Thursday, January 31, 2019

February To-Do's

This is the February picture on our new calendar - SO want to live there!!!!  : )

Well, tomorrow is February and I thought I'd get the February to-do's out to you.  This is what's on our list:

*Change your furnace filter.
*Keep decluttering ALL your shelves, cabinets, and drawers (this week we took 5 bags, two boxes, and some other miscellaneous items to the thrift store! - it felt SO good).
*Wash ALL your bedding - all the bedrooms are done around here!  : )
*Repair any wood floors, creaking stairs, and/or furniture.
*Inspect your house for ice damage.
*Remove debris from dryer vent.
*If you do anything for Valentine's Day you might want to begin thinking about it now.  Do you want to host a dinner?  Do you want to invite family/friends over?  Is there someone that you can think of who might benefit from a gift of some kind.  I will give you an idea of something I like to do every Valentine's Day later on in this post.

So, really, February is pretty easy.  I think if you keep up on a VERY regular basis as far as decluttering goes, at this point you might be in good shape.  But if this is one area that you keep putting off, you might want to begin.  It's a good thing to do in keeping your home clean and organized.  It shows you what you have, what you need, and what you don't need.  Sometimes we forget what we have and we buy it again and have two!  So, I guess, being clean and organized saves you time and money as well.  A good habit to get into.  : )

Last month, I gave you a January tea party theme, so I would like to give you February.  Again, if you don't have anyone to have a tea party with, do it for yourself!  It's okay to set an afternoon aside (even on a weekend) and do something pretty for yourself.  Here is the suggestion:

*Decorate with pots of flowers in one color (either red or pink)
*If you can find an old birdcage, spray paint it gold, put a few of  the flowers inside and scatter paper hearts around it.
*Serve an angel food cake, truffles, and some pretty fruit tarts.
*Play Frank Sinatra music or any other old-time swooner.  : )

Make your table shine with these ideas!  Grab your teacup, and goodie.  Sit in a comfortable chair and just enjoy.  What a pretty treat.  : )

Lastly, like I said above, I like to do something a little special for Valentine's Day.  And, again, I'm sharing this with you not to put the spotlight on what I do, but sharing it so that it might urge you to think about doing unto others as well.

*I purchase a large wicker basket at the thrift store and then I purchase girly-girl things as I go shopping out and about - soaps, socks, lotions, lip balm/lipstick and/or other makeup, shampoo/conditioner, tin of cookies, chocolates......whatever I can think of.  The fun part - wrapping the gifts and putting them into the basket.  I then deliver it to the local women's shelter and ask if they could please give it to any woman who they think could use a little extra lift.  

*I also like to either make (which I'm not doing this year) or buy (at the $ store) Valentine's for all the special women in my life (friends, sisters, etc.) and send them out.  Don't we all love to receive just a little something special in the mail?

We can't help everyone, but if we can make just one person's day, it's SO totally worth it.  I hope you can give it a try!!!!  This would be especially nice if you have children or grandchildren and they can help you - it would instill within them that it is more blessed to give than to receive.  : )

That's it for today!  We're still holding up in our house not wanting to go out and it's been okay.  I think tomorrow it will at least be above zero so that might end up being our errand day.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit!  God bless.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When It's Cold Outside, Make It Warm In The Kitchen


My sister called me at 8:30 this morning informing me that it was minus 34 degrees here (she lives in South Dakota where it's not much better than that).  When I got up at 5:00 this morning I had no idea what the temperature was so I'm assuming that it might have been even a bit colder than that!  All I knew is that it was going to be cold today - lots of closures and no mail service.  So what to do with a day that you can't go out in?  Get into the kitchen!  It warms the house up and makes it smell good too.  : )

I like baking in the mornings in our kitchen.  Especially early when the first morning light is coming through.  I've always loved dappled light whether it be in the mornings or evenings.  : )  I made a loaf of quick bread for the freezer (soup nights), fudge sauce for our frozen yogurt (you wouldn't think we'd eat anything frozen in the winter, but we do), and then a small pan of brownies to be enjoyed at our lunch.  I won't give out the recipes for these since I have already posted them (probably twice).  

Speaking of lunch, I don't know how many of you have heard of "poor man's lobster" but shopping at Aldi last week, they had a 2 lb. bag of cod fillets (the chunky fillets, not the thin) and it reminded me of what I used to make a long time ago but stopped because we couldn't find the chunky cod anymore (and you need chunky fillets for this recipe).  We used to really enjoy it (we're seafood lovers) so we bought a bag and I made it for lunch today.  Yum.  It's not really a "recipe" but I'll give it to you in case you like cod and would like to try this for yourself.


Cod fillets (how ever many you want)
A large pot of water
About a 1/8 cup of salt
About a 1/8 cup of sugar
Onion slices
A little lemon juice
Bay leaf

Bring the water with all the ingredients in it (except the cod) to a boil.  Add cod and boil for about 3 minutes or maybe a bit longer if your cod is pretty thick.  You'll know it's done when the cod floats to the top and it will open up yet still stay intact.  "Fish" them out - (I know).  : )  Drain them on paper towels and serve!  BUT - serve them with melted butter just as you would with crab or lobster.  Oh, my, it's so good.  

I know a LOT of people don't like seafood but it really is important to get some into our diets.  I suppose the dipping it into butter isn't the most healthy way to serve it, but with this particular recipe, it's the only way.  : )

That's all I have today.  I want to go and crochet some more blanket squares.  At the rate I'm going, this blanket won't be able to be given away until next winter!  At least it's a warm thing to do on a day like this.  : )

  • Thank you SO much for dropping by to visit - I truly appreciate you!  God bless.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Can you feel the warm breeze and smell the piney air?  : )

A brand new week ahead of us.  And a brand new month beginning in the brand new week!  It's almost a feeling of here we go again - with the months ahead of us flying by.  I know I'm jumping the gun a little.  It is only January and it is only February that is coming, but the passing of time is always amazing to me.

I was talking to my sister earlier in the week and found myself saying that I've lived here in Minnesota for 40 years.  I mean I KNEW that but, seriously?  It went SO fast!  In another 40 years I'll be 100 years old!  Our son will be 70!  When I think about it in that way it truly is unbelievable that time goes by so quickly.

I think we would all admit that unless you're a hermit with absolutely no access to any kind of news (lucky you!) this time that we're living in is crazy (lacking a better word for it and is a huge understatement).  It hurts my heart.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's and I thought THAT was bad but those years were nothing compared to what's going on now.  EVERYTHING is upside down!  The Bible warns us, though, about these times doesn't it?  I sound so old when I say that I never thought I'd see the day when such goings on would be okay to so many people.

There is such a complacency in people that it's scary.   I feel like we're living in a futuristic movie where we're all becoming robotic - no brains, no feelings, just walking around in a fog and letting things happen because, after all, what can we do?  What will it really take to shake us up?  If we're not shaken yet, heaven help us because just this week alone with what I heard about (New York's abortion decision and California's school curriculum decision) is enough to literally make me sick.

If we're not shedding tears over these things and if we're not on our knees before the Mighty God over these things, then heaven help us too.  I find myself praying for the Lord Jesus' return all the time in these days.  But what do we do until then?  I think Christians need to step up even though we think our voices won't be heard.  There are always opportunities to speak up and out if we would just take the time to do it. 

*Write letters!  To your governor, your representatives, your senators, your city council, your school council.

*Join Christian organizations!  The American Family Association is wonderful.  They send updates on a regular basis and send out petitions to sign that they will send out for you.   I haven't checked lately about the One Million Moms organization who send out notices as well telling us about questionable shows and commercials on the television and have people sign petitions to get them off - they've been quite successful in the past.  Focus on the Family is another wonderful organization that updates people to legislation and what's going on in the political arena.

*Pray!!  We should be on our knees EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.   God is waiting for us to get out of complacency and care enough to humble ourselves before Him and confess our need for Him in this world.

*Be courageous!!!!  If you're the kind of person who wants everyone to like them, then this is a hard thing to be.  It takes courage to say that sexual sin is wrong - whether that be heterosexual or homosexual.  It takes courage to say that legalizing drugs is wrong.  It takes courage to say that abortion is wrong.  It takes courage to say that we need God back in the classrooms.  It takes courage to pray in the public square.  It takes courage to witness to others about their need for Jesus.

With God with us in this, we can do it.  If we care about anyone at all, we need to do it.  We need to begin to have the compassion of Christ and we need to have the outrage of Christ.  I think the time of complacency really does need to come to an end.  It's time.  It's time to step up.  

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Morning

This looks good when it's below zero right now.

It's been a very good week.  A bit too cold, but that's January in Minnesota for ya.  Come April or May, I'll be very thankful for these cold winter months.  They really allow me the time to go through stuff and get organized and deep clean the house.  They also get me into the kitchen more often to try new recipes and bake and cook for the freezer.  They get me downstairs into the "studio" to work on crafting projects.  All those things that I don't feel like doing when the nice weather comes and the outdoors lure me, well, outdoors!!  : )

Right off the bat, I wanted to share a soup recipe with you.  It's one that I've had in my "to try" file for a LONG time and finally got around to it.  This weather is perfect soup and bread weather, so I gave it a try and we all like it.  It isn't one that's going to wow you or make you say that it's the best soup you ever had, but it is good, inexpensive, and quick to pull together.  Here it goes:


2, 14.5 oz. cans of chicken broth
2, 15 oz. cans whole kernel corn
1 large white onion, diced
3 cups diced potatoes
2, 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
1/3 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, corn, onion, and potatoes.   Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.

2.  Stir in evaporated milk and butter until butter is just melted.  Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.

**They didn't have this in the recipe, but while the soup was cooking on the stove, I popped some bacon into the oven to bake until crisp and then served the soup with the crispy bacon on top.  It definitely added that wonderful smokey goodness!  : )

I hope you can give it a try and let me know what you think!

I realized the other day that I haven't been keeping up with my ABC's of homemaking - I think I finished up the "A" 's and are now into the "B" 's.  I'm sure you haven't noticed this, but just in case you're wondering what the next "B" IS, here it is (LOL):


These books are just a few of the books collected over the years.  This is in a small guest room of our house.  Books are SO VERY important in a home!  If you have children or grandchildren always buy books for them to read and for you to read to them.  Buy the good old classics.  Ask for opinions from others as to what they have enjoyed reading.  If someone needs a gift idea for you, ask them to buy you books.  Always have a list of books to look for and buy.   Reading is great for our brains.  It helps us to learn new vocabulary words (always keep a list of vocabulary words to look up!).  It transports us.  Another wonderful pastime in the winter!!!!!!  Find places throughout your home to keep books - the kitchen is for cookbooks, the shop and/or studio is for crafting, sewing, and how-to books, the bedrooms are for short stories or novels, the living room is for books that you can look things up such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, a child's room should have all kinds of picture books, or reading books appropriate to the child's age, and so on.  

I know we have access to the internet with information available to us at the push of a button, but there is nothing like a book that you can hold in your hands and enjoy.   It just isn't the same to curl up with the computer or other device than it is with a real book with actual paper pages to turn.  A cup of hot something in the winter or cold something in the summer, a comfy chair, and you've got it made!!!!! : )

Also....take care of your books and bookcases.  Dust them often.  When you have a lot, this can be a major chore, but it's an important one.  Have fun displaying them too.  Maybe a book of the month - take a favorite book and display it on a side table with pretty things around it.  

A fun idea for us when we were homeschooling was to take a book and create a unit study out of it.  You can take this idea in all kinds of directions - study the various characters and talk about character qualities.  Study the location of where the book takes place in.  If it talks about any wildlife, or flowers, etc., look them up and study them.  What time period was the book written.  Draw a timeline and look up the historical facts of that time - what was going on at that time?   Maybe start a book club with other people and discuss the book together.  Instill a love of books and reading instead of making it seem like just another thing to do.

I think that's it for this day!  Thank you SO much for your visit - I really DO appreciate it.  May you have a great day in your home and with your family/friends.  Homemaking is a very important job and I want to encourage you, once again, to do your best in it.  : )  God bless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Having Fun With Essential Oils

On Saturday, I woke up with sinus pressure in my head (of course) and the back of my neck was tense.  I had always been curious about essential oils and their work in making us feel well, so I decided to go on-line and look up what I could blend in our diffuser (the cute little round thing) for this specific problem.

*three drops of peppermint
*three drops of lemon
*three drops of eucalyptus

All three of which I already had here at home in our pantry.  I added them to the diffuser according to the directions and within a few hours I felt MUCH better.  The pressure was gone.

Essential oils, however, are one of those things that you have to be careful with.  I'm willing to try different blends according to the "recipes" that are out there for certain things, but our bodies can negatively react to them too.  For instance - I found another "recipe" that was similar to the one above only instead of the lemon essential oil, it was rosemary.  After a few minutes I could tell that it wasn't for me and I find that just as interesting as the above one that did work for me.  I now know that rosemary is not for me.

So, if you're going to try essential oils for health reasons, there will be a lot of trial and error.  And, like I've said in past posts, I'm not a health care professional.  Anything that I tell you about, as far as health things are concerned, is for me and my family.  I'm only telling you what works for us.  From what I've heard and read, some people have adverse reactions to the concentrated oils, so be careful.  You can go on-line for more information and how to use different blends.

One of the things that I absolutely love is using lavender essential oil in the rinse/softener cycle of the washing machine.  Ours has a spot where you can pour liquid softener in right beside the spot where you put the laundry detergent in.  I never waste money on liquid softener or those icky softener sheets that leave your laundry with a sticky film on them and way too fragrant.  I pour vinegar in with a couple drops of lavender essential oil and the laundry comes out SO soft and with just a hint of lavender.  This I use for our bedding and towels and they turn out wonderfully.  For everything else I just use the vinegar.   I still hang all of our laundry and while the laundry is drying, it emits this subtle fragrance.  A VERY homey thing to do.  : )

The indoor air during the winter months is SO very dry.  Every day I'm trying to put a kettle of water on the stove and let it humidify the house - I think that's where a lot of the sinus problems come in.  Dry air also dries out the houseplants sooner, so keep checking the soil on those.  And if you haven't bought green plants for your home, I encourage you do so.  They clean the air naturally and are beautiful to look at especially in the winter when everything else is white.

Lastly, remember to keep opening your windows every day.  Just 15 minutes right away in the morning gets that fresh air into your home and gets rid of the overnight stuffiness.  The other day I put fresh clean bedding on, opened the bedroom window and you wouldn't believe how wonderful it smelled!!!!  It's a very healthy thing to do.

Well, I think that's about it for today.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I LOVE it when you do.  : )  I want to keep encouraging you to take care of your homes!!!!  God bless.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Evening


A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend who had told me about the troubles in Venezuela.  Since I try to stay away from the news, I had no idea how terrible it is.  And then last week I pulled out my Samaritan's Purse "prayer point" booklet and the page I turned to was about Venezuela.  Only this time, I read about what's going on down there.  And the story I read is one that I hope I don't forget because when I bring it up in my mind it makes me ashamed to have ever complained about anything.

The story is about a family.  The dad is in wheelchair and the couple has, I believe, five children.  When all the chaos in their country began, they knew that they had to leave because there was, literally, nothing left for them.  The story goes on to say that his wife had to push him in his wheelchair on rough roads with their children walking by their side going from town to town just looking for a place to get employment, a place to rest, a place to feed their children.  

Can you just put this picture in your mind?  Can you bring this picture to your mind when you feel like nothing is going your way?  If we can all pause right now and look up from reading this blog post, what do we see in front of us right now?  Are we sitting comfortably?  Where are we?  In a comfortable home?  Did we eat today (or overeat)?  Our clothes.  Are they comfortable?  Clean?  Do we have a bank account?  Do we have transportation to get us from point A to point B without any effort?

Every time we feel like complaining about what we don't have, I think we need to bring this poor woman to our minds.  Pushing her husband from town to town.  The responsibility of taking care of her children in dire circumstances.  Have any one of us had it so bad as this?

I know I post a lot on gratitude and thankfulness, but I truly believe we need to keep learning this over and over again and practice it over and over again, and be reminded over and over again, that we truly have NOTHING to complain about unless we can say that we are walking in this woman's shoes right now.  I'm kind of thinking that she would love to have a device like a cell phone or a computer or a tablet to look things up like we do.  Maybe she would love to read blogs on what top goes with what skirt, or how to make a certain dish for supper, or what the latest decorating idea is "in" right now.  But she doesn't.  She has a husband and children that depend on her to just get them through the day.

There is a good ending to this story however.  Through the help of Samaritan's Purse, they were able to find shelter and were provided food and hygiene items and the necessary clothing they need.  But most importantly, they were brought to Christ, are saved, and got baptized!  Their picture shows them smiling and so grateful for what they've been given especially salvation.  

We can NEVER forget how much we have.  I hope we can keep the story of this woman and her family in our hearts and minds for a very long time as a reminder that the Lord's blessing upon us is above and beyond what we deserve.  And I hope it makes us want to give out of our abundance to help those who have very little.  And I mean VERY little.  Fortunately, God put Samaritan's Purse in the right place at the right time for this family and they have Jesus now.   How Great is our God!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday Morning

Looking forward to this, but right now I'm just looking forward to it being lighter in the mornings instead of all the dark!  : )

It's been a good week.  A very nice balance - more deep cleaning of areas in the house, cooking, crafting.  It's such a good feeling at night, going to bed, and thinking back on the day - knowing that things were done.  It always makes me feel sad when I know that a day has gone by and time was wasted in some way.  Maybe that's an age thing.  There's so much to do and I want to do it!!!!!!  : )

In going through the notebook I found while cleaning out the craft area last week, I came across an interesting article that I tore out of a 2004 magazine about remembering to clean certain things that we tend to overlook or forget about completely.  It was an excellent reminder for me and I hope it will help you as well.

1.  Regularly clean your washing machine and dryer.  Every other month, run a cycle of just water (the hottest setting) and vinegar and then run it again to get all the musty smells out.  Then wipe it down with a towel to dry the residual water off.  What we do here at home is leave the washing machine door open slightly so that after each use, it just air dries.  And for the dryer, remember to always clean the lint filter - wash it once in a while, or take a vacuum brush to it.  And then remember to clean behind these appliances and the tops and sides.

2.  Regularly, clean your vacuum!  The vacuum we have kind of tells us when to do that which is nice in my opinion.  : )  Once the filter is dirty, it will not clean so we have to take the filter out and wash it which also reminds us to wipe everything down because you can actually see the dust build-up.  On the outside too!  A vacuum is no longer a service-able tool if itself is dirty.

3.  Cleaning ALL your brushes.  Hair - take all the built-up hair out of the brushes, run a sink of hot water and a drop of shampoo and let them soak.  Take them out and rinse under clean hot water, let them air-dry on a towel.  Toilet brush - pour a tiny bit of bleach in the toilet brush holder, and hot water and let soak, rinse, a wipe everything down with paper towels.  Any scrub brushes - again, letting them soak in hot water and follow-up with a good rinse.

4.  Bathroom and kitchen faucets - this is an area that I tend to forget about.  : (  A wonderful tool for this is an old toothbrush.  Just scrub around the bottoms (and behind) to get out all the gunk.  Wet a cloth with vinegar and follow through with a good wipe.

5.  Grout - again an old toothbrush is good for this.  The article I read said to use shaving cream!  Never thought of that.  Never use bleach because grout is porous.

6.  Air vents - ALL air vents.  On televisions, radios, computers - again, the trusty toothbrush comes in handy with these small areas (only a dry toothbrush, not wet!) and then once you get the dust out, use your (clean) vacuum to get the dust you took out!  Also, regularly clean out the air vents in your house - dust and vacuum.  And then it's a good investment to hire someone to come out and really clean the ducts.

7.  Bookcases - this is a huge project if you have lots of books on the shelves and/or knickknacks but they really are huge dust collectors.  So, on a regular basis, pull things off the shelves and dust.  This actually gives you time to put things back differently if you like.  A chance to change things up a bit!

8.  Children's toys - use antibacterial wipes to clean off the plastic toys, books, bicycle handles, etc.  My sister-in-law used to have a daycare in her home and I remember her, every Friday after all the children left, cleaning all the stuff the kids had used during the week so they could be put back clean and ready for Monday again.  She was, and still is, THE most clean and organized person I know!

9.  The sink drain(s) - on a very regular basis clean the drains in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room with baking soda and vinegar.  Pour the baking soda into the drain and then slowly pour the vinegar in and just watch it bubble up (I love that part).  : )  Keep pouring the vinegar in until it stops bubbling and then follow-up by pouring boiling water in.  This will keep your drains smelling fresh (or as fresh as drains can possibly smell).  

10.  Under the kitchen sink - take everything out on a weekly basis and scrub clean.  Make sure to dry it thoroughly before putting things back!!!  Again, if you have time you could leave the doors open for a while.

11.  The microwave - spray down the inside with a vinegar solution and wipe clean.  Wash the glass turntable after each use - this not only keeps it clean but eliminates odors from one use to another.

12.  Under and behind the refrigerator - it's amazing how fast the dust and grease from the kitchen can attach themselves to all the wires and grids and gaskets and the refrigerator won't work as well if these are dirty.  So, occasionally pull it out and clean.  (Refrigerators are NOT easy to pull out so you might need to ask for help with this).

13.  Kitchen walls, ceilings, and cabinets - again the grease really coats these things (even if you have a good exhaust system).  Just fill your sink up with hot, sudsy, water and wipe everything down.  Along with the exhaust hood!!!!!

14.  Closet floors - this is another area I don't think about very often.  But those darn dust bunnies really start to accumulate and need to be picked up.  Take everything off the floor of your closets and dust/vacuum.  Remember to dust the corners and around the baseboards as well.

15.  Remote controls - once a week, take a soft cloth with a little rubbing alcohol on it and wipe them down.

16.  Windows - I LOVE clean windows but sadly don't clean them often enough.  It's a good habit to get into that when you see a window that needs cleaning just do it then and there!

17.  The underside of your box spring - I NEVER think of this!  One a month, using your brush attachment on the vacuum, clean this area.

18.  Dried flower arrangements - I think we need to be pretty ruthless when it comes to this.  That lovely arrangement is such a dust collector and so hard to clean thoroughly.  Ask yourself if you really want that or not.  I think that buying real flowers for the house once in a while is much better.  Or, if you have green plants in your home, dust the leaves with a damp cloth.  Much healthier!

19.  Miniblinds - the worst job for me!  But they get SO dusty that it's VERY important to keep up with it.

20.  Throw pillows - another huge dust collector - just put them into a cotton pillowcase and throw them in the wash on a regular basis.  

Whew!!!!!!!  That's quite the list isn't it?  But I found it to be extremely helpful and reminded me of what areas that I tend to forget.  I hope it was helpful to you too!!!!!

Have a wonderful homemaking day and a good weekend.  Thank you for  your visit!  God bless.  : )

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Easy Lasagne

Yum.  : )

I'm pretty sure that I've posted this before, but I'm thinking it's been a couple of years, so it's time to be redundant.  : )

I've made the "real" Lasagne only a couple of times - you know, the one where the sauce cooks for a couple of hours, and you cook the noodles, etc., but this is my go-to.  This is very good (in our opinion) and it's just a little different in that it calls for stewed tomatoes, and then it calls for the noodles to not be cooked ahead of time (whoever thought of that was brilliant).  : )

So, here it is:


1.  Brown together and drain - 1 lb. ground beef (hopefully organic) and 1 large onion, chopped.

2.  Mix together and add to cooked and drained meat - 1, 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes; 1, 6 oz. can tomato paste; 1 cup water; 1 Tbsp. sugar; 2 Tbsp. parsley; 1 tsp. basil

3.  Mix together - 2 3/4 cup cottage cheese; 4 oz. Parmesan cheese; 1 Tbsp. parsley; 1 tsp. oregano

4.  Other - 8 oz. uncooked Lasagne noodles; 8 oz. Mozzarella cheese

In a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed, layer 1/2 sauce/meat mixture; 1/2 noodles; ALL of the cottage cheese mixture; remaining noodles; and remaining sauce.  Top with Mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour covered and 15 minutes uncovered.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  ENJOY!!!!!

It's a favorite of ours, hopefully it will become yours too!  Thanks for dropping by for a short visit - I ALWAYS appreciate it when you do!!!!!  : )  God bless.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Pretty.  : )

Yesterday after church, instead of a typical "Sunday meal", I chose to do a little brunch instead.  Mostly, because I've been wanting to try this recipe!  : )  I do not like store-bought pork sausage - it's usually way too salty, or too much of one herb or spice, and/or they can be a bit grizzly (ick).  And since I want us to eat more "real" food instead of those laden with stuff I can't even pronounce, I tried these.

And we liked them!  I have another recipe that I want to try to compare the two so if we enjoy those I'll post them at another time.  But for now, we did enjoy these.  Now that I've made them, I can see (and taste) where I'll be able to maybe experiment with the ingredients.  And making your own sausage you can make half of the meat a little spicier if your palate goes in that direction, or you can use more of one of the herbs and spices as you see fit.  

The recipe I made yesterday was, to us, just about right.  It is a mild sausage.  VERY easy to put together and I don't know about you - we cannot have pancakes, waffles, or French toast without some breakfast meat to go with.  That sweet, salty thing going on.  : )  So here is the recipe:


1 lb. ground pork (try to buy organic! - I got 7 patties out of this which comes to around .90 cents each)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together (hands work best!).  Scoop into 7 even balls (the recipe says 12 mini ones) and form into patties and fry in a nonstick skillet with just a tad bit of oil.  Cook until browned on one side, flip and continue to cook until no longer pink inside (mine took maybe 20 minutes?).  Once fully cooked, remove to paper towels to drain the grease.  Serve!  : )

Frying away.  : )

The picture of the sausage is a little darker than what they really were.  : o

I hope you can give them a try!!!!

That's it.  Thanks again for dropping by.  God bless.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Mmmmm...........water without ice on it and trees with leaves on them.  : )

Well, it's been a different kind of week.  Back to the routine of a new year.  For me, routine is good - it makes me feel like I'm going somewhere.  Winging it is okay once in a while but that leaves too many loose ends to have to get back into place later.  So, now we move forward.  

The one thing that sticks out from the past week is how different three people whom I know are so very different from each other and how I ended up feeling after each one.

*the 1st person - is someone we have to walk on eggshells around, watch VERY carefully how we word things and then we still get put in our place and we're left feeling hopeless.

*the 2nd person - has been a friend for years, loving and caring, and always willing to help and is a blessing from God.

*the 3rd person - after leaving from a visit here we felt like we were just someone crossed off a list of to-do's.  

Isn't that interesting?  I think it is.  But it puts things into perspective for me.  There really are people that you can count on and there are those you can't.  One makes us feel loved and appreciated, the others makes us feel like - what's the point of trying?  I guess that's where discernment comes in.   If you're a glutton for punishment I suppose you can always try to associate yourself with people who disappoint you on a regular basis, but I think there needs to come a time where you just tell yourself that not everyone is going to be your buddy and they'll let you know that pretty quickly by the way the act towards you.  Kind of cool and aloof.  On again, off again.

I'll be 60 in July and there are still those high school feelings of rejection.  Always trying to earn your way into their good graces and then being disappointed by their actions towards you.  It gets kind of weary, doesn't it?

Fortunately, with the Lord, you don't have to earn your way to Him.  You don't have to keep trying to make Him love you.  When you meet with Him, He is there - always there - you have His full time and attention.   When arising from prayer time with God, you know that He wasn't thinking about the next thing to do and you know that you're loved as only He can love you.  Same with reading the Bible.  When you read, the Holy Spirit is there to help you and convict you.  All of a sudden the words are jumping off the page and into your heart and it means something to you.

The love of God goes so far beyond what we think of love.  God knows about the three people above - He knows my sadness about the two and the happiness of the one.  But He also knows that I'm not that perfect person either.   He knows that I can be a reactionary person who speaks before thinking and then asks for forgiveness later.  He knows my thoughts - the not so nice thoughts of those who irk me sometimes.  He knows my feelings - the feelings of unforgiveness of someone who has hurt me.  He knows my need to come to Him every morning asking for help in each of these areas.   

Growth, maturity, and wisdom doesn't just happen.  It's an on-going process.  It's a testing - a test that sometimes I do okay with and sometimes I don't.   Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy and patience and I'm SO thankful that I can go to Him with the daily needs and help.

May God bless you and keep you in perfect peace this upcoming week!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Morning

January on our new calendar - I so want to be in that one-horse open sleigh!!!!! : )

Every morning I pray for strength, energy, and motivation to get to all the work that I want to get to - this past week the prayers were answered.  Getting back to my Household notebook has so motivated me to get into the routine of going through the house room-by-room and really begin the deep cleaning again.  The kitchen and bathroom is done and on Monday I will get to each of the bedrooms and the Living/Dining rooms after that.  It just feels so good and reminds me that after deep cleaning each of these areas means that the daily upkeep of these rooms will go much smoother and not take as much time.

After cleaning, I did spend some time in my "studio/craft" area and, once again, go through all those craft items.  THAT is quite the chore!  But I did it, it's done, it looks good again, and now I'm getting ready to get into some more crafting.  I'm definitely one of those people who needs to have her space in order before working in it.  So, now, no excuses!  : )

One of the things that I do enjoy about going through things is that I find old notebooks filled with ideas of articles I've cut out, or notes that I took from books, etc.  One of the notebooks I found had some ideas that I wrote down from a library book from YEARS ago.  When we homeschooled, our son would go off to look for books of interest to him and I would end up in the cooking/homemaking/crafting books.  We both would end up bringing stacks of books home - that was our Friday treat.  : )  Well, anyway........I brought a book home that gave 5 ways of decorating certain rooms of the house for comfort and beauty and I wrote those ideas down, forgot about them, found them, and now want to share them with you.  While reading them, I can just envision the rooms and, in my mind anyway, they do look inviting!  : )

1.  Two ideas for the Family Room (we call it the Living Room):

A.  For celebrations:
*have lots of things to look at - make it a space where people are going around the room looking at things of importance, memorable, pretty..........
*have good smells within the room - I personally like scented pinecones that smell of cinnamon and cloves
*serve yummy desserts and candies
*LOTS of talk and laughter - leave the world stuff behind and just enjoy the day/evening
*if you're into essential oils for your home this book suggests that in the living area you choose grapefruit, frankincense, clove, pine, cinnamon, cardamom, or lemongrass

B.  For increased energy and concentration for your family (again in the Family Room):
*have uplifting music playing
*decorate with vibrant colors (yellow and red)
*display bowls of natural fruits
*have vibrant colored chairs or at least have vibrant pillows on your more subtle seating areas
*and for the essential oils in this kind of setting - they suggest cypress, peppermint, juniper berry, lemon, or basil

2.  One idea for the Dining Room:

A.  For enhancement or relaxation:
*they suggest a blue room
*eat comfort food
*have plush velvet chairs
*play quiet or soft music
*and the essential oils they suggest is vanilla, lavender, orange, sage, or ginger

3.  Two ideas for the Bedrooms:

A.  For a nurturing room:
*a room painted in a pale green
*light candles
*set out a pretty bowl filled with fresh fruit
*have a soft, fluffy comforter for your bed
*make it quiet
*and the essential oils they suggest is eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, geranium, or bergamot

B.  For a good night's sleep:
*sip on chamomile tea
*paint the room a light pale blue
*light candles (but I'm assuming NOT while you're sleeping!!!LOL)
*play soft music
*buy the best cotton sheets
*and the essential oils they suggest are chamomile, cedarwood, or mandarin orange

I hope these don't sound too "new age" to you because I'm definitely NOT new age!  But as with all ideas, we just need to pick and choose what sounds good to us and what we can do with what we have.  : )

A couple more ideas that I wrote down in this notebook that I found are:

1.  Have a January Snow Day (although around here there is very little snow):  have a "day off" and lounge around with cups of hot cocoa - or, get outside into the fresh air and build snowmen (again if you have snow!), or go sledding (ditto on the snow), make a big pot of homemade tomato soup and serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, take a nap.  

January can sometimes be a "ho-hum" month, so setting aside a day can be reviving for everyone.  Just something a little different.  : )

2.  Make a "comfort drawer" - fill this drawer with a box of chocolates, bath supplies, decorating magazines, good teas, lotions, candles, etc. and when you're especially tired or down (during the dark of the winter months), run some bath water, make a cup of tea and enjoy a chocolate, light the candles, put on some music, and read a magazine while soaking.  

3.  Enjoy the evenings - turn the t.v. off!!!  Sit in your comfy chair with a good book and a cup of calming tea; or pull out a craft to work on; or if you enjoy mending, bring it out and work on that while listening to a book being read on the computer or find a radio station that plays soft music.

Well, I think that's about it for today.  : )  I hope you can find at least one idea to try.  I find great satisfaction doing something a bit different at times and I always appreciate finding ways to bring that about.  Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I ALWAYS love it when you do!!!!  And I hope that my comment area is working again because I DO love hearing from you - it keeps me motivated to want to do more!  God bless your day and upcoming weekend.  : )

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Week 2.  The bathroom.  Actually since last week was a short week due to New Year's Eve and Day, week 1 (the kitchen) kind of spilled over to week 2.  So, I have enlisted the help of my husband.  : )  Fortunately, our bathroom is small, but there is still cleaning out drawers and cupboards along with cleaning baseboards and walls and all the other bathroom stuff.  But, it's getting there and it already smells cleaner so I feel that's progress.  : )

Now......on to the tortillas.  I feel like I'm probably the only person who has never made flour tortillas since the recipes have been around for a long time.  I have always read and heard that the homemade ones taste so much better than store bought, and it's true!!!!!  We had chicken quesadillas last week and made these for that and we both agreed that we won't buy them anymore.  This recipe makes 8 so for the two of us I needed to freeze the rest, but have also read that they freeze well (an added bonus).

If there are any of you who haven't made flour tortillas yet, this is an excellent recipe.  Here it goes (read the recipe thoroughly first - it needs time):


2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup hot water

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening until crumbly and then pour in hot water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until dough comes together and then use your hands to put it all together.  Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth.  Cover and let rest for 45.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces and then into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Roll each ball into a 6-7 inch circle and it's okay that they aren't perfect (it's actually more authentic looking when they aren't!).  Preheat your pan on medium heat but don't add any oil (a cast iron skillet is perfect for this but expect it to smoke a bit!).  Place one of your rolled out tortillas in pan and cook until small bubbles appear on top; flip it over and cook on other side (approximately 1 minute on each side).  Cook one tortilla while you roll out the next - this works very well.  Stack the cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with a towel till all are cooked to keep them warm.

That's it!!!!!  Enjoy.  : )

I hope you can try these - you won't be disappointed.  : )  

Thank you for dropping by and God bless.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Afternoon

Summer storm

Well, everything is down now from Christmas.  I guess that's not entirely true.  We bought a skinny tree at a thrift store (pre-lit) in November and decided to move that from the dining room into the living room and put it beside our "fireplace" where the "big" tree was.  I hung glittery snowflakes on it to keep in line with the winter theme.  Most of the snowmen are scattered around the living and dining rooms.  The only ones that were put away were the ones that definitely looked like Christmas.

I have to admit that we like the house back to "normal" again and the other things in their places.  I do know that taking Christmas down isn't half as much fun as putting it up!!!!  Taking it down also means a LOT of cleaning under and around things that weren't moved much during the month of December.

I know several people who, at the beginning of the year, choose a word for the year.  I've never done this before but thought about it this morning and I'm going to do it.  A few words came to my mind - pray, think, care, etc...... but the one I've decided to go with is "trust".  

Trust is SO hard for me especially if I've been hurt.   But the word "trust" that I'm talking about is the trust in God with ALL the outcomes of my life and in the lives of those I love and care about.  I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do, but the Bible is filled with verses on how we need to trust in the Lord. There were times during my prayers in the past few years that I couldn't get much of anything to come out of my mouth (anything audible anyway) because of the pain and tears, but God knows our hearts - He can read our minds - He knows EVERYTHING.   So the lack of words is okay with Him.

Let God take over tomorrow, this week, this month, this year.  He will definitely be there in whatever this new year has in store for us - the good and the not-so-good.   The "blessing jar" that we put up is a blessing in itself because it really does show us that every single day has something in it to be grateful for (even when the day isn't going so well).  

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."  Proverbs 3: 5 & 6

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday Morning

A little green.  Looking forward to it!  : )

I have a few things to share today.  The January to-do's, some tea party themes you might want to start this year, and maybe a recipe.  : )  Let's get started!

I'm a little behind with the January to-do's.  This week (which is Week 1 in my household notebook) was spent in the kitchen.  Cleaning blinds and windows, washing and ironing the curtain, going through all the drawers, cupboards, and cabinets and cleaning them out and re-organizing.  Cleaning under the sink, washing the walls, dusting shelves.  The only things that I have left (which I hope to get to today) is cleaning the refrigerator and the stove.  And that should be that!  : )  It ALWAYS feels good to get back into a schedule.  The holidays tend to put that kind of thing off and January is always a good time to get back to it.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and I had mentioned that this is THE first time when I deep-cleaned the kitchen that I didn't put anything in a bag to be taken to the thrift store.  I feel like I finally have everything that I need and use for right now.  That may change but for now it feels great.  : )  Here are the January to-do's for us:

*Make new files/store the old
*Get tax information together and make appointment if you have someone do them for you
*Make some summer plans - things you'd like to make, garden, accomplish
*Fill out new calendars
*Check the attic for any leaks
*Sharpen the workshop tools and kitchen knives
*Inspect your roof
*Check for any drafts around the doors and windows
*Organize ALL paperwork - have a place for everything
*Buy houseplants to purify the indoor air

There.  Not too bad.  And, of course, not all of these are for everyone - just pick the ones that are and begin to work at it.  Doing SOMETHING is ALWAYS better than doing nothing.  It WILL make you feel better.  : )

On New Year's Day this year (since we considered it a "day off") I sat down with pencil and paper in hand, the computer in front of me, and lists galore, and wrote down everything I could think of of how I'd like to do things this year and what things would be beneficial for me and my family.  Not really resolutions but ideas and reminders and things to keep on doing and things to try.  I put these things into 5 categories:

*Serving others
*Caring for others

I think our lists could be different from each other's, but it was an important thing for me to do.  There is something about having ideas written down to keep looking at on a daily basis that motivates me.  I will give examples of what I mean:

*Mind - keep learning!  read for pleasure but also for information; do crossword puzzles every day; begin Bible memory work; begin to work math problems every day; keep writing this blog; keep crafting/sewing/other projects.

*Body - keep moving!  rest when needed; begin some kind of exercise routine; try making more homemade body products; keep eating healthy foods.

*Soul - keep God 1st!  keep reading the Bible and studying it; again, more memory work; maintain my prayer journal; keep reading good books by Christian authors.

*Serving others - keep taking care of my family!  through cooking, cleaning, gardening, organizing.

*Caring for others - keep remember others!  through charitable organizations; visits, e-mails, sending cards and letters; offering help when needed.

I've always felt that it's important to be well-rounded.  If we just focus on ourselves, we become self-centered - however, when we always look to the needs of others, we fail to take care of ourselves.  So that balance is very important.  That's why I need to have these things written down as a reminder of what I should be doing next.  Of course it's not perfect and sometimes things don't work out as our lists say, but it IS a springboard for ideas.  Kind of the motto of  "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" kind of thing.

The next thing I came across while going through some of my papers are Tea Party Themes that I always thought would be fun to carry out but haven't yet because it seems like there are very few women nowadays who enjoy this kind of thing.  So I continue to hold on this idea hoping that some day someone will want to.  : )  As with the monthly to-do's, I will also give you the monthly tea party theme so here is January:

Decorate your room with greenery, tartan plaid, and lots of candles
Serve scones with preserves and jams and shortbread dipped in chocolate
Play Irish music
Serve a small variety of favorite teas

Can't you just imagine a room decorated like this and the delicious smells and women sitting around laughing and talking?  I can.  Sounds wonderful to me!  : )

And because it is still winter and I think we all love soup in the winter, I made a Baked Potato Soup the other night that we just loved and wanted to share it with you too:


1 lb. bacon
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
green onion, sliced
sour cream (garnish - optional)

Cook the bacon until crisp - drain, set aside.  Place the potatoes and chicken broth in a large pot and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.  With slotted spoon, remove several scoops and place in a bowl and mash - set aside.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the chopped onion and saute' until tender.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute; whisk in milk, a little at a time and bring to boil and simmer until thickened.  Add cheese, salt, and pepper and stir till cheese is melted.  Slowly stir cheese sauce into soup pot - add mashed potatoes, three-quarters of the crispy bacon and stir till combined.  Serve.  Top with sliced green onion, more crispy bacon, and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Yum is the only word for this - hope you can give it a try!!!!!

Yummy.  : )

One more thing before I leave you - I have had a couple of comments from people who say they are reading through past posts and I LOVE that!!!!!  However, I want to apologize if you leave a comment on those past posts and I don't get back to you.  Blogger doesn't tell me when I receive a comment so I have to go and look to see if comments are left and I do try to answer them.  But, if for some reason, I don't see them and don't answer don't think that your comment doesn't matter - it definitely DOES!!!!!  I love all your comments and SO appreciate them.  It really does keep me going.  : )

That's it for today!  Thank you again for your visit and God bless your day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


I know that today is a mixed feeling kind of day for many of us.  We all WANT a Happy New Year, but because of what has happened in the past (even the past week!) we wonder what this year will REALLY bring.  Will it bring more sickness?  Will it bring more disappointment?  Will it bring more sadness and discouragement?  

I'm not much for making New Year's resolutions.  But maybe I should try.  Last night we were at a friends' house for New Year's Eve.  The "older" people in the living room, the "younger" people out in the big kitchen.  My husband and I chose the "younger" people in the kitchen to play board games with them and I'm SO glad we did.  I needed to be around some "youth" (they were all in their 20's and early 30's).   There wasn't a word said about health issues.  There wasn't a word said about feeling afraid for the future.  There wasn't a word said about politics, or the economy, or how crummy the world is.  There was just laughter and fun and goofiness.   And, boy, did I need THAT!!!!!!!

It's not that they didn't care about the above issues or maybe it was just because those issues aren't afflicting them yet.  But just having one night without the "adult" stuff was balm to my weary soul.  

So maybe I WILL make resolutions again.

*Keep learning.  Read, read, read.  Study about things I want to know more about.  Try new things.
*Be a blessing in the house.  Take care of it.  Keep it clean.  Keep it organized.  Get rid of stuff.
*Take better care of myself.  Begin eating better.  Begin to make exercise a habit.
*Take care of others.  Constantly be aware of the needs of others.
*Continue to be creative.  
*Really let go of situations and people that have been causing stress.  
*Continue to grow spiritually.  Learn more and more about Jesus and what He wants to teach me.
*Stop getting caught up in the things that I cannot change.  Give it to God.

I just read about an idea that I'm going to make today.  It's called a "Blessing" jar.  You set it out on the table and every day you write something good that has happened during the day - whether it be a good memory, a phone call, a letter in the mail, an accomplishment - whatever you consider a blessing to be.  Write it down and put it in the jar and then next January 1st you pour out all the blessings and read them.  I think this is SO wonderful because when we live life so much of our thoughts are dealing with the negative that we forget that even amidst the not-so-good there really IS blessing.  I hope you and your family can give this a try - I, myself, am looking forward to it.

So with that said, I DO wish you a Happy New Year (and if you can, plop yourself down among some "younger" people and feel the gladness).  : )  God bless your day.