Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Russian Tea

Do you remember Russian tea?  Being a teenager in the 1970's, this was the mix to make!  I had really forgotten about it until I came across it a couple of weeks ago and decided that this was the time to make it again.  It's SO easy to put together, it's a wonderful gift to give (along with a Christmas or Winter mug and pretty napkins), and with the cold and flu season it's a welcome hot drink that just makes you feel good.

You probably already know how to make this, but I'll post the recipe anyway.  : )  Here it goes:


1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea powder
2 cups Tang or any orange flavored powdered drink
1 Tbsp. lemonade powdered drink mix
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cloves
 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix all of this in a large bowl or a large ziploc bag.  This needs a lot of mixing because the tea powder tends to be heavier than the rest and can be difficult to mix in, but if you keep at it, it does work.  Store in jars for your pantry - again, great for giving!!!  Add instructions:  Mix 3-4 Tbsp. (or to taste) to 1 cup of hot water.  Enjoy!!!!!

It's evening now, and I look out the window and see a layer of snow.  So nice when the outdoor lights come on and give the whole yard a pretty glow.  I have a few decorations to put up yet but I'm more or less finished.  Now the baking begins.  I'm not going to do a lot this year - the traditional sugar cookies cutouts, gingerbread cutouts, and Grandma Pearl's special candy that she made for all of us at Christmas.  I really feel the need to keep that tradition alive.  My husband will be making his Chex mix that we eat all through December and we also give that as gifts in tins.  I thought I'd be sewing/crafting something new (and maybe I will), but right now I'm very content with what is up and to be honest, I don't know where anything new would go!!!  : )  

The one thing that I'm enjoying in the kitchen this year is that in the evenings I'm lighting a lot of candles to give it a soft inviting feeling.  I tried to take a photo, but it doesn't do it justice.  I did take a few other photos however:

by the front door.

on top of the china cabinet.

looking into the living and dining area.

I love the snowman on the left - he's one of my favorites.

just another little scene.

our dining area.

And, for now, that ends the tour.  : )  When the decorations are up, I always wonder how in the world we went the rest of the year without them!  It's just so festive and cozy.  

Well, I will say "good night" and wish you well.  I hope you are enjoying preparing your home for Christmas.  Thank you for dropping by for a visit because I really do appreciate it!  : )  God bless.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

A very vintage Christmas.  : )

Every time I (we) take the Christmas boxes down and begin decorating, I tell myself to go slowly this year and take my time.  For me, though, it doesn't work that way.  I see all the things in the boxes and I just so want to get it done.  Now.  And so I did.  I know I'll spend a couple of days just tweaking things here and there, but maybe that's where the going slowly and taking my time comes in.  : )  One thing I love to do is putter - you know, trying things first here and then there until it looks right.

And then the notebook pages begin to be filled - what to buy, what to make, what to cook, what to bake, ideas to try out.

And the gatherings begin - church, friends, family.

And personal time - reading, resting, crafting/sewing.

It happens every year.  We want to do it all.  And it can be fun and it can be creative, and it can be meaningful, but it can also be too much and it can also be stressful.  So.............that's where Advent comes in.  I think it's SO very important to make time for the Advent season.  Advent is the time of waiting.  Time to be quiet and to think about the wonderful gift of Jesus to us.

Ever since our son was little we would have Advent family devotions.  We never did do the Advent wreath with the candles.  I don't know why, we just never did.  But we always did have special devotional readings at the table and had this time at the supper table, but you can do it whenever it is good for you and/or your family.  It was a very special time.  And even though we are empty nesters, I want to continue this special time and found a nice idea on Pinterest that we're going to incorporate into our Advent.

On Pinterest, this was done in so many different ways but I just simplified it.  And I wanted to share it with you as well.  All you do is take 25 envelopes and number them from 1 to 25 (December 1st through the 25th) and you can leave them plain or you can decorate them (I like pretty, so I decorated each envelope with whatever stamps I had or stickers, etc.).  And then put something meaningful into each envelope - I am going to put a Christmas devotion into each envelope and then my husband and I will read them at our breakfast meal.  You could have your kids or grandkids help you with this and teach them how important it is to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas.  Devotions can be found on-line to be printed out or you can always find devotional books at thrift stores that you can cut the pages out - however you want to do it - just fold them and tuck each one into each envelope and then each day make it a special time of pausing, reading, and praying.  I think you will find it a time of slowing down a bit - putting Jesus first because He IS the reason for the season.   : )

God bless.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday Morning

Pretty November sunset.  : )

Well, I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving.  Ours was very nice and relaxing.  I always make sure that I do the prep work on Wednesday so on Thursday I can take my time and enjoy everyone instead of being held up in the kitchen.  Like I said before, it wasn't going to be the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and the trimmings, but we all agreed that we thought having a Thanksgiving brunch was actually really fun.  We seriously didn't miss the turkey (although we will have that meal later on).  I think it was good for the kids too as they didn't have to eat the big meal twice in one day.

I know that everyone says not to try out new recipes when hosting parties, but I broke the rules and actually tried three!  Everything turned out great and the recipes will be added to my collection so I wanted to share them with you as well.  : )

The first one was the main course.  I know we've all had egg bakes in a variety of ways and this is pretty typical, but I still would like to post it just in case you'd like to try it:

THE BEST BREAKFAST CASSEROLE (whenever a recipe title says "The Best" I try it).  : )

24 oz. frozen shredded potatoes
salt and pepper
12 eggs
2 cups half and half
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (I think this is what made it so good!)
2 cups chopped ham

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and add the frozen potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the half and half, seasoned salt, the cheeses, and the ham.  Mix well and pour over the top of the potatoes.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight (this is what makes this so wonderful - work done ahead of time!).  Bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  

I also liked the long baking time.  It allows you to keep relaxing or get to other things if need be.  : )
I hope you can try it - I posted it because it seems that in December, there are plenty of opportunities to provide a brunch and this is very good.

The second recipe is for Cranberry Orange muffins.  This was a hit.  SO moist and delicious.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
the zest of two oranges
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray or line a 12-count muffin tin.  

In a medium bowl with hand-held or stand mixer, beat the butter on high till smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the sugars and beat again on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute and then high again until combined and uniform in texture.  Scrape the bowl and bottom again.  Then, beat in the orange zest.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and add to the wet ingredients and slowly mix with whisk attachment.  Add the orange juice and milk, gently whisking until combined.  Fold in the cranberries by hand.

Spoon batter in prepared muffin tin, filling them all the way to the top.  I like to sprinkle the tops of all the muffins I make with the organic coarse sugar for an added crunch and sparkle!  Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 18-20 minutes - test with a toothpick for doneness.  Enjoy!!!!!  : )

Again, with the holidays, these muffins could grace any table and will be appreciated.  : )  So good.

I had two side dishes to go with the egg bake - one was just baked sweet potatoes and then served with butter and brown sugar on top, but the other was stir-fried green beans.  Not really a recipe so to speak, but it was so very good:


In a large skillet, fry 7 strips of bacon until crispy - let drain on paper towels.  While bacon is cooling, add 2 lbs. of fresh green beans (that have been prepared by snapping off the ends and then snapping in two) to the bacon fat in skillet along with 3 minced garlic cloves.  Stir-fry for about 10 minutes or so just until the beans are getting softer but still maintaining their green color.  At this point add 1 Tbsp. of butter and another 3 minced garlic cloves (seems like a lot of garlic, but trust me, it's okay).  : )  Stir-fry some more until the beans are softer but still have that little crunch to them.  Now add the bacon (which you will want to break up into pieces) and mix well.  Serve!  SO good.

So, my experiment with new recipes worked out.  Whew!  I hope you can give them a try.

We kind of took the day off yesterday.  My husband hung up the holiday lights outdoors and I took a few things out of the closet for indoor decorating, but not too much.  It was so dark and cozy, I felt like reading and resting more than anything.  So, today, out comes the boxes of decorations and I'm looking forward to slowly putting things up.

I think that's about it for today.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I'm VERY thankful for everyone who reads my posts.  I'm always hoping I can share something that will be of some help to you.  I hope you continue to have a good weekend.  God bless.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

An Early Happy Thanksgiving

Golden Autumn beauty.  : )

This is going to be a busy day and I will not be posting tomorrow, so I just wanted to drop in and wish you a "Happy Thanksgiving"!  I hope the day and the rest of the week go well for you and your family and/or friends.  I encourage you to find gratitude in it.  Enjoy what you have.  And..........don't eat too much!!!!!  : )  With love, Mary  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

Lake Superior  : )

In thinking back on the past week, and forward to the upcoming week,  the theme of Thanksgiving still remains in my mind.  SO many things and people to be grateful for and thanking God for His care.  I think it's because I'm getting older that it's important to me to be more thankful (even in the difficult people and the difficult things).  I never thought that giving thanks in difficulty and loss could even be a possibility, but I found that it is.  I can't tell you that it just happens overnight (and maybe it does for some).  But it can happen if you are patient and ask for help in recognizing the silver linings in the cloudiness.  

The book on gratitude that I read a while back truly helped me in that I do try to be thankful all day.  Thanking God in the morning for bringing us through the night.  Thanking God at noon for what He has allowed us to do and enjoy.  Thanking God at meals for the food He has provided.  Thanking God in the evening for bringing us through the day.   After doing this for any amount of time it becomes something that you just naturally do - not flippantly - but sincerely.  You tend to just be on the lookout and be more aware of everything that God gives instead of what you think you need and do not have.  It's a wonderful way to live day by day.

This way of thinking also makes you more aware of the people around you.  I've said this in past posts, but we walk by people every day who just wants someone to acknowledge them.  Just to say "hi" to them.  Just to smile at them and show yourself friendly.  I think that once we get into the thanksgiving and gratitude attitude, it then helps us to take our minds off ourselves and become more aware of the needs of others.  That's what this time of year is all about (although it should be for the full 12 months).  

I think the only danger of the holidays is that we can get our good intentions and good feelings and generous spirit on for a month or so, then it's back to self interests again.  All of a sudden we can feel like - okay, I did my part, now back to me.  We write down our new year resolutions, our bucket lists, our wanna-buy's, and then others once again fade into the background.

How can we all keep the holiday spirit going through the whole year?  I think we need to ask God for help in this area.  We are, by nature, selfish people so we definitely need God to change our hearts and minds and attitudes.  We need to ask Him what He would have us do.  He created all of us with unique abilities that we sometimes keep to ourselves and then I think we sometimes don't think that we don't have anything to offer others but that's not true.  

I've said this before too - we can't always be "big picture" people because sometimes the big picture is too overwhelming for most of us.  It's that way in taking care of a home.  If you step into a room that is a disaster area, all you will focus on is the disaster.  You can't see beyond it.  You think that there is no way you'll ever be able to get it right again.  Well, it's the same way with helping others and finding ways of giving - if you look at the big picture, our world looks way to overwhelming.  We tend to think that there is no way that what little we have could possibly make an impact.  But when you break it down to one person at a time, we can help many!

So, as we officially enter into the holiday season, I would encourage all of us to get into the habit of gratitude and then extend ourselves to the care of others so that it becomes a part of us all year round.  God bless.  : )

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Up and Running Again

Our old computer died earlier this week, so now we are up and running again with a new one.  If there is one thing I don't like spending money on, it's a new computer.  I really believe that they don't make things to last anymore so to give in and buy another of anything is REALLY hard for me!!!!

I hope this finds all of you doing okay now that the week is over and the weekend is here.  Our week was good - mostly doing our daily and weekly work around the house.  We had been up and down in temperatures all week so when it was nice my husband got out to do leftover outdoor work.  It's kind of sad to see the outdoor work coming to an end (other than the future snow removal we'll see soon!).  We woke up this morning to a light dusting again which is kind of pretty.

I know last Saturday I posted about our Thanksgiving meal but this past week proved that plans can change (which I'm NOT fond of, but that's the way it goes!).  Due to certain changes, instead of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, I'm hosting a Thanksgiving brunch!  This is totally new to me - I really didn't think it existed until I scoured the internet for ideas and it surprised me as to how many people actually do this.  From what I read it's more for those who want to eat a nice meal earlier in the day before they have the huge meal towards evening, but for us it will be THE main meal of the day because I'm sorry, I'm not doing TWO main meals on Thanksgiving!

It will be VERY different.  Instead of the cozy smell of turkey roasting, it will be:

*Hot Apple Cider
*Breakfast Egg Casserole
*Garlic Green Beans with Chard and Bacon
*Baked sweet potatoes
*Cranberry-Orange Muffins
*Hot chocolate, hot tea, hot coffee, and milk
*And, some kind of pie for dessert later : )

Which isn't all bad, I guess.  But for a gal who LOVES tradition, this is WAY out of my comfort zone!  I found out about the change in the middle of the week after I had bought most of the traditional Thanksgiving food.  Fortunately, all that food is tucked away in the freezer and can be brought out, cooked, and served for another time.  : )  If you notice, however, there are a few things in the above menu that have some resemblance of the traditional meal - apple cider, garlic green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pie.  So..........all is not lost.  LOL  : )  I need to remember that it's the getting together with people you love and care about is all that matters.

I haven't done much cooking or baking of anything new this week so I don't have a new recipe to share with you today.  I do, however, want to re-post our slow cooker pea soup recipe that I made the other day (I'm sorry, I forgot to take photos).  This is SO good - here it is:


*16 oz. of dried split peas (make sure to rinse them and take out any peas that aren't good)
*8 cups of chicken stock or broth (enough to cover the ham hocks)
*2 smoked meaty ham hocks
*1/2 cup finely chopped onion
*1 Tbsp. (I do more) minced garlic
*1 cup chopped carrot
*2 bay leaves

Add everything to the slow cooker, mix well and cook on Low for 8 - 10 hours (I do it for 10 hours because we like our soup creamy and this amount of time breaks everything down to a wonderful consistency).  Remove the ham hocks and cut off all the meat and add to the soup.  Enjoy!!!!!

SO easy and it makes your home smell so good with the smoky ham hocks simmering away.  Just serve it with a good homemade bread and a little fruit on the side and you have a WONDERFUL winter meal.  YUM  : )

Part of today will be spent in some light weekend cleaning but mostly downstairs to see if I can get some crafting done.  I have LOTS of ideas but haven't taken the time to do anything about it!  I want to bake some cookies as well - we're having neighbors in for cards and dessert and I thought it would be nice to just have a platter of cookies with fresh fruit and hot tea as dessert this evening.  Simple, but elegant and light - especially for the evening hours.

That's it for today!!!  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit.  Remember that this weekend and upcoming week (even throughout what's left of this month) tell the people around you how grateful and thankful you are for them.   Remember the people that probably don't get a lot of thank-you's ............the mailman, the garbage men, etc.  Take the time to let them know that what they do is important work.  Have a good day!!!!  : )

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Evening

Paperwhite in the window.

Oh boy, it's downright wintery cold here.  A soft little covering of snow on everything - wasn't quite ready for THAT yet, but that's the way it is.  : o

It's been a pretty good week and now it's the beginning of another.  And it's Veteran's Day - make sure you let a veteran know how proud we are of them and thank them for their service of our country and most importantly........pray for them!

This morning's message at church was so good.  It was on Matthew 16:13-20 - I encourage you to look it up in the Bible.  Years ago now, when I began to really read and study the Bible and I came across verse 15, it finally dawned on me how I needed a personal relationship with Jesus.  The question that Jesus asks Peter is:

*"But what about YOU (emphasis mine)?"  "Who do YOU say I am?"

In my opinion, it's one of the most important questions that we all have to answer.  And how you answer is of eternal importance.  We will all live eternity somewhere after death.  And nowadays, no one wants to hear that or believe that.  But it's the truth.

To me, Jesus was the foretold One in the Old Testament.  He is the Christ, the awaited Messiah, born of a virgin, the Son of God, the Redeemer, the One who will come again to judge the world and restore all things.

No one gets to Heaven because they grew up in a Christian family.  Your Christian friends can't save you.  It doesn't just rub off on you because you go to church - it's a personal decision in your heart that you and you alone have to make.  God always knows our hearts.  We can fool some people into thinking that we're living the Christian life, but only God knows for sure.  

God loves you SO much and He wants you to come to Him and believe in the Christ Jesus as your personal Savior.  Because He is.

Who do YOU say Jesus is?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday Morning

I love old calendars - the pictures are worth keeping!!!  : )

Well, time is marching on.  It just dawned on me Thursday that Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away!  I love Thanksgiving and I'm glad someone had the foresight to make it a national holiday.  A time to celebrate all that God has provided for us throughout the year.

For us, the menu is pretty typical - I really don't veer off much.  If it works, don't mess with it is what I tend to say.  : )  I don't receive a lot of comments, but I would love to hear (as well as those who come to visit) what you do for Thanksgiving.  What do you serve?  What are your traditions?  Do you have a favorite memory of any particular Thanksgiving?

Growing up, my Mom is the one who had Thanksgiving.  And growing up in a mobile home we didn't have a lot of room!  And we ALWAYS had a big group - but Mom made do (isn't that what we're supposed to do?) and we were all happy and satisfied.  I think that is what has helped me throughout my life in living in a tiny house.  I grew up with it, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  And, like Mom, we make do and it ends up being just fine.  : )  

The menu:

*Turkey (I don't make a whole turkey, I always make a crockpot turkey breast)
*Mashed potatoes and gravy
*Green beans
*Sweet potatoes  (LOTS of carbs on this day, isn't there?!!!!)
*Cranberry sauce
*Relish tray that consists of dill pickles, sweet pickles, black olives, green olives, and pickled beets)
*Dinner rolls with sweet butter
*Pumpkin pie
*Apple pie
*Both with real whipped cream (no Cool Whip please!)
*Coffee, tea, hot chocolate

Again, pretty typical.  What I like is the fact that a lot of these foods can be made ahead of time and just re-heated.  I hope to encourage you in this.  To enjoy the process.  To ask for help if you need it.  What I've learned is that everyone loves to bring something.  Maybe Aunt Nora makes the best dinner rolls or Grandma makes the best apple pie.  Good cooks like to "show off" their special dishes so let them shine!!!!  Make sure to thank them to their face, but also with a little note after your get-together.  It's very important to let them know how much their help helped you!

I know that cleaning out pumpkins and roasting the seeds is not a new idea, but because I want to be frugal and use up the whole food if I can, we had Acorn squash as a side dish the other night and roasted the seeds.  Well.......we like them SO much more than pumpkin seeds!  If you haven't tried roasting seeds before, this is what I did:

*When removing the seeds from the squash, place them in a colander and run the seeds under water to rinse them and begin removing the pulp from them.
*Put the seeds on a towel and pat dry - let them air dry overnight.
*The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
*Place the seeds in a small bowl and pour a little olive oil over them along with any spices or seasonings you might want (I used a cinnamon/sugar mixture, but you can make them savory as well by using a Cajun spice or Jerk seasoning or anything else you would like to try - it's fun to experiment!!!).  Toss evenly to coat.
*Spread the seeds evenly over a cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until the seeds get crunchy.
*SO GOOD! - I hope you can try it.  Seeds are VERY healthy.  If you have children around this would be fun for them to do and a learning experience in getting them to realize that not only can you eat the pulp of the squash (or pumpkin), but the seeds as well.  : )

I think that's about all I have for you today.  We are waking up to VERY cold temps this morning so I think we will probably take advantage of a warm house.  We got a lot done yesterday so maybe a baking or crafting or reading day (or all three) will be nice.  I hope you can enjoy your day too.  My hope is to motivate you to love your home.  When we women love our homes it shows.  The work you do in it really does matter.  Have fun with it, be creative with it and never expect perfection - it just ain't goin' to happen.  : )  God bless and thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"B" Is For Bread

Well, I guess I'm done with the "A"'s and now on to the "B"'s!  And this is another bread machine bread that I put together this afternoon.  As always, I just use the dough cycle on the machine and then let it rise for a second time in the tin before I pop it into the oven.  I really prefer to do it that way especially now that the cold weather has kind of settled in and I like the good smells and warmth from the oven.  : )

A friend of mine came over a couple of weeks ago and brought a whole bunch of "Taste of Home" magazines.  And I literally tore through them and fortunately in a lot of issues they had a page just specifically for bread machine breads!  I tore them out and I'm looking forward to trying them all.  It's where I found this bread that I'm going to share with you as soon as I stop "talking."  : )

We had pasta for supper tonight and this bread that I'm about to share worked perfect with it.  It is a garlic bread and if you don't mind your home smelling like garlic (we don't) then I encourage you to try it.  Here it goes:


In your bread machine, place all ingredients in the given order:

1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp. active dry yeast

You can either choose the basic bread setting and then crust color and loaf size you want, or you can choose the dough setting (usually takes about 1 1/2 hours) and then put it in a greased loaf tin and let rise for about 1/2 hour or so and then bake in a 350-degree oven for another 1/2 hour.  That's it!!!!

SO GOOD!!!  Hope you can try it and if you do, please let me know what you think.  : )

That's it from here.  Thank you for your visit - I do appreciate it.  God bless.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Homemade Taco Sauce

My husband is not much of a salsa fan, but he does love his taco sauce.  Here is another pantry recipe that you can whip up in no time at all and is very tasty.  Another product that you can make at home instead of purchase at the store!!!!!  I'm ALWAYS for that.  : )  Here it goes:


15 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. honey

Mix all the above ingredients until well combined.  Store in fridge or freeze for future use if desired.  This is also gluten free for anyone who is interested in that!  : )

Well, it is a cool, blustery election day here.  If you haven't voted yet, please do!!!!!!!!!!  : )

That's all I have for this day.  Thank you for dropping by.  God bless.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

We woke up this morning to a wonderful rain.  It's very cool and very cozy.  We had a blessed church service this morning with lots of good tears - the kind where you know that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through the songs being sung and the words of the pastor in his message.  We just enjoyed a good after-church meal here at home and now we're resting and relaxing.  : )

Looking back on the week, the one thing that sticks out most is how I feel like I'm being renewed.  We all know that there are seasons of our lives - the good and happy season where everything seems to be going well, and then there are seasons where nothing has gone well for quite a while (for so long that you forget what the good feels like), and then there are seasons of a little of both.  And I know that's life.  The past three or more years have been the season of good and not so good.  There have been moments of laughter and joy, and moments of grief and disappointment.  We've all been there, haven't we?  Lately, though, I feel like I'm somewhat back to what I've missed for so long........just being myself.  And I truly can't fully explain what I mean by that other than God has created us and He has created us to be unique and there are things about myself that I feel I've lost due to life circumstances that we all go through. 

For example, this year (Lord willing) is the year where I want to go all out for the holidays.  I want to serve people, I want to share hospitality this year with a lot of people, I want to decorate as much as the pocketbook will allow, I want to make things, I want to cook and bake new things, I want to give and reach out.........and THAT is something I haven't felt in a LONG time.  At least, not to the extent where it used to be the norm rather than the exception.

The renewal I mentioned is from the Lord.  I KNOW that because, seriously, there are some negative things that haven't changed and I'm not sure if they will.  But He's giving my old self back - the person who loves the holidays, who loves having people over, who loves to laugh, who loves to have fun.  He has given me that desire back and I am SO VERY grateful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I've been praying about this and they've been the kind of prayers that weren't answered right away.  It's been a few years and it's just now where the turn-around is taking place.  So, again, the important take-away is stick-to-itiveness!  Keep praying.  I know I've posted about this before, but it can't be emphasized enough.  As a matter of fact, part of our sermon this morning was about this very thing.  Even when you think your prayers aren't being answered, they are.  The Lord is working in ways that aren't our ways and His timing is not our timing but hang in there!!!!  I can't even give you enough adjectives to describe the hope I feel again.  Every month I give to-do lists - well, my to-do lists for things I want to accomplish for the holidays is growing every day.  LOL  : )  Now the only problem is that I won't drive everyone crazy with all these plans!!!!!!

I hope that you will enjoy this day that the Lord has made and keep an attitude of gratitude throughout the week.  God bless.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Is For Apron

More Autumn beauty.

I doesn't look much like the photo above anymore.  Unfortunately, more and more leaves are off the trees and the trees stand in their bareness ready for winter.  There is beauty to be found in the bareness though - especially when the sun goes down and the trees are silhouetted against the orange sky.  : )

Well, today my last "A" is for aprons.  You would think that a woman who absolutely LOVES aprons would have gobs of them.  You would think that I would collect them and wear a new one every day - but I don't.  These are the three aprons that I own:

The black one is the one I wear most often as I typically wear a lot of black and brown.  The blue one I made from one of my husband's old shirts and like to wear it with my blue jean clothing.  No wow factor here!  Pretty plain and simple.

For my sewing/craft day yesterday, I made this one.  At first I wanted to put it into my Etsy shop but I kind of goofed up on the waistband so I'm keeping it for myself.  : )  Now I have three aprons, so I guess anything more than one is a now a collection!!!

I read articles about aprons and love looking at pictures of them.  It all motivates me to want to sew more of them (only this time DO what the pattern tells me to do instead of thinking I have a better way! LOL ).  My mom never wore an apron but my grandma did.  Probably because Grandma lived on a farm.  Farm aprons were a necessity.  They did more than just protect your clothing.  She brought eggs in the house by carrying them in her apron.  She wiped off furniture with a quick swipe from her apron.  She wiped a sweaty brow with her apron and always wiped off her hands with her apron.  As you can imagine, she owned quite a few aprons because she needed them.  Remember the pretty see-through aprons that were kept only for the holidays?  My mom had one that she kept in a special box - I always wonder what happened to it.  Maybe for Christmas this year, I will try to make one.  : )

I have to admit that there is something very feminine about putting an apron on.  There is a feeling you get that I can't quite explain.  Something like you are the woman of the home, that you are ready to prepare a meal that will bless your family, that you are ready to put your hands to work and you are ready for the task.

I just read an article that said that November 21st is Apron Day!!!!  What we are to do is bake a quick bread, wrap it to keep it fresh, and then add an apron to it and give it to someone!  Isn't that a fun idea?  I love stuff like that.  Let that person know they are special to you or even a total stranger to let them know they matter and maybe that will be their first apron.  

I hope this motivates and encourages you to get at least one apron and wear it when you are around the house and that you will participate in Apron Day and bless someone with an apron of their own!

Thank you again for dropping by.  God bless your day!!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2018

November To-Do's and Gratitude Ideas

Our next Gooseberry Patch calendar picture.  : )

It has been a very busy week - all good though.  Our idea for Halloween night turned out very well.  The kids that came were very polite with lots of "thank-you's" and the parents were surprised and pleased to receive hot apple cider with molasses cookies to take with them.  : )  Lord willing we will do something similar, if not the same thing, next year!  We met new neighbors with small children, were able to talk to those we already new, and just had a nice time.  The evening weather was very mild, so it was just nice to be able to sit outside and get some fresh air.

Well, I'm a day late for my November to-do's (but it's not like you are sitting on pins and needles just waiting for this list!).  I do like to give my lists out because I think they're helpful and good reminders to all of us that there ARE things that should and need to be done around the house so that the work is do-able and doesn't get out of hand.  I have found over the years that by doing what needs to be done in a timely manner gives me extra time to do the things that I enjoy doing.  I hope you find that as well.  Work is work and there's no getting around it, so like I always say......enjoy the process of doing.  Be grateful for what you have and the ability to take care of things.  Here is the list!

*Change your furnace filter
*Keep up with de-cluttering (shelves, cabinets, closets, drawers) in ALL rooms
*Flip your mattress and wash ALL the bedding
*Winterize your trees and shrubs
*Keep up with the yard work (pulling old things out, raking, etc.)
*Clean out the gutters/downspouts
*Plan Thanksgiving whatever that is to you (are you going somewhere?  what can you bring? are you having company to your house? what are you going to serve? are you going to play games?  are you going to have a crafting party after?)
*Test and hang your Christmas lights before the really cold weather settles in
*Winterize the cars
*Keep up with (or begin) your Christmas shopping - or, at least, start the lists of what to give, who to give to, etc.
*Begin your Christmas baking (a lot of sweet breads and cookies can be baked now and freeze)

Not too bad.  And for some of some of you, some of these things don't apply.  Again, do what you can, take breaks, and enjoy it.  If you can't get to everything, the world isn't going to fall apart.  : )

As we all know, November is the month for Gratitude (although every month should be) so I wanted to give you ideas for things to do during this month that might cultivate (if you need some encouragement) an attitude of gratitude.  Here is another list!!!!  : )

*write down and memorize the definition of gratitude
*remember all the people in your life that you owe gratitude for and let them know - does the garbage man come every week for pickup? - attach a thank you card to the top of the container.  Does the postman bring you your mail? - put a thank you card in the mailbox especially for him.  Does your pastor encourage you and feed you with the Word of God every Sunday? - send him a thank you.  How about the check-out person at the store?  We all can think of people who are a help to us on a regular basis and probably never hear the words "thank you"!
*look up all the verses you can find in the Bible about gratitude or being grateful and write them down on separate cards - read them every day.
*remember back before you came to Christ and look at your life now - how has He changed you?  Either say a prayer or write one out to Him for your gratitude in how He saved you.
*take a sheet of paper or a whole notebook and begin every day by writing down all the blessings that come to mind - for example; just getting up this morning is a blessing!  Every little thing (along with the big).
*we should think about all the ways God has been good to us to spur us on to how we can be good to others.  When we get out of ourselves it's a blessing in itself.  Who can you do something for this month?  Can you give generously to a charitable organization?
*this is a hard one but worth it - can you think about who has hurt you and think of a blessing that may have been made through it?  Hurtful situations can be difficult and it may be a while before you see the good in it, but there can be.
*we sometimes get into the habit of complaining rather than being grateful - write down the things that you feel you have to complain about and then write down how you can be grateful instead.
*look around for people who set good examples of someone who exhibits gratefulness - would they say the same of you?  How can you change that?

I think that I heard that it only takes 30 days to change a habit.  Maybe we can encourage each other in this area of gratitude throughout the month of November.  Sometimes it helps to have an accountability partner - (done in a spirit of kindness, of course).

Well, I think that will be it for today!  I did ALL my work yesterday so that I could have this day for my crafting and sewing.  Looking forward to seeing how much can be done!  Thank you SO much for stopping by for a visit - I DO appreciate it.  Take care and God bless your homemaking - it's important work!  : )