dishes n’ daisies

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I’m posting these photos today because my Aunt Colleen came home from an amazing cross country roadtrip with a bag all the way from West Virginia for me!  Guess what was inside of it?  A fiesta daisy plate!   She gave it to me when I was at her house this weekend and the first thing I did when I got home was tuck it in my collection; just right.


Thank you, my friend!


Wild daisies are just coming in bloom here in Connecticut and it’s hard to say which is my favorite; a handful of daisies or a fiestaware daisy plate.


It was fun to take a few minutes to play with these colorful dishes in the midst of a busy morning.

“I will go pick daisies
and have a happy heart.”


starting with today

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

There are many sweet, simple blessings happening in my life lately but I am going to blog starting with today.

I woke up this morning in a hotel room after a lovely solid five hours of sleep and then deliciously dozing on and off for another four hours.

I had dropped Ethan off at college the night before after an evening of bowling and steak dinners and slept overnight in the hotel before heading home.

I am rather under the weather with some sort of upper respiratory infection; strep, ears, cough and headache so I’ve been on medicine since Friday.  I drove home from Vermont slowly.


I explored two shops along the way.  The first was an antique shop with probably close to 50 or more venders in one big building.  Right away I found a Rose Fiesta Disc pitcher, anniversary edition from 1996.  It came home with me.  I didn’t buy anything else but I took a few more photos of things that delighted my eyes.


This mood board was in one of the little booths, full of magazine clippings and so on.



This was a sweet painting of ducks flying up off a pond, which was done on white birch bark.


Fiesta glassware (stripes)


Fiesta shakers and tumbles on the top shelf.  The other dishes (middle shelf) are made by the same company but are not fiestaware so I don’t collect them; still, it’s fun to see.



Then, about an hour later, I found a used bookstore.  It had been a huge selection, but it is now going out of business so the books “only” filled two rooms.


“Book thieves will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

I was amused by the specific sort of thieves addressed.  Would a book lover steal?  Perhaps.

I didn’t steal my books, I bought them all for five dollars.


A Walk on an Iceberg; true story written by the main character’s granddaughter.  The book is about Eliza in the years before she became a grandmother, who was married at 19 and thereafter went on all of her husband’s sea captain voyages.

Honey I Love; poems for children

Friday Night Lights; about football -for Caleb

A Very Long Engagement, by French author Sebastien Japrisot, a novel of WW1

Summerball, another sports story for Caleb, this one about basketball

Because of Winn-Dixie, beautiful story of a young girl who adopts a dog

Thin Ice, a quaint 1956 book easy reader book for Seth to read to me

Good-time Charlie, about a cat

Joanna Runs Away, a story about a little girl and a horse

The Lady and the Spider, a Reading Rainbow book

Christmas in the Forest, peaceful christmas story with animals

Follow the Brook, a 1960 story about raccoons

The Story of Old Mrs Brubeck and how she looked for Trouble and Where she found Him

The Anne of Green Gables Storybook; with pictures from the movie

last but not least, my most exciting find for myself

The Kinta years, an Oklahoma Childhood, by Janice Holt Giles, who is the author of one of my favorite books (Hannah Fowler)






fiestaware news


I heard from my dear friend and fellow fiestaware lover Lea Ann first thing this morning.

She had some happy news.

A new color was announced!


And she signed off saying, “Have a sunny day!”


Have you guessed?


Here is how it compares to the other yellows (although I wish the chart had vintage yellow on it, too):


Happy Day!

PS, Let me know if you need my address so you can send me some.

when wrestling was cancelled


Rich was making plans to be away on Saturday for a wrestling tournament but a winter snowfall came and it was blessedly cancelled.  Sometimes a change of plans is without a doubt a gift from God, a way to slow us down and keep us home, to remember and enjoy each other.

We painted while listening to Christmas songs.



The children gathered their snow clothes and bundled up to go sledding.  All around them were trees covered with new snow and fresh cold air.  The climbed up the hill, slid down, and did it again and again.



When they came back inside, they threw their snow things on the floor to dry.  (But Mama made them hang them from hooks and chairs).

There was a cozy fire to sit next to, hot drinks, and games to play.

We all agreed that The Polar Express was a most wonderful movie.

There were books to pick up and read, and cats to hold on our laps.


Each year the children become more helpful in the kitchen.

We made tray upon tray of Christmas cookies.








It took more work to clean up than it did to do the baking.

And then it was time to listen to Dad read a year after year favorite.


By-ends and his schoolfellows walked on together, laughing and talking.  Christian and Hopeful were not very far from them, and presently the four boys ran after them and began to ask them foolish questions.  They pretended that they wished to know whether some of the things that they were fond of doing were wrong and likely to displease the King, and they hoped that Christian would not be brave enough to answer them truly, because then they would be able to call him a coward.  But although little Christian was a shy and timid child, he was not afraid to speak the truth.  He had learned to love the King dearly, and no fear of what these rough boys might do to him would have made him agree with By-ends and his friends.  He answered all their questions bravely and truly, and at last they began to feel ashamed of themselves and said no more.  Christian was very glad when they left him, and he went on with Hopeful, while By-ends stayed behind with his three idle companions.  pg 99


preparations for Thanksgiving


Wow what a nice sunny day it is here in good ol’ *hometown* USA.  As soon as I got the kids to school and took my shower I made my way to the grocery store for thanksgiving groceries trip #1.  Trip #2 is tomorrow because my husband has the day off and he loves Costco.  (We’re getting the turkey at Costco…….)

And lest you think I was going to bring all the groceries inside the house myself:

..and yes, he did get up and do it.  🙂

So, for preparations today, I am slowly getting organized to make sure I have all the things I need for the dishes I will be preparing on Thursday.


~Disposable turkey roaster because who wants to scrub out a turkey roaster?
~Bread for stuffing.
~Poultry seasoning, of which I have plenty because it’s one of those things that I never want to run out of so I end up getting more of it than I need.
~Turkey bags to roast the turkey in.


~wheat pilaf


~punch (sherbet in the freezer)….I will be putting the juice and soda on the porch to cool.


~pickles and olives (tray which used to belong to Rich’s grandmother)


~chips and dip

~I could make deviled eggs but haven’t committed yet.


~Orange jello salad (cool whip in freezer)


~crackers and cheese tray


~miscellaneous– more serving pieces


~corn casserole (sour cream and butter will be added, and eggs)


~more trays, plates, and dishes if needed


this along with the dishes that are in the kitchen (plates, bowls, and mugs)

These are the wonderful people attending our meal on Thursday, Lord willing:

Jacob-going to VT today to get Ethan, thank you J!
Sarah Joy
Mom-will be helping me in the kitchen
Maria-bringing pies, baklava, and wine
Amanda-bringing sweet potatoes, coleslaw, wine, and homemade cranberry sauce
Melissa-bringing a vegetable tray and a birthday cake
Makayla-birthday girl!
Cassandra-bringing salad
a guest invited by my sister

Now that I’m done with the groceries I am going to watch a movie, fold laundry and do some cleaning.  Seth and Sarah will be home in an hour.


super long but I promise you will enjoy it


On Tuesday I had to take Grace to the doctors because she was awake half the night in agony.  Turns out she had a full blown ear infection.  She stayed home from school for two days in a row because of it and is on antibiotics.

On Wednesday, Rich and I drove to Vermont to watch the very first wrestling event at Ethan’s college.  We watched him wrestle in the exhibition matches before the main event.  He lost to his opponent and then by the end of the night the varsity team ended up losing by a distant tie breaker. It was such a close competition.  The gym was packed and I loved how the refs encouraged all the young kids in the stands to come down and sit right by the mat to watch.  So, this was my favorite photo of the whole night, just because of this dear little boy who reminded me so much of Seth:


After the meet Ethan was about to faint from hunger (slight exaggeration) and all he could do was think about food, so we took him to the college cafe and ordered two pizzas.  He wolfed down three pieces and then we got him a Ben and Jerry’s frozen yogurt to take back to his dorm room to eat in bed while watching Netflix.  Rich and I drove back home and were in bed by 1:15 in the morning.


Moving on…..this post is actually about my son Caleb, who is rarely featured on my blog anymore because he is a little camera shy.  My early posts were pretty much all about him because he was my baby at the time.  Always a mama’s boy, always with a tender heart toward others.  Of course he has his silly side, and has made a name for himself at school and at football as “the boy who can make realistic chicken sounds.”  I’ll record it for you one of these days.

I LOVE KING ARTHUR FLOUR!!!!!!!  Caleb is in 6th grade and King Arthur FLOUR came to his school and taught the children HOW TO BAKE BREAD!!!!!  Can you even imagine?  What a blessed change from assemblies about “bullying” and “whatever social issue needs to be discussed” –not that there is anything wrong with that but you know what I mean.  They learned to bake bread!

Each child was given a fabric bag filled with goodies to take home.  Inside, there were two little bags of flour (so cute!) a flexible plastic scraper (I never knew how convenient they were!), yeast, and an instruction booklet written on a level for children to learn and understand (amusing!)

UNFORTUNATELY for Caleb, he was bit on Wednesday night on the hand.  By Thursday it had become infected and was pink and somewhat swollen.  He told me it was a scratch and as I am a “oh you’ll be fine” sort of mom, we set to work baking the bread together.

After he washed his hands with powerful soap over and over under my watchful eye.



“Mom, the dough is like pancake batter.”

We kept adding the flour.

One cup at a time.  No mixer, just a bowl and a spoon.


He learned at school how to use the edge of the scraper to level off the cup.


The bag of flour was too small to fit a measuring cup inside of it so we dumped each bag into a mixing bowl.


“Mom the dough is like cake batter now.”

He was very observant.  And you can tell he is experienced in all kinds of batter, too.  Comes from years in the kitchen with Mom.  🙂


“Mom you stir it now, my hand hurts.”


Here is the entire free download of recipes if you would like to try Caleb’s bread:

CALEB’s BREAD (King Arthur Flour booklet of recipes for kids)


Naturally, because of *infection-hand* I did the kneading as well.  (Caleb didn’t touch the dough)


The finished dough ball.

Truth be told, as I spent time with my son, I realized that his hand was worse than my original diagnosis.  So, I called the doctors and took him in to get it checked while the dough was rising in the fridge.

I was sort of apologetic at first that I didn’t wait to see if it would clear up on its own but the doctor said, “No. I am so glad you didn’t wait on this.  Always trust your gut.  I know you and you have a good gut.”  

Thanks to the mother’s gut, it was antibiotics and an excuse note to miss Football practice for Mr. C.


For those of you who do not know yet (young moms) if you see a red streak (like what is on Caleb’s wrist) coming from the wound, you should take your child to the doctors sooner rather than later.

It was at the doctors that I learned that his “scratch” was truly a “bite”.  He didn’t want to tell me that he was bitten.

Guess who bit him?


Therefore, hours later, after the doctors, after football practice (during which Caleb sat out), we finally baked the bread.


Second rise, right before popping it into the oven (after removing plastic wrap, of course).


Half the dough was used to make a loaf, the other half to make cinnamon rolls.


This loaf was taken to school today to be donated to someone in need.


While the rolls cooled, we naturally watched a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED show full of bready goodness for all ages: Wallis and Gromit’s of A Matter of Loaf and Death.  (it’s on amazon prime I believe)


The cinnamon rolls were soooooooooo good!  Oh it was a gift, to “snuggie” (that’s what I say, I say, “Seth come snuggie with me.”) on the couch with Caleb and Seth to watch a nice show and then eat cinnamon rolls together right before bed.


tired mama, but happy mama, & precious boy o’mine

By the way, I rubbed pressed garlic on his infection twice last night and by this morning it was looking much better.  Of course it could have been from the one dose of antibiotics that he had after his appointment, too.  He’ll be on it for 10 days.

Aren’t you glad it’s Friday?  I sure am!



Jacob and I went to Brimfield yesterday.


I brought home fiestaware.


Not only are my dishes useful but they are also decorative.  They add all the color to the otherwise neutral kitchen.

Things not to be used are on the top shelves.  Everything else is used daily.


In the morning I used my claret mug.  He made the coffee while I made waffles, scrambled eggs, and sausage for our children.  Saturday mornings.


The girls and I were downtown.


We had a picnic across the street from the coffee shop in town.


The flowers are so lovely there.


I met a Kindred Spirit in the thrift store book room.

There were two stacks of Scrapbooks made by her, full of everything I also like: heartfelt articles, poetry, comic strips, news, cards, pictures.


I chose some to bring home (8).  I will show you some of the things in them on another day.

They are amazing.  The lady’s name was Jean and she made the scrapbooks in the early 1960s.  She was a teacher.  Someone loved her named Bill.  I’m currently typing these words on my bed surrounded by the things she found interesting enough to cut and glue into books……..

It’s sad that they ended up in a thrift store, wasn’t there any family who could have kept them?  I left over half of them there on the shelf…..but at least there are some home with me and I will have the coziest time looking through them.  I love them.


Gracie in the book room.


Well, lastly we went into the Dollar General.  I hated the way my hanging basket looked after a rough season of being watered faithfully and then left to dry out nearly to death, over and over.  So I thought of a solution; and Rich remarked, “Nice, Shan!  It looks like a wig on a very old lady!”


life is a continual feast


This morning I was in my pajama pants and tank top, my hair was pulled up in a very messy pony tail.  I was making the children color pictures at the island while they waited for their breakfast.  I was feeling rather full of myself as I expertly cut up their french toast and dribbled Trader Joe’s cherry pie filling over the top.  “I have to admit,” I said happily, “I’m pretty awesome.”  And guess what?  Little ears were listening……..

“I’m pretty awesome, too.” said Sarah, promptly and agreeably.



These nature photos are from last week.  We were searching for more monarch caterpillars.  The first photo was of milkweed bugs and then this one is of a flowering bush which I have not identified.  It has small, bell shaped baby pink blossoms.

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very very very interesting brown moth.  look at it’s eyes.


It was Sarah Joy’s first long walk after her surgery.  She got tired, and dear Amy gave her a piggy back ride all the way back home.


We found wild black berries.  They tasted sour and Seth loved them.


These baby birds are living in a nest on the gable of the chicken coop.

When I stare at this picture I can’t help but squeal from the cuteness.  There is something about that pouting bird face and the other bird that doesn’t even know I’m there but I can see it’s little bottom and heels.


Last week was very very very very long.  Rich was on a business trip from Monday to Thursday night, and then from Friday morning to Saturday night he was gone with Ethan to college registration.  Come Saturday I just wanted to go someplace where I could sit and look at magazines without having the kids need me.  So off we went to the playground, stopping for a big iced coffee on the way.  (it was hot and muggy.)

As is typical, as soon as I got out of the house with my camera I still couldn’t focus on the magazines because the kids were all of a sudden adorable instead of exhausting.

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery and a little fun to brighten up a long week.






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This is a big deal for Sarah, she has conquered her fears at the playground.  There were years when she wouldn’t ever take risks like this.


Seth, on the other hand, has been climbing before he could walk. (some of the pictures won’t show unless you click on them)…

Happy Monday, friends!


PS, here is my current favorite photo:


A friend of mine took it at an antique store because she thought of me!

the dishes *swoon*


For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15

surprises, gifts, and blessings


I was going to blog yesterday but ended up with a typical full day even fuller.

My son crashed his bike going fast down the road and we had to get him checked out in the ER just to be sure he didn’t fracture anything and thankfully, he didn’t.  He has sprains, aches, scrubs, and pains.

When we got home there were extra people here who Jacob had brought over with him and my husband was away for the night because he has a business meeting in NYC.

I made dinner for 9 teenagers (7 of them boys, 2 girls) and 3 children.  And then made milkshakes.  We watched a movie (Goosebumps) and it was fun but I have to be honest and say I was really tired by the end of the day and went to bed early, as soon as I put Seth, Sarah, and Caleb to bed.  (it was 9pm).


Isn’t the shagbark hickory tree interesting?  I came across one the other night as I rambled in the woods.


Just look at the bark shagging = God-art.  Living, real, true, and quiet.  Never asking for attention.  People with the hearts and eyes to see go searching and even then don’t witness all that God does in His creation.  But they see enough to feel gratitude, peace, and are fed spiritually.


Just days after I confessed to my sisterinlaw Cassandra that I hate making pie crust, I made pie crust!  I just did it differently this time, which is to say without fears, and with confidence.  Very quickly the crust was made ( life is exciting, even in the kitchen making pie)

We had quiche for breakfast.


And I made a homemade, *I picked the berries myself and the rhubarb came from the garden*, Strawberry Rhubarb pie for tomorrow!  (ethan’s graduation party)


They did this all on their own but I did tell them with the voice of an experienced Mom not to go too far into the woods.  Seth and Sarah put on their backpacks.  Seth’s had one big water balloon it it (yellow), and Sarah had food in hers.  They took along walkie talkies.  And left side by side for an adventure!  Grace and I watched them from the porch.  They did just great and came back before I could worry.


David found a formula on youtube for lightening his hair.  It consisted of lemon juice, salt, shampoo, and not sure what else.  He did it the other day.  I’m not used to it yet but I don’t mind in the least.  I like what he does.  He also found a walking stick from the woods and has been working on it.  Sanding it now and then painting it soon.  Look at his toe keeping the stick still.


Seth took one look at dinner (Shepherd’s Pie) and said accusingly, with a grimace, “You put eggs on it.”  Home-raised chicken eggs, when scrambled, ARE that yellow, but this was in fact, cheddar cheese.


Table full of loved ones; my kids and my kids’ friends who are also my kids because I love them allllllllllllllll……….




Isn’t she lovely?  She made the daisy wreath for her hair and when I saw her walk into the house I said, “Wait let me get my camera”  the flower wreath on the door made it even better.

two wreaths when just a moment before I was in the living room tidying up!!!!!

Life is full of surprises, gifts, and blessings!




Some of the surprises aren’t that great though!!!!


milkshakes for everyone


scarlet tanager!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

another gift.  I like to wander down to the end of the yard by the bushes and stream at the end of the day because the sun is still shining on the treetops.

and there are a lot of birds


This morning I witnessed tragedy.  I was sitting on the wooden bench on the porch facing the road and the trees across the road.  Gypsy moth caterpillars are continuing to eat leaves and Baltimore Orioles are up there eating the caterpillars.  I was drinking my coffee in my nightgown and robe and looking through my camera photos with the bird book because I take pictures of any bird I see so I can identify them later on.  Well, I heard a *bird scolding sound* and looked up just in time to see this mother oriole chasing a crow up the road.  I quickly lifted up my camera and miraculously got a clear picture of them.  I wasn’t expecting them to return, but moments later I looked up again just in time to see them SOARING BACK DOWN ABOVE THE ROAD BUT THIS TIME THE CROW HAD A TINY BABY BIRD IN IT’S TERRIBLE BEAK.  The mother was still scolding and chasing it out of my sight.  I didn’t see them come back.


Seth and Caleb sat on the porch with me while all this was going on.


Then, not only did I get exciting news from my brother, but this package came!  All before nine o’clock in the morning.

And now I’m on my way to Costco with Seth while the children clean the house.

Party day is tomorrow!

Happy Friday, my friends.

You are loved.