hey good lookin’

Our move is on hold until next spring and it feels good to know that. Thinking of leaving our home has been a wild journey for me and I am thankful to have a bit more time to get used to the change. And to simplify, clean out, pass on. When we say we are moving almost everyone says something like you guys need more space, eh? Actually, the house we are moving to is smaller than the one we are in. Yep. More space outside, less space inside. It feels really right for us.


Yesterday, I got a wild hair to clean out a few cabinets and closets. I do love a good purge, getting honest about what we need. I discovered our recipe box, the one we used to reference many times a week but that had been stashed after Ruby unorganized the contents in one fun flip last winter.

As much as I love to google recipes, I am a big fan of a recipe card filed away with floury thumb prints. This box contains the recipes my husband wrote from memory on scrap pieces of paper after working in an old school Italian restaurant, stained old cards from when I first go into cooking, when I was vegetarian. It holds Bratton family staples like Hot Chicken Salad, Aunt Sally’s Bread and Boiled Raisin Cake.

When my grandma died, I, and her other five granddaughters, each received a stash of her recipe cards. My mom facilitated this and included a beautiful note:

Traci, Wendi, Melissa, Elise, Jessie and Nici, These are for you to enjoy. I hope you have many fond memories over the years testing Grandma’s repertoire of tasty delights! Keep them in a special place in you your heart and pass then on to your children someday. These are given to you with much love from your Grandma, passed on by me.


I have 64 recipe cards. And I am going to begin, today, making these recipes with my kids who never met my grandma, I will write about it here. This afternoon, we make sugar cookies, a recipe from my Great Aunt Lois, my grandma’s sister. I never met my Auntie Lois but her legacy and stories are innumerable. She was kind, sincere, funny and giving. She and my grandma were very close.

Sisters…I wrote about the sisters that live under my roof in this week’s mama digs. Specifically, I wrote about their evolving and deepening allegiance to each other. Most of the time it is so awesome I could split with love, sometimes their united energy creates a storm and a mess for mama to clean up. Click to read mama digs: good ideas


Auntie Lois’s sugar cookie story to come. 

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all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com

34 Responses to hey good lookin’

  1. Wow! Congratulations on postponing your move. I had imagined it would be very difficult, so good that you have more time, especially with the weather changing toward winter.

    Love the recipe card idea. How tender! I have a box I decoupaged back in college and while the cards are mostly in my writing, they’re frequently things I copied out of my mom’s and grandma’s recipe boxes (they have the originals). Passing on those familiar things is so special!

  2. Daniele says:

    love the “sisters” because my girls are about the same ages as yours, they just turned 2 and 4 a few months ago. so we are seeing the same deepening bond…deeper by the day. their allegiance to each other is something fierce…I love it. It gives me many of those WOW I am a MOM moments … yep still have them 4 years deep into this 😉

  3. Jenn says:

    “More space outside, less space inside. It feels really right for us.”
    I am so happy that you have found a place like that to call home, and thank goodness I am not alone anymore in this type of thinking. All I want is a simple home surrounded by beauty and wonder for my family to play and learn.
    Have a great week!

  4. trbholt says:

    via mamalode.com:

    What a lovely post Burb! It is so wonderful for M & R to have such closeness….yes they can push each others buttons….but just watch if someone else dares to offend their sister…they indeed will guard each others back like a hawk!

    Love to all! xoxo
    ps…this photo is my new screen saver!

  5. Jenn says:

    via mamalode.com:

    Ah, I will never know a sister, but how you describe it, is how I imagine it would be. Those two sweethearts of yours are simply adorable.

  6. Jaim says:

    via mamalode.com:

    My girls are the same way. It has been a bit of an adjustment with the older going off to school but when she gets home…watch out. They make up for the whole day in about 25 minutes and the ideas are endless. So lovely to read about it in other sisters.

    We have had the stomach flu around these parts so glad that it was just food poisoning so the rest of you are in the clear. Hope Andy’s feeling better soon


  7. Jennifer says:

    via mamalode.com:

    I have the most precious little snapshot of my oldest two sitting together in a swing and around your girls age. Riley had his arms around Grace and they had the biggest smiles pasted on their faces!

    I hold it even closer (keep it on my bedside table and look at it every night!) now that they are at the age where they fight almost moment. But one remarkable thing is that they defend each other too…..they have each others back. For that I am eternally grateful.

  8. Annie says:

    via mamalode.com:

    This is SOOO what I want for my kids. Because this is what I have with my sisters.

  9. I have my great grandma’s recipe box. I wanted to try some of her recipes, but most of them call for lard or scalded milk and provide no baking temp or time. Ha, and she was one of the best cooks ever! Makes me feel like a dork for following such *detailed* recipes!

    I loved your piece about sisters. I have a one-year-old and a two-year-old and I love to watch their bond strengthen.

  10. We recently moved into a smaller house too. But…a mile from town on 3 acres. Definitely feels right, and nice to clear out the crap to barebones of what we truly need. That feels sooooo good.

    Love that you will go through and make each of your grandma’s recipes, so awesome.

  11. TRB Holt says:

    Made me cry….just like email will never replace a hand written letter or thank you card, an ipad will never replace a hand-held, page turning book…online recipes will NEVER replace a recipe card written by a loved on….NEVER…so glad you know this….xoxo

  12. debbiedas says:

    I inherited all of my grandma’s recipes. No one else wanted them. Can you BELIEVE that??? I am the cook and baker in our family so I guess they though it just made sense.

    We live in a 900 square foot house and while our property isn’t huge…it’s much bigger than our house and like you, it works for us. People keep asking us when we’ll move…and we tell them, we won’t Unless we find land in the country, we will live and learn at home in our small space surrounded by all the things we love. This is home.
    So nice to have found you. <3

  13. Brandi says:

    I LOVE the bond your girlies have! As my son’s grow, I hope that they have a great friendship too!

  14. I have both my grandma Lyle’s and my mother’s recipe boxes. And I love having them. And having hand-written recipes mom scribbled and pinned to her fridge. Both women had similar grey containers with so many loved recipes. I feel privileged to have both the containers, but more the women in my lives.

    I was thinking today of pulling out my grandma’s chocolate cake and surprising my dad with it this weekend. He has a big 30th celebration this weekend and I’m sure his mom’s cake would bring a tear to his eye.

    Seriously enjoyed the story about your girls. Love how you preserve the “now” so well.


  15. Melissa says:

    I love your grandmother’s recipe cards and am so glad you are embarking upon this project/journey with your girls–got all teary just thinking about it!

    Glad you are postponing the move, too . . . at least for me, moves are huge, huge beasts. We moved March 1 and it’s been such a wild, wonderful ride since then but phew.

    Now I’m off to read your piece . . .xo

  16. gelka says:

    My grandma’s grandma’s grandma’s brown sugar cookie recipe is truly a “family heirloom.”

    P.S. LOVE M’s sweater in that last picture. GORGEOUS!

  17. We also moved to a smaller house but more outside space. The money others would spend on renovating the house we have spent on the garden and a ‘forest for future’. And I have bits of all the family here, plants moved from garden to garden. I hope they stay here for ever!

  18. Alison,

    One reason I am excited for the move to be next spring is that I can divide all my plants and bring them with! When we moved into this house, our yard was dirt and two juniper bushes. Hadn’t been watered in 10 years! Anyway, I love the idea of bringing bits of this space to our new space. Plants are so generous that way.

  19. Zoe says:

    I loved your Mama Digs column. That is what I want for my girls! My Ruby is almost 4, and Violet is only 13 months old, so there is a bigger age gap than your girls, but I am already seeing their bond grow stronger daily. Vi is mesmerized by her sister and starting to mimic almost everything she does. For her part, Ruby is a mother hen who offers kisses and cuddles for booboos and sad faces. Throw 7 year old big brother Cyrus into the mix, who thinks Violet hung the moon (while he loves Ruby, she’s at that annoying little sister stage), then there is a lot of sibling love in our house and I am so excited to watch it bloom.

  20. Mandy says:

    That first photo is amazing!

    Happy Tuesday :)

  21. Evelyn says:

    wow, is that first pic for real? The things I miss living in SoCal…

  22. Adriana Iris says:

    lovely and look forward on your post bout the recipes

  23. stephanie says:

    recipe cards written in grandmother’s handwriting are unlike any other. beautiful.

  24. Susan says:

    via mamalode.com:

    Lovely to see the bond. I didn’t have that with either of my siblings, although my brother and sister had it. They were three years apart, but they seemed to speak a language of their own, like twins. The phrase “oil and water” only begins to describe the way my sister and I interact. You can put us in a jar and shake us til your arm falls off and we still won’t blend. It’s just not in our natures.

    And yet. I would walk through fire for my sister. I would lie down in traffic, I would step in front of a bullet. And I know she would do the same for me. It is very strange to be so different, so antagonistic and yet so fiercely protective at the same time.

    Your daughters’ relationship is beautiful, and I admire your ability as a mom to stand back and observe and let it belong to them.

  25. via mamalode.com:

    Love this, Susan. So beautifully articulated..the complexity and richness in sibling relationships. No two are alike.

  26. via mamalode.com:

    p.s. Dear Andy Cline, I really hope you feel better SOON! Sincerely, your pal, Susan

  27. via mamalode.com:

    OH my! I so hear you! I have twins and a little sis that is only 17 months younger! There are tons and tons of great ideas around here!! And yes, it is uncomfortable when the table turn and also quite exciting… Hard to explain to someone who never experienced it.. but wow! As an only child, I can only think about how lucky they are to have each other!

  28. Lisa says:

    via mamalode.com:

    THEY are in it for life. YOU are just in for it.

  29. Tina says:

    via mamalode.com:

    This utterly and completely sums up how I feel about my girls and their relationship to a tee! I hope you won’t mind me linking to this post on my blog when I write a post tomorrow!

  30. I was just passing by and thought id stop to say hello. I’m checking new blogs today, and i hope you folks are enjoying the fall weather like we are having here in Pennsylvania. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon county.

  31. Angie says:

    I just love the recipe idea, very, very sweet. I’m sure you will make many special memories there.

    Angie from Ohio

  32. Suzanne says:

    My grandma had those same recipe cards!!! :-)

  33. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

  34. jaina says:

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