Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  
We at OFL hope you have a blessed Christmas:)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Entertaining: Festive Spreads

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Every year I'm determined to write more in December, but between baking, shopping and decorating, I'm busy and distracted so writing takes a back seat. However, I might be on a roll with the article I wrote on Friday. I always bake quick breads for the holidays, and my husband has been asking me to make spreads to use with them. I did some experimenting, looked through my recipes and came up with some delicious and easy spreads to use with bread, muffins, waffles and pancakes. You'll find the recipes here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Festive-Spreads.html

I hope your Christmas shopping, baking and decorating is going well:)  Remember, if you need more recipes, decorating ideas, crafts or entertaining tips visit the holiday section on OFL where all of our Christmas articles are indexed: http://oldfashionedliving.com/holidays/main.html

I'll be back later in the week:)  Brenda

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Turkey Dinner Leftovers

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely.  We had a fun day with our grandson on his first Thanksgiving.  He especially enjoyed the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes.  A bit more ended up on the floor than in his mouth, but he cleaned up and so did the floor:)

My last article for November has recipes that use leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. I sometimes make extra just so I'll have leftovers for baking!  You'll find the article here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Thanksgiving-Leftovers.html

~Enjoy, Brenda

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Traditions and Our Gratitude

All of us at Old Fashioned Living wish you a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving. We are always thankful for our readers, especially those who have been with us since we were a tiny website with visions of like minded people sharing recipes, family traditions, holiday fun and our love of afternoon tea.  Thank you for visiting and sharing with us for all of these years. I've always said that OFL visitors and readers are the best:)

While I have been concentrating mostly on cooking articles lately, I did want to share ideas on creating a Thanksgiving family tradition of expressing gratitude.  Each family is made up of people with unique personalities. Finding a way to express thankfulness is sometimes a challenge, but it can also be an adventure when we use a little creativity.  The article is here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Thanksgiving-Family-Traditions.html  I hope you will enjoy it:)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Dressing, Giblets and Gravy

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Yesterday I posted about my article with tips on roasting turkey. Today I'm sharing tidbits and recipes for dressing and gravy plus tips on using that little packet of giblets that usually comes inside the turkey. Interestingly, I read that those packets don't necessarily contain the organs that came out of that particular turkey.  They are removed, cleaned and packaged, then put back in the cavity of random turkeys before they are sent off to the store. In the scheme of things this really doesn't matter, but I found it interesting:)  There are a few ways the giblets and neck can be made use of while cooking a holiday dinner. 

You'll find the tips and recipes here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Stuffing-Giblets-and-Gravy.html  

Do you need more Thanksgiving help? I've written many articles over the years with recipes for stuffing, bread, fresh cranberry sauce and more.  The OFL holiday index lists them all here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/holidays/main.html  I often refer to it myself when I have misplaced a favorite recipe:)

~Enjoy, Brenda

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Holiday Turkey Tips

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. ~Albert Schweitzer

To start the week off I have an article with the ins and outs of roasting turkey. While I know grilling and frying the turkey is all the rage now, I still love a good old fashioned roasted turkey.  It's a simple process that even the newest cook can handle with ease.  However, I do remember cooking my first turkey upside down which is a classic mistake, though the white meat was very moist!  

I share some turkey do and don'ts plus tips on seasoning with two methods to chose from, and suggestions for herbs that work well with turkey. You can read the article here:

~Enjoy, Brenda

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Entertaining: How to Involve Teenagers

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. ~John Boswell

It's November and Thanksgiving is creeping up on those of us in the U.S., with Christmas just around the corner.  As I mulled over topics I haven't covered on OFL during previous holiday seasons I started thinking of teenagers, and their tendency to gravitate towards each other and their electronic devices instead of interacting with family members.  I now have three teenagers who are 13, 19 and 20, so I have had a lot of experience with forcing, or rather, encouraging their involvement over the years:)  I wrote an article with tips that I think will help involve them during family gatherings from now until the new year.  You'll find it here:


~Enjoy, Brenda

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quick and Easy Fall Treats

Fall brings the holiday season, full of celebrations, potlucks and family gatherings.  Some times we have time for planning, and fixing our best dishes, but other times life interferes or dates get confused and time runs out. I have several fun treats that can be used for just about any fall occasion when you need something quick and easy.  The recipes are here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Fall-Treats.html

I also wanted to share this picture of my grandson admiring his first pumpkin:)

~Enjoy, Brenda

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Freezing Herbs for Winter Meals

I've been growing herbs for about twenty years now, and I've experimented with most of the preservation methods along the way.   By far, freezing culinary herbs to using during the winter has been the most successful.  Friday, I wrote an article going over the different freezing methods, which herbs freeze best, and I share recipes for herb blends.  The article is here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Freezing-Herbs.html

~Enjoy, Brenda

Late Fall Garden Tidbits

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools. ~Henry Beston

Now is the time for those late fall garden and yard chores before the snow flies in Northern Climates.  Whether it's preparing the vegetable garden for spring, pulling bulbs, planting, mulching or watering, this is the time to do it all while the days are crisp, cool and sunny.   I never get done quite what I want to, but I make a priority list and go from there.  I wrote an article with tips here http://oldfashionedliving.com/Fall-Garden-Chores.html  that should give you ideas for your own priority list.

~Enjoy, Brenda

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Taste of Fall: Sweet Potatoes

Let's try this post again...it disappeared into cyberspace last night:(  Our next featured fall vegetable is the sweet potato.  I did a little research on the yam vs. the sweet potato plus I share tips on how to use this sweet vegetable in place of other fall vegetables.  The sweet potato is available year round, but without a doubt it's a favorite during the fall.  Each family seems to have a sweet potato dish they serve at Thanksgiving. Some cooks serve it with a savory twist; others like enhancing the sweet flavor.  I share a recipe that has four variations of baked stuffed sweet potatoes.  You can serve one variation or all four!
The article is here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Taste-of-Fall-Sweet-Potatoes.html

~Enjoy, Brenda

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Taste of Fall: Fruit Muffins

This weekend was rainy at times, but otherwise is was perfect fall weather. It was a bit windy, but mostly sunny and the temperatures were in the 60's, which is perfect for yard work.  I love fall, and Michigan is beautiful this time of year with the crisp scents of fall, and the trees turning color. It actually makes fall chores enjoyable because to be outside is to enjoy the colors and the smells of autumn. 

I did take time out last week to have a muffin baking day.  Everyone in our family loves muffins, so I can't just make one dozen.  I figured out a way to make three types of muffins using the same topping, and they bake in about 15 minutes for each batch, so it's not an all day affair.  I jotted down the recipes for the muffins and the topping to share here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Taste-of-Fall--h--Muffins.html .

These are perfect for breakfast, or to send to work and school.   

~Enjoy,  Brenda

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Taste of Fall: Baking With Pumpkin

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
~Emily Dickinson

Though we are entering October the days are still warm, and the weather is beautiful.  We have several festivals going on near us-- one an art festival, and the other a celebration of the rural town we live in complete with a parade, crafts, a tractor pull and much more. I love both events, though they couldn't be more different.  One is considered "sophisticated" and visited by people from around the country.  The other is the local folk dressed in red, cheering on the marching band, the Red Hat ladies, our firemen, our veterans and the police department.  I love both for different reasons, but this year I can't wait to see my daughter in her first parade with the marching band. 

Even with the hustle and bustle of festivals this fall, I wrote a new article with tips and recipes on using fresh pumpkin in your baking.  There is plenty of time to grab a few pie pumpkins to make your own puree, which is really easy.  You'll find the article here:

I hope you all are enjoying the fall days and have your own festivals to attend:)


A Taste of Fall: Baking With Apples

Picking apples in the fall is a family activity that even teenagers can get behind. Who can resist a fresh, crisp apple just picked off the tree?  Every fall I bring out my favorite baking recipes and heat up the oven. This year I needed a recipe for a potluck and came up with a new one by piecing together several recipes. It turned out to be a keeper, and a huge hit. I've included this recipe (Caramel Apple Oatmeal Bars) and several more plus tips on which apples work best for baking in a new article here:

I hope you and your family are enjoying the cool fall days!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall in the Garden and Orchard

A tangerine and russet cascade
Of kaleidoscopic leaves
Creates a tapestry of autumn magic
Upon the emerald carpet of fading summer.
~Judith A. Lindber

Yesterday was apple orchard day at our house and we had a wonderful time. We followed up with homemade pizza and it was the perfect cool, crisp afternoon for walking outside, and heating up the oven. I came home with Gala apples that are pefect for eating, and later I'll stock up on baking apples.  I think this year I'll try a couple of pies or cakes with caramel and apples.

The cool weather is a reminder that Fall is officially here and the garden season is winding down for most of us. I wrote an article last week for OFL with tips on ending your garden season on the right note. You'll find the garden tips here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Fall-in-the-Garden.html

Next up is a series of articles with A Taste of Fall theme that I think everyone will enjoy.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Taste of Summer: Peaches

Peaches are a delicious summer fruit whether you grow your own, or pick them up for .99 cents a pound as I have been the last month or so. They are juicy and fragrant when ripe, and can be cooked or eaten fresh as a sweet or savory treat. 

Continuing our A Taste of Summer series on OFL, I share recipes and tips on peaches here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Peaches.html 

I hope you all are having a lovely Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Taste of Summer: Blueberries

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

Many of you have children who have started school already; my daughter starts the day after Labor Day. We've been discussing lunches and she wants to bring hers this year. She isn't a fan of traditional sandwiches but loves granola bars, fruit and some raw vegetables. We decided a combination of all three would make a great lunch for her. 

Blueberries, today's featured A Taste of Summer fruit, are a perfect addition to lunches. Add them to salads, mix with other fruits, or serve them alone. The article I wrote for OFL has recipes and more tips on serving fresh blueberries here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Blueberries.html


Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Taste of Summer: Squash

Several years ago we visited my parents and they gave us this large scalloped squash. I figured it would be too large to saute, but we took it home with the rest of the vegetables they gave us that year. I cut it into thin slices and sauteed the squash with onion. It was delicious, despite the large size, which isn't usually the case with summer squash. My daughter was especially tickled at the size of the squash, as you can see:)

The second article I wrote for our Taste of Summer series includes tips on storing and cooking summer squash with recipes and a link to our zucchini article from a few years ago. One can never have too many squash recipes, especially zucchini!  The article is here:

I hope your harvest is coming in, and that you are enjoying the summer,


Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Taste of Summer: Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh, homegrown tomatoes are one of my favorite summer treats.  A bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on homemade bread simply can't be beat. There are hundreds of alternatives using cheese, herbs or other additions, but one ingredient that can't be replaced is the tomato.  Nothing tastes the same as a fresh tomato on a sandwich.  

I've written an article,  the first in a series I'm calling A Taste of Summer, on tomatoes. I've included simple, easy recipes and tips on choosing and storing fresh tomatoes.  I think you'll enjoy these recipes: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Fresh-Tomatoes.html

For those curious as to how my grandson is doing, I have a picture to share of my youngest daughter Emily and the newest addition to our family.  He is almost 6 months old now, and Aunt Emily is one of his favorite people. They both love summer, and laying in the grass:)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Camping Recipes

It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature. There are not hothouse blossoms that can compare in beauty and fragrance with my bouquet of wildflowers. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Some of my favorite summer memories are of camping trips we took with our children when they were small.  We cooked on the fire, played on the beach and visited many museums, Forts and historical places in Michigan since the kids were very young.  This year the price of gas has kept us home, plus my sons both work full time the entire summer which makes it harder to schedule vacation time. We're lucky we live in the country where we built a fire pit and can sit around it on cool evenings. I was thinking of our camping trips last week and put together an article on using pie irons.  Each of our kids has their favorite type of pie, and I shared the recipes here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Pie-Iron-Cooking.html .  

~Enjoy, Brenda

Monday, July 22, 2013

July Summer Garden Tips

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains... ~Diane Ackerman

June was a beautiful month with lovely, breezy days, so I won't complain about last weeks 100 degree days with high humidity.  Okay, I might have complained a little bit:)  My miniature rose is full of blooms, and seems to love the heat, but some plants don't appreciate it and need a little extra nuturing during hot, dry spells.  I wrote an article with July gardening tips, including a few vegetables seeds that can still be planted and harvested before late fall.  The article is here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/July-Flower-and-Herb-Tips.html  

Stay cool!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Summer Menu for Family and Friends

That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
And the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We've been grilling with wood instead of charcoal or gas this summer, and other than the short wait for the fire, it's been great.  I haven't had a chance to try grilling a whole chicken yet, but when I do, I'll share how it turns out.  

Last week I wrote an article with a summer menu:

Grilled Herb Pork Chops
Fresh Corn Salad
Red Skin Potato Salad
Summer Fruit Salad

The great thing about these recipes is their flexibility.  If you don't have any fresh corn, then substitute frozen or canned corn.  If you have regular potatoes instead of red skins, use those instead.  Any type of pork can be used with the marinade in the recipe, or if pork is expensive that particular week, use boneless chicken breasts.  At our house we have to be flexible because I primarily shop the sales to save money and vary the menu accordingly. I think you'll enjoy the recipes in the article.

~Happy Summer, Brenda

Friday, June 28, 2013

There is Still Time to Grow Herbs

How I would love to be transported into a scented Elizabethan garden with herbs and honeysuckles, a knot garden and roses clambering over a simple arbor. ~Rosemary Verey

This has been a busy summer and though I sowed some seeds, I didn't plant as many herbs as I wanted.  I realized other gardeners may be in the same boat, and would appreciate a little information on what can be sown in  June and July.  I put together an article here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Easy-Summer-Herbs.html

There are still a few annual herbs that have time to germinate and grow in your garden this summer, even if you're in a Northern climate.

Enjoy your weekend:)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Favorite Summer Potluck Recipes

My husband can carve a watermelon with precision and creativity. Before he became an RN, he worked in dietary at a nursing home, and always tried to make the meals for the residents special, especially on the holidays. Though he moved on to nursing, he still carves an occasional watermelon for summer parties and special family events.  The fruit varies according to what is in season at the time, and it's always a big hit. This is one of my favorite ways to serve summer fruit.

I also have a few tried and true potluck recipes that have remained keepers in our family over the years.  In this article I share a few of them, and hints for taking the dishes to potlucks.   http://oldfashionedliving.com/Easy-Summer-Potluck-Dishes.html .

I hope your summer gatherings are rain free this year:)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Special Menu for Father's Day

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
one is roots. The other is wings. ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

Father's Day is Sunday, so I thought I'd share the picture above of my husband painting a bird house with my daughter when she was about three years old. It's hard to believe she's 13 now, and taller than I am! Instead of crafts, now they take off to local art festivals or go fishing when I'm busy writing. We all still do plenty of other things together, but I know those alone times with her dad are really special to her.

Over the weekend I put together a Father's Day menu that uses the grill, and the crock pot, plus the preparation can be done after breakfast to make the day a bit more relaxing.

-Garlic Lemon Grilled Chicken
-Grilled Corn on the Cob
-Brenda's Slow Cooked Calico Baked Beans

If you add a tossed salad, and watermelon for dessert you'll be all set! The article is here:

I hope you all have a wonderful Father's Day weekend:)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Beautiful Drought Tolerant Garden

What a pity flowers can utter no sound!—A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle ... oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be! ~Henry Ward Beecher

The blooms in the picture today are of my tall hibiscus. They are beautiful when in bloom, but since I planted them many years ago, I threaten each year to dig them up.  They grow at least 6 foot tall, and bloom for a short period of time.  The Japanese beetles love them to death and munch holes in the leaves for most of the garden season. Why don't I make good on my threat? Because I walk out to the flower bed when they are blooming and they brighten my day each and every time.  It doesn't matter how chewed up they become, or how dry the summer is, they bloom without fail and they are beautiful.  So, they may be too tall, and they may attract all of the wrong insects, but how could I possibly get rid of those stunning blooms?

I wrote an article for this week on creating a drought free flower garden. I've supplied lists with proper plant names and the common colors available. This tall hibiscus above is extremely drought tolerant, and just one of the colorful plants that can be used in this type of flower garden. (Just make sure you plant it in the back behind all of the other flowers!) You'll find the article here:



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Create Your Own Cottage Garden

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman

The end of May through June is one of the busiest times for our family. We have three birthdays, the end of school activities and the garden season is in full swing. Last week I wrote an article on cottage gardens, which I love. I was surprised at the history of this type of garden, and it made me love them even more. In some ways it was a combination of a cottage garden as we think of one now, and a potager or kitchen garden. They were very useful, yet charming. You'll find the article here:

I hope your week is lovely:)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day and Garden Goodness

They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I hope everyone takes a minute to reflect this Memorial Day as we gather with our family and friends. I am truly grateful to the soldiers and their families that have served and died in for our country.

The gardener in me cries out "Let's get this party started!" every May when the evenings warm, and the soil is finally ready for me to sow seeds and plants again. We are revamping two areas this year, one as a Butterfly and Hummingbird garden in a hot, sunny area, and another into a Woodland garden in a shady, moist location.  I'm transplanting, sowing seeds and purchasing a few new plants as our budget allows.  I was doing research for myself and put together an article on creating a Butterfly and Hummingbird garden to share on OFL.  I think you'll like the frugal tips, and the advice on what annuals and perennials to use without breaking the budget. The article is here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Create-A-Butterfly-Garden.html

~Enjoy the weekend:)  Brenda

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Mother's Day Menu

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

The quote above always makes me smile because I think of how I take the cupcake that fell over, the eggs with the broke yolks or the heel of the bread.  I don't remember when I started doing it, but I'm sure it was after we had children.  The funny thing is--  I truly don't care about those things, and I'm sure I'll keep doing it:) 

It's been busy at our house, but this weekend I wrote a new article with recipes and tips for a Mother's Day menu.  It's easy enough for teenagers to make on their own, or younger kids with the help of dad. Feel free to print out the article:)  It's here:  http://oldfashionedliving.com/Mothers-Day-Menu.html .

I hope everyone has a lovely Mother's Day,

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Sunday, April 28, 2013

May Gardening and Landscape Tips

It's spring fever.... You don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

I hope you all had a beautiful Spring weekend. May begins in a few days, so I've written an article with tips on nurturing and preparing the garden and landscape. I started cleaning my flower and herb beds this weekend, but came down with a cough, so I had to take a break. The first of my daffodils bloomed, which always brings a smile to my face, even while I'm coughing:) The article has tidbits on the following and more:

Bulb Care

You'll find the article here:


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Restaurant Style Soups Made Easy

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

We enjoyed a few days of Spring, and then it was gone and in its place was sleet, snow and temperatures below 40. Sigh. However it's suppose to be in the 60's next week, so maybe it will feel like Spring again:) My daffodils are popping up, but none are blooming yet. I also spotted buds on the maple tree and the lilac. I know some of you are already enjoying blooms!

The last two weeks I worked on three soup recipes in my quest to make a nice, restaurant style soup without having to use difficult recipes or expensive ingredients. The results turned out wonderful so I wrote an article with all three recipes. You'll find the article here:


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Frugal Sewing Tips from the 20's

Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Yesterday was our first warm day! It was in the 60's here in Michigan and we were actually able to open a few windows.  Lovely:)

Last week I wrote a new article with sewing tips from the 1920's.  One tip inparticular tickled me with advice to reuse "bloomers".  The article is here:

I hope you all are enjoying the Spring days!


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Sunday Brunches

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. ~W. Earl Hall 

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend.  As I write this it's snowing again in Michigan, but we still have many signs of Spring, so I'm sure the warm days are coming soon. I wrote a new article with recipes from the 1920's that are perfect for Sunday brunches.  You'll find:

-Coconut Breakfast Bread
-Oatmeal Gems
-Hominy Waffles
-Rice Griddle Cakes

I also share some tried and true tips for cooking perfect pancakes.  The article is here:

~Enjoy!  Brenda

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Old Fashioned Easter Recipes

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ~S.D. Gordon

Easter is a week away, and we've passed the first official day of Spring. If only the weather would catch up to the news that Spring is here we'd be all set:)

This week I wrote an article for OFL with recipes and tips from 1923 and 1928. These are down to earth recipes from a time in our history when homemakers did their best to be as thrifty as possible. The article is here:


To show you just how cold it's been in Michigan, here is a picture of my grandson before he had to take a ride last week:

I'm discovering all the joys of being a grandmother, including snuggling during the day with him, and then turning him over to his parents at night:) Thank you for all the congratulations and well wishes. 


Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring is Almost Here!

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing. ~Albert Laighton

Easter is right around the corner, as is the first day of Spring.  We wouldn't know that from looking outside today in Michigan, because it's alternating between sleet and snow.  Still, the warm days are coming and I wrote my first garden article of the year for OFL.   I love direct sowing flowers and herbs, but not all of them can be sown this early.  The new article gives tips on which flowers can be sown early, including sweet peas, calendula and more. You'll find the article here:


I also wanted to remind everyone of these articles on the OFL holiday section, as Easter approaches.

A Traditional Hot Cross Bun recipe with tidbits:

Natural Egg Dyes:

Decorating the Easter table:

Thrifty Tips for an inexpensive Easter celebration:

Tips from readers on their favorite Easter egg hunts:

~Enjoy,  Brenda

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Household Helps from 1920

Ireland is rich in literature that understands a soul's yearnings, and dancing that understands a happy heart. ~By Margaret Jackson

I hope you'll enjoy my newest article on OFL.  I shared some neat cooking and kitchen tips from 1920, which was an exciting time in our history in some ways, but it was also a time of recovery from World War I.  Homemakers were still as frugal as possible even with the war over. You'll find the article here: 


Last week I was a little behind on my writing, and it could be this little guy that was responsible for my lack of time:)  This is our first grandchild, Jace Alexander, who was born last week. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and he's adorable, perfect and healthy. 


Thursday, February 28, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Family Fun

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door. ~An Irish Blessing

I wrote an article for OFL today with some charming tips on throwing an old fashioned St. Patrick's Day luncheon. I found the tips in a lovely book published in 1905. I hope you will enjoy the ideas as much as I did! You'll find the article here:


I also have an article I wrote a few years back on Irish Tea Traditions. I loved writing this one so much, and researching it:)


Stay warm and dry this weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Whimsy for All Ages

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I wrote two new articles for Valentine's Day this year. One with old fashioned games for all ages, and another with decorations and menu suggestions from 1927. 

Old Fashioned Valentine's Day Games:

Valentine's Day Party Fun from 1927

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing the articles:)

I'm running behind this week or would have posted sooner. My husband's grandmother passed away this week.  She's been in a nursing home for a long time with Alzheimers, and we all thought we were prepared, but found out you can never really be ready for a loved one to leave. We'll all miss her very much.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day:)

Friday, February 8, 2013

An Old Fashioned Valentine's Day

Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. ~Zelda Fitzgerald

February is always a lovely, joy filled month at our house, not only because we love Valentine's Day, but because my anniversary is this month- we'll be married 24 years on February 18th- plus our daughter is turning 13 on February 25th, so we'll have another teenager in the family:)

Today I wanted to share links to articles I've written for Old Fashioned Living over the years for Valentine's Day. I love these articles because as I read them again I remember what was happening with the kids at that time in our lives. My favorite memories are the ones where we put on tea parties and made Valentine's Day crafts or cards for each other.  I dug out the picture below to share with you.  Emily was 2 years old and we put on a little tea party for her brothers when they got home from school.  It was the first of many tea parties:)

A Valentine's Day Tea Party:

Valentine's Day Cookies:

Valentine's Day Pizza Party:

Paper Doily Crafts:

Dainty Holiday Cookie Recipes:

Old Fashioned Valentine's Games:

Homemade Truffle Recipes:

I'll have three new articles for Valentine's Day this year, so keep an eye out for those blog posts!

Thanks, Brenda

Friday, February 1, 2013

Easy, Fun Superbowl Food

The Superbowl is Sunday, and fans around the world get together for football, family, friends and commercials...you know it's true.  We may not all be that interested in who wins the big game of the year, but between the commercials and the halftime show, people can't seem to resist tuning in to the game.

I love party food, but usually I make it for my teens and their friends, or family get togethers, which include ages 3 to 70 years old.  Buffet style meals are always a great way to go when serving kids and adults with different tastes.  The article I wrote this week includes recipes for:

-Italian Meatball Sandwiches
-Easy Pizza Pockets
-Caesar Wraps

The article is here:

~Enjoy! Brenda

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vintage Tips from the Roaring Twenties

Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. ~Frederick W. Robertson

The blog post from Friday had the wrong link for the afternoon tea recipes. I've fixed that link, but here it is again:


The link I accidentally posted was for my next article, which is part two of the household hints from 1928 and 1929. This group of tips is a fun hodgepodge of advice with a few of my notes added for clarification.  That article is here:


Sorry for the confusion, and I hope your weekend was restful,


Friday, January 25, 2013

Vintage Afternoon Tea Recipes

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts

I haven't written anything on afternoon tea in quite awhile, but as I was looking over the vintage magazines my dad gave me at Christmas, I found recipes that would be perfect for a small tea party with friends and family. I think you will enjoy the recipes as much as I have. They include:

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Pimento Paste Sandwiches
A Delicious Cake Frosting
Oatmeal Macaroons
A Quick Loaf Cake

The article is here:


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Frugal Tips and Lessons from 1928-1929

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

All week I kept thumbing through magazines from 1928, and 1929, fascinated by this time period when so much was happening in the world, such as Prohibition and the beginning of The Great Depression. The magazines have so many helpful recipes and tips that I decided to divide them into several articles, grouping together topics.

I also found the above advertisement from OXO, a company out of Great Britain and Europe that started out producing "meat extract", then later sold beef cubes, which is what the graphic is advertising. Can you imagine if we tried to give today's children a cup of beef broth instead of milk or hot chocolate before bedtime?

The tips featured in the first of the articles I'm writing the month contain advice on clothslines, removing stains and sewing.  I think you'll enjoy these, and the other tips as I share throughout the month.  The first article is here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/Vintage-Household-Hints.html


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Old Fashioned Recipes for the New Year

A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. ~John Lubbock

The new year is 15 days in, and I'm just catching up on my writing.  I love the holidays but the days are a whirlwind of activity that seem to last way past Christmas by the time we manage to visit everyone, and then recover.  Of course, having my twelve year old daughter and both my sons home always takes away from work as we watch movies, play board games and bake cookies.  That is also the reason it's my favorite holiday:)

My dad gave me some wonderful vintage magazines during our visit and I'll be sharing recipes and tips from many of them this month.   The first article revolves around meat recipes from January of 1928.  The graphic above is an advertisement I found from that year.  When I was growing up we shopped at an A & P grocery store, but that was in the 70's, not the 20's.  I'm not quite that old.  I like the advertisement because it shows the fashion of the times.

I think you'll enjoy the recipes and the tidbits on what was happening that year. You'll find it here: http://oldfashionedliving.com/1929-Meat-Recipes.html