Thursday, November 30, 2017

December To-Do's

December.  Tomorrow.  How did that happen?  But happen it did.  The nice thing about the December to-do's is that it doesn't give you many things to do on top of an already busy time.  It's a month to enjoy and take your time and enjoy the process along the way.  Keep on top of your list-making and reduce expectations!   So here are just a few of the things to do this month (some, I know, are obvious):

*make your lists for baking and gift-giving - it's perfectly okay to do things a little differently this year - ask your family what their favorite cookie or meal is and just focus on that.  The old stand-by's are sometimes more fun and appreciated.  And sometimes giving the same gift year after year is fun too!  It becomes that tradition that the holidays are known for.
*if you're into decorating your home for Christmas - for some they like to start really early and get it done so that they can enjoy it, for others they like to spread it out so that there is always something to look forward to, and then some people keep things like decorating the tree for Christmas Eve and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.  Again, do what you like to do!
*I don't have china and silver to polish, but if you do and you use them at Christmas, schedule a time to do that.  Also check linens (tablecloths, napkins, etc. for laundering, ironing, and tears to mend?)
*and this is not holiday related but winter related - stock up on salt and sand for your driveways and walkways (also throw one or two in the car!)
*this, also, is not holiday related (unless you're going to be driving a distance to be with friends or family) - get your car serviced/checked (is it road worthy?)

There.  That is it.  Again, try not to pile on more than you really have to.  Just remember to keep up with the daily housework (laundry, dusting, vacuuming, keeping the bathroom clean, etc.) and it doesn't have to be perfect!  No one is going to notice that you didn't clean the bookshelves or launder the curtains, or whatever else you think you should be doing to make your house presentable.  I keep all of that for after the holidays.  After all the decorations are down and put away and the house has been lived in with get-together's.  For now, just enjoy.  If you're not going to do much, still enjoy.

Also try to keep gift giving simpler.  Christmas is not the time to fulfill each and every person's each and every dream gift.  That's not up to you and you alone.  Making your home a place of peace and comfort and good smells and pleasant is far more important.  Be thoughtful and creative and it will be very memorable for you and your guests.  : )

Thank you for stopping by!  I DO appreciate your visits.  God bless.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I Need a Little Christmas

An old creche that my husband's mother gave to our son a long time ago. 

I am SLOWLY bringing Christmas things out.  I did a little yesterday and a little more today.  Here are just a few ways I decorated:

had to get the holiday mugs out

and the vintage Santa mugs on a shelf

and more shelf decorating

then above the "fireplace"

and, lastly, off to the side.

So much more to do. I use to take all the boxes down and decorate all at once, but that just didn't appeal to me this year.  And I must admit that just because I've taken photos of where I put some things, doesn't mean that they will stay put.  As with everything else around the house, I have to live with it for a while.  : ) 

Last year I just wanted Christmas to be over, but this year, even with it being another difficult year, I NEED Christmas.  I need the true Christmas story.  I need the music.  I need the lights.  I need the smells and tastes.  I need to give.  I need to re-read old Christmas favorites and watch old Christmas movies.  Even while putting the decorations up and listening to the music, I found myself crying over someone I was thinking about.  I would dry the tears and continue.  And then it would happen again and I'd start over again.  But that's okay.  Christmas can be very melancholy.  It can be very emotional.  But Christmas is also JOY.  It is true that happiness comes from outward circumstances, but joy comes from within.  As the angel of the true Christmas story said - ".....for behold!  I bring you good tidings of great joy!"  Christ came to earth as a baby over 2,000 years ago  and He will come again.  Through the tears that message resonates in the heart.  And I NEED to hear that message again.  : )

Sunday, November 26, 2017


A beautiful Paperwhite. 

Sunday once again.  A beautiful day in our neck of the woods.  If anyone can tell me where the term "neck of the woods" came from, please let me know!  I hear it a lot.  : )  But it is a day to get out in and enjoy if possible.

Well, the past week was definitely all about Thanksgiving - the planning, the preparing, the overeating, the napping............  Now it is Sunday and the beginning of a brand new week (Lord willing).  As we get older, we are noticing how there is always something to overshadow the holidays.  It was no different this past week.  One of my nephews had to be rushed to the hospital and had surgery to remove a large tumor in his head.  Unfortunately they couldn't remove it all and what they did remove was diagnosed as Stage 4 cancer.  He is in rehab for a week, will go home and go through the process of radiation and chemo.  It doesn't help that this is his second time.  His first time was when he was 16 years old (that wasn't cancer) and now he is in his 50's.

That shadow just lingers and follows - knowing what he will have to go through and what his family will go through with him.....well, it's sadness for us.  

Having said that, there is joy in knowing how many people are willing to lift our burdens in prayer.  I was thinking the other evening as I sat out on our back steps on such a mild night about praying.  I've prayed for a lot of people (including ourselves) during the past year or so and many of the prayers were not answered the way I wanted them to be answered.  I felt deep sadness in that thought.  Prayer is something we do for those we love and care about.  We pray without ceasing.  We pray expectantly.  We come to the throne with thanksgiving and present our prayers and requests to God.  So why do prayers seemingly go unanswered?  

I was reminded about how the disciples of Jesus asked him to teach them how to pray.  This is Jesus' answer:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and 
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
who trespass against us.  Lead us not into 
temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I was reminded about the "thy will be done" part of this prayer.  Looking back on my quiet times with the Lord, my prayers were very sincere.  I did, indeed, want healing for someone.  I did, indeed, want what was best for that particular person.  I, I, I..........but what did God want?  If we continue to focus on what prayers haven't been answered (our way) then we will forget that God is Sovereign.  We will forget that He is in control.  We will forget that He has a reason for the outcomes.  Sometimes the outcomes won't have a logical reason in this life but when we get to Heaven it will be revealed and we will finally understand.

As I was reading the Bible before bed the other night I came across this passage from Romans 5: 3 &4:

"........we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."  

I know that many people right now (me included) feel like they've had enough tribulations, enough persevering, enough character building.  But we can never have enough hope.  Without hope we inwardly die.  What else is there?  So we cling to The Hope in the midst of the dark days.  We continue in prayer to The One who knows and sees our pain.  Continue to hang on and hang in there for there is a plan far greater in our lives than we could ever orchestrate for ourselves.  


Saturday, November 25, 2017

On to the Next Thing

I hope this finds you rested from the Thanksgiving get-together's and that you can now take off the stretchy pants.  It's time to switch gears and think about Christmas.  Some pretty basic questions are:

*where IS Christmas going to be celebrated this year?
*what are you doing about gift-giving?  Drawing names?  Gifts only for the kids?  Making gifts?
*what kind of baking and/or cooking will need to be done?
*are you going all-out on decorating this year or do you feel like being a minimalist?
*real tree this year or fake?
*making some new decorations or using the old standby's?  Or both?
*any parties that you want to attend?  Any parties that you want to give?
*what charitable organization can you help with this year?

Each person and family has their own list to consider but year after year we all have to give an answer to some, if not all, of these questions.   Some may think that by looking at a list of questions for Christmas may take away the special meaning behind it, but I beg to differ.  Letting Christmas just happen doesn't work especially when there are others to consider.  You just can't wait until December 21st to invite people over to your house.  You can't wait until Christmas Eve to go out and buy appropriate gifts and find what you want.  You can't wait until the last minute to prepare all the food because it will leave you tired and stressed out.  

Planning ahead shouldn't take the fun out of anything - it should enhance it.  Planning ahead shouldn't mean that you're doing things on a list just for the sake of doing them.  But planning ahead should make you feel relaxed knowing that the things you feel are important and meaningful will get done.  That's one thing that makes Christmas special - we all carry with us memories of Christmas's past and we want to continue on with traditions.  We all want to try one new thing this year and see how it works (who knows that it might become a new tradition?).  Some might not do much at all - just enjoying the simplicity and beauty of the season.

Whatever we choose to do, however, some thought needs to be put into it.  This year, I'm going to first focus on stocking stuffer gifts.  Those little somethings that make it fun and different and they can be as simple as you'd like.  Maybe this year, just filling stockings would be good enough?  Wrap each individual gift as prettily as you would the "big" gifts.  Make it fun, make it memorable, make it personal.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

*a little first aid kit
*a candle
*postage stamps
*gift cards
*fun socks
*pet treats (for someone who has a pet, of course)
*a little sewing kit
*cooking utensils
*pocket or purse-sized Bible
*pretty pencils or pens or highlighters
*gloves or mittens
*assortment of nails/screws
*small box of fancy chocolates
*a new card game
*bubble bath
*a hair product
*a night light
*a small picture frame
*a new CD
*a fun key ring
*pretty napkins
*lip balm
*good smelling bar soap (preferably handmade)
*crossword or word find books (with pencil)
*small stuffed animal
*special teas or coffees
*a good magazine
*a pretty paperweight
*marbles, Slinky, or jacks for a child
*coloring books with crayons
*small puzzle
*fingernail polish and remover
*hand lotion
*a meaningful ornament
*nail file, emery boards, nail clipper
*personalized recipes
*pretty dishtowel
*toiletry items - toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, deodorant, comb, brush
*drill bits
*USB flash drive
*car wash gift card
*mini flashlight
*a piece of jewelry
*perfume or cologne
*a little something for a hobby enthusiast - knitting needles, crochet hooks, beads, charms, stickers, yarn, etc.
*book light
*pencil sharpener
*hand and foot warming packets
*slipper socks

I hope this list can get your mind started.  As you read the list, does someone come to mind?  Get your handy dandy notebook out and begin writing things down.  When they are on paper they're off your mind and you can refer back to it as you shop.

As I've said in past posts, there have been Christmas's where I just wish it would be over so I understand if that is where you are this year.  Remember to give yourself permission to feel that way and to be gentle with yourself and others.  Whether we're "in the mood" or out of it, through it all, we need to stay focused on Jesus.  HE is the ultimate gift to us and if you can only choose to do just one thing this year, I would highly suggest that you be the hands and feet of Jesus to at least one person - to bring some joy into the life of someone.  

Whatever you choose to do, try to do it with the spirit in which it was intended.  Have a wonderful day today.  Thank you for dropping by and God bless.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From Our Home To Yours

Like many others, I spent the day in the kitchen getting ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Lots of good smells going on.  : )  Here is what got accomplished:

First, the turkey breast needed to go into the slow cooker for a long bake.  Mmmmmm.........

Next came the make-ahead potatoes.  Just pop them in the oven tomorrow.

Then came the stuffing.  Again, just heat it up in the oven tomorrow.

Almost done!  This is the apple pie.

Lastly.  The pumpkin dessert.  : )

Tomorrow will be the last-minute things - green bean casserole; heat up the corn; roast the baked potatoes, carrots, and onions; heat up the dinner rolls; get the relish dish ready with pickles, olives, and pickled beets; set out the cranberry sauce that I made yesterday; whip the cream for the desserts; heat up the gravy; and make the coffee.

The sights and smells of a holiday.  Before turning the kitchen light off for the evening, I thought it would be a good idea to just set the table and have that ready too.

VERY simple this year, but it'll do.  : )

I want to wish all of you a "Happy Thanksgiving" - may you enjoy being with people you love and care about.  Here is a wonderful Psalm for Thanksgiving that would be nice to maybe have someone read before the meal?

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; 
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter the gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I will be taking a little break to enjoy the long holiday weekend.  May God bless you and yours.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

This and That

Love my Mondays and today was no exception.  I'm usually very energized on Mondays after a couple of non-routine days on the weekend.

I named this post "This and That" because while I was working I kept thinking of things so I wrote them down and am turning them into an article to write about.  Most of these things you no doubt already know but I'll share them just the same.  : )  There is no rhyme nor reason for any of these so I hope it makes sense!

Here is what was going through my mind:

*Because our houses are built rather tight (the newer homes anyway), we need to improve the quality of air in our homes.  Our house is old but we did get new windows and have noticed a difference in finding no drafts with them.  So I recommend that we all open our windows in the early morning hours when the air is fresh from the night and let the air blow through.  I've been doing this for years now and it just feels right.  Turn down the heat so it doesn't come on, put a sweater on, and open up at least one window in each room.  Turn a timer on for about 15-20 minutes (even in the frigid winter months!!!).   Then close them.  I think you will notice a freshness in your rooms.  It's important especially in the bedrooms because we breathe in and out the same air all night - icky.  

*Also, air out rugs and bedspreads whenever you can (again, even in the winter months).  It brings a freshness to the rooms.

*And, again, try to sit outside in the afternoons.  I've been doing this for years too.  I will bundle up, make a hot tea, coffee, or cider and we already have a couple of chairs along the garage so I'll go and sit for about 15-20 minutes.  It's just about the right amount of time to fill your lungs with fresh air, and make your cheeks rosy.  : )  - SO important to get this fresh air into our homes and our bodies especially during the cold months of just wanting to stay inside and hunker down under the covers.

*Drink LOTS of water.  The furnace makes the air so dry in the house and the cold outside is always dry, so we can become dehydrated quickly.  

*I read an article the other day about the rise of allergies and asthma and they have looked back over the years and noticed a rise in these things after women went out of the home to work!  When women were home they were more able to keep ahead of the dust.  So keep up with the dusting women!!!  I'm always amazed at how fast the furniture gets dusty around here and we're pretty good in keeping up with changing the furnace filters on a regular basis so I don't know where it all comes from.  So if you can dust at least a couple of times a week, it would be healthier for you and your family.

*With the holidays upon us, writing out lots of lists is SO very helpful.  I know some women don't like lists at all - they just kind of wing it - but lists keep us on track.  A list for a holiday budget so we don't spend more than we ought, a list of gift-giving so we don't buy unnecessary things (it truly is the thought that counts), a list of food items (especially for baking) so you can slowly accumulate these things instead of spending your whole grocery budget in one trip!  I think most of us know when enough is enough but it certainly helps if you keep track of it all.  Another reason for having a handy-dandy notebook.  : )

So, now you know where my mind has been today.  A fresh house, a healthy body, and an organized holiday season.  

Since it was a busy day I'm so grateful for leftovers to be heated up for our supper tonight:

*homemade chicken noodle soup
*pumpkin cornbread
*small chopped salad

That is it for today!  Tomorrow is marketing day so I can keep Wednesday open for making most of my Thanksgiving meal.  REALLY looking forward to all the good smells.  : )  Thanks, once again, for stopping by - I appreciate it.  God bless.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Sunday Before Thanksgiving

Scientists can give us the answers as to why the leaves change color in the Fall, but we all know it was God's handiwork that provided it!!!  : )

It was an interesting week.  Interesting, that is, only to me.  We had ups and we had downs and we had everything in between.  We worked.  We rested.  We had appointments.  We had obligations.  We had friendship and we had family.  Not unlike, I'm sure, anyone else who just came through this past week.

I usually pray for something to post on Sunday.  I want this post to be different than the weekly posts in that I want to bring glory and honor to God.  I want to say something that He would want me to say.  I love trying new recipes in order to bring them to you.  I love new craft projects, new gift ideas, new homemaking helps - anything that would be of help to anyone who is willing to visit this blog.  But I want it to be for the Lord on Sunday.  : )

The answers to my prayers are pretty much what I've experienced during the week.  Something that maybe stood out more than anything else because there is always a lesson in it (for me anyway).  As I thought about it, this past Wednesday kept coming back to me.  Looking back on the day, I remember waking up sad.  Kind of a foreboding feeling.  A feeling of grief for other people.  I was supposed to go to my women's Bible study that morning and I just couldn't.  It didn't help that it was rainy and cloudy and cold.  Usually that kind of day lifts my spirits but not Wednesday.  The weather matched how I was feeling and even after my early morning prayer time I still felt the heaviness.  

There are days like these when I feel the pain of this world and the pain in people's lives due to circumstances out of their control.  The church shooting still was on my mind even though I know those beloved people are now with the Lord in heaven.  I've mentioned in past posts about how I so enjoy watching the public television show "Sewing With Nancy"- well, she died this past week after battling cancer.  I still watch her program and it's bittersweet knowing that she is now gone and her family and friends are grieving.  It sounded like she trusted in the Lord, so again, I know she, too, is in heaven safe and whole again.  The holidays bring about such mixed emotions too.  What we've had in the past with certain family members is now no longer a relationship at all.  Friends are experiencing terrible pain with loss of loved ones.

Well, Wednesday morning it just seemed like ALL of the above was on my mind and in my heart and I just couldn't shake the feeling of sadness.  And then Thursday while listening once again to a pastor on the radio I heard a message about this same thing.  He was talking about how God gives this empathy for others to us as a gift.  When we're born again we are a new creation, the old has gone.  He instills within us a softened heart so that we can feel again the things that God feels.  And it's okay to have a broken heart for the lost, the lonely, the sad, the mourning.  I can't imagine knowing that someone is suffering and not caring.  Not feeling it.

This morning in church I couldn't stop the tears.  The songs we sang touched my heart.  The babies that were dedicated brought joy.  Just being in the company of other believers brought a gladness that I needed.  My missionary friend who is in Poland recommended a book last week that I'm finding very good:

And I want to share 5 points that she makes before I go that I find very helpful and hope you do to:

*Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or some place else
*Never compare your lot with someone elses
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise
*Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours

Pretty good, right?  Keep your eyes on Jesus today and the upcoming week - God bless you.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Countdown to Thanksgiving

It was SO dark and misty yesterday that I could only muster up enough energy to get my Friday chores done in the morning.  I felt really tired and my bones ached - it must have been a VERY low pressure system upon us because I normally don't feel that way on delicious rainy days like that.  I did, however, use my lack of energy to take cookbooks off the shelves and read them and write down a few recipes that I'd like to try.  I've said this before but I read cookbooks like I read ordinary books.  I can finally say, being the age I am, that just by "reading" a recipe I can tell if it's going to be a good one or not.  I remember all those years of trial and error (and I admit there is still a little of that) and not liking a certain dish that I prepared, kind of choking it down just so we didn't have to toss it!  

Today promises to produce sunshine but it's going to be windy and cold.  It IS that time of year so we can't complain.  A new day - a time to finish what we started yesterday and a time to begin something else.  On the weekends I usually don't have my list of to-do's hanging up.  I kind of let the day happen.  The little list in my head is good enough.  : )

So, as the title of this post says it's the countdown to Thanksgiving.  It truly is amazing that we're talking about the holiday season already.  I have made a conscious effort to make it the best I can this year.  There have been some years where I just wish it was all over (last year was the most recent of those years), but when I think that way I need to remember that there are others that are counting on me to make it nice.  I'm not sure if women realize that they are the ones that set the tone in the family.  Whether we like it or not, it's true.  The old adage "if momma ain't happy, nobody's happy" is pretty much the way it is.  I will be the first to say that there have been a couple of past Christmas's I've ruined because of my attitude and bad mood and I blush to think about it.  

This is a different holiday season in that we have a married son which gave us a new daughter!  With that, however, comes the time for sharing them and planning a happy medium which gives them freedom to make their own holiday memories and be fair in letting them go to my daughter-in-law's family to spend time with them too.  At first, I thought my husband and I were going to spend Thanksgiving alone, but the "kids" have been gracious in being okay with eating the same meal twice!  : )  We will have them for a Thanksgiving lunch and then they will go and have a Thanksgiving supper with her family.  Bless their hearts.  They made my day.  : )

If we were going to be alone, I made a little list of things my husband and I could do to pass the time:

*I was going to prepare all the food even for just the two of us.
*We were going to watch "Miracle on 34th Street" while we ate because this movie begins with Thanksgiving and ends with Christmas
*We were going to go for a walk at a local nature center
*We were going to dust off a game or two
*After all of this.......we were going to collapse on our couches!

But now, with "company" coming, the above list stays the same only we will, thankfully, have family to do them with! (except for the fact they cannot collapse on our couches - they will be off to another celebration)

Counting down to Thanksgiving means (to me):

*what food am I serving?
*what food can be prepared ahead of time?
*what dishes will I be using?
*how am I going to set the table?
*am I praying to stay calm and enjoy the process so I will enjoy the day (in other words, reduce expectations)

Well, I must be off and begin the day.  Thank you SO much for your visit.  God bless.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Adding On To The Kitchen

I want to jump into this picture and live there.  : )

My husband gets VERY nervous when I begin to think of how I can move things around in our house.  I blame my moving furniture around on getting a doll house when I was 7.  Wow.  All those different ways of making each room different and still work.  I loved it then - I love it now.

Anyway.......I was taking yet another look at our old dining room and still feeling like it's a space we just don't use like we should.  In a tiny house, I have a definite need for all of our rooms to be used in a special way.  Now that our son is married, his room will be a guest room.  We have a little room that has a twin bed in it for a single person to use, but it's also the computer room.  I have my sewing/craft room, and my husband has his workshop.  Our laundry room also has a lot of shelves for storage.  So, to say that my dining room (which isn't used as a dining room) isn't being used, well, that just can't be!  : )  

So, last evening while I had some time to myself, a thought hit me.  We have a small kitchen and I actually like it but THE one thing that has been difficult is having room to bake.  Well, today I added on to our kitchen via the dining room space!  I pulled a table up to the window, put the mixer on the table along with the canisters of flour, sugar, etc. near the mixer, put all of our recipes books in the shelves of the two bookcases along with our mixing bowls, added a few knick-knacks and I now have a baking center outside of the kitchen!  It ended up being quite the cozy space and I'm going to bake tomorrow to try it and see if I will need to tweak anything.  Here are a few photos:

I would like to purchase canisters that you can't see through to make it prettier.

I'm looking forward to decorating this space for Christmas.  The tree will go in this room so it should be a very pretty and cozy space in which to work - just in time for the holidays.  : )

That was my whole day!  I am pooped.  Just waiting for supper to come out of the oven and then I am going to relax for the the evening.  Thank you so much for your visit - I hope you enjoyed it.  God bless.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Woman and Her Notebook

The pumpkin was made by a friend, the cake stand and cute couple were thrift store finds.  : )

I LOVE notebooks!!!!!  There is still a little schoolgirl within me every Fall that wants to buy new notebooks.  All those wonderful empty pages to fill.  I was given this notebook last Christmas:

and I try to never be without it.  It's just the right size to put into any of my purses so that I can take it with me when I'm out shopping.  Then when I get home, I take it out and put it into a place where I can see it at all times.  I've been known to take it to bed with me so that when I'm thinking about something I can jot it down.

Since I'm a notorious list maker, a notebook just makes so much sense.  I used to write ideas down on whatever piece of paper I could find and then clip them all together, but that doesn't satisfy my need to have everything in one place.  I think a notebook is one of the best homemaking and organizational tools a woman can use.  

Most of us women are multi-taskers and, I believe, multi-thinkers.  And in order to keep tasking and thinking it's important to get all that stuff out of our heads and down on paper for use in the future.  There is no way (especially as I get older) that I can remember everything my little brain thinks about.  The thoughts and items I now have written in my notebook are:

*brainstorming ideas for a future home business
*brainstorming ideas for crafts that I would like to make
*self-assessment as to what I like to do as far as work opportunities, hobbies, interests, volunteering positions, etc.
*health/beauty products that I would like to try and make
*foods to eat for better health
*unit study ideas from books that I read
*ideas for learning opportunities from the magazines I read
*women's ministry ideas
*ideas for gift baskets for giving during the holidays
*other charitable giving ideas
*fabric amounts needed for certain sewing projects
*gift lists for Christmas and birthdays
*as I watch cooking shows or read cookbooks, I write down flavor combinations that I would like to try
*as I look around the house or in other people's homes or in stores, I write down what colors look good together for future sewing or craft projects
*I write down prices from our local grocery stores to see where I can get the better deal
*I have an on-going list of projects that I want/need to work on at home

Other things I want to start writing down are:

*music CD's (is that an old term now?) that would be nice to have
*books that would be good to read
*favorite scripture to always have with me
*and I'm sure I can think of some more..........  : )

I would encourage you, if you don't already have a notebook of your own, to purchase one and begin to write all these ideas down for yourself to have for quick recollection.  Ideas kind of beget more ideas and it's so hard to remember it all.  It would be awesome to give your girlfriends and other women (moms, aunts, sisters, etc.) a notebook for gifts.  Don't forget to add a pen or pencil! 

That's it for today.  Thank you for dropping by for a visit - like always, I appreciate it.  : )

Monday, November 13, 2017

Homemade Saltine Crackers

Summertime along the old Mississippi River.

As with bread, I've been wanting to make our own saltine crackers.  After all, I was going to make homemade cream of tomato soup for supper and we cannot have tomato soup without saltine crackers.  You don't know how many times I've passed up the crackers at the store thinking that it would force me into making them - and I was right!  Today was the day.  And we liked them.  Really liked them.  Yea!  Another product that I don't have to buy!  It only takes 4 ingredients and is so quick and easy that I'm so glad I finally tried it.  And I wanted to share it with you too:


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
6-7 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl mix together the flour and salt.  Add the melted butter and water and mix well (totally okay to use your hands here).  Turn the dough out on floured surface and roll the dough out as thin as possible (1/8 inch or thinner - this is really important - at first I didn't roll them thin enough so they didn't get crispy).  Cut into cracker shapes (a pizza cutter makes this really quick) and place the pieces onto a baking sheet.  At this point you can sprinkle a little more salt on top if you wish.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crispy (with the first batch I made, 15 minutes was too long so they got too brown - you'll have to keep watching them after 10 minutes to see how they're doing).  Allow the crackers to cool and serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!!!!

I have another recipe where you can add certain spices or herbs and am really excited now to try that out.  : )

It was a fine day today.  Got SO much done throughout the morning and early afternoon.  More than I thought I would which is always a great feeling.  All the laundry and ironing is done, the house is dusted and vacuumed, the bathroom is clean, clean bedding on for (hopefully) a good night's sleep, the steps and walkway swept by, what seems to be getting closer to being, the last leaves of the season.  I wasn't looking forward to the leaves falling from the trees this year, but now that they have, I see the beauty in the silhouettes of the bare branches against the first light in the morning and the sunset in the afternoon.  Very striking.

I wish you well.  Thank you for dropping in for a brief visit - I do appreciate it.  God bless.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Thoughts

It was a pretty typical week here at our suburban homestead.  Nothing overly exciting to post that anyone would want to hear about.  Spiritually, however, it wasn't a typical week.  My thoughts and prayers were definitely lifted up for the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday.  At first, of course, my thoughts and prayers were for the families and friends of all who were killed (and still are), but towards the middle of the week I found myself weeping for the first responders and those who lived to witness what had happened. To have to come in and pick up one body after another under such horrific circumstances is unimaginable.  To have that ingrained into their memory forever is something so awful.  I just had to cry.

The Bible forewarns of evil times like these.  I can't imagine it getting worse, but it will.  It has.  There are things that I'm praying for that 20 years ago I would never had thought that it would even be an issue.  The unmentionables are now flaunted.  Halloween is surpassing Christmas in sales.  Good is bad, bad is good.  And it feels like people everywhere are like the walking dead.  No manners, no caring, okay with what's going on and actually promoting some really rotten stuff.  The topic of zombies is alive and well - they even have conventions and close off streets so they can walk around.  Seriously?!!!!!  And this is okay while having prayer on a street corner for a specific important matter is not?

How do we then live?  It's a question that Francis Schaeffer wrote a whole book on.  Good question, isn't it?  I'm a confessed Christian.  I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I believe He died for my sins.  I believe He rose from the dead and will come back again to take me to heaven some day.  I believe that He will conquer the evil of this world and reign forever.  But until that day comes, how do I then live?  

I will admit that fear crept into my soul this week.  I had a difficult time going to church this morning because of the fear.  And the evil one (Satan, the devil) loves that way of thinking.  He uses scare tactics to keep us from doing what God wants us to do.  We are to live by going forward with courage and boldness.  We are to proclaim our faith in Christ no. matter. what.   We are to live differently than the world lives - we are to keep the "old-fashioned" values that to others will seem odd.   Don't cave.  Hang in there.  Stay strong.  And then there is ALWAYS that question that should be asked every day...........if you died today, where will YOU spend eternity?  

Take this moment right now and ask Jesus into your life.  Don't wait.  We aren't promised that the breath we have now will sustain us five minutes from now.  Ask.  Repent.  Be saved.    

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veteran's Day!

We woke up to a light snowfall this morning.  It fell very gently throughout the night and it was enough to cover rooftops and grassy areas.  There will even be a sweeping of the steps and driveway.  It's getting closer to the time of this becoming the normal routine.  I'm always glad to live in a part of our country that experiences all four of the seasons.

Well, it's Veteran's Day.  A day to honor the men and women who have served or who are now serving in our military and we need to recognize them for their service.  There are several ways we can do that:

*First, and I believe, most importantly, we need to pray for them.  They shoulder a LOT of responsibility.  They know we are trusting them to keep us safe from our enemies.  They put themselves in harm's way for us.  They face things that we cannot even imagine.  Please pray diligently for their safety.

*Next, it's important to thank them for their service.  If you are out and about and can recognize that they are in the military (either by a bumper sticker on the car, or a hat, or a shirt.....whatever that may be), don't be afraid to go up to them and thank them.  And, if at all possible, pay for their gas at the gas station, pay for their meal, etc.  Whatever you can do to make them feel that they are important, please do it!

*Lastly, help them in some way.  Here are just a few suggestions:

-send Christmas cards to those who are overseas
-send care packages
-make pillowcases and blankets for them to take with them
-make a "Quilt for Valor" for a veteran
-go to the cemetery and put flags on grave sites

You can go on-line for any of these suggestions and they can direct you to what organizations you might have in your area or for more information.  I sometimes feel that, those of us who are not in the military or aren't a part of a military family, take servicemen and women for granted.  We just assume that we will always have our freedom and our rights, but it takes these special people to assure us that we will.  And it definitely goes beyond being Democrat or Republican.  They serve for ALL of us!
God Bless the U.S.A.
If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife
I'd thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away
And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA
From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston,
And New York to L.A
Well there's pride in every American heart
And its time we stand and say
I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today cause there ain't no doubt I love this land..........God bless the USA!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Day Off

A lovely shoreline in northern Minnesota - see the lighthouse?

My husband and I are going to call this day a "day off."  We have one appointment this morning, but other than that, we are going to limit the domestic chores.  : )  One thing we have in mind is going to different stores and browse.  I'm taking my notebook and pen and want to jot down ideas for Christmas whether that be in decorating or in gift giving.  SO looking forward to it.

But before I go, I wanted to write a Bible verse down that I read in Psalm 94 this morning.  I had this passage circled for a long time and this morning I starred it as well.  It is a verse for those times of loneliness, fear, anxiety, worry, agony, distress........something we all experience in this life.  I hope it will touch your heart.

"Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."  Psalm 94: 17-19  

This is definitely giving credit where credit is due.  If you are finding that your "foot is slipping," call upon the Lord today and He will extend His hand out to you - reach out to that hand and grasp it, hold on to it, until you are brought back up again.

God bless your day.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Easy French Bread

Mmmmmmmm.  LOVE the smell of bread in the oven.  I have wanted to devote more of my time to bread baking, but just don't do it as often as I should, so today was the day.  I've had this recipe for a long time and have baked it a few times so I know it's a good one.  Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it:  


Dissolve and let activate for 5-10 minutes:

5 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 Tbsp. honey

Combine together with:

2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
2 tsp. salt
2 c. hot water

Stir in:

7 1/2 to 8 cups flour

Knead dough for 10 minutes (the fun part) or till smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Let rise till doubled.  Punch down and let rest for 15 minutes.  Divide dough in half.  On floured surface, roll into 12 x 15 rectangle.  Roll up, starting from the 15" edge.  Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet and make 4-5 slashes diagonally with a sharp knife across the top.  Let rise till doubled.

Mix and brush on: 1 egg, beaten or a little melted butter
Sprinkle on if desired:  poppy or sesame seeds

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Scrummy.  : )  Hope you can give it a try!  

*This would make a great gift when you wrap it in brown paper like a fancy bakery would - with about one-fourth of the bread sticking out on top - put it into a basket and add your favorite sauce and noodles with a wedge of Parmesan cheese.  

That's it for today.  Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday Morning

Looking back on the past week:

*realizing how fast time passes
*thinking of others and trying to meet needs
*continuing in prayer 
*studying God's Word
*knowing the importance of friendships
*following the Holy Spirit's leading and guidance
*taking care of what God has given us
*being thankful for blessings
*feeling compassion and understanding
*learning life lessons
*reading good books (literature)
*planning ahead in the midst of change
*realizing how good laughter feels 
*giving the hard things to Jesus
*having a good cry

It always amazes me how, when going through a week, I really don't think much is going on until I think back and write things down.  And, really, compared to others, my list is small indeed.  But I need to write the list to see whether or not I'm moving forward.  Am I learning and growing?  Am I a bit better than yesterday?  If I messed up yesterday, am I trying to correct it?  Was it all about me, or am I caring for someone else?  Do I take a servant's attitude, or do I wish to be served?  

It's such a wonderful way of knowing whether or not I'm on the right track.  Of course there will be times of getting "off-track" but looking back helps me to determine how I can make some things right or better.  In our Wednesday morning Bible study a while back, there were about four Bible verses given to us and we were to pick one of them to memorize.  Mine was:

"And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colossians  3:17  I wrote it down on a 3x5 card and it hangs on my bulletin board where I am looking at it right now and can read it on a daily basis.

Scripture is convicting.  One cannot read the Bible from cover to cover and not be convicted.  That is the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, as I look back at the past week and see what I did, felt, and experienced, I need to look at it with gratitude.  Because I cannot give myself the credit.  The Lord has been good, faithful, and merciful even when I have not.  I am not certain that I will have another week, but this I know.............God will guide my steps.  He will continue to teach me.  He will be with me in the good and the not so good.   So, I press on and pray that you will too.  

Have a blessed Sabbath!!!!