Three full nights of sleep! Probably the most I've slept through the night in one week since Sophia's birth.

486. Finding a dress online and on sale for a wedding this weekend. Comfortable, classy, easy to dress up or down. And I measured an XS! I think for the first time ever  . . .

487. Great babysitters. Shout out to Kenzie and Emily!

488. That the boys are enjoying co-op more and more.

489. A night out with a friend at the Cheesecake Factory and the long over due purchase of new jeans that actually fit me.

490. Celebrating a friend's marriage over the weekend.

491. Being able to turn on the heat with the flip of a switch when cold.

492. A family outing to Wegmans.

492. A two-hour nap on Sunday.

493. A powerfully convicting sermon yesterday. The Holy Spirit's work in my heart regarding bitterness and unforgiveness.

Leaf Wreath | DIY

 

We first made a leaf wreath last year when the boys did a local nature program. I loved it so much I decided to do it with them again this year.

First we went on a walk, collecting all the pretty fall leaves we could find. When we got home we sorted them, practiced our counting with them, and talked about what kinds of leaves we had discovered. (The maple leaf was most exciting, due to its connection with maple syrup.)

Then, I too two paper plates and cut the middle out of them, leaving a border on which to clue our leaves.

Next, I heated up the hot glue gun. At the nature program they used Elmer's Glue and that didn't work so well. We had to wait for the glue to dry. Secondly, the leaves didn't stay on and I had to keep regluing. Hot glue worked way better.

After all the leaves have been glued on, we simply used a hole punch to punch a hole in the top of the paper plate now turned leaf wreath. Took some yarn and made a loop and hung on our windows.

Now I have two pretty wreaths hanging on my kitchen windows!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I'd been looking for a good wheat bread recipe when Josh's grandmother gave me this one that has quickly become a favorite. The boys love it toasted and topped with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. I do whatever I can to fill them up because in about an hour, they're hungry again . . . 2 Tbsp. honey 1/2 cup warm water 1 1/2 pkgs active dry yeast 1 3/4 cup bread flour 2 cups whole wheat flour 1 Tbsp. salt

Mix honey and 1/2 cup water. Stir yeast and let stand until foamy. In large bowl, mix flours, salt, and yeast mixture. Slowly stir in 1 and 1/4 cups water. Flour hands and knead briefly. Grease bread pan and put in dough. Let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees fro 45 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wish I'd snapped a picture of these cookies last week. I hadn't planned at that point to do a little autumn foodies series though. These cookies were quite tasty and were a nice change from the normal chocolate chip cookies I make. I got the recipe from All Recipes via The Sassy Domestic. It seemed to be enjoyed by all, since they didn't last very long . . .

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Gingerbread

I'd been hankering for Gingerbread.

I'd wanted to make Nigella's Guinness Gingerbread but I couldn't figure out how to substitute Lyle's golden syrup. Lyle's seems to be something you can only get in the UK. I found various recipes to concoct a homemade version of Lyle's, but didn't really feel up to the trouble. Maybe Wegman's has it or or can get it for me.

So, I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking and found this recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt in a heavy pan and let cool: 1/2 cup butter

Add and beat well: 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg

Sift together: 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine: 1/2 cup light molasses 1/2 honey 1 cup hot water

(1 tablespoon grated orange rind, optional) I didn't do this because I had none on hand.

Add the sifted and liquid ingredients alternately to the butter mixture until blended. Bake in a greased 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan for about 1 hour.

Top with whipped cream!

Autumn Treasures | Multitude Monday

Autumn feels like it's arrived in full force around here. After weeks of weary rain, the golden sun and the cool breezes are quite welcome. Leaves crunch under foot and carpet the grass with color. Last week I posted one of my favorite autumn images, taken a  year or so ago at the park. This week I'm also posting a fave, taken on lovely October evening at my mom's house. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons to pull out the camera.

I plan on taking this week to share some of my favorite fall recipes. I hope to post one a day. I'm also going to be sharing a very fun fall project to do with the kids. Not only is it fun, it's a project you'll not mind hanging to grace your house too! (Because, you know, not all projects involving the kids ends up cute!)

This week's thankfulness:

464. New shoes for Sophia. And new socks for all the kids, since it's time to start wearing them again.

465. Fresh pastured poultry stocked up in the freezer.

466. That a friend was able to bring my poultry to me from Lancaster, so I wouldn't have to make the drive.

467. Thanks to Josh for cutting all the chickens up for me, so I could do the arranging/bagging, etc.

468. That the boys are competitive, even if it ends in tears and having to talk a lot about being happy when other people win.

469. An invitation design project complete.

470. That the boys are enjoying learning their letter sounds and practicing their handwriting.

471. For nature walks gathering leaves and creating the project I'll share with you later this week.

472. A last-minute pizza/movie get together with good friends!

473. Coffee at Starbucks. Being encouraged as a mother and being able to discuss homeschooling stuff with someone a few steps ahead of me.

474. Jack o'lantern faces.

475. Freshly bathed kids.

476. The first co-op class I led went well (I'm co-teaching). I think. We discussed Poe's Tell-Tale Heart.

477. Spending Sunday afternoon at my mom's while Josh was able to help split and stack firewood for her.

478. For being sanctified with Truth, Faith, God's Word and prayer, and Blood.

Choosing Real | Multitude Monday

Drifting Leaves by Danielle Ayers Jones

Wow, it's been weeks since I've done a Multitude Monday post. I definitely haven't been to blog as regularly as I like. Ever since planning Sophia's birthday we've been busy. Once her birthday was over my free time was busy with processing a photo session and packing for vacation. We spent a week away at the beach in New Jersey then it was back home with lots of more work to do. That session resulted in a huge order to put together, starting home school co-op for the first time, design work, etc.

Strangely, I've found myself feeling like I'm failing in some way, by not being able to find time to post. I found this feeling a little disturbing, actually. My life is full of work I love and meaningful relationships; why let a blog give me a guilt trip? Then, when I heard this director's cut sneak peek over at Sara Groves' website and I found myself identifying with what Sara was sharing. Take a listen and see what you think (it's short).

I'm not going to give up this little space anytime soon. I love expressing myself through the medium of writing and photography and connecting with other through it. And while I want to be a bit more regular in my postings, I'm going to try not to let it bother me when I'm absent. Because that usually means my life is full making memories in the real world instead of posting in a virtual one. And if I have to choose between the two, I want to choose the real one.

Here's some of the memories I've been making and what I'm thankful for . . .

446. Starting a knitting project for Sophia.

447. Sunshine after days and weeks of rain.

448. New Dansko clogs for the fall and winter.

449. $2 Science Center day with the kids and my mom.

450. Lunch with a longtime friend.

451. A family photo session with Megan Russell. Yay! I'd wanted to do this for a long time, but was waiting for our baby girl . . . ;)

452. Josh getting front door restained and painted.

453. A game of Memory with the boys before bed.

454. Being able to visit with a dear friend and helping her unpack in her new home.

455. Creamed collared greens--so tasty--who knew!

456. The first apple crisp of the season.

457. The best ever new bibs for Sophia.

458. Finishing Anna Karenina for the second time for my HS co-op class. Seriously one of the best novels ever! And I'm very excited about the new adaptation of this novel in the works. I hope they do it justice.

459. Summer/winter clothes changed out of all our dressers and closets. A job I am thankful to have over and done with.

460. An evening to enjoy the new Jane Eyre adaptation.

461. Finally getting around to reading on my Kindle.

462. A new Bible study I'm really excited about, Nancy Guthrie's The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis. I love meaty studies like this that make me think. And I'm still using her Book of Hope for days when I'm not doing Genesis.

463. A new whole wheat honey bread recipe from Josh's grandmother.

What are you thankful for this week?

A Blossom in the Desert

Take the very hardest thing in your life--the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul to blossom." -Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Cross

I was first introduced to Lilias Trotter in Faithful Women, Extraordinary God by Noel Piper. I had actually heard of her before through a random magazine article, as well as through Elisabeth Elliot's program, Gateway to Joy. But I hadn't put it all together yet.

I became very interested in this woman who had such artistic talent that the famed John Ruskin, Victorian artist and critic, said that with cultivation she would become one of England's "greatest living artists."

Instead, Lilias spent her life living with the Arab people of North Africa, living in the Arab section, which was unheard of at that time. She worked among the Arab people bringing with her God's love and wrote a significant amount of English devotional literature, the most famous being Parables of the Cross. After reading more about her in the biography, A Passion for the Impossible, I wished so much to see her watercolors. For though Lilias did not embark on an art career, she never stopped painting, and her illustrations often accompanied her devotional writing. However, much of her work was out of print.

So imagine my delight to discover this beautifully hardbound book, A Blossom in the Desert, which is filled with her delicate watercolors along with excerpts from her books. I keep it at my bedside to read a portion before going to sleep each night. If you are a Lilias Trotter, or an art fan, I can't recommend it enough.