Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hodgpodging the hodgepodge


It's Wednesday again, and that means it's time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions have a true hodgepodge feel -- they are all over the place but look like fun.   Here goes:

1.Why do you blog? Have your reasons changed over time? 

I started blogging in 2005.  This is what I wrote in my very first post:

 "Inspired by my daughter and some other friends, I've decided to try my own hand at blogging. It occurred to me that so much of life takes place around a kitchen table. We do so much more there than just eat meals and share family time. Board games may be played there, homework may be done there. Craft projects may be worked on, and the pieces of sewing projects may be cut out there. Food preparation, correspondence, bill-paying... the list could go on and on. Not to mention all the wonderful times of fun and fellowship that happen at the kitchen table. As a friend of ours once commented, 'We're kitchen-table people'. So much laughter takes place at a kitchen table! Tears may be shed there as well. Jokes are told and serious conversations are shared. I hope that this blog will be a "virtual kitchen table" where I can share recipes, memories, and kitchen-table thoughts with those who visit here." 

I don't think my reasons for blogging have changed much over time.   About the only difference is that now I do see blogging as more of a ministry than I did back then.

2. What's a typical Friday night look like at your house?

A few years ago we routinely had young friends over for supper and Bible study on Friday nights.  Life circumstances have changed and that seldom happens now, though I think we all wish that it did.  Our Friday evenings tend to be quiet and low-key. 

3. Do you like donuts? Your favorite kind? How often do you treat yourself to a donut? Have you ever made homemade donuts? 

I do like donuts.  I would be hard-pressed to decide on a favorite kind.  Dunkin' Donuts have often been a staple for us on road trips.  They used to make a glazed whole wheat donut that I really liked, and blueberry cake donuts too.

I very, very seldom treat myself to a donut, though.

Yes, I have made homemade donuts a number of times.  My grandmother taught me.  Here's a post from my first year of blogging where I describe teaching a dozen girls to make homemade donuts: Doughnut doings. This is the No-Fry Doughnut recipe referenced in that post.  


I've also made a gluten free baked pumpkin doughnut that we really enjoyed.

4. How do you feel about shopping?Are you an online shopper? Catalog shopper? Brick and mortar shopper? Do you order groceries online or prefer to select items with your own two hands? 

I am not a shop till you drop type person at all.  I'm a catalog shopper at times but usually order on line.  I also like to order from Etsy shops for really unique gifts.  And I really appreciate that many of our grandchildren have Amazon wish lists.  It simplifies birthday and Christmas shopping.

I don't order groceries online.  I definitely prefer to select items with my own two hands, especially produce.

5. Next week's Hodgepodge finds us somehow in the month of April, which just so happens to be National Poetry Month. Sum up (or tell us something about) your month of March in the form of a limerick. You can do it!! 

There once was a month just so busy,
My hubby and I felt quite dizzy:
From maple sap hauls
To the painting of walls,
This March has had us in a tizzy!

6. Insert your own random thought here.   

Oh, let's see.  Well, we met our goal of being able to stay at our little camp for at least one night each winter month.  As I wrote about before, this is quite a challenge in an uninsulated building.  But it worked with the various adaptations I mentioned, and we were able to stay three nights each in January, February, and March!

And there's the Hodgepodge for this week.  So thankful I was able to take part!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunday Scripture


It's Sunday again, and time for a Scripture post.  Recall, I'm going back to The Book of Psalms One Chapter a Day study from Good Morning Girls.  In Summer 2020 I started this study but had never completed it, so I've decided to go back and finish it up.  This particular book only covers Psalms 101-150, and I had previously completed Psalms 101- 129, so I have a few more to go.  I have purchased another journal covering Psalms 51-100 and will plan to go through that after I finish this one.  

With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.

Also, there is a reflection question for each psalm.  I don't always answer it, but when I do it will usually follow the SOAP portion of my study.

The Psalm for today is Psalm 134.  Another psalm with just three verses!

S= "Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

"The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion."  (Psalm 134:1-3)

O=  Scofield titles this psalm "Praise by night."  It is the final psalm in the series of "songs of degrees (or ascents)".  It is an exhortation to "bless the LORD".  In return, it seems, He blesses those who bless Him.

Who is to bless the LORD?

His servants who stand in His house by night.

How are they to bless the LORD?

By lifting up their hands in the sanctuary.

What is the result of blessing the LORD?

The LORD, the self-existent One who made heaven and earth, will bless them out of Zion.

Charles Spurgeon, in The Treasury of David, paints a word picture for us: "The pilgrims are going home, and are singing the last song in their psalter.  They leave early in the morning ... for the journey is long for many of them.  While yet the night lingers they are on the move.  As soon as they are outside the gates, they see the guards upon the temple wall, and the lamps shining from the windows of the chambers which surround the sanctuary; therefore, moved by the sight, they chant a farewell to the perpetual attendants. ... Their parting exhortation arouses the priests to pronounce upon them a blessing out of the holy place; this benediction is contained in the third verse.  The priests as good as say, 'You have desired us to bless the Lord, and so we pray the Lord to bless you'."

Also in The Treasury of David, Spurgeon quotes N. McMichael as having written the following: "The priestly benediction brings God before us in a twofold character.  He is described first as the Creator of the universe.  He is described, in the second place, as dwelling 'in Zion'.  In the first aspect, He is represented as the God of nature; in the second, as the God of grace.  When I contemplate Him as the Creator of the universe, there is abundant proof that He can bless me.  When I contemplate Him as dwelling in the church, there is abundant proof that He will bless me.  Both of these elements are essential to our faith." 

I also found some helpful thoughts in Believer's Bible Commentary, another favorite resource of mine --  "Notice four things about the blessing: 

The Blesser -- the LORD, Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God;
His greatness -- He made heaven and earth;
The one blessed -- "May the LORD bless you (you is singular);
The locale of the Blesser -- Zion, the place of the sanctuary.

Scofield explains that Zion was "the ancient Jebusite stronghold ... on the south part of the eastern hill of Jerusalem.  It is called 'the city of David' and is associated with the Davidic royalty both historically and prophetically.  The name 'Zion' is often used of the whole city of Jerusalem, considered as the city of God, especially in passages referring to the future kingdom age."

A= So -- as we praise God, as individual believers, we are blessed. The One who blesses us is the almighty, covenant-keeping, eternal God who made heaven and earth.  Simply put, this psalm is a call to worship.  In addition to time spent worshiping Him with other believers, and worshiping Him in my quiet time, I believe that I am to live my life in an attitude of worship.

P= "Lord, as I come to You in prayer in light of this exhortation,  the words of a chorus we've been learning in church come to my mind: 'I worship You, Almighty God, there is none like You.'  We've been learning this chorus in light of 1 Samuel 2:2 which reminds us that there is none as holy as You, there is no one beside You, and there is no Rock like You.  Indeed, I worship You, Almighty God!  I praise You in Jesus' name, Amen."

The Reflection Question noted that "as we bless and praise God, He blesses us.  The Lord's blessings are not just for the church as a whole but for each of us as an individual and it is for all of His children everywhere.

"This Psalm is a call to worship and the act of praising the Lord is a blessing in and of itself.  So let's bless the Lord right now.  Write a word of praise below and then pause and sing a song of worship to Him right where you are!"

My answer: "Lord, how I praise You that You are the Maker of heaven and earth!  It's a special blessing that our help comes from You (Psalm 124:3), the all-powerful, all-wise Creator.  What greater Helper could there possibly be?"  If I were to sing right now, it would probably be: "I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise; that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies!"

There is this week's Sunday Scripture.  I know this study was a little longer than some.  Hope it was a blessing to someone!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Saturday six


Just popping in on a Saturday afternoon to share a few blessings from this week.  Here goes:

1.  The opportunity to have our missionary friends Bill and Karen visiting our church last Sunday to update us all on their ministry in Papua New Guinea.  It was a wonderful day of fellowship.

2.  The blessing to be able to volunteer this week at The Wilds of New England.  It continues to amaze us that God is using us even in a tiny way in this wonderful ministry.

3.  Everything going smoothly in all of our projects -- my hubby's painting, carpentry and floor installation projects and my own work in the kitchen which helped keep volunteers and staff well fed.  It took a lot of detailed planning but I am praising the Lord that everything went so well.  We prepared lunches and dinners in the Inn, below.

4.  Lots of time with people!  Getting to know our fellow volunteers and staff a little better as we worked together and also shared meals around a table. Two phone calls with my friend Jennifer this week; it was good to stay caught up with her even while out of town.  Instagram messaging with my daughters and even a message from granddaughter Emily.  Getting to attend a discipleship Bible study on Tuesday night.  Having a wonderful, iron-sharpening-iron visit with my younger friend Cassie after supper last evening.

5.  Being able to go out for brunch yesterday with our friends Terry, Bill and Karen.  What a treat that was!  It meant taking a few hours out of our time at TWNE, but was well worth it to be able to get our widowed friend Terry a little time with these dear ones she remembers from years gone by.  It was a refreshing time for all of us.

6.  Small amounts of free time so I was able to do a little bit of crochet and counted cross stitch,  and even a little bit of blogging.   I was also able to have a truly blessed quiet time each morning and do some studying ahead for Sunday Scripture posts.

It was a busy week but a good one.  Hope all of you had a good week as well!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Just one question

It's a busy week at our volunteer jobs, and any blogging must be done from my tablet, but I didn't want to dispense with the Hodgepodge entirely.  

So I decided to answer just one question.  It's this one:

5.  What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?   Elaborate.

Of course, there were many things I enjoyed doing as a kid.  But one of my favorite activities was paper dolls.  Of course I owned many wonderful sets of paper dolls.  Back in the day they were very inexpensive.  They came in large softcover books, with the dolls ready to be carefully removed from their card stock covers and their wardrobes and sometimes accessories ready to be cut from the pages inside.

Some of these sets represented movie or TV stars, like the Lennon Sisters paper dolls above (snagged from Pinterest).  Others were characters from cartoons or kids' books.  Trixie  Belden and her friend Honey Wheeler, for example.  There were many different sets of Barbie paper dolls.

But my favorite paper dolls were the ones I made myself.  I might draw my own, or trace around an existing paper doll.  Then I would find colorful magazine pages to use as "fabric" to design clothing to fit the dolls, adding tabs to hold it in place.

One Christmas, my parents got me the most amazing gift: a Betsy McCall Fashion Designer set.  It included a light box and patterns for paper dolls and every sort of clothing and accessory imaginable.  Entire pages of skirts and tops, for example, with dozens of combinations to choose from.  So much fun!  I spent hours with this activity.  It's a special childhood memory for me, and the set remained intact for my daughters to use.  Fun times!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 😀

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Scripture


So it's Sunday again, and time for a Scripture post.  If you recall, I'm going back to The Book of Psalms One Chapter a Day study from Good Morning Girls.  In Summer 2020 I started this study but had never completed it, so I've decided to go back and finish it up.  This particular book only covers Psalms 101-150, and I had previously completed Psalms 101- 129, so I have a few more to go.  I have purchased another journal covering Psalms 51-100 and will plan to go through that after I finish this one.  

With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.

Also, there is a reflection question for each psalm.  I don't always answer it, but when I do it will usually follow the SOAP portion of my study.

The Psalm for today is Psalm 133 and the verse to zero in on is verse 1.  This may sound a little familiar, since I wrote about this verse back in September as part of the Made for Community study.  But I think today's SOAPing of this verse will be different enough that no one will find it redundant.  (I hope.) I find that no matter how many times we read a portion of God's Word there is still more to be learned from it.

S= "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"  (Psalm 133:1)

O= C. I. Scofield titles this psalm "The blessings of brotherly love."  Psalm 133 is another of the "songs of degrees" found in Psalms 120 through 134.  

Joseph Alexander wrote concerning Psalm 133, "This psalm is an effusion of holy joy occasioned by the sight of the gathering of Israel as one great household at the yearly feasts!"

To which I would add -- and even more so if these songs were also sung by those returning to Jerusalem from captivity, as some scholars have conjectured.  What an "effusion of joy" that must have been, though I'm sure it would also have involved many tears.

Now, moving into verse 1 -- it begins with the word "Behold".  "Behold" means to pay attention and watch.  To what are we to pay attention and watch for in this verse?  

We're to pay attention to and see:

* how good it is for brothers to dwell together in unity;

* how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.

If we are paying attention to something and see how good and pleasant it is, we will act upon it.  

Two cross-references are given for "brethren":

"Let brotherly love continue."  (Hebrews 13:1)

"And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren."  (Genesis 13:8)

A= It's important to pay attention to unity in the church.  Unity is good for many reasons.  Among others, it pleases God and it presents a good testimony to the watching world.  It is pleasant because it makes our lives sweeter, while disunity makes us bitter.  It's never pleasant (or good) to have our fellowship and worship disrupted by conflict or sinful attitudes like envy, anger, pride, and more.  I need to do my part to contribute to the pleasantness of unity in the church.

P= "Lord, what an encouraging little psalm this is!  I'm so thankful that it shows us Your heart in the matter of unity, and that it teaches us so clearly about the importance and blessings of unity among Christians.  I'm thankful that You've helped us to experience the joy of unity in our local church, and that you've helped us to honor You during the occasional challenging times over the years when things have felt less unified.  I praise You for all that You have done and are doing, in Jesus' name, Amen."

The reflection question for today notes, "God wants us to have unity in the church ... Have you experienced this sweetness?  Sometimes conflict or hurt feelings can break up the unity.  How can you show more love and grace in the family of God so that you can experience the blessings of unity?"

My answer:  I have experienced this sweetness.  It's a true delight!  Most of my church experience has reflected this good, pleasant unity that helps us serve and worship to the glory of God.

Yet I've also seen how easily sinful attitudes of just a very few people can disrupt the unity and make things unpleasant and unsettled in the local church.

I'm thankful for how God has helped me and my hubby to be peacemakers and to extend love and grace even to those who may have hurt us in the past.  It truly is a blessing how God encourages and enables His children as they seek to faithfully walk with Him.

There is this week's Scripture Sunday.  I hope it was a blessing!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Cookbook review: Grandma's Favorites


 I have SO many Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.  It's true that the majority of them are Christmas cookbooks, which I have trouble resisting, but many are books I've received for free in exchange for having a recipe published.  This year I'm hoping to share quite a few cookbook reviews with you all, so you can get an idea which ones you might enjoy adding to your own collection.  

Grandma's Favorites has been redone and now includes photos, 

but the edition pictured at the top of the post, the one I own, is still available on Thriftbooks.  One thing I particularly love about the cover of the edition I have is the inclusion of granny squares.  The strip of granny squares across the top above the title is lovely, and I also like the pretty granny square hot mats or pot holders at lower left.  I'd love to find a pattern to make some of these.

But on to the cookbook review!  The little note on the cover summarizes: "Can't-miss recipes for delicious family dinners, just like Grandma used to make."  Inside, the Dedication is "For everyone who craves the old-fashioned comfort of sharing meals with family & friends ... who know that the secret ingredient is love!" 

 The authors say: "Our most heartfelt thanks to all of you who shared their family's cherished recipes, saved on index cards and scraps of paper."  That sentiment really resonated with me, since in cleaning out the family homestead,  I have come across so very many index cards and scraps of paper with recipes scribbled on them.

Fun fact: Two of my recipes are actually included in this book -- a salad and a dessert.

The table of contents includes just six chapters: Old-Fashioned Breakfasts; Chill-Chasing Soups & Breads; Fresh-Picked from Grandma's Garden; Grandma's Best Supper Dishes; Fun Foods for Get-Togethers; and Something Sweet for You!

Old-Fashioned Breakfasts has a lot of great recipes for breakfast casseroles and other hearty breakfast main courses, as well as for  coffee cakes, muffins, pancakes, French toast, fruit dishes, some homemade jams and even Old-Fashioned Hot Cocoa!  I've made the Frozen Fruit Cups (only I used plastic cups rather than muffin tin liners) often in the past and they are good.  I used to make Butter Dip biscuits in the past also, but this method (using the exact same ingredients) is much easier than the one I used.  I think I will make these, using this method, to accompany a stew the next time our young friends come for lunch.  One of the main-dish recipes, Bacon & Sausage Gravy, looks over-the-top delicious.  Not sure I will be able to resist trying that one!

Chill-Chasing Soups & Breads is filled with recipes and hints for making those classic partners,  bread and soup.  There are at least a half-dozen different chicken soup recipes, as well as many other soups and breads like rolls, cornbread, biscuits, Irish soda bread, and quick breads.  There are several recipes for chili, a New England clam chowder, a creamy shrimp chowder, and a zucchini garden chowder (pictured below) which I've made several times and which we really enjoy.  All in all, this chapter would be a wonderful resource for fall and winter suppers.

Fresh-Picked from Grandma's Garden is a chapter filled with vegetable salads, side dishes, and even quite a few canning recipes for pickles, relishes and jams.  Veggie-Loaded Potato Salad, with cucumber, celery, radishes and green onions in addition to potatoes, with a flavorful mayo-based dressing, sounds really good to me -- or maybe I'm just tired of winter.  My own recipe for refrigerator carrot salad is in this section.  There's a Garden Vegetable Casserole which sounds easy and good, one for Fire & Ice pickles which I'd love to try,  and a couple of jams that sound so deliciously different -- Spicy Apple Pie Jam, and Blueberry-Lemon Jam.  

Grandma's Best Supper Dishes is just what it sounds like: a chapter full of homey supper meals.  Lots of pasta dishes as well as a mustard gravy chicken that sounds fantastic, a pork chop and apple bake, oven sausage & peppers, a fancier tuna noodle casserole, and several delicious-looking slow cooker recipes.  Milk-Baked Fish reminds me of my mother as she often baked haddock or other white fish in milk.  We loved it that way.  Granny's Hot Dogs and Potatoes sounds like a nice dish to have for supper at the cottage some chilly spring evening.  

Fun Foods for Get-Togethers is the next chapter, and it includes recipes for dips, snacks, spreads, sandwiches, beverages and other fun foods.  Deviled eggs, pickles, a cheese ball or two.  Betty's Deviled Ham & Cheese Ball sounds fantastic.  I'm probably odd, but I have always loved the flavor of deviled ham and can almost taste this cheese ball.  There are also burgers, salsa, and much much more.  

Something Sweet for You is a logical ending chapter to a cookbook of Grandma's Favorites.  There are pies, cobblers, cakes, brownies and other cookies, cream puffs, and much more.  My own recipe for double-good blueberry pie is here.  There's a brownie ice cream pie that sounds fantastic.  There are a number of delicious-sounding cookie recipes, including Granny's Cornflake Cookies, which has only three ingredients: corn flakes, butterscotch chips, and crunchy peanut butter, and requires no baking.  There are several nice cake recipes and even a recipe for homemade ice cream!  There's a recipe for pecan pie bars -- like pecan pie, but made in a jelly roll pan.  What a practical way to serve pecan pie to a large family or a crowd!  There's a recipe for cream puffs that sounds scrumptious,  and even a couple of canning recipes, one for canned apple pie filling and the other for apple-walnut maple conserve.

There are so many charming line drawings in this addition of the book, too.  Just a sweet country cookbook with all sorts of classic recipes as well as some truly innovative ones.  I'm glad this cookbook found its way to my bookshelf!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Snowy day in New Hampshire!

 Yes, it's a snowy morning here.  We had some heavy wet snow overnight.  Not a lot of snow in inches, but because it is heavy it has coated every branch of every tree.  I'm going to just share a few photos and captions.

Above is a corner of our balcony.  Bent-over trees like this can be a common phenomenon, especially for birch trees (Have you ever read Robert Frost's poem Birches? If not, you will want to look it up.) but in this case the tree is a maple.  When my hubby opened the balcony door to take this photo, the storm door immediately fogged up.  Hence the foggy look of this particular picture.
Our bird feeder is out in the middle of this clothesline to keep squirrels away.
Our snowy back woods.
Just a close-up of some snowy branches.
Snow-topped sap buckets.
And more of the same.  Just a pretty sight.
Tire swing half buried in snow.
Snowy trees in our front yard.
These are at the edge of our lawn.
Another sap bucket.  Those are beech leaves which tend not to drop in the fall.
Tall snowy treetops.

Our driveway and my hubby's old red plow truck.  

Hope it's a pleasant day where you are.  If you are not in New Hampshire, you can enjoy our snow from a distance!