Monday, October 24, 2022

Monday Afternoon Chat


A little preview of what's to come!

Hello ladies!  I'm so glad you are here and that I can spend some time with you.  It is late afternoon and it's been cloudy all day and now it's a bit rainy (which I'm really excited about!).  To have it be a Monday AND rainy is my kind of day.  : )

The picture above was a day that I took full advantage of and got into the kitchen right away.  There is something SO cozy and homey about having coffee off to the side, classical music playing, lightly snowing, the oven is on, and I'm baking.  I finally got around to making something with pumpkin.  Donuts!  These were so good.  I printed several recipes and was going to try them all, but this particular recipe was the first one I tried and it was so good that I wasn't going to try anything else.  I was sold right off and now I want to share the recipe with you as well.  I found this on the "Little Sweet Baker" - I hope you can give them a try.


1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin 
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 cups MINUS 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two standard size donut pans.  In a large bowl, whisk all the donut batter ingredients except the flour until smooth.  Add in the flour and stir just until smooth again.  Fill the wells of donut pans about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool enough to handle.  If you are serving these right away, toss the donuts with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (mixed together ahead of time).  Place on a wire rack to cool.  If you are serving these donuts later......toss them in the cinnamon sugar just before serving or at the most, a couple of hours before.

As you can see, my treat tray also consisted of my molasses cookies!  : )

While I was in the kitchen that day, I was thinking of what my definition of a "charmed life" was.  Being at home, being a homemaker, is part of that for me.  I think when we hear the words "charmed life" we tend to think of someone who has it all (whatever "all" means to you).  But for me, it's taking the time to make things feel special with the very little I have.  My mother worked very hard to buy me a full set of china.  It wouldn't have been the pattern I would have chosen for myself, but because she went out of her way to purchase it, I wouldn't give it up for the world.  Using that china once in a while makes me feel like I'm living a charmed life.  To fill the fancy coffee pot up with hot coffee and pouring it into one of the matching cups and saucer gives a feeling of elegance even if I'm dressed in my blue jeans and apron.  Or, on a Saturday morning when the sun is on the patio, to go out and sip my coffee outdoors makes me feel like I'm on vacation.  Just doing little things like that can lift your mood and give a break from the ordinary.

Another thought about food is that someone mentioned how important it is to begin using your pantry food if you've been putting food aside for the last year or two.  In other words, don't just stand back and admire everything you have, use it up!!!!!  There are many things that last a long time, but there are also some things that don't, so be diligent in using what you have.  : )  You aren't saving money, if you have to throw things out.

One thing that I'm excited about this week is that I'm planning our annual pumpkin carving party.  We haven't done this in two years and everyone is ready to get back at it!  It's all held outdoors and I've checked the forecast and it sounds like it will be very nice weather for it.  I'll be serving potato soup with cheese, bacon, and onions on top, an Autumn chex mix, S'Mores charcuterie board, and apple cider.  We'll also have the outdoor fire going to warm up by.  Hopefully I will remember to post a few photos of everything.  : )

I continue to work on my cross stitch:

I have a ways to go on this, but I like the way it's turning out.  This is another free pattern from Pinker 'n Punkin designs.  At this point, I'm just concentrating on Christmas and then get back to others after the first of the year.

There are three "Flosstubes" that I wanted to give a shout out to:

*Curious Crafters - two sisters in California that not only cross stitch, but one sews her own clothes and the other knits her own sweaters.
*Recovering Monogamous Stitcher - I can relate to this - when I first started cross-stitching I thought I would just focus on one project at a time until I finished it.  No.  There are TOO many cute designs out there I want to do it all!!!!
*Celeste Creates - a sweet soft-spoken woman who does beautiful stitching

I am now reading:

I've read all of Jane Austen's books except this one and "Mansfield Park" and I've heard a few negative comments about Mansfield Park so I'm not going to bother with that one, but I'm enjoying this read very much!  I love her subtle sense of humor.  Things such as "she enjoyed a day of busy idleness" - love it!  : )

We went to a book sale a couple of times in the last couple of weeks and I was able to pick up four Nancy Drew books, two Charles Dickens books, and a couple of books for Bible study purposes.  So, that will definitely help with my need to keep reading - especially now with the colder weather coming on.

Well, I think that is all I can come with for today!  It is now getting to the point where I need to go into the kitchen and get supper started.  Monday nights are "no meat nights" so it will be pasta with a meatless sauce, butternut squash, and green beans on the side.  

So, I will say goodbye for now.  Thank you SO much for dropping by - again, I appreciate it when you do!!!  : )  God bless your week ahead.  Hope to see you soon.


Sunday, October 9, 2022

A Hodge Podge of Things


A little Autumn beauty - more on that later!  ; )

I've been hesitating in posting because I knew that it wouldn't flow very well (hence the title of "Hodge Podge).   So I'm just going ahead with it and hoping that it makes some kind of sense and that it may be helpful to you in some way!

It was the end of September when I last posted and now here we are beginning the 2nd week of October.  Definitely my favorite month of the year.  There is not only the change in the weather, but there is that change in me.  I can feel it.  It's all the nesting that goes on.  Getting the house cozier, cooking and baking to make it smell good, cleaning places that I haven't cleaned in a while, going through stuff to get rid of.  A getting ready for the inevitable (ummm........that would be Winter).  

Winter is kind of one of those things that you know it's coming but it's like when you know you're getting the flu and you're trying to talk yourself out of it all the way to the bathroom!!!!  It's then when your forced to just admit it and deal with it.  LOL

Don't get me wrong.  I like winter, I really do.  It's just that it's, well, long.  In the perfect world it would snow right after Thanksgiving all through December (for Christmas) and then leave right after New Year's Eve.  But, no.  That's not how it works, is it?  Wow.  I really got off track, didn't I?!

Back on track again.....

I made my lovely lists and I'm pretty much sticking to them and I like that.  Nothing life changing, but it was good for me.  Here are some of the things:

*I cleaned out the fridge/freezer/pantry to see what things were lingering and needed to be used up so I based the last two weeks menus on that.  That was very satisfying.  

*I made up my homemade Hamburger Helper mixes for the pantry.  These come in so handy for last-minute stovetop cooking.

*I had bread that needed to be used but not quite fresh enough for sandwiches, so I cubed it and made them into croutons.  

*I made my homemade taco seasoning packets and pizza seasoning packets.  Just another little thing that I don't have to buy pre-made and it tastes just as good.

*I've thought through my menus for the holidays (especially Thanksgiving) and I now have most of the ingredients I need (except for fresh, of course) for what I want to make.  Through the years, even my cooking has pared down like my decorating.  Instead of going all out and tiring myself out, I try to keep things on the simple side.  There are certain things for Christmas that I have to do as far as cookie and candy making so those ingredients are purchased as well.  

It may not seem like a lot but spacing these things out in the days I had along with getting other things done, I feel like I've accomplished quit a bit.  Today, I re-write those lists to have for this upcoming week!

I'm surprised that I haven't made anything pumpkin yet.  I was supposed to get to pumpkin donuts last week but didn't get around to it - hopefully this will be the week!  October needs to be full of pumpkin goodies for me.  : )  However.....when looking through the pantry, I noticed a big can of sweet potatoes that I bought quite a while ago and they needed to be used up so I baked a sweet potato pie!  At first I thought it would taste like a pumpkin pie but it's different than that.  A good different.  It is a Trisha Yearwood recipe and I'll give it to you in case you'd like to try it too:


1 1/2 cups canned sweet potatoes
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. softened butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of the sugar, as well as the eggs, butter, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Beat thoroughly and smooth (it's okay if the butter doesn't get smooth).  Pour the mixture into the pie shell and then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on top of the pie.  Let it sit for 15 minutes so the sugar melts.  Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before serving.

Yes, a couple of slices already gone.  : )  We're going to have another couple of slices in a little while!
I hope you try it.

I made my big batch laundry detergents (liquid for the washing machine and dry for soaking things in):



When I was hanging up laundry the other day, I was thinking back to how busy our backyard used to be.  We always had kids in it when our son was young.  We had more fire nights.  More picnics.  And now it just seems so......quiet.  No more children.  People are too busy to want to get together anymore.  It was a sad feeling.  I don't know if any of you have ever experienced depression, but I had quite the struggle with it starting a couple of weeks ago.  It was like this whole past year of pain and hurts came upon me and it was such a dark place.  I've experienced the blues many times throughout my life, but this was different.  I really needed to keep my eyes on the Lord (where they should be all the time anyway!).  

One day when I was folding laundry, an overwhelming sense of loss came over me.  The times we are living in are so insane and it didn't help that I was reading "Little Town on the Prairie" when the times were SO different!!! I keep wanting to jump into every page and live there with them.  I know we are all born at the time the Lord has appointed, but it's difficult sometimes.  So I put Christmas music on and did my work with that playing in the background.  It helped to settle me down a bit.  I'm even starting watch a few Christmas movies.  I don't know why that helps, but whatever helps is what I'm going to do!  : )  

And then one of the weekends was difficult and we were spending it indoors a lot so by Monday morning I knew that if I didn't get out into nature at some we went to a nature preserve and walked the trails.  Boy, did I need that!!!  It didn't solve anything but just looking at the beauty helped to melt some of the anxiety.  By Tuesday, I could feel the depression lift and thanked God for bringing me through it.  

Here are some of the photos I took on the walk - it was a cloudy day so the colors aren't as vibrant:

Just a few.  God has certainly provided us with beauty to look at in order to soothe our soul.  Truly a balm.  : )

I found a quote from "Little Town on the Prairie" (my favorite book in the Little House series) that I'm re-reading and wanted to share it with you.  Laura is feeling a bit down because they are suffering loss of some crops due to crows coming in and eating everything up.  She says that living on the prairie is one battle after another.  Here is what Ma says:

"This earthly life is a battle.  If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another.  It always has been so, and it always will be.  The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures."

I will leave it at that.  : )  

God bless you all and your week ahead.  Thank you so much for stopping by - I appreciate it.