Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

Beautiful Autumn.

Today's post is kind of a follow-up to last Sunday.  I had mentioned that during prayer times in the morning I pray specifically.  And then being face-to-face with financial difficulties that didn't just come one at a time but all at once.  (It kind of happens that way doesn't it?)  I could have taken the fact that all of these things happened and that prayers weren't being answered, but God gave me a peace in it all.  I really DID have to remind myself of His faithfulness throughout the years and give thanks in ALL things (which doesn't necessarily mean that it's an easy thing to do).  Here is how the past week worked out:

*The broken garage door - which is an expensive thing to replace - was able to be fixed for a MUCH smaller amount of money.  We're talking $1300 less!!!!!  That definitely deserves a praise.  : )
*The expensive car fix - one thing that I learned a long time ago from a Christian financial planner is to put money aside every paycheck for emergencies - so that was money we already had for such a time as this.  : )
*The medical bill - this bill we received looked awful close to what I had already paid over a month ago.  Sure enough, when we brought the recent bill to the attention of the clinic, it had already been paid and we had a zero balance!

So, all three of these things that I could have stressed over were taken care of.  Coincidence?  Oh, no.  God knows our needs.  He cares for us in the big stuff and in the little stuff.  

Right now, our son and his wife are in Greece for their 1-year Anniversary.  Do any of you know what is happening in Greece right now?  We have been watching the news seeing if they are reporting on it - nothing.  Greece is experiencing a hurricane!  Over in that part of the world they call it a Medicane (Mediterranean hurricane).  It's a rare occurrence and of course if would have to occur while they are there!  They flew in yesterday while it was still pretty calm but now they are in the thick of it.  So, again, I'm on my knees for their safety - and not just for their safety but all who live there.  From what I read, three people are missing and now they're afraid of the mudslides.  But I do have the peace that passes all understanding.  He is our only child and we love his wife as a daughter.  They both have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ their Savior.  I know in my heart that they will be okay.

Please come to Jesus today.  Our pastor said it so well in service this morning - there are people in this world who hear about Jesus and because they have hardened their hearts to the point of not, nor ever, believing in Christ as Lord and Savior, they will not believe (no matter what).  And there are people who hear about Jesus and because their hearts are open to take in the truth about Jesus being Lord and Savior they will come to Jesus and be saved.  It truly is a heart issue.  Please soften your heart and invite Jesus in.  Tell someone that you made that step and then find a Bible-teaching church to help you in your walk.  Make SURE that the church you go to speaks the truth!  And the only way to know that is if you pick up the Bible yourself and start reading.  I want to make sure that I encourage you in this.  Won't it be wonderful to meet each other and everyone who believes in Jesus in Heaven one day?!!!!!!!!!  Amazing.  : )

Saturday, September 29, 2018

End of September Saturday Morning

At the Minnesota Arboretum.  Pretty.  : )

Brrr..................  We are waking up to a very chilly morning.  It's getting to the point where it's chilly but we still don't want to put the furnace on yet (well, my husband does but I'm the one who pays the bills).  : )  So, we get our warm jammy's and robes on and I have my warm coffee off to the side - that ought to do it until we get used to it.

Since I don't normally post on Mondays and this coming Monday is the 1st of October (can you believe it?) I'm going to post the October to-do's today.  It's quite a list, so be prepared!


*clean your lawn mower and garden tools to put them away clean for the winter
*turn off the outdoor water (that time hasn't come yet here, but it will)
*bring the snowshovels out from storage and the snow blower if you have one - make sure it's in working condition (those of us here in Minnesota can't forget the 1991 Halloween blizzard, so early snows do happen!)
*replace your furnace filter
*store the summer clothes and wash, press, mend, the fall and winter clothes
*start raking leaves (the trees are pretty slow around here yet in turning colors so we haven't had to rake yet)
*clean the gutters of your house (with the falling leaves come stopped-up gutters)
*make winter emergency kits for your car(s)
*apply fall fertilizer to the lawn
*empty planters and flower pots
*if anything around your home needs to be winterized, now is the time to do it
*it's a good time to start making gift baskets before the busy holidays set in
*start filling out Christmas cards (just addressing envelopes takes a long time)
*begin to think about Christmas gift lists (I'm already starting to write down some ideas)
*stock up on flu/cold medications (and/or stock your pantry with chicken soup, teas, honey, etc.)
*wash or wipe down the walls in your home 

Whew!  Again, everything on the list isn't for everyone so do what you can and enjoy the process of the doing.  When we can keep up on certain things, it just makes everything else seem to fall into place and it feels less stressful.  

I have posted in the past that on Saturday and Sunday mornings, we enjoy raisin bread with peanut butter and smoothies for our breakfast instead of the weekday hot oatmeal.  I thought I had found a pretty good raisin bread recipe until yesterday.  I found another Cinnamon Raisin Bread recipe that is SO much better (in my opinion)!  Out goes the old recipe and this other one is the keeper.  : )  And I want to share it with you too.  Again, I make the dough in the bread machine, take it out and put it in a bread tin and let it rise for an hour, and then bake.  The one thing that I changed in this recipe is that it calls for only whole-wheat flour.  I very rarely experiment with recipes because I'm always afraid of ruining it, but I experimented anyway.  You will see what I mean below.   Here it goes:


In a bread machine add:

1 cup warm water (not hot!)
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups whole-wheat flour (this is where I changed it - I don't really like ALL whole-wheat breads, so I measured 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups bread flour)
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup raisins (I'm pretty sure that all bread machines have a point to which it beeps during the mixing and that means you can add the dry fruit - our machine does so this is when I add the raisins)

Set the machine to the dough cycle.  Again, when done just put it into a greased and floured bread tin, cover and let rise for one hour.  I baked this bread at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  

Seriously.......this came out beautifully and it tastes fantastic (I just had to cut a slice off the end and put a dab of butter on just to see if it was okay.)  : )  Looking forward to toasting it for breakfast this morning.

It's suppose to be another beautiful day today.  I cleaned for the weekend yesterday so that is done and my husband cleaned up the yard yesterday so that is done as well.  So the day is stretched out before us.  I hope you will enjoy this day and that you will enjoy your home.  Have fun with it, take breaks as you need them, and find satisfaction in knowing that you are creating an environment where friends and family can relax and enjoy themselves.  Thanks SO much for dropping by and God bless your day!!!!!  : )

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Favorite Bread

A wreath from Dollar Store finds.

These are the "pumpkins" my husband made out of 4'x4's - we have three more in the backyard.  It's a Pinterest idea but I really like them.

Our front door - I love Autumn!!!!!

For quite a few months now, I have been looking for a bread recipe that I like.  A lot of them were dense and heavy, some of them were too fluffy, but this one is just right.  : )  This is a bread that I could (and probably will from now on) make every week.  It seems right for making sandwiches as well - most of the others did not. This is meant for the bread machine, but I'm assuming you can mix it by hand!  I absolutely love making my dough in the machine and then baking it in the oven mostly because I don't care much for the look of the square loaf that you get with the bread machine.  I like the bread tin look.  : )  

So, here is the recipe for you:


In the bread machine pan place the ingredients in the order given:
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. very warm water
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. margarine (broken into little pieces)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. yeast

Choose the dough cycle.  Once the dough is complete, remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter and form dough into a loaf shape and place into a greased and floured bread tin.  Allow to rise for 45 minutes.  After rising, bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25 minutes.  Let the bread rest for 5 minutes in tin and then remove to a cooling rack.

This is, by far, the best (in my opinion).  : )

We're loving the cool weather right now - so nice to have the windows open especially throughout the night.

Hope you are all doing well - thank you for dropping by!  God bless.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Morning

Up north pretty.  : )

Once again looking back on the past week, there are things that come to mind.  Whether they are blog-worthy or not is, I guess, in the eyes of the beholder.  : )

In my younger days, when our son was still young too, I blush to think of the bad examples I set for him sometimes.  This past week has shown me how much I have changed since then - or I should say - how much the Lord has changed me (for I tend to roll my eyes when I hear about "self-made men or women").  I used to over-react to stuff that came into our lives and our son saw that.  I could tell when it made him uncomfortable and I always felt the guilt afterwards.  I am a very reactionary person but through the years praying that the Lord would settle me down a bit.  And I have.  HE has.  Not perfectly, but much better.

I'm learning to trust more.  When the bad times come (and they always will) I remind myself (or, should I say, the Holy Spirit convicts me) to remember how God has brought us through whatever came our way and to remember that God knows what we're going through at the moment and that really does help me to calm down and rely on the Lord for this certain thing and the next (and the next, and the next..............).  

In the past week, we've had a major car fix, a broken garage door, and medical bills coming in from past visits.  None, of which you all know, are inexpensive.  I actually pray for protection over these three areas of our lives - our house, our car, our health - because those three areas are THE most money-taking areas of anyone's life.  Yet here, all within a week's time, those three areas came crashing down.  Was God listening?  Does God care?  He knows our income level.  He knows finances are tight right now.  In the past I would have been worrying and wringing my hands and cried.  NOW I have assurance and re-assurance that God is still in it and yes, He was listening to my prayers, and yes, He does care.  And our grown, adult son sees the calm and how I react now compared to how I would have reacted years ago - and that's a good thing.  Because whether our children are still at home or have a home of their own, they still look to us to be examples.  When they're grown and experience "real" life on their own and go through their own difficulties, I think they have more of an understanding of where we were coming from back then.  I know I did when it came to my own parents.  I couldn't wait to get out of the house because of how bad their relationship was and how they handled certain things, but it wasn't until I experienced some of the same kinds of things that I was able to give grace and mercy.

Being a Christian does not mean that our lives all of a sudden become great and that we won't experience difficult times.  If anyone tells you that, don't listen!  There will still be illness and death and loss of jobs and loss of family and loss of friends and the list goes on.  We still experience sadness, grief, loneliness.  So, for the non-Christian to read this I suppose the question would be - why bother then?  Why become a Christian and believe in Jesus if it won't make our lives better?  Jesus says that we aren't to expect to have a carefree life.  He said that in this world we will experience difficulty.  The difference comes in eternity.  The problems of this world are temporary - eternity is not.  Eternity is forever.  And the gift to me this week (through situations that were out of my control) was finally to have peace instead of stress.

Of course this doesn't mean that we just shrug our shoulders and carry on.  We do have to be careful in our spending (which we should be anyway).  We do have to make decisions right now that will be wise.  God wants us to use the heads He gave us.  It means that we need to remember that God was with us in the past and He will be with us in this and to trust that He already knows.  That difference from then to now is a wonderful thing.

If you haven't trusted Jesus to be your personal Savior, let today be the day.  Let Him take over and help you and lift the burdens that we weren't meant to shoulder.  He loves you and He is waiting patiently for you to make that decision.  May God bless this day and the upcoming week!!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Morning

Happy 1st Day of Autumn!!!!!

Well, the storms blew through on Thursday evening.  What a rain!  We watched our backyard as it got more and more standing water (which has never happened in the almost 30 years of living here - except for the Spring thaws):

I know this is nothing compared to the hurricane-worn areas, but for us we were amazed and also praying for a dry basement (which a lot of people around here definitely had problems with).  It was with this storm that we are now getting cool (if not down-right chilly) weather with beautiful blue skies.  We had a fire-night (in the fire pit above) last night because it was such a beautiful evening.  You would have never known that the chairs above were in that much water.

On cool days, baking is even more of a joy to me, so I tried a new recipe that I wanted to pass along to you.  One of my favorite recipe blogs is  "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" and this recipe is from them - so, a hearty "THANK YOU" to the ladies who came up with this!!!!   It was a lot of fun to make and equally fun to eat.  LOL  : )

I had mentioned a long time ago that my mom was a cook in various cafes and restaurants in our little small-town area in South Dakota and she was known for her caramel rolls and cinnamon rolls.  She always took the morning shift (6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and people would come early so they wouldn't miss out on her rolls.  Whenever we went home to visit, you could bet that Mom would have a pan of rolls for us for breakfast.  Well, I think she would have approved of these as well.  I had pumpkin left over from the pumpkin donuts on Wednesday, so this was perfect in using the rest up.  Here it goes:

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS  (this is also knead-free and dairy-free)

1.  In a small pan on the stove, heat:
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup canned pumpkin (keep 2 tsp. out for glaze!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
Heat just until warm, not hot!  Heat will destroy the yeast.  I used a thermometer for this (I find that around 105 degrees is good).  Remove from the heat and add this to a large bowl and stir in:
1 Tbsp. of instant yeast.  Stir in:
4 cups of all-purpose flour
Mix well - the dough will be sticky at this point.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour.

Look at this beautiful risen dough.  😊

2.  While the dough is rising, it's smart to get everything else ready.  So, in a small bowl, mix:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
In another small bowl, combine:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup margarine

Grease two, 9" x 13" pans.

Flour your space that you will be rolling your dough out.

3.  Once the dough has risen for an hour, stir it down and add the above flour mixture to it mixing well so all is incorporated.  The dough will be beautifully soft and still somewhat sticky.  Roll this out on a well-floured surface to approximately 20" x 14".  Then spread the above sugar/cinnamon mixture on top of the dough.

Yum.  😊

Roll this up tightly (jelly-roll style) and pinch the seam closed (beginning at the 14" end).  Cut into 14 even slices and place in the two, well-greased 9" x 13" pans.  Cover these pans and let rise for another 30 minutes.  

4.  Now is the time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees and to make the glaze.  In a small bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. maple extract
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
Whisk together until smooth

5.  After the second rise, bake in 375 oven for 30-35 minutes (the original recipe said 20 minutes but they were still raw on the inside - maybe my oven runs cooler - you'll have to be the judge on done-ness) until they are golden in color.  Drizzle with the glaze while still warm.

Trust me........these are good!  Hope you can try it!!!!!

Now it's Saturday.  Again.  Since it's going to be another beautiful day, I really need to get out to the yard and begin the sad work of getting the yard ready for winter.  The flowers are really pretty much done and a lot of other things need to be cut back.  A little raking and pulling of weeds.  I'm actually looking forward to it.  I did all the laundry and cleaning yesterday morning so that does free the time up.

I think that's about it for this post!  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I REALLY do appreciate it when you do.  😀  God bless your day!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A New Wednesday Donut

Yum.  : )

I have had this recipe out on my counter for what seems like months, just waiting for Fall-ish, cool weather to come along.  This was the day.  Hope you can try it and enjoy it as much as we did.


For the pumpkin donuts:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (remember that you can make your own!)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, room temperature
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Bring your egg out so that it has time to come to room temperature while you are gathering the rest of the ingredients.  Also, melt your butter so that it has time to cool.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your 6-count donut pan and set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt.

3.  In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla until fully combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4.  Spoon the batter evenly into your 6 donut cavities - wipe off any messes.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or till a toothpick inserted pulls out clean.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool even more.  Whilst that is happening:

To make the glaze:

1.  Mix together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (I used my homemade pancake syrup), and 1 Tbsp. milk (or more if needed) until well combined.  Either dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze or drizzle or take a knife and spread - transfer back to the wire rack to let the glaze harden for about 10-15 minutes.

Well, I waited to try these and they did not fail.  They tasted like Fall - soft, pumpkin-y, cinnamon-y, yummy.  : )   ENJOY!!!!

Thank you for stopping by!  God bless.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Small Batch Homemade Grape Jam

Homemade goodness.  : )

Well, we woke up to a warm, humid morning.  The clouds thickened this afternoon, the winds came up and turned around to the north, and now a wonderful (much needed) rain.  A little thunder off in the distance - very cozy.  A perfect afternoon to make small-batch jam.  : )

The recipe said it made two pints but I only got a pint and a half.  The half-pint goes into the fridge to be eaten this week, the other goes into the freezer for the winter.  : )

There is something especially "old-fashioned" about making your own jam.  I feel like an old-time homemaker when I bring out the jars and lids and rings and having the fruit bubbling away in the pot.  Very homey.  And I'd like to share it with you as well.  It's very easy to do and the results are very tasty.  This is my first time at this particular recipe and I'm pleased with it so into the recipe notebook it goes for future use!  I hope you like it too.


2 pounds red or black seedless grapes
3/4 cup water
3/4 - 1 cup granulated sugar (I used 3/4 cup and found that was plenty)
1/2 box Sure-Jell Pectin

1.  Put a small plate in the freezer before starting the process.  This is to test the jam thickness later.
2.  Add grapes and water to a large pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring often, about 20 minutes, trying to break the grapes apart with your spoon.
3.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a bit.  While still warm puree' in a food processor or blender - but do this in batches!  Don't fill the blender with hot food.  After each batch is pureed, add it back to the pan.
4.  Bring it back to a simmer and stir in the sugar and pectin.  Continue to slowly simmer for up to 25 minutes, stirring often.  When the time is almost up, take the plate from the freezer and smear a small bit across the chilled plate.  If it sets up or gels it is ready and it will further thicken overnight.  If it doesn't gel, just cook a while longer but no more than 25 minutes total cooking time.
5.  Allow to cool and pour into glass jars and store tightly in fridge for up to 2 months or freeze up to 1 year.

Yum.   : )  That's it for today!!!  Thank you for your visit.  God bless.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

Autumn up north.

Before bed, I re-read the New Testament books of the Bible and I also read a daily devotional (My Utmost for His Highest) by Oswald Chambers.  I've heard of Oswald Chambers but up to now have never read anything from him.  In reading the Introduction of this devotional I have read that his way of writing was pretty difficult for some people to understand because back in his day (he died at the age of 43 back in 1917) people wrote differently - there were obvious changes in the English language since then and James Reimann was the man who re-wrote this devotional but without taking anything away from it's original meaning.  He was concerned that since this devotional was a best-seller he wanted to be sure that anyone who picked it up would be able to understand it and give us insights that Oswald Chambers found in the Bible to help us apply to our lives.  And I'm SO glad he did.  It was re-written in 1992.

Like I usually say in my Sunday posts, I try to look back on the week and think of something to share with you and for most of the week this particular devotion stood out in my mind and I DO want to share it with you.

Interestingly, I read this devotion on the evening of Tuesday, September 11th.  In the United States we all know that this particular day has specific meaning for us in our country's history.  We ALL know what an impact that day had upon us.  The horrific events are seared into our hearts and minds and even if we'd want to forget, we know we cannot.  Nor should we.  I won't write out the entire devotion - only the part that stood out (for me):

"Notice the kind of people that God brings around you, and you will be humiliated once you realize that this is actually His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him.  Now He says we should exhibit to those around us exactly what He has exhibited to us."

It gives us an assignment is some way.  We should be writing down everything that God has exhibited to us in our lives.  What would that look like?


And then, on another list, we should be writing down how we treat the people that God brings around us.  What would THAT look like?

*No mercy?
*No grace?

How does it compare?  Well, it's very obvious - there is no comparison.  And that's the point.  That's where the humiliation comes in.  How we treat others is exactly how we treat God!  And now that we know this, we are to turn it around and begin to treat others the way God has treated us.  How many times have we messed up, yet God still loves us?  THAT is mercy. Do we show mercy to the difficult people that come into our lives?  It's hard isn't it?  But God asks us to do the hard thing.  

I don't want to be a hypocrite about this either.  I don't want to write about this, send it out and act as if this is easy-peasy for me to do.  It's not.  There are definitely people in my life that I truly have a difficult time with, but I am admitting to you that after reading that portion of the devotion on Tuesday evening, the Holy Spirit is convicting me.  And I know that I WILL be tested in this to see if I mean what I say.  I have a LOT of homework to do!!!!  But that's okay.  Obviously it was something that needed to be brought to my attention.  And maybe for you as well?  

May the Lord give you a wonderful upcoming week.  : )

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Morning

I want to jump into this picture and live there!!!!  Always something to be said about simplicity.

Lazy Saturday mornings.  Last night we were so surprised to think of another week being over.  It really flew by.  And it's going to be another hot, humid, summer-type day here (I guess according to the calendar it still IS summer).  The outdoor plantings are getting that not-so-pretty-anymore kind of look to them.  Our pine tree in the backyard is loosing it's needles (it does that every September) and I think the Japanese Beetles are finally gone (after destroying many leaves on trees).  So, I think I'm kind of ready for everything to die back, the leaves to change colors, and the cool air to come.  : )  

I bought our first garden mum in a rusty orange color (that is a sure sign of Autumn).   I found a craft idea for my husband on Pinterest.  It's making pumpkins out of 2' x 4's (I'll show you if he makes them).  I thought that way I can limit buying pumpkins this year (because I have to have pumpkins on the front door steps).  : )  And, then, I brought out a few Fall decorations yesterday:

I still want to hang a little bunting on the shelf with some Autumn words on it.

I think there needs to be a little something in the middle of the wreath to give it some color.  It's kind of drab.

Just a pumpkin and leaves on the china cabinet.  Again, pretty simple.

Above the couch.

I would still like to make a couple of Autumn pillows for the couch and maybe a throw for across the chair.  Then the living room will be done.  The other rooms need some touches yet so maybe a trip to the Dollar Store is needed.  : )

Yesterday afternoon was spent in puttering like this.  Moving things around.  Every so often I need to do that.  It gives me a time to think and a time to be creative in the rooms that we spend time in.  It's kind of like staging - getting a certain look that is pleasing or pleasant to look at.  Some people scoff at this because they feel a house should look lived in, not staged, and I agree.  But these things are on shelves, on top of surfaces that can be looked at and are pleasing to the eye when you are in that particular room.  They aren't meant to be scattered on places that you would actually want to use on a daily basis.  It would be awkward to decorate a table that your family uses and they would have to move everything before using it (and then try to put it all back when done)!  Decorating our rooms should be a pleasant thing and it should be fun and it should bring homey feelings.  It also brings interest.  Seasons should be welcomed into our home with little touches.  It's enjoyable to have everything Fall in the outdoors (different colors of leaves, pumpkins, mums, etc.) and then walk into a house that carries that same theme.   That's why decorating for Winter/Christmas is so fun, or the Easter decorations that we bring out in the Spring.  : )

I would encourage you this weekend to begin to cozy up your home for the Fall months.  You don't have to go crazy with it, but just little touches will homey-it up.  Again, the Dollar Store has pretty Fall flowers and little pumpkins and other decorations so there is no need to spend a lot.   If you enjoy crafting and sewing, there are a lot of ideas out there that are inexpensive as well.  But I hope you can try to do something - something is better than nothing!!!!  : )  

I believe that is about it for today.  Thank you for your visit - I do appreciate it!  God bless.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Just Checking In

Pretty surprises in the deep woods.   : )

I know you're not sitting and waiting for a new post, but posting once in while is fun for me, so I'll take this time to do so.  😊

One thing for sure, is that after tomorrow my cooking/baking for the freezer will come to end for the time being.  I can proudly say that the freezer is full so I will now begin to work more on the pantry shelves and think about the canned goods that I tend to use on a regular basis (which is mostly the tomato products).

I baked a batch of cookies for the freezer today so that is done.  Tomorrow will be:

*Bake little meatloaves
*Pre-cook sausage for using on pizza or in spaghetti dishes
*Make small-batch grape jam

And that will be it.  I had so many other main entree' ideas that I wanted to make, but those will have to wait.  Maybe they are the ones that I will cook after the holidays/new year when using up the others.

It's been an uneventful week so far (which can be nice).  Monday and Tuesday were spent in cleaning the upstairs and downstairs a little better than I have been.  With cooking and keeping up with the other things, cleaning tends to be more on the surface rather than digging in.

Yesterday I did get to making the laundry detergent:

And in the evenings I've been managing to get downstairs and do some sewing.  So, all in all it's been a good week so far.  

The weather has turned warm and humid again so it's back to the air conditioning.  We were getting spoiled with the cool, dry air and having the windows open.  But I won't complain - I think of everyone who is in the path of hurricane Florence right now.  Praying for everyone's safety!!!!!!

Well, again, nothing to write home about, just an update.  Hope that you are enjoying taking care of your homes!  Thank you again for the short visit - I do appreciate it.  😀  God bless.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Morning

Lake Superior in Minnesota.

As in past Sunday posts, I try to look back on the week and share something meaningful.  Something learned.  Something that will point you to Jesus. It has been a homemaker's week with plenty of things to do and a growing list of what didn't get accomplished that I seem to add to the next day.  I don't stress out on what doesn't get done as much as I used to when I was younger.  I guess that's a side benefit to getting older.  You (I) learn to try to put things more into perspective and not sweat the small stuff.  Plus, to be honest, I just don't have the energy I used to so that definitely makes a difference!  😐

The one thing that sticks out about the past week is how discontented I felt.  Even though every morning I thank God for all that He has given (and He has indeed blessed me because of His great mercy), there is the enemy of my soul (Satan) who was working overtime on making me feel discouraged and sad and questioning my worth.  He knows my weakness and feeds on that.  I start looking at other women and comparing myself to them and I ALWAYS come up short (in my mind).  Some women have a lot of kids and I only have one.  Some have lucrative employment and they can have pretty much what they want.  Some of them have tons of friends.  Some are so creative and talented in areas where they receive recognition for it.  You know - the list can go on.  And then I look at myself.  And I feel like I don't even come close and then I get down and then I worry and then I get sad and then, and then, and then......................  It goes around and around.

I've been a Christian long enough to know the warning signs and I know that I'm being attacked and I know that I need to hold on to the Word of God and trust in Jesus when times like this come.  Before I was saved and I would have difficult times I could easily stay in the pit of pity for a very long time and try to manipulate my way through it.  But because I can come to Jesus and know how much God loves me and doesn't want me stay in the pit, I can climb up and out of it much sooner.

During my prayer times in the morning, one of the areas I pray about is protection from Satan - physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.  I pray that God would fight for me (us).  I pray that He would go before us and pull out the land mines that Satan has set for that day.  I pray that God would be our protector and defender and shield.  That He would be the Mighty Warrior in the battle.  I truly believe God wants us to be specific in prayer.  And even though after getting up from my prayers the true test is the day itself and what we will face and who we will have to deal with and how we will deal with it, I can still pray without ceasing.  When the not-so-good feelings arise, I can whisper a prayer to the One who sustains us and He can bring peace.  When the self-condemnation comes and the worry and the sadness, I know that the Holy Spirit can bring to mind what I need to get my focus back on God.  Last night before bed I was reminded of the verse - "....bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ....." (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I had forgotten that verse and I needed to read it again.  Sin begins with our thoughts and we have to admit (and repent of) those thoughts to Jesus.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!!!!!

If you don't know Jesus yet nor have asked Him to come and take over your life, please do it now.  Today is the day of salvation.  Don't wait.  It makes ALL the difference in the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Two Cans of Pumpkin, Three Tasty Recipes

The colors aren't changing around here yet (this is a photo from last year), but I'm looking forward to it!!!  😊

Well, my time in the kitchen for the past few weeks is turning out some good results.  Yesterday my main dish freezer meal was chili, so I had that cooking in the slow cooker all day - I'll put it in jars this morning and add it to the freezer.

As the title of my post says, I brought out two cans of pumpkin this week, and created three good recipes.  The first were my pumpkin muffins that I posted on Wednesday:

The second was my Harvest Bread (recipe follows):


Cream these 3 ingredients together.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs

Fold in:

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (my homemade version is below)

Add to the above:

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup raisins

*If you notice the shiny surface on top of the bread, I like to sprinkle some coarse organic sugar on top for an extra crispy top.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or when a knife inserted into center comes out clean.  This is VERY good and freezes well.  Enjoy!!!!


4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground allspice

Mix well and store in airtight container.

You would think that it's easier and more cost effective if I would just go out and buy pumpkin pie spice in the jar considering this recipe takes a lot of different spices in order to make it, but if you're like me and do a lot of Autumn/Holiday/Winter baking, I have all these spices in my spice rack anyway, so to put this mix together is easy and already a savings to me.  As a matter of fact, while making this spice mix, I found out exactly how low I was getting on a couple of these spices so I was able to write them down for my next shopping trip.

Which leads me to the third, and final, recipe that I made with my canned pumpkin.  After the muffins and the bread, I had just the right amount of pumpkin left over to make my:


In a blender, combine:

14 oz. heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup (my homemade to follow)
3 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Pour into a quart jar and keep in refrigerator.  This is SO good!!!  When you pour it into your cup of coffee, it even foams up on the top just like the coffee shop coffee!  Yum.  😁

I hope you can give all of these a try.  I do get excited about Autumn baking and flavors and the weather around here has been perfect for it.

Because of my indoor work this week, I need to get some time in the great outdoors so this morning after breakfast I'll need to catch up on all those weeds again.  I'm SO way behind in this but it'll be nice to do it and see the quick results of bringing it back to looking half way decent.  The other things on my list:

*a load of laundry
*make homemade laundry detergent
*bake some cookies (my goal is to make our house smell good every day!)  😊

Tonight's meal:

Chicken Quesadillas
Chips and salsa
Cantaloupe slices

The 3 "C's"!  I didn't notice it until now.  LOL

Well, I hope you can have a good day in getting to some homey things.  Enjoy the process of doing.  God bless your efforts!!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Few Things

God's creativity.  Beautiful.  : )

Oh, my.  It is a dry, cool day - SO feels like Autumn and I love it.  It will be a sweater evening indeed.  I get so motivated to do things when it's like this.  I want to be outside and inside at the same time!  

I'm still working on cooking/baking for the freezer.  This afternoon was:

pumpkin muffins.  With soup suppers coming up soon, we love to have quick breads or muffins to have with them.  A bowl of hot soup and bread or muffins off to the side is pure comfort food.

If you want a Autumn smell in your house, bake these.  Mmmmmmmmm........................


3 cups sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs

Mix the above well in a large bowl.  In another bowl:

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder (I suggest aluminum free)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.  
Makes 36 muffins!!!  Enjoy.  : )

When I made my baking center in the kitchen, it has SO helped me in getting in there and baking something in a very short amount of time.  When I say baking center I mean - using the countertop next to the sink for mixing everything together, I open up the cupboard doors above that which holds all that I need (flour, sugars, baking powder/soda, salt, etc.), then right next to me is a drawer that holds all the measuring cups and spoons, and right behind me are the spices and mixing spoons.  Very little moving around to find anything - it's all together in one spot.  It does, however, help that I have a tiny kitchen so there's not a lot of movement anyway!  LOL  But, having a small kitchen is really a blessing - I HAVE to keep it organized.

With making sure we have enough around the house to get us through winter, of course food is the first thing that comes to my mind.  However, there are other areas of our home that we should be thinking about.  There are things we can do now to add to a surplus of items that we use on a daily basis.  What I'm thinking about:

*water - we're trying to buy bottled water on every shopping trip - Aldi has a pack of 24 bottles for $1.99.  Also, we're trying to fill some large plastic containers with tap water (and making sure we mark it "non-potable") just in case we need to use it for flushing the toilet.  We tend to think that with winter comes snow and we can melt snow if need be, but I remember quite a few snow-free winters so you can't always count on that.
*soap/laundry detergent -  we need to be clean!  : )  With the generosity of my family for my birthday this year, I have stuff to make homemade soap which will get us through the winter!  The dollar store also has a good supply of different soaps which are fun to have on hand - stock up!  : )  Today I bought "ingredients" to make our dry laundry detergent.  I love this stuff:


1, 4 lb. box of Super Washing Soda
1, 4 lb. box of Baking Soda
1, 4 lb. box of Borax
3 bars of Kirk's Castile soap, or Fels Naptha soap, or Zote soap, or Ivory soap (I use Zote)

Shred the soap bars.  Pour everything in a very large container and mix REALLY well.  To use:  add two heaping Tbsp. to each load of laundry.  

This lasts a very long time.  I do buy store-bought laundry liquid detergent (as a matter of fact, I always have at least 3 large containers in the laundry room) and use it only for the cool-water wash and I use the above detergent for everything else that requires warm or hot.  It makes for not having to buy laundry detergent for a VERY long time.  : )  If you find that you are beginning to have dingy whites, remember the "old-fashioned" soaking with a little of the above detergent along with some peroxide and soak overnight.  Our whites look great doing this.

*vinegar - if you have vinegar in the house, you have a lot of what you need to clean your house.  No more buying store-bought products with all those chemicals!  This is where I have to watch my husband - it's like he's drawn like a magnet to those cleaning products.  He just loves them and I'm still using up all the stuff that he's bought in the past.  I can't get myself to just throw them out because he did spend money on them.  But I am trying to break him of this nasty habit.  : )
*toilet paper - this is definitely something we can't do without so like the water, we try to pick up a large pack when we do our grocery shopping.
*candles - you wouldn't think that this is a big deal, but when the electricity goes out, it's a wonderful thing to have on hand.  As a matter of fact, even if the electricity doesn't go out, in the Fall and Winter months, it's wonderful to burn candles for a cozy, old-fashioned feel to your home.  Even buying a few oil lanterns is nice to have.
*batteries - if you're not into the candles, you'll definitely need batteries for those flashlights!

Those are just a few things to consider when you are stocking your pantry.  Just thinking things through as to what you tend to use on a daily/weekly basis will help you in deciding what you need to begin to purchase.  Any money that you use now to make these purchases will save you money in the future.  While everyone else is running around trying to find what they need in an emergency, you will be nice and cozy and ready for whatever happens.  : )

Lastly, this past holiday weekend (Labor Day weekend), I did NOTHING in the kitchen.  I did, however, go down to my "studio" and went through fabric and fabric scraps to see what I already had and began to jot down some ideas of what to do with it all.  I'm working on quilt blocks that will be crocheted around the edges.  I'm also working on this:

when we went up north for a few days last month, I stopped by my favorite quilt shop and found this wonderful fabric.  With my love of quilts and quilt blocks, this fabric caught my eye.  I put the batting in between and the backing on and am now hand quilting each little square.  Having SO much fun with this.  The hand quilting really makes each square just pop!

It was good to get back into sewing/crafting again.  I think I needed it after cooking and baking so much lately.

Whew!  I think that's it for today!  Thank you again for dropping by for a visit.  God bless.