Saturday, December 05, 2020

Kitchen gifts remembered


This started with a post I wrote years ago (2007) on my Christmas blog, when I'd been doing some thinking about gifts from the kitchen: how they come from the giver's heart and also from the heart of the home. When I was growing up, our family always gave away lots of cookies, fudge, and yeast breads at Christmas time: My mother made pans and pans of her maple fudge, but she also made lots of Christmas cookies,  and loaves of cinnamon swirled bread which she topped with a thin white icing plus sliced almonds and a few candied cherries.  We were also the recipients of some kitchen gifts, so I'm going to share a few of those memories and recipes this morning.

Great-aunt Bessie always made large batches of Chex Mix and gave tins of it to everyone on her list.
I've done a bit of research to try and find the recipe Bessie would have used. It's somewhat different from the Chex Mix of today. I seem to recall that there were short, thin pretzel sticks in it, peanuts, and Cheerios. I definitely remember fighting with my siblings over the Cheerios. These seemed to absorb the butter and seasonings better than anything else, and were really tasty. Somewhere I can picture the recipe, written in Bessie's handwriting on Ralston Purina letterhead (her late husband had worked for Ralston, and they were also the company Chex cereal was originally made by, so this was quite meaningful) but I haven't been able to find that paper. Bessie would pack the mix in recycled cans which she covered with Con-Tact™ paper.  This is the best I've been able to do as far as finding a recipe for it: Bessie's Mix.

I don't recall my grandmother giving kitchen gifts in my childhood, I, but in later years, she also had a traditional homemade gift which she would give -- large jars of creamy hot chocolate mix. She would stir all the ingredients up in a gigantic bowl and then transfer the mix to jars for giving. It made a very rich-tasting cup of hot chocolate, so we kids were always happy to see that jar!  Here's her recipe: Gram's Hot Chocolate Mix.

 Gram also traditionally made a special kind of fudge. I think it was basically the "Five-Minute Fudge" and that she used to use both chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in it, maybe in equal quantities.

Neighbors also shared kitchen gifts with our family. There was a German family who always brought an assortment of delectable homemade cookies. Another neighbor traditionally made a pear quick bread. And another delivered her gift on New Year's Day -- a dessert called Pumpkin Snow (made from her own pumpkins) with an accompanying jar of custard sauce.

What fun it all was! When my hubby and I got married over four decades ago, we decided to share Christmas cookies with our neighbors.  Some reciprocated with jars of salsa or loaves of homemade bread.  Not sure where the neighbor gifts will be going this year amid coronavirus fears, but we will be giving plenty of kitchen gifts to our family.  So happy to keep these memories going.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Christmas preparations and a special blessing


Lovely graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 Just a short post today with an update on the progress of our Christmas preparations.  And the above graphic from Abby is such a great reminder that the Lord will strengthen me for the things that need to be done. 

Today I made a list of gifts still to buy and make.  I need to complete a Shutterfly project, do a few small paper crafting projects, five easy sewing projects, and a few small crocheted gifts.  A few kitchen gifts also, but those are easy since they can be factored in with other kitchen tasks.  We will see where it all goes.

I still have six grandsons left to buy gifts for.  Little girls and teen girls are so easy to buy for, but boys can be a little more challenging.  Need to check on those Amazon wish lists!

Yesterday Mr. T kicked off the Christmas cookie baking season (one of his favorite traditions) by making a quadruple batch of Chocolate Spritz.  He had intended to bake a triple batch, but mistakenly quadrupled the sugar, so ... Of course it was fine.  They're now stashed safely in the freezer.

Also yesterday, I managed to get the last of the fall decor taken down and began, ever so slowly, to begin the Christmas decorating.  I enjoy doing this slowly so that I can savor it.  Below is a favorite plate from Gooseberry Patch.

 And now, for the very special blessing!  A new granddaughter, Rosemary, born December 2 out west!  She is so precious and we absolutely love her name.

 How are your Christmas preparations coming along?

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Guest post by Amanda Reed: The Certainty of Christmas in Uncertain Times


Regular readers know that I often try to post daily in both blogs during the month of December.  Only rarely do I post the same content in both blogs.  I much prefer to share different things on each blog to keep things fresh and interesting.  However, today I am breaking my own rule and sharing the same guest post on each blog.  I know that not all of my readers here read my Christmas blog too.  And today's post is so important that I want to share it in both places.  I don't want anyone to miss this.  It's a guest post from my friend Amanda Reed:

December is here! This is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas. I love the decorating, the excitement, the lights, the cards, the songs... everything. I think a lot of people will say the same thing. I heard an ad on the radio the other day, proclaiming that "the holidays are finally here!" I think, after, such a crazy (dare I use the word, "unprecedented" again?!) year, many people have been looking forward to the consistency of Christmas and its once-a-year happiness and excitement.

Christmas. Such a wonderful time. Some even use the word, "magical". But, why is it such a wonderful, magical, happy time?

One word: Jesus.

"Jesus is the reason for the season". While this may seem to be an overused expression, the fact remains: without Jesus, there would be no Christmas.

I have been reading through Luke 1 now, as well as a devotional called, "Repeat the Sounding Joy" by Christopher Ash. As you begin reading Luke 1, Luke writes to Theophilus that Luke's reason for recording the events of Jesus are so "you may have certainty concerning the things that you have been taught". (Luke 1: 4)

What are the things you know for certain?

I think it is safe to say that this year, not much has been very "certain"!

But, in this anticipation and excitement of celebrating Christmas, I want to remind you of what is certain.


Jesus prophesied.

Jesus promised.

Jesus conceived.

Jesus born.

Jesus living as man.

Jesus dying as sin for you and me.

Jesus dead.

Jesus buried.

Jesus ALIVE!

Jesus as Savior.

Jesus as Mediator.

Jesus as KING!

And, all these are certain. Certain because God said them. God foretold them through his prophets. Jesus fulfilled them. And, God's word is there for you and I to read, to know, to believe.

And, this is where these "for certain" things can either be a ray of hope or a cause of disdain. For some, Jesus is a mere religious figure. Yet, for those of us who believe- not in magic-, but in the certainty of God, Jesus is our hope.

He is not just some baby. He is JESUS.

And, what we know for certain is that, from the beginning of time, God foretold of a Redeemer who would break the curse of this sin-soaked world, providing healing to a world, who longs for hope.

What do you know for certain this Christmas season?

Perhaps the plans you normally "do" for Christmas are hindered due to Covid restrictions/fears.

Maybe someone you love died this year, and Christmas will be especially painful without them here.

Perhaps there were some relationship divisions that happened this year. And, the healing process is only beginning.

Maybe the passing strains of time have brought change in your physical body- maybe illness, pain, uncertainties.

Perhaps your job has been greatly affected and funds are tight this year.

Yet, Christmas has come.

And, what are you dwelling on for certain as you consider this blessed holiday?

Are you dwelling on the certainty that Jesus came to save you and give you hope?

Or are you dwelling on all the "things you have to get done"?

Are you dwelling on the certainty that Jesus reigns as King?

Or are you dwelling on the chaos that seems to reign in our world right now?

Take some time to dwell on the certainty of Jesus.

Read Matthew 1 and revel in the fact that the genealogy shared in that passage is a short version of the Old Testament, a remarkable truth of the hand of our sovereign God to bring the birth of Jesus, to save us from our sins.

Read Luke 1 and rejoice in the certainty of God's promises wrapped up in two very special babies: John, as the forerunner of Jesus, and Jesus as the Lamb of God.

Marvel at the work of the Holy Spirit. Promised to dwell in John the Baptist from conception; promised to come upon Mary and cause her to conceive the very Son of God.

This is Christmas. And this is certain: Christmas is all about Jesus.

"Oh, Father, our hearts are easily distracted from belief to unbelief. Give us eyes to see afresh the miracle of Jesus, coming as a baby to redeem us unto yourself. What a miracle of inexpressible joy! What an expression of love from you, our great God. What hope we have- this anchor for our souls in uncertain days- that you have given us Jesus. Thank you for this hope of life and light. Thank you for the certainty of your Word. Teach us more of you. Teach us to rejoice in hope."

If you'd like to read the post over at Amanda's blog and access the links to music she has shared for additional encouragement, you can read here: The certainty of Christmas in uncertain times

Amanda has guest posted here at my kitchen table one other time, so you may remember her.  Our husbands were coworkers until my hubby retired.  Amanda's a busy mom of two young boys, yet she finds time to write (both blog posts and books), lead a Bible study, decorate her home beautifully and frugally, and much much more.  She's an inspiration to me!  I hope that you've enjoyed this most meaningful Christmas post.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Finding time for you in the busy days and weeks ahead ...

Gorgeous winter graphic from (in)courage

 This post by Jessica Turner at (in)courage: 6 Ways to Find Time for You During the Holidays, is well worth filing away for any busy season, but especially for the Christmas season.   Put it somewhere where you'll be able to find it easily every December.  In fact,  it would even be worth printing out and adding to your Christmas notebook, and I have done just that. 

Maybe you have a file on your computer desktop for Christmas helps and ideas, or a Pinterest board for Christmas planning.  Mine is here: Christmas planning and preparation

Just put this post where you will find it easily each December.  I shared this on my Christmas blog for Christmas in July, but decided to also post this here on my regular blog for December Daily, so that none of my readers will miss out.

Jessica's six basic points are these:

1.  Prioritize.

2.  Include you in your calendar.

3.  Plan for times of waiting.

4.  Don't overschedule yourself.

5.  Take care of your body.

6.  Give yourself grace.

But by all means, head on over to her (in)courage post and get the full benefit of Jessica's helpful counsel. 

This year I've been working my way through Jessica Turner's book The Fringe Hours, and have found much commonsense advice there as well.  I hope that this post is a blessing to someone as we begin this busy, festive month!

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

December goals

It's December, so let's jump into it with some goals for the month:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week if possible
* Do something creative each day
* Post in this blog every day through December if possible
* Decorate for Christmas
* Finish buying and wrapping Christmas gifts
* Post in my Christmas blog every day through December
* Send a birthday package and Christmas packages to Nevada
* Address and send Christmas cards
* Bake Christmas cookies; make candy and other kitchen gifts
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Work on Etsy and trust bookkeeping as necessary
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Attend my hubby's work Christmas party
* Make and carry out plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas day
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church
* Clean church
* Maybe go out for breakfast with friends
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
 * Memorize several Bible verses and review some older ones
* Continue with my study of A Woman after God's Own Heart for the ladies' Sunday School class
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers
* Provide Sunday lunch hospitality for pulpit supply couples twice this month
* Continue to help a recently widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Limit sugar
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night 
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week
HEALTHY HABITS FOR DECEMBER:  Drink more water/get more sleep/limit sugar/walking

Monday, November 30, 2020

Getting ready for Christmas baking


Today I've been spending some important time getting ready for Christmas baking, cooking, and kitchen gift making.  I cleaned and sorted the kitchen drawer where I store measuring cups and things like extracts, colored sugars, and sprinkles.  And I did the same with the shelf in my pantry where I keep baking items like flours, sugars, cocoa, chocolate chips and other baking staples.  Later this week, I'll be posting a Making Space entry that will detail everything I decluttered from these areas.  I'm hoping to get lots more decluttering done this week, so that's why I'll wait to post my list.) Suffice it to say that a lot got thrown away, especially from the drawer.

While I was working on the pantry, my hubby suggested that this would be a great time to take inventory of what's there.  He was so right!  Years ago, I kept both a freezer and a pantry inventory, using forms from Organized Home.  But I hadn't updated them in a long, long time.  I went to my household notebook and found that I had blanks all printed out that I could use.  (You can click on the Pantry Inventory form at the Organized Home Free Printables page, and the pdf will open up, if you are interested in using these forms yourself.)  Below you see my form with the baking items filled in.  I'm pretty sure this will be added to as I declutter the other shelves in the pantry!  Since Mr. T took over the grocery shopping when he retired, he usually puts the groceries away.  Baking items have definitely been tucked into other shelves in this overly full pantry.

From here it was a logical step to checking my long-term holiday ingredients shopping list, pictured below.  You can read about that here: Long-term holiday grocery list.  


I'm so glad I did this, because there are several items we're getting low on that would be important to our holiday baking.  I've been stocking up on butter for weeks, but we also need brown sugar, confectioners sugar, almond extract and more.

How about you?  Are you ready to begin your Christmas baking?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Making space -- week 4


This past week was crazy and busy and included a holiday, but I managed just a teensy bit of decluttering anyway; undoubtedly a good idea with Christmas decorating on the horizon.  

Here are my very small accomplishments this week:

November 25 — a pair of pajama pants, a hand towel, and a washcloth, all worn beyond repair, but I’d been continuing to use them.  Tossed out!
Also, 10 1960s magazine pages — large size, like old Better Homes & Gardens issues, scanned for use in graphics and now tossed into the trash.

November 26 — While hunting for pumpkin in my pantry [yes, on Thanksgiving morning!😓], I discovered 2 cake mixes with “Use by” dates of 2016.  To the trash they went!  Shows how long it has been since I used a cake mix!

November 27 — To the trash: 1 cassette tape, a cake mix with a 2019 date and a box of graham cracker crumbs with a 2018 date.  A hardcover book headed for the thrift store, now that I’ve read it.

Certainly I'm hoping for greater progress in the week ahead!  I need to declutter some areas in the kitchen to make way for Christmas baking and to make space for any needed ingredients.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Praying for America


Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 Often, it falls to my hubby to change the wording on our church's sign out by the road.  We usually brainstorm together about what Scriptures or other inspiring words to put there.  Throughout 2020 we haven't changed the sign as often as we ordinarily might, because there seemed a need for the particular Scriptures that were posted to remain in place for awhile.  We've included verses pointing to God as our refuge and to His sovereignty; we've used Scriptures pointing us as a nation to Him; we've shared that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  

In the weeks leading up to the election we pondered what words to use on the sign that we had not already put there.  As you might guess, space is limited.  We finally settled on "Pray for America" on one side of the sign.  On the other side we placed these words from the meaningful song "America the Beautiful":

"America! America!  God shed His grace on thee!" 

If our country ever needed God's grace, it is now.  I have come to believe that we are engaged in a struggle between good and evil -- a battle for the hearts and minds of our people.  Our liberty is truly at stake, friends.  This is not a battle between political candidates or between Democrats and Republicans.  It is a battle between liberty and socialism and quite likely communism.

Mr. T and I are praying that evil will be exposed, that Americans will see the seriousness of our situation and that believers will pray faithfully for our beloved country.

For many years, I've prayed for our country every Thursday.  I've shared about this before, but for those who may have missed it I will share the basics again.  I begin by thanking God for the blessing of living in a free country.  I thank Him for the freedom to worship, the freedom to share my faith with others, the privilege of voting, and the privilege of living in a country with so many natural resources, such natural beauty, and a high standard of living.    I then pray for our president and other leaders, our men and women in the military, our judges and courts, my state and governor, and my town.

The printed page you see across the bottom of my prayer journal is from a pdf titled How to Pray for America.  It's a free download at Revive Our Hearts, and I have found it very helpful in praying for our country as a whole.   In 2016, these requests were printed in our church bulletin, and I clipped them out to use in praying for our country on a regular basis.  Below is a scan:


You will notice that one of these requests is for truth in the media.  Thankfully, there are a few independent news outlets where one can hear the truth.  We are not hearing it from the mainstream networks.  Another important request on this list is that people will be able to see truth, that error would be exposed, and that people with wicked agendas will be made weak.  And that God would overcome the enemies of truth and righteousness.  The Scripture verses for this request are pertinent:

"Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.  

"Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies."
(Psalm 60:11-12)

 If you are not in the habit of praying for America, may I encourage you to do so?

  "America the Beautiful" also includes these powerful words:

"America! America!
God mend thine every flaw.
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!"

I've often been reminded that truly, God is the only One who can mend our flaws -- but we have to want that to happen and we need to beseech God that it will happen. Our flaws have never been more obvious, it seems, and never have I been more aware of how fragile our liberties are and how easily they can be snatched away.

   Let's take time today to beseech God to help us "mend our flaws" as a nation, and to thank Him for the privilege of living in this land.  Thanksgiving is the perfect time to do that, it seems to me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

No place like harvest home


 Just a little post today to link up with Sandi's No Place Like Home party.  It's been a busy week and weekend, but I wanted to share a little something anyway.  I thought I would share some of the pretty autumn and Thanksgiving decor from around our home, since I haven't really posted about that this fall.

I've noticed around the the net (Instagram in particular, but some blogs too) that people are decorating for Christmas already.  In fact, I visited a friend yesterday who has all of her Christmas decorations up.  She has a small place so has not overdone the decorating, and it does look lovely, but that is just not me.  I begin decorating for fall in September, then in November I add a few more Thanksgiving type things.  I tend to do more Thanksgiving decorating if we are having folks in for dinner on that day.  This year we are going to our daughter's, so I have not done as much Thanksgiving decor as I otherwise might.

Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that Thanksgiving as a holiday tends to get overlooked?  That's really a shame, because it is one of my favorite holidays and I feel that it's one of our most meaningful holidays as Americans.  (Although this year is different -- Thanksgiving is being somewhat overshadowed by election drama, yet it's also in the forefront of our thinking since our officials keep telling us all to stay home.) Really, though, we have much to praise and thank God for even in the midst of all the craziness, and those fundamental blessings do not change regardless of our circumstances.  

 One of the very biggest blessings that my hubby and I remind one another of every day is the sovereignty of God.  Nothing about our current situation is a surprise to Him, and He is in full control of every aspect of it.  I sincerely hope that we all are praising and thanking God each day for the liberties we have enjoyed in our country up to now, and that we are faithfully praying for our nation.

Thankful .. that says it all!
Some vintage autumn goodness. 
Clay wall pocket on our porch
Pumpkin candle and holder -- a sweet gift from my sister-in-law
Vintage toy truck and jadeite mug from my childhood home!

 Sweet Thanksgiving card from our faraway daughter.

And there is my simple No Place Like Home for this week. Let's cultivate the Gratitude Attitude!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Making space -- week 3


 Well, I have done very little decluttering this week.  We were away Monday, Tuesday, and most of Wednesday -- a lovely getaway to the ocean which I will hope to blog about soon.

Friday and Saturday have been full to the brim with hospitality, friends and family and all of the cooking and cleaning that accompany such happy times.   Again, some of these are things I hope to blog about one day soon.

On Thursday, I did manage a little decluttering — I cleared out a basket I keep near my chair in the living room.  Lots of correspondence info and devotional type stuff.  This has been on my list of places to declutter for months.  Here’s what I removed to the trash: an unused band-aid, a nearly empty tube of nourishing foot cream; a package of lens cleaning wipes that turned out to be useless; 4 defunct pens; 2 defunct highlighters; a bouncy ball with no bounce (toys are stored in the cabinet underneath this basket!); a half dozen outdated church directories.

I also found some things to give away: 3 sets of Scripture memory cards, also a paperback book.  And I typed up a couple of quotes I found scribbled on bits of paper in this basket, and filed them in the appropriate folders on my computer.

I think that adds up to around 20 things gone this week.  I have some great ideas for areas to tackle next week, when I hope to get much more decluttering done!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Making space -- week 2


I'm joining in with Becki, over at Field Lilies,  with her decluttering effort called Making Space.  Why not join in, and maybe write a post a week about how the endeavor is going?  I've been working at this, and here's my Week 2 report:

 November 9 — a piece of cardboard (the back of a stationery tablet). along with a matching sized piece of carbon paper.  Stashed in my stationery cupboard, it was obviously something I’d used in crafting or writing something or other, quite a few years ago.  No idea what the project was anymore.
November 11 — 6 mugs being rehomed to our little camp.  We found a great Black Friday deal on a Keurig for the camp, but we’ve realized that not every mug is a practical size for it.  I winnowed out my mugs yet again and chose some of the larger ones to take to the camp.
    I also went through my dishtowel/dishcloth/potholder drawer and threw away 1 potholder.  4 potholders are going to the camp, where the only two I have there are rather thin but have sentimental value.  I am also taking 4 dish towels to camp.
November 12 — a glass tumbler with log cabin scene going to the camp.
A paperback book, a heavy glass stein, and a slate wall hanging with a teddy bear motif headed for the thrift store.
I cleaned out my utensil drawer and threw away the following: 2 old containers of dental floss which I kept there for splitting cake layers (haven’t done that in years!); an old metal pastry blender and donut cutter; a tupperware gadget for buttering corn; assorted plastic ware and plastic cooking gadgets like pasta measurers, etc.  A metal gadget which seems to have been a spout topper for a tea kettle.  I don’t even remember what it is or why it was stashed there.
November 13 — to the trash: 1 rusty melon ball cutter.
Headed for the camp: 2 ladles, one large and one small, 2 pie servers, 2 paring knives, 2 large knives, 1 bottle/can opener; 2 sets metal measuring spoons; 1 apple corer/slicer.

I've been trying to work at the 2020 Holiday Planning Challenge with  A Virtuous Woman which started Monday, November 2.  Maybe some of you would be interested also.

  I'll do more of a report on this over on my Christmas blog, where I'm trying to keep up with it but am off to a very slow start.  All that to say, it's the reason I've been tackling my kitchen drawers at this time.  This has definitely been helpful to my participation in Becki's Making Space feature!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hodgepodge for November 11

 Wednesday again!  That means it's time for the Hodgepodge, where Joyce poses the questions and bloggers fill in the answers.  It's great fun and also a good way to come up with an interesting blog post.  If you'd like to join in,  just head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog. Here are the questions for this week:

1. It's the 11th day of the 11th month and bloggers often make lists on days like today. Let's go with a list of eleven things you're feeling grateful for today.

1. The fact that God is sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful and in complete control of this election process and outcome.  I'm praying that the truth will be revealed.

2.  The fact that God is sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful and is also in complete control of this "pandemic".  He is able to end it instantly if He so chooses.  There is nothing too hard for Him.  I'm praying that He will resolve it, and the election situation, in a way that brings glory to Himself and points the world to Him.

3.  The fact that as we stay our minds on God and the truths of His Word, we will be kept in perfect peace.

From Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

4.  God's Word and the wisdom and comfort it brings to our hearts as we spend time in it each day.  Want to be encouraged?  Start reading through Psalms.

Another from Abby
5.  How great I feel on the 40-day sugar fast!  Can't believe how much more energy I have.

6.  Being able to get out and walk on these glorious fall days!  My walking partner broke her arm a couple of weeks ago, but we've been getting out on the warm days and enjoying every moment.

7.  A fun phone chat with our granddaughter Emily this morning as we discussed the cross-stitch project we're both working on -- me here, and Emily in Nevada.  Local granddaughter Julia is doing the same project, and she and Emily have FaceTime stitch-alongs!

8.    Our little cottage!  We're so thankful for this little getaway place  in the woods and how peaceful it is there.  We still have lots of work to do on it, but we are so, so blessed to have this place.  Photo is from late summer.

9.  Finally getting the cottage to the point where we can stay overnight there.  We've stayed over three nights recently, thanks to the warm weather.  If not for that, this not-yet-winterized building would be far too chilly.

10.  Time with our friend Charlotte last week at her cabin up north.  It was quiet, peaceful, and media-free.  We literally sat and watched snow fall.  Great fellowship and food -- and I got a lot of crafting done, too, as we chatted.

11.  The gorgeous, warm sunny Indian Summer weather we've been enjoying for days now.  Most unlike our usual November weather.  Photo is from a previous year, but this is how it looks and feels right now.

2. What's something you decided to do or act on at the '11th hour'?  

I'm sure there have been many situations like that, but at the moment I'm having difficulty coming up with one that I can remember.

3.  Apparently the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe contains 11 herbs and spices. What's a dish you make that calls for exactly eleven ingredients? Feel free to share the list and/or recipe. 

Hmmm ...  I'm sure I probably have a recipe like this, but do I have time to hunt it up?  Probably not.

One of the handmade cookbooks I often give as wedding gifts

4. Something you remember about your 11-year old self? 

I loved sixth grade and my wonderful teacher, Miss Baston.  She really sparked my interest in social studies and writing --  and the projects she assigned nurtured her students' creativity in a big way.

I'm in the middle here, holding the toddler and the book.  I was 10 in this photo but would have turned 11 the next month.

5. The 11th of November is Veterans Day in the US of A. This is a day to honor those who have served their country in war or peace-dead or alive-although according to the government's website it's largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. 

Memorial Day is when we honor military personnel who died in service to their country. 

Share a thought relating to Veterans Day or tell us something about a Veteran you know-love-admire. 

Couldn't think of a better thought than this one from Gooseberry Patch

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

Not really random, but during my Bible time this morning, this verse came to mind:

 "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass."  (Psalm 37:7)

Seems pretty relevant!

And there's my simple Hodgepodge for this week.  Happy Wednesday, all, and keep looking up!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Making space -- Week 1


 What is this about, you ask?  Remember how Becki,  over at Field Lilies,  was doing a decluttering challenge through October?   Well, Becki has a new idea for all of us who'd like to work at this in the days and weeks ahead.  You can read about it here: Making Space.  Why not join in, and maybe write a post a week about how the endeavor is going?  I'm going to try it, and here's my first installment:

First, I'll share what I decluttered from the time I last mentioned Becki's October challenge:

Oct. 20 —From the nightstand to the trash: an empty container of Working Hands cream; an empty tube of Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy; 2 empty tubes of Gold Bond Cream; an empty notepad; 1/2 jar of exfoliating foot wipes; 1 empty tube of Vaseline Advanced Healing Cream; a bunch of notes from my kids that I’ve sentimentally saved for years (having gone through such things in the clean-out of the old homestead, I know they will be disgusted that I saved them all this time).  I also found a bookmark someone had gifted my husband —still in its original packaging — that will be headed to the thrift store.
Oct. 30 — numerous church bulletin fronts — saved to use for Sunday School bulletin boards and other uses.  4 annual church reports from the 1980s.
Oct. 31 — an old makeup bag and its contents; 10 expired tubes or bottles of over-the-counter first aid type products; 2 freebie luggage tags, a used gift card.

Now, here's what I've decluttered in November so far (it's not much because we've been away from the house a lot):

November 6 — an extra mirror, taken to our little camp (where there were none)
November 7 — 2 plastic serving spoons, 1 large metal scoop, 1 metal ladle, 2 metal spatulas/pancake turners — taken to our camp (these are all items that have been taking up precious hanging space or drawer space)

Becki is aiming to declutter maybe ten items per week.  I didn't quite get there this week, but I'm inspired!

We've stayed overnight at our camp the past couple of nights, and the first time I remembered to take along a serving spoon for a crockpot breakfast oatmeal.  Then I took the spoon home. 😏 For this morning, I'd also prepared a crockpot breakfast -- an egg bake -- but realized we have no serving utensils at all over there.   

This is a rustic place and the amenities are very limited, but I'm sure we're going to find that more items we'd like to declutter from our home could be used over there.  

How about you?  Want to get some decluttering done and have fun and write a blog post a week in the process?

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

A peaceful November hodgepodge


And what a good thing to know that we can have peace in our hearts no matter what.  It's the day after Election Day -- but as I write this on Tuesday afternoon, the polls are still open here in the Granite State.  We have no idea which way the election will go, but God's peace is fully available to us.  

And speaking of elections, here's something that's somewhat more reliable than polls -- it's time again for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, where Joyce poses the questions and bloggers fill in the answers.  It's great fun and also a good way to come up with an interesting blog post.  If you'd like to join in,  just head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog. Here are the questions for this week:

1.  How do you define peace? 

To help define true peace, I would love to share these truths about spiritual peace from Elizabeth George's book on the fruit of the Spirit, God's Garden of Grace:

• Our peace has nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with knowing we have a right relationship with God.

• Our peace has nothing to do with daily challenges or crises and everything to do with knowing that our times are in God's hands.

• Our peace has nothing to do with the conditions of our life and everything to do with knowing that God is all-sufficient.

• Our peace is an inward repose and serenity of soul that indicates a heart at rest -- regardless of our circumstances -- as we place complete confidence in God minute by minute.

• True spiritual peace comes with knowing that our heavenly Father is continually with us ... God is omnipresent and therefore fully aware of every detail of our life at every moment and in every place.

Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
2. November 3rd is Election Day in the US of A, but did you know it's also National Sandwich Day? Let's vote, shall we? egg salad or tuna salad? chicken salad or grilled chicken on a bun? peanut butter and jelly or a bagel with cream cheese? turkey and swiss or ham and cheddar? grilled cheese or pimento cheese? roast beef-corned beef-or make mine veggie? 

Oh yes, let's vote! I love the idea of voting on sandwiches!  So let's see:

Egg salad, providing the eggs are chopped fine and there is no raw onion.  Or even better, tuna and egg together.
Chicken salad.
Bagel with cream cheese (but I'd rather have it with peanut butter)
Ham and cheddar
Grilled Cheese
Make mine veggie

And if you want to try a really scrumptious sandwich, check out this old favorite of ours: Bacon Cheeseburger Subs.

3. When did you last say (or feel) 'no rest for the weary'

Oh, good question!   Probably back when we were spending hours every day clearing out the family homestead.  I certainly didn't utter that phrase in the last few days, as we have had some really good rest and relaxation time.

Another by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

4. This time last year, where were you? 

I was busy!  You can read about it in a post from last year: Tuesday Thankfulness.  I found it in looking back in the archives to see what I was doing.  I'd forgotten, but our local daughter and son-in-law celebrated their 20th anniversary by spending a weekend in the north woods at a rustic lodge.  We stayed with the kids.  There was other busyness, too, during that time.

5. Share a favorite song, verse, or quote featuring the word 'peace'. 

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."  (Isaiah 26:3)   I also love the hymn "Wonderful Peace".

Graphic from Good Morning Girls

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We just got back from a couple of days up north with a friend at her cabin.  Talk about peaceful! On Monday we literally just sat and watched snow fall on the fir trees and a little pond.  I got a lot of crafting done too, and Mr. T caught up on some studying and reading and even took a nap!

(Photo from last winter)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday five for October 30


 No Friday five last week, no Saturday six, not even a Monday musings post.  No Hodgepodge.  When I finally began to write this, I even optimistically titled it a "midweek" post, but here it is past midweek. In fact, it's Friday again, so ...

Last week was an utterly crazy week and week end.   However, lots of good things happened during that time, so I want to make sure I am taking note of those.  Let's see.  (There just happen to be five of them.)

1) I may have mentioned, but likely not, that since March our church has been sharing its building with another church that meets in the afternoon.  The other church does not yet have its own building and lost its meeting place (a senior center) to covid early on.  No idea at all when, or even if,  they will be able to meet there again.  Anyhow, all of last week, their church, Grace Baptist, had fall meetings with Morris Gleiser.  What a blessing!

 My hubby and I had heard Morris speak at the couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England in 2019, and were so blessed by all that he shared.  Accordingly, we were thrilled to be able to hear him preach again, only 15 minutes from our home, so we were able to get to every service except the Sunday School hour.  He taught on some basic principles of the Christian life, in a way that is anything but basic.  Basic, and yet so many do not practice them: * Following Jesus, and being "all in" for Him; * Being joyful in all things because we learn to be content in all things, worrying about nothing, praying about everything, and thinking biblically; * Discovering and using our spiritual gifts; * Understanding and employing the weapons of our spiritual warfare; * Living out Jesus' priorities.  I wish that I could give more details, as a huge burden on my heart is believers who choose not to grow spiritually.  But if anyone is interested in learning more, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to share my notes.  I was so riveted that my notes aren't as detailed as they might be, but I will share them if anyone's interested.

2) A wonderful ladies' luncheon with Lynn Gleiser as our speaker, on Wednesday of the revival week.  Her topic was The Comfort of Hope, and a very encouraging time it was!  She noted that true biblical hope is rock-solid divine confidence.  Whatever God says will happen, will happen.  We can depend upon it!  She shared three great points: Our reason for hope; Our struggle with hope; and Our ministry of hope.  There was a lot of wonderful information concerning each point.  Again, if anyone is interested, let me know in the comments and I can share my notes with you.

Delightful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
The ladies brought soups, salads, and breads to share along with some lovely fall desserts.  My friend Patty has one of those nifty gadgets with space for three crockpots, and she had a different soup in each one -- squash, chicken noodle, and a creamy tomato soup that I have got to get the recipe for!

3)  A great day with our friend Terry last Thursday.  My hubby was building a series of steps for her, and as a thank-you Terry made a scrumptious Italian meal for us.  Terry learned how to make sauce from an Italian mother-in-law many decades ago, and her sauce is legendary.  So we had stuffed shells, sauce, and amazing meatballs along with garlic bread.  Oh my, oh my.


4) Great fellowship with our friends Dave and Gina and their daughters on Saturday.  Their youngest daughter is visiting from Arizona and we hadn't seen her in several years.  We enjoy getting together with Dave and Gina for breakfast several times a year, usually at Cracker Barrel or another favorite restaurant.  This time, we decided to just have them all here for brunch. Our daughter Carrie and her three younger kids joined us.  I prepared a hearty breakfast egg bake, a hash brown casserole, and two breakfast pizzas.  Others brought scones, muffins, pastries, and fruit.   

5) More great fellowship at lunch on Sunday with our friends Syd and Cyndy.  Syd was preaching at our church, and we always enjoy time with these dear, old friends with whom we reconnected in 2019.  We had asked our young newlywed friends the Smiths to join us for lunch, and actually ended up with two other college age guests as well.  So much fun around the dining table, and it was really fun to see how God supplied abundant food for the unexpected guests. 

 I had a large meat loaf in one crockpot, and six baked potatoes in the other; Cyndy brought a tossed salad and I'd made a refined-sugar free chocolate cake with peanut butter and maple frosting.  Here is the neat way in which God provided: I'd made an Alfresco Bean Salad for the luncheon on Wednesday.  There was a lot left over, and I'd forgotten about it.  But on the way home from church on Sunday, God jogged my memory.  Now there would be plenty of food for eight!  

But there was more.  In planning Sunday's lunch menu, I hadn't realized that our friend Syd has a sensitivity to peanuts.  God provided an alternative dessert for him in this way: Due to a kitchen disaster, I ran out of time to make a fruit salad on Saturday,  which turned out to be fine since Gina ended up bringing one.  But Sunday morning, since my frozen fruit had been defrosting in the fridge and a can of pineapple chunks was already at hand, I stirred up the fruit salad.  Voila -- an extra dessert was ready and waiting! I love to watch God work in little details like this.  It's such a great reminder of His love and care.

After the young people left, Mr. T and I took Syd and Cyndy over to our little camp to show them around.  They loved the history of the building along with its coziness, and we took a little walk on the property as well.  It was a lovely fall afternoon spent with friends.

So there is my Friday five!  What a blessing to be reminded of God's goodness and generosity toward His children.  

"Great is the LORD; and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."  (Psalm 145:3)