Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas

Some calendars are so pretty, I just have to save the pictures.  : )

First the weather report - over 50 degrees yesterday with heavy rains and then hail.  Today still cloudy (I guess we won't see the sun until Friday), cooler but still mild for this time of year.  We look outside and it doesn't look like Christmas outside, but I'm trying on the inside!  : )

I went around the house with camera in hand to show you what we've been up to:

angel cuties

my "fireside" reading area

a new winter puzzle (isn't it beautiful?)  thank you, Violet!  : )

the Keurig corner

on top of a small bookcase

a wreath my husband made - I just added the burlap bow and greenery

an old creche handed down by mother-in-law

our tree (without ornaments yet) - we went with a fake tree this year - this area of our house used to be our dining area but we turned it into another room so to speak and thought a tree would like nice in here.  It does cozy it up.  : )

our decorated rooms from the front door

cute refrigerator magnets (again, the thanks go to Violet!)  : )

I thought that would be about all you could handle in one day (haha).  

I finished up our menu and grocery list and am doing something a little different this week.  I brought out the special Christmas cookbooks:

(can you tell I really like Gooseberry Patch cookbooks?)  : )  I bought each of these at the thrift stores as they are pretty expensive full price.

Anyway.....I took a new recipe from each book to fill out my menu with this week.  Things such as:

*Cranberry meatloaves
*Baked shrimp
*Italian pot roast
*Beef and barley soup
*Creamy mushroom and ham ravioli

I'm looking forward to this - but I also hope we like them.  : o

And the last thing for today, was to bake cookies for our Bible study tonight:

Molasses Crinkles - the house now smells a little like Christmas.

That's it for today.  The days certainly fill up but it's a blessing.  I wish you well and may God bless your homemaking efforts.  : )  Thanks for dropping by for a visit.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Day The Lord Has Made

Badlands of South Dakota.

When I posted last Sunday, I was hoping for a better week than the week before.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  It went from bad to worse very quickly.  Or, I could say (from a Christian perspective) that the unfortunate could be viewed as fortunate.

Isn't it during those times of trials that we put our dependence on the Lord?  It's been that way for me. My feelings about certain people, and about certain circumstances where I just have to get on my knees and pray for help.  Sometimes the help comes immediately, sometimes it takes time (as is the case right now).

When I go through difficult times, the difficulty takes over.  It's all encompassing.  It's all consuming. It's all I can think of upon waking in the morning.  It's all I can think of while working throughout the day.  It's all I can think of when I go to bed at night.  There is no peace.

So......I need to bring these things to the Prince of Peace.  Asking Him to bring to my mind any Scripture that speaks truth to me.  Asking Him to give me a song in my heart that soothes the inner turmoil.  Asking Him to exchange the anger and frustration with calm and understanding.

And then there is choice.  When I receive the much needed Scripture, the much needed song, the much needed feelings of peace, do I choose to allow them to work within me or do I choose to allow the bad feelings to remain?

Well, this IS the day the Lord has made.  We give others way too much power over us when what we really need is the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  May we fix our eyes upon Jesus today and throughout the upcoming week.  : )  Have a wonderful Sabbath.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Nice Long Weekend

I hope that all of you had a nice Thanksgiving with your friends and/or family.  It truly can be a day of giving thanks for all the Lord has provided over the year.  

I love waking up on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  It always feels like an extra day.  A free day.  A day to take things a bit slower.  The Thanksgiving meal is done, the kitchen is cleaned up, the leftovers put away, the house is still somewhat clean.  So Friday gives way to sitting around in pajamas for a while longer.  For eating breakfast a bit later.  For sitting with a cup of tea for however long I want to and read.  For slowly bringing out a few Christmas decorations.  For eating leftovers which means a break from cooking.  For looking through all those ads and writing Christmas lists (it at least helps with getting a few ideas).

Now it's Saturday.  And the day will look somewhat familiar to yesterday.  With the exception of ironing and making turkey soup.  : )  So, we're still in our pajamas, breakfast will be late, I'm looking forward to tea and a good read, and I'll bring more Christmas decorations out.

I have to admit that after these photos were taken yesterday a few things have already been changed and tweaked.  Any one who knows me knows that I move things around (all the time!).  : o  So, when I feel like I have everything the way it SHOULD be (haha) I will send more photos your way.

I hope you have a wonderful day today.  May God continue to bless you in your homemaking efforts. It's all important work!  Thanks for taking the time to visit me - I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Two Thanksgiving Meals!

I'm assuming that some of you are in the midst of cooking and baking for tomorrow's meal.  Whether that be at your own home or someone else's.  We have been blessed in that not only are the three of us having our own meal here early in the afternoon, but we have also been invited to a friend's house for their Thanksgiving meal late in the day!  I have now decided to pare down the food at this end (less dressing and potatoes and no pumpkin dessert since our friends will be having that).  But everything else is a go!

I've only prepared three things today for tomorrow:

*the turkey is cooking away in the slow cooker
*the dressing is made and in the fridge
*the potatoes are made and in the fridge
*(the buns are out of the freezer)
*(the relishes are in the fridge)

Everything else will be for tomorrow. I have also cleaned the house and my husband is busy outdoors putting a few Christmas things up. We awoke to the most beautiful snow.  The kind that clings to every branch.  I could kick myself for not taking a picture.  But now it's melted off of everything except the grassy areas so it's still pretty (which put my husband in the mood for Christmas).  We've also been playing old-time Christmas music today - Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, etc.  You know - the good music!  : ) 

Just in case you were dying to see our Thanksgiving table for tomorrow, here it is:  : )

Again, not a "WOW"! thing, but it's okay for us.  : )

I hope and pray that each of you will enjoy Thanksgiving Day.  For a lot of us, the year has been a bit difficult to say the least but for one day out of the year, let's count the blessings.  May God surround you with peace.

Hope to see you soon - thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Wet Tuesday

Gooseberry Falls in northern Minnesota.

Rain. Sleet. Flurries. Back to rain. Sleet. Flurries.  A very wet Tuesday.  A very good time to get to work as the countdown to Thanksgiving began yesterday.  The only things I got done yesterday in regards to Thanksgiving were:

*dried the bread and cut it into cubes for the dressing.
*made the cranberry sauce.
*(and the turkey has been thawing since Sunday)

Like everyone else, I guess tomorrow is the big day for preparation work:

*I just need to run to the store tomorrow for last-minute fresh food.
*it will be just the 3 of us this year but I want to still make it special, so I bought a bone-in turkey breast that will be put into the slow cooker tomorrow and when it's done we'll slice it and lay the slices into the liquid and it will be ready to reheat Thursday.
*I will make the dressing and pop it in the oven Thursday.
*The make-ahead potatoes will be done tomorrow to pop in the oven along with the dressing.
*And, I tend not to make pies, but we do have a favorite pumpkin dessert and apple crisp recipe - I know the pumpkin dessert is fine to make tomorrow, but the apple crisp will wait till Thursday as it  is SO good warm with fresh whipping cream on it.  : )
*Set the table ahead of time.

So, here is the menu for Thursday:

Crockpot turkey breast
Crockpot green beans
Sweet potatoes
Dinner rolls with butter
Cranberry sauce
Relish tray of bread and butter pickles, olives, and pickled beets
Pumpkin dessert
Apple crisp
and, a variety of Keurig drinks (coffee, apple cider, tea)

We're pretty traditional people around here.  : )  So, what are YOU serving this year?  Anything different from what's listed above?

I sewed our Thanksgiving napkins on Monday:

again, pretty traditional.  I'll try to take a picture of our table when it's set.  It won't be a "wow" thing, but I always enjoy looking at other women's tables and how they set them for the holidays, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I tried a new craft project this past weekend:

This was rather fun to do.  It's a blank 7 1/2" square artist's canvas and I just started gluing things on.  It can be propped up on a shelf or just sit on an easel somewhere.  I'll have to play around with it.

Other than the normal, typical, homemaking things for Monday and Tuesday, that is about it.  I hope you are enjoying this day.  Thank you for dropping in - you are ALWAYS welcome.  : )


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Morning

Lake Superior stones.

At the beginning of the week, I asked if you've ever had one of THOSE days.  At the end of the week, I ask "have you ever had one of THOSE WEEKS?"  How can one be SO grateful for people in our lives one moment and then be exasperated by them in the next moment?  From the beginning of last week to the end of this week it has been one disappointment after another.  Is it because we want the people in our lives to live up to our expectation of them instead of giving them the grace to think and feel differently than we do?  I think, for me, that is partially true.  But what about the hard stuff?  The areas where there is definitely a difference between right and wrong?  How do you deal with that?  All of a sudden the emotional roller coaster begins.  The gradual increase in height and then when you get to the top you can clearly see what's in store for you.  The immediate drop where your stomach sinks and then the sharp curves that take your breath away.  It goes on and on like this, for what seems, forever.  All you want is for it to stop.  You just want to get off.

Times like these are good reminders to keep one's eye on the Lord.  In prayer (even when the words don't come).  In the Bible (even when you don't feel like it).  There were a couple of times this week when I awoke early just wanting to go back to sleep (because when you're asleep, you're unaware - you don't have to deal with it).  There is also a tendency to ask the question of whether or not what I'm going through is important enough to feel so strongly about.  I mean there is ALWAYS someone else who is experiencing pain beyond what I'm feeling.  And sometimes I do have to ask myself that question.  And time alone with God our Father can help us to figure that out.  We find out, that, maybe we don't give EVERYTHING (and everyone) to Him.  Maybe that's why it's so hard?  We tend to take things upon ourselves that weren't meant for us to shoulder.  We hold on to the hurt, the anger, the disappointment, the fear, the worry, the agitation, the disagreement, the distrust.

LOTS to think through!  LOTS to bring to the Lord!  LOTS to give to Him!  But He is God.  He can take it.  And He wants to take it.  Are we willing to give it?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Wintery Blast

Fortunately, this photo is not from yesterday!  : )

But, winter-like conditions blew through our area yesterday beginning with heavy rains and then turning over to snow mid-afternoon.  

By looking at this photo, it doesn't look bad at all.  Fortunately we did not get all the snow they got up north.  : )

It made for a very cozy day though.  We had to make one errand in the morning (at the height of the heavy rain).  And then we were able to just settle in during the afternoon and watch the snow and listen to the wind.  

*Here is an idea that I wanted to share with you today - we like to keep a supply of umbrellas in the car in case we see someone standing at the bus stop without protection from the elements but we find that the bus stops are, of course, on busy roads where we always seem to have cars behind us and it's difficult to just stop and get out.  But yesterday it happened to work out where we saw a woman standing on the corner waiting for the bus and behind her was a parking lot that we could drive into and then just run out and give it to her.  It was really raining heavy at this point, so we felt so good that we were able to FINALLY help someone!  She was so grateful I could have cried.  So, I just want to encourage you to maybe put some extra umbrellas in your car.  Sometimes it may not work out, but then maybe it will!  : )

Because of the wind and snow and the reminder of winter coming, I felt I just had to work on something crafty yesterday afternoon.  Here is what I came up with:

The finished product.  : )

And, I think, since the wind is supposed to still be strong and it's very cold outside, I will just have to bring the crafty stuff out again and continue with something else!  Maybe while watching cooking shows.  : )

I hope that, wherever you are, you will enjoy this new day.  With Thanksgiving coming up here in the U.S., I hope we can remember those who are having a difficult year and in some small way, help.  Whether that would be providing a Thanksgiving basket filled with all the goodies they would need to prepare their own meal, or inviting someone into your home to share a meal with you, or sending a beautiful handmade card that they can find in the mailbox this week, or maybe just a phone call that would mean so much if they're lonely.  May God bless your day and keep you safe.  

Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Catch-up Day

Beautiful Fall weeds in northern Minnesota.

Well, Monday was a cozy day.  Tuesday was an unusual day.  Wednesday was a busy day.  And today was the catch-up day.  I am now caught up on laundry (which almost seems never ending), caught up on ironing (ditto), caught up on cleaning before the weekend.  A very nice feeling now that it's over and it's evening.

There were three things on my to-do list every single day this week that I just couldn't get to:

*mend clothes
*keep up with correspondence
*hem our Thanksgiving napkins

So......since I'm "caught up" hopefully tomorrow will be the day to get to those things because I absolutely love to cross things off lists.  : )  We are actually supposed to get our first snowfall tomorrow so the above three things to do sounds pretty homey.  A warm house, a cup of tea, and some pretty music in the background sounds great.  

Our meal this evening consisted of homemade chicken soup, fresh orange slices, and bread pudding with fresh whipped cream for dessert.  Cooking from scratch takes a bit more time but you can't beat the flavor and the nutrition.  The other day when I baked cinnamon muffins they came out VERY dry, so those are what I made the bread pudding with!  It smelled SO good while baking and it tasted really good.  I'm trying very hard to take food that didn't turn out the first time and make it into something else.  When I went on-line all I had to type in was "what can I do with dry cinnamon muffins" and the idea of bread pudding came up.  And since it was a soup supper which isn't very hearty, a bread pudding topped the meal off wonderfully.   : )

That is pretty much it for this day in regards to homemaking.  I hope to encourage you to continue to make your home a place of good smells and a cozy environment in which to relax with your friends and family.

Before I go, I wanted to share a couple of Bible verses that have helped me this week.  They are both from 2 Timothy (which has also been our weekly Bible study since September).  

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.............."  2 Timothy 4:17
"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.  To him be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."  2 Timothy 4:18

At the beginning of this week, our family experienced an evil attack.  One that had been experienced before, but it didn't make it any easier.  It's one of those times when, in prayer, the words just don't come.  When one just sits and stares out into space not even noticing anything.  Or you find yourself staring at the floor with no thought whatsoever.  Where the only word you can utter is "help."  That's it.  "Help."

And then it happens.  You open God's word and it breathes life back into you.  It gives you something to hold on to when things feel like they are slipping away.  In the first verse above, I was reminded that while sitting and staring into space or while on my knees on the floor, the Lord WAS at my side. He WAS giving me strength.  I may not have felt it immediately, but it came at the right time.  In the second verse above,  I was reminded that the Lord DOES rescue from evil attacks.  It reveals his awesome power and might and protection and defense against the attacker so that I can feel that I'm not alone in this.

As we come to the end of this week, it looks a little different than it did at the beginning of the week - and as the last part of verse 18 says "To him be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."   

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Unusual Day

Did you ever have a day where EVERYTHING took twice as long as it normally does?  A day where thinking things through didn't happen as well as it should have?  That was today for me.

*I paid the bills today and re-worked the budget.  Fine.  I put everything away and thought I was done.  No.  The mail arrived a little later than normal and there were four more items that I needed to address, so I pulled everything out again to deal with those (and then put everything back again).

*I worked on my weekly menu and subsequent grocery list.  Okay.  But I realized that Thanksgiving is next week!  I knew that, but for me it means careful planning.  Planning what to buy this week, planning next week, and planning Thanksgiving Day itself.  That requires quite a bit of time.  Then I check the fridge and pantry and freezer to see what I already have so I don't buy things I don't need. And then to figure out what the upcoming week looks like to just plan our nightly meals. Anyway....again, it took longer than normal.

*I wanted cinnamon muffins for our meal this evening.  If I would have thought this through better, I would have made them this morning to pop in the oven while paying bills or doing the grocery list so they could have been baking.  But no.  I'm in the kitchen late in the afternoon baking muffins while I'm running out of time to get supper together (which also goes in the oven - and, of course, at a different temperature).

The ONLY relaxing part of this day was a nice lunchtime visit from a friend and the potting of our geraniums for winter!  : )

Some days ARE like that, aren't they?

Here is this week's menu:

*I had leftover pasta with tomatoes from last night, so I fried up some hamburger with celery and onions and poured it over the pasta to combine, added a can of tomato soup with a little garlic salt to taste and baked it for an hour.  Served with muffins and fresh fruit.

*I have leftover potatoes from yesterday's dehydrating (that I did not dehydrate, if that makes sense) so tomorrow I will make them into mashed potatoes and bake an oven beef stew to top the potatoes with.  Serve with fresh fruit. 

*I have leftover chicken broth in the fridge that I will make into a quick and easy Chicken noodle soup.  Serve with cheese and crackers and, you guessed it, fresh fruit.  : )

*A pantry meal - salmon patties with Dijon mustard sauce, macaroni and cheese, canned green beans.

*Saturday is usually a take-out meal because I do the majority of our Sunday meal cooking then.

*Sunday meal will be Chow Mein over rice w/rice noodles, Mandarin oranges, and ice cream sundaes for dessert.

*Meatless Monday will just be homemade tomato soup w/grilled cheese sandwiches.

*And, lastly, Taco Tuesday will be using a homemade "Hamburger Helper" mix from the pantry which is called Cheese Beef Taco.  Serve with, yes, fresh fruit.

That's all I can think of for today's post.  I hope you are enjoying your home and creating sweet smells and comfort for everyone you love.  Thanks for stopping by!  : )

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Cozy Day

A ship on Lake Superior.

I love a cloudy day once in a while.  With a tiny house, it feels relaxed and cozy.  The kind of day where you just want to slow down and do whatever sounds good at the time.

Since it IS Monday, the laundry had to be done.  So it's washed, dried, and put away (tomorrow I will iron).  

I had two small bags of Yukon Gold potatoes in the basement that I've been wanting to dehydrate.  So this morning I turned this:

into this:

(sorry it's a dark picture).

It's amazing that all those potatoes only filled two jars.  But how fun is that?!  A pantry item that will last for a very long time.  : )

The process is a little time consuming though that's why doing it first thing in the morning seemed like a good idea - wash the potatoes, slice the potatoes (thank goodness for the mandolin), blanch the potatoes, and then line them up on the drying racks.  Drying these took about 6 hours in the dehydrator.  I made two little packets of scalloped potato mixes with dried milk, salt, cornstarch, and onion powder.  All ready to go when I want scalloped potatoes with a meat entree'. All the work is done!  Just pour, make the sauce, and put into the oven.  Love it.  : )   I will definitely be making more of these.  (Just a quick note - I tried to dehydrate potatoes a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't know about the blanching part of it.  To my shock and surprise, when I pulled the trays out, the potatoes were black.  Not good.)

After lunch I took some of the pots from outside, put them into a large container, and poured boiling water over them so that I could pot our geraniums that were still blooming.  I want to see if they winter well in our south window of the basement.  This will be a project for tomorrow.  I hope it works!  : )

I took a little time this afternoon for this:

A cup of tea and Bible study lesson.  

A very nice way to end the day before going into the kitchen to prepare supper which just happened to be baked Tilapia fish fillets, pasta with tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

That was my day.  How was yours?  : )

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Good Sunday Morning!

Gooseberry Falls in northern Minnesota

......in everything by prayer and supplication.........Philippians 4:6

General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, wrote:

"Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and supreme call for Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray.....Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight, all through the day.  Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes.  Let us pray for our churches.

Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word "concern" for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders.  Let prayer be our passion.  Let prayer be our practice."

Isn't that fantastic?!   Allow me to break down what General Lee said:

*Pray when you get up in the morning
*Pray at lunch time
*Pray before you go to bed at night
*Pray if you're up at midnight and cannot sleep
*Pray all through the day
*Pray for our children (if you don't have children, pray for everyone's children!)
*Pray for our youth 
*Pray for the elderly
*Pray for the pastors of our churches
*Pray for our homes 
*Pray for our church
*Pray for ourselves
*Pray for others that they will come to know Christ and be saved by His redeeming love
*Pray for morality in our nation and around the world
*Pray for our national leaders


Have a blessed Sabbath.  : )

Saturday, November 12, 2016

It's Saturday

A farm in South Dakota.

Well.  I did it.  Yesterday I was determined to not do one single thing until I finished this:

my robe.  (I have to say it looks better on the dress form than it does on me! LOL)

I'm wearing it now as I'm writing and can tell you that it is very warm indeed.  : )  So glad it's done.

The other two items I had on my to-do list yesterday were ironing and light housecleaning.  The housecleaning did not happen but I started on the ironing last night and will finish it up today.  

We were blessed to go out for lunch with our neighbors across the street.  It was fun to just sit and chat and get caught up on each other.  Without our knowing before we got there, the restaurant was giving discounts to veterans in honor of Veterans Day.  The place was packed.  Old guys with their insignia on and middle aged guys with their hats on and young guys as well.  It was SO wonderful to see. Please continue to pray for the men (and women) who serve our country.

While working on the robe yesterday we had a power outage (fortunately I was on the hand hemming stage so I didn't need my machine).  It lasted only about an hour, but again it brought to mind what we would need if this power outage had lasted all day or into today:

*something to eat (without having to cook it or a way TO cook it - the grill outside, etc.) always keep your pantry stocked with quick and easy meals
*something to drink (I know this doesn't have anything to do with electricity unless you're out in the country, but we still need to keep a good supply of drinking water around)
*radios for updates (this wasn't an emergency outage, but still check the radios for batteries in case you do need them)
*a land line phone (a reason to keep a phone plugged in at home - service isn't always available for cell phones)
*candles and lanterns for light (this happened during the day so we had sunshine from our windows, but outages happen or last into the night)
*we don't have a wood burning fireplace so the question of how to keep warm should be on our minds (lots of blankets, warm clothes, etc.)

Just a few things to consider as we head into the winter months!

Today is supposed to be another warm and beautiful day.  This has been one of the best Autumn's we've had in a long time.  Our neighbor is still picking tomatoes off the vine!  Hopefully we will get out and go for a walk or just bask in the sunshine on the patio.  And I hope this will be a good day for you as well.  Enjoy taking care of your home, enjoy your friends, enjoy your family - they are all gifts from God.  : )

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank You Veterans!

Thank you for all you've done.  Thank you for all you do.  Thank you for continuing to make our country free and safe.  May God give you strength, courage, and blessing.  We appreciate you.