• The Art of Beautiful Living

    Christmas Decorations at the Homestead 2019

    I’m dating this post because I have big plans for the future.  This is what we were able to accomplish this year.  Next year is still being discussed.  I have hopes for garland and trees in the old part of the house.  I need to do some research on what 1850 Christmas decorations in Scotland and Texas would have looked like.  I want the house to twinkle.  But this year, we just hadn’t really had time to plan it and we weren’t up to it. Seriously, the exterior isn’t completed.  The yard is a wreck.  There is very little traffic on the country road in front of our house.  Lights…

  • Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living,  Uncategorized

    Christmas Food at the Homestead

    I have been dreaming about my grandma house for a long time.  I was disappointed that we weren’t in the Homestead last year, but the joy that we experienced this year certainly made it worth waiting for. First, we had the a great Thanksgiving which ends with us putting up the Christmas tree.  That was an adventure in and of itself.  We had a new tree this year and so, it was our first time to put it up in a new house where we had never had a Christmas tree before.  Lots of firsts means lots of learning. The Cookie Exchange We hosted the first (hopefully) annual Cookie Exchange.…

  • Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living,  Uncategorized

    Pied Piping and a Cookie Exchange

    A Bit of Bragging… I have been called a “Pied Piper” by my husband and others.  Ric Hertless may have been the first to proclaim this in a work setting.  I didn’t know how I felt about the moniker.  It sounded to me like all I did was try and get people to do what I wanted and that smacked of manipulation.  However, upon reflection, I think that I just get board and when I do, I try and get people I love and enjoy to come play.  So far, we have come up with some interesting reindeer games… Burch Beach Like the time we built a beach in our…

  • Uncategorized

    Christmas Tamale Tradition

    Tamales I have no idea where the tradition came from or when it really started.  We have tamales for dinner on Christmas Eve and we have for as long as I can remember.  I don’t remember Nana or Mother ever making their tamales, however.  They were purchased and steamed just before serving.  Along with the tamales, there was queso, chili, chips, and so on. Jerry and I first made tamales back in 1993 while we were living in Athens, Georgia.  We were a long way from home and we had a hankering for them.  The Navy provided us with many opportunities to miss something from home and to have to…

  • Let's Eat,  The Art of Beautiful Living

    Thanksgiving Food and Traditions

      Besides twinkling lights and the look of amazement on children’s faces, is there anything more wonderful than holiday food? I don’t think that much can compete with the thrill I get planning a holiday menu and thinking about sitting around the table with my favorite people visiting and celebrating.  Traditions are important and food as a holiday tradition is probably one of my favorites.  As traditional as we are, we have broken with some old ones and are establishing some new ones for our family.  Here are a few of my favorite things (cue the Sound of Music soundtrack…): I want to tell you that I love Christmas above…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Coat Rack for the Mudroom

    Nowhere to Hide Anything People come into a farmhouse with muddy shoes or with jackets…it is unavoidable.  We purposely built a mudroom so that all that mess could be dumped by the door.  Heck, the washer and dryer are only a few steps past this room in case things are really bad.  Up until this week, the mudroom has been a full on storage closet.  We stored all of the old doors (to include the red screen doors from the old house) here, while they patiently await their turn to be useful again.  We dumped tools, shoes, ladders…you name it here.  There is even a 10’X10′ tent stored in here.…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Home for Nana’s Rolling Pin Collection

    My Grandmother, Carrie Jean Ferguson My Nana was a collector.  She collected family history, friends, flower seeds, and rolling pins.  The rolling pin thing stemmed from her love of family and family history.  The pins that she collected belonged to family members.  I think that nobody wanted rolling pins when they were breaking up a home after someone died.  I mean, they are just rolling pins after all.  I never asked her why she asked for rolling pins, but knowing Nana, I am willing to bet that it was because of their lack of value and importance. The rolling pins she collected seem very valuable to me because they are…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    Black Walnut Kitchen Shelves

    What do weather, history, and being a pack rat have in common?  Evidently, my kitchen.  It didn’t really start out that way.  I mean, when the tornado hit, my first thought wasn’t “kitchen shelves!”.  However, when you get lemons, you do better when you start at least thinking about making lemonade.  This week, we made lemonade from seven year old lemons.  Let me explain.  The lemons are really 2″ thick black walnut planks that we made into kitchen shelves after hauling the wood around for seven years.  Sometimes lemonade takes a while… The Kitchen Design We designed the kitchen to have open shelving on either side of the range.  Ronny…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Mantle for the Fireplace

    Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (or Procrastinate) The fireplace in the addition was completed in January of 2019.  We thought that the fireplaces (we have three total) would be finished in late summer/early fall, but that didn’t happen.  The stone mason who we had spoken with had some health issues and some family issues as well (he worked with his brothers).  When it was all said and done, we had to call another stone mason and that pushed back the fireplace in the addition to a January project.  At that point, we were busy finishing up all sort of little tasks and then moving in.  The mantle was…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation

    A Little Dinner Party with Strangers

    A Plan Was Concocted I am a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Ft. Graham Chapter.  I am a proud member, not because I’m proud to have the membership, but because is a lovely way to honor the countless people who came before us.  If you are interested in membership, please contact me and I will help you in any way that I can.  It is a sweet group of ladies who log in community service hours, fund scholarships for local students, and generally try to keep history alive.  Yesterday was our Christmas Tea and we had a guest speaker, Denise Bennett.  Denise assumes the identity…