Monday, February 29, 2016


I spent quite a bit of time this weekend thinking about how my looks have changed.  I'm going to be 57 this summer and SO much has changed even in the past couple of years!

*my hair is much thinner
*my eyes have both bags AND dark circles (although I've always had dark circles)
*my eyes are also getting droopy
*my lips are getting thinner
*my neck area is getting saggy - as a matter of fact, EVERYTHING is getting saggy!  : o
*I'm getting brown spots on my hands
*and I could go on.............

I know that a lot of women aren't comfortable talking about how they look because it seems that we are putting too much emphasis on self and how we look rather than how we are inside.  But I think it's okay to care about how we look.  It's good to present ourselves in a pretty, fashionable, way. Unfortunately it takes more maintenance than it did before!  I remember just slipping into any clothes I wanted and they all fit.  I remember just letting my hair dry naturally and it all fell into place.  Not so anymore.

I saw a picture of myself taken about a month ago and I couldn't believe it.  Where did my eyes go?! I've been trying to read up on how to apply makeup after 50 (maybe I should be reading up on how to apply makeup after 60 since I'm closer to that now).  Well, I've been trying a few things but it sure doesn't seem to be working for me.  THEY say to use less makeup when older - well I tried that and that's how I lost my eyes in the picture!  LOL  So, I'm back to using MORE eye makeup (not so much as to appear bizarre but enough to once again make my eyes pop a little).   I looked at some hair-do's and experimented with a couple, but soon found that I need some length in order to hide the saggy neck.  I found that teasing the hair that I have on top of my head seems to give me the height that I need in order to not look like everything is on the downside. 

Just little things like that can make a huge difference.  It's good to experiment (especially on a weekend when you don't have a lot going on) and to not always go by what the "experts" say you should do.  Nothing is a one-size-fits-all.  As women, we are all different and what may work for one person, may not work at all for you.

I just want every woman to try and be pretty.  Some women are just naturally beautiful.  They put some moisturizer on in the morning and comb out their hair and off they go.  And some of us.....well....we need a bit more help.  : )  And it can be fun to try and figure out what that is.  If you are new to makeup I would suggest a lightweight foundation, mascara, and lip gloss and that may be all you need.  Or you can branch out to a pretty eyeshadow and lipstick for those times when you want a little more for a special occasion.  

This does take time, however.  And I know a lot of people would rather use the time in the morning to just sleep in a little longer, but getting up even 20 minutes earlier to just spend time in putting yourself together that would show others you care is so worth it.  Just a little thought and care into how you look can help you have a positive attitude and make you feel good all day long.  

Have fun with this.  It's good to be a woman and it can be enjoyable to try bringing out the best of what God gave us to work with.  : )  Thanks for dropping by! 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

If you are sad today -
If you are lonely today -
If you are afflicted today -
If you are confused today -
If you are angry today -
If you are depressed today -
If you are worried today -
If you feel tired today -
If you feel helpless today -
If you feel hopeless today -
If you feel lost today -
If you feel abandoned today -
If you feel anxious today -
If you feel fearful today -


O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free:

Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu'rors we are!


His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Afternoon

It always amazes me when I see flowers growing in solid rock.  A touch of softness.

Well, it is Thursday afternoon already.  It's been a busy day:

*cleaned father-in-law's house this morning
*did a couple loads of laundry
*light housecleaning at my own house
*made this:

our favorite potato salad!  

The hamburger and buns are thawed for Sloppy Joe's for tonight's meal and this morning I was thinking that I had all the ingredients for potato salad.  I very rarely make potato salad in the winter - it seems more of a summertime treat.  But it sounded good and I'm hoping everyone will agree with me this evening for supper.  : )

So, our Thrifty Thursday meal is:

*Sloppy Joe's
*Potato salad
*and I had vanilla cupcakes in the freezer left over from Valentine's Day so I frosted those for our dessert.

The sun has been shining today which brightens everything up including the mood.  But it's a chilly sunshine with a stiff breeze.  Not complaining though.  The snow and ice are almost gone where the sun hits it and once again there is that feeling of spring.  But where we live we know that there will be the possibility of another snowstorm or two before all is said and done.  So, we carry on come what may!!!  : )

We have Bible study tonight so I will leave now and go rest a bit before going to the kitchen to make the rest of supper.  I truly hope you've had a good day today.  Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday Evening

A touch of prettiness.  

Well, we made it through half the week already and now the downhill slide towards the weekend is here. It's a good thing to know that Spring is right around the corner.  : )

Today was:

*throwing in a load of laundry
*grocery shopping
*ironing the cloth napkins
*making pizza dough
*making salad dressing
*sitting outside with a cup of hot coffee just to get some fresh air
*working on my hand sewing

It was Whatever Wednesday, so I opted for pizza -

the ingredients

the dough before letting it rise

the finished product.  : )

I know in some blogs that I read some people really like to break down the costs of making certain foods versus buying the ready made.  I won't go in great detail, but I can say that I always have the above ingredients in my cupboards so I consider that free food.  It's food that I buy once and it lasts for a long time before I have to buy more, so I don't break down costs for that.  Also, I make my meatless spaghetti sauce every so often so that, too, is a food that I always have ingredients for. Again, free food.  The only ingredients I don't have on hand for pizza are the meats (which is usually pepperoni and Canadian bacon) and the cheese, which I do need to buy whenever I write pizza down on my menu for the week.

The dough that I make makes two pizzas.  The sauce is already frozen in freezer bags and portioned out already, so I have enough for two pizzas.  And the meat and cheese that I buy is also enough for two pizzas.  The meat (which is organic so it will cost a little more) is around $6.00 each and the cheese (which is block Mozzarella and block Cheddar) is $1.79 each.  

So, for two pizzas -

$6.00 + $6.00 + $1.79 + $1.79 =  $15.58 or $7.79 per pizza.  I think that's a pretty good price.  Plus, again, you KNOW the good ingredients that go into making it.  So, the extra dough and bag of sauce is in the freezer, and the leftover meat and cheese is in the fridge for another meal.  A good deal!

I need to go read while my eyes can still stay open.  I am reading "The Robe."  We watch the movie every year around Easter so I thought I would read the book ahead of time to compare the two.  As always, I like the book much better.  : )

Have a wonderful day tomorrow.  God bless you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Home

Next to the soft morning light, I like the late afternoon light just before the sun goes down. 

It was a rather dark, cloudy, day today and as I was going about the house doing my work, I was so pleasantly pleased with the sights, sounds, and smells of home.  It isn't ALWAYS that way, but when the combination of the three come together, there is this overwhelming sense that I am where I'm supposed to be.

On a cloudy afternoon, the lighting in the living room is subdued with lamplight, the classical music  is playing in the background, and fresh baked muffins are coming out of the oven.  By this time of day I realized that I've already:

*paid the bills
*made out the week's menu and wrote the grocery list for tomorrow
*cleaned the bathtub
*ironed yesterday's laundry
*and sent out a few cards

so the busy-ness of the morning had turned into more of a slower pace and the kitchen duties seemed more of a pleasure than a chore.  And then once the kitchen was all cleaned up from muffin baking, the job of getting things ready for supper began.  : )

I tried a new recipe that I wanted to share with you.  It should have been taco Tuesday, but I had ingredients that needed to be used up so I made it meatless Tuesday instead.  Here it is:


1/4 cup honey
2 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tblsp. fresh ginger, minced

In a small bowl combine the above ingredients and set aside.

Cook 10 oz. of spaghetti noodles.  Drain and keep hot.

In large skillet, over med-high heat, add 2 Tblsp. olive oil and stir-fry:

1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced thin

When tender, pour the sauce in and bring to boil.  Thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch mixed with water.  Serve this over the noodles and sprinkle with chopped green onion.

I wish I would have taken pictures of this but it's a meal that goes together VERY quickly if you have everything cut up ahead of time (just like any Asian food, you should do all the prep work first so that you can just add as you go).  Well, it was definitely a hit.  Usually meatless meals get a yawn from everyone, but this was very good.  Next time, however, I will surprise them by adding sauteed chicken breast as it does have a sweet-sour flavor.  I hope you can give it a try!!!!  : )

And I will share with you, once again, my morning Bible reading from Deuteronomy Chapter 15:

*" not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.  Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs." v. 7 & 8

*"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work in everything you put your hand to." v. 10

*"There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." v. 11

It's wise to note that giving to the poor and needy is a command by God.  And He is so gracious when we obey that there will be blessing because of it.  

Signing off for now - take care and enjoy your home.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It Happens Every Year

This is what happens every year around this time.  That feeling of looking through all the outdoor books and magazines to plan what we will do with the yard after winter is over.   Notes are taken, ideas swirl around in the head, and projects are exciting to think about.  I always have more ideas than time or money.  And this is the year where we will definitely have to figure out what to do with all the squirrels and rabbits so that what we do plant or build won't get eaten up!  I went on-line to read about all the plantings that rabbits won't touch which is a big help, but also the idea of raised beds come to mind - not the raised beds on the ground but the ones that go up to the waist so you can garden standing up.  We don't have a big yard and through the years it's gotten shadier and shadier which is good in the heat of the summer, but not good for growing.  

The other thing that happens every year is my need to organize and clean the house.  Not quite spring cleaning yet as we have a lot of muddy weather to go through for a while, but getting rid of stuff and organizing is a big deal.  The reason it's a big deal is that when the nice weather does get here, I want to be outdoors more and spend less time with doing that kind of work.  This afternoon was spent in the basement (where, it seems, everything that we don't know what to do with, ends up in) and I filled a couple of bags for the thrift store.  I re-organized all the shelves and wrote down a few items that I will need to stock up on.  

This morning was spent on:

*washing, drying, folding, and putting away all the laundry (fresh bedding tonight!)
*dusted and vacuumed every room
*cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floors
*and put this on to simmer all afternoon -

homemade chicken broth for soup tonight.  Yum.  : )

And, as of today, I'm going to drink at least one or two of this a day:

a wonderfully healthy drink of apple cider vinegar, water, and a touch of honey.

I will admit that this is a drink you have to acquire a taste for.  When I drank it for the first time a while back, wow!  It IS vinegar after all - but you only put in 1 - 2 teaspoons of vinegar in 8 ounces of water and then add 1 teaspoon of honey to cut the sharpness.  BUT - you need to buy organic apple cider vinegar with the "mother" in it.  I know that sounds a bit odd, but the health benefits are amazing:

*helps with stiffness in the body
*lowers cholesterol
*boosts energy
*high in potassium
*reduces nighttime muscle cramps
*helps bad breath
*control's blood sugar
*heart healthy
*whitens teeth
*treats indigestion
*helps a sore throat
*and many more!

Remember to dilute it - never drink it straight.  I hope you can give it a try!!!!  : )

That is it for today.  Time to get into the kitchen.  I hope you dear women are having a good day in your homes.  Have a good upcoming evening as well.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Well Done

"And he said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; ............" (Luke 19:17)

When I was first saved and came across this verse, it was something I have always been looking forward to hearing.  To see Jesus face to face some day and to hear the words, "well done."

I sometimes feel that homemakers have a hard time in thinking and believing that they are making a difference in the world.  That somehow the homemaking efforts don't count towards the big picture. But I beg to differ:

*have you ever stayed up all night with a sick child?
*have you ever visited a parent in a nursing home who cannot speak or doesn't even know who you  are anymore?
*have you ever cooked a meal not only for your family but for someone in need?
*have you ever cleaned your home?
*have you ever showed hospitality to someone?
*have you ever spent time in prayer in the middle of the night over a son or daughter?
*have you ever planted a garden to provide food for your family?
*have you ever chosen grace and mercy to your family instead of getting angry?
*have you ever done without so that someone else could benefit?
*have you ever put a smile on your face when you didn't feel like it?
*have you ever offered your time and attention to a neighbor?
*and there are many more.................

All of these things matter.  You are being the hands and feet of Jesus when you love and help your family, friends, and neighbors.  It has great value.  Let us encourage each other in this and remind each other, especially for those days when you feel worn out and wonder if it's making any difference at all.  For those days when no one says "thank you" and you feel taken for granted.  You're not.  God knows and sees what you do.  And some day He will say "well done."  : )

May God bless your Sabbath.  Keep your eyes on the Lord.  Give Him your best.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

This n' That

This is an old picture, but so pretty.  Right now as I look out at the backyard, we have a little lake growing as the snow melts but the ground is still frozen.  It's dirty and worn and patches of grass are everywhere.  Very spring-like.

Yesterday was a busy day in that I began the morning cleaning father-in-law's house, came home for lunch, and then tried to clean in my own home before supper.  As I get older, those kinds of days are tiring for me, but after a good night's sleep, I'm ready for this day.  : )

Usually a day off for my husband we spend the mornings on Friday's going out and about doing a few errands that I didn't get to during the week.  He enjoys getting out.  As like all of us, we tend to have a weekday routine of getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, and then start all over the next day.  So, for him to get out and about is somewhat of a treat.  : )

Tonight we are having a guest over for Game Night.  We are serving:

*Taco Salads with:
two kinds of tortilla chips
taco meat
shredded cheese
sour cream
black olives
taco sauce

and having homemade brownies with frozen yogurt for dessert.   Scrummy.  : )

Not sure what games we are playing but we are looking forward to it.  I think it's so important to change things up a little.  Do something out of the ordinary once in a while.  Especially at this time of year when winter seems long and we get into ruts.

I hope all of you dear women can enjoy your day.  Make yourself pretty.  Make your home pretty. And, once again, may God bless your homemaking efforts.

One thing I love is the first morning light.  So soft. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Short Week

For those of us who had Monday off because of President's Day, it's been a short week.  I still feel like today should be Tuesday so I can't believe it's Thursday already tomorrow.  A day off is fine once in a while, but I always feel like I'm trying to get back on track during the rest of the week.

Today was grocery shopping day (or I like the word "marketing" better - it seems more vintage).  But as I peruse the aisles, all that food on the shelves overwhelms me.  And I have to admit that I get a little frustrated with grocery stores as they try to push the food that is NOT good for us.  It seems like it's that kind of food that is always inexpensive or on sale and it fools people into thinking that that's all they can afford to buy when that is not at all true.  I'm a label reader.  I've been reading labels for a long time now.  For example, a recipe for a certain dish that I'm going to prepare next week calls for a stovetop stuffing mix and so I wrote it down on my list for today to buy.  I picked up the box and read the label - my goodness.  The unnecessary ingredients it showed quickly told me to put it back on the shelf and write a note to self - "make homemade stuffing mix when I get home."  And I did:

All this took was for me to pull out about 6 slices of bread to dry on a rack and then later cut up into cubes.  Then pull out a few dry herbs and spices and grind them up.  Put both in plastic bags and they're ready for next week when I need them.  When ready to make the stovetop stuffing, I'll just melt a little butter in a saucepan, saute' a little chopped onion and celery, add the cubed bread and spices, a little water to moisten and there you have it.  NO unnecessary ingredients that I can't even pronounce.  : )

The thing is is that the grocery stores are preying on people who don't want to do the work this takes (and it really doesn't take that much).  It seems like everyone is programmed to want to do what's easy rather that what's healthy.  And the stores know that.  That's why frozen pizzas are always on sale.  Who wants to throw some flour, yeast, salt, oil and water together to make dough?!   My hope is that everyone will understand that it's so much cheaper (less expensive) to just have a few quality ingredients in your home that will make a variety of different foods.  But it does take planning.  For my being able to say "no" to boxed stuffing mix and then going home and just make it from scratch, doesn't just happen.  I've learned over the years to always have certain herbs and spices in my drawer so that I CAN throw a sauce together without having to by one.  Whether that be a quick spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce, I know I have the ingredients.  It's a good feeling.  When I make my grocery list, I look at the list carefully and ask "are there things on this list that I could make myself?"  Of course I can't make milk or cheese or eggs or yeast, etc.  But I don't have to buy spaghetti sauce because I know how to make that.  I don't have to buy salad dressings because I know how to make it. But because I know how to make these things I also know that I need to stock my pantry with the items needed for making these things - canned tomatoes, olive oil, spices, tomato paste, vinegar, etc. But do you see the difference?  If you buy spaghetti sauce and you're a label reader, you'll see ingredients that aren't needed, but when you make it at home all the ingredients are natural and healthy.

Once again I did a little research to find the health benefits of what I served this evening for supper which was salmon patties, salad greens, and pineapple.  

*Salmon - Omega 3, improves bone density, good for the brain, increases cardiovascular health, protects the eyes, and Vitamin D.

*Variety of salad greens (red and green) - Vitamins A, C, E, and K, lutein, fiber, and magnesium

*Pineapple - I've already posted in the past about the health benefits for this food

These served with a little Honey Mustard Sauce (homemade) is wonderful.

So, I hope I can encourage you to begin to start looking at the food you're serving a little differently. Are there things you can make on your own without having to buy all that convenience food?  With all the not-so-good-for-you stuff in them.  If you're not used to this, start small.  Start with one thing that your family enjoys eating and look for recipes.  Try them out.  Let your family know what you're trying to do and that they may have to be patient while you find that one recipe that everyone likes. And then go on to the next thing.  After a while you'll become confident in your cooking and it'll become a challenge to do more.  It's a good way to live and a good way to eat.  Enjoy!!!!!!  : ) 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It Must be Tuesday!

I have had this Christmas cactus for years without a bloom and this is what happened recently.  And it looks like there are two more coming!  : )  I love it - it looks so tropical in comparison to the white landscape outside. 

Well, it must be Tuesday because here is what I did (the same as every Tuesday since blogging!):

*Paid the bills
*Planned a 2-week menu and made the grocery list
*Ironed clothes for the week

Plus I made time to:

*Bundle up, take a chair outside and sit in the sun to read a book
*Started sewing a sleeveless summer top

My supper was simple:

*Tator Tot Hotdish (or casserole depending upon what part of the country you come from)
*Variety of pickles
*Fresh orange slices
*Frosted winter cookies (I'm calling them winter cookies - actually they are Christmas sugar cookie cutouts that I had in the freezer and they just had to be eaten!)

For Christmas, I received a gift card for an unusual store in our area and here is one thing that I bought just recently:

Linen spray for our pillowcases and cloth napkins when ironing.  It's a lavender scent (my favorite)   and because I'm trying to make my own household sprays and cleaners and such, when I use this up I have already found a "recipe" to make my own linen spray using witch hazel, lavender essential oil, and water.  I already love the spray bottle with the old-fashioned label on it.  Just a little homemaking pleasure.  : )

And before I leave I once again want to share a passage from my Bible reading.  It's from Deuteronomy 10:12-22 (I hope you can read the whole thing for yourself) but here are a couple of favorite verses:

*".........what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees.........."

*"To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it."

*"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes."

*"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing."

The Lord our God.  He IS awesome.  : )  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Breakfast for Supper

Once again, I decided to do some research on the health benefits of the above plated food (which we ate for our supper tonight) - scrambled eggs, organic bacon, 12-grain toast and pineapple (not shown in the picture) - and here's what I found:

*Eggs - vitamin A, folate, vitamin B12 and B2, phosphorus, selenium (I topped the eggs with shredded cheese and green onions which I did not include in the health benefits)
*Bacon (and this really surprised me) - it raises the HDL or the "good" cholesterol, it's low in carbs, it's high in quality protein, high in Omega 3 for heart health, Vitamin B12, zinc, choline for brain health, selenium, phosphorus, niacin (again, we only eat organic which is free from nitrates but from what I read about bacon, it is a very healthy food to eat - yeah!!!)
*12 grain bread - phytochemicals, protein, fiber, selenium, manganese, thiamine
*Pineapple - vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6 and B1, copper, fiber, folate, pantothenic acid

And we drank a glass of milk with it which, in and of itself, is healthy (for those of us who can drink milk without problems).

It's so wonderful to think how God has provided all the different kinds of foods we need to maintain a healthy body!   Foods filled with all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.  That didn't just happen - it was planned.  : )  And it tastes good too!  What a gift.

Well, it was a day off today (President's Day) and it was a pretty typical Monday with all the laundry this morning and light house cleaning, but we did decide to get out a little to go antique shopping (or shall I say looking).  We love to look at antiques.  The only problem is is that the older we get we always see what we had when we grew up (dolls, toys, books, etc.) and it reminds us that WE are antiques!  : o

Mostly, it's been a very restful weekend so I'm hoping we'll all get into the swing of things for tomorrow's tasks.

I hope you had a pleasant day as well and may God richly bless you in your homemaking.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Let's see what the Bible says about love -

"And now I will show you the most excellent way.

If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain;  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13: 1 - 13

May God bless your day.  Love well.  : )

Saturday, February 13, 2016


We're in the deep freeze, so this picture reminds me of things to come.  : )

Here is my list of to-do's on this chilly Saturday:

*watch my favorite cooking shows this morning
*bake Valentine cupcakes and decorate them with my new pastry bags and decorating tips!
*I moved my sewing machine back upstairs from the basement so I'm hoping to start on a summer top that I've had cut out for months now
*keep up with laundry
*a little light housekeeping
*cooking for father-in-law who is coming over for supper tonight

That seems like more than enough.  : )

I had three people to buy for on this Valentine's weekend.  And I broke the gift giving down into four sections:

*toiletry items - for one I gave hand lotion; for another, foot cream; and the other, deodorant
*magazines or books based on what they like
*snack items - flavored pretzels, beef jerky, granola bars, candy bars
*Valentine candy in the heart-shaped boxes  : )
*and then added a card to each gift bag

I know none of this is necessary, but I want to keep celebrating holidays.  It's fun and unexpected and don't we all need that in a world that is so very serious?  I hope you can do a little something for those you love and care about.  

Have a wonderful day today and may God bless you.  : ) 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Remembering Others

It's been almost two months since Christmas.  Time is flying by once again.  I've been thinking about how important it is to keep the Christmas spirit throughout the year.  We have one time in 12 months where we want to be generous and thoughtful and giving and turn our thoughts towards how we can help our fellow man in need.  This Sunday is Valentine's Day and though not a major holiday like Christmas, we might want to ask ourselves as to whose day we can brighten a little by giving of ourselves.

In the above picture I made one gift basket for a woman's shelter we have in our area and then two gift bags for a little girl and a little boy and dropped them off as well.  I think of women at this time of year.  We, as women, all want to receive a little attention whether it be a card sent, or a flower given, or perhaps a box of chocolates.  But some women are really lonely.  Some are forgotten. Some are not thought of at all.  How can you brighten someone's day today, tomorrow, or Sunday?  If you live in an apartment, is there someone down the hall?  If you live in a neighborhood, is there someone down the street?  If you live in a community, is there someone less fortunate than you?  If you have access to giving to a certain charitable organization, is there a way for you to give maybe sacrificially? Do you know of a young couple who you can babysit for so they can go out? 

Can we keep that Christmas spirit in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November?  Can we all write down a few ideas that we can think of and put them on the calendar each month as a way of remembering others and making the day brighter than it was yesterday?  Just a way of knowing someone was thinking about them?  

Each month that flies by is a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  It doesn't have to take a lot of time.  It doesn't have to take a lot of money.  Just a caring spirit.  : )

May God bless your day and upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's The Little Things

As women, God has built into us the capacity to look at things differently than men.  We like beauty and we like to create beauty in our homes not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of anyone who comes in.  The wonderful thing is that most often it's the little things we do that seem to comfort us:

*a candle lit while we're eating
*a favorite blanket on the couch
*books around us to grab when the mood strikes
*a favorite meal not just for special occasions but "just because"
*flowers on the table
*cookies baking in the oven
*old movies to watch
*nice smelling soap
*family photos
*a comfortable chair
*a hobby to work on
*a window with a view
*soup on the stove
*you can add your own to the list : )

Think of things that you enjoy and incorporate them into your decor.   More pillows on the couch? More framed artwork?  More candles?  More books?  A favorite spot to just sit and relax?  What steps can you take to make it happen?  None of these things have to cost a lot.  Pillows can be made, frames can be picked up at the thrift store, candles can also be made, and books are, once again, available at thrift stores.  Come through the front door of your house and try to look at it with fresh eyes.  What could be done a little differently for more comfort?  Make notes.  Go through magazines (which can also be picked up at the thrift store) and cut pictures out of different rooms or ways of using things.  Start a notebook and glue the pictures in for reference.

Your home should be a fun and living place to be.  Don't let it go.  Keep improving on what you already have.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  Most of all, keep it clean and keep it somewhat organized because those two things have a lot to do with the comfort of your home as well.  Let this new year be the year where your home will be the place where you can't wait to be.  : )

Again, before I go here are a few verses from this morning's Bible reading from Deuteronomy Chapter 8, verses 1 - 20 (I hope you can read the whole thing on your own because it's wonderful).

v. 3 " does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."  (remember that Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 4:4 when tempted by Satan?)

v. 5 "Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you."

v. 6 "Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him."

v. 10 "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God........."

v. 18 "....remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth......"

While reading, I could have underlined everything but I just chose these verses.  This whole section reminds us how awesome God is.  How he gives us his Word to read.  How he disciplines us when we go astray because he loves us so.  How when we walk in his ways and make him first in our lives, he will be there.  How we are to give thanks always for everything he provides.  How we are to remember that when things are going well for us and we are well taken care of, it is not our doing - God is the one who gives us that ability.  Wonderful things to remember!  : )

Take care and God bless you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Work Plus

For years, and I mean years, I have never liked my kitchen.  Like I've posted in the past, my kitchen is the size of some people's walk-in closet.  I have envied the kitchens with islands or sit-at counters or just plain counter space!  It's just been in the past couple of years that I've learned to enjoy the kitchen I have.  Instead of fighting it, I've learned to get it to the point where everything is pretty easy to get to and that everything I use is at my fingertips and to learn how to make work stations within the kitchen for whatever I'm working on at the time.  

The picture above shows one station (toaster, bread on the shelf above the toaster, butter, peanut butter, cinnamon sugar, and plates) which allows us to make toast whenever we want or need it.  I have a baking station which includes a drawer that holds all the measuring cups and baking utensils and below that the cupboard holds all the mixing bowls and the cupboard above holds all the baking ingredients.  When the mood strikes for baking, everything is right there.  By the stove is a tiny counter that meals can be served from with the food sitting on top of the stove and plates off to the side with a drawer than holds all the serving utensils.  All of this helps tremendously in making the kitchen work. When watching cooking shows, isn't it interesting that they have these huge kitchens but all the work is done within a small amount of space off to the side of the stovetop?

So, I've learned to like my kitchen very much now.  It's handy, it's organized, and it works and it's always very surprising how little we really need.  

This afternoon I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen going through all my recipes - especially the ones I would like to try.  So all of those are organized now.  And then I did this:

made a homemade brownie mix for the pantry.

And these:

more mixes!

Mixes are such a huge help when time is short.  Just pour, add the liquid ingredients and you are off and running!  If you go on-line you can search for tons of mix recipes.  If you'd like any of the ones that I made here, don't hesitate to ask for the recipe.  Hope you give it a try.  : )

The morning was pretty typical for Tuesday:

*paid bills
*grocery list/menu for the week
*ironed yesterday's laundry

So, it was Tuesday work plus my time in the kitchen this afternoon.  I feel good about it all.

Before I go, here is another verse from this morning's Bible reading from Deuteronomy 7:9-

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is a faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."  Trust in God to get you through.  

May you experience a love for your home today and throughout the rest of the week.  Enjoy it, clean it, organize it, cook in it, and create an atmosphere of warmth and peacefulness for those you love.

Monday, February 8, 2016

It's All About Laundry and Cleaning

We had a wonderfully relaxed weekend.  Did quite a bit of running around on Friday but stayed put in the house for the rest of the time.  Resting, reading magazines, watching old westerns on TV and then topped it all off last night watching the Super Bowl (with a one hour break for Downton Abbey).  : )

So, today the husband is at work and I'm back at it.  With a restful weekend comes a busy Monday as I didn't keep up with the laundry like I should have.  But as of this writing I am all caught up - washed, dried (or drying), folded and put away, or hanging up for ironing tomorrow.  The nice thing about laundry day is that I can do other things while waiting so that part was cleaning the house and getting it back in order.  I love the way THAT feels as I'm sure you do too.  : )

We had father-in-law over on Saturday evening and we served this:

Crockpot chili for a chilly evening (the picture doesn't show it but we served it with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese).

It was also served with fresh orange slices, banana nut muffins and this for dessert:

freshly baked chocolate chips cookies.

A very simple meal, but satisfying.

I also sent out my homemade valentines this morning so that everyone will get one before next Sunday.  I've always like Valentine's Day.  It's pretty (or can be).  It was also my mom's birthday and how easy was she to buy for?!  A box of candy and flowers.  We have lots of pictures of her standing beside all the flowers she used to receive.  For a woman who loved flowers it was perfect.  : )

A family fun idea (if you still have children at home or have grandchildren over) is to decorate a shoebox (with lid), and cut a slit on top.  During the week of Valentine's Day, everyone in the house is to write a note to others in the house.  It can be a note of encouragement or what you like about that person, or share a silly joke, whatever you think the other person would like.  Fold it and drop it in the top of the box.  You have to make sure everyone is doing this so that no one is forgotten.  Then on Valentine's Day open the box and hand out the notes to everyone they are addressed to and they can read them aloud.  Plan a special meal that everyone likes.  Make it fun and special!

I would also encourage you to make or buy (dollar store) a few cards to send to those who may not always receive mail.  Do you know of an elderly person or someone in the nursing home or hospital? Just a simple thing but it means a lot.  Again, if you have children or grandchildren it would be a wonderful project for them to work on.

And before I go, if you could get your Bibles and read Deuteronomy 6: 1 - 25, I think you'll really enjoy it.  It's all about loving the Lord your God.  The notes I took this morning were:

*fear the Lord
*keep all commands and decrees
*be obedient
*love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength
*impress them upon your children
*talk about them always
*when we eat and are satisfied be careful to not forget the Lord
*do not worship anything else
*do not test God
*do what is right and good in the Lord's sight

Wonderful.  Have a good rest of the day in all that you do for your family.