Monday, December 26, 2011

Recipe for Curing Grumpiness

I'm reading several books about the Great Depression to arm myself with knowledge just in case we find ourselves in another one soon. The latest read is called Little Heathens, Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish.

There are recipes included and plenty of tips on how to make do with practically nothing. There's also good advice on how to rid yourself of grumpiness. I always did something similar with my own children which was when they were being grouchy, I had them go look in the mirror and smile until it became real. They always returned with a good attitude after that. Works every time. I've used it a few times on myself. Here's what the author says is her Grandma's recipe for grumpiness.

"Along with Grandpa, Grandma provided the solid, practical commonsense guidance in the lives of us children. She took the development of our character seriously and insisted that we improve ourselves. One of her more important observations was that it was impolite and unacceptable to visit your ill temper on those around you. If you wake up feeling at odds with the world, direct your attention outside of yourself, see what the world requires of you, and then get busy. The chances are that in a very short while, your grumpiness will soon be displaced by a feeling of goodwill. Her understanding of the psychology of moods was so keen that years later when I read the following passage from William James, I felt as though I'd encountered a soulmate of my grandmother's":

The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away.

Good advice from William James AND Grandma.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Around the House-Part 4, Final Installment, Maybe

As I was shooting all these photos, I realized that I like hardware and furniture with swirly things. Every dark piece of furniture, either cherry or mahogany, has flourishes on it.

And yes, that label on the bookcase, 270 CHURCH HISTORY, is a Dewey Decimal System number. I admit it...I have my non-fiction books arranged in that system. I had the greatest fun organizing it, too. I'm a book nerd and order freak of a high order! I'm not ashamed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Making Cookies with Nana

We planned a special night last night for the grandchildren. It was their parents' eleventh wedding anniversary, so I said I'd keep the twins while their Pappy took the boys to see the lights about town.

This was the scene after the boys returned. Darcie stayed with me and helped with the girls. She's holding Piper here. There's no way I could have taken care of both of the twins at the same time. I don't know how moms of multiples do it without help.

Scout helped me make iced sugar cookies. From her casual repose in the Bumbo, she tells me what to add and when. I guess the stress was too much for her, because she fell asleep in the middle of the recipe. I had to finish by myself. Good thing I've made these cookies before, or I wouldn't have known what to do!

P.S. Wasn't it smart of Laurel and me to have children about the same time? That way, Darcie doesn't have to grow up as an only child (she has four grown older siblings) and her boys get to have a sort of big sister. Yes, we're brilliant that way.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sweetness Doubled

Seriously, can you believe how sweet these two babies are? I'm so in love with them. We're all still in awe that they're girls (after four boys in the same family) AND that we were blessed with TWO!

This beautiful photo was taken by our friend Molly Cook. Check out her Facebook page or here: She's one talented lady! She also made the adorable hats for the girls. One has an S for Scout. The other has a P for Piper.

The little cocoons were made by my talented sister-in-law, Sharon.

So which is cuter, my dining room (referring back to my last post) or these two little sweeties? I'm just joshing. There's no contest.

Dining Room Love

You can probably tell that I LOVE our house! For a few years after building it, I would pull into the driveway, stop, sigh, and say, "It's so cute!" Much eyerolling from four children would begin.

I know you don't get tired of looking at my house, so here's some photos of just the dining room.

I love how that wax cascades over the side of the candlestick. Lavender from my good friend Charlotte.

Pewter in the early morning sun.

A corner of a long mirror hanging above the double windows at the end of the room. Got it at a yard sale for $30.

Sunlight reflecting off my new Spode Italian dishes. They were a gift to my husband for 35 years of service to his company. Wasn't it sweet of him to let me pick the gift?

Curtain rod from Pottery Barn. I love the weight of the wooden finial. I also love the bullseye corner block and the fluted window trim.

Next time I'm showing you my new granddaughters. They may be as cute as my dining room! You judge.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Reading

Christmas With Rosamunde PilcherI've decided to make a Christmas reading list.
Here are the books on the list:
1. Christmas with Rosamunde Pilcher
2. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever-Barbara Johnson
3. An Irish Country Christmas-Patrick Taylor
4. I Saw Three Ships-Elizabeth Goudge
5. The Christmas Mouse-Miss Read
6. The Sister of the Angels-Elizabeth Goudge

Does anyone have another good Christmas book to recommend? I'm hoping to have lots of time for reading in front of the fire!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Challenges

I'm thinking of taking this challenge beginning in January. The reason I'm hesitating is because I tend not to finish challenges of this sort. I'm a 'have-to-be-in-the-right-mood' type of reader, and just because a book is on a TBR list doesn't mean I'll read it. I'm a little rebellious that way. Makes no sense, I know, especially since I'm the one taking the challenge. No one has a gun to my head making me read.

Here's a challenge I began last January. I made a list of books to read for it and then deviated wildly from it. Oh well, at least I read more Irish books than I would have if I hadn't taken the challenge.

So I think I'll take the classics challenge. You only have to list seven books. I'll think about it and get back to you. The challenge may be in only picking seven!

What challenges are you taking right now; book or otherwise?

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Photos Around the House-Part 3

This little bust was the first one I ever won when I was in a recital at age eight. It was also the last recital I was ever in!

This photo is looking from the parlor, through the foyer, and into the dining room.

This bowl of treasures are things my husband has found walking through the fields of Georgia. He spends a lot of time helping farmers with their crops. He also knows I'm a sucker for all things old whether they're broken or not. One of the sweetest gifts he's ever given to me was the bent spoon lying on top. He thought it might be valuable. Of course it isn't, but the thought is priceless to me!

I adore this little delft lamp. I have some matching antique tiles to put up over the parlor fireplace someday soon.

This old-school phone belonged to my maternal grandparents. It's the only one that works when the electricity goes out.

And here are my vinyl 33's left over from the day. I have a record player and play them occasionally on a Saturday night. Why a Saturday night? I really don't know. That's just when I'm in the mood.

A few photography books for inspiration.

The Bailey family crest.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vignettes Around the House

I've spent some time on the couch during the Thanksgiving break reading, relaxing, and just looking around at the house. I'm a VERY visual person and like filling our home with beautiful objects both large and small.

I'll spread the photos over several days so as not to give you visual overload.
I've been on an England kick lately. I love English country decorating and have incorporated bits and pieces of it into our house.

Little Tom of England is a children's book about an American boy and an English boy and how they learn about each other's culture. It's mostly filled with English history which I absolutely adore! It was a cute book. My legs are underneath those books, and right across from me in the blue ticking chair is my favorite reading buddy Princess.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Around the Yard in November

Here are a few photos of the land around our house. There's cotton planted in the field behind us. It's a sad excuse for a cotton field, but this individual boll is pretty, I think.

This is a cherry laurel tree growing around the edge of the field. I had to look it up to know what it was. The berries aren't edible as they contain cyanide.

I'll never tire of seeing the rising sun casting long rays through the pecan limbs.

I made this split-rail fence from black locust rails brought from Tennessee. It separates the formal gardens from the wild ones. The sycamore tree is a volunteer that sprouted about fifteen years ago. It's grown quite a lot during that time. I love the white, peeling bark. It really shines when the sun hits it.

I've been cooking and cleaning most of the day; doing some decluttering, too. It's been a good piddling day. Have a warm, love-filled Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Going Home To The New Country

In a previous post, I talked about going home to the 'old country'. Last Thursday I went home to visit my parents in Tennessee, the 'new country'. I have so much fun visiting with my parents when I'm by myself. We fall into a very comfortable mode of talking, eating, sleeping, walking, and anything else I feel like doing. I stayed four nights and had a grand time.

Daddy's been replacing their shingled roof with a metal one. Here are some photos of him up there. Keep in mind that he'll soon be 76 years old. Needless to say, I did a lot of praying while I was home. One night when it rained, he had to climb up there in the rainy dark to put the plastic back around the chimney to keep it from leaking.

He said they had never hired a handyman or repairman to fix anything....ever! They do it all themselves. I find that amazing.
I'd love to be that self-sufficient.