A Recipe for Rituals

‘Tis the season for them.
Most folks think that home-school families are always at home.  Truth is – We’re usually going in so many different directions that during this time of year I find myself trying to schedule-in our beloved
Christmas rituals.
via Design Sponge
Dear readers, this is the reason for my long stretches between posts lately.  Junior year of high school is - junior year of high school!  With the semester behind us we now take a month off and the multiple-choice questions become…
1. Will you be home for dinner?
2. How are you getting there?
3. Do you have your wallet, your phone, a house key?
1. What are we having for dinner?
2. Would you be more comfortable with my sister or my best friend driving me?
3. Can I borrow $10 and if you don’t have that, can I borrow your debit card?
4. What are we having for dinner again?
These questions & reassuring messages are family rituals that are more like emotional security blankets that we wrap ourselves up in.
Photo Lisa Porter
We need that.
Photo Lisa Porter
Rituals that we do year after year become traditions.
We need traditions.
Photo Lisa Porter
  However, this year has been different.  This Christmas I’ve found myself searching around the house for my “tiny tots with their eyes all aglow” – They’re nowhere to be found.  Good news is, they’re working & having fun with friends, and not wandering.
Photo Taylor Porter
I’m actually the one whose been wandering & really missing the traditional “guideposts” that in all the years past have made room for our rituals.
But here’s a bit of good news I found them!  The guideposts that is. 
The new improved multiple sets of “guiding lights” complete with a strong connector!
When one light or (in this post) two eventually go out the others remain lighted!
  Over the weekend MR. put the music on, started a roaring fire, poured cocktails, and ordered dinner in. Gracie & I decorated the tree & the Christmas lights were finally plugged in.  And guess what - When the kids strolled in late that night, their eyes were all aglow!
Photo Lisa Porter

Slowly but surely a sense of balance is beginning to emerge around here.  My heart is more open and grateful and the days we once called common, we now call holy.  I’ve finally stopped wandering long enough to begin to embrace & cherish some new rituals.
  We have come to greatly appreciate our rare family dinners where laughter is the guest of honor.  Contentment has also arrived and the house is aglow with the spirit of Christmas.
One ritual that we all show up for –
Christmas Morning Homemade Orange Glazed Cinnamon Rolls!
Good Morning from PorterRanch, photo Lisa Porter
My dear friend Tamara Matthews Stephenson who authors the noteworthy blog, Nest, has added my recipe to her Christmas morning post & to her family’s Christmas morning ritual.  I’m blushing Tamara!
I urge you to stop by Nest for all the goodness that Tamara serves up to her readers every morning!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays dear friends. 
I’m preheating my oven & looking forward to spending more time with you too!


That’s a Wrap!

TumblrOr is it a scarf?
An oversized scarf is so versatile.
The perfect solution for those of us who are hot one minute & cold the next!
I used to grab a coat every time I left the house but just as quickly as I got in the car and buckled up for safety, I unbuckled and got back out! 
Can you say hot flash in a straight-jacket!?!
Lately, though, Mother Nature has been gentle on the Bluegrass.
I’ve still been able to wear a few classic blazers passed this way by my stylish mother-in-law paired with my favorite cashmere scarves that feel like a warm hug from my mom.  Grab some driving gloves in the morning and I’m good to go! 
  Oh to be young again!
Stockholm Street Style
I have to tell you though – well, maybe I don’t have to tell you - I seem to be slow to catch on to these things – my favorite combination this season is a wrap or long relaxed sweater & a scarf!  It’s a formula that is casual and modern, but trendy? Not so much.
via google images
Like I said, a beautiful long scarf can be so versatile.  Use it as a blanket on long commutes or pass it to a friend who suddenly catches a chill.
Been there.  So thankful.
           Tumblr Tumblr
It’s good to know that classic silk scarves never go out of style. 
Silk Twill Hermes ScarfHermès
Always thinking about my dear friends & family out in SoCal. 
May the Santa Anna’s calm your sails soon!
This is for you all. 
A fashion short, featuring the legendary Hermès scarf.


Babies, Blueberries & Brambles

A Country Farmhouse
A visit to
A Country Farmhouseget’s me every time.
First Blueberry Harvest at A Country Farmhouse
All it takes is a sweet little hand to pull me aside to give me those old familiar pangs!
But there is also much goodness in the garden.
First Blackberry Harvest at A Country Farmhouse
A recent visit with Catherine at A Country Farmhouse  yielded a heavenly harvest of berries, the privilege of sharing her beautiful photographs & a great opportunity for me to share my recipe for
Blackberry Syrup Liqueur
Blackberry & Brandy Liqueur Over Ice Cream
Picking blueberries and picking blackberries can be two very different experiences.
Be prepared!
Soft and squishy blackberries are hiding in brambles.
Brambles come with these!
brambleSo I would go with this!
via johnson-johnson-history-on-the-web
It’s sooooo worth it though!
  • 1 1/2 pints blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons or 3 or 4 of your favorite brandy
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  1. Pick over the berries and reserve 1 cup of the smallest and most attractive. Muddle by hand or in a food processor, puree the remaining 2 cups berries with the brandy, orange juice, and honey. Transfer the mixture to a sieve set over a medium bowl. Press the puree through the sieve and discard the seeds.
  2. Just before serving, stir in the reserved whole berries.
  3. Makes about 2 cups of syrup.
  4. Serve over vanilla ice cream or custard.
purple by david Prince
Tonight I’ll use our favorite Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream but just in case you’re somewhere that’s still nice and warm, here ya go!


  • ⅔ cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, At Room Temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 2-½ Tablespoons Heavy Cream, Plus Enough Skim Milk To Equal 1 2/3 Cups Liquid
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
        In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the flour and salt and set aside.
        Bring the 1 2/3 cups of heavy cream and skim milk mixture to a simmer in a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until the custard thickens slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Do not let the mixture boil or you will have scrambled eggs.
        Pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly. Add the remaining 1 cup of cream and the vanilla. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled or overnight. I prefer to let mine chill overnight.
        Stir the chilled custard mixture and then freeze in your ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s directions. This ice cream is delicious when it is at the soft-serve stage. You can also freeze the ice cream for a firmer texture.

      • purple by david Prince

    I urge you to curl up in your favorite spot and have a nice long visit at the farmhouse.  She’s already harvesting pears!
    A Country FarmhouseThank you Mike & Catherine for sharing the berries, the babies, and your bountiful country life.
    Y’all have a wonderful weekend!
    xo Lisa


    Messages that move me.

    Maybe you're a young woman with big dreams.
    Maybe you're a woman in need of support.
    Maybe you're a woman who believes in miracles.
    I’ve been reading many of your stories today and I’m amazed!
    Good intentions. 

    Old dreams resurrecting. 

    Unforeseen circumstances. 

    Magical moments. 

    Bungled efforts.

    Joyous occasions. 

    New desires wooing. 

    Missed opportunities. 

    Whims of fate and a few

    detours along the way.

    My gosh!  It takes courage to excavate a new plan or a buried dream and tell us all about it! 

    At each stage of life, we experience both laughter and tears. Each one of these experiences creates another important layer of who we are.  I tend to equate more layers with more lines on my face, more white hair on my head, more wisdom and more to share.

    I also constantly remind myself to keep striving, learning, yearning and doing because I know what it feels like to reach even the smallest milestone.  That moment deep down inside when I own my unique point of view and I realize how priceless it is.
    Today, whether you’re sitting at your computer or sitting in the carpool line, expect good things and know that someone is listening to you and talking to you and encouraging you.
    Today you inspired me to share my own point of view. 
    Thank you for sharing yours.
    Now I hope you’ll take a moment to relax for a while and just breathe.
    Enjoy these 3 short
    {Messages That Move Me}
    and share them with other inspiring women you know.

    xo LisaOoooooo,   you must also visit this spiritual, inspiring & stylish friend of mine {here} as she’s linking to a fabulous group of bloggers who are discussing their many different philosophies on living out hopes & dreams!


    Grab a leash!

    There are rainy, damp days when it’s the last  thing I  want to do,
    and the only thing she wants to do.
    via brown dress with white dots tumblr
    Go for a walk!
    So I grab my favorite trench & umbrella and she grabs her leash & collar and off we go!
    Sounds all civilized I know.
    Trust me it’s not.  She has me all twisted like this before we step out of the house!
    via Tumblr
    Once we’re outdoors, she behaves!
    There are others watching you know.
    The little ones are often scooped up when she comes barreling down the sidewalk.
    image source dust jacket attic via Matchbook
    The brave little ones show no fear.
    Problem is, she doesn’t like loud or fidgety little anythings.
    She does love the big guys though. 
    via jacqueline page
    She thinks they’re all horses!
    Monty takes Tyler for a ride.
    She is so very kind and mothering and will let us know if anyone is loose or lost.
    Really, she whines and paces.
    Last summer she befriended a young kitty.  They were besties until Mean Old MR. rolled up the “Welcome. We feed hungry kitties” mat!
    via Sturbridge Yankee Workshop
    Here is a nice Mr. 
    Maybe he’s going to post a picture of that little guy to the www.  I bet he’ll be back home with his master before you know it!
    This MR. man looks nice too.
    Seeee how he’s welcoming that sweet little Pug into his house?
    via the girl with the green quilt tumblr
    This one knows she's not going far…
    via bippityboppityboo tumblr
    Walks are for exercise and for socializing right!
    via jared thomas
    Then there are those who prefer to ride.
    via the pursuit aesthetic tumblr
    Ahhhh, meet Mr. Happy Go Lucky!
    Happy Go Lucky
    What do you want to bet his motto is…
    via Typeographer Oriol Miro
    Hey everyone sitting around the nice roaring fire!
    We’re home!
    That was great Mom.  Thanks.
    Here are a couple of wonderful books to give as gifts or enjoy by the fire when you and your best friend come in from a walk.
                                                           good dog, stayThe Other End Of The Leash
    Before I close…
    Get to know Monty the horse and Tyler the dog in a moving story below…
    article-1231669-075B1CF9000005DC-220_468x581 via daily mail UK
    It’s a beautiful story.  A fine father tells how writing about his only daughter's adventures with her horse Monty and dog Tyler has helped him keep her memory alive...
    Read more about them
    xo Lisa

    Be a friend on Face Book at The Gracie Porter Collection 
    This blog post was written very very late at night in honor of all dogs and The Gracie Porter Collection.
    It’s a great place for all good blog dogs to come, sit & stay!