Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Easy Lasagne

Yum.  : )


I'm pretty sure that I've posted this before, but I'm thinking it's been a couple of years, so it's time to be redundant.  : )

I've made the "real" Lasagne only a couple of times - you know, the one where the sauce cooks for a couple of hours, and you cook the noodles, etc., but this is my go-to.  This is very good (in our opinion) and it's just a little different in that it calls for stewed tomatoes, and then it calls for the noodles to not be cooked ahead of time (whoever thought of that was brilliant).  : )

So, here it is:

EASY LASAGNE

1.  Brown together and drain - 1 lb. ground beef (hopefully organic) and 1 large onion, chopped.

2.  Mix together and add to cooked and drained meat - 1, 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes; 1, 6 oz. can tomato paste; 1 cup water; 1 Tbsp. sugar; 2 Tbsp. parsley; 1 tsp. basil

3.  Mix together - 2 3/4 cup cottage cheese; 4 oz. Parmesan cheese; 1 Tbsp. parsley; 1 tsp. oregano

4.  Other - 8 oz. uncooked Lasagne noodles; 8 oz. Mozzarella cheese

In a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed, layer 1/2 sauce/meat mixture; 1/2 noodles; ALL of the cottage cheese mixture; remaining noodles; and remaining sauce.  Top with Mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour covered and 15 minutes uncovered.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  ENJOY!!!!!










It's a favorite of ours, hopefully it will become yours too!  Thanks for dropping by for a short visit - I ALWAYS appreciate it when you do!!!!!  : )  God bless.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Homemade Breakfast Sausage


Pretty.  : )


Yesterday after church, instead of a typical "Sunday meal", I chose to do a little brunch instead.  Mostly, because I've been wanting to try this recipe!  : )  I do not like store-bought pork sausage - it's usually way too salty, or too much of one herb or spice, and/or they can be a bit grizzly (ick).  And since I want us to eat more "real" food instead of those laden with stuff I can't even pronounce, I tried these.

And we liked them!  I have another recipe that I want to try to compare the two so if we enjoy those I'll post them at another time.  But for now, we did enjoy these.  Now that I've made them, I can see (and taste) where I'll be able to maybe experiment with the ingredients.  And making your own sausage you can make half of the meat a little spicier if your palate goes in that direction, or you can use more of one of the herbs and spices as you see fit.  

The recipe I made yesterday was, to us, just about right.  It is a mild sausage.  VERY easy to put together and I don't know about you - we cannot have pancakes, waffles, or French toast without some breakfast meat to go with.  That sweet, salty thing going on.  : )  So here is the recipe:

BREAKFAST SAUSAGE

1 lb. ground pork (try to buy organic! - I got 7 patties out of this which comes to around .90 cents each)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together (hands work best!).  Scoop into 7 even balls (the recipe says 12 mini ones) and form into patties and fry in a nonstick skillet with just a tad bit of oil.  Cook until browned on one side, flip and continue to cook until no longer pink inside (mine took maybe 20 minutes?).  Once fully cooked, remove to paper towels to drain the grease.  Serve!  : )

Frying away.  : )

The picture of the sausage is a little darker than what they really were.  : o

I hope you can give them a try!!!!

That's it.  Thanks again for dropping by.  God bless.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Mmmmm...........water without ice on it and trees with leaves on them.  : )


Well, it's been a different kind of week.  Back to the routine of a new year.  For me, routine is good - it makes me feel like I'm going somewhere.  Winging it is okay once in a while but that leaves too many loose ends to have to get back into place later.  So, now we move forward.  

The one thing that sticks out from the past week is how different three people whom I know are so very different from each other and how I ended up feeling after each one.

*the 1st person - is someone we have to walk on eggshells around, watch VERY carefully how we word things and then we still get put in our place and we're left feeling hopeless.

*the 2nd person - has been a friend for years, loving and caring, and always willing to help and is a blessing from God.

*the 3rd person - after leaving from a visit here we felt like we were just someone crossed off a list of to-do's.  

Isn't that interesting?  I think it is.  But it puts things into perspective for me.  There really are people that you can count on and there are those you can't.  One makes us feel loved and appreciated, the others makes us feel like - what's the point of trying?  I guess that's where discernment comes in.   If you're a glutton for punishment I suppose you can always try to associate yourself with people who disappoint you on a regular basis, but I think there needs to come a time where you just tell yourself that not everyone is going to be your buddy and they'll let you know that pretty quickly by the way the act towards you.  Kind of cool and aloof.  On again, off again.

I'll be 60 in July and there are still those high school feelings of rejection.  Always trying to earn your way into their good graces and then being disappointed by their actions towards you.  It gets kind of weary, doesn't it?

Fortunately, with the Lord, you don't have to earn your way to Him.  You don't have to keep trying to make Him love you.  When you meet with Him, He is there - always there - you have His full time and attention.   When arising from prayer time with God, you know that He wasn't thinking about the next thing to do and you know that you're loved as only He can love you.  Same with reading the Bible.  When you read, the Holy Spirit is there to help you and convict you.  All of a sudden the words are jumping off the page and into your heart and it means something to you.

The love of God goes so far beyond what we think of love.  God knows about the three people above - He knows my sadness about the two and the happiness of the one.  But He also knows that I'm not that perfect person either.   He knows that I can be a reactionary person who speaks before thinking and then asks for forgiveness later.  He knows my thoughts - the not so nice thoughts of those who irk me sometimes.  He knows my feelings - the feelings of unforgiveness of someone who has hurt me.  He knows my need to come to Him every morning asking for help in each of these areas.   

Growth, maturity, and wisdom doesn't just happen.  It's an on-going process.  It's a testing - a test that sometimes I do okay with and sometimes I don't.   Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy and patience and I'm SO thankful that I can go to Him with the daily needs and help.

May God bless you and keep you in perfect peace this upcoming week!!!!


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Morning

January on our new calendar - I so want to be in that one-horse open sleigh!!!!! : )

Every morning I pray for strength, energy, and motivation to get to all the work that I want to get to - this past week the prayers were answered.  Getting back to my Household notebook has so motivated me to get into the routine of going through the house room-by-room and really begin the deep cleaning again.  The kitchen and bathroom is done and on Monday I will get to each of the bedrooms and the Living/Dining rooms after that.  It just feels so good and reminds me that after deep cleaning each of these areas means that the daily upkeep of these rooms will go much smoother and not take as much time.

After cleaning, I did spend some time in my "studio/craft" area and, once again, go through all those craft items.  THAT is quite the chore!  But I did it, it's done, it looks good again, and now I'm getting ready to get into some more crafting.  I'm definitely one of those people who needs to have her space in order before working in it.  So, now, no excuses!  : )

One of the things that I do enjoy about going through things is that I find old notebooks filled with ideas of articles I've cut out, or notes that I took from books, etc.  One of the notebooks I found had some ideas that I wrote down from a library book from YEARS ago.  When we homeschooled, our son would go off to look for books of interest to him and I would end up in the cooking/homemaking/crafting books.  We both would end up bringing stacks of books home - that was our Friday treat.  : )  Well, anyway........I brought a book home that gave 5 ways of decorating certain rooms of the house for comfort and beauty and I wrote those ideas down, forgot about them, found them, and now want to share them with you.  While reading them, I can just envision the rooms and, in my mind anyway, they do look inviting!  : )

1.  Two ideas for the Family Room (we call it the Living Room):

A.  For celebrations:
*have lots of things to look at - make it a space where people are going around the room looking at things of importance, memorable, pretty..........
*have good smells within the room - I personally like scented pinecones that smell of cinnamon and cloves
*serve yummy desserts and candies
*LOTS of talk and laughter - leave the world stuff behind and just enjoy the day/evening
*if you're into essential oils for your home this book suggests that in the living area you choose grapefruit, frankincense, clove, pine, cinnamon, cardamom, or lemongrass

B.  For increased energy and concentration for your family (again in the Family Room):
*have uplifting music playing
*decorate with vibrant colors (yellow and red)
*display bowls of natural fruits
*have vibrant colored chairs or at least have vibrant pillows on your more subtle seating areas
*and for the essential oils in this kind of setting - they suggest cypress, peppermint, juniper berry, lemon, or basil

2.  One idea for the Dining Room:

A.  For enhancement or relaxation:
*they suggest a blue room
*eat comfort food
*have plush velvet chairs
*play quiet or soft music
*and the essential oils they suggest is vanilla, lavender, orange, sage, or ginger

3.  Two ideas for the Bedrooms:

A.  For a nurturing room:
*a room painted in a pale green
*light candles
*set out a pretty bowl filled with fresh fruit
*have a soft, fluffy comforter for your bed
*make it quiet
*and the essential oils they suggest is eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, geranium, or bergamot

B.  For a good night's sleep:
*sip on chamomile tea
*paint the room a light pale blue
*light candles (but I'm assuming NOT while you're sleeping!!!LOL)
*play soft music
*buy the best cotton sheets
*and the essential oils they suggest are chamomile, cedarwood, or mandarin orange

I hope these don't sound too "new age" to you because I'm definitely NOT new age!  But as with all ideas, we just need to pick and choose what sounds good to us and what we can do with what we have.  : )

A couple more ideas that I wrote down in this notebook that I found are:

1.  Have a January Snow Day (although around here there is very little snow):  have a "day off" and lounge around with cups of hot cocoa - or, get outside into the fresh air and build snowmen (again if you have snow!), or go sledding (ditto on the snow), make a big pot of homemade tomato soup and serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, take a nap.  

January can sometimes be a "ho-hum" month, so setting aside a day can be reviving for everyone.  Just something a little different.  : )

2.  Make a "comfort drawer" - fill this drawer with a box of chocolates, bath supplies, decorating magazines, good teas, lotions, candles, etc. and when you're especially tired or down (during the dark of the winter months), run some bath water, make a cup of tea and enjoy a chocolate, light the candles, put on some music, and read a magazine while soaking.  

3.  Enjoy the evenings - turn the t.v. off!!!  Sit in your comfy chair with a good book and a cup of calming tea; or pull out a craft to work on; or if you enjoy mending, bring it out and work on that while listening to a book being read on the computer or find a radio station that plays soft music.

Well, I think that's about it for today.  : )  I hope you can find at least one idea to try.  I find great satisfaction doing something a bit different at times and I always appreciate finding ways to bring that about.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I ALWAYS love it when you do!!!!  And I hope that my comment area is working again because I DO love hearing from you - it keeps me motivated to want to do more!  God bless your day and upcoming weekend.  : )

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Homemade Flour Tortillas



Week 2.  The bathroom.  Actually since last week was a short week due to New Year's Eve and Day, week 1 (the kitchen) kind of spilled over to week 2.  So, I have enlisted the help of my husband.  : )  Fortunately, our bathroom is small, but there is still cleaning out drawers and cupboards along with cleaning baseboards and walls and all the other bathroom stuff.  But, it's getting there and it already smells cleaner so I feel that's progress.  : )

Now......on to the tortillas.  I feel like I'm probably the only person who has never made flour tortillas since the recipes have been around for a long time.  I have always read and heard that the homemade ones taste so much better than store bought, and it's true!!!!!  We had chicken quesadillas last week and made these for that and we both agreed that we won't buy them anymore.  This recipe makes 8 so for the two of us I needed to freeze the rest, but have also read that they freeze well (an added bonus).

If there are any of you who haven't made flour tortillas yet, this is an excellent recipe.  Here it goes (read the recipe thoroughly first - it needs time):

HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLAS

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup hot water

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening until crumbly and then pour in hot water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until dough comes together and then use your hands to put it all together.  Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth.  Cover and let rest for 45.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces and then into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Roll each ball into a 6-7 inch circle and it's okay that they aren't perfect (it's actually more authentic looking when they aren't!).  Preheat your pan on medium heat but don't add any oil (a cast iron skillet is perfect for this but expect it to smoke a bit!).  Place one of your rolled out tortillas in pan and cook until small bubbles appear on top; flip it over and cook on other side (approximately 1 minute on each side).  Cook one tortilla while you roll out the next - this works very well.  Stack the cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with a towel till all are cooked to keep them warm.

That's it!!!!!  Enjoy.  : )







I hope you can try these - you won't be disappointed.  : )  

Thank you for dropping by and God bless.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Summer storm

Well, everything is down now from Christmas.  I guess that's not entirely true.  We bought a skinny tree at a thrift store (pre-lit) in November and decided to move that from the dining room into the living room and put it beside our "fireplace" where the "big" tree was.  I hung glittery snowflakes on it to keep in line with the winter theme.  Most of the snowmen are scattered around the living and dining rooms.  The only ones that were put away were the ones that definitely looked like Christmas.

I have to admit that we like the house back to "normal" again and the other things in their places.  I do know that taking Christmas down isn't half as much fun as putting it up!!!!  Taking it down also means a LOT of cleaning under and around things that weren't moved much during the month of December.

I know several people who, at the beginning of the year, choose a word for the year.  I've never done this before but thought about it this morning and I'm going to do it.  A few words came to my mind - pray, think, care, etc...... but the one I've decided to go with is "trust".  

Trust is SO hard for me especially if I've been hurt.   But the word "trust" that I'm talking about is the trust in God with ALL the outcomes of my life and in the lives of those I love and care about.  I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do, but the Bible is filled with verses on how we need to trust in the Lord. There were times during my prayers in the past few years that I couldn't get much of anything to come out of my mouth (anything audible anyway) because of the pain and tears, but God knows our hearts - He can read our minds - He knows EVERYTHING.   So the lack of words is okay with Him.

Let God take over tomorrow, this week, this month, this year.  He will definitely be there in whatever this new year has in store for us - the good and the not-so-good.   The "blessing jar" that we put up is a blessing in itself because it really does show us that every single day has something in it to be grateful for (even when the day isn't going so well).  

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."  Proverbs 3: 5 & 6




Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday Morning

A little green.  Looking forward to it!  : )


I have a few things to share today.  The January to-do's, some tea party themes you might want to start this year, and maybe a recipe.  : )  Let's get started!

I'm a little behind with the January to-do's.  This week (which is Week 1 in my household notebook) was spent in the kitchen.  Cleaning blinds and windows, washing and ironing the curtain, going through all the drawers, cupboards, and cabinets and cleaning them out and re-organizing.  Cleaning under the sink, washing the walls, dusting shelves.  The only things that I have left (which I hope to get to today) is cleaning the refrigerator and the stove.  And that should be that!  : )  It ALWAYS feels good to get back into a schedule.  The holidays tend to put that kind of thing off and January is always a good time to get back to it.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and I had mentioned that this is THE first time when I deep-cleaned the kitchen that I didn't put anything in a bag to be taken to the thrift store.  I feel like I finally have everything that I need and use for right now.  That may change but for now it feels great.  : )  Here are the January to-do's for us:

*Make new files/store the old
*Get tax information together and make appointment if you have someone do them for you
*Make some summer plans - things you'd like to make, garden, accomplish
*Fill out new calendars
*Check the attic for any leaks
*Sharpen the workshop tools and kitchen knives
*Inspect your roof
*Check for any drafts around the doors and windows
*Organize ALL paperwork - have a place for everything
*Buy houseplants to purify the indoor air

There.  Not too bad.  And, of course, not all of these are for everyone - just pick the ones that are and begin to work at it.  Doing SOMETHING is ALWAYS better than doing nothing.  It WILL make you feel better.  : )

On New Year's Day this year (since we considered it a "day off") I sat down with pencil and paper in hand, the computer in front of me, and lists galore, and wrote down everything I could think of of how I'd like to do things this year and what things would be beneficial for me and my family.  Not really resolutions but ideas and reminders and things to keep on doing and things to try.  I put these things into 5 categories:

*Mind
*Body
*Soul
*Serving others
*Caring for others

I think our lists could be different from each other's, but it was an important thing for me to do.  There is something about having ideas written down to keep looking at on a daily basis that motivates me.  I will give examples of what I mean:

*Mind - keep learning!  read for pleasure but also for information; do crossword puzzles every day; begin Bible memory work; begin to work math problems every day; keep writing this blog; keep crafting/sewing/other projects.

*Body - keep moving!  rest when needed; begin some kind of exercise routine; try making more homemade body products; keep eating healthy foods.

*Soul - keep God 1st!  keep reading the Bible and studying it; again, more memory work; maintain my prayer journal; keep reading good books by Christian authors.

*Serving others - keep taking care of my family!  through cooking, cleaning, gardening, organizing.

*Caring for others - keep remember others!  through charitable organizations; visits, e-mails, sending cards and letters; offering help when needed.

I've always felt that it's important to be well-rounded.  If we just focus on ourselves, we become self-centered - however, when we always look to the needs of others, we fail to take care of ourselves.  So that balance is very important.  That's why I need to have these things written down as a reminder of what I should be doing next.  Of course it's not perfect and sometimes things don't work out as our lists say, but it IS a springboard for ideas.  Kind of the motto of  "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" kind of thing.

The next thing I came across while going through some of my papers are Tea Party Themes that I always thought would be fun to carry out but haven't yet because it seems like there are very few women nowadays who enjoy this kind of thing.  So I continue to hold on this idea hoping that some day someone will want to.  : )  As with the monthly to-do's, I will also give you the monthly tea party theme so here is January:

Decorate your room with greenery, tartan plaid, and lots of candles
Serve scones with preserves and jams and shortbread dipped in chocolate
Play Irish music
Serve a small variety of favorite teas

Can't you just imagine a room decorated like this and the delicious smells and women sitting around laughing and talking?  I can.  Sounds wonderful to me!  : )

And because it is still winter and I think we all love soup in the winter, I made a Baked Potato Soup the other night that we just loved and wanted to share it with you too:

BAKED POTATO SOUP

1 lb. bacon
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
green onion, sliced
sour cream (garnish - optional)

Cook the bacon until crisp - drain, set aside.  Place the potatoes and chicken broth in a large pot and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.  With slotted spoon, remove several scoops and place in a bowl and mash - set aside.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the chopped onion and saute' until tender.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute; whisk in milk, a little at a time and bring to boil and simmer until thickened.  Add cheese, salt, and pepper and stir till cheese is melted.  Slowly stir cheese sauce into soup pot - add mashed potatoes, three-quarters of the crispy bacon and stir till combined.  Serve.  Top with sliced green onion, more crispy bacon, and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Yum is the only word for this - hope you can give it a try!!!!!






Yummy.  : )

One more thing before I leave you - I have had a couple of comments from people who say they are reading through past posts and I LOVE that!!!!!  However, I want to apologize if you leave a comment on those past posts and I don't get back to you.  Blogger doesn't tell me when I receive a comment so I have to go and look to see if comments are left and I do try to answer them.  But, if for some reason, I don't see them and don't answer don't think that your comment doesn't matter - it definitely DOES!!!!!  I love all your comments and SO appreciate them.  It really does keep me going.  : )

That's it for today!  Thank you again for your visit and God bless your day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



I know that today is a mixed feeling kind of day for many of us.  We all WANT a Happy New Year, but because of what has happened in the past (even the past week!) we wonder what this year will REALLY bring.  Will it bring more sickness?  Will it bring more disappointment?  Will it bring more sadness and discouragement?  

I'm not much for making New Year's resolutions.  But maybe I should try.  Last night we were at a friends' house for New Year's Eve.  The "older" people in the living room, the "younger" people out in the big kitchen.  My husband and I chose the "younger" people in the kitchen to play board games with them and I'm SO glad we did.  I needed to be around some "youth" (they were all in their 20's and early 30's).   There wasn't a word said about health issues.  There wasn't a word said about feeling afraid for the future.  There wasn't a word said about politics, or the economy, or how crummy the world is.  There was just laughter and fun and goofiness.   And, boy, did I need THAT!!!!!!!

It's not that they didn't care about the above issues or maybe it was just because those issues aren't afflicting them yet.  But just having one night without the "adult" stuff was balm to my weary soul.  

So maybe I WILL make resolutions again.

*Keep learning.  Read, read, read.  Study about things I want to know more about.  Try new things.
*Be a blessing in the house.  Take care of it.  Keep it clean.  Keep it organized.  Get rid of stuff.
*Take better care of myself.  Begin eating better.  Begin to make exercise a habit.
*Take care of others.  Constantly be aware of the needs of others.
*Continue to be creative.  
*Really let go of situations and people that have been causing stress.  
*Continue to grow spiritually.  Learn more and more about Jesus and what He wants to teach me.
*Stop getting caught up in the things that I cannot change.  Give it to God.

I just read about an idea that I'm going to make today.  It's called a "Blessing" jar.  You set it out on the table and every day you write something good that has happened during the day - whether it be a good memory, a phone call, a letter in the mail, an accomplishment - whatever you consider a blessing to be.  Write it down and put it in the jar and then next January 1st you pour out all the blessings and read them.  I think this is SO wonderful because when we live life so much of our thoughts are dealing with the negative that we forget that even amidst the not-so-good there really IS blessing.  I hope you and your family can give this a try - I, myself, am looking forward to it.

So with that said, I DO wish you a Happy New Year (and if you can, plop yourself down among some "younger" people and feel the gladness).  : )  God bless your day.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

The cutie little birds!!!  : )


Oh, we had such a good church service this morning.  My hope for all of you for the new year is that you would find a good, Bible-teaching church to go to every Sunday morning.  To be in the company of fellow followers of Christ and hear the Word of the Lord spoken and sing worship songs together is one of the best things to look forward to all week.  If we aren't looking forward to it, it means that there is something wrong with us, not God.  We shouldn't wake up on Sunday morning feeling like we HAVE to go to church.  It should be something we anticipate the moment Monday morning rolls around, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday....................and Saturday night we should be feeling in our hearts that we CAN go to church (unless, of course, there are circumstances in which you just physically cannot go which, in case, God already knows).

Think of the past year for you, or your loved ones, or your friends.  As I think back, I know of a lot of hurt, a lot of pain, a lot of distress, a lot of worry, a lot of fear.  But I also look back and see some good times as well.  There were still things to laugh about.  There were still things to be happy about.  There were still things to look forward to.  There is still beauty - in the sunrise and sunset, the stars at night, the flowers (even though you might need to go to the flower shop during the winter!).  God allows the pain and He allows the beauty.  So what do we do with that?  How do we respond to that?  Do we just love God and give Him our time and attention when everything is going the way we want it to go?  Or do we give up when things are tough?

It is my opinion that going to church every week strengthens us for the days to come.  If we don't go to church on Sunday, it just feels like another day - and who needs that?!  Don't we all need a day that is special and set apart?  I know I do.  I almost feel sad when worship service is over - it's like, can't we do a little more?  : )

And how about the new year to come?  My guess is that this world isn't going to automatically get better.   The Bible forewarns us about the times we are living in.  It goes so far as to say "the days are evil" - so, how do we begin a brand new year with that thought in mind?  As I posted last week - we need to put God first.  We need to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  We need to pray.  But one thing I forgot to mention - we need to get to a Bible-teaching church.  It's so sad to hear that church attendance is down everywhere.  Do we find we need more sleep on Sunday mornings?  Do we find we need more alone time on Sunday mornings?  Is it because we don't feel like it's a big deal anymore?  When is worshiping God - the God who gave us breath today - not a big deal?  

If I sound passionate about this, I am.   Let us, once again, look forward to worship on Sundays.  Let us fill the seats, sing songs of praise, listen to the teaching from the Bible, pray together as a community, have fellowship, and grow in our faith.   And watch God's blessings flow!  : )









Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday Morning

A tree my husband makes in our backyard.  It gives a nice glow to a dark area.  : )


Wow.   A new year coming up!  I say this all the time, but really, where did the time go?  We had that April blizzard, then it was summer, then we were having our pumpkin party, Christmas has come and gone, and now a new year again.  It seems to all run together.

I think what I'm missing is the "how" we used to do things.  We used to celebrate the seasons in a more thoughtful way - the passing of time was spent in making it mean something.  Now, it pretty much comes and goes without giving a lot of thought to it. Well, I'm hoping to change that a bit this upcoming 2019 (Lord willing).   I know that even the best made plans can go awry but we can at least try.

There are a couple of ideas for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day that I wanted to share with you so that maybe you can try one or the other or both!  The ideas are, of course, are dependent upon certain things.

New Year's Eve - this idea is one from my mother-in-law whom we miss very much because she had such good ideas for family celebrations.  It really is true that when the matriarch of the family dies, the family kind of stops doing certain things.  The idea is the Progressive Dinner.  I think this is SO fun.  You'll need to have three or four other families or friends houses to go to in order to make this work - so when I said it's dependent upon certain things, this is one of them.  Let's say you have three houses participating:

*The first house would be responsible for the appetizers.  Everyone gathers at the first house and enjoys appetizers and punch or soft drinks.  Make it casual (I love it when everyone just stands around with a plate in their hands eating finger foods).  You can enjoy conversation (it might be fun to have some conversation starters).   This could last how ever long you want, but you can kind of tell when things are slowing down (maybe an hour or so?).  The person who is responsible for the next course (the second house) will need to leave a little early so that they can get to their house and get everything ready for the "progression" of others coming over.  : )

*The second house would be responsible for the main course.  It would be wise to maybe have a crockpot meal, or a meal that can take a while in the oven, or even a great soup that can be heated up quickly and served with homemade bread and salads.  Set a fun or beautiful table depending on what your serving.  Decorate the house a bit to create a festive atmosphere and wait for everyone to come over!  This will be a sit-down meal.  Create a warm yet casual environment in which everyone can just sit and relax and enjoy a great meal.  When things are beginning to wind down, the person who is responsible for the next course (dessert) will have to slip out and get to their house to get everything ready for the next progression of others coming over.

*The third house is for the dessert part of the meal.  This can be very enjoyable because it's the end of the get-together.  A lingering and winding down of the evening.  Everyone participating will want to know what each house is serving so that the person who is doing the dessert will know whether or not the dessert can be on the heavier side or if it should be light.  If the appetizers were light and the main course was soup, the dessert can be a little more like a special cake, but if there were quite a few appetizers served and the main course was spaghetti and everyone is already groaning a bit over how full they're getting, then maybe dessert could be a wonderful sorbet or a platter of cookies.   This would also be served with a hot drink (decaf coffee, hot tea, spiced cider).  Let this be a very casual time.  Again, maybe have some more conversation starters around.  Everyone is getting tired by now so make sure you don't plan any lively games but just let it play out and relax.

This really is SO fun to do.  I know there are a few factors that go into it - it DOES need at least three other families to go in on it, it does take some planning (the houses should probably be in the same town - you don't want to drive a long distance to go from house to house), the weather is sometimes an issue (around here it's usually below zero on New Year's but it's not like we have horse and buggies anymore - cars warm up!), and sometimes people don't want to drag their children around (but I would encourage you to do this with the kids - it's fun for them and it's another teaching moment about get-together's and how to behave and act, and how to enjoy this life).

So if you can make this work I would highly suggest it as a fun way to bring in the new year!!!!!  : )

New Year's Day  -  If you've chosen to not do anything on New Year's Eve, I would suggest doing something on New Year's Day.  Again, around here the temperatures are SO very cold that the idea I'm suggesting might not happen outdoors but if you can, go for a walk somewhere.  Take the family or call up some friends and find a nice place to walk.  Take the camera.  Really take the time to look - at the trees, the birds, and whatever else is there.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Afterwards (and we've only done this once) enjoy a winter picnic!  Someone can bring a crock of hot chili, someone else can bring a pan of cornbread, and still another can bring thermos's of hot chocolate and cookies.  Or, you may be the one to bring all of the above.  But after your walk, when you get back to your car(s), pull out portable chairs and blankets and sit around enjoying a meal in the great outdoors!!!!  It's VERY memorable and it will be something that you will talk about for years.  : )  The children will think it's really fun.

And, if by chance the weather will not cooperate for this, you can set up your winter picnic in the living room.  Serve the same food, only spread a blanket on the floor.  : )

I guess the whole point I'm trying to make with these two ideas is that we all try to do something.  I've said it before, but doing something is better than nothing.  Life just passes us by and it's just so serious that we all need a bit of something different if only for an hour or two.  You can definitely tweak the above ideas to fit your time and family needs.  I hope you can give at least one of them a try!!!

That's it for today.  Thank you so much for your visit.  I hope you can enjoy this day.  God bless.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Post Christmas Do's Here At Home



Well, we woke up to a few inches of snow (HEAVY, WET, snow) and now it's been raining for several hours and since our ground is frozen around here, lakes are being formed.  The one in our backyard is getting larger and larger!  THEN.....it's supposed to get REALLY cold and all this rain will freeze and tomorrow will be VERY interesting as far as driving goes.  THIS is the part of winter I could do without.  Snow I like, freezing rain I do not.  : (

Since Christmas is over as far as the gifts, food, and get-togethers, my husband and I have been enjoying some of our gifts.  We both received books for Christmas (which is my favorite).  We have been watching "When Calls The Heart" by Hallmark and didn't want to wait for Netflix to put the new episodes on, so we ordered Season 5.  Anyway..........part of this show is about a Canadian Mountie and for Christmas I bought my husband a book on the history of the Canadian Mounties - so he's been reading that.  And, thanks to a couple of comments on one of my posts from a while back, on my Christmas list this year, I wrote the titles of two books from L.M. Montgomery down and I received them as gifts!!!!


I received "Story Girl" and "Christmas Stories" - I'm reading "Story Girl" at bedtime (and so far, so good!).  "The Prodigal Girl" by Grace Livingston Hill was suggested by another comment on favorite Christmas books to read and I had it already, so I took it off the shelf and I'm including it as another read since it IS still Christmas.  : )  It is not unusual for me to have about three books going at the same time.  So that's one way we've been filling our post-Christmas time.

My husband received a couple of jigsaw puzzles and he already finished one of them.  He also received a rather difficult paint-by-number kit - he took it out and looked at it, but so far that's as far as he got.  It does look a bit daunting.  : o

I have some old sweaters from my husband that I've been wanted to make things out of, and this is what I did today:

Grab an old sweater.
Cut a pattern out of your hand plus added width for sewing.
Place the pattern on the edge of the sleeve of the sweater, pin, and cut out. 
Sew.
There you have it!!!!  : )  They aren't going to win any prizes, but I've always wanted to do this and it's recycling a sweater.  Now I'm hoping to cut out a hat and scarf to go with from the same sweater.  We'll see about that one.  : )

If you are wanting to do this, the one thing that bothers me about some tutorials is that they make it look so easy.  If you go by my photos, I think you would think the same thing.  But what I'm going to tell you is that after sewing them together for the first time, I had to tweak them about four times!  You have to constantly try them on and make adjustments until they feel right.  I found that my hands aren't the same (as you can see in the photo).  One hand seems to be a bit thinner - so be patient when doing this.  Keep with it because I think it's worth it.  And it's fun to do.  If you have kids or grandkids around, this would be a fun project to work on together.  You can show them how to recycle old clothes, how to make a pattern, how to sew (if you don't have a machine that's okay because these could be sewn by hand and they can learn that too), and how to fit things until it's right.

Hope you can give it a try!!!  : )

I don't know about you, but I'm already looking at the rooms with the Christmas things and am already thinking about how nice it will be to clean and have some space back!  It seems the older I get, I'm ready to get on to the next thing.  It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the moment but when it's been over a month, I tend to want to start the New Year's cleaning and begin to go through stuff again.  I always keep my snowmen collection up until February or so (depending on what the weather is like).  And I like to hang up snowflakes for the wintery kind of decorating.  So.......how about you?  How do you transition from Christmas into the New Year?

That's it for today.   Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I hope you know that I appreciate it!!!  God bless.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Prayers



I am SO very thankful for all of you who read my posts.  When I began this blog I had no idea how much I would enjoy it and with a few of you commenting once in a while, it's the motivation I need to keep going.  : )

Well............we really ARE down to the wire now, aren't we?  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve already - the night of our dear Savior's birth.  If you haven't noticed, this world is in need of a Savior and aren't we blessed that God in Heaven has given Jesus to us.  God's perfect plan of salvation to a weary world.

Unfortunately, Christmas doesn't make all the worldly problems go away.   Just this past week, we went to the burial of a family member, someone we know is in the hospital and very ill, we heard about just-before-Christmas layoffs for several people, family and friends who are grieving over the loss of a loved one, loneliness for others.  Yes, this world needs a Savior.  

My Christmas prayers for you are:

*that if you haven't asked Jesus into your heart, you will this Christmas (that you will today because none of us knows that we will even make it to Christmas).
*that if you have asked Jesus into your heart and are saved, that your faith and trust will grow daily.
*that each of you will own a Bible and read it, read it again, and read it again, and never stop.
*that each of you will put God first every day.
*that you will begin (or continue) to pray - for your families, for your friends, for your co-workers, for the strangers you meet, for your neighborhoods, for your schools, for your government, for your church, for your towns or cities, for your country, for yourself.
*that you will look around and see who is in need and try to help in some way.
*to be bold and courageous to speak about The One who has redeemed you and has washed away your sins.
*to be thankful and grateful.
*to go to Jesus when you are weary and heavy laden so that He can give you rest.

May you experience a peaceful Christmas this year, knowing that God loves you SO VERY MUCH.  God gave us the ultimate Christmas gift and His Name Is Jesus.  Merry Christmas to all of you.  



Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas Meal Idea


Peace to you and yours.  : )


Our son and his wife will be with us on Christmas Day Eve and since I like Christmas to be a more relaxed time instead of formal, I thought a build-your-own-pizza bar would be fun.  Again, it kind of goes against the Christmas ham dinner with all the trimmings, I'm trying.......ahem........to be more flexible. I mean, if I can serve a Thanksgiving brunch instead of a turkey dinner, then I can be different for Christmas too.  Right?  Right.   : )

Here's what I'm thinking:

*The crust - Aldi is carrying a lot of Artisan breads lately and they have Naan bread which makes an excellent pizza crust.  So I bought four Naan breads on which to "build" the pizzas.

*Next comes the sauce.  I found a jarred organic sauce that sounded good with all the spices included.

*Then comes the meat - I will provide pepperoni slices, cooked Italian sausage, and diced ham.

*Then comes the "goodies" - I'm going to fry up lots of onions along with diced red and yellow peppers; and then have sliced black and green olives and sliced mushrooms.

*Next, the topping - of course, cheese!  Shredded Cheddar and Mozzarella and then provide olive oil to drizzle over the top.

I will set all of these ingredients out and everyone can build their own.  Pop them into the oven, bake, and serve them up!  We can all try each other's out too.  I thought I'd serve them with Caesar salad on the side and have a variety of soft drinks to choose from.

For dessert:  Iced sugar cookies, peppermint ice cream with homemade fudge sauce and hot coffee/hot tea/hot cocoa.

I think that will do.  : )  What are you serving this year?  Are you going traditional?  Changing things up?  Adding anything new?  I love hearing what other families do during the holidays.

The other thing I wanted to share with you is another good bread machine recipe.  This is a very soft, moist, flavorful bread that I will make again.  Here it is:


BREAD MACHINE CHEDDAR BREAD

1 cup warm water 
1/4 cup buttermilk blend powder
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order given.  Select basic bread setting.*  Choose light crust color and loaf size.  Bake according to directions given.  That's it!!!  Easy, peasy.  : )

*Like all the bread machine recipes, I select the dough cycle and when that is done I take it out and put it in a bread tin, let it rise a second time and then bake in the oven.  I just like the look of a regular loaf rather than the square-ish look of the bread machine.  The rise took about an hour and then I baked it in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes (for some reason, this bread took longer to bake than normal, so you may need to watch it and see for yourself on the doneness). 

Again, this is very good (although ALL bread, in my opinion, is very good!!!).  I hope you can try it and see.  Enjoy.

Thank you for your visit.  I wish all of you a good day of taking care of your homes and family and friends (and yourself!!).  God bless.





Friday, December 21, 2018

Last Minute Blessing of Someone


This photo is two years old - we hardly have any snow left on the ground this year - it sure does make it prettier doesn't it?


This morning my husband and I did a drive around our neighborhoods and wrote down the addresses of any houses who are displaying a manger scene this year.  Sadly, we found VERY few.  I did, however, write down six addresses.  When we got home, I wrote Christmas cards out to them (anonymously) thanking them for keeping Christ in Christmas by displaying their manger scene in their yards and sent them out by mail.

It's really a two-fold blessing.  It blesses us to see that they know the true meaning of Christmas and I would like to think it would be a blessing to them to know that someone did, indeed, notice that they believe that Christ is at the center of Christmas.

I know that the Bible tells us to keep what we do for others just between us and God so that we aren't doing something nice in order to be seen by others and get any praise for it.  But I want to share these things (because they aren't original ideas - this idea came to me through reading a book about family traditions) to encourage you to maybe try some things out for yourself and/or as a family idea.  I think it's a really good idea to have your kids or grandkids watch you do and participate in it themselves.  You could make a special outing with the kiddos and they could be on the lookout for the manger scenes and when you get home have them help you in writing the thank you notes!

Well, this is an early post as I want to get to other things today.  : )  Thank you SO much for dropping by for this short visit - I really DO appreciate it.  God bless!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Last Minute Gift



If you sew and enjoy sewing up little last-minute gifts for under the tree or stockings, hand warmers are fast and easy to whip up.  I had my sewing machine in the shop for almost a month to get it worked on, so the hand warmer on the left I sewed by hand.  I got my machine back today, so the hand warmer on the right was sewn on the machine!  : )  That's why this project is a good one.  You don't have to own a sewing machine to make these.

Here's how:

1.  Select flannel fabric - around this time of year you can get this fabric inexpensively and you need such a small amount of fabric to make these.  Make sure the flannel you get doesn't have any metallic thread woven in because to warm these up, you need to use the microwave.

2.  Cut out 4, 4-inch square pieces of fabric (for two hands!).

3.  Put two of the 4-inch pieces together (right sides together) and sew a narrow seam all the way around - BUT! remember to keep about an inch-wide opening on one side to turn the fabric right side out.  Do the same with the other 4-inch pieces to make a set.

4.  After turning right side out, use a funnel or small spoon to put about 3/4 cup of uncooked rice in each one and then sew the opening shut either by hand or with the sewing machine.

5.  That's it!!!  For gift-giving, put the two hand warmers together, tie with pretty ribbon or string or yarn, and wrap them up.  You can either type or write the directions on how to use them and include them in the gift or you can just let them know.  Directions:  put each hand warmer in the microwave for about 10 - 20 seconds, checking occasionally for the amount of warmth wanted.  You may need less time or you may need a little more time.

So nice to slip in your mittens or gloves before going outside.  : )

That's pretty much it for today.  I baked the sugar cookie cut-outs yesterday and will make candy this weekend so we're plugging along.  At least all the gifts are bought, paid for, and wrapped!!!!  : )  How are you doing?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday Afternoon



Looking back on the week, it has been an emotional week.  I found myself being very moody and quiet and tired and in need of attitude checks on a regular basis.  I don't like feeling that way but it's a way of telling me that there is something wrong in my soul and am in deep need of the Holy Spirit's guidance and teaching.  Discipline isn't easy, is it?  I want so much to think that I have everything under control and that nothing is going to rock my world and that I can face each day with a smile on my face and be optimistic about everything.  There's a little part of me who thinks that because it's Christmas everything will be okay.  

Life's problems don't go away during the Christmas season - sometimes it feels like they're magnified!  And for a woman who wants only the best feelings and attitudes and dreaming of the Currier and Ives holiday, I can tend to put the pressure on when I shouldn't.  This is the final week before Christmas and with a married son I'm finding the new normal for us is not fully knowing what's going to happen when and oh, boy, that's hard for me!  And to top it off - when I think about thinking that way I get upset with myself because if that's the only problem to be thinking of we are definitely doing better than what I think we are.  And round and round I go.  

The danger in these not-so-good feelings is that I know I'm getting away from the true meaning of Christmas.  God had a plan of salvation and that was in sending Jesus.  THAT is worthy of celebration!!!  And I blush to think that I get so unnerved so easily by the other stuff that will eventually work out (and if it doesn't.............does it matter?).  

So, I'm praying that this week will be getting the focus back on Jesus and preparing for the ultimate birthday party.  As I posted before - doing everything unto the Lord.  Being grateful and thankful.  Thinking about what really is important.  Enjoying the process.  And to remember others.

May the Lord grant you peace this week.  Let's pray for each other in this!