Friday, November 19, 2021

November Newsletter Part 2


This is the next picture of "our" squirrel - he ate his way through, turned around, and sat in the pumpkin for a while to rest.  He then began chewing around the edges of the opening.  No surprise that this pumpkin is off our step and I'm imagining him to be running through the neighborhood looking for another pumpkin victim.  😏

It's a cloudy afternoon and still a bit windy with clouds rolling in and out (mostly in).  Once again, I'm at the dining room table, a cup of coffee off to the side, Christmas music playing in the background (instrumental) and because there is a bit of a nip I have a shawl around my shoulders that a friend crocheted for me.  It will soon be evening where one by one a light here and there goes on, the curtains are pulled, the porch light is turned on and we begin to settle in.  It's a winter routine that I cherish especially early in the season like this.  By February, I can feel the need for spring coming on, but for now.........I will relish in the days ahead.

Here we are again.  Thanksgiving is getting closer and lists and plans are being made.  It will be just the four of us again which is nice.  We all like to start mid-morning with hot apple cider and donuts while reading the ads in the newspaper for good Black Friday deals.  Then we eat around 12:30 or 1:00.  Like I said before, our meal is very traditional.  I don't even try anything new really.  We all like the meal so I'm going with that!  However, this is the first year that I'm not baking anything pumpkin - our dessert will be apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream and then I insist on having pecan pie with homemade whipped topping.  I guess the pumpkin comes in as pumpkin pie spice coffee creamer for those who want that.  Not that I don't like pumpkin - I love it - but it seems like I'm the only one and I can't possibly eat a whole pie by myself.  Well.......I could but I shouldn't.  Right?  

The one thing that I do have to remind myself of every holiday, every year, is to lower my expectations.  I'm the kind of person that looks back at favorite times together and want to re-live it and then I'm always disappointed when it doesn't even come close.  Those favorite times were for that particular moment in time - I just need to keep the memory and be glad for it and move ahead and create new favorite moments and enjoy what we have.

With such a crazy couple of years, I keep thanking the Lord for all of His provision.  Here is my list on a daily basis.

*I woke up this morning
*I woke up in a warm and comfortable bed
*I am able to walk and move and talk and see and hear
*I was able to turn the heat up this morning to take the chill off
*I sat in a comfy chair with a cup of hot coffee while reading the Bible
*I'm able to read and understand what I'm reading
*I had a hot shower
*I had clean clothes to put on
*I had breakfast and lunch and will have a supper
*I have house to live in
*I have a car to drive
*I have a family
*I have friends
*I have a church to go to and have the freedom to worship the Lord
*I have music to play
*I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus
*I am saved by grace
*you can add to this I'm sure.  

Sometimes I tend to look at all the big things, but I love to look at the small daily things that I can easily take for granted.  It's always fun to go around the table and have everyone say at least one thing that they are thankful for.  I do hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and try very hard to make it a good one.  

One other thing to remember is that everything we do, we do it to God's Glory.  Everything.  Even in our smallest jobs, we do it for the Lord.  When I keep thinking that way, it makes all the difference.  A difference in attitude, a difference in motivation.  It makes me want to do my best.  

Along with Thanksgiving, I am definitely making my Christmas lists and checking them twice (okay, a lot more than that).  It's way too early to know what Christmas Eve/Day will look like, but I am planning for both and have been having fun in getting gifts.  We've received some Christmas catalogs in the mail and I've been ordering a bit from them.  There's almost an old-fashioned feel to that.  Remember getting the Montgomery Ward, Sears, and JC Penney catalogs at Christmas?  Oh my goodness.  It was so fun.  I miss that.

The one thing that I'm doing differently this year is we are going to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.  In reading about how people in the "old days" (I'm talking WAY back) celebrated Christmas, they used the month of December to enjoy the baking and cooking and thinking of simple gifts, and then they celebrated BEGINNING WITH the 12 days of Christmas.  Christmas Day is the first day so that was kind of an obvious day to be with friends and family.  But then after that, they made sure to do all kinds of things for the next 11 days!  THAT is what we want to do this year.  Here a few of my ideas:

*host a game night
*drive and look at the neighborhood lights - take popcorn along to munch on
*go to a pond or skating rink and watch the skaters - bring hot chocolate to sip
*go for a walk in nature - take your camera
*have a fire night - serve hot beverages
*host a brunch, or an appetizer meal, or just a dessert
*have a movie night
*get a progressive dinner going - this is a meal where at least three houses get together and each house serves a different course.  The first house does the appetizer, the second house does the main meal, and the third house does the dessert.  I know we still have the covid thing going on so only you know whether or not this would work and if you'd feel comfortable with it.  With us, we're ready.
*eat supper at a favorite restaurant 
*have a "do absolutely no work" - get a pizza, read, rest, craft, sew, put a puzzle together.....whatever your little heart desires
*go browse in a book store - buy a book, take it home, and enjoy!
*Again, you can add your own ideas.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Instead of filling the month of December up with a lot of activities along with all the cooking, baking, cleaning, gifts, decorating, keep the activities for later. 

The Christmas decorating.  It's different for me every year.  Some years I feel like going all out and then others I feel a bit subdued.  Again, as a homemaker, you need to take the family temperature as to how everyone else is feeling.  We decorate not just for ourselves but for others too.  This is the year I'm thinking simple with natural decorations such as lots of greens and candles.  And then add those wonderful, meaningful decorations that we've collected as added touches to make it home.  

I've purchased the Christmas cards already and now I need to write the Christmas newsletter to send with them.  This is something I love to do because, like I've said before, I think people still enjoy going to the mailbox and pulling a card out.  

What kinds of things do you absolutely love to do to get ready for the holidays? 

I think that is about it for today.  As I close, it looks as if the clouds are now moving out and there is cold sunshine streaming in.  I do hope you enjoy the weekend ahead and that you can enjoy the preparations ahead for Thanksgiving.  Even if you are invited out, make sure that whatever you bring you bring your best!  May God bless your Thanksgiving Day.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  I enjoyed writing it.  And I appreciate all of you!

See you in December (Lord willing).  Bye!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

November Newsletter Part 1


"I think I need to get in a little further - yep, yep, almost........"

"There.  I knew there were more seeds left in there."  : )

Mr. Pumpkin on our front step didn't stand a chance with Mr. Squirrel around.  They are determined little rodents.  They are not happy until they have mastered what they've set out to do.  As we drive down our block, anyone who has pumpkins out on their steps looks exactly like ours so I don't feel too bad.  : )

Hello ladies.  Here we are - November.  I'm sitting at the dining room table and there is such beautiful sunshine coming in through the windows as the sun begins to set.  I have a cup of coffee on the table and I'm smelling vegetable beef soup on the stove.  A calm evening and the leaves are still beautiful.  I usually don't like dark houses, but we've decided to keep the lighting subdued in the evenings (and most turned off during the day unless it's cloudy) and I'm really loving it.  I so want to be romantic about it but, if truth be told, the price of electricity is supposed to be going up so it's all about economy instead.

I am doing a lot "thinking ahead" these days.  Stocking up on "holiday food" items, moving some furniture around to accommodate the tree when it's time, keeping up with cleaning and organizing things (and finding more to give away!).  I'm trying to get meal prep work done and those freezer meals that I was talking about in my last post.  Meal prep is something that I can't say enough about.  I don't do it often but when I do it I just can't believe I don't keep up with it.  To have everything washed, cut up, and in containers just saves SO much work during the week.  I truly am sold.  The only drawback (and it really isn't) is that it takes a lot of time so I need to remember to set at least a half a day aside.  So I make a pot of coffee, put on a favorite podcast, and slice and dice to my hearts content.  : )  I have an old dresser in my kitchen that is under the window that looks out over the back yard and on the dresser is where I have my cutting board so it's wonderful to stand there and do work that doesn't take any thought and have the luxury of looking outside (it's especially cozy when it's rainy or snowy).  : )

Speaking of podcasts, before I forget, I have been loving being read to!  I've gone through half of the "Anne of Green Gables" books.  I'm not sure if you would call this a podcast but I have an iPad and I just go to YouTube and type "audio books" and there are so many.  It's wonderful listening to these while working in the kitchen, or sitting and working on a craft project, or right before bed.  I know the "Anne" books by heart but I love having someone else read them to me.  : )

Also.......I'm sure you've heard of Aunt Ruthie from Sugar Pie Farmhouse?  Well, she just posted a new video for her 2021 Fall home tour on YouTube.  As always, she is a sweetie and she loves the Lord and she loves her home and she loves her family.  I think you'll like it and maybe pick up an idea or two.  I'm already determined to get a squeaky screen door for my pantry room!!!!  : )

I know I said in my last post that I usually want to hurry up Thanksgiving so we can get to Christmas, but I really am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  It's been a difficult year, hasn't it?  In the difficulty it can be a time for us women to step up and make it good.  Here are some things to ponder:

*Send Thanksgiving cards this year - whether you enjoy making them or getting over to the Dollar Store and buy the 2 for $1.00 cards, this is something that can be very thoughtful and meaningful.  Just think of the friends and family that you weren't able to be with (and maybe still can't), or the elderly, or your neighbors.......getting a card in the mail can be SO meaningful.  We're getting away from sending/receiving cards and letters because everyone texts/e-mails (and now even e-mails are deemed "old-fashioned").  It doesn't have to be like Christmas where you send them to everyone.  Just a few will brighten someone's day.  This is where I think of the old saying "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - I absolutely LOVE getting cards and letters in the mail but it is, unfortunately, a lost practice.   OR..........maybe even better..........a phone call!  Maybe hearing your voice is what they would like/need more.

*Remember those less fortunate than you by giving to the local food shelf.  I'm all for stocking a great pantry and making sure that our families are fed, but giving out of the abundance we have is truly a blessing to others.  You can also give money to Meals on Wheels that deliver meals to the homebound or money to charitable organizations that you know will be serving Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.  

*Have a spirit of thankfulness in your home.  If we complain it's like saying that the Lord has not provided enough.  Every day remember to thank God for his provision for you.  One thing we used to do when our son was young was draw a big tree and hang it up in the hallway or the dining room and then draw leaves that we would write on.  We would write what we were thankful for and then tape the leaves to the tree.  It was supposed to be a lesson for our son to see everything we had to be thankful for, but it was a lesson to all of us!  : )

*Begin now to think of what you want your Thanksgiving Day to look like.  What do you want to serve?  Any special decorations?  Any after-meal games?  We actually like to watch "Miracle on 34th Street" on Thanksgiving because the movie begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving parade and then moves on to Christmas.  Being organized now helps in being calm on the actual day.  Also, if you are inviting someone and they offer to bring something, let them!  I am known to decline their offer and just want to do it all myself thinking that I'm doing them a favor, but I think the opposite is true.  People want to help especially if they have a dish that is a favorite of theirs and they love sharing it.

I'm a "When Calls the Heart" fan and I remember in one Christmas episode where Rosemary gets upset when no one will let her do it all (because she does know how to do everything and does it all very well) and Elizabeth has to tell her that it's important to let other people shine.  Give others a chance to do something so that they feel they are a part of the celebration rather than just an on-looker.

Before I end this post, I wanted to share an Apple Butter recipe with you.  I grew up with Apple Butter and I absolutely love it - on muffins, bread, biscuits.  This recipe reminds me of Mom.  I always get nostalgic around the holidays as I'm sure most of us do.  So doing things that bring them back, in a way, is important to me.  Here it is (sorry, no photo):


6 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Place the apples in a slow cooker.  Add the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Cook on Low for about 10 hours, stirring every couple of hours.  The apple butter should be thick and dark brown.  When finished, let cool a bit and pour into containers.  Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze in small containers for personal use and/or gifts!  I hope you try it.  : )

I'm pretty sure that's about it for now. This is Part 1, but if I have anything that simply can't wait for Part 2, I'll be sure to post again! LOL

Thank you so much for dropping in and visiting a bit.  I appreciate all of you.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord and keep praying!!!  He wants to hear from you.  : )

God bless.