An Old Fashioned Summer: Coca-Cola, A Personal History


Lest you think I am touting a product only you'd be both right and wrong.  I do favor Coke over other soft drinks.  I always have but, I am a southern girl.  And we southern girls don't call fizzy drinks 'soda' or 'pop', we call them all Coke or Coca-Cola regardless of brand.   It is not uncommon to hear someone say "I want a Coke...Make mine a Pepsi!"  (or Dr. Pepper or Fanta, etc.).   

Growing up ours was a divided family.  Yes, it's true.  Daddy's side favored Pepsi and Mama favored Coca-Cola and Granny mostly favored store brand or Kool-Aid type drinks.    

Interesting fact here, my Daddy's father took a Pepsi each day and poured a bit into his iced tea.  Why?  Well Grandmother used saccharine in her sweet tea to save on sugar and it wasn't quite sweet enough to suit Granddaddy, so he'd pour in about half a glass of Pepsi and then top it up with Iced Tea.   As kids, we only drank Pepsi in the way that Granddaddy did, lol.   Give us a bottle of Coke though and we drank it as it came.

The Week Ahead: Just One More

Here's a kitchen that caught my eye.  I'd say its from the early 1960's.   The kitchen is a little larger than those we've seen in the 30's and 40's.   Certainly there is a LOT of cabinet space available and the colors are bright, light and cheery.  But I confess, I find it far less charming than those modern day kitchens so new to the previous eras.

The kitchen is conveniently located to the deck and that is something I do like.  We don't barbecue much but honestly most homes I've been in where they do barbecue are seldom convenient to the deck or grilling area.  Awkward steps or having to carry foodstuffs through other rooms.

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Running Through the Sunshine


Saturday:   I confess to you all that yesterday afternoon I'd told John, "I'll not demand the boys play with me today.  They can go straight on the Kindles if they choose.  I'm just not going to fight them over it."  Imagine how I felt when Josh, who told he might do whatever he chose, asked me to create a dining table fort, build a campfire, gather the bears in their caves and please play with them.   I tell you it made my heart swell and I obliged the boys in all that they wanted to do.   

At one point Millie went into the tent with the boys to sleep.   At another moment, Isaac crawled into the toy box which had suddenly become a boat and that little boy who 'doesn't like to eat pish' told me was fishing.   

They built paper airplanes and drew pictures and only much later in the evening did they ask to play on the Kindles.  

An Old Fashioned Summer: Kool Aid Kids


When Granny had all seven of us at her home, we were unlikely to get sodas.  It was far more common to find she had a stack of Kool Aid packets which we mixed fresh daily to drink.   Frankly I think it's hard to beat a glass pitcher of Kool Aid with ice!  

I recall one day when Granny had visitors and the adults were all out in the garden gathering some things to carry home with them.  My cousins and I decided that what those adults required was a tall glass of something cold to drink and we mixed up a pitcher of Kool aid and filled glasses with ice and took it outside to them on a tray.   The grown ups all sat down in the chairs under the oak trees and we served them.  I've never forgotten the looks of pleasure on their faces as we handed each a sweating cold glass of ice and cherry Kool Aid.  Now I think perhaps they might have preferred a glass of iced tea but not one of them acted as though they were sorry we'd chosen Kool Aid!

From the Pantry Shelves: Homemade Brownie Mix


I long ago determined that my beloved and delicious brownie recipe was costly to make.  It didn't take a genius to figure that one out: two sticks of butter, four eggs...and that only made an 8 inch pan.   I decided that it would be a rare treat and we'd let mixes suffice. I could buy a decent mix at Aldi for 85c a box.   Yes, I still had to add eggs and oil, but even so it was a decent price compared to my homemade version.   But I missed the flavor of homemade brownies.   And honestly...a store bought mix is never going to taste as good as homemade.   There are too many chemicals added in to preserve the ingredients and inhibit mold growth.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a Brownie mix recipe in one of my 1950's September issues of Woman's Day and I jotted it down on paper, shoved it in my recipe files and there it stayed until this past month when I decided to give it a try.

The Week Ahead: Three, Two...Counting Down Birthdays

I stumbled upon this kitchen this past week while I was online.  I'm thinking it's from about 1930.  Unlike others I've featured, it is not an Armstrong kitchen.  This was put up by the General Electric company as their idea of a modern all electric kitchen.

I've got to start with the floor.   That sunrise effect on the floor with the arcs of color and radiating lines is just stunning, isn't it?  It appears the same marbled linoleum may have been used as back splash on the walls behind the counters.  I love that the 'sun' portion of the floor is right at the sink and the other lines angle out from that area.  Visually those lines are expanding the floor space even if the kitchen isn't as large as it appears it could be.  It's so hard to judge size when you're looking at a floor model with two open walls...

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Birthday Season

Saturday:  Up super early to greet Caleb.  He was in good form and happy to see the goggy.  River had come to the house early, too, and was standing there wagging her tail when he arrived.   We did pretty well.  He took a nap and woke about the time the big kids all arrived.  

And then every one arrived at once, the pace was hectic and frantic and party-ish and on and on and then suddenly it was over.    Everyone went home.  John and I got a cup of coffee, breathed a deep sigh of happiness and relief.   It had been another grand party with only minor little disasters (Caleb discovered cake left behind and was feeding handfuls of it to himself and Millie.  Isaac sat in frosting, someone's glass fell from the table but that's why we use plastic cups...) 

Iced Tea Chat: Summertime Arrives


It was 95F today.  That's just a bit too hot to stand at the fence and chat.  Come on in the house and let's have some Iced Tea.

I have worked very hard this week.  And yes, it is only Wednesday!   But never mind because come Thursday I'm taking a day out to go get my haircut, go to Walmart and maybe Lowe's and out to eat.   That will be my day to enjoy.   I think it's very important when you've worked hard to take time out to do things that are fun and pleasurable, too.  I won't be work free that day.  There are always things in a house to do and I find I prefer to have them done. 

An Old Fashioned Summer: Something Cold

 On my way home last week, after a long hot day out with Mama, I was longing for something cool to drink.  Typically I'd opt for an iced coffee from Starbucks (the only coffee place near her home) but this particular day I wanted a frozen Coke.  I headed over to Burger King, hoping against hope that the machine was up and working.  It does seem that more often than not, it's out of order!

I sipped that frozen soda all the way home and it was delicious.  It was everything I wanted it to be that day: cold, energizing, and refreshing.

Biscuits, Now and Later

I've mentioned several times about making biscuits and freezing some for later.  I usually don't bake them first.  I've had a few questions about how well they rise once frozen.    I cannot say the biscuits rise exactly as high after freezing as they do when made fresh but they are not flat biscuits by any means.  There are a few key things to the process, I feel, in order to create a biscuit that rises well from frozen dough.   

The Week Ahead: Projects Big and Small

Last week I stayed busy all week long.   It's looking like this week ahead will be the same...The weekend was especially hectic, so there is no vintage kitchen narrative this week.  If I'd taken time to do that, too, fitting it in around all else, I probably wouldn't post this until late Monday evening.   

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Big Bites

Saturday:  "We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. . .I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. . .Begin in a small way, … and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (President Gordon B. Hinckley) 

Is food storage on my mind for a reason?  Not for any more reasons than usual.  I have heard the stories of shocking price increases in some parts of the country.  I've seen a more gentle rise, but a rise nonetheless, of costs here in our area.  My interest in food storage has indeed increased over the past few years only because of what we've had go on in our family.  We've had children move in which would have strained the budget unduly had we not had a pantry to help us along.  We have had children moved out,  children that got married and  children go through divorce, all who needed to literally start pantries from scratch and my gift to them was a supply of basics to start them off.   I know too well how costly it can be to start with nothing and try to set up just a basic starter pantry.  We've had spells of  illness or family members who required care and shopping was the last priority so I dug into my pantry to supply us all in those times as well.  There were a few tough months financially that necessitated going deep into the pantry and minimizing grocery trips.  So I know too well how valuable my pantry has been as both a resource and an 'emergency fund'.

The Week Ahead: What Now?


Hazel Dell Brown kitchen this week.  I stumbled upon this as I was looking for something else on Pinterest and just had to bring show case it this week.  

It's a snug kitchen but I think there's been a good use of space and a bit of 'fool the eye' space as well that you might not see right away.  But just to get an idea of how snug it is look hard at that stove.  It's not the big huge surfaces we've seen in other kitchens.  I daresay it's not quite the width of a modern day stove. Though it might well hold four pots on top there is no space at all between burners so that goes to show how small it is.

Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Summer Begins


Saturday:  I was bone weary today.  I've had about three naps already and feel as though I could crawl into bed and sleep all night long without a bit of trouble.  That it's only about 7pm is the problem.  Even though we typically arise early on Sundays, I don't think I want to be up at 3am which would be just about my limit on sleep.   

My Stitch Fix box arrived today.  I was pleased because it was a wee bit early, not meant to arrive until Tuesday, but here it is today.  I love all five pieces once more.  I had the same stylist again and for that I am grateful because she really does pay attention to what I say I like, gathered information from my inspiration board as to what I'd seen on Pinterest and on Stitch Fix that I thought I'd like, and then chose accordingly and I am very pleased.  Again, I find that costs average about $30 per item.

My June Wardrobe and Quarterly Stitch Fix


When it came to pulling summer clothes I was looking at a whole lot of nothing really.  I said I had ten tops with two that Bess had gifted me that were too large for her and of the ten, five of those were kimono cover-ups.  I wanted something new pretty badly but I made myself a promise.  I'd wait until my summer quarter Stitch Fix box arrived and I'd see if I liked any of that.

An Old Fashioned Summer: Vacation Bible School


I get nostalgic every summer for an old fashioned summer.   Do you remember what it was like when you were a child and suddenly school was over for the year, the summer stretched before you?  I still feel like that once Memorial Day is behind me.  As though summer was just slap full of fun things to do and see.   We tend to vacation off season and for beach days that means before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.   But many of the mountain areas are now in 'off season' mode.  Perhaps we might sneak away for a bit of a get away?  At the very least, perhaps we'll slip over to our little mountain just an hour away or go for a picnic at that River state park nearby.

I thought, for fun, I'd try to do a post once a week about some aspect of summer I remember or which my children experienced.

And this week that memory centers around Vacation Bible School. 

In My Home This Week: All Routine