Kitchen Tables, Recipe, and Four-book Giveaway!

Kitchen Tables ~

Almost all of us have some type of kitchen table. I picked out my first kitchen table over thirty-five years ago. As a young married woman with no children, I thought the style and color of the table itself was important. But I learned that many of the best parts of life take place at the table. THAT is it’s real value.

Kitchen table

A few years after getting married, we had our first child and then a second–both boys. It seems that in the blink of an eye, I saw that table become a hub of activity—meals, dying eggs, art projects, birthday parties, the place for little boys to empty treasures from their pockets, and the perfect place to roll all things with wheels, including those huge metal Tonka trucks that had been in the sandbox moments earlier!

Later it was our first “classroom” desk for homeschool. We had a third son, and the “little boy” wear and tear on that table soon began all over again. Once he was out of his highchair, we squeezed in one more “big” chair.

After each son began public school, that table became the center for homework and a place for their friends to join us for dinner. As you can imagine, that cheap table sustained a lot of scratches, dents, and stains, and I quietly dreamed of having a new table, a honey-colored oak one.

I received one for my twenty-fifth anniversary!


Plenty of room for all of us . . .except we were thundering toward the “college years” by then. If no one has explained how that season of life works, I caution you to plan ahead!

I had my table for six, so I had room for all of us plus one. But eventually both older sons returned with a girlfriend at their side,  and I was soon out of space at the table again. Those two precious girls became permanent family members. What a blessed problem to have! Six chairs. Seven people.

I never doubted our sons would find someone and marry, but I hadn’t expected them to want to gather for family meals on a regular basis. But, like many families, we simply made do, once again squeezing in that extra chair.

Our first grandchild arrived November 2011, and once she could sit up, we pull her highchair up to the table. The image below was taken during her second birthday party.

Lucy's second birthday

She had a little brother join the family earlier this month. And our eldest son and his wife are expecting their first child this May. Hm. Added to those things, our youngest son, age twenty, has yet to bring someone special home for a family meal. Since he’s attending school on the West Coast and we live on the East Coast, I imagine he’d have to be pretty serious about someone to bring her home, and someone special isn’t in the picture at all, but I have no doubt it will eventually happened, and we’ll need to find space at the table.

Added to those needs, my hubby and I enjoy hosting dinners. We don’t host them often, but we LOVE having friends over, and our average group is ten adults.

So I grew weary of trying to comfortably seat seven to ten people at a table made for six or dragging out a fold-up table from storage and doing what I could to make it look warm and inviting. So I special ordered an oak table for twelve. My husband calls it an Amish table because every Amish home we’ve ever been in has a twelve-to sixteen-chair oak or pine kitchen table.

This new table will hold us for several more years before we’ll have to set up a makeshift (kids) table for special occasions.

To make room for a twelve-chair table, we had to reconfigure the main floor of the house to make it fit. What was once the dining room is now a living room and the former living room & foyer are now a dinning room. It’s repurposing at its best.

But there are times, even on special occasions like Thanksgiving, when everyone can’t come, so  the table looks a bit empty when that happens (as seen below). The laptop is on the table because we Skype during special meals with our son living in California. We set up speakers so we can hear him and on he “sits with us” while we eat.



Though I never have characters point it out, kitchen tables are important throughout the Amish Vines and Orchards series. In book one, Samuel King is invited to dinner by Rhoda’s Daed (pronounced Dat), and even though Samuel knows Rhoda doesn’t want him to stay, he accepts the invitation. He uses that mealtime to try to extract an agreement from her to consider partnering with King’s Orchard. What he gets is a civil argument, but by the end of the meal, he’s also attained his goal–she agrees to come to his apple orchard and consider the offer to partner with King’s Orchard.

A huge, old kitchen table and chairs are moved to Maine in book two, and it becomes the rallying point for everyone in the new settlement, a place of harmony, hope, and planning. Love and respect grow between characters while they’re at this table.

In book three that same table becomes a dreaded place for numerous members in the new settlement. Even when they are hungry, they avoid sitting at the beloved table, and certain members begin to eat in shifts to avoid one another.

It becomes a gathering place once again in book four, but will everyone ever gather there again? (A sneak peek of Chapter One in Seasons of Tomorrow & another giveaway coming soon!)


Amish Vines and Orchards WCPL take two

For this week’s giveaway, I am giving away a set of all four books in the Amish Vines and Orchards series! But I won’t send out any of the books until I receive my author copies of the fourth book in the series, Seasons of Tomorrow. I should receive those around the middle to the end of March.

If you are reading about this giveaway anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to the website by clicking here: and then leave a comment at the bottom of the post under the words “Leave a Reply.”

The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, February 5, 2014, at noon Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen using and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post. As always, please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. Please visit my giveaway rules and FAQ page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway. There is a list of helpful tips for first-time commenters below the following recipe.

If you’d like to pre-order book four, Seasons of Tomorrow, through Amazon, you may do so by following this link

Recipes for YOUR Kitchen Table

For recipes shared on my blog, go here

For recipes shared by readers, go here

Pop-Up Pizza Casserole

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
2 1/2 cups pizza sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese slices

Popover Batter:

1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Brown ground beef. After browning, add onion, minced garlic, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Simmer 5 minutes.

Pour into 9×13 glass pan. Top with mozzarella cheese slices.

Mix all ingredients for popover batter except Parmesan cheese. Pour over cheese slices, covering completely. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

*This recipe can be found in Taste of Pinecraft, by Sherry Gore
Helpful info for first-time commenters:

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RECAP: The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, February 5, 2014, at noon Eastern Time, but I won’t send out any of the books in the series until I receive my author copies of the fourth book, Seasons of Tomorrow. I’ll aim to have the books to the winner by April 15.

Congratulations to Rhonda from Taneytown, Maryland, Amy from Salem, Virginia, and Bonnie from Fort Wayne, Indiana for winning Cara Putnam’s Shadowed by Grace!


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