What would your mother do? Make do!

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

This is a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

One thing my mom did was to make things last. She reused everything! Did you know you can iron wax paper lightly and make it all smooth and reusable again? She did. She saved bows and wrapping paper, for reuse, along with empty cardboard tubes, which she gave to us for hitting each other. We were never allowed to hit each other any other time, so when an empty cardboard tube became available, it was one of our prized possessions. We played they were swords. It was great fun.

sock darning

My mom saved holey socks, weaving a patch over the hole (darning) and even saved a burned-out light bulb for the darning form, slipping it into the sock for a work surface, to give it the form it would need to fit right, later.

When our ironing board cover wore a hole, she did not replace it. She carefully laid an old bath towel over the worn area and pinned it tightly in place underneath. It was a great cover. Other old bath towels became bedding for our ill puppy, extra door mats during sloppy weather, and tied to a mop stick, a pretty good wet mop.

I could think of so many more examples, because we were poor yet we always had something. My mom made it happen. I know she learned it from her mom, because I often saw my grandmother sort and store things inside empty cereal boxes. It was just their way, and although I have all I need and more, it is also my way. See if you can find an example in this story.

And share with us how your mom has made do! Thanks!

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What would your mother do? Pray.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Part three of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best. ❤

My mom was very, very private about her spiritual life.

I did not even know she had one, actually,

I think she always sort of believed that was between her and God.

pexels-photo-110874.jpegHowever, on the day I came to her and grumbled that the rain outdoors was keeping me from playing out there, I learned.

I remember it like yesterday. I don’t know how old I was, but I was tall enough that the washing machine top came to my shoulders.

I remember we were in the laundry room when I grumbled, and my mom was right there, hearing. This is what she said:

Kathy, I don’t ever want to hear you complaining about the rain. We need rain badly and I prayed for this rain. And now we have some and we are very happy.

Well, that got my attention.

I remember feeling uncomfortable about hearing her talk of real prayer with real answers. It really was a sort of confession of her faith, and I would have felt lots better hearing it if I’d had another grown-up with me to help me carry the heavy load of my mom’s answered prayers.

I felt too little to hear such grown-up things.

But I grew into it. And now I pray. And I never complain about the weather.

What about you? Did your mother pray? Do you know what she prayed for? Was she private about it?

What would your mother do? Encourage.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

Mom gave us baked beans for lunchMy mom encouraged me. I remember one of the first encouragements she gave me, when I really might have needed correction on any other similar occasions: I’d been playing with my food on my plate.

The menu that day was hot dogs and plain old pork ‘n’ beans, so everything I needed was at the table already.

I began stirring relish, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar into the beans on my plate. After a sample, I told my mom how good it was. She questioned me, I explained, and that’s when it happened: A new gourmet cook was born at that very lunch table. My mom exclaimed that if I could determine exactly what should go into carefully-crafted old style “baked beans”, then I must be a natural-born cook.

I felt pretty pleased with myself and I never forgot it.

Encouragement can go the other way, too, dragging a person up from a low place, where I was during third grade.

It was election time in our country and in school, we had a mock election, dividing the class into three political parties.

It was rigged. All the popular kids were in on party, the brilliant-student-types in another, and we misfits (the sickly, overweight, or otherwise unacceptable ones) were in the third party. I leave you to guess who won, but will add: I perfected the art of sickly by having one of my semi-annual cases of step throat during the vote. Yeah, we came in last. Amazing, no? We’d had such hopes. We did our best. We mined our mom’s ideas for sure-fire campaign tactics, made posters, and delivered speeches, all for naught.

After a phone call to our sick-house regarding the results, my mom so tenderly relayed them to me. I cried. She held me and asked me to try to be a big girl, to think what the other children would think of my crying…

I remember the moment so clearly, like the movie re-run it has always been in my mind. I remember feeling rebellious and sort of amazed at myself for what I said at that point.

“I don’t even care what the CRY-BABIES think!”

She did not reprimand me. She did not scold my out-lashing little self. She just held me until it blew over.

And that quiet response told me far more than any words could. She understood. She cared. She had my back.

So when did your mom encourage you? Share.

What would your mother do? Share.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

My mom would shareMy mom shared. The sixth child of a woman whose husband died young during the Great Depression, my mom knew exactly how it felt to be in need. One of her favorite sayings was, “We might need that someday.” Considering the entire course of her life, that was exactly true.

Her other saying was, “The poor people in (insert your favorite country, here) would kill to get what you’ve got.” Also probably true, more than we’d like to realize.

Given her context, what else could my mom do but share, and by example, teach her children to share.

And so it was that while she always made her children clothing, she also spent some time on a church ladies’ project of making clothing for poverty-stricken people elsewhere. In fact, the first time she ever took on the task of making a man’s long-sleeved shirt, it was for a man she’d never met in Cambodia, a country she’d never heard of.

And when a vacationing family had a wreck near our town and lost the dad, spending time in the hospital in our town, she took me shopping for the poor children who’d lost their dad. And arranged for a friend to take them in, since they were not really injured, and could enjoy his horses and pleasant estate, as a sort of therapy, until the mother could arrange their affairs.

And if there was not enough dessert to go around, my mom always pretended she was full.

What did your mom share with others? Think hard–if she was modest about it, you might have to examine clues to realize it…

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What would your mother do? Fix things!

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Starting a short series here, today, about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best. ❤

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American f...

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American flag and ball] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

So here’s mine, for today: I was tiny, but I remember the dress so vividly. My mom was shocked I ever remembered it because she said I was only two years at the time. I do remember it, though. It was my favorite dress. Why I loved it so, I am not sure. It was brown plaid, which I like a lot, to this day. It had ruffly lace and puffy sleeves. I don’t know, really, what it was.

But I loved it.

This was back in the days before perma-press, back when little girls always wore dresses, even at play. Always.

And froze our little bare legs off in winter, in case you wondered.

Anyway, I loved me a dress.

Then one day the horrible happened. I spilled my milk on my favorite dress. I was devastated. I could not begin to understand much of anything, yet, but I knew I did not like the way my favorite dress looked, now. So I did what any red-blooded American two-year-old would do.

I cried.

My mom couldn’t understand, and asked me what was wrong. When I told her about the spill, I remember what she did.

She got down, sort of sitting on her heels, at face-to-face level with me, and told me it was okay, that she could wash the dress and it would be fine again.

Those of you who’ve read here a long time, know what happened next. And you know what good it did. The rest of you can read the links. Have fun!

And share with us your story: What did you mess up, in your childhood, that your mom knew how to fix? Aren’t moms great!

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Make a soup from that poor day-old salad. You'll love a warm-up with an un-cold salad! :)

Sad Salad Soup

I was telling a bunch of friends about this soup I made three nights ago. I wanted a health-giving snack just at bedtime. Not fruitcake! (Well, I really did want fruitcake—sighs!) There was a day-old salad in the fridge, but you know how arctic it’s been around here, lately. I did not want something cold to eat to comfort me to bed; I was already cold.

Then I thought of it.

Long ago, when one of my sons married, we had grilled chicken breast and a salad bar for the rehearsal dinner. Not as many family members made it to the dinner as had been planned and we had bags and bags of mixed greens left over, along with all the sliced and chopped veggies that usually occur on a salad bar. Plus the chicken. Lots of it.

So I decided to try something I’d read about somewhere, long ago:

Sad Salad Soup.

Turn your cold old salad into a lovely hot lunch!It is a British thing, I think I remember, and not really so very complicated. You just cook your salad and it becomes a lovely, warm meal.

So I mixed all those bags of salad and dishes of chopped veggies and then added the grilled chicken, which I had cubed, and a lot of water and a bit of seasoning, and ended up with 15 quarts of really amazing soup.

Which I then canned.

We loved it! The kids loved it! I could not believe it! Fifteen times, in the dead of winter, we had this lovely homemade soup for lunch. It was such a joy!

So, the other night, I mixed that sad salad with a bit of chicken broth I had, and added onion, a dab of mushrooms, and some herbs and spices and simmered it until all was soft and I was shocked at how good it smelled and tasted. How warm it was! How comforting and filling! How health-giving!

So let me tell you what it’s like, so you will believe me.

You know how carrots, beans, corn, etc., are when they are in soup or cooked alone. You may not know cooked lettuce will pass for cooked cabbage in a soup—milder, but the same idea. Cooked radishes turn out a lot like very mild cooked turnips. My salad that night also had celery in it. That was a great addition.

You probably can guess that this is not going to be a really real recipe. It’s a chance for you to be creative! Just toss the salad into a pot, add liquid, and simmer.

But I can tell you what I added to make it marvelous: I browned some onions and mushrooms in butter, a while, before I began, which I am sure added to the flavor. I am really fond of cumin, so I dosed it with that, plus a goodly amount of powdered cayenne and black pepper. Did I toss in a dried basil leaf? I think so… I almost forgot to add salt. Do use a bit of salt.

You can see, I am sure, how the options are endless. If I’d had some cauliflower and broccoli, I’d have added that, too. If I’d had left over cooked green beans, they’d have gone in, along with their broth. I actually had saved the broth from some creamed corn, for such a time as this, and it was a perfect addition.

In the end, I created two servings of very lovely soup, which I ate all gone!

I am so sorry I did not get a photo of it for you! I was thinking with my tummy that night! And I was cold!

Warm up a cold day by turning your salad into a soup!However, as I said, I shared this experience with some friends and one of them had some lettuce that had gotten way too cold in the car after shopping. (It’s cold out there, folks!) So we discussed it and she made her soup (which her children loved—it cannot be coincidence!) and sent me a photo of HER soup. Not only that, but she graciously gave me total free permission to give you a peek at her soup! I am so thankful, but she is thankful, too, at being able to save that poor frost-bitten bag of salad. So, the soup you see on this post is hers, not mine. (Thank you, Heather!) And she ingeniously added a side of udon. Mmm!

If I could throw a soup together after only reading about it, and if she could do the same thing after only hearing about it, I KNOW you can do this, too!

It is so fun!

Have some fun!

And share with us how yours turns out!

Rosemary Pound Cake Recipe photo

My Big, Beautiful, Rosemary Pound Cake!

It’s finally happened. I’ve let myself get talked into sharing this amazing recipe I only had in my head.

I had the rudiments of it on paper, but it was inadequate. You know. Lots of things I did differently than the person who shared her own version of it. Lots of changes I made, if I remembered. Lots of special things I made sure of, that no one could have known by reading the recipe.

Rosemary and me…

Cozy up with something warm to drink and let me tell you all about it!

Is rosemary the world’s most favored herb? I don’t know; maybe not. However, it is one of my faves, and in my cooking adventures it shines like a star. I love it so much, I grow my own so never to be without.

If you were to visit my herb gardens, you’d notice two robust rosmarinus bushes (alba and sativa) both in easy reach. I like to think they are hefty branches to guard the doors to my kitchen, but really they mostly supervise the frolics of the latest kittens.

They say the size of a rosemary bush carries great significance. Supposedly it indicates the strength of the woman in her home.

I’m not sure about that, either.

I have landscaped around my house with the useful, herbal plants, for over 20 years. My gardens have varied from move to move. There was the glorious stand of dill in a raised bed. For my birthday, once, a son helped me set in a semi-circular hedge of 70 lavender plants. And when we spent a short time in Mississippi, I created an entire enclosed convent garden featuring a beautiful nighttime white-garden section. (That one did let a few non-herbals in for the sake of the flutter-byes.)

But the four-inch diameter twisted trunk of the rosemary right by my back door remains my favorite expression of my love for herbs: Always at hand. Shelter to cats. Exuberant. Generous. What more could an herb lover desire in a true friend?

Rosemary in the kitchen…

We eat lots of Italian food; that is an understatement, really. However, even when we cook something as simple as a pot roast, or baked chicken, a lot of rosemary goes in. It’s the natural additive, here, to the point that when my son’s friends thought the lavender cookies I had sent him smelled like pizza, he just chuckled, knowingly.

How few guess the redolent education that is inherent to owning rosemary!

Now. It’s not as though a cookie with rosemary could not be astonishing in its goodness, but today, we are going to make a cake, a simple pound cake, and we’re going to make it astonishing. So read on . . .

Rosemary in a cake?

I’ve mumbled and fumbled my way through many a delicious pound-cake recipe, including this one, and the variations I offer here I have acquired on the journey. I lost the original recipe, even, and have had to concoct this current iteration from memory and by refashioning a few I had lying around.

Funny, it turns out to be the best. I think you’ll like the results.

In my opinion, there is nothing in the kitchen that compares to creating this cake. The satisfaction is complete.

Noticing recipes for cakes with a sugar crust built in to the pan coating, I dared myself to try it. Using butter instead of shortening or oil would surely add perfection to the immaculate flavor of a fresh pound cake. Doting on its plainness, I realized it would play well with a hint of rosemary and the playwright in me took flight.

This cake is not hard, at all and it will leave you speechless.

My first attempt was not impressive. The recipe I used to build this project had faults. I do not appreciate that when it happens.

  • First, there was nothing in the recipe about the absolute importance of having all ingredients at room temperature. I’m telling you now; it’s absolutely important if you want the ingredients to mix well, and if you want a high cake with delicate crumb.
  • Next, the oven time was simply wrong. I kept checking and checking until I thought surely it was burned up, but no. I’ve corrected the time, now, realizing any cake this full of goodness would need at least 75 minutes to reach perfection. Also, I devised a method for you to know if your cake is done (toothpicks and such just do not work) and I’ll explain that soon.
  • Finally, the directions were not explicit enough and I actually made it wrong on the first try. It did make a cake, but I had a time keeping it all on the counter, at one point. (Sort of a Julia Child moment, that.) I’ve fixed it so you cannot make the mistake I made and you can thank me later.

So the first one fell just a smidgen—it came out of the oven too soon, I am sure, and there was that episode all over the counter…. It was scrumptious and everyone loved it—especially the slightly-fallen-cake-lovers—but I was not proud.

I might be a bit too proud, now.

However, this cake is a hit everywhere it goes, its lovers stealing extra pieces to take home for seconds the next day, then later confessing and offering huge compliments to get back into my good graces. So I’ll make one again, soon?

I just laugh—it’s a life!

And now is the time to make this darling, since rosemary is blooming right now and that’s the best time to harvest, so here goes!

(Oh, and you’ll need a stand mixer and a Bundt pan or other tube pan.)

That Scrumptious Pound Cake.

For the Crust. (Have ALL at room temperature):

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) (Should be almost soft enough to shed oils.)
1 cup sugar (approximately)
the leaves from two 5” sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed well, and DRIED


For the cake. Have ALL at room temperature. I’m not kidding:

A mixture of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, poured into 1-cup liquid measure with milk added to fill the cup. This mixture will be divided, later.
1 ½ cup butter, not margarine (3 sticks)
5 large eggs
3 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon soda
3 ¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the glaze (optional). Have ALL at room temperature:

1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup powered sugar


First: Prepare pan.
Slather butter thickly over all interior pan surfaces. The goal is to create a surface to which the rosemary leaves and sugar can stick. Do not ignore the hollow core part of the pan.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves randomly over the butter. They will stick pretty well if the butter is very slicky-soft.
Over that pour about 2 Tablespoons at a time of sugar into the pan and twirl it around gently, to spread sugar all over, trying to keep leaves in place. If one or two rosemary leaves dislodge, it is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of sugar and spreading until absolutely no more sugar will stick. May take even more than a cup; that is fine. Set aside in a cool place such as an unheated room, or near a window, but not the fridge.


Second: Prepare the batter. (Pre-heat oven, now, to 350 degrees.)
Milk and vinegar should be well-combined, and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, gradually, until all is incorporated, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Add eggs to butter, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Stir and divide milk/vinegar mixture, putting half into a 2-cup bowl. (The 2-cup bowl is mandatory.)

In a small dish, combine baking soda with one tablespoon of water, stirring well, then add to the ½ cup milk in bowl. Stir well. This will gradually foam up to about one-cup size or more, so watch it, being ready to place a plate under the bowl, if needed.
Add vanilla and mix well.

Beginning with the flour (!) add flour to egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time, alternating with the soda/milk mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until soda/milk is gone, continuing with the rest of the milk/vinegar mixture until all is mixed in (beginning and ending with flour!) Beat very well, until completely incorporated, after each addition.

Ease batter into prepared Bundt pan or tube pan, using a large spoon to place batter directly into bottom of pan, and not disturb sugar/rosemary coating. Place pan in middle of oven in all directions. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes.)

The test for doneness is to notice that the top of the batter will crack part-way through the baking. When the raw dough that is revealed in these cracks, begins to brown, the cake is done, especially if the cake is pulling from the sides of the pan. See photo:

Rosemary cake, showing baking step: checking for doneness.

This cake is beginning to brown inside the cracked places and to separate from the pan, indicating doneness.

Cool cake for ten minutes, in pan. Turn onto plate to finish cooling.


Mix orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar to desired consistency and serve as topping for cake, if desired.

Rosemary cake with glaze ready to eat!

You can thank me now! 🙂