Saturday, December 4, 2021

December is Here (Just in Case You Didn't Know)

 

From our house to yours.  : )


I just wanted to pop in for a bit and say "hello" to all of you.  It seems like, since Thanksgiving, it has been non-stop decorating, shopping, and wrapping gifts!  Which IS a good thing.  Usually I don't get this much done so early so it's been a pleasant go of it.  I can actually say that I'm done.  I think I have mentioned this in past Christmas posts but when purchasing gifts and other Christmas items, I get to a point where I just feel (know) that enough is enough.  That I need to stop and now enjoy.  It happens all the time and I'm very grateful for that.  And, early in the week, I got that feeling.  Now I can just keep up with the daily housekeeping and get into the kitchen for the holiday baking.  

I always have to bake sugar cookie cutouts - I can't imagine Christmas without all those stars, bells, trees, Santas............  I don't make gingerbread men but I do bake Molasses cookies - they make the house smell SO good.  In the good ole days, we used to go and look at the Christmas display in a department store downtown and at the end, they would always bake Molasses cookies and people couldn't help but purchase them because they smelled wonderful and made it feel like Christmas.  So, I try to emulate that in our home too.  It's what I have in the oven when anyone comes over - nothing like it and they taste amazing.  : )  I make my mother-in-law's candy too - it's quite time consuming but it reminds us of her and how she used to make a big batch so that all of us had a tin to take home.  My husband does his Chex Mix throughout the month - some for us, but mostly for giving.  I've read that husbands almost always feel out of place at Christmas because the wife does most of the getting the house ready for Christmas so whenever a wife can find something meaningful for him to do it means a lot.  Around here, my husband is in charge of the outdoor decorations and his Chex Mix!!!!  : )

I'm looking through a lot of my Christmas recipe books and want to try some new recipes this month.  I treated myself to a new cookbook yesterday and the recipes sound great and they are do-able.  You know how you have a cookbook and it has all those recipes that you just know you won't even get around to?  I used to have those and gave them away.  I know myself - if it's too complicated, I won't go there.  But these actually sound great so I'm hoping I will be able to try a few.  : )

When we were taking the boxes down last weekend, I couldn't wait to get to the box with the books!  I am beginning to read all the Christmas books that I love.  There is something about sitting down with a good Christmas read, a cup of hot something, in a rocking chair...........such a calming affect.

I also wanted to remind you of my "Christmas by the Book" series I wrote last December if you want to go and check that out.  I, myself, re-read it and was reminded of how important it is to keep Christmas simple and beautiful and meaningful and cozy.  It reminded me that I don't have to do it all - if something doesn't get done or baked, it's going to be okay.  It reminded me that this is about the Lord Jesus and how thankful we are for God's plan of salvation through Him.  It's about loving others.  

That's it!  Just quickly dropping in and hoping that through December I will drop in on a weekly basis to see how you are doing and letting you know what's going on at this end!  : )  Before I let you go, I'll share a few more simple decorating photos (nothing amazing, just us):

the reason for the season - my mother-in-law gave this to us a long time ago and we cherish it

simple

by the front door

just a small little scene

to say I love snowmen is a total understatement  - SO cute!

on the coffee table

I won't bore you with any more!!!  LOL  

I hope to be with you again next week.  God bless your day and upcoming weekend.  Thank you for stopping by.  












 

Friday, November 19, 2021

November Newsletter Part 2

 

This is the next picture of "our" squirrel - he ate his way through, turned around, and sat in the pumpkin for a while to rest.  He then began chewing around the edges of the opening.  No surprise that this pumpkin is off our step and I'm imagining him to be running through the neighborhood looking for another pumpkin victim.  😏

It's a cloudy afternoon and still a bit windy with clouds rolling in and out (mostly in).  Once again, I'm at the dining room table, a cup of coffee off to the side, Christmas music playing in the background (instrumental) and because there is a bit of a nip I have a shawl around my shoulders that a friend crocheted for me.  It will soon be evening where one by one a light here and there goes on, the curtains are pulled, the porch light is turned on and we begin to settle in.  It's a winter routine that I cherish especially early in the season like this.  By February, I can feel the need for spring coming on, but for now.........I will relish in the days ahead.

Here we are again.  Thanksgiving is getting closer and lists and plans are being made.  It will be just the four of us again which is nice.  We all like to start mid-morning with hot apple cider and donuts while reading the ads in the newspaper for good Black Friday deals.  Then we eat around 12:30 or 1:00.  Like I said before, our meal is very traditional.  I don't even try anything new really.  We all like the meal so I'm going with that!  However, this is the first year that I'm not baking anything pumpkin - our dessert will be apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream and then I insist on having pecan pie with homemade whipped topping.  I guess the pumpkin comes in as pumpkin pie spice coffee creamer for those who want that.  Not that I don't like pumpkin - I love it - but it seems like I'm the only one and I can't possibly eat a whole pie by myself.  Well.......I could but I shouldn't.  Right?  

The one thing that I do have to remind myself of every holiday, every year, is to lower my expectations.  I'm the kind of person that looks back at favorite times together and want to re-live it and then I'm always disappointed when it doesn't even come close.  Those favorite times were for that particular moment in time - I just need to keep the memory and be glad for it and move ahead and create new favorite moments and enjoy what we have.

With such a crazy couple of years, I keep thanking the Lord for all of His provision.  Here is my list on a daily basis.

*I woke up this morning
*I woke up in a warm and comfortable bed
*I am able to walk and move and talk and see and hear
*I was able to turn the heat up this morning to take the chill off
*I sat in a comfy chair with a cup of hot coffee while reading the Bible
*I'm able to read and understand what I'm reading
*I had a hot shower
*I had clean clothes to put on
*I had breakfast and lunch and will have a supper
*I have house to live in
*I have a car to drive
*I have a family
*I have friends
*I have a church to go to and have the freedom to worship the Lord
*I have music to play
*I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus
*I am saved by grace
*
*
*
*
*
*you can add to this I'm sure.  

Sometimes I tend to look at all the big things, but I love to look at the small daily things that I can easily take for granted.  It's always fun to go around the table and have everyone say at least one thing that they are thankful for.  I do hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and try very hard to make it a good one.  

One other thing to remember is that everything we do, we do it to God's Glory.  Everything.  Even in our smallest jobs, we do it for the Lord.  When I keep thinking that way, it makes all the difference.  A difference in attitude, a difference in motivation.  It makes me want to do my best.  

Along with Thanksgiving, I am definitely making my Christmas lists and checking them twice (okay, a lot more than that).  It's way too early to know what Christmas Eve/Day will look like, but I am planning for both and have been having fun in getting gifts.  We've received some Christmas catalogs in the mail and I've been ordering a bit from them.  There's almost an old-fashioned feel to that.  Remember getting the Montgomery Ward, Sears, and JC Penney catalogs at Christmas?  Oh my goodness.  It was so fun.  I miss that.

The one thing that I'm doing differently this year is we are going to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.  In reading about how people in the "old days" (I'm talking WAY back) celebrated Christmas, they used the month of December to enjoy the baking and cooking and thinking of simple gifts, and then they celebrated BEGINNING WITH the 12 days of Christmas.  Christmas Day is the first day so that was kind of an obvious day to be with friends and family.  But then after that, they made sure to do all kinds of things for the next 11 days!  THAT is what we want to do this year.  Here a few of my ideas:

*host a game night
*drive and look at the neighborhood lights - take popcorn along to munch on
*go to a pond or skating rink and watch the skaters - bring hot chocolate to sip
*go for a walk in nature - take your camera
*have a fire night - serve hot beverages
*host a brunch, or an appetizer meal, or just a dessert
*have a movie night
*get a progressive dinner going - this is a meal where at least three houses get together and each house serves a different course.  The first house does the appetizer, the second house does the main meal, and the third house does the dessert.  I know we still have the covid thing going on so only you know whether or not this would work and if you'd feel comfortable with it.  With us, we're ready.
*eat supper at a favorite restaurant 
*have a "do absolutely no work" - get a pizza, read, rest, craft, sew, put a puzzle together.....whatever your little heart desires
*go browse in a book store - buy a book, take it home, and enjoy!
*
*
*
*Again, you can add your own ideas.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Instead of filling the month of December up with a lot of activities along with all the cooking, baking, cleaning, gifts, decorating, keep the activities for later. 

The Christmas decorating.  It's different for me every year.  Some years I feel like going all out and then others I feel a bit subdued.  Again, as a homemaker, you need to take the family temperature as to how everyone else is feeling.  We decorate not just for ourselves but for others too.  This is the year I'm thinking simple with natural decorations such as lots of greens and candles.  And then add those wonderful, meaningful decorations that we've collected as added touches to make it home.  

I've purchased the Christmas cards already and now I need to write the Christmas newsletter to send with them.  This is something I love to do because, like I've said before, I think people still enjoy going to the mailbox and pulling a card out.  

What kinds of things do you absolutely love to do to get ready for the holidays? 

I think that is about it for today.  As I close, it looks as if the clouds are now moving out and there is cold sunshine streaming in.  I do hope you enjoy the weekend ahead and that you can enjoy the preparations ahead for Thanksgiving.  Even if you are invited out, make sure that whatever you bring you bring your best!  May God bless your Thanksgiving Day.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  I enjoyed writing it.  And I appreciate all of you!

See you in December (Lord willing).  Bye!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

November Newsletter Part 1

 

"I think I need to get in a little further - yep, yep, almost........"

"There.  I knew there were more seeds left in there."  : )


Mr. Pumpkin on our front step didn't stand a chance with Mr. Squirrel around.  They are determined little rodents.  They are not happy until they have mastered what they've set out to do.  As we drive down our block, anyone who has pumpkins out on their steps looks exactly like ours so I don't feel too bad.  : )

Hello ladies.  Here we are - November.  I'm sitting at the dining room table and there is such beautiful sunshine coming in through the windows as the sun begins to set.  I have a cup of coffee on the table and I'm smelling vegetable beef soup on the stove.  A calm evening and the leaves are still beautiful.  I usually don't like dark houses, but we've decided to keep the lighting subdued in the evenings (and most turned off during the day unless it's cloudy) and I'm really loving it.  I so want to be romantic about it but, if truth be told, the price of electricity is supposed to be going up so it's all about economy instead.

I am doing a lot "thinking ahead" these days.  Stocking up on "holiday food" items, moving some furniture around to accommodate the tree when it's time, keeping up with cleaning and organizing things (and finding more to give away!).  I'm trying to get meal prep work done and those freezer meals that I was talking about in my last post.  Meal prep is something that I can't say enough about.  I don't do it often but when I do it I just can't believe I don't keep up with it.  To have everything washed, cut up, and in containers just saves SO much work during the week.  I truly am sold.  The only drawback (and it really isn't) is that it takes a lot of time so I need to remember to set at least a half a day aside.  So I make a pot of coffee, put on a favorite podcast, and slice and dice to my hearts content.  : )  I have an old dresser in my kitchen that is under the window that looks out over the back yard and on the dresser is where I have my cutting board so it's wonderful to stand there and do work that doesn't take any thought and have the luxury of looking outside (it's especially cozy when it's rainy or snowy).  : )

Speaking of podcasts, before I forget, I have been loving being read to!  I've gone through half of the "Anne of Green Gables" books.  I'm not sure if you would call this a podcast but I have an iPad and I just go to YouTube and type "audio books" and there are so many.  It's wonderful listening to these while working in the kitchen, or sitting and working on a craft project, or right before bed.  I know the "Anne" books by heart but I love having someone else read them to me.  : )

Also.......I'm sure you've heard of Aunt Ruthie from Sugar Pie Farmhouse?  Well, she just posted a new video for her 2021 Fall home tour on YouTube.  As always, she is a sweetie and she loves the Lord and she loves her home and she loves her family.  I think you'll like it and maybe pick up an idea or two.  I'm already determined to get a squeaky screen door for my pantry room!!!!  : )

I know I said in my last post that I usually want to hurry up Thanksgiving so we can get to Christmas, but I really am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  It's been a difficult year, hasn't it?  In the difficulty it can be a time for us women to step up and make it good.  Here are some things to ponder:

*Send Thanksgiving cards this year - whether you enjoy making them or getting over to the Dollar Store and buy the 2 for $1.00 cards, this is something that can be very thoughtful and meaningful.  Just think of the friends and family that you weren't able to be with (and maybe still can't), or the elderly, or your neighbors.......getting a card in the mail can be SO meaningful.  We're getting away from sending/receiving cards and letters because everyone texts/e-mails (and now even e-mails are deemed "old-fashioned").  It doesn't have to be like Christmas where you send them to everyone.  Just a few will brighten someone's day.  This is where I think of the old saying "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - I absolutely LOVE getting cards and letters in the mail but it is, unfortunately, a lost practice.   OR..........maybe even better..........a phone call!  Maybe hearing your voice is what they would like/need more.

*Remember those less fortunate than you by giving to the local food shelf.  I'm all for stocking a great pantry and making sure that our families are fed, but giving out of the abundance we have is truly a blessing to others.  You can also give money to Meals on Wheels that deliver meals to the homebound or money to charitable organizations that you know will be serving Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.  

*Have a spirit of thankfulness in your home.  If we complain it's like saying that the Lord has not provided enough.  Every day remember to thank God for his provision for you.  One thing we used to do when our son was young was draw a big tree and hang it up in the hallway or the dining room and then draw leaves that we would write on.  We would write what we were thankful for and then tape the leaves to the tree.  It was supposed to be a lesson for our son to see everything we had to be thankful for, but it was a lesson to all of us!  : )

*Begin now to think of what you want your Thanksgiving Day to look like.  What do you want to serve?  Any special decorations?  Any after-meal games?  We actually like to watch "Miracle on 34th Street" on Thanksgiving because the movie begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving parade and then moves on to Christmas.  Being organized now helps in being calm on the actual day.  Also, if you are inviting someone and they offer to bring something, let them!  I am known to decline their offer and just want to do it all myself thinking that I'm doing them a favor, but I think the opposite is true.  People want to help especially if they have a dish that is a favorite of theirs and they love sharing it.

I'm a "When Calls the Heart" fan and I remember in one Christmas episode where Rosemary gets upset when no one will let her do it all (because she does know how to do everything and does it all very well) and Elizabeth has to tell her that it's important to let other people shine.  Give others a chance to do something so that they feel they are a part of the celebration rather than just an on-looker.

Before I end this post, I wanted to share an Apple Butter recipe with you.  I grew up with Apple Butter and I absolutely love it - on muffins, bread, biscuits.  This recipe reminds me of Mom.  I always get nostalgic around the holidays as I'm sure most of us do.  So doing things that bring them back, in a way, is important to me.  Here it is (sorry, no photo):

HOMEMADE APPLE BUTTER

6 1/2 lbs. 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 a slow cooker.  Add the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Cook on Low for about 10 hours, stirring every couple of hours.  The apple butter should be thick and dark brown.  When finished, let cool a bit and pour into containers.  Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze in small containers for personal use and/or gifts!  I hope you try it.  : )

I'm pretty sure that's about it for now. This is Part 1, but if I have anything that simply can't wait for Part 2, I'll be sure to post again! LOL

Thank you so much for dropping in and visiting a bit.  I appreciate all of you.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord and keep praying!!!  He wants to hear from you.  : )

God bless.





Thursday, October 21, 2021

October - Where Are You Going?!

 

October calendar picture.  I SO want a red truck!!!  : )


Well.......I have to say right off.......I am recovering from covid.  That's why my post title is what it is.  Because I feel like I have missed the majority of my favorite month and it makes me sad.  We've had some really splendid days and those days came and went so it does bum me out a bit.  The old adage of how we can't get those days back keeps coming to my mind.  BUT......now that I'm on the mend, I'm trying to make the most of what days October has left.  : )

I don't want to mention covid without expanding on it just a bit.  This is still such a divisive subject.  I think in the back of our minds we kind of know what makes this different from other flues - and we don't want to think about it, and we don't want to believe it, and we don't want to talk about it, so we just go for the first thing that might just take it all away.  You know how it is when you're sick and you just lay there and think (when you're not sleeping all the time)?  I was thinking about all the fear that is associated with this virus and how we always want something to alleviate that fear no matter what.  I kept coming back to the same thought - what about our faith?

There were a couple of nights where I ached so bad that I kept praying all night long for relief (I don't take pain meds).  But that's good, isn't it?  Going to the God who created my body in the first place?  He knows me inside and out and He knows my weakness and I prayed for strength.  I knew that He was the ONLY One who could heal this sick body of mine.  BUT.....I also knew that if He didn't and if I didn't recover that would have been okay too.  Don't get me wrong on this.  I want to live. I think that God has put into us a wanting to fight for the life He gave us.  I have a family that I want to be with for as long as I can.  But I think that we sometimes forget that we all have a certain number of days here on earth.  The Bible says "teach us to number our days" - I hope I have many more days/months/years left, but I'm not guaranteed that - covid or no covid. 

I have lost my taste and smell (although the taste is coming back little by little).  Last week when I felt good enough to cook again, I told my husband that the good part of no smell is that I can cut up a bunch of onions without crying!!!!  LOL  : )  I do want it back, however.  ; )

Speaking of cooking, when I was sick (for about a week) I, once again, realized where I go wrong with my food.  I'm good at stocking the pantry and the fridge and the freezer but all that food does no good unless there is someone in the house that knows what to do with it!!!!!!  My husband does not.  Yes, he did open a can or two of soup and he did fry up some eggs, but that was about the extent of it.  The majority of the meals came from take-out which is not very healthy and very expensive!!!  So, I could have kicked myself (again) for not taking the food that I do have and make it into freezer meals that he could have just taken out and put into the microwave or oven.  A HUGE lesson learned!!!!!!!

So, I am working on freezer meals now that I'm back to feeling good again.  It is, however, very strange to cook when you can't smell it.  For me, that's part of the pleasure of having something cooking away in the oven - that aroma that fills the house.  I miss that part.  Anyway.........I have cooked bags of rice that can be thawed and reheated.  I've been making double batches of things that I can tuck away in the freezer.  I want to make quick breads and muffins as good fillers for meals such as soup.  I'm on my way to getting these things prepared and I'm already feeling a bit better about it.  : )

And now the holidays are truly just right around the corner!  Are you starting to prepare for them yet?  I always find myself skipping over Thanksgiving and going right to Christmas.  But this year I want to make Thanksgiving as special as I can.  I truly believe we have a lot to be thankful for so I would love the day to reflect that.  I'm pretty much a traditionalist - I love all the old-time food so I don't vary it too much.  I do, however, want some input from my family as to what they would like as well (or, even what they don't like!).  It's hard to spend time and money on making something only to find that there was quite a bit leftover.  

I am also getting around to cleaning things - again, when I was laying around I saw all the things that needed to be done!  : )  So, I'm cleaning ceiling fans, cleaning out cupboards, dusting the high places, re-organizing rooms, washing windows, etc.

I know this is a short post, but up until last week I just didn't do much or cook much so there isn't a lot to report.  I will, however, continue to write things down as I go so that, hopefully, my next post is a bit better than this.

Thank you so much for dropping by.  Again........please don't let fear overtake you.  Live your days fully.  Love on your family and take care of yourself.  Pretty up your home and make it warm and cozy.  Get into God's Word and let Him speak to you instead of listening to everyone/everything else.  And pray.  Be thankful.  I love the quote I heard a long time ago - "what if God blessed you today with everything you thanked Him for yesterday?"  Think that over.  Do we take the time to thank God for the many blessings he provides on a daily basis?  Or do we just take it for granted?

Love to you all!!!!





Friday, September 24, 2021

September Newsletter Part 2

 

Another Autumn puzzle framed and hanging in the dining room.  : )


It's official.  It's Autumn.  It's cool.  It's cozy.  It's time to bake.  It's time for hot comfort food.  It's time for fire nights.  It's time to decorate.  It's time to plan.  It's time to clean.  It's time to organize things.  And I'm ready.  I hope you can grab a cup of coffee or tea and read my second post for the month of September!  : )

Ever since we had our first cool snap, my mind has been going in all directions.  I, all of sudden, want to do everything.  And I have to admit I'm kind of driving myself crazy because I can't seem to do everything I want to do.  So..........I have to step back, take a breath, and make my lists.  And then prioritize those lists and then jump in.  I'm not taking my own advice in that, right now, I'm looking at the big picture and it seems overwhelming instead of breaking all these things I want to get done down into do-able jobs.  So, after I'm finished with this post, that's exactly what I'm going to do!!!!  : )

I have been getting into the kitchen which feels good again.  Not that I took the whole summer off or anything like that, but in the summer I tend to plan cold, quick meals that go better with the heat.  Now I am cooking and baking and getting to my mixes for the pantry.  I do have a few recipes to share with you (most with photos - one not - sorry).  I don't have as many as I thought I would but it's a start.  : )

Because no one in our family went to the State Fair this year, we decided to have "Fair Food Night" in our backyard with "Fire Night" combined.  We did this last year (because the Fair was cancelled) so we thought we'd do it again.  Here was our menu:


This went outside where we were serving everything and then we just picked something off the list, made it, and ate it!  The cheese curds I bought frozen and then we just deep-fried them outside (what is fair food without deep-frying?).  We never did get to the hot sugar donuts.  I made the onion strings (recipe below) and we deep-fried those as well (really good).  We cooked the hot dogs on a camp stove.  We never got around to the corn dogs either.  And then I made my homemade chocolate chip cookie dough and baked them towards the end of the evening so we could have them fresh from the oven (with lots of milk).  : )   The only thing that isn't on this menu is Fried Green Tomatoes which our daughter-in-law brought for all of us to try (yes, we deep-fried those too!).  My goodness they were good so we'll have to remember that for next year.  It was a lot of fun.  We just made one thing at a time, went and sat by the fire to enjoy it and then went on to the next and played a trivia game in between eating.  : )

Our camper was the cooking and serving spot.

We were out until midnight!

Our next planned "event" is outdoor movie night.  We purchased a movie projector that plays DVD's and we already have a screen, so we're looking forward to that as well.  The menu for that night is Walking Tacos with sodas, the old-fashioned theatre candy you can buy at the Dollar Tree, and popcorn, of course.  : )  We'll also have the hot sugar donuts that we didn't get around to on Fair Night.

I encourage you to plan fun things with your family this fall.  Good memories.  

Here is the recipe for the onion strings - (I believe this is from the Pioneer Woman)

ONION STRINGS (no photo)

1 whole large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 quart (to 2 quarts) canola oil
black pepper to taste

Slice the onion very thin and place in baking dish.  Cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil to 375 degrees.

Grab a handful of onions and put them into the flour mixture.  Tap to shake off excess.  Put them into the hot oil and fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as they are golden brown.  I put them on a paper-towel-lined plate to soak up any grease.  Repeat with other onions until they are all fried up.  SO good.  : )


Saturday nights around here are usually our Asian-inspired nights.  I think it all started when we used to get Chinese take-out on Saturday nights, but now I would much rather cook the meals myself.  I have a wonderful chicken wing recipe (which, I'm sure, is basically how everyone does it - but just in case...).

SHANGHAII CHICKEN WINGS

Chicken wings
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce (I use the low-sodium)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Mix these ingredients together and pour into a ziploc bag.  Add your chicken wings and marinate overnight.  When ready to bake, drain wings (discard liquid), and place them on a rack over a 9 x 13 baking sheet covered with foil on the bottom to catch the drips.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Oh yummy.  Hope you can give these a try.

The next Asian-inspired meal was this:

SZECHWAN SHRIMP

Mix this sauce in a medium bowl and set aside:

4 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil on medium high heat.  Stir in one bunch of green onions (I think I used about 6) and 4 cloves of garlic (minced) and cook for 1 minute.   Stir in 1 lb. of shrimp that has already been cooked, peeled, and tails removed and stir so shrimp is covered in the oil.  Stir in the above sauce mix and cook and stir until bubbly and thickened.  Serve over rice.  Again, SO good!  : )


It's SO very important, when cooking, to prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time - especially with Asian food because it's mostly just adding one ingredient after another and stir-frying - it won't wait for you to get the next ingredient ready.  The prep work is actually enjoyable.  It helps you to slow down and enjoy the process of cooking.  The reward for your work is a great meal!!!!  : )


On Tuesdays around here it's Mexican night - not just Taco Tuesday anymore.  I tried a new recipe that I've had in my "to try" box and last Tuesday was the night!  It is also meatless which we don't do very often so it was a nice change.  Here it goes:

BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO ENCHILADAS

1 cup cooked rice (I used white)
1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups salsa or enchilada sauce (I used salsa, now I'm looking forward to the enchilada sauce)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
12 soft tortilla shells

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss the sweet potato w/olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and add the red pepper and red onion - toss well and bake for 15 minutes more.  Put this mixture into a large bowl and add cooked rice, black beans and 1 cup salsa.  Mix well.

Prepare a large casserole or baking dish by pouring in 1 cup salsa or enchilada sauce on bottom and spread evenly.  Put about 1/3 cup of filling onto each tortilla and sprinkle w/cheese and roll them up.  Place seam side down and top with remaining salsa and cheese.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or till heated through.

I served these with sour cream and sliced green onions.  Tortilla chips and salsa on the side.

Yes.  They were great.  : )


Now, for my last recipe, it's cookie time!!!!!  I just took a photo of the recipe instead of writing it all out, so I hope you can read it.  If not, just let me know.

These tasted like fall.  Not only pumpkin, but molasses as well.  Best of both worlds!!!!!  : )

Soft and chewy.  You have to sneak one right after they come out of the oven.  Make sure you have your cup of coffee too.  And if you want to make your house smell good.............these are it.


That is it for recipes this time.  I'm continuing to try new recipes and then make sure I keep on making the old tried and true as well.  Hopefully the next time I post I will have even more for you.  : )


One new thing I did in our home is transition a tiny bedroom into a pantry.  I had been going into this bedroom and just thinking that it was such a wasted space.   It had my "office" space in one small corner but then it was just a bed and a small dresser with a few shelves.  SO, we took the bed out and now it's a pantry.  Not a pantry that holds food but a pantry that holds all my appliances and other things that my tiny kitchen wouldn't hold and those things that I was tired of going up and down the stairs to get.  It's just right down the hall from the kitchen so it's easy peasy to get to things.  Here are a few photos:






I feel it's a very workable space now.  Everything in cabinets and drawers - out of the way, yet easily accessible.  The Keurig is fun in here - it feels like a B & B where I can sip coffee in my mother-in-law's rocker and peruse a cookbook.  I'm so happy with the way it came out - no wasted space anymore.  With a small home I feel I need every room to work for us.  We don't have the luxury of too much space so it does need to work.  


Along with the rest of you, I've been trying to put little bits of fall touches in the home.  Some old and familiar - some new for a change.  But it comes with the changing of the seasons - I feel it's an important thing to do in our homes - I'll share a bit of home with you:

new potpourri

a little dollar store find

fake flowers but pretty nonetheless

a photo of a past pumpkin carving party

a bit of cute

in the living room

over the couch

an added touch

my favorite spot to sit and write

above the sink in the kitchen

I've just started outdoors, so I'm not ready to show photos of that yet.  The scarecrows have to go up, buy a few mums and pumpkins, maybe a couple of signs.........    : )


The YouTube channel I am now hooked on is called "Whippoorwill Holler" with Miss Lori and Mr. Brown.  You just have to tune in and watch.  They are just simple folk, wonderful people, and it's just a joy to watch and listen to. 

The book I'm now reading is:

like I've said before, I work like crazy in the morning when I have energy, we have lunch at noon, and then I treat myself to reading for about a half an hour.  I received this book as one of my birthday books and I'm about half way done.  Good so far!!!


I'm pretty sure that's about it for this post!!!  Thank you SO much for taking the time and visiting me.  I appreciate it when you do.  I hope this is finding all of you doing okay and staying well and planning on enjoying this time of year.  We all know that the holidays are right around the corner and I'm getting excited for that too.  I hope you all, as homemakers, remember to keep your home bright.  To celebrate in ways that you may not have thought of before.  Make your home enjoyable.  Let's get back to living after feeling like we've been on hold for so long.  Remember the old ways and bring them back - simple living, good food, laughter.  Let that be enough and enjoy the life God has given us.  We are blessed in SO many ways - let's begin to count the blessings!  : )

God bless you all and I'll see you next month!
















 









 





















 


Saturday, September 11, 2021

September Newsletter Part 1

 

For those who think that patriotism is dead, it's not.


I think I would be amiss if I didn't begin this post by remembering 9/11.  To say it was an awful day for our country would be an understatement.  It truly did change everything.  We remember, today, the families of those who lost their lives in an act of terrorism.  Remember when members of Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang "God Bless America"?   We'll never see THAT again.

I remember being glued to the television set until my mind just couldn't handle it anymore.  I remember going out for my morning walk in the silence of it all.  No air traffic except for the occasional fighter jet so high in the sky you could barely hear him.  Feeling like nothing would be the same.  

Our prayers go out to those who have spent the last 20 years in grief and sorrow - which, in a way, is all of us, isn't it?   Maybe WE are the ones, today, that will sing "God Bless America" - how much more, at this point in history, do we need God's blessing!!!!

Well.......here we are........September.  At least, around here anyway, we've been getting the needed rains and the temperatures have lowered, and the skies are smoke free now.  The grass is green again and whatever flowers made it through the summer are perking up.  The only thing now to contend with outdoors are the bees!  Not those sweet, fat, little bumblebees but the wasps who want to bug you and irritate you and want to sting you!!!  SO hard to do anything outdoors without them buzzing around and aggravating us.  There's always something to complain about, isn't there?!

I guess I will begin by highlighting our little trip out to South Dakota:

all set up and ready to head out - the camper looks so long on this photo but it's really not.

I'll stop here for a moment and say that getting out of the city and into the wide open countryside was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Oh my goodness.  I felt the stress leave me at once and the farm fields were beautiful.  Driving through small towns with the simplicity instead of extravagance.  I actually took a few notes while we were driving about how some things don't change and I REALLY needed to be reminded of that.  Here are a few things that I wrote down:

*Every August, the monarch butterflies come through - that didn't change - it was beautiful.
*Every Fall, the different birds start flying through and other birds are grouping - that didn't change - it was fun seeing them.
*Every Fall, the cornfields are waiting to be harvested - that didn't change - they still patiently stood waiting.
*And, like I said, the small towns - they didn't change - all were exactly as we remembered them almost two years ago.

With the grouping of the flags at the top of this post, we were SO surprised to see that patriotism is not dead.  Because living in the city and hearing the local news, one would think that it is.  We are led to believe that people don't care any more.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The moment we left the city we saw more flags than ever.  We saw LOTS of Trump signs!  We went from a blue state into a red state and it was even more noticeably different.  To tell you the truth, it was difficult to come back to this city of ours where everything seems so upside down.

we ate a restaurant where not only did they fly the flag outside, but had one displayed when you first came in and then this one was in the room we ate in!!!!  : )

our whole reason for going out to South Dakota was for this - this sign will be at each end of the Missouri River bridge in honor of my stepsisters and stepbrothers dad who served (and died in France) in WWII.

this is a photo of my mom, her husband, and four children on the day he left to serve his country not knowing that he would never return. 

We went through the town that I grew up in and stopped at the park that I played at every day.  The park that I lived right across the street from.  Our house is no longer there but, oh, it brought back lots of memories.

this used to be over the highway until they widened it and now it sits in the park - I'm SO glad they saved it.

It's funny, but every time we use the camper, it is a lesson learned at how little we need.  That little camper has two beds that fold out, it has a "dining area", a "kitchen", a "bathroom", and a little closet to hang things up in.  Everything is scaled down to size but when living in it you realize that  you don't need much more than that.  When we get home, our tiny home seems huge (especially the bathroom)!  And then that makes us grateful too.  : )

And now we are home.  Back to it.  Time for Fall cleaning.  Time for cleaning the yard up.  Time to bring out the Fall decorations.  Time for everything pumpkin.  Now with no smoke in the air, time to hang the laundry out again.  Time to cook again and try new recipes.  

Just a few extra things that I wrote down for this newsletter:

*Two new podcasts that I'm watching are - 
Country Stitchers - they do everything crosstitch which I used to do and now they are motivating me to bring it back!  I listen to them while I embroider.  I just find it nice to sit and stitch while they talk.
Lori Holt - she does everything! Stitches, quilts, crochets - you name it, I think she does it.

I would encourage you, again, to keep learning new things.  Or pick up what you used to do if you find pleasure in it.  I will say that crafting and stitching is good if you find that depression creeps up on you.  

*With the holidays right around the corner, begin your lists and begin saving all the change and dollar bills that you get back while shopping.  That change and those dollar bills add up quickly!!!

And, about Christmas.........please don't be so foolish as to repeat what's being said about Christmas being cancelled!  It cannot be cancelled.  Christ's birth is what Christmas is all about and that will always stay the same.  Yes, we do need to start shopping for what we might want and need but, really, so what if it means that we aren't going to get what we are normally used to?  The important thing is that God sent Jesus into the world, we can have our family and/or friends in, we can enjoy some good food together, we can still decorate with what we have, we can play games and listen to the wonderful music of the season.  Keeping it simple, yet meaningful.  We can do this!!!!!  : )

*I got a MAJOR surprise this past week!!!!  We have friends who are missionaries in Poland and I had NO idea that they were coming back for a short visit.  Well......a knock came and when I went to the door, I was totally surprised!!!!  Such a nice surprise.  And a great visit.  : )

A couple of photos to share:

if you can believe this - this is a library!!!!  I believe it's the smallest library in the U.S.  It's in the town that my sister lives in.  Isn't it cute?  I want it in my back yard!

these murals were all along the gymnasium that we were in - beautiful!

the Missouri River in South Dakota.

after the rains - I always think of Noah and the promise of God.

lastly, the September page on our kitchen calendar.  : )

I think that's about it!!!!!  Hopefully, in Part 2 I will have some yummy recipes for you.  I'm getting my desire for cooking/baking back after such a hot summer, so we'll see!!!!!  : )  

Thank you so much for being here with me.  I appreciate that you took the time to visit.  God bless your day, weekend ahead, and God Bless America!!!  Bye.