Saturday, March 16, 2019

Making Your Home What You Want It To Be

The Christmas Cactus (or Easter Cactus?) has lots of blooms on it right now.  SO needed as we continue to look out at snow!!!!  : )

It's been an interesting week as far as weather goes.  I know.  I talk a LOT about our weather, but seriously - with all the snow and ice we've had, what we DIDN'T need was rain.  And we got a lot of rain. It was going into our basement (along with almost everyone else around here).  My husband worked non-stop from 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning to 5:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon trying to keep up with the water that was coming in a couple of places.  And this is what we were watching in our backyard:

a lake creeping closer and closer.

Fortunately, the rains did stop and the basement is dry again and the sky is blue and the birds are singing!  : )

I'm slowly doing a little baking for the freezer.  I made my lemon cookies (which I have posted already) but they are so good that they are almost gone already (there is one packet in the freezer though).  I made these:

lemon cupcakes

from this book:

but I didn't really like them so I won't give out the recipe.  : )  They were fine once I pulled out the blueberry freezer jam to spread on them, but they were too dry and not very muffin-y.  So I'll look for another recipe (or if you have a favorite lemon muffin recipe that you wouldn't mind sharing, I'd really appreciate it!)

Well, the title to this post is making your home what you want it to be.  One of my favorite quotes from Edith Schaeffer is "......people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they DO live into anything artistically satisfying to them."  Isn't that true of all of us?  Instead of loving the homes we have and making them into our "dream" home, we're always yearning to be someplace else.  

The older I get the more content I become (which I feel is great blessing).  I'm talking about the house we live in.  I'm still not all that thrilled about living in a city environment, but I'm referring to our house.  Our home.  

I LOVE looking at Pinterest ideas and I buy magazines once in a while for decorating ideas, and I have books on home decorating and I can honestly say that looking at those gorgeous homes doesn't make me feel like I'm missing out on anything.  I feel like I can now just look at those pictures and find SOMETHING that maybe I can incorporate into our own home rather than drool and covet!

Think of ALL the things we can do right within the four walls of our own homes.  I think we use the excuse that we don't have the time, money, or skills to do anything, but I beg to differ.

Time - time can always be found.  You may have to plan ahead, but it can be found.  Think of all the time we waste in front of the tv or the computer or the phones.  Yes, there is time.   : )

Money - some things don't require a lot of money.  Again, you may have to plan ahead and save but it can be done.  Think about the money we tend to waste on stuff that we don't need.  Doing for yourself saves money.

Skills - skills are taught!  If you haven't tried to do something you can't say that you can't do it.  Sewing pillows or curtains for your home can be learned.  Trying your hand at painting a picture, or making candles, or making something you have even prettier, can be yours if you take the time to learn.  My mother-in-law was SO good at this.  She would literally look at something in her home and think "how can I make this better" or "how can I make this prettier" and she did it.  She was very frugal but her home expressed who she was and it was always very comfortable.

My friend and I quite often talk about how anyone can learn anything just by looking it up on-line.  Their are tons of tutorials on anything you'd like to know more about - gardening, sewing, crafting, painting, dress making, crocheting, name it, you can do it.

So, my encouragement for you today is to look at your rooms in a different way and if it is not satisfying to you, write down what it is that you don't like and then under that write what you might do to change it and then write down what steps you would have to take in order to accomplish the change!  Do you want to try a new paint color?  Are your pillows looking a little drab?  Do you have a piece of furniture that looks out of place?  Being the woman of your home, you can make it a place that you and everyone else looks forward to coming to and can feel a sense of "I don't need to be anywhere else."  : )

Thank you for your visit - I still appreciate it when you do!!!!!  God bless your day.  : )

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March Tea-Party Idea

One of my favorite pictures - I have it in a little frame in an old dentist cabinet that I store my teacups in.  SO sweet.  : )

When I posted my March to-do's, I forgot to post the March tea party theme - I do apologize.  LOL  And since there is plenty of March left, hopefully you will be able to pull one together.  : )

If you are blessed to have a lady-friend or two to share a cup of tea (or it's perfectly okay to treat yourself), here is a suggestion for you:  

*Decorate with pots of shamrocks on a table that has a pretty tablecloth on it and float a few votive candles in pretty glass containers.
*Serve mint ice cream, a pan of gingerbread, and shamrock sugar cookies.
*Have some Irish music playing in the background.

Sounds lovely to me.  : )

That's it for now!  Thank you for dropping by.  God bless.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Beautiful Sunday Afternoon

Even me, who doesn't want any more snow until next Winter, thought this was a thing of beauty.  : )

Then, while driving to church, the clouds blew away and all this against a vivid blue sky was simply awesome.  Fortunately, we did not receive the 7 - 10 inches that was forecast.  It only amounted to about 3 or 4 but it was SO wet because of all the rain we got before it started snowing.   It was a little strange around here - lots of snow all over the place but it was raining (like it's supposed to in March) when there should be green grass instead.  Only in Minne-snow-ta!!!

This past week was so different than our weeks around here usually are.  I won't bore you with details because it would probably be a yawner to read about.  Let's just go with different.  : ) And that's okay.  The only thing (for me) that wasn't okay was that I'm looking back and knowing that not a lot got done and that bothers me a bit.  It taught me (once again) that I can write my to-do lists all I want (and I will continue to do that) but circumstances sometimes changes things.

Now it's the beginning of a new week.  There is always motivation in a new week.  I'm constantly surprised at how fast a new week rolls around though!!!!  This new week brings two new Bible studies - one at church with a few ladies and one with a couple of friends here at home and I'm looking forward to both.  One thing that I pray for is spiritual growth and discernment.  So that whenever I read the Bible or have Bible studies or hear the word of God spoken at church or on the radio, that it would just enter into my heart and head and become a part of me.  

One thing that stuck out in one of the Bible study lessons was that we need to be careful that when we study it doesn't just go to our heads.  We need for it to touch our hearts as well.  A lot of Bible scholars have head knowledge - they study and study yet nothing goes to the heart to change them in any way.  That is something to be careful of.  A Christian needs to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.  It's a wonderful thing to memorize Bible verses but if they are just words it doesn't mean anything.  Those words should penetrate us and change us and help us to be more like Christ - in everything.  I have met a lot of people who call themselves Christians but didn't look, act, or sound any different than non-Christians.  They didn't impress me in any way (not that I need to be impressed but you should notice a humble, repentant spirit in them).

If you can go on-line and watch Jeremy Camp's music video "Christ in Me" it is one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs that I turn the volume up on.  : )  I truly love the old hymns and so glad that I grew up at a time where I learned a lot of them, but I love the contemporary artists as well and right now there are a lot of good songs out there that are wonderful and uplifting and can give you comfort (and maybe shed a few tears that are good for us anyway).

So, for this new week I would encourage you to:

*Read and study the Bible - really take it in, pray about what God would have you to learn from it.
*Pray - there are SO many things to pray about and so many people that we can all lift up in prayer.
*Listen to Christian music - and sing along!!!!!!!!!
*Act what you profess - if you are saying you're a Christian, watch your manners, watch how act, watch what you say, watch where you go, watch what you view, watch what you do - if you don't think anybody cares or notices, you're wrong.  
*Care - you are God's creation and He loves you SO very much so care about people and care about what God has entrusted you with.  We all have special abilities and talents that God has put within us -we need to use them.

There are plenty of bad things going on that can bring us down and make us feel like there is no hope, but in Christ there IS hope.  It's okay to play Pollyanna once in awhile and try to find the good and play the "glad game" and list everything you have to be thankful and grateful for.   But remember to praise God for it for He is the One who provides it.  : )

God bless this day and the upcoming week!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Not Much Going On

Wide open country.  : )  And, no snow!!!!!

This post is going to be short because I didn't put my thinking cap on and decide what to write about!  

This is pretty much a re-cap of the week:

*kept up with the daily/weekly cleaning
*went on a few errands
*crocheted some more "quilt" blocks
*cooked meals but nothing new yet

Out of those four things, I can't seem to see post material.  : )  LOL

We are, however, bracing for yet another Winter storm.  We're running out of places to put all the snow!  Spring seems SO illusive right now.  It's like in the Fall when we were sitting outside with everything looking so pretty that we couldn't imagine it being all white from the Winter snow - right now we can't imagine what it will look like with everything green again!  We're breaking records so maybe that's something?  : o

So, I have my little list of "snow day" things to do:

*try my hand at watercolor art for my card-making
*make a couple of floral arrangements for my Etsy shop
*cut an apron out and maybe begin sewing it

We'll see!!!

Thank you for this short little visit.  I hope you can enjoy this day!  God bless.  : )

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Midweek Hello

Mmmmmmm.............Summer skies.  : )

Just checking in midweek to see how all of you are doing.  On Saturday, I posted all the meals that I will be able to make from our freezer, fridge, and pantry inventory so that I can use everything up.  I found out that I will be able to go past the middle of March with what we have, going to the market for fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.  I also mentioned that I would need to sit down and look through cookbooks and my own notes to see what I will have to begin making, in order to re-fill and begin planning for Spring/early Summer meals.  Saturday afternoon/evening was that day.  My husband has not been feeling well, so it was a weekend of staying home and I took advantage of that.

Out came the cookbooks, the notebook, and the pen, and I began writing down anything and everything that came to mind as I was reading.  To me, Spring and early Summer means fresh and light and different than the heavy meals we tend to eat during the Winter.  So here is what I came up with (so far):

*make piecrusts for the freezer - so good to pull them out at a moment's notice.
*make quiche this year - this would be a nice weekend breakfast/brunch - maybe serve it outside?
*make sausage muffins for the freezer - these sounded really good - a quick brunch idea served with a light salad and fresh fruit.
*have a variety of muffins in the freezer in fruity flavors such as orange or lemon - again, so good to pull out for salad night or with breakfast in the morning.
*make Spring/Summer crumbles or crisps using all the wonderful fruit in season - raspberries, rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries.
*make meringues for desserts - they're light and you can serve them with fresh fruit, lemon curd, or fresh whipped cream.  This would be SO pretty for Easter!
*serve fresh organic tomatoes slices with Mozzarella cheese slices on a platter - drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle freshly grated black pepper and a pinch of salt.
*make Jelly rolls for a Spring/Summer dessert - this SO reminds me of Mom.  We had very little money but she always had a Jelly roll!  : )  Use light summery fillings - orange, lemon, berries.......
*make a lemon drizzle cake for the freezer - it's always fun to pull a dessert out of the freezer!
*make orange poppy seed bread for the freezer.
*make sugar cookie cups to fill with fresh fruit and top with fresh whipped cream - I must admit, this is "Plan B" for Easter.  Just make your favorite sugar cookie recipe, cut into rounds, bake them, and while still hot, put them into muffin tins and let cool.  They will take on the shape of the muffin tins and can be filled.  Scrummy!
*eat more salads - egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, taco salads, chef salads, etc.
*make fast, easy, and light pasta dishes - serve with fresh baked bread and fruit.
*more grilled meals - burgers, salmon, ribs, vegetables, kabobs.
*serve a variety of cold beverages - grow lots of mint for mint tea, make fresh lemonade, iced coffee, sun tea.
*as seasonal fruits become available, make small batches of jams for the freezer.
*make ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies - chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies - all filled with your favorite ice cream.  Really fun to have in the freezer.
*continue to use the Crockpot - so good for those days when you just want to be outdoors.  Plan a meat and then you can just fix a quick salad and fresh fruit to round it out.
*the meats that I will want to slowly stock up on for the grill will be pork chops, hamburger, chicken pieces, ribs, ham (for cubes for kabobs).
*and that's kind of where I left off.  : )

For me, I need to do this kind of thing.  I love to have somewhat of a plan in mind and work towards something and have ideas in place.  It's also something that I enjoy doing.  Planning is fun for me whether it's a craft project, a sewing project, taking a trip somewhere - I've always enjoyed getting the information out and going through it all.  At the end of the month I know what I need to start baking and what I need to start buying.  I hope I can encourage you all to do the same and be ready with your Spring/early Summer meals!!!!

That's it for today.  Thank you for dropping by - I enjoy it when you do.  : )  God bless.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

The next picture on our calendar for the month of March.  So sweet.  : )

Looking back on the week, the one thing that comes to my mind is how we can have questions in our walk of faith.  It is not irreverent to question.  In reading the Bible, we can't know everything that is being written.  In listening to sermons from our pastors, we may still be left with wonderment.  In Bible studies, there still may be things that aren't quite clear.  And that's totally okay.

I think, as Christians, if we don't understand something we feel like there is a lack of faith in us.  And that can begin to feel like we don't really take God at His word and we're on our way to unbelief at some point.  That is definitely not the case!  It's what we do with the questions and how we find the answers that makes the difference.

I have known people who have had questions and because they just can't seem to find the answers, they assume there are none and then quit.  My own pursuit of answers during the past couple of weeks has brought me to a more thorough study of the Bible in the area that is needed.  I brought my questions before the Lord and it was He that directed my path - "look it up" I could feel Him saying.  : )  And, look it up I did (and still am and will be for quite a long time).

I encourage everyone to purchase one of these:

If you want to look up any topic in the Bible, this is invaluable.  It's helping me tremendously.   It has already answered the questions I had and that I brought to the Lord, but it is also helping me to keep going with it.  I feel that just because my questions were answered I didn't want to stop at that.  I wanted to keep going and find out more.  

One of the things that I felt first was that God was taking care of me.  The above book has been on my shelf for years, and I can count on one hand the times I've used it.  So, for the Lord to put it into my head to take this off the shelf and begin using it for what I needed to know is amazing to me.  I felt His love and concern for me.  He wasn't going to leave me in my need.  

I learned a long time ago that discouragement and confusion is NOT from God.  He will not lead us down those paths.  Discouragement and confusion is a Satan thing.  He wants us to be confused so that nothing makes sense anymore.  And he also knows that a lot of people will buy into that and not take the time to scour the Bible for answers.  So when the Lord directed me (after much praying about it) it was an answer to prayer.  I pray every morning for protection against Satan for myself and for my family.  So, now that the questions have been answered, I can feel God's mighty hand in the battle for my spiritual well-being.  He shielded me and protected me so that I would not allow questions to go unanswered for too long so I would not lose faith.  How amazing is that?!

That is the God we serve!  A mighty warrior in the battle for our hearts, and souls, and minds.  Our protector, our shield, our defender.  He will fight for us because He loves us.  An everlasting love.  No one else can do that for us.  : )

So please know that if you have spiritual questions, ask God for help.  He will provide for you what you need to find the answers.  I encourage you to write your question(s) down and when you find the answers, write those down as well.  Also, write the date down so that in years to come, you can look back and see the hand of God at work in your life.  It truly is life-changing.  : )

I think the final thing in this post is to encourage all of you to pray.  Pray for these United States (because if feels like we're coming unglued).  Pray for the President and Vice President - for their safety, for wisdom, for courage and strength to go through all they are going through.  Pray for protection from the enemies from within.  I heard that we haven't seen attacks from within like this since right before the Civil War.   These are dark days and only the Holy God of Heaven can help us and if we come before Him and ask for the help we need, I believe He will.  It is NOT a time to be complacent in this!!!!!!  If we care at all about our children and grandchildren and what kind of country they will grow up in, let THAT be your motivation.  Let's do this.  Together. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March To-Do's and Other Things

I REALLY need some warm-weather photos to look at right now!  : )

The first Saturday in the month of March.  We ARE "marching" on towards Spring, but around here it doesn't look like it's going to come at all!  We got at least three or four more inches of snow yesterday to add to the feet of snow we already have.  It's getting to be a challenge to find places to put it all.  White, white, white...........

The March to-do's are VERY minimal:

*clean the garden equipment - (we'd freeze in the garage right now so this is going to have to wait!) LOL
*make homemade household cleaners (let this be the year that you slowly move from using chemicals to clean with and begin using homemade, better-for-you, less expensive cleaners in your home - LOTS of "recipes" on-line)
*keep up with going through your house and getting rid of things that you don't love and that you don't use

That's it!  So, it's pretty much continuing to do things within your home (for those of us here in the tundra!).  April's list of to-do's is LONG so rest up now!  : )

Even with all the snow and cold, in our "Blessing Jar" I wrote down "the singing birds" on a piece of paper because they are just SO active now.  All kinds of birds moving into the area again and filling the trees and eating at the feeders.  I saw my first Robin in the pine tree and it gave me that Spring hope again.  The blessing part comes from listening to them.  They are always happy!  : )

The other thing in March that some people plan for is St. Patrick's Day.  Being part Irish myself, when we homeschooled we tried to do something - wearing green, tinted the milk green for breakfast, making Shamrock sugar cookies, making an Irish meal that included some kind of cabbage and potatoes.  It was just fun to make the day a little different.  This is all light-hearted.  

But if you will allow me to get on my soapbox and talk about the not-so-good part of St. Patrick's Day for a moment - around here the bars and pubs jump on this "holiday" (not that they need a reason).  It pretty much becomes a time of drinking - green beer, Irish know.  Here comes my take on drinking - when I was in my twenties, I drank and I drank a lot.  I drank, not because I loved the taste of alcohol, I drank to loosen up and it certainly did that.  It loosened my tongue and it loosened my morals.  I look back on that decade as the worst in my life.  I had an uncle that died from alcohol, I had another uncle that broke his family apart from alcohol, I have at least three people on my prayer list that are struggling every day trying not to take another drink, and my husband has been a recovering alcoholic for over 30 years.  We watched the Super Bowl - beer, beer, beer, beer commercials.   None of us know what kind of an affect that alcohol will have on us and there are many people who say they can handle it.  My husband always says that if you can't go a day without thinking about having a drink, you have a problem, no matter how you try to explain it away.  So, please, if this is a problem in your life - get help, now.  It's not easy but it can be done.  Alcohol has a strong hold on people.  There is nothing good about it.  Don't even play around with it.  Don't use St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to go out and have a couple of green beers.  Instead, if you want to socialize, have friends and/or family over for a fun evening of eating together (potluck), watch a funny movie together, or play games.  Anything but drinking!!!!!!!!!!!

On one afternoon this past week, I made an inventory of everything I had in the fridge, freezer, and the pantry that has things that are already opened (like boxes of pasta, rice, etc.) and from that list I found that I can make 19 days of meals this month!  When I go grocery shopping, all I'll need to buy are things to fill in with (like fresh fruit/vegetables, milk, etc.).  This is what I came up with:

*Braised pork chops
*Ravioli Casserole
*Chicken Fajitas
*Oven roasted chicken and from this I can make:
-a chicken casserole 
-chicken broth
-chicken noodle soup
*Crockpot beef stock
*Crockpot turkey breast and from this I can make:
-turkey divan casserole
-turkey noodle soup
-hot turkey sandwiches
*Baked teriyaki chicken
*Baked fish fillets
*Cream of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot soup
*Beef barley soup
*Cornmeal pancakes and bacon
*Penne' pasta with meatless sauce
*Cheesy pasta shells with tuna

I also noticed that I have:
*homemade chocolate cake mix
*homemade butterscotch pudding mix
*frozen rhubarb for a rhubarb pie

All to satisfy our sweet tooth.  : )

So, I can easily go past the middle of the month with these menus.  What a savings!!!!!  : ) Then I can begin to start cooking and making more mixes for the Spring/early Summer months to stock the freezer and pantry with.  Those are the months where the food starts changing - less soups and casseroles.  Those are also the months where we want to get outdoors more and start cleaning up the yards and planting and just don't feel like spending as much time in the kitchen.  So, that's my next project - pulling out recipes and going through cookbooks and writing these ideas down so that I can begin to make my list.  

You know, I think that about does it for today.  Thank you SO much for dropping by and visiting - I appreciate it when you do!!!!!!!  God bless your homemaking efforts.  : )

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Celery Update

This is my celery now.

This is what it looked like a couple of days ago.

I noticed that it was getting roots, so I decided to take it out of the water and just go ahead and plant it in potting soil, put it in a south window and am waiting to see what it does!  : )

If you are doing this, I talked to my friend (who shared this idea) and she let me know that if you find some of the stalks getting a little slimy (on the bottom), just pull them off (which I did).  : )

That's it for today!  Just wanted to update you on this experiment.  Please let me know if it works for you.  : )  Have a good day and God bless the work of your hands.  : )

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Evening

Home.  : )

Women, are you ready for the beginning of a new week?

*ready to wake up tomorrow with thankfulness in your heart.
*ready to pray and read God's word.
*ready to take care of yourself so you, in turn, can take care of others.
*ready to love the home God gave you.
*ready to be organized and work hard.
*ready to look ahead enough to be confident in your tasks.
*ready to look back enough to keep you humble.
*ready to call on the Name of Jesus when you're happy, sad, lonely, stressed (in other words, always).
*ready to be willing to change what you need to change.

As daughters of our Father God, we have been blessed with a unique ability to take each day, each week, and make it into something wonderful.  I know it doesn't always seem that way or turn out that way but we can certainly try.  God blesses our trying.  He knows when we fail and He knows when we succeed.  He is with us in both.  

So, I encourage you this evening to go forward in the week wanting to do the best you can do.  Be the best you can be.  If we still have breath in us it means that we still have a purpose.  Are you ready? : )

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday Morning

State Fair presentation.

Yesterday was the most beautiful day as far as weather.  We have a LOT of snow, but the sun was warm, and the birds were really singing their little hearts out.  I put on my coat and just stood on our back steps for a while taking it all in.  There was a hint of Spring in the air and it definitely lifted my spirits.  : )

Today, however, we awakened to snow again.  And it's going to snow throughout the weekend!  I'm grateful for yesterday.  My husband is sick with a bad cold from cleaning up this past week's snow, so I will have to see what I can do as far as snow removal this time around.  Ugh.

When I was cleaning this past week, I got to thinking about how homemaking has changed.  I could see how many women nowadays could think that homemaking is a boring, tedious job and why in the world would they want to stay home and make that their main occupation.  But then I think back to when I was in the work force and how I would sit there wishing I was at home and getting things done!

I'm wondering if the boredom comes from ease.  I mean, we have everything in our homes that pretty much does the work for us.  Vacuums, dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, food that we just open up and eat, microwaves, etc........  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy some of these appliances just as much as everyone else, but I feel like we've gone so far away from actually rolling up our sleeves and getting into the work around us.  We just use these "time savers" and sit around waiting for them to do the work for us and then call it good and done.

I posted a long time ago about how one of my grandmothers worked herself to death.  She was a farmer's wife on the prairie of South Dakota and they were dirt poor.  Those poor women knew what hard work was and I'm not advocating that we go back to that, but the one thing they were not was bored!  I just finished a book on a woman who came to the United States from Norway back in the late 1800's and moved to Montana and how hard she worked and she actually loved it.  Everything from setting fence posts with her husband to being proud of being the only woman around who could make her laundry whiter than all the rest, to making her one room home a thing of beauty where people would come from all over in order to see it, to setting up a pantry so she could always make something good.

I think that is the point I'm trying to make.  I think we've gone so far from being "hands-on" and taking pride in what we do in the home that we've become complacent, bored, and wishing for a "better" life outside of the home.  I've also posted in the past about some women having to be working outside of the home.  My mom was one of those women - if she wouldn't have worked, the bills would not have been paid and we wouldn't have been fed. I understand that.  I have also met women while out and about who don't have to work but have admitted that they wouldn't know what they would do all day if they stayed home.  So, each and every woman has to make those kinds of decisions.

But since I am a homemaker (and, yes, we could benefit from my working outside the home) of course, my thoughts and words will always be trying to encourage women to getting back to loving their homes and taking care of them.  I know I won't go back to washing my clothes on a washboard (although there are some things I sometimes wash by hand), but I do hang clothes up and because I hang them up they do need to be ironed.  Hands-on!  I've never had a dishwasher (and won't) so I wash dishes by hand (and dry them).  Hands-on!  I cook by scratch with the stovetop and/or oven (not a microwave).  Hands-on!   Seriously, these three things alone take up a huge chunk of the day.  So much so that I can getting a little impatient because I realize that I can't seem to get to other things.

When I first started being at home I didn't find the satisfaction in homemaking that I was longing for.  I wanted it to mean something.  That's when I found homemaking books, and cookbooks, and housekeeping hints books, and frugal living books and it all excited me and it's what I needed to motivate me, knowing that the modern conveniences were there if I so choose, but it's what I do beyond that that really matters.  Making soap (laundry and hand), sewing something, baking bread, making candles, making greeting cards, and so on.............that makes me feel a little bit like those women of long ago who were so okay with having a home and being home and taking care of it.

It truly can be a vocation that we, as women, can love.  I encourage all of you in this.  It's all in the doing.  Set aside the convenience and dig in.  You will find that the time passes by quickly and you won't be bored at all!!!!!  : )

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for visiting me because I really appreciate it.  : )  God bless.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A VERY Snowy Wednesday

When I woke up at 2:00 a.m. it wasn't snowing, so I thought maybe, just maybe, they were wrong in their forecast.  When I got up at 5:00 a.m., they weren't wrong.  It's almost 5:00 in the p.m. and it's still coming down!  I've been trying to tell myself that it IS pretty.  : )

A nice day for getting things done and things that I thought I would share with you.  First, this:

This is an idea from my friend on how to re-grow celery.  And it's working!  Just cut off the bottom from a bunch of celery, and then cut a thin slice off the bottom, mark it with an "X" with a sharp knife, place it in a small jar and add water.  After a few days, you will notice new growth.  This is the kind of stuff I love!  Hope you can give it a try.  : )

And next, this:

A coffee candle.  This is as easy as can be.  However, you do need several things for it.  Grated soy wax (so much better for you than petroleum-based wax), ground coffee, whole coffee beans, a glass jar, wicks, and an old double boiler (I bought one a long time ago just for things like this - keeping it separate from using it for food that we would consume).

1.  Prepare the jar with the wick first (a canning jar works best for this as it can withstand the heat from the wax).  You can buy little glue dots that will hold the bottom of the wick to the jar.
2.  Ground a small amount of coffee beans.  I used about a Tbsp. of ground coffee in this.  And then keep out about 1 tsp. of the whole coffee beans.
3.  Melt your wax in the top of the double boiler, stirring occasionally until fully melted.  Stir in the ground coffee and the coffee beans.  Take off the heat and pour into your prepared jar.  At this point, don't get concerned when pouring as you will notice that the wax is totally brown from the coffee.  But as it hardens, the wax begins to get white again and you can see the coffee grounds and beans.  Really pretty.  Trim the wick and let it set for 24 hours before lighting it.

Again, I hope you can give this a try!!!!!  : )

Lastly, this:

Apple crisp.  Sometimes when we buy a bag of apples, we can't seem to eat all of them, but I consider that okay so I have a reason to make some kind of dessert out of them.  : )  This is one of my favorites and for a wintry day it made the house warm and smelling good! 

Here is the recipe:


*About 4-5 peeled, cored, and sliced apples
*2 - 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
*3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
*1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
*1/3 cup all-purpose flour
*4 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces plus a bit more to grease the pan

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter.  Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. of the salt in a large bowl - toss to coat.  Place the apple mixture in the baking dish and set aside.
2.  Using the same bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt until evenly combined.  With your fingertips, blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form and the butter is well incorporated.
3.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake till topping is crispy and the apples are tender - about 50-60 minutes.  Let cool on rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

YUM!!!!  Again, again.........hope you can try it and let me know what you think.  : )

Ready to eat.

I think that just about does it for today.   While my husband is outside snowblowing the snow for us and a couple of our neighbors, I better get into the kitchen and prepare supper for when he comes back in.  So, I hope you are okay where you are and I bid you goodbye.  Thank you for dropping by for a visit - I'm VERY thankful when you do!!!  God bless.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

A church in the country on a Sunday drive.  : )

Something I pray for on a regular basis is that the Lord will help me to feel His presence.  There are many times when I feel like what I'm doing at home is not enough.  Like I should be helping out financially in some way.   Or that I'm unusual in staying home now that our son is grown (and don't have the homeschool reason to stay at home anymore) or now that my husband is retired I should be the one to bring in some extra money to help with the ever growing healthcare costs.  When  I'm in a room full of women (some of whom are much older than I) and knowing that they are still working (some part-time) there is this guilty feeling of not doing my part.

While I was working in the kitchen the other day, I did indeed feel the Lord's presence.  These "feelings" are pretty much the same each time I experience Him with me.  It's like a soft touch on my shoulder telling me that what I'm doing is okay - it's where I'm supposed to be and it's what I'm supposed to be doing.  Even if it was cleaning up after preparing a meal.  And that special feeling always brings tears to my eyes because it makes me feel loved and cared for and watched over.  And I'm SO grateful for those times of answered prayer.

What this also does is that it reassures me that if God is with me in the so-called mundane things, He will be with me in everything and that I can trust Him to guide me in and through it all.  There may very well be a day that I feel Him telling me to do something else, but for right now that touch on my shoulder tells me that I am to be satisfied and contented right now.  Whether it's folding laundry, or mopping the bathroom floor, or washing dirty dishes.  It all has to be done, and I'm willing to do it, and it's okay.  : )

This past week I finished reading the Old Testament of the Bible and now, again, on to the New Testament!  There are many things in the Old Testament that are hard to understand (and that's fine) and God knows that.  He doesn't expect us to understand it all, but He does want us to read it all.  Every single time I read the Bible (for the I don't know how many times now) I find something new and it's very exciting.  Little things (well, not little - but I know you know what I mean) that jump from the pages and speak to me.  It's so exciting and so amazing to me.  And one my prayers and desires for ALL of you, is to get excited and amazed too!!!!!  : )

While sitting in church this morning I had the overwhelming sense of our need for Jesus.  Every single person born in this world NEEDS Jesus (whether they think so or not).  Because when this old world comes to it's final end we will all stand before Christ - the Bible says "EVERY knee will bow and EVERY heart will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (emphasis mine).  And for me, being a born again Christian it sounds awesome!!!!  But wouldn't it be awesome if the world would begin to feel that way now?  I SO want everyone to get up in the morning just being excited about getting on their knees before the Holy God of Heaven.  I SO want everyone to feel like they just can't wait to open up their Bibles and hear and learn from God.  I SO want everyone to go to a Bible-teaching church every Sunday.  I think it's a sense of my feeling impatient with mankind.  We've seemed to become so blah when it comes to God and worship.  Like He's being put on the back burner and we only come to Him when we think we need Him.   Why does it always have to take an emergency situation before we come to Jesus?   Do you think maybe He allows emergency situations in our lives to get us to come to Him?  

Again, I encourage you to come to Jesus today.   If you don't know the Lord, all you need to do is repent of your sins and ask Him to come in to your life and take over.  Confess your need for Him and He will come to you.  There is nothing you have to do, because Jesus did it all for you at the cross.  No works can get you into Heaven, only the blood of Jesus.  For God so loved the world, God so loves YOU.  No matter where you come from, no matter what you've done, He is waiting.  But do it today!  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  This is my prayer for you.  : )

Saturday, February 16, 2019

It's Saturday Already!!!!

From an old mercantile in a historical village.  : )

It's been one of those weeks where I feel like I didn't get much done, but I know I did!  Every day had a list and throughout the week was:

*Laundry (this is an every day thing since I hang everything up)
*House cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bath)
*Make meals
*Baking/decorating cookies
*Paying bills
*Doing the menu/grocery list
*Going grocery shopping
*Wash floors
*Keeping up with Bible lessons
*Some crocheting
*Some reading

So, I know that these things filled the week, but it just went by SO fast!!!!!   Saturday's have more of that calm feeling.  The house is presentable from yesterday's cleaning, so today I can:

*Make soy candles (I found a "recipe" from my favorite Capper's Farmer magazine - they're called "coffee candles" using ground coffee and whole coffee beans) mmmm..................  : )
*Watch a couple of my favorite cooking shows on PBS - it's not so much that I will ever make the dishes they make, but I always come away with a way to do things, a new technique, an idea.
*I want to make a couple of homemade signs for the house and maybe for my Etsy shop so I'll need to go on-line and see if I can find someone that customizes stencils.
*I have three plants downstairs that sorely need to be re-potted into bigger pots so I HAVE to do that!
*Make our breakfast granola.
*Plan Sunday's meal.
*Hopefully get to a craft of some kind.

It's a long list, and I doubt if everything will get done, but it's fun to have lists like this to pick and choose from!!!!  : )  If you're not a list maker, I encourage you to become one.  It gets those ideas out of your brain (to make room for more) and onto paper - the exciting part (for me) is crossing them off!!!!  : )

The other idea I had for this post is remembering to look at your house from the outside on a regular basis.  I got this idea from our driving through neighborhoods while going on errands.  I love driving through neighborhoods and look at houses to see how other people do things.  In the winter, however, I feel like we're all in the same boat.  It's very hard to make our houses look "pretty" with snow all over the place.  Snow is pretty at first, but it eventually becomes dirty and icy and blah.  There are piles of snow that we just can't do anything about.  So we can't do too much about the landscaping of the house in the winter.  What I'm talking about is looking at your house - the physical building - and see if there is anything that's off.  What I've noticed about driving around is people not noticing that the blinds they pulled up are off-kilter.  One side is up and the other side is down and everything in between.  I know this sounds really picky, but it gives a very untidy look to the outside of your home.

The other thing I've noticed is how people have "stuff" piled up in front of windows or in their three-season porch with the curtains open that looks out of control.  Boxes, papers, and other things that are just dumped there and can be seen by everyone who passes by.  Again, I know this sounds picky, but curb appeal for a home is important.  Even realtors list curb appeal as a selling point for a house.  Not only do we want our homes to be as nice as we can on the inside, the outside says a lot about us too.  When driving around, I've noticed old chairs tipped over, old Christmas trees still by the curb, old dried up plantings in the window boxes from last fall - all things that would only take a moment to get rid of.  It doesn't cost a thing to be tidy.

Try, even in the winter, to keep your steps brushed off, keep your window treatments in order and be consistent, move all that extra stuff to an area of the house that is out of the way and not visible from the road.  We want to create a nice, visible, atmosphere not only for us who live there, but for others that pass by.  When we live in a neighborhood, I really believe that we should keep things up for everyone around us.  I know I really appreciate looking out our windows and seeing a nice, well-taken-care-of house across the street.  So, I encourage you to just take a walk around the house sometimes and see what can be done to make it look a little more presentable.   I know it's hard for us in the winter but doing something is better than doing nothing!!!!  : )

I think that's about it for this day.  I do hope always that you enjoy the home the Lord provided for you and that you are motivated every day to keep it up, keep it clean, keep it organized.  God bless!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019


On Tuesday I baked, and yesterday I decorated - I won't win any prizes, but it was fun.  : )

I always consider Valentine's Day a girl thing.  All things red, pink, and white.  Pretty cards and chocolate.  And I'm usually thinking that my readers will probably be female so I wanted to wish you a "Happy Valentine's Day."  : )   Whether this day is a happy one for you, a bittersweet one for you, or a lonely one for you, please know that you are all in my thoughts today.  I DO understand that not all "holidays" are enjoyable - believe me, I know!  But there are steps to take to make it as nice as you make up your mind for it to be:

*It's ALWAYS a good thing to think about others - so if you can think of anyone that might need a lift just as much as you do, call them, e-mail them, invite them for coffee or a meal to share, take a card over to them, have flowers delivered to them.  Whatever you can think of to do for them will definitely lift your spirits as well.

*If you homeschool take the day off!  Play games, decorate the house, bake, make a nice meal, decorate the table, research how Valentine's Day got started.  And maybe, as a family, you can do one of the things above for a neighbor.  Invite your children's friends over for a party.  Just do something and make it memorable.

*Do something for yourself.  We all have those lists in the back of our minds about what we would do if we had nothing to do.  Think, and then do!  What would you like to do?  Some of us just want to sit with a pot of coffee at our side and tear into that book (turn off the phone and any other distractions).  Some of us would love to fill the tub with wonderful bubbles, turn out the lights, light the candles, put on some music and just soak and feel the tension drift away.  Some of us would like uninterrupted time of just doing something crafty - picking it up and working as long as we want.  

*Some of us are blessed with husbands that are still with us.  I know several women in the last couple of years who lost their husbands already.  I know several women who are unmarried, so this is the delicate and not so great part of Valentine's Day.  But, having a husband doesn't necessarily mean that it's all romance either.  So, this is an area where the woman of the home has to take it upon herself sometimes and create a nice atmosphere and/or make it a nice day for both of them.  Think of something that you would both enjoy and carry it out.

That's it for today!  I hope you CAN enjoy this day.  Maybe by just remembering that this is another day the Lord has given us can be all you need to be joyful and grateful.  : )  Thank you SO much for dropping by for another visit.  God bless you today.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Evening

Early morning light.  : )

The one thing that jumped out at me this week was the fact that life is all about being willing to learn.  Sometimes the lessons we need to learn are pretty easy, sometimes they're difficult, and sometimes the lessons come up over and over again and with each one, hopefully, we learn from them and grow and change.

Some of those lessons, for me, were:

*speak up when the need is important - don't just let it go and be misinterpreted as being okay with you when it's not.
*hold back in speaking up when you SHOULD be letting it go because saying something will only make things worse.
*don't make everything about you - sometimes it's not about you at all.
*willing to be humble when the lesson to be learned hits close to home and you thought you were doing okay.
*always thank the Lord for loving you so much that He will send some difficulty in your life to teach you in areas that He knows you need help in.

If we're really serious in growing in our spiritual lives, we have to go through the pruning process.  It's where God prunes out the bad so the good can thrive.  Just like a gardener.  We know we have to cut off those branches on a tree or else it will stunt the growth.  All those branches growing out of control will eventually harm the whole tree - they need to be taken out - the tree might not die out, but it's not going to be as healthy and strong as it could be.  Same with us.

So, be willing to learn the hard lessons.  It won't happen all at once (or, maybe for some it does).  But little by little we feel the need to change our ways in order to be better people.  And, ALWAYS, ask God for the direction He wants you to go.  : )

I hope you had a good weekend and I pray that you have a good week ahead!  Thank you for dropping by - I love it when you do.  God bless.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Saturday Morning

We haven't had much snow this year, but we got some this past week.  Wasn't exactly thrilled about it, but it WAS pretty!  : )

It's been a week of sitting.  Instead of the daily and weekly chores that require movement and doing, I chose this week to do things that required thought and writing.  Those kinds of things need to be done too and since it was a cold, snowy week, the timing was perfect.

First of all, I'm re-writing all my recipes.  THAT is a chore!  I thought I was being so clever about having notebooks with recipes in them, but when I get to Tuesdays (my menu making day) I found it takes FOREVER to look through the notebooks to find the recipe I need.  So, I'm back to recipe cards inside a recipe box.  Silly me.  : )  

Secondly, I'm sitting while doing my Bible lessons.  Even though our class doesn't start until March, I thought I'd get a head start on it and SO glad I did.  I'm getting so much out of it already.  There are two memory verses so far that I need to learn and thought I'd share them with you so that you can learn them along with me:  😊

*"And it is impossible to please God without faith.  Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

*"Wise choices will watch over you.  Understanding will keep you safe.  Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted."  Proverbs 2:11-12

Memory work has never been easy for me, but I'm getting there!  Let me know how you're doing!!!

Thirdly, I sat and addressed Valentine cards.  I really enjoy doing this because choosing the right card for the right person is fun.  I also felt the need to pray over each and every card that I wrote out.  The women in my lives that I'm sending these cards to (friends, family, etc.) mean a lot to me and I want to lift them up in prayer.  Some are going through difficult situations, some are enjoying a time of peace, but I wanted to make sure that I prayed for them.  This is something I hope all of you can do - if/when you send a card or letter off to someone, just offer up a little prayer for them.  I would LOVE it if I knew someone was doing that for me.  And isn't that what we hear from time to time - "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us".  : )

SO..........lots of sitting going on over here!!!!  But, it's all good.  : )

The other thing that I wanted to share this good Saturday morning, is that since the first of the year, I have been trying something that has been working for me so I wanted to pass this along to you too.  Maybe some of you already do this, but it's new to me.

In our home, we have breakfast, lunch, and supper.  I have, for years, set our breakfast table right after the supper dishes are done.  I put everything we need (bowls, napkins, vitamins, etc.) out so that it's ready for the next day.  In the kitchen, I put the pot we cook our oatmeal in on the stove and the spoon, oatmeal, coconut oil and measuring cup off to the side.  Or if we're having smoothies, I take the blender down and put the bananas beside it along with our glasses to pour it in.  That way the mornings are SO much more relaxed because almost everything is done!  I know I've mentioned this in past posts but if you have a family who uses the table in the evenings for homework or other projects, you might have to wait until you know they are done.  I'm all for family time and not hindering them from what they want to do at the table first.  : )

I started thinking while cleaning up after our breakfasts, that I could do the same thing for our lunches!  There are many times when I make something besides just sandwiches for lunch.  I make a casserole, or I make a soup, etc.  So, now, after breakfast I get things ready for lunch.  I look at the recipe and set all the things out that I need for whatever I'm going to make.  I measure things out such as spices, I cut things up such as the onion or other vegetables, I bring the canned goods up from the pantry, and I set whatever pot I'm using on the stove.  The only thing I don't do right after breakfast is set the lunch table because we do tend to use the table for other tasks before lunch, so setting the table is done while the food is cooking.  

This was for soup-making yesterday.  : )

At first I thought that with such a tiny kitchen I didn't want to take up the space, but I found that whatever else I needed to do, the space on the other side of the kitchen is just fine and I'm off doing other things in other parts of the house anyway.

And, then, of course, my thoughts after lunch are looking ahead to what I need to do for supper.  And I go through the exact same thing (again, without setting the table).  I look at my menu for the week, pull out the recipe and begin the same process all over again.  When you hear this you may think that it's an awful lot of work, but truly it isn't.  This same work has to be done anyway, I'm just choosing to do it right away and get it done so that when the actual mealtime comes along, the work has been done.  All you need to do is pull it all together.  It saves time in the long run.  I hope you can give it a try (if you're not already doing it).  : )

Success in the kitchen begins with love for your kitchen.  When I was first married this was not the case for me.  I wasn't a good cook, I knew nothing about kitchen organization, I didn't like the tiny kitchen I was working in.  But through the years with help from organizational books and trying different things and ways and beginning to collect favorite recipes that are family favorites, the kitchen is now one of my favorite rooms to be in.  Setting up your cooking station, your baking station, your cleaning-up station allows you to get into the kitchen and actually enjoy the whole process.  Providing good food for yourself and others is SO important.  It's healthy but it's so much more than that.  When we talk of "comfort" food, it's true!  It's a huge part of having a home.  So, again, I would encourage you to get into the kitchen.  Make it your own.  Learn to cook and bake.  Set it up in such a way that it works for you.  I think you will feel the difference.  : )

That's all I have for this day.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit.  I LOVE comments and I would LOVE to hear from you on what works for you, or for any ideas you have.  I love homemaking and everything about it, but I feel I'm still learning.  May God bless your day!!!  : )