Colette's Vintage Dress

Using a pattern from the early-1960's, Colette was very busy for a few days making herself a new dress.  If it looks like Audrey, Grace, or Jackie would wear it, she loves it!

The cap-type sleeves have these fun little crossover flaps that secure with a chunky button.

Simple.  Classic.  Beautiful.

Thanksgiving Day

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye littles ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”
–Plymouth Governor William Bradford’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation

Our day began with worship at church, giving praise to God for the many blessings He gave us, in His great merciful benevolence this year.

The table was set.  Two of our hand-dipped beeswax candles stood in the pewter candlesticks.

Between a couple of turkey bastings, Technohubby and I took the dog for a walk.  Fresh air on such a food-laden day is always refreshing.  And brisk air it was!  A high of 39 degrees was reached at our house today.

Walter and Felicity spent the late afternoon and evening with us.  She starting to look adorably pregnant.  A new son-in-law and a grandchild on the way are among the many blessings we're counting this year.

-Thanksgiving Menu-

Our Traditional Cheeseball
Maple-Cranberry Cheeseball
Assorted Crackers

Green Salads with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
Vermont Turkey (dry-brined)
"The Good" Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Onions (from this summer's garden)
Cranberry Sauce
Caramelized Pearl Onions
Spiced Peaches
Dinner Rolls
Sparkling Cider and Sparkling Pear Juice

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Chocolate-Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ahhh...a clean kitchen at the end of Thanksgiving Day is a beautiful sight, isn't it?

I hope your day was lovely.

Thanksgiving Preparations

Technohubby took the day off of work, and we spent the morning running some last minute errands together.  Bought a fresh Christmas wreath, bought the all-important-to-Max Triscuit crackers, without which "it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving!"

Colette and I finished the last of the do-ahead Thanksgiving preparations.  I cubed the homemade foccacia bread and spread it out to dry for stuffing.

Colette made my mom's cranberry sauce recipe, with just a bit of raspberry jam canned from the summer's goodness at a local u-pick farm.

I made pumpkin pie.  Colette's chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake was made yesterday.

I gathered enough place settings from my grandmother's colonial-patterned set of dishes for us tomorrow.  I never recall her using them, nor my mother.  But I love the look they give to the Thanksgiving table, especially when paired with pewter.

We finished up a bit of schoolwork.  Then the house was tidied, received a light dusting, and floors were cleanly swept.  I guided Colette through the last of her sewing for a dress she's planning on wearing to church tomorrow.

A full day, but I'm grateful to the Lord for the blessings of food to eat, a home to clean, and family to enjoy it with.  

Sweet Memories from the Turkey

The turkey candy dish has taken up residence in my sunny kitchen windowsill.  He's sitting there proudly.  The night before Thanksgiving, I'll fill him with sweets to the delight of everyone.

It's funny how little things like a turkey candy dish can make memories.  I have special memories of my grandma's cookie jar.  It was ceramic and had already been broken and glued back together once, so my brother and I knew we had to be really careful with it whenever we lifted the lid to retrieve a cookie (which, it should be noted, was often).  I think of that cookie jar everytime one of us carefully removes the turkey's lid and replaces it.  Taking care of the turkey so he can be here next year...and the next.  Sweet, simple memories.

Enchanting Discoveries

Last week we visited Coggeshall Farm, a very small-scale living history museum by a bay in Rhode Island.

Coggeshall (pronounced like: cog-shawl) Farm depicts a small farm at the close of the 1700's, as its only original building, shown here with Colette on its doorstep, dates to that time period.

We enjoyed our chat with a friendly and soft-spoken docent, who told us about the challenges of hearth cooking and of following 200-yr. old recipes.  She was attempting to get biscuits to rise by using "skimmings of beer" (the very last bit left in one's tankard).  Things did not look hopeful.

It made me think of how spoiled we are to have pictures in cookbooks these days, so we can also see what we're making is supposed to look like.  But it also caused me some reflection on how few girls these days are taught cooking at their mothers' side. Whereas in the past, there may have been no need for illustrations, because surely simply everyone would know what biscuits made with skimmings of beer were supposed to look like, because they'd been making them with their mother for years.

We fell in love with the gentle, simple beauty of Coggeshall Farm and all it contained that we love:

Smells of woodsmoke and apples cooking at the hearthside...

Bunches of fleecy sheep "baa-ing" at us...

The beauty of tools commonplace to every goodwife's skilled hands...

A tidy pantry with bowls of milk (from the farm's cows) setting to let the cream rise...

And even vintage dance manuals, as though the place could get any better...

Enchanting, in every respect.

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

We did some of the raking today.  There are at least three billion leaves on our grass, so we'll be busy next weekend too, weather permitting.  We finished the afternoon's work just as the sun was setting.

Then it was time for autumn fun.

The simple joys are always best.

Cozy, Rainy School Day

The rain began last night, turned to sleet, and then back to rain...all day long today.  Rainy days make the coziest school days, especially when there's a good book to read aloud.  Colette and Max are certainly old enough to do all their own reading, but sometimes there's a book that just begs to be shared together.  Max's curriculum called for him to read The Magician's Nephew (C.S. Lewis) and analyze its worldview.  Uh...excuse me...pass that book over here!  Colette even paused in her reading of Beowulf (and she was only too glad to do so) to listen.

Max kept cozy with a quilt and his curriculum guide, Ticonderoga scribbling away as I read.

The Magician's Nephew  is pefect for an animated read aloud.  It's full of lines like, "Then Jadis spoke; not very loud, but there was something in her voice that made the whole room quiver."  I do all the voices.

The trick to doing voices is quickly skimming ahead whenever you see quotation marks coming.  Figure out who is speaking and how they are speaking: mournfully, quietly, sarcastically.  Do they shriek?...cry?...thunder?  You know you've entered into Advanced Voices when you can do young, old, male, and female in Scottish brogue.

Some of our favorite family read alouds through the years include:
--The Little House Books (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
--The Five Children and It (E. Nesbit)
--Henry Huggins series (Beverly Cleary)
--Tales from the Old Squire's Farm (C.A. Stephens)
--Duncan's War/King's Arrow/Rebel's Keep (Douglas Bond)
--The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
--The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
--Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
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