What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney


Time to Quilt....It's Friday!

The girls and I have had three great weeks of school. Now the books are packed away for a long weekend.

Boy A has left to visit Boy B at college for the weekend. Daughter A has gone to the beach with a friend's family. Daughter B is invited to spend the night with friends at their house. Daughter C has invited a little friend over to spend the night with her. Daughter D plans to play and be cute all weekend. That leaves me free to quilt to my heart's content.

I have a lot of projects I need to work on. My plan is to put serious time into the Christmas quilt project that I'm doing with Ellen, in New York. You hear that girl??? I will be working on our quilts this weekend. She and I are making the same quilt, but constructing half the blocks for the other. It's going to look like this:

If I have a minute, I may dig into my gorgeous stack of 30's reproduction fabrics...

and start this little gem:

I'm covered up for this Labor Day Weekend.

I'll stick my nose out on Sunday, to greet a very special young lady.

Till then,
Laura Lee

I Love That Shoop!

When our little friend, Sophie, was less than two years old, her mama was feeding her soup one day. She declared, "I love that shoop!" Well, this is a "shoop" we just love! I start this family-pleaser in the crock pot before lunch and let it simmer all afternoon. It makes the house smell wonderful!

Italian Vegetable Soup
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 16 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans (I use garbonzos)
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 teaspoons beef or chicken bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (optional)
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
Brown beef in skillet, drain well. Put all ingredients (except cabbage and macaroni) in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Add cabbage and macaroni to the crock for the last 30-45 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar or Parmesan.

Maggie and Sophie, our "shoop" loving friend.

Busy Wednesday

Barely time to smell the roses.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Laura Lee

When Papa Bear Makes Porridge

On the occasional day when I haven't planned dinner, like today, when I'm not feeling up to par, Tom gladly offers to cook. He is a Master Chef in case you didn't know. His specialty is:


He says it meets four important criteria:
  1. It's fast
  2. It's economical
  3. It's delicious
  4. It's healthful

So, I thought you might enjoy seeing Tom work his magic in the kitchen this evening.

Assembly line efficiency.
What do you expect from an engineer?

It's all in the wrist...

Yes, there is oatmeal under all that fruit!
That's Papa Bear's bowl.

A bowl of porridge even Goldilocks would endorse.

Mama Bear and the three little cubs say, "Thanks, Papa!"

I've Failed as a Mother!

Somehow, the youngest of my six children has arrived at the ripe old age of four having never dunked a cookie in milk! Now before you go and call DSS, I'm happy to tell you that the situation has been completely rectified.

Just how this travesty of justice occurred I can not say. But I discovered it a while ago as I was stealthily dunking my own cookie in milk. Maggie saw me and asserted, "Mommy! You're not 'posed to do that! You don't dip your cookies in milk!" When I assured her that, yes, in fact you do, she just giggled and giggled!

"You DO? Can I do that?"

"Why, yes, my princess, you most certainly may!"

So, she did....again, and again, and again!

And the princess lived happily ever after....

Slacker Saturday Saved

After sleeping till half-past late, and blog surfing until quarter-past ridiculous, and staying in my pajamas until embarrassing o'clock, I had about chalked this day up as a total waste.

Feeling a twinge of guilt, I resolved to accomplish something on this slothful Saturday. Tom has been gently hinting that our master bedroom closet could use a little, um, spiffing up. You see, with no sewing room, I store all my fabric, notions, and quilting supplies in our closet on a couple of shelving units. And that is fine until inspiration hits. Problem is, I don't find inspiration in neat stacks of fabric and tidy bins of trim. No, I have to spread them out all over and get my hands in them. I have to feel those fabrics, drink in the delicious colors, test drive different combinations. Then, when my choices spur me to action, I go straight to the sewing machine. I don't pass go. I don't collect $200. And I certainly don't pick up the fabric heaped in piles on the closet floor.

So after a couple days of stepping gingerly over my latest mess to get to his togs, Tom will good-naturedly suggest that I tidy up a bit. He even offers to help.

Such a sweet, understanding guy!

That task accomplished, my pump was primed, so to speak. Off to the kitchen I trotted for a little experiment. The other day I found this recipe for snickerdoodles that just called for a cake mix, oil, and two eggs, plus a little cinnamon-sugar for rolling. Not believing it would be possible to create "the snickerdoodle experience" with three measly ingredients, I just had to give it a try. Being that it is a rainy afternoon and all. And we have a little guest over. And kids love cookies. And I'm a cool mom, that way. Certainly not because I wanted any myself.

These got 12 thumbs up....that was all the thumbs in the house when I served them.

We'll call these:

Slacker Snickerdoodles
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 package yellow cake mix without pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet .

Mix cinnamon and sugar in small bowl and set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl until well mixed. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or till set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute then cool on a rack.

Don't even think about touching my stack!

I mean, help yourself!

Laura Lee

I've Checked Out!

What with the washing, dusting and cleaning done, I've finally had some time to spend with my man. Oh, he's probably not the one you're thinking of. This is the other fella in my life. He is a handsome guy, quite sharp actually, and believe it or not, Tom approves of this relationship. I met him about 17 years ago, attracted by the way he hums, it's sew special.

Who is this hunky guy, you ask? He's Bernie, my sewing machine. Actually, his full name is Mr. Bernina, but since we're on a first name basis, I just call him Bernie.

Well, I put Bernie to work yesterday after a two week vacation. I didn't want that guy to get used to loafing. I have a honey-do list a mile long for him, and it was about time he started paying his rent again.

Sew, the two of us got busy and made this little curtain for the kitchen. I think my friend Jean will be relieved to see that I finally have something hanging at this window. You see, I need to be painfully honest with you, dear readers. I hope you are sitting down. Please brace yourself.

This window has been naked for seven years!

I know you're gasping at that revelation, but it is the honest truth. Shocking, isn't it? Possibly even criminal. It's just that I love letting the light come in, and I love to look out, unhindered by yards of fabric, and we don't typically walk around in the buff. So, I tend to leave windows bare or close to it, unless I'm inspired to do otherwise, which I rarely am, but which yesterday, for some odd reason, I was.

And checks being my thing and all....they seemed like the obvious choice here as well. I wonder if my obsession with checks is because my mom's parents were Czech?

Ouch! Bad...really bad.... I'm ducking from the tomatoes....

And the ball fringe...another carry-over from my childhood. I remember my parents used to have curtains in their bedroom, made by my grandmother, that had the sweetest ball fringe trim. So I decided to liberally apply some to this little window treatment, just for fun.

Bella graciously offered plenty of assistance with hanging this. I should have named her Visa...she's everywhere you want to be.

"Here, errrrr, let me, errrrrr, help you with that! Errrrruff!"

"What do you mean, 'Bad Dog?' I was only trying to help!"

Thanks for checking in.
I hope your day is just rosy.
Laura Lee

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

I've been thinking again.

Whoa! Dangerous, I know.

But seriously, I started wondering if there was any chance, any remote possibility, that someone reading this actually believes that we are a picture perfect family, living in a picture perfect home. Those of you who spend much time with us are already doubled up on the floor laughing, I'm sure.

So I thought, in the unlikely event that I have actually led anyone to believe such a lie, I'd like to show you the real us.... you know, the stuff that you never see on people's beautiful blogs. The mess that is shoved out of the way or piled somewhere else, so the perfect photograph can be taken. You know that's what we do, right?? I mean who lives in a picture perfect house, except possibly my friend, Erika? House Beautiful could do a photo shoot at her home any time of day or night with a mere five minute's notice. The rest of us actually have messes from time to time, right?

So here is where I let it all hang out. Where you get to see life in the raw at our house. I know you're on the edge of your seat....

What you see....

What you don't see....

Birthday Cake.....

Birthday Cake being inhaled....

The den...

The den during playtime...

The fantasy bathroom...

The reality bathroom...

Your lovely blog author....

Your blog author at her finest....
Have I successfully dispelled the myth?

Laura Lee

Mama's Little Helper and Vintage Art

Why is it that when you pull out the cleaning tools little kids come running? Could it be that they haven't yet been conditioned to believe that housework is a chore and not fun? The minute I pulled out my Swiffer duster (which I LOVE, by the way.....if it is possible to love a duster.....), Maggie started following me around begging, "Can I help? Can I help? Pleeeeease, Mama, can I help?" So I tied a Maggie-sized cleaning apron around her waist and let her have at it. She can find all those down low cobwebs that I tend to miss!

You go girl!

Now I can go mess around with my newest vintage acquisitions.
They are a couple of old pictures that Oma gave me. These originally belonged to Tom's grandmother. I just love their cottagey charm. I thought I knew just where I was going to place them in the den. But when I took them in the living room this morning to photograph them, taking advantage of the morning light, I was excited about how good they looked in there against the new green walls. So now I have a decorating dilemma. I'll have to rearrange something to find them a new home. Oh, darn. I just hate that!

I've been doing a little internet research about these prints and discovered that while they are considered a set and often displayed together, they were actually painted by two different people. Jane Freeman painted this one, called Chums, of the little girl holding the kitten. Aren't the colors rich and beautiful?

A man by the name of Arthur Devis painted this one, called Friends, of the little boy and his dog. I photographed them with baby pictures of Toms' grandmother and grandfather. I'm so proud to have these. Thank you, Oma!

OK, enough playing.

Time to finish the dusting, since Maggie got a little, um, sidetracked.....

Wash Day

I'm a laundry-day kinda girl. A lot of people I know do laundry everyday. Not me. I'd rather get it done in one fell swoop and not see it again for a while! I'm so thankful for the modern day conveniences that I enjoy as a homemaker. Both my mother and grandmothers did laundry with wringer washers! My mother acquired an electric washer early in her marriage. But at one time, while we were stationed in England in the early 60's, she was diapering two children in cloth diapers and washing them in a wringer washer, after first boiling them on the stove. Can you imagine? I heard that story enough times to make me appreciate the luxury of an electric washer and dryer.

The perfect wife and mother of Proverbs 31 had "household servants." It is so easy to scoff at that and think, " Of course I could be the perfect wife and mother if I had household servants!" Well, the way I see it, I DO have household servants. I have a stove, microwave, washer, dryer, vacuum, and water heater, just to name a few things she didn't have. These appliances are my modern day servants and on any given day many of them are slaving away for me.

So, when I'm tempted to grumble about housework, I try to remember the motto I'm always telling my kids about schoolwork:

It doesn't have to be fun;
It just has to be done.

I think that is why I hung these little signs in my laundry room. They say:

Have a wonderful week.

Laura Lee