Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

Simple beauty.  God created the first garden and He keeps on doing it.  Think of ALL the beauty He created for us to enjoy!  Let's be thankful for that.  : )

It's been a rather unusual week.  So many different things went on this week that it's been hard to keep my mind on any one thing that sticks out above the rest.  So much so that even in my morning prayer time my mind would wander to a certain situation, a certain person, the past.  I don't like it when that happens because it causes unrest.  It can cause discontent.  It can cause me to overthink and over analyze.  The only silver lining to it is that when that situation or person or a past issue arises, I can remember that I'm in the presence of God and be reminded to give it all to Him.  

C.S. Lewis said "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me."  It's hard though, isn't it?  Because when we get up from our knees the situation didn't go away, the difficult person is still there, and the past (which is past but we keep bringing it up), is still painful.  But there CAN be peace in the midst of it all - and only God can do that.  When it comes down to it, God is the ONLY ONE who can do anything about everything!  And I have to admit, I pretty much bring everything and everyone to Him!  Through this, I've seen where God has changed me.  Understanding, sympathy, empathy, are just a few characteristics that He has put into my heart.   Like I said last week, the tears flow a little more freely now than they did when I first became a Christian.  

There are two old television programs I watched in the past couple of weeks that used the phrase "do unto others."  I thought that was interesting.  And they both used it in a humorous way.  One was on the Andy Griffith show when he was trying to tell little Opie about what this phrase means.  And Opie (in his very cute way but telling his "pa" that someone took advantage of him so he's passing it along) "Jerry did it unto me, now I'm doing it unto Jerry."  The second time this was used was in Little House on the Prairie where "ma" was reminding Laura to "do unto others" and Laura said "If I have to do it unto Nellie, why doesn't she have to do it unto me?"  Humorous, but we tend to think that way.  

It's SO frustrating to "do unto others" and they take advantage of us.  Or they hurt us.  But the second part of that phrase is "as you would like others to do unto you."  What does that look like to you?  What do you want from others?  When we think about that question and answer it, those are the things we should do for them.   Do you want someone to call?  Call them.  Do you want to receive something in the mail?  Send them something.  Do you want to be included?  Include them.  And the list goes on...................  It's not easy because we tend to be selfish and self-centered people.  We want things from others, but we don't exactly want to extend the same courtesy.  

Yesterday while out and about for a little shopping, it's amazing how people respond if you're the one to "do unto others."  Open the door for someone.  Be the first to say "hello."  Be the first to say "have a good day."  You be the one to smile at them.  Say "please", "thank you", "excuse me."  We did not encounter one person who did not respond to these simple, but effective ways of just being nice.  You never know whose life just got a little bit brighter because you took the time to do something without expecting anything in return.

Let us, today and throughout the week, do what Jesus did.  He took the yoke of perfection off people that we tend to put upon them.  You never know, that through your kindness and attention, how someone else will want to pass it along as well.  There was a sign in a magazine I was looking at that read "May someone, who doesn't know God, come to know Him because they know you."  As Christians, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus - and, seriously, it doesn't take much nowadays to have a positive effect on someone.  If, by just saying "have a good day" makes someone who wasn't smiling a moment ago smile now it would have been worth it.  It's such an impersonal and angry world that we need to do this.  People are yearning for someone to care about them.  Let's try to show them Jesus.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday Morning

Well, here we are.  Another Saturday morning AND only three days until May!  Can you believe it?  The days and months are, once again, flying by.

For this post, I'm encouraging you to think ahead to May. The two things that come to mind are Mother's Day and Memorial Day.   What can we plan for those days that would make it special in some way?

For some of us, our mom's aren't with us any longer so it would mean that we would have to honor their memory or "adopt" another mom to do something kind for.  In our area there are women's shelters or pro-life organizations that we could give things to.  Examples would be a nice basket filled with mom things - bubble bath, coffee, tea, a good book, flowers, a daily devotional.  Or how about buying diapers, wipes, and other baby things that a mom could use for her baby?  Is there a new mom at your work that maybe you could provide a meal for to give her a break?  Is there a mom in your neighborhood where you could offer to take her kids for an afternoon while she goes out shopping?  I guess the whole idea is to look around and have a little compassion and empathy.  Mom's have a lot of stress in their lives especially if they have to go out and work too.  Juggling everything and trying to make it all work is difficult, so what can we do to provide relief even if it's only for a day?

For those who are fortunate to still have moms, just think of the things she enjoys and give her something meaningful.  My mom used to love gardening so we would buy a whole flat of different plants that she could put in her garden.  Some moms like birds - maybe supply some birdseed?  Some moms enjoy baking or cooking - maybe a sack full of baking supplies (flour, sugar, oils, baking chips, etc. or a new cookbook)?  Some moms like to read - maybe a gift card to the book store?  You get the point.  Just focus on her and what she likes and she'll love whatever you decide to give.  : )

And then Memorial Day.  Around here, what it means for a whole lot of people is going up north to open their cabins for the upcoming summer months and there is nothing wrong with that, but the reason behind Memorial Day tends to get watered down or not thought about at all.  If you have children at home or grandchildren around, I would encourage you to instill within them a sense of obligation to remember those who have gone before us.  Growing up, for me,  it meant that we would cut lilac branches every year and take those to the cemetery.  Living here, having a National Cemetery, means putting flowers and a flag at an uncle's grave who served his country and then looking for a grave site that doesn't have flowers and putting them there so that he would have something too.  These brave men gave their lives for our country - they cannot go unnoticed.  

Another thing to do on Memorial Day (after you have honored someone by your giving) is to enjoy the day.  This does kick off the beginning of a new summer so if you can invite someone over for a backyard get-together that includes the first BBQ of the season or, if you don't have a backyard, simply inviting someone over for appetizers and refreshments on the deck or patio would be fun.  I'm a huge fan of games so maybe finding a game that everyone can have fun with?  

I'm all for making memories.  It's so important in our lives.  We simply cannot go through this life without enjoying it at times.  Especially when we have children around.  They see how we handle things and how we make an effort to set ourselves aside to create special times.  I do understand that all of us are at different places - we have seasons that are fruitful and happy and then we have seasons that are sad and difficult, so I get that.  Only you know how much you can handle and how much you can do.  But I do pray that you can do something - especially for someone else.  : )

God bless your day!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Rocky Road Friday

In cleaning out part of our pantry yesterday, I noticed a couple of things that I wanted to use up - a half a bag of mini-marshmallows and about a cup of walnuts.  Light bulb moment.  Rocky Road Bars.  I always have peanut butter in the house and the same with chocolate chips so today was the first time I made these, and......yum.  : )  

I think the Rocky Road thing came to me because I saw some Rocky Road ice cream a couple of weeks ago.  So when I noticed I had everything to make them and then had a chance to use a couple of things up, I went on-line and found a recipe.  The amazing thing is that there are only 4 ingredients, it's no-bake, and goes together in about 10 minutes (plus refrigerator time).  So, if you have these ingredients lying around in your pantry and you have a hankering for something good and sweet, I'll share the recipe with you:


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups mini-marshmallows
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Line a 9 x 9-inch pan w/foil.  Melt together chips and peanut butter over low heat until smooth.  Stir in nuts and then remove from heat.  Allow to cool for about 4-5 minutes and then add the marshmallows and stir to coat.  Spread in foil-lined pan and refrigerate until firm.

*When I cut these for serving, the amount was way too much - they are pretty rich, so little bars would be best (you can always have another if it's not enough 😏).

Simple ingredients.

No need for a double-boiler - just a bowl over water in a pan works great.

Melting goodness.

Ready for the fridge.  Enjoy!!!

Another VERY windy day so, again, I took advantage of that and washed a bunch of rags that we used throughout the week and hung them out on the line.  Dry in no time.  : )

Moved everything back into the room that was painted and it really looks nice - just what it needed.  It gave me an excuse to go through a whole lot of stuff to get rid of, put somewhere else, or just re-arrange.

Made more pizza dough in the bread machine for the freezer.  Really liking that machine!!!!  : )

Now it's almost evening and I'm tired and it's time to just stop for the day.  The week has been so very nice and I will go to bed knowing that we all did our best and got a lot done.  

Thank you for your visit!!!!!!  God bless.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

It's The Little Things

It's been a homey day today.  My husband was doing yard work most of the day, I was doing kitchen work most of the the day, and our son has been here all week to paint a room that has desperately needed painting for years now.  It looks so fresh and light and clean.  I really love it when we're all working at the same time.  There is a line in the Walton's where Grandpa Walton says "when I'm busy, I want everyone else around me to be busy too."  And I agree.  There is something very homey when everyone is working for the good of the home.  Where everyone is participating in making the home look and feel better.

It truly is the little things that add up to be beneficial:

*raking up the dead leaves makes the yard look tidy
*putting on a fresh coat of paint makes the house look like you care
*tending to kitchen work helps to keep things organized and efficient
*taking advantage of windy days to hang laundry makes quick work of it (and is SO fresh)
*using the bread machine today produced pizza dough for the freezer
*daily sweeping the outside steps helps to keep the dirt out
*setting up a place to sit on the patio makes for a comfortable spot for breaks

Again, little things but they all matter.  : )  Thanks for dropping by!!!!  God bless.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix

It SHOULD be donut Wednesday, but we had THIS (the above) instead after our noon lunch.  I had made this cake mix for our pantry a few months ago and while taking inventory (as a part of my Spring cleaning) I had this mix that I needed to use.  From what I'm reading, some of these mixes should be used up within about three months, so yesterday was the day and we were VERY pleased with the results.  : )  Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself:


*Please note:  read this recipe through first as there a couple of things you need to do ahead of time (such as - the eggs need to be at room temperature and you need a cup of coffee that is warm, not hot).

The mix:

Whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.  Store in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

When ready to bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare (grease and flour) two, 8-inch round cake pans.  Whisk 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs (room temperature), 1 cup coffee (warm, not hot), and 2 tsp. vanilla extract in a large bowl until well mixed and slightly frothy.  Add the dry mix and whisk until just barely combined and smooth (do not over mix).

Divide batter between the prepared cake pans.  Bake until set and a toothpick comes out clean - about 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool in the pans, then turn onto cooling rack to cool completely.  

You can either frost with your favorite frosting recipe, or just dust it with confectioner's sugar, or I served it today with homemade whipped topping using real whipping cream.  Mmmmmm..........: )

I hope you can make this mix for your own pantry and then prepare it in the future for your own family - you won't be disappointed.

Thank you for your time!!!!  God bless.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fresh Bread and Spring Cleaning

It is such a beautiful day.  Almost 70 degrees.  A temperature that I wish we could have all year round (except for the months of November and December - I like snowy days in those two months).  The windows are open and I hung the bedding out for the first time this morning.  What a wonderful aroma while folding them.  It will make for a good night's sleep.  : )

Usually we don't do much on Sundays, but yesterday, while sitting outside with a cup of coffee in hand and soaking up a little sun, I was looking around at our side yard and just couldn't stand it any longer.  Out came the rake and into bags went some of the ugly leaves and pods that the melted snow revealed.  So much nicer to look at.  After a neighborhood walk, I dried and put away the Sunday dishes, and did some ironing of a few new Spring/Summer tops that I was fortunate to find on Saturday.  The nice weather energizes me and it all felt so good to be doing something.  Compared to last week where I almost felt claustrophobic because of all the snow, having a day where we could go out and actually do something (instead of shovel) was a huge blessing!

And then we had today and today was to finish up the Spring cleaning in the kitchen:

*cleaned the inside, outside, under, and behind the fridge
*cleaned under and behind the oven
*washed the windows (love clean windows!!!)
*washed the curtain

Feels wonderful.  : )  

Bright and early this morning I put ingredients for bread into our new bread machine.  I used to have a bread machine a long time ago and have missed it since.  

Love the rustic loaves.  Seriously, homemade soup and homemade bread for lunch today was the ultimate meal.  Warm bread with butter - I could easily make a meal out of just that!  So this is going to be fun again.  I'm looking forward to finding recipes that will incorporate the whole grains, and I'm looking forward to making dough especially for pizza.  I thought it would make a fun party idea - make the dough and set out a whole bunch of toppings and sauces and have everyone make their own.  I really enjoy things like this.  The reason I like bread machines (I think either you like them or you don't) is because, again, I can control the ingredients and the ingredients are good - it's real food and the second reason is that, like this morning, I can put the ingredients in and start the machine and it does the work for me while I'm doing other things and is ready in time for a meal.  Like my handy-dandy donut pan, this bread machine will pay for itself very quickly around here.  : )

I don't know if any of you have bread machines, but I'll post this yummy recipe that I tried today:


Put the ingredients in in the following order:

*about 8 oz. water
*1 tsp. salt
*1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
*1 Tbsp. butter cut in small pieces
*1/2 cup quick-cook oats
*2 1/2 cups unbleached flour (I just used all-purpose but most recipes call for bread flour)
*1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast on top of a little indentation you make on top of the four

Select the 1.5 lb. loaf setting (basic setting) and press start.  Remove bread from pan when done and cool slightly on rack before slicing.  

How easy is that?!  And, again - YUMMY!!!!!!!  : )

Well, I'm going to rest a bit before I head back into the kitchen to make supper.  On the menu tonight is:

Baked Salmon
Garlic buttered pasta
Steamed brocolli
Glass of red grape juice (in a past post I mentioned some foods that should be paired with other foods for the best nutrition possible, and pairing grape juice or eating red grapes with salmon is one of those foods!)

Thanks for dropping by for a visit!!!!  I appreciate it.  God bless.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

It's such a beautiful day!!!  SO unlike last Sunday's post of cancelled church and blizzardy conditions.  It's amazing how fast the snow is melting and the grass is showing through again.  Yea!  If there is a silver lining to Spring snowstorms, it's the fact that the sun is warm and it melts quickly.  We do need the moisture, but I'm hoping from now on, it comes in the form of rain.  You know, thunder off in the distance and the raindrops on the roof at night.  Sounds good in my little imagination anyway.  : )

Again, I'm thinking back upon the week.  Grateful for it just being a "normal" week.  Work, relaxation, Bible studies, keeping in touch, planning, some shopping for spring/summer clothes, enjoying being outside again, church service today.  I've said in past posts that I'm an old-fashioned soul.  When I look at photos, or renditions, of the way things used to be as far as home life, I become very nostalgic - almost homesick.  I want women to be women, I want children to get their innocence back, I want men to be be men and step up to provide for their families.  I want, I want, I want..........but believe me, it's not out of selfishness.  It's out of concern for the way the world is being changed because of the decline of, or the taken out of altogether, the old-fashioned values that we used to hold dear.  I feel like we've opened the proverbial Pandora's box and now it's too late. 

And thinking about our Father in Heaven, who is also my Friend.  My BEST Friend.  Every morning I can go to Him and pour out every single thought and feeling and He is always there to listen.  Knowing that He holds every tear makes me pour them out even more.  The older I get the more quickly the tears appear.  My prayers have so changed over the years.  I can't believe some of the things I pray for now.  Issues that I never in a million years thought I would have to pray for and about.  But pray I do.  Like the verse in the old hymn says "what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."

As I look forward to another week (God willing), I will still be that "old-fashioned" woman, and I will still be on my knees before my Father God in Heaven.  Even though I have family and friends, He is The One to whom I will come before when my life is over.  He is The One that I will have to give an account to.  The Bible says that EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  What an awesome sight that will be!!!!!!  So, before that happens, won't you please take this day to come before the Lord and ask for forgiveness of your unbelief and disobedience?  Won't you please repent of your sins and ask Christ into your heart now?  Please don't let this day go by without doing this life-saving step.   Please.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Side view of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Ahhh..............  Saturday morning still sitting in jammies with a hot cup of coffee off to the side.  : )  I love my weekday routines of getting things done, but I still enjoy the feeling of a Saturday morning.

It has a been a good and busy week.  For Spring cleaning, I'm still working on the kitchen, especially working on wiping down upper shelves and washing things that get greasy from cooking.  I cleaned some windows as well now that we are having a stretch of beautiful weather.  Even got some sunshine and fresh air yesterday. 

The room that I'm sitting in is all a mess with nail holes filled in and a new partial wall that got wet over the years and areas that needed sanding, to get ready for a new coat of paint.  The ceiling has been painted and looks so nice and bright and part of the trim is done but it is definitely a mess in here!  This is the last room to be painted in our house.  I kept putting it off because it's a small room and not easy to paint but I couldn't stand it any longer and am looking forward to it being done and everything put back so it can be of use again.  : )

The snow is melting quickly which is a blessing and we are seeing glimpses of grass here and there.  Some flowers are poking their heads up and the birds are singing away.  Thank God for birds - they bring such happy little sounds all through the day and we love to watch how busy they are.

While going through some things, I found a few books that I used a long time ago when our son was little.  I so wanted to give him experiences that would result in good memories and I wanted us, as a family, to have fun so I sought out books on raising kids and ideas of what to do from a Christian perspective.  I quickly read through them again and was reminded of how fast kids really do grow up.  There is such a short window of time in order to do things as a family that I feel this need to encourage all of you with young children at home to be mindful in spending quality time together.  Even those of you with grandchildren - it's important to create memories with them.  And the nice thing is that kids pretty much like anything that you find time to do with them!  They need that one-on-one attention.  

*choose books together - what is an interest? choose old books with a moral to the story?  adventure? then make sure to read them together.  Don't just hand them a book and tell them to go off on their own, sit down with them so you can discuss things.  Of course there are times when you do want them to have their own reading time but when it's a time of being together, be with them.

*family night - I think this is harder and harder for families to get around to, but I hope you can even if it's one night a month.  It would be something for your children to look forward to and something for all of you to plan together.  It doesn't have to be a major production - game night, movie night, an outing night, a picnic, outreach night, celebration night (any holiday that comes around for a particular month), project night, a surprise night where one person plans something that no one else knows about, cooking and/or baking together night.  We live in a world that is getting more and more serious -serious topics, serious news, serious family situations - it's too much for our little children (and too much for us adults at times!) that we need a break from it all.  THIS is the time to do it.

*have other people into your home.  Family togetherness is great, but having friends and/or other people from church, etc. into your home allows your children to see and talk to others.

*work together.  Every singe person in the house should have their own work to do.  Spend a day in cleaning together (whether that be indoors or out) and then come together at the end of the day with either a homemade or take-out pizza for a little reward for jobs well done.

*collect something.  This can get out of hand, so you'll want to set some limits, but I think it's important to teach your children to collect something - get them interested in rocks, stamps, coins, etc. so that they do research and look things up to find out more about them.  

*family outings.  Museums, old forts, the theater, state parks, fishing, golfing, bowling, factories - we called them field trips and it was fun.  : )

*celebrate everything.  I wrote down all twelve months and tried to find out what kind of things went on for every month.  Some things are obvious, but others needed a little imagination.  In January, we had a snow day - we bundled up and went for a nature walk, we ate our supper in front of the outdoor firepit, we built forts or snowmen, we went sledding, etc.  In February, we would decorate the house in hearts and plan a special Valentine's Day meal and invite extended family over to play games.  You get the idea.  This takes planning and thinking, but it can be done and we still remember these times.

The one thing that I got away from and have been motivated to do again, is that I used to have a file cabinet filled with files with ideas.  Each file was alphabetized and each file contained information based on the alphabet.  For example, the "A" file would include information on our local airports, or antique stores in the area, or our local arboretum, or art museums, etc.  Each subject would have the hours that each of these things would be open, the directions to how to get there, and any other information that would help.  Our "B" file would include any berry picking patches, or boats, or bird-watching programs, or bicycle trails in our area, etc.  Again, each file would have all the information we would need to plan an outing.

The reason I want to bring this back and begin a new file cabinet is that our newly married son and his wife are always looking for fun and frugal ways to get out and have their own adventures and they could have access to these files at any time to plan their own fun day out and about!  : ) 

So, again, I encourage all of you, whether you are just starting out as a newly married couple with no children yet, or are a young couple with young children, or older parents with older children, or grandparents.......we all have a hand in creating environments for children that are fun, healthy, and memory-making.  Let's give that gift to them and ourselves!  It's a joy to watch kids have fun because it's catchy - it helps us to leave the gritty-ness of this world behind if just for a day.

May God bless your efforts in this!!!!!  Have a good day.  Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's Another New Donut Wednesday

Scrummy.  : )

I love it when I buy something and while using it, I feel like it's truly paid for itself.  That's how I feel about my donut pan!  : )  I'm truly enjoying making homemade donuts and the fact that they have good ingredients in them (albeit NOT low calorie) and they're baked instead of fried feels so much better than store-bought (AND, in my opinion, tastes better).  Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it:


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. milk (1 Tbsp. at a time until the consistency you like)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray donut pan and set aside.
2.  In mixing bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla until well combined.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined.
3.  Spoon the batter into the donut pan cavities making sure you fill them only about 3/4 of the ways up (this recipe says it makes 8 donuts but I got 9 and since my pan holds only six, I did this in two batches).
4.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and let them cool completely before glazing.
5.  Mix the above glaze ingredients together and spoon on top of cooled donuts and put sprinkles on top if you'd like (we like).  : )

THIS is a very good donut.  I hope you can try it and see if you think so too.  Enjoy!!!!

I also wanted to show a photo of our Spring vignette by the front door.  I have a friend that when you first walk into her house she has this lovely low dresser and she seasonally decorates it.  I love it.  So I tried a mini version of that.  It's not quite as pretty but we like it.  : )

The lovely book is from my friend, the silk flowers are from the $ store, the cute little bird was painted by our son, I made the wreath a few years ago and I also made the stone birdhouse, and the pretty teacup is a thrift store find.  

As far as my "school work" goes - I'm actually enjoying my math book  (I NEVER thought I'd be saying that!), and I'm trying my hand at writing a unit study using my favorite "Little Women" book (always wanted to try that).  It goes slowly but my old-ish brain needs to go slowly.  : )

That's it for today!!!  Thank you for dropping by for a short visit - I love it when you do.  God bless.

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Over

The snow is over - I was going to post a photo of it, but I'd rather look at this.  Wouldn't you? 

Yes, winter storm Xanto is over.  The snow is plowed/shoveled.  The sun peaks out every now and then, and the snow on the driveway and walkways are already melted.  And that is that (I will not even mention that we're supposed to to get some more snow on Wednesday - nope, I'm not going to mention that).

Seriously, doesn't the above photo look wonderful.  Can't you just feel the warm breeze off this lake and smell the pine trees?  I've always loved that color of blue in the sky - it looks SO clean. Mmmmm..............  : )

Now it's Monday and back to work.  It's been a good day.  I'm beginning my Spring cleaning and I'm beginning in the kitchen.  I did the oven and stovetop this morning.  Taking my time with cleaning this Spring.  When I was younger, I just delved right in and worked all day and got a lot done, but I'm not going to do that this time.  Just do a little every day.  That way I don't let other things go and I do have other things throughout the day.

It was also laundry day.  I have been without a clothes dryer for over a month now and to tell you the truth I don't really miss it.  We've had this dryer for eight years and unfortunately it couldn't be fixed.  Isn't that sad?  When we moved into this house, the original owners left their old washer and dryer  they had for years prior to us moving in and then we had it for a long time after that!  Then we bought these big and beautiful things and it's already broken.  I'm thankful it hung in there for as long as it did.  But it's just one more thing to have to spend money on.  I really don't mind hanging our clothes.  I just have to wash smaller loads more often because of limited space.  Now if it would stop snowing, I could hang them outside!!!!  The only "problem" right now are the bed linens.  It's hard to find room to hang long things like that, but we find a way and it works.  The other advantage of hanging clothes to dry is that I received our gas bill for this past month.  It was a lot lower compared to the month before and that was having our furnace on during the cold month.  So that's kind of an incentive to keep hanging our laundry instead of using a dryer.  Having said that, we will have to eventually buy a dryer and I'm a big believer in the old saying "if we can't pay cash for it, then we don't buy it."  So, we're saving up.  : )

One thing I did this weekend while we were riding out the storm was to put a notebook together and listed school subjects - Math, Science, Reading, English, History, Home Economics, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, P.E./Health - and wrote down things that I want to learn in each of these areas.  I've posted in the past that I believe it's important to be a lifelong learner and this weekend I tried to write an outline of what that might look like.

*Math - I've never been very good at math but have always wanted to be better so I took a math book out that I bought quite a while ago and began.
*English - I love learning about word origins and where different phrases that we use come from, etc. so I want to begin that.
*History - I've always enjoyed American history and also state-by-state histories so I thought doing research papers would be fun.
*Science - I've never been interested in chemistry or physics or anything like that but I love microscopes and looking at different things under the microscope and drawing a picture of each.  I also enjoy learning more about plants and flowers, I enjoy astronomy and geology so I'd like to read up more on that.
*Reading - I love books or I should say I love good old books and would love to try my hand at Unit Studies for the books that I read.
*P.E./Health - I'm not so great at exercising, but love health and nutrition so I'd like to try and do better with this.
*Home Economics - This is a subject I could always work on.  : )  I know there are so many things that I don't know and would like to.  The wonderful thing about owning vintage cookbooks is that they are almost like a school textbook.  The have a glossary of terms if you're unfamiliar with something and they are very good at explaining things that the new cookbooks being written don't have.  I also own a couple of vintage sewing books and there, again, they explain things so much better.
*Music - I'm not a musician.  I cannot sing, and I cannot play an instrument, but I do enjoy music.  I'd like to learn more about the different genres and whatever catches my ear, maybe learn about the composer and a background of how the piece was written.
*Art - I'm not an artist either, but I do enjoy doodling and I do know what I enjoy looking at (which is art from a long time ago - none of this modern art stuff).  Again, I'd like to know the background of some of the paintings I like looking at.

With everything else that I have to do around the house and a couple of Bible studies to prepare for every other week, and trying to think of fresh things to put in the Etsy shop, I know this sounds like a big undertaking.  But, I'm going to try and take it on like I'm doing with the Spring cleaning.  I don't have to learn everything all in one sitting, but I do want to take on a little bit every now and then.  Choose one thing at a time and learn something new.  Take notes of my findings.  This may sound strange, but I'm actually looking forward to it.  I guess we'll see!!!  : )

Well, it's evening and I'm tired and I'm going to read for a while before my head hits the pillow.  Thank you so much for your visit.  I do appreciate it.  God bless!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Good Sunday Morning to You


Let's see.  It's April 15th.  Half way through April and the morning news is telling us that we have at least 15 inches of snow on the ground from yesterday's storm and we're to expect another 2 - 4 inches more today, and another 2 -4 inches more on Wednesday.   I finally got to the point yesterday as I looked out the windows and watched the storm where I thought that since we're getting this snow, we may as well break all the records and be done with it!  And it did - it's one for the history books.  Yea!

Church has been cancelled today which is understandable but I always feel like Sunday isn't Sunday without church.  I'm a very old-fashioned soul and there are just things one does on Sunday that you don't normally do on any other day.  Dressing nicely, church, Sunday meal, resting.  I guess we can still dress nicely, we will cast a favorite pastor from the computer onto the television and watch, we'll have our meal and, after we plow/shovel snow, we'll do our resting!  But I know that tomorrow morning will feel like we've missed something.  It will be the beginning of a new work week and it will be different.  But it is what it is so we'll have to make the best of it today.

Last night before bed I went through in my mind of the things to be grateful for during the storm:

*a warm home - a shelter from the storm
*a well-stocked larder from which to choose our food and having enough
*things to do and interests to keep us busy
*a snowblower that was given to us as a gift many years ago
*friends and family that we can keep in contact with

It's so easy for me to complain about the weather but I have to balance that out with what there is in it to be grateful for as well.  What's really important and what can I thank the Lord for?  He provides so sufficiently and so gracefully that I need to stop and thank Him and maybe even apologize for the grumbling.  One thing that I'm learning is that storms help to slow us down.  I think we've become so used to being able to just go, go, go all the time that we don't know how to slow down and enjoy the moment.  Because, really, if I look at the above list, we had/have everything we need to get us through.  The storm won't last forever (or will it? LOL).  : )

I pray that this will be a good and meaningful day for you.  It's pretty much up to each one of us to make it that way.  I also hope that you can read your Bible today and have a prayer time, lifting up to God what needs to be lifted up.  Do you have family or friends that need to be prayed for?  How about yourself?  Are you going through difficulty? Spend time with the Lord because He wants us to, because He hears and so wants to draw near to us.  God bless.  : )

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Another Winter Morning

As a winter wind rages outside, let's take a look at this.  : )

Well, winter storm Xanto has made it over to us.  My family in South Dakota got it before we did - less snow (where they are) but still blizzard conditions.  There is something about the sounds of strong winds during the night while you're trying to sleep that's a little discomforting.  I don't know how many times during the night I got up to see what in the world was going on.  The snow has stopped for now but is coming back this afternoon and when it's all said and done we're supposed to be digging out from 8-12 inches of it.  To say that I'm weary of it is an understatement indeed!!!  Yesterday we saw a good part of our lawn in the front and back yards and now it is back to white again.  I know, I know, complaining................but seriously.  : o

We were supposed to go out to South Dakota this weekend.  My nephew lost his battle with brain cancer last Sunday and his funeral was to be today.  But because of the snow storm, we had to make the decision to just stay put.  As you can imagine, my thoughts are with my sister and brother-in-law today.  After the snow is gone later this spring and the ground thaws out, we will get together as a family for the final burial.  Today was just to be the formalities of celebrating his short life - I hope the weather cooperates for them in this.

Because of this loss, I have to admit that I couldn't find a lot of motivation this week.  I would do my morning chores but by afternoon I just worked on some quiet projects.  I just wanted to be quiet for a while.  After much prayer, by Thursday and yesterday I was able to dig in and get quite a bit done which is also a way to get through sadness and stress.  I remember my mother-in-law telling me that when I went into labor with our son (almost 29 years ago) she cleaned things in her house that haven't been cleaned in years.  Work is very therapeutic.  I'm very grateful for it.

I did try a couple of new recipes this week.  I have a really good banana bread recipe but I tried a new one and we didn't like it so, of course, I won't give you that recipe.  : )  But I did have a homemade Hamburger Helper pantry mix on the shelf that I tried that we enjoyed and wanted to pass it along to you.  I took photos of the whole process but for some reason I wasn't able to download them onto the computer.  I'm a visual person and love photos and I know with recipes a lot of people enjoy them along with the directions so I apologize about this.


To start off, you will need to make a flavor packet:  

1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. mixed Italian herbs (or to taste as this can be a little strong)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Put this into a little baggie.  Into a larger baggie, put 1 1/2 cups of either broken lasagne noodles or small egg noodles.  Put the little baggie into the larger baggie and then put this in your pantry!

When ready to cook:

Brown 1 pound of hamburger; drain.  Add 2 1/4 cups of hot water and 1/2 cup milk.  Add those noodles and the flavor packet, and one can of either stewed tomatoes or just diced tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until noodles are cooked.  Stir in 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese and stir until melted and then sprinkle with about 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.  Turn off heat, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

These homemade mixes in the pantry are such a big help because there is very little prep work that's needed and good for those evenings where you really don't want to do much.  Just add a little salad off to the side and some good bread and it's quick and easy, yet tasty.

I was thinking back to homeschool days this past week and with the impending snow event I remembered how we turned those days into fun days.  We usually took the day off and here is a list of some of the activities we did:

*worked on a puzzle together having snacks off to the side
*played a game (again, with snacks off to the side) - Monopoly is great for a snow day!!!
*baked cookies and ate them hot out of the oven with hot chocolate
*bundled up and went outside to build a fort or snowmen
*worked on a fun project (painted, drew pictures, etc.)
*watched a movie (yes....snacks off to the side)

Well, I don't feel like bundling up to build a fort or snowman, and Monopoly is only fun if you have someone to play it with, and I don't feel like sitting and watching a movie......but I did bring a puzzle upstairs, and I can bake some cookies, and I do have projects to work on.  So maybe I will be able to  enjoy this wintry day after all.  : )

Thank you for dropping by.  I appreciate the visit.  God bless.  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Angel Unawares

It's snowing as I type, so I need to pull up some green photos again.  : )

Today has been a good day.  A good service at church.  Fellowship with new friends.  Son and "daughter" over for lunch and a crafting afternoon with them.  My new goal is to try and make as many "good" days as is possible.  With sadness and grief and concern in our lives, there has to be a balance of creating joyful times too.  I've said it before, but I'll say it again....I cannot listen to and hear about EVERYTHING that is going on in the world.  I just can't.  It doesn't mean that I don't care.  It doesn't mean that I'm hardened in heart.  It doesn't mean that I'm a Pollyanna playing "the glad game".  I know pain all too well.  I know loss.  I know we need to know something so that we know how to pray and for whom to pray.

God knows this about me and he sent me an angel unawares yesterday in order to help me in this ever increasing feeling of being overwhelmed by everything sad. Her name is Janice.  Let me tell you about Janice..........

Janice is my sister-in-law in Washington state.  She grew up in a small town in South Dakota (as I did) and she married my brother even before I was born.  They always lived quite a ways from the family, but they tried to come home as often as they could.  Janice grew up in a good family, was Homecoming Queen in high school, was very pretty and took good care of her looks, and had wonderful manners.  I remember once when they came home sitting across the supper table from her.  I couldn't take my eyes off her - I think I was about 5 or 6 at the time.  I was the youngest in the family and I grew up with brothers and a working mom so there was never anyone around to teach me the proper ways of doing things.  I don't think I was a slob or anything, but I vividly remember sitting at that table and watching her eat.  For some reason it was a big deal to me.  Not only was she pretty and well groomed, but she had table manners!  Something I had never seen before and it left an impression on me.  

She always called our mom "mom" too.  That was also very different from any of the other in-laws - for everyone else it was just Anne.  And she's the only one who calls me Mary Ann (my proper name) - everyone else calls me Mary and that's okay because it's more endearing that Janice is the one who calls me by my full name.  I've always liked it that way.

At family get-together's she had a smile on her face and was gentle and kind and helpful.  I remember a photo of her in the 70's at my sister's farm with a huge slice of watermelon over her face and only her eyes showed above it.  Life was very good for her until 8 years ago when her husband (my brother) died of cancer.  Her own health declined after that.  She has a severe muscular disorder that even effects her swallowing and she is living with a feeding tube.  But because of the disorder, she has a difficult time walking.  She also has a heart that slows down so much, she faints.  

This is the same Janice who called me yesterday.  God knew that I needed to hear from this sister-in-law that I still hold in high regard and with such special memories.  Because just talking to her (which has been years now) made me feel better about things.  You would think that with everything going on in her life, she would be down and out and depressed but she is not!  She and I talked about the Lord and how he brings her such blessing and joy every day.  She said she wouldn't know what she would do if she didn't know the joy of the Lord and that blessed me greatly.

I'm literally sick of all the bad news and how our world and country is going in a direction that is SO far from they way God wants it to be and every now and then I get so down about things.  So the fact that Janice called at a time when I needed some optimism, when I needed some encouragement and lifting up can ONLY be from God.  For you see (and THIS is the miracle) she has never called me before.  That is not to say that we aren't close (because we are) but we've just connected in other ways (cards, letters, visits in person).  

God knew that I needed to hear from a person who has gone through and continues to go through a lot, yet still praises God in the midst of it.  It refreshed me.  I feel new again.  The heaviness has lifted just by a phone call.  It also made me think - can I be that to someone as well?  Can I be a voice of joy and optimism and encouragement to another instead of always being downcast and pessimistic?  It, at least, sure makes me want to try!  Appropriately of course according to the situation.

So, I thank the Lord for the appropriate, timely, call that I needed from a "sister" who has always held a special place in my heart.  From a person who through everything can say she has joy.  A lesson learned.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Cold Saturday in April

I have to look for photos like these to post to remind myself that there actually is (was) a time when there were flowers blooming and that "green" is a reality and not a figment of my imagination!!!  : )

It continues to be winter and cold and we are, once again, supposed to get even more snow tomorrow.  Seriously?

Anyway...........a new day today.  I love the possibilities of a new day.  : )  What do YOU have planned?  I like to look forward and I like to look back.  Looking forward is go on with a list of things that I want to accomplish but looking back is remembering how we used to do things that actually worked and that we enjoyed.  So, how can YOU look forward today?  What things can you do today that will bring enjoyment?  In thinking back, what things did you used to do that brought joy in your life but have somehow left them behind?  Can you begin again?

Giving yourself time to think helps tremendously.  I think we tend to get on this perpetual wheel that keeps us going around and around that we don't have time to plan for the next moment.  It all becomes very rote and calculated and then the week goes by and we get discouraged because it feels like we've accomplished nothing at all.

I encourage you today to take some time (away from the television, away from the computer, away from your phones) and think forward - write things down that you really want to do and enter them on your calendar!  Be purposeful about this.  There's something about writing it down as if it were an appointment that somehow helps in fulfilling them.  But be careful!  Don't fill the calendar up!  That would lead to burn-out.  Choose one thing a week, or every other week, or even once a month.  Something that you want to get done, you want to do, you want to try.  We all need something to look forward to.  It motivates us.

And then, after you're done with that, think back.  What kinds of things did you used to do that brought joy?  This is called brain-storming.  Write those things down too!  Incorporate them back into your life.  It may look different now and it may not be quite the same, but incorporate them back as well as you can.  I posted a couple of weeks ago, about our plans for Easter (and how those plans ended up changing).  But I didn't want to give up - that's easy to do.  But I also said in my post that I HAVE been thinking back lately.  Thinking back to a time when my mother-in-law was still with us and how fun she made family gatherings and how I want to bring some of that back because I miss it.  So, for Easter this year I had planned in doing a craft project for the four of us but because of changed plans we weren't able to do it.  So, this Sunday, we're going to get together because now it works and we're going to share a meal together after church and then after everything is cleaned up, we'll head downstairs to work on our craft (which will be decorating birdhouses with stones and moss and tiny architectural details).   I know Pearl (my mother-in-law) would be proud.  : )

So, I hope you can take time to think (and I know it's hard if you still have young children with you).  But whether you are just starting your family, or in the middle of it all, or are older now (empty-nesters), and are feeling like life is just going so fast and you're on a constant treadmill without enjoying life, take today as a day to write down some things for you (and your family or friends) to do to get back to the business of living this life that God has given.  God isn't a killjoy - He wants us to enjoy the life He's given to us.  I think as we get older we tend to forget this because all of a sudden life gets serious - work, raising kids, worrying about finances, health issues, etc.  That's a natural reaction because it's real.  Life ISN'T easy, but we can give ourselves and others a respite once in a while - tuck into the day something that will bring a smile, maybe even a laugh or two.

I hope you can give it a try.  God bless your homemaking efforts!!!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Slow Cooker Soup and Hair Rinse

And, yet, another wintry day! 

Usually I complain about the weather.  I won't.  I'll just show you a photo of what's happening outside our window right now.  😭

A good day for soup.  Yesterday I made our Split Pea with ham soup in the slow cooker and it turned out wonderful.  It's a tradition I guess.  Sunday ham.  Monday soup with leftover ham bone.  : )  Here is our recipe if you don't already have one:


16 oz. pkg. of dried split peas 
8 cups of chicken stock or broth (enough to cover ham bone)
1 meaty ham bone
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. mince garlic
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves

Add all the ingredients to slow cooker and cook on Low for 10 hours.  Remove ham bone and slice off any meat and add back to soup.  Remove bay leaves.  Serve and enjoy!!!   So easy, so smooth, so delicious.  This makes about 2 quarts.  One for enjoying right away and the other to put into the freezer to enjoy at a later date (maybe during our next snow storm!  - whoops, I wasn't going to complain).

What I'm doing lately is trying out different "recipes" for hair and body care.  I tried doing this a while back, but didn't stick with it, but this time I really would like to try to be a bit more diligent.  I've just been I am trying hard to make foods that are healthy for us and being more determined in that area, yet we're using products that are unhealthy at the same time.  So, we'll see how many I can actually make and be okay with.  I have tried different homemade deodorants in the past that didn't work so I'm still trying to find that one that will work.  I'm kind of working at the top of my head and working my way down.  Which means homemade shampoo and rinse.  While I've come across lots of shampoo recipes, I haven't put one together yet (hopefully this afternoon so that I can try it in the morning).  

But one "recipe" I did find was for a hair rinse and I did try that this morning and am pleased with it.  It not only helped with tangles, but I found my hair to feel softer than usual and it styled better.  Just three ingredients did it:


1 cup water (distilled or purified)
2 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
10 drops of Lavender essential oil

Put everything into an 8 oz. spray bottle and shake before every use.  After shampooing, just spray on your hair (be careful to not get this in your eyes) and leave on for 5 minutes and rinse out.  That's it!  

Lately I've been thinking back to our Home Economics classes we had in high school (in the 1970's) and how they should have taught these kinds of things to us.  I'm really glad to be learning about them now, but really, instead of learning how to make "fruit soup" which I have yet to make and will never make, we could have been learning things that a person needs to know in regards to taking care of yourself and your home and frugality and health and wellness ideas.  So I guess I'm taking it upon myself to keep learning and trying as many things as I possibly can and to hopefully always have the attitude of lifelong learning.  And I hope you do too.  As homemakers there are SO many areas to keep growing in and that's the fun of it!  

Do you want to be a better cook and baker?  Keep trying new recipes.  Do you want to sew your own clothes?  Find a beginner's pattern and give it a try - but "if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again".  Do you want to be a better gardener?  Read up on your favorite plants and try your hand at growing something.  Do you want to be a better housekeeper?  Look up the best and most efficient ways that you can clean.  Is there a craft that you've always wanted to try?  Just do it and if you don't like it, do the next thing until you find something you truly enjoy.  Do you want to be healthier?  Find ways to improve in that area. 

There is ALWAYS something to learn.  : )   God bless the rest of your day!!!  Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Blessings to You

Looking forward to this!  : )

Well, we enjoyed a lovely service at church among the fellowship of friends and followers of Jesus and we heard the message of the risen Jesus.  He is alive - Hallelujah!  Death had no hold on Him and for those who have faith and believe this to be true, the message is for us as well.  And what a message that is.

As I type this, there are so many people right now who need to be reminded of this truth.  For example, I have a sister who is sitting beside her son (my nephew) today watching him die from brain cancer.  When I spoke to her a few days ago, she asked him (for he could still speak then) if he was ready to go to be with the Lord and he said "yes."  He is tired of fighting the fight of his life.  But for him to say that he was ready to go meant that he believed the truth.  The truth about Jesus' crucifixion, death, and resurrection.  He knows that when he leaves this earth he will be with Jesus.  No more pain.  He has that Easter faith.  And it is a blessing indeed.

The sadness comes for us even though we know the truth of it all too.  We mourn because we miss those who go on before us.  There is a hole that no one else can fill.  Things are never quite the same without them.  My sister cries deep tears because it is her son.  There are no words that I can speak that she doesn't already know.  She understands the Easter faith.  The Easter truth.  And that brings great comfort and peace.

So, today is a mix of feeling joy because of what Easter truly means, and tears for those who are experiencing sadness because of loss (or imminent loss).  Let us lift everyone up in prayer today for a "peace that passes all understanding."  I remember someone saying that if we knew how great our friends and loved ones were doing in Heaven, it would help in our letting them go until we can be with them again.  If we think we loved our friends and family, God loves them even more!  That is something that has truly helped me in my loss.

May you hold close today those who are close to you.  Those with whom you are spending the next few hours or the day with.  Tell them you love them.  Like I've said in past posts, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  Life changes in an instant.  But God doesn't.  

Easter blessings to you.