Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturdays Come Around Quickly!

 

Another puzzle that my husband put together and framed - now hanging in the dining room.  : )
Perfect for Autumn.


Well.....here we are again!!!!!  It truly seems like I was just doing this.  Again, I'm looking out the window at a sun that is beginning to make its appearance, the squirrels are already running around, I turned the furnace on to just take the chill out of the air, and the to-do list is out and ready to work on.  It is in these common everyday things that makes the day special (for me anyway).

I feel like I don't have a LOT for you today, but maybe once I beginning writing it will be more than I thought!  So, let's get going.

The past week looked like this:

Monday - (my favorite day- I love getting back to routine) 
*put a crockpot meal together so I could work without thinking about supper
*laundry day - bedding, towels, clothing, whites - dried it, folded it, put it away, and ironed
*light cleaning throughout the house

Tuesday - my menu planning/pantry inventory/grocery list day - I think I said this before, but you would not believe how much time this takes me.  It's a day where the notebook comes out, where I look to see everything that needs to be used up, where I write ideas down as I think of them, make any mixes that I've used up, fill the flour/sugar containers, clean off shelves............it's the only way I know how to be organized and aware of what we have and don't have.

Wednesday - our shopping day (that's where you drive to the store(s) and put things into your cart, take things out of your cart, put things back into your cart, take things out of your cart to put into the car, take things out of your car into your home, and put those things away once you get home!!!!!!).    We say it every week............LOL
*It was also a day of puttering once all the groceries were taken care of.  And I know I've mentioned before the importance of puttering.  You're not really cleaning (although there could be a little of that) but it's a time of slowing down and just moving little things from one place to another to see if it might look better.  It's a time of relaxing (unlike cleaning where you are moving heavy things and getting to the main stuff) and being with your thoughts and using it as a way of calming down.

Thursday - I had a chiropractic appointment in the morning.  My left hip has been SO painful for quite a while so I thought I'd better just have it worked on.  Feeling MUCH better since!  : )  And then I cleaned for the weekend.

Friday - this was a day of going out and about in the morning and shopping for mums, pumpkins and other decorations to decorate the front yard (mostly our front porch).  I have ALWAYS wanted to do this even though I've decorated in the past, I have had a picture in my head that I wanted to  fulfill.  It was so much fun and I really like the way it turned out (I'll have to post a photo of it).  And now I want to decorate the backyard as well but I'm the kind of person who can't do it all at once.  The front yard was my goal for yesterday - the backyard will be next week.  This is the year that I really feel the need to pretty things up more than I usually do - not just for us but for our neighbors and visitors and for people who just drive by.  Not to show off or anything like that but to bring a little beauty and calmness in a very different kind of world right now.  A little "old fashioned" feel.
*After finishing up is was mid-afternoon, so I brought the knitting basket outside with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and knitted for quite a while and sitting in the sun.
*In the morning I made another crockpot meal (my homemade chili) so at supper time, my husband built a fire outside and we sat with our mugs of hot chili and enjoyed the fire to top off the week.

So.......to say that I'm very grateful for the week past is an understatement.  Every day was unique and it brought contentment.  

Today, since it's going to be another beautiful day, it will be another day of being outdoors.  There are plenty of areas of the yard that need some attention right now as things are dying back and there are still weeds abundant.

I mentioned above that I enjoyed a cup of pumpkin spice coffee, well..........here we go!  Pumpkin time is here and I am crazy about pumpkin!!!!  I have been buying cans every time we go shopping.  To be caught without cans of pumpkin on our shelves would be terrible!  LOL  I have taken every recipe that I have relating to pumpkin out of my recipe box and I looked up even more recipes and here is what I've come up with:

*pumpkin pancakes
*slow cooker pumpkin butter
*no-churn pumpkin cheesecake ice cream
*pumpkin spice baked donuts
*pumpkin cinnamon rolls
*pumpkin bars
*pumpkin bread
*pumpkin cookies
*pumpkin pie cupcakes
*of course, pumpkin pie!

And, yes, you can be assured that from now until Thanksgiving, I will give each of these (if not more) a try (and probably more than once)!!!!!!!!  I seriously can't wait.  : )  Yum.

The other thing I was thinking about (I think it was when I was puttering) - I've always wanted to name our home.  We've lived here 30 years and I've never named our home.  I thought about it while thinking of Anne of Green Gables (how that came into my mind I have no idea).  I love the name "Green Gables" and I love Anne's "House of Dreams" - the name I thought of for our house came about by thinking of this white pine tree we have in the back yard.  It's a tree that I love to sit under when it's windy because the sound it makes makes me feel like I'm up north where all the pines are.  So the name I'm thinking of is "Whispering Pine Cottage" - cottage because our house is so small.  What do you think?  Do you have a name for your home?  I would love to hear what that might be!!!!  : )

And then, lastly, before I finish up, here are more quotes from my Nehemiah book:

*"We do not often think of God, in these modern days, as a great and terrible God, but He is, you know!  He is far greater than all our enemies, and one day, when He comes to judge, to them He will seem very terrible."

*"We wage warfare for God as we seek to stand true to His Book, which is His Word, and to the great doctrines of our faith.  It is also true that our homes and our children are at stake.  In the midst of the secularism, materialism, and liberalism that sweep through this country and the world today, everything is in the balance.  Remember the Lord your God; reflect upon the issues at stake."

*"......one day the trumpet shall sound, the rallying call will come, and on that day we will be taken from our work to meet Him; one glorious day the enemy will be utterly overthrown.  How thrilling it is to know today that we are in that fight!  Although the struggle may be terrific, the onslaught tremendous, and the journey may seem to be long, we are all united together under our great Lord Jesus Christ.  One day the journey will be over, the trumpet shall sound, and Jesus will come; one day our enemy will be finally vanquished."

Again, isn't that great?!   Good things to ponder and remember and look forward to!  : )

Thank you SO much for the time you took to actually come to my post today and read - I really do thank you for that and I'm very grateful.  I wish all of you a good day/evening (depending on where you live) and a good Sabbath tomorrow.  Remember to put God first, enjoy your home and do what needs to be done, enjoy the day the Lord has made.  God bless!


Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Sharing Saturday!

 


Sorry about the little glare in the above picture - it's from a pretty calendar I have in my sewing room.  Again, I just want to jump in and go to that little country church (with no face masks and no social distancing) with the American flag proudly displayed, and drive home in that red pick-up truck!

As a matter of fact, this brings me to something that I was thinking about this past week (or should I say, a question that I asked myself) - there is reason to be sad these days with so much going on this past year (and continues to go on), but I couldn't help asking myself if part of the sadness is because we are beginning to realize how much (before covid) we took for granted and we can't take it back?  How much did the Lord provide for us and we failed to be thankful?  The freedoms we had and now (in part) have been taken away or, at least, lessened in some way?  If (or when) things get back to "normal", will we continue in our old ways of taking things for granted or will we have learned to always give thanks?

I have pondered these things lately - I will leave you to ponder them on your own.  Maybe there is a reason for this time we're going through?  What do you think?

Well.......as the post title suggests, I have quite a bit to share with you today so let's get going!  😊

This past week has been such a good week in that my strength, energy, and motivation in getting things done shone through (I do, however, pray for that every morning!).

On Monday (Labor Day) - since it was a cool, wet day here I chose to take this day "off" and do some stitchery all day long (which felt SO good).  I sat in my sewing room, put my iPad where I could watch it and watched quilting shows and cooking shows, and pulled out several projects that I had started and seem to always be a work-in-progress.  Here is what I worked on:

a cookie cover - this is September - I love doing applique work

these are what I've gotten done so far - starting with January (mittens), February (hearts), March (Shamrocks), April (umbrellas), May (flowers), June (all white for a wedding), July (patriotic), August (yellow sun)............so, I'm almost done with September and then (of course) October, November, and December are to follow.  😊

Still working on my granny squares - I'm now working on the next outer layer which is the dark green fabric.  Really looking forward to making some quilt squares with these.  This pattern, along with the Dresden quilt blocks, and the Log Cabin quilt blocks are my 3 favorites.  

I pulled out a counted crosstitch I had begun a while back and had my knitting basket close by, but unfortunately didn't get to those - the two above projects kept me busy enough.

On Tuesday - it was back at it from a day of crafting so that meant (at least one of the things) menu planning.  I have to admit that I spend quite a bit of time on this.  I want our meals to be balanced so I use my kitchen notebook to help me pick and choose the appropriate foods to go along with the meals.  I check the fridge, freezer, and pantry shelves to see what I can use, and then while checking those areas, I write down what we still need to purchase in order to build them up!  This is what I came up with for the week:

*Chicken taco soup, tortilla chips w/salsa, watermelon slices
*Pizza bakeover, salad, fresh pear slices
*Cabbage roll casserole, boiled red potatoes, apple slices
*Pan-fried fish, steamed broccoli, fruit
*Chow mein over rice, stir-fried vegetables, fruit
*Mushroom Frittata, bacon slices, English muffins, fruit
*Chili, cornbread and honey, fruit
*Cheddar, Chicken and Ranch Quesadillas, chips w/salsa, fruit

On Wednesday - market day and then kitchen time afterwards.  I had quite a few homemade mixes that I needed to make (our oatmeal breakfast packets, pizza seasoning mixes for our Pizza Wednesday nights, and a couple of homemade hamburger helper mixes).  I also baked a Pecan pie.  😊

On Thursday - my cleaning and catch-up day.  The ONLY drawback, that I can see, about lists is that it can be kind of frustrating when you don't see much being crossed off the list.  What's worse is when I keep adding TO the list!  So I used this day to clean the house (upstairs) for the weekend and because the day was SO pretty outdoors, I began my work of getting ready for the upcoming changing of the seasons by taking the summer geraniums away from the front yard - cleaning them up and clipping them back yet still keeping them only in the backyard.  They are some of the plants that I want to repot with new soil and bring them indoors for the winter.  I remember doing that a few years back and I had blooming geraniums in the kitchen all winter.  What a joy THAT was!  I also pulled out all my marigolds that I planted in the raised planters and potted them in one large pot so that it looks nice and full - I consider marigolds one of those flowers that can look right at home in the fall as they do in the summer!  I picked the last of my herbs and dehydrated them for the pantry.  So.......Thursday was an amazing day of getting a lot done.  Oh!  I forgot...........last week I bought organic apples for apple butter, so Thursday was the day for that as well.  THIS is how amazing the humble apple is - I used the whole apple in these ways:

as you can see I have a crockpot full of apple slices to be made into apple butter, I have a bowl of apple peels to be made into apple cider vinegar, and I have a pan full of apple cores for a stovetop potpourri.

here are the jars of apple butter (recipe to follow)

here are the jars that will make the apple cider vinegar (again, directions to follow)

here is the stovetop potpourri - I added some old frozen cranberries in along with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg - if you want a beautiful smell in your home......this would be it!  It can be used a couple of times - just keep adding more water to it.  😊

On Friday (yesterday) - it was a finishing up of things in the kitchen, a little trip out and about for a couple of clothes items, coming home and ordering some things on-line, and some laundry before the weekend.

Today (Saturday) - it's another cloudy, cool, wet day ahead, so this is the day to be spent in the basement with LOTS of cleaning, and going through stuff (hoping to give more away!).

Now forward with recipes:

SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER

6 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Place the apples in the slow cooker.  Mix the rest of the ingredients until well combined and pour over apples.  Mix very well.  Cook on Low for about 10 hours (I did mine a little longer), stirring every couple of hours (so this is something that you will want to make when you know you will be home all day).  The apple butter should be thick and dark brown.  To break the apples up, I use a potato masher and then I even puree them in the blender before pouring into freezer jars.  This takes me right back to Mom - she ALWAYS made apple butter.  

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Organic apple scraps
3 Tbsp. organic sugar
3 cups distilled water

*Fill a clean quart jar with apple scraps 
*In separate bowl, combine sugar and water and stir till sugar is dissolved.
*Pour over apples (you may not need all the water) until all the scraps are submerged
*Place a small jar filled with water (this is where the wide mouth jars are good) inside the quart jar to weigh the scraps down
*Cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band
*Store jar(s) in a dark place at room temperature for 3 weeks - check daily to make sure the scraps are still submerged, and that no mold is present.  If any scum forms, just skim it off.
*After 3 weeks, strain the scraps and discard them
*Return your liquid to a jar.  Cover again with cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.  Let stand in a dark place at room temperature for another 3 to 4 weeks, stirring daily.  After 3 weeks begin tasting for desired tartness.  When you think it's done for your taste, transfer the vinegar to a jar with a lid and begin using it!!!!  Store in refrigerator.

*Note:  if you use organic apple cider vinegar, you will notice a "strange" floating thing - that is called the "mother" and it's okay!  You want that!  But you can either remove it and store it separately, or leave it alone.  When you make your next batch of vinegar, add the mother to the jar with the apple scraps.

Have fun with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So good for our health.  😊

The other thing that I wanted to remind you of is that I hope you can enjoy the tasks at hand.  When you do things around the house - whether that be crafting/sewing, cleaning the house, baking/cooking - just be present at the moment and enjoy what you are doing at the time.  I know, with me, I can get to the point where I just want to get it done and move on to the next thing.  But that deprives me of putting the love and care into what I'm doing.  All it becomes is "just one more thing that I have to do" instead of "I GET to do this today!"

There is one more recipe that I want to share with you today.  Saturdays is our Asian meal day and last Saturday I made slow cooker Teriyaki ribs and........they were really good.  Here it is:

SLOW COOKER TERIYAKI RIBS

1 large rack of baby back ribs cut into pairs
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (I put a little less in)
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced

*Sprinkle ribs with pepper and place in slow cooker.  Pour 1/3 cup of the teriyaki sauce over them; cover and cook on Low for 7 hours or till tender.
*Mix together in small bowl, the remaining 1/3 cup of the teriyaki sauce, the balsamic vinegar, and garlic.
*Remove ribs from slow cooker and brush the above glaze over the ribs while hot.
*Enjoy!!!!!   Seriously, these were wonderful.

I served them with an Asian slaw and watermelon slices on the side.  They were SO tender. 

And, lastly, I wanted to show you our splurge:

this is down in our basement - it's a place for growing things throughout the winter


this is now this

a little bowl of fresh lettuce  😊  it's not a lot, but for the two of us if I can keep planting and cutting lettuce for salads throughout the winter, we'll be satisfied.  I also have 3 tomato plants growing and ordered more pods for more tomatoes and lettuce as well.  The nice thing is is that you can use the soil again for planting your own seeds - you don't need to keep buying their pods (which could get a bit pricey).  So.....we're excited and pleased with it.

Now, before I go, I need to share from my Nehemiah book again:

*"Do you know anything about such a combat in prayer that is utterly, completely exhausting?  Do you know what it means to feel that you can scarcely get through to God for the sheer pressure of the power of the enemy?  What form does that take?  Crowding upon our imagination come unholy thoughts, sensual desires, wrong actions.  Pressing upon us are the drudgeries of daily life and the demands of business.  Behind all such deadly antagonism to a work of God is Satan himself, using all the force at his command to keep back the building up of the temple of the Holy Spirit."

*".....whenever our enemy sees a work of the Holy Spirit, he concentrates all his forces against it."

*"The very fact that a work is of God will always arouse the opposition of the enemy."

*"Oh, dear child of God, in the heat of the battle and in the thick of the fight, have you learned to look up?  Maybe you are not able to say very much or to utter a lengthy prayer, but in your heart you look up."

*".......the Christian church today is this:  that it looks in every direction except upward.  We look to every contrivance, except to God.  We seek in every manner to deal with the situation, except looking up."

More good things to ponder this week.  We have opposition, but we have God.  Don't look around, look up.  Pray.  Always.

I hope you enjoyed today's post and that it will be of some help to you.  I also hope that you can enjoy your homes today.   Doing something is better than doing nothing!!!  God bless and thank you for stopping by.  😊


 









  


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Chilly Saturday Morning

Photo from up north - the beauty is amazing there.


Well..........brrrrrrrrrrr is all I can say!  I think the Autumn switch has been flipped and now here we are.  A few posts ago I was talking about how hot and humid it was.  Now the windows are open and my hands are actually cold as I type.  Not complaining, however.  : )  I'm more of an Autumn girl so this feels wonderful.  And Labor Day weekend?  How did THAT happen?

It was a very different kind of week.  I didn't get many list items done, but I got to other things so that has to be okay!  I'm determined to get our pantry stocked by the end of October so I spent the week in taking inventory of absolutely everything and continuing to purchase.  Today will be a day in making/doing several things to help build the pantry with:

*a friend told me that she is making vegetable broth from the "scraps" that would normally go into the compost.  She puts the scraps into a container in the freezer and then when she has enough she makes broth from them all.  That's what I'll be doing today.  I have a lot of scraps saved up so I will just dump them into a crockpot, add water and seasonings and let it do it's work.  I will be freezing this.  (Of course, make sure the scraps have been from vegetables that have been scrubbed well.)

*I bought organic apples this past week to make crockpot apple butter for the freezer.  With the peels from the apples, I will be making my own apple cider vinegar.  

*The herbs outside are looking like they really need a good cutting, so I will be doing that and put them into the dehydrator for the pantry.  It will be so fun to use my own dried herbs this winter in my cooking.

There are just so many ways that we can prepare for the upcoming winter - if you are unsure as to what you can do, just begin with one thing that you know your family will want/need/enjoy and go from there.  I can guarantee that when you begin, it will be hard to know when to stop!!!  It's good and right to be prepared.  : )  Have fun with this!!!!!!

There is another Bakeover that I wanted to share with you today:

I know the picture doesn't look like much, but trust me when I say that this tasted really good.  : )

CHICKEN POT PIE BAKEOVER

In a cast iron skillet, melt a stick of butter (yes, a whole stick).  Saute' a chopped onion till softened, add 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables (the green bean, carrot, corn, peas kind), thawed, and then 2 cups of cooked chicken (I use canned chicken), salt and pepper.  Mix well and distribute this evenly in the bottom of the skillet.  Add a pie crust on top (either store-bought or homemade) and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or till crust is browned.  

This is the part where you have to be careful - put a plate (upside down) on top of everything in the skillet and then flip (this is the hard part because the skillet is hot and heavy - so be careful!).  Cut into wedges and serve with chicken gravy (either made with chicken broth, milk, and flour adding salt and pepper to taste, OR just a canned chicken gravy is equally as good).

Again, I just love these Bakeovers - so quick, easy, and tasty.  Hope you can give it a try!!!!!!!

*Note - notice the lettuce wedge on the plate.  When my husband and I went grocery shopping we got to thinking of the old "Green Goddess" salad dressing.  We both grew up eating it and got us thinking about it.  So.........we went down the salad dressing aisle to pick a bottle up, and then bought a head of iceberg lettuce.  Brought us right back home.  Isn't it funny how certain smells, tastes, music, etc. can take you back to different times?  Anyway.......it was good.  : )

That's about all I have for you today.  Like I said before - the week was different but it was busy so I didn't have much written down for this post.

Before I go, however, I do want to share more from the Nehemiah book!

*"......in every Christian advance with God we find that two kinds of foes arise - one external and the other internal."

*"A man called of God is sure of himself in the sense that he is sure of God's enablings, and even though he may have to stand absolutely alone, retreat is never in his vocabulary."

*".......be sure that the foundation of your life is firmly laid.  Make sure that it is clearly exposed, and that by faith you stand on that foundation which no man can lay, which is Jesus Christ our Lord."

*"In your life and mine there is a river which all of us are going to cross, and one day you are going to stand at the brink and pass through; your body is going to be left behind, and your soul is going on to hell or heaven.  Are you building on the Rock?  Are you on solid ground which is Christ our Lord, or is it only sinking, shifting sand?  Be sure you are on the foundation."

*".......remember that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit; it is His work to build it.  He began it, you know.  He digged down until He exposed our emptiness, until He cast out our self-righteousness and laid the foundation of Christ Himself within us where the shifting sand of self had been - that is conversion."

*"Whatever sin there may be within us, the Holy Spirit is there to conquer it, and the blood of Christ answers for us in heaven and cleanses us from it in the sight of God.  Confess it to Him and know that you are forgiven.  Conquer it in the power of the Spirit within you and He will perfect that which is within each one of us."

*"The indwelling Christ is ready at the door of your heart to fill the garbage truck with all the rubbish that you are willing to get rid of, and by the grace of God and by the power of the His Spirit, we will build the wall upon the foundation that will stand firm for time and eternity."

Again, isn't that wonderful?  I'm truly loving this book.  And I hope that what little I give to you each week, will make you pause and think and give your life to Jesus if you haven't already.  : )

Well, thank you SO much for dropping by today.  I know it's a "holiday" weekend and that many of you will be taking the weekend "off" so I hope you enjoy and be safe!  For the rest of us who take the words "labor day" literally, it will be one of labor but that's okay.  : )  Whatever you do I hope you enjoy the time the Lord has given!!!!  God bless.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Morning Has Broken

I absolutely love cloud formations!


Well, hello!  As I sit and write this morning, the first glimpse of sunshine is coming through the trees.  It's so pretty as it falls on the green of the leaves - morning sunshine is my favorite for its softness.  All the windows are open wide and crisp, cool air is wafting through.  This is the first time all week as it has been on the hot and humid side of things again.  So this is extra special.  I can hear the birds again.  As I say this, unfortunately a Blue Jay is at the feeder and screaming away (not a pleasant sound).  LOL  The squirrels are busy as well (they're always busy).  

With all the beauty this morning, in going out yesterday I soon realized (and remembered) that this is not my favorite time of year.  It's that in-between time (like the in-between time of spring and summer).  Even though there is still a lot of green, quite a bit is dying down and browning.  The grass doesn't look as nice, the ferns are turning brown, the flowers are dying off.  Everything starts their process of preparing for the fall and winter months ahead.  Usually this doesn't bother me but this year it does.  If we could go back and push a re-start button on year 2020, I definitely would.  It's been a year that wasn't.  And for it to be coming to an end, well, it's just sad (especially when we're not out of this virus stuff yet).   

Well, I guess if there is a positive note to all of it, it's that we're in it together!  When we all begin to talk about our feelings about it all, we can all relate.  That doesn't happen too often.  So, in this new day, we need to pick ourselves up and carry on with the business of living and doing.  Because their is much to do.  : )

I must admit that the first part of this week started off with my being sick - thankfully it was a short-lived thing but, nowadays, any sign of being sick makes a person wonder.  We are being led to believe that any and all illness is the corona virus.  It may be.  It may not be.  But I do know that my symptoms WERE rather odd, so........who knows?  

So, between not feeling well and the weather being hot and humid, I have been indoors this week (that's why this gorgeous weather now is so welcome) and I really didn't get much done other than the basics.  One thing that I DID do was to get into my sewing/craft room so that was fun.  I found several works-in-progress projects that I pulled out, wrote them on my to-do list, and began working on them again.  This is so very typical of me - I love having several things to work on at the same time because I get bored easily with doing the same thing over and over again.  So that felt good to do.  I just take my i-Pad in, pour a cup of coffee or tea, and find videos to watch (right now I'm REALLY into watching quilting videos) and craft away!  : )

I know I have said this over and over again, but I encourage you to find that one thing that you enjoy working on for when you have extra time on your hands.  I know that some of you are saying "when do I ever have extra time on my hands?"  Then.....if not extra time.....how about those times when you just need to get off by yourself and do something creative just for the fun of it?  We're all going to be different in what the definition of fun is.  I really do get it when sometimes all we need is to veg out in front of a movie or a TV program, but since that is such a passive thing to do, we shouldn't do that all the time.  So having a hobby around is really important.  Give it a try!!!

In talking to a friend a while back, she motivated me into getting back to exercising.  If there is one thing that I can talk myself out of, it's exercise!!!!  After not feeling well at the beginning of the week I was thinking that it was a good time to start again.  Taking care of ourselves is good arsenal in keeping us healthy.  And, then, after reading a post from another blogger, she presented the idea of breaking up our exercises and that fits right in with how I tend to work.  First, I don't like to devote a big chunk of time to exercise.  There are SO many other things that I would much rather do.  So, what I'm doing is taking 15 minutes in the morning for warm-ups, stretches, and weight-lifting.  15 minutes in the afternoon (pretty much right before I start supper) for a walk (whether that be outdoors when the weather is nice, or I have walking videos that I plug in.  And, then, 15 minutes after supper for what I all "the twister."  It's this plastic board that I stand on and "twist."  It's good for the waist and abs and legs!  (Now, I will admit that this last segment of exercise sometimes does not get done depending on how tired I am in the evening - but I'm trying to stick with it).  So, in doing these segments of exercise I'm getting the time in even if they ARE spread out!  Maybe I can encourage you in this as well.  : )

Well......now on to the September to-do's and tea party theme.  Seriously, once again, I cannot believe we're talking September.  Here we go! (Again, some of these apply to us, some don't)

*Clean out the gutters - if you can afford, or save up for, gutter guards, I highly recommend them!
*Remove any dead limbs of trees.
*Lubricate any doors/windows.
*Plant the fall mums - now is the time to pretty up the outdoor areas of your house - as things are dying down, clean up those areas and buy the fall mums to step in.  Step back and look at the front of your house and the entrance.  What can you do to pretty it up?  I REALLY need to do this!!!!  Our front "porch" is looking pretty sad right now.  : (
*Plant trees/shrubs.
*Aerate the grass.
*Flip your mattress/wash ALL bedding.
*Clean the windows!  Let in that gorgeous sunshine.
*Again, begin to think Christmas.  I know.......none of us really know what Christmas will even be/look like this year.  But it's going to come and it might be different but we can certainly plan and begin making/buying things.  We have decided that (God willing) we want to go all out for Christmas this year.  We want to really decorate the outside of the house to bring some warmth, love, and beauty to the neighbors and all who pass by.  I want to really decorate the inside this year as well.  For the past few years, I have been very sparse in decorating but I truly do want to be different this year.  I feel like we all need it.  I'm even trying to put my thinking cap on and think of ideas for our neighbors (maybe a drive-through Christmas where we can serve hot chocolate and cookies at the curb?  Piping Christmas music outdoors so all can hear?)  I'm kind of getting excited about it!  I hope I can encourage you in this as well!!!!  As Christians, let's celebrate this year!  Let's NOT look/act like everyone else!  Let's NOT get discouraged!  : )

If you are doing your tea parties (whether that means social distancing with others or doing this by yourself)  here is September for you:

*Whether indoors or out, decorate with pots of mums and bring out all your old books to put around and about.
*Serve an apple cake and little tea cakes along with your favorite tea in a favorite tea cup.
*Play classical music in the background.

VERY simple and elegant.  A time to pause, do something different, and enjoy.

Before I go I, once again, want to share more from the book I'm reading about Nehemiah:

*"When the Christian dares to say that the only hope of the world is in the gospel of God's redeeming grace, the whole force of modern civilization and education lines up against him."

*"The world judges everything by size, by headlines, by imposing schemes, by vast advertisements, and it pours contempt upon the feeble little flock of the people of God."

*"God's work depends on everyone with a mind to work who will be on the job seven days a week, night and day."

*"Whenever a work of God is begun, in heart or home, Satan uses the method of scorn. He never bothers about half-hearted Christian people, but once you are desperate for God and become burdened for the salvation of men, then all hell will oppose you."

*"In the Christian life, if we have no heart to pray, we have no mind to work.  Have you noticed if you forget to pray, or feel you have no time to pray, how irritable and critical you get?  If you have no heart to pray, do not go on working."

*"It is one of Satan's greatest victories when he just laughs you out of a work for God."

Again, this book is good.  I'm learning so very much and becoming motivated by it.  I hope these little tidbits are encouraging and helpful to you as well.  It certainly gives us pause to think!!!!  And that's a good thing.  : )

Thank you SO much for dropping by.  I appreciate you and I hope that you can enjoy this day and upcoming weekend.  God bless.  : )



Saturday, August 22, 2020

A Few Things For This Saturday Morning

I had these sitting by the kitchen window and they just looked very country and homey that I just needed to take a photo of them.  : )


Well, it's Saturday morning again!!!  The days/weeks fly by.  Overnight we were supposed to have a bit of a rain, but it just ended up sprinkling.  Right now the window is open and "fresh" air is coming in that is cool.  I say "fresh" air loosely - I have a feeling living in a major city area the air is far from being fresh!  But since that is all we have, I'll have to go with that.  LOL  : )

The birds have been grouping a lot which means we are in the beginning of the transition of seasonal changes.  Last Sunday a group of Starlings overtook that back yard and it was rather creepy -

This is only a fraction of them - I felt like we were filming another Alfred Hitchcock movie!!!  I love birds, but this was a bit much!

The other way that I know we are in transition is that I'm getting that nesting instinct again.  It seems a bit early this year, but I have it nonetheless.  Yesterday there was a strong pull of moving things from room to room and re-doing things in other rooms to make the rooms work better and to cozy it up again for the upcoming Fall and Winter.  My husband does NOT like it when I get like this because he just gets used to things one way and then I change it but even he liked the changes that I made so I must have done it right!  I'm just going with that.  : )

I now have a complete sewing/craft room.  And I now have an office space.  I extended a table in our living/dining space to accommodate room enough to write letters without having to take up the dining room table.  And I brought a tiny side table into the kitchen to hold an Instant Pot that I received for Christmas last year.  In our tiny kitchen, big appliances are difficult to accommodate but I need them out because I use them!  So, it's a challenge to say the least, but it's done and it actually looks okay!

As I cleaned on Thursday, I went around the house and took photos because as I was cleaning I realized that I have kind of a theme for each room.  It really never dawned on me before:

Our pint-sized bathroom - I have always thought of a seaside or beachside theme for bathrooms.  I have no idea where that comes from because I didn't grow up that way, nor do we ever go to the seaside - the closest we get to water is Lake Superior up north and we love it so there are photos in the bathroom of the light house up there, along with a sailboat our son took a photo of, and a wooded path that we always walk when we go up.  I envision seaside bathrooms of having the colors of the area - soft whites, soft blues, grays, tans, browns, green.  I love the early morning light so I'm glad our bathroom is on that side of the house.  : )

And then our pint-sized kithchen - I always think of farmhouse when I think of kitchens.  White, stainless steel, wood, lace curtains.  Again, I never grew up this way, but it's something that I love and wanted to at least try to emulate that.  Farmhouse kitchens should be huge (like the Walton's) - it should have a big family table, lots of space.......but this will have to do!  : )

When I think of living/dining space I think cabin.  I think of up north - woodsy.  The leather couches, the stone fireplace, the nature photos we take on vacation, lots of magazines and books to read for relaxation, lots of green plants.

I didn't get around to the bedrooms (maybe next time).  But I think the reason this tiny house works for us is that nothing is matchy-matchy.  Every room is different, yet if I want/need to move something from one room to another it works in whatever room that is!  It took a lot of trial and error and unfortunately some purchases that shouldn't have been, but it's now to the point where it feels good to us.   There is great gain in being content, isn't there?

Just a few other things that I wanted to share:

At Christmas when we go out and look at light displays, one thing that I enjoy doing is writing down the address of people who put out some nice displays and then I go home and write a note to them letting them know how much we appreciate it (especially those who still put up manger scenes!).  Well, the other day I was thinking that since so many people are sprucing up their yards this year (because we have more time on our hands these days) that I would write down the addresses of the houses who have done a good job in this area and write to them to let them know how much we appreciate the beauty of their yards!  I encourage you to maybe do the same!  I feel this year it's so important to give each other some kindness.  I hope you can give it a try - make someone's day!  : )

One of my favorite meals at supper is breakfast.  My husband is not one to give compliments very often (makes me wonder if I'm an okay cook or not!) but the other evening I made this:

Oven roasted potatoes tossed with olive oil, black pepper, turmeric, and garlic powder (roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until softened).  Pile them on a plate (dividing them up among how ever many plates you are serving).  Cook several slices of bacon and put them on paper towels to dry them out.  Fry however many eggs you want in the bacon fat.  Top the potatoes with shredded cheddar, cut up the bacon and put that on the cheese, and then top it all with the eggs.  Oh my.  It was really good.  It was like what you see at a family restaurant.  And, yes, I even got a compliment!  : )  

The other evening we were watching a program on TV where a British traveler was here in the U.S. and he was in Boston "showing us around" - he visited an old cathedral where the choir was practicing and they sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  Well.....I haven't heard that sung in a LONG time and forgot how emotional I get when I do hear it.  Sung by a choir made it even more emotional.  SO beautiful.  You can look up the words to it on-line.  I looked them and printed it out for my own enjoyment.  There is a line that I especially like:

"He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword" - this is a dangerous prayer to pray, but with all the evil in this nation and world I have been praying for God's terrible swift sword.  People just don't fear the Lord anymore!  We need to pray that He will defeat the enemy from within - all the people who are bent on destroying our nation and re-creating it to be something that the Lord did not intend for it to be!  If we don't pray, we could lose everything.

Which leads me to sharing with you, once again, some more thoughts in my book on Nehemiah:

*Perhaps your home, instead of being an instrument of blessing, has become an idol.  You live for its amenities, its gifts, its equipment.  You live for its furniture, for its carpets; these things fill your mind.  And the wall of prayer, the wall of protection, the wall of purity, the wall of passionate devotion to Jesus is broken."

*"You cannot expect the blessing of God upon your home if you criticize your neighbor and gossip concerning the preacher and pull to pieces the church and the people who worship in it."

*"Maybe it means that you will give your home utterly to Christ and will ask Him once again that it may not be an idol, but rather an instrument of blessing to others."

*"How sad it is, indeed, that the place where the true quality of our Christian life is really tested, at home, is the place that is so often sadly neglected.  If we serve the church or serve the Lord at the expense of our duty to our loved ones and the responsibilities of our homes, there is something wrong with the balance of our Christian lives."

I hope this will give you something to ponder.  This world wants to pull the home apart - it wants to divide the family unit and totally undo what God has established.  Let's not fall into that!  Let's make our homes strong in Christ!!!!!

I will end this post for today and hope you have enjoyed a little something by it.  Make this day a good one and I hope you enjoy the work of yours hands.  : )  God bless!










Saturday, August 15, 2020

Beauty After The Storms

Sunrise over Lake Superior.


At the beginning of the week we had strong storms move through the area bringing in hot and humid weather for a good part of the week.  Last night we had strong storms move through the area bringing in cool and less humid weather for the weekend and into next week!  I prefer the latter myself.  : )

As I look out my window the sun is shining through - not too high in the sky yet as it is early morning.  The grass is covered in water from the rains last night, the mint is getting the purple flowers on it, the lavender is getting another burst of growth, the birds are singing, and the cool breeze is coming in the open windows.  The ONLY thing that takes away from the tranquil feeling right now is a plane going overhead (we live close to the airport).  But even that, after living here for years and years and have gotten used to it, is okay.  It's just a pretty morning.  : )

My post today will consist pretty much of photos - a kind of "my weekly routine in pictures" thing.  As homemakers, there are SO many little things we do without even thinking about it that we would need to have a camera in our hands at all times in order to truly capture everything we do.  I won't subject you to that!  But there ARE those things that I do, along with all of you, that we HAVE to do in order for the home to run smoothly and work well for us.  Here it goes:

I NEED to start my day in God's word.  I underline, star things, and write in my notebook - whatever it takes to study and remember it.  And then I give thanks to God for being SO loving and kind to even have provided us with His word so that we can learn and grow and know Jesus.  This just sets the tone for the day.  I find that I don't even need an alarm clock in the morning - He gently awakens me so that I can spend time with Him.  : )

I've always loved doing the laundry in the morning so that I can hang some things on the line.  As you can see, our backyard is quite shady so they do have to hang out there for a while before they're dry.  That's why I don't hang everything out - it would literally take all day.  And on those humid days I don't dry the laundry outdoors because I find that they absorb all the "city smells" - it's not that "fresh air" smell that we all desire.  Oh, to be out in the country!  : )

On cleaning days, I gather my supplies and carry them from room to room.  This week was an exceptionally good week for cleaning (since I don't like hot and humid weather outdoors).  We moved the fridge and stove and cleaned behind (amazing how gross those areas get!).  I cleaned each and every window sill of the house (every rain we get makes all the dust and dirt that gets in from the screens turn to mud) so it was nice to have all of those nice and clean again.  I also deep-cleaned the bathroom.  : )

Then there are meals to plan.  With my notebook and recipe box, I write out menus for the week.  So far we have Crockpot meals on Mondays (since this tends to be my busy day), Mexican meals on Tuesdays, Pizza night on Wednesdays, Thrifty meals on Thursdays, Fish (seafood) on Fridays, Asian food on Saturdays, and a special meal on Sundays.  I take all the notes I've written from over the years on nutrition and plug all the "good" food in based upon what's in season.  And then I make my grocery list out from the menus.  A lady was asked a long time ago about what is so hard about planning meals for her family and she said "it's not that it's so hard, it's just that it's so daily!"  And I truly agree with her!  Providing three meals every day for our families can get overwhelming and we can get into ruts in making the same thing over and over again.  I think for the rest of the family those old tried and true meals are comforting and they think it's great, but for those of us who have to prepare them ALL the time it can get a bit tiring.  So hang in there!  Preparing ahead, buying what you need, giving yourself time in the kitchen instead of hurrying through it, a good attitude...........it all helps in this seemingly never-ending job!  : )

And then there is the actual going out to purchase our groceries for the meals ahead and to build our pantries with!  If you haven't taken a pantry seriously yet, I hope I can encourage you to begin.  Buy what is good for you, buy what is quick and easy to prepare, buy what will sustain you, buy things that will fill you up, buy for being able to help someone else..............this is extremely important.  This is not a new thing - our ancestors before us prepared all summer and fall so that they knew they would be okay in the winter.  Do a little every single shopping trip you make and you will see the pantry grow.  

And then there is the preparing of our food.  I touched on this above, but I can't say enough about cooking your own meals.  This is just a simple taco salad but in the summer it tastes wonderful!  With watermelon slices on the side - seriously, so good.  Whole grain tortilla chips, organic meat, fresh greens and tomatoes.  Yum.  Can you tell I like a quite a bit of sour cream on my salad?  : )

After a busy morning and then lunch, I like to sit down and relax a bit with a hot beverage and a "pleasure reading" book.  So nice to go into another time period with interesting characters and be with them for a while.  If the author is good, you will feel transported to a different place and time.  A wonderful way to get away if only for a half an hour or so.   : )

I'm all for trying to keep the house smelling nice - this is a stovetop potpourri of apple slices, orange slices, dried cloves, cinnamon sticks - bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and let it simmer.  Add water as it goes down.  I know this is kind of an autumn mix, but I enjoy it all year.  Makes it smell like you're baking something wonderful.  I also like to use our diffusers and put in essential oils such as cinnamon or lavender or peppermint, etc.  : )

The afternoons are mostly kept for creative pursuits - whether it's for us here at home, or for someone else.  Here I'm making my third batch of cards to send to the nursing home and here are all the cards ready to be sent:

I type out Bible verses on note cards to put inside of them and now I have to sit and write a personal note as well.  I'm really enjoying this and I hope it brightens their day.  : )

Just starting to knit winter scarves that I hope to give to a local charity.  I am not an excellent knitter - I don't read patterns and I only know a couple of stitches, but I do what I can and hopefully the scarves will be needed.  : )

And this project is for me.  This is called English paper piecing and I LOVE to do it.  It's one of my all-time favorites.  A great way to use up any leftover fabric you might have.  One of my goals is to make a real quilt - I have pieced fabric together in quilt form but have yet to make a "real" quilt.  I've been reading a quilting book that I received as a gift and I'm starting to buy some fabric, so it's a goal that I hope to attain.  : )

Towards the end of the day I like to sit down with reading material that I can gain some knowledge from.  I love homemaking books, manuals, magazines......anything that teaches me.  I sometimes pull out my homemaking notebook and take any notes that I feel will help me in the future or jot down where I found the information and what page number to refer back to.  This is my idea of fun.  : )

And, then, at bedtime, I need to have a book to read - another "pleasure" book only different from what I read at lunch.  This is a book that I read every summer and I almost forgot about it so I'm glad it came to mind and I'm already loving it (again).  If you can find this book (I'm so happy that this is a first edition - 1925) I would encourage you to.  SO good.  : )

Well, that is what my week looked like.  For some it may not seem like much but for me it was good.  I have worked many jobs before being a homemaker and none of them fulfilled me the way homemaking does.  I hope it does for you as well.

Before I go, I want to share more from my Nehemiah book that I'm reading:

*"If the cross means anything at all, it means the sentence of shame and of judgment upon human nature; by His death the Lord Jesus Christ has made it possible for poor, helpless, sinful people like us to stand before God complete, without a trace of guilt."

*"The witness of Christian people is no more effective anywhere in public than it is at home.  Here, then, is the starting place for all of us.  A church is no stronger than its homes, for a church is made up of families.  As we pray for God to bring revival to our churches, I want you to think of it here in terms of homes."

*"How precious is that home where the husband and wife dwell between the shoulders of the Almighty, where they are kept in safety by Him!  Such is the blessing which only the presence and power of the Lord Jesus brings to our home, where He is sovereign, where His will is done, where every member of the family seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  In such a home there is absolute protection - not necessarily from illness, poverty, pain, or death - but always from worry, from fear, and from friction."

*"The grim facts are that thousands of even so-called Christian homes are only held together for the sake of appearances."

*"How precious is the home where there are no secrets, where there is complete trust and confidence and respect!"

I'll leave you with those thoughts.  Our homes ARE important and don't let anyone tell you it doesn't matter.  It does.

Thank you so much for dropping by once again.  I appreciate it when you do!! God bless.  : )

















Saturday, August 8, 2020

Another Warm and Humid Saturday Ahead

I wish I could say that these were from our garden but they were so pretty I thought I'd take a picture of them.  : )


One thing that we always miss in the changing of the seasons (especially summer to fall) is the produce - all the summertime fruits.  August is usually the time for me to do some small-batch canning for the freezer.  And this week was strawberries for jam:


Jams are amazingly simple and take no time at all.  This year I really want to shop and eat seasonally and that means I buy the wonderful summer fruit now to preserve them for the winter.  In our markets we can buy anything all year round, but the flavor of some fruits in the dead of winter is just not the same as in the peak of summer.  So in order to preserve that flavor, we have to preserve it!  Then when January rolls around and we just can't stand the cold and snow, we pull those preserves off the shelves and indulge in a bit of summer again.  : )  You can find small batch recipes on-line all over the place - just pick and choose the right ones for you!!!!  Next week will be blueberries and raspberries for us.

I really don't have a lot for you this week.  It was definitely a week of getting things done again and realizing more and more how much my daily/weekly/monthly lists mean to me.  To some, lists make you feel confined and too strict.  To me, lists help to motivate me - they are reminders and there is something very satisfying in crossing things off!  : )  Some of those things were:

*starting to wash our OLD wood floors where in some areas the finish is worn down so being careful is necessary so that we don't end up with black spots.  It really was embarrassing as to how dirty the floors were - this is definitely something that I need to do on a regular basis to keep up with it.  I can't just take a mop to it - it's where I have to get down on hands and knees - so maybe that's why it doesn't get done very often!  But I REALLY have to.

*some outdoor work - weeds, weeds, weeds.

*going through card-making supplies and tossing some and giving some away to make room for new.

*making cards for my next mailing to the senior center.

*the daily and weekly cleaning of the home.

*cooking.

*knitting scarves to give away.

*crocheting quilt blocks to put together soon.

*crocheting dish cloths (this one is for us).  : )

But that's about it - just keeping up and making do and doing for others.

As the title to the post says - it's going to be warm and humid again today so I'll go out to get the much-needed fresh air and sunshine, but mostly it will be work inside:

*keep working on the cards

*clean the downstairs living area

*Saturday suppers are Asian meals so I need to make our favorite chow mein

*I need to cut more of our herbs and dehydrate them

*get a card or two written to be sent in the mail

And I think that will be it for this day - I doubt if I'll get to ALL of them, but again, knowing what I could be doing today helps me to stay motivated.  : )

While going through pantry things again, I wanted to remind you to keep building your pantry!!!!!  This was the first time, when shopping, that flour was in low supply.  I've been reading that other parts of the country was experiencing this, but so far here it's been okay.  I think it's important to buy a package of flour on each shopping trip if you can - store some on the shelf and then it also freezes well.  But, in addition to flour, I think it wise to pick up mixes to store on your shelves:

*pancake/waffle mixes
*all purpose mix that makes biscuits, etc.
*cake mixes
*cookies mixes
*bread mixes
*..................

It's wise because these mixes have flour (and everything else you need) to make something.  You mostly just add water or milk, eggs, oil, and you're done.  That way, if you start running out of flour you will still have something available.  During a time of food shortages or the inability of getting to the store because of who knows what.....I don't think most of us will be all that concerned as to whether or not the above mixes are "healthy" or not.  We just need to eat and feed our families.  And these food items are great for giving as well.

The other thing for our pantries, that is not food related, is to start building a gift-giving pantry - stock up on greeting cards, stationery, gift wrap, tape, etc.  The dollar store is great for this.  Looking ahead on your calendars can remind you of birthdays/anniversaries coming up so pick the cards up now.  As we all know, retail stores love to put holiday things out very early so when you see holiday cards and gift wrap pick them up and store them away.  This is a wonderful way of making sure that your holidays are a bit more relaxing and organized.  I know that none of us know what the holidays will even look like this year, but one thing we should be learning by now is how to plan for the uncertain!  I know that doesn't make sense, but even when we don't know what to plan, it's still good to plan just in case it works out after all.  : )

Lastly, I want to continue to bring you more quotes from the book that I'm reading on Nehemiah.  I'm just so enjoying this book and so happy to bring some of it to you.  Here it goes:

*"Whenever a real work of God is to be done - some faithful, burdened servant has to take a journey such as Nehemiah took, to weep in the night over the ruins, to wrestle in some dark Gethsemane in prayer.  It is utter folly to refuse to believe that things are as bad as they really are.  It is vital in any undertaking for God to know the worst, for whenever there is to be a wonderful movement of the Holy Spirit, it begins with someone like Nehemiah who was bold enough to look at facts, to diagnose them, and then to rise to the task."

*"Are our hearts ever stirred like that?  Have you ever lost one hour of sleep over the tragic spiritual death of your church and your city?  Has it ever kept you awake?"

*"Think of the coldness of our our prayers.  Think of the mere routine of our service that takes up so much of our time that we haven't time to stop and ask God what He wants us to do.  Think of the carelessness of our own Christian walk.  Think of the poverty of our witness, the compromise of our lives.  Before God will ever do a work of revival, He will break our hearts; do you know that?"

*"The great menace to revival is the Christian who refuses to work with other people because his views differ on certain matters of Biblical interpretation which are nonessential in relation to evangelism."

*"There is too much working before men and too little waiting before God.  There is more and more motion and less and less unction.  We wrestle with problems in endless committees and conferences, but we seldom wrestle on our knees against the real enemy, Satan."

I will leave you with those five thoughts.  So very good.

Well, I will also end this post for today.  I do hope that all of you can put God first today above everything else - read your Bible, pray.  Then I hope you can enjoy the doing in your home - that you will take care of all that God has provided for you (and to give thanks - this is later in the book but I keep thinking of it all the time - it said "and Nehemiah looked up" - we all need to look up and give God the glory for all that He has and continues to do for us).  Enjoy this day even with everything that is going on. 

Thank you for dropping by for this visit - I appreciate you!!!!!!  : )