Friday, February 28, 2014

Master Suite Phase I

Our first house project in our new home is the master suite.

Here's a little home video tour of the before...

My English accent sounds a lot stronger than I thought it would, with a few American twang words in there. Ha ha.

Firstly, we took everything out of the closet, and after inspecting where electrical and plumbing lines were, we created an opening between the closet and bathroom.

Here's a home video partway through the demolition I took of Cory taking the walls down. Buster P. Kitten, who also goes by Bubba did a wonderful job balancing on that small ledge, he is our resident mischief.

Eventually we had it down to the frame. Here are a few photos I took during the renovation, isn't it interesting to see how homes are constructed? We found 11 cents in our walls, which makes me wonder how much money gets dropped in, or lost by construction workers over time. I guesstimated 34 million dollars, between the 313 million people in America.

Sophie, our resident inspector.

Cory brought a T square ruler with us to score the drywall before putting it in the back of Bibi. I can't tell you how much I really like my car, even my husband who isn't a car guy taps her dashboard and admires all the trips, memories, dog car rides, moves, and projects she's helped us with.

Here's the end of phase I, the perspective view of the new wall from the bedroom. The last one is of the view from the shower. It is coming along nicely.

That my dears concludes phase I of the renovation, as we progress I'll post an update. We're hoping to get a lot done before Tuesday, before our floor arrives, or Wednesday when our new King sized bed arrives.
Do What You Love. And if you do, you'll do it well.  And if you do something well, you'll be very successful.

Moving In

This is a long post, so go get yourself a cup of coffee and how about a little background music?
Home quote via Carol's Country Sunshine on Facebook
For the past eleven months, we have been traveling and it has been fun, but we we're ready to settle down.
We started looking for a home in the Charlotte/Matthews area of North Carolina for quite a few months and after several trips to see homes, nightly searching online, working with our realtor we found a home.
Last week we closed on our home. We drove into town the night before and the next day we met up with our realtor at the lawyers office to sign and get the key.

Here's our humble colonial...


The home was a short sale, and although in pretty good condition, it needs a little TLC, so that's where imagination and a little elbow grease come in. Our dogs, Sophie and Oscar were happy to have a large garden to run around in. I think they look like pioneers in this picture...

One of our favorite things (besides the Carolina blue skies) is all the trees in our back yard, it's so peaceful and relaxing. Here's a picture of them from inside the pool fence.

We've spent the past week working and eating out at all the different restaurants close by as we don't have a stove yet, and honestly it's been nice not having to do meal planning, shopping, prep, cooking, washing up etc. for a week. Now that's a vacation for me!
We got a washer and dryer, our cable and Internet set up (yay) and  are knee deep in the master bedroom/bathroom remodel. Our deadline is next week, because we have flooring and our new bed arriving.
But for now, and a few more years to come we are home, sweet home.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Take A Tour Of Ina Garten's East Hampton Garden

Here's a glimpse into Ina Garten's garden.

A fragrant garden where lavender abounds.

The New England style with a perfectly manicured hedge.

The meandering pathway leads to a secret gate.

Ina doing some pruning.


A view from the side of the garden.


 If you'd like to see the full album the pictures were in the Wall Street Journal.

Ina Garten's Childhood Home

I found this YouTube clip of Ina Garten's Childhood home in Brooklyn, NY.

Isn't it precious?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cha Cha Changes

We are anxious!
So anxious, you'll have to hold onto your seat and bear with me as I write this post. Maybe some music (a little Whoopi to elevate the mood).
This has been the l-o-n-g-e-s-t week of our lives. Every minute ticks slowly as we wait for more news... 
Yes, it's a screech!
Big News From Lilla Rose | Apron Strings & other things
Because we're buying a house!
We cannot wait to plant some roots, paint some walls and get to do some decorating. Especially since the past year or so we've been moving and shaking. We've been writing lists, visiting furniture stores, browsing soft furnishing catalogs and I've been pinning on Pinterest.
I seem to be fascinated with simplicity. You could say I have a Simple Country or Vintage Coastal style.
that house
View, dog, yellow and blue.
Lovely Roses...White Picket Fence
Dutch Door.  photo by Wiff Harmer
So here goes, a new chapter in our lives.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Young Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee at senior prom

Host A Breakfast Buffet & Try Some New Recipes

Darlings, let's be gracious homemakers today...
pretend with me, you're hosting a breakfast buffet for your family, here's some delicious recipes I had to share.
Herbed Frenchtoast with smoked salmon & creme fraiche
Crumpets Recipe
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Poached Eggs
So now your family is full, you can graciously carry on your day.
Ta-ra darlings!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beautiful Sunset

This is tonight's sunset in Coastal North Carolina.

Families That Stay Together, Have Family Dinner Together

One way to build a happy family is to put faith and food around your dinner table.
"When Jesus sat at the Passover table with his disciples, he instituted the Lord’s supper and said, “I appoint unto you a kingdom that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Luke 22:29-30).
I found this article by Connie W. Adams, and it describes how the table of the Lord, can keep a family together;

The Family Table
Historically the family table has not only met the physical needs of its members, but has done much to nourish their emotional needs as well. In godly homes, the table has been the place where God is thanked for daily provisions. It has been a place for shared moments for laughter, for concern, for instruction and training and has done much to establish memories which contribute to lasting bonds within a family. “Dinner is ready” has been a welcomed sound to many for a long time.
The demands of modern life in our culture have been such that the value (or even presence) of a family table has been diminished. In many a household, families do not eat together. It is difficult to set a time when everyone is present at the same time. Work schedules, school functions, part-time jobs, the desire to eat in a separate room to see something on television, or the notion that “I’ll eat when I am hungry” has interfered with the family table. Many in the present time regard anything which smacks of a routine or schedule as sinister. Forgotten is the fact that family meals are not just to satisfy hunger. They are social events, a time for families to share the same food at the same time, to talk of the events of the day, learn about what happened at work, at school. It is an ideal time for children to listen to their parents and learn something of their heritage. It is a time which ought to challenge every parent to make the occasion special.
Ah, but therein lies some of the problem. A family dinner demands, well, a dinner. And who shall prepare it? Whose turn is it to make dinner? The absence of a full-time homemaker in the modem home does create special problems about family meals. It is hard to set a time when everyone can be together. The lack of parental control of children whose whims and boorish manners set the agenda in too many households is a further hindrance to any kind of family dinner time. Parents who allow their children to grow up with picky eating habits deserve whatever grief and embarrassment that may cause them.
The Family Table in a Yard Sale
I always knew the family dinner table was special but I had it brought home to me in poignant manner which I will never forget. After my mother died in 1995, we decided to have a yard sale to dispose of things we did not intend to keep in the family. It fell the lot of Bobby and me to conduct the yard sale with the help of good folks from the congregation where my mother had attended at Rivermont (Chester), Virginia. We had two days of it and it went fairly well. I have never liked yard sales and some-how the excitement which seems to grip some about them has eluded me. It was distasteful to watch strangers rummage through things which my parents had handled so many times in the course of a lifetime. But I did all right with that until late the second day.
We had all decided to sell the old kitchen table and six chairs (we used extra chairs at numerous times). The table was topped with a hard, vinyl-like surface with chrome legs and strips around the top. The chairs had been patched a number of times but were still sturdy and serviceable. Late that day, an older couple came and bought the table and chairs. As they loaded these on a pickup truck, I watched in silence as they hauled it up the hill. And then I had to go in the house for awhile to collect my thoughts and emotions. Through my tears I reflected on a flood of memories all of which had that table right in the middle of them.
At that table we learned respect for each other and especially our elders. We had our turns to say what we wanted to say, but we did not interrupt when the “grown folks” were talking. At the family supper table I learned so much about the men with whom my father worked that I felt like I knew them all. From my father and mother we learned much about our heritage. Our grandmother added much spice with her stories of times past. Somehow we felt attached to the people and places of which they spoke so fondly. At that table I learned not to aggravate my brother, at least not in reach of my fathers hand! The only time I remember that he ever physically struck me was over just such an occasion. It startled everyone and scared the living daylights out of me! My father’s method of correction was usually to talk to us in such a way that we felt ashamed of ourselves. His sudden action was totally unexpected, uncharacteristic, and never forgotten.
It was at that table, when I was eleven years old, that my parents explained to us why we were leaving the Christian Church, in which we had many relatives and long-time friends. Serious Bible talk made lasting impressions. Somehow, at that table, we were all one family. There we could mourn our losses, savor our victories, commiserate with one another, pass down folk-lore from one generation to another. There at that table the pressures and stresses of the day, of work, school and play, dissolved as we sat down together. The food was not always gourmet, but it was abundant (even in hard times) and lovingly prepared. We did not have the finest china and silverware, but we sure did set the table with love.
And now, that table with all its memories had just been hauled away by strangers who could never fully know what memories had been made around it. It was just an inanimate object. Had I known what emotions the selling of it would evoke, it would never have been sold. That inanimate object was the centerpiece of events which had much to do with who we all became and what we have tried to do with our lives.
So, amid the rush and press of life as it is lived today, don’t forget the importance of the family dinner table. Take time to eat together, then sit back for a little while and savor the moment and talk to each other. Neglecting the family dinner table will have the same harmful effect on your physical family as neglecting the “table of the Lord” will have on your spiritual family. Do you think it was just an accident that the Lord chose a table as the place to re-member his suffering and to renew our hope for the world to come?
- Source

Family Benefits

Family dinners create a sense of unity and identity, allowing for important traditions and celebrations that make children and adults feel cherished. These meals offer an opportunity to pass along important values and attitudes as well as unique aspects of your family heritage. Shared dinners also provide for regular communication and maintenance of a strong connection. Regular group dinners reinforce the essential parent-child bond. For younger children, group meals teach important conversational tactics, such as patience, listening and respect.

Benefits For Kids

Family dinners allow time for parents to find out about their children's lives and address potential problems. Researchers at North Dakota State University found that the kind of parental monitoring that happens at family mealtime is essential to a child's growth and well-being. Regular meals with loved ones also provide structure and stability in kids' lives, giving them security and setting the groundwork for healthy living in the future. Consistent family meals have been linked to decreased delinquency and substance abuse and better academic performance in children. Shared mealtimes have also been associated with greater levels of personal and social well-being. Family meals are linked to a decreased risk of eating disorders for adolescents, according to the "Journal of Adolescent Health."


Sharing mealtime contributes to the health of the family as a whole. These dinners are a prime time to teach and talk about good eating habits. Parents can describe the nutritive values of foods on the table and explain why well-rounded meals are important. Parents can also monitor children's eating habits to make sure they're meeting nutritional needs for maximum health; children can learn the importance of portion sizes and of understanding when they're full. Regular family dinners have been linked to lower rates of childhood obesity, notes Sean Brotherson, an Extension Family Science specialist and associate professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Science at North Dakota State University.

Become One Flesh

There's something precious about wedding pictures. They capture two people in love, on what's their most important day together (besides having children, or course). But it's also something more, it's the start of a new family.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24

This verse sets forth the biblical pattern as it was instituted by God at the beginning: one man is united to one woman in matrimony, and the two form one new natural family.
c. 1930s Wedding dress flowers

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ina and Jeffrey

Aren't they a cute couple?
Visit Ina Garten's Facebook page to see her sweet Valentine's message.

Nana's Soup and Family History Evening

I'm really looking forward to next week, we'll be closing on our new home and I cannot wait to start decorating and making it homey.
Talking of homey, one of my favorite authors is Susan Branch. I've slowly been collecting her recipe books, and have tried out a lot of her recipes. This recipe, Indiana ham and sweet potato soup is the closest one I can find that is just like my Nana's which is a perfect served with freshly made bread rolls for a family history evening.
Indiana Ham and Sweet Potato Soup - Susan Branch
Despite the snow, and bewildering winter evenings staying at home has given me a lot of extra time to do more of my families history research. It is so important to gather what you already know from your loved ones before they pass, as I have learned.
My immediate family is a lot smaller now, besides my husband and his family, I have my precious mum and a younger sister. All my grandparents have passed, and my dad died last year at a young age of pancreatic cancer.
In our home, we have a new tradition of family history evening. Both my husband and I gather with any family who is here either in person, or simply on the phone to talk about our family history.
 Family History Night
We talk about our ancestors and their brave or scandalous stories, and sometimes just about our research. But by far, one of the best ways to remember someone is to make one of the family recipes.
My Nana' was staunchly British, she could best be described akin to The Dowager Countess of Grantham from Downton Abbey. She upheld very high standards on society and our family, and as a matriarch she was always cooking and always made sure to make enough for everyone, nobody left hungry.
So, I can't think of a better way to spend a snow day, indoors, with ham and sweet potato soup reminiscing with family. 
I'm linking up with Grace at home #93
and Kelly's Korner

Shirley Temple Black, A Precious American Icon

 April 23, 1928 ~ February 10, 2014
Not too long ago, my husband and I watched a movie called Child Star, the Shirley Temple story. So we were saddened to hear about the passing of Shirley Temple Black, she was a precious American Icon. Here's the full movie if you'd like to see it...
Shirley was the daughter of Gertrude, a homemaker, and George, a business man and banker. She also had two brothers, George Jr. and John.
Shirley Temple
At eighteen months.
(Twentieth Century Fox)
Shirley's mom encouraged her infant daughter's singing, dancing, and acting talents, and in September 1931 enrolled her in Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles. Whilst at Meglin's she was spotted by Charles Lamont, a casting director for Educational Pictures. She was signed to a contract in 1932.
I just adore this picture of Shirley and her mother, Gertrude,
whose love of dancing helped shape Shirley's career.

 Her movie characters were always brave, strong, wily, and self-sufficient.  In her films wholesome goodness won out over meanness and evil every time.  I liked the way life looked through her eyes.
Shirley Temple, 1936. 
Shirley Temple in 1936
Shirley Temple, 1940s
Shirley Temple in the 1940's
In 1943, 15-year-old Temple met John Agar (1921–2002), an Army Air Corps sergeant, physical training instructor, and a member of a Chicago meat-packing family. On September 19, 1945, when Temple was 17 years old, they were married before 500 guests in an Episcopal ceremony at Wilshire Methodist Church. On January 30, 1948, Temple gave birth to their daughter, Linda Susan. The marriage became troubled, and Temple divorced Agar on December 5, 1949. She received custody of their daughter and the restoration of her maiden name. The divorce was finalized on December 5, 1950.
In January 1950, Temple met Charles Alden Black, a WWII United States Navy intelligence officer and Silver Star recipient who was Assistant to the President of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Conservative and patrician, he was the son of James B. Black, the president and later chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric, and reputedly one of the richest young men in California. Temple and Black were married in his parents' Del Monte, California, home on December 16, 1950, before a small assembly of family and friends.
The family relocated to Washington, D.C., when Black was recalled to the Navy at the outbreak of the Korean War. Temple gave birth to their son, Charles Alden Black, Jr., in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 1952. Following the war's end and Black's discharge from the Navy, the family returned to California in May 1953. Black managed television station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, and Temple became a homemaker. Their daughter Lori was born on April 9, 1954. In September 1954, Charles, Sr. became director of business operations for the Stanford Research Institute and the family moved to Atherton, California. The couple remained married for 54 years until his death on August 4, 2005, at home in Woodside of complications from a bone marrow disease. (via Wikipedia)
Shirley Temple and Charles Black, 1950s.
Shirley Temple with her husband, Charles Black in the 1950's
Two fantastic sites to visit are The Official Shirley Temple website, and The Shirley Temple Tumblr website.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Family History Research On The Baker Family

I've been doing family history research from my mothers side of the family. Her fathers side had the family names Bird (paternal) and Hurt (maternal) and her mother's side had the family names Thawley (paternal) and Baker (maternal).
I researched some background to the family name:
The ancient surname, Baker is of Olde English pre 8th century origins deriving from the word 'boeccure'. The surname is always occupational, but not always for a maker of bread. There are a number of possible origins and these include an official with special responsibilities for the baking ovens in a monastery or castle, as well as the keeper of the 'communal kitchen' in a town or village, since most of the humbler households had no cooking facilities other than a pot over a fire. The right to be in charge of this service and to exact money or loaves in return for its use, was in many parts of Britain, a hereditary feudal privilege. Less often the surname may have been acquired by someone noted for specifically baking fine bread or as an owner of a kiln for the baking of pottery or even bricks.  -Source
Our story of the Bakers comes together when my mother's, maternal grandparents got married on a chilly December day in 1930 at St.George's Glascote. Our Baker ancestors are from Worcestershire, Warwickshire and lastly Staffordshire. The furthest back I've traced is George Baker who was born in 1750 and his wife Sarah.
Daisy, my mother's maternal grandmother's parents were married in 1909, just three years earlier her dad signed up for Royal Regiment of Artillery RH & RFA. At the tender age of 25, he was torn away from his young family to fight as a gunner in The Great War. Sadly, he died in 1915.
Four years later in 1919, Daisy's mother Priscilla remarried Harry, and that explains why he was written as Daisy's father on her marriage certificate. Priscilla also lost her dad, who was a barge master when she was young.
Some of our other earlier distant Baker descendants:
The Baker's came to the area of Fenton after the acquisition of land and a pot works. In 1765 William Baker an architect from Audlem in Staffordshire, bought the estate and manor of Fenton Culvert (which is now demolished) together with a pottery factory for his second son William Baker II. William Baker II came to Fenton and in 1767 he married Sarah Bagnall the daughter of Thomas Bagnall who was Lord of the Manor of Hanley.
File:Hasfield Court Gloucestershire.jpg
Hasfield Court is a heritage building being listed by English Heritage as a Grade II building. The manor house has changed hands several times and once belonged (1847-63) to the architect Thomas Fulljames. The house a second home, sold in 1863 to William Baker, of Fenton House, Staffordshire, who owned a pottery at Fenton where he built several municipal buildings and Christ Church. Hasfield Court remains in the ownership of the Meath Baker family.
From a small number of business records, it is clear that the Baker family had interests from the first part of the 19th century in the manufacture of china and earthenware.
I will continue keep looking back, as well as deeper into the lives on the family tree to learn a lot more.
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