Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday Medley for January 30

From Baptist Bible Hour
Somehow it's Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida!   Terri asks the questions and bloggers come up with their own answers. 

 Wouldn't you like to join in?  It's easy, and could make for a fun blog post on a wintry day.  Just head over to Terri's blog, get the questions, then copy, paste, and answer them on your own blog.  Then you can go back to Terri's and link up, if you like.   Here goes!  But first a word, or several, concerning the vitally important


In the United States, National Croissant Day is observed each year on January 30th. Croissants are a buttery, crescent-shaped rolls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside ... 
 Credit for the croissant we know today is given to an Austrian military officer, August Zang. In 1939 he opened a Viennese bakery in Paris introducing France to Viennese baking techniques.
Stop by the bakery for a fresh, warm croissant or try making your own using this recipe: Croissants recipe.
Now for Terri's questions:

1.  Well, I do love croissants when they are fresh, but day-old croissants need to be turned into a donut.  I happen to really like the croissants that have a donut-like glaze on them!  Sugar overload but so good.  So... do you like croissants?  What is your favorite way to eat them?

I do like croissants but very seldom eat one.  Probably my favorite way would be stuffed with chicken salad.  The chicken salad mixture must include some sweet pickles to balance out the richness of the croissant.  Dunkin' Donuts (now just Dunkin' as they try to forget their beginnings) occasionally produces a specialty croissant donut which is just outrageously delicious as well as unhealthy.  I had one once ...  Oh!  And I can't forget the wonderful breakfast sandwich on a croissant which I enjoyed with my daughters at McAdoo's in Elko, Nevada this fall:

2.  Speaking of food... How do you handle stress?  
Here is my goal for handling stress: to turn to God's Word and/or healthy activities -- walking or other exercise, crafting,  reading, even sleeping, if necessary -- in response to stress, rather than to food.  Emotional eating is a definite reality for me, and there was a time in my life where I actually thought -- silly me! -- that I had it completely conquered.  Now I know I am still susceptible to it.  Hence my goal, which I don't always meet.  Sometimes chocolate is still the answer.
Like this Chocolate Pudding for One, for example.
Photo from Taste of Home
That said, I must add that in times of extreme stress, like a death in the family or other very serious situations, I tend to lose my appetite.  Go figure.
3.  Out of the negative emotions of greed, anger, jealousy, and hate, which one would you say affects you the most?
Of those four that you listed, I would say the only one I really tend to struggle with is anger.  Left to myself, I could have a very short fuse indeed.  I try to keep this character flaw on my radar screen and make it (like emotional eating and other issues) a matter of regular prayer.  I find God's Word a real help with this.  For example, Proverbs tells us that the person who is soon angry deals foolishly.  James reminds us to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath".
By Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
4.  Out of the positive emotions of compassion, positivity, enthusiasm, and initiative, which one is your biggest strength?
This question is a bit more difficult.  I feel as if I am lacking in every one of these areas (especially compassion), but yet in the Lord I am continually growing and changing,  so perhaps they evidence themselves more than I think.  I am going to say positivity, because it is possible to look at every situation in a positive light when we remember that God is in control, working all things after the counsel of His own will, and that He is always good.  And I do find myself more and more looking at things from that vantage point.
One of my favorite Scripture graphics from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
5.  What do you get every time you go grocery shopping, other than the staples such as bread, milk, butter, flour, sugar...
 Let's see. Almond milk; cheese sticks; bananas; apples ... that might be about it.  There are other things I buy regularly, but for every week I guess those would be the constants on my list.
6.  Please tell us something random about your week so far.
Another snow storm predicted for today (I'm writing this on Tuesday)! Five to ten inches predicted.  A random but interesting fact is that January 30 was my parents' wedding anniversary.  Today would have marked 70 years of marriage!
So ends another Wednesday Medley!  Stay safe and warm, everyone!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Homemade vacuum cleaner bag sachets

 (Photo above is from Pixabay.)
The other day I mentioned that I was making up some of these handy little helpers.  These little sachets are to be placed into the vacuum cleaner bag when you replace one in your vacuum cleaner.  Then there is a pleasant, clean fragrance when vacuuming.  Mary asked if I would share how to make them, so here goes.  I believe I originally found the instructions on Tipnut, but I'm not sure.  So I'll just share what I do.

You will need:
1/2 cup cedar shavings

1/4 cup dried lavender

1/4 cup dried rosemary

1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon baking soda

5 to 7 drops of essential oil (your choice)
Coffee filters

And here is what you do:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a glass container with a sealable cover. 
 Let stand for 1 week.
Stir up the mixture and place 3 tablespoons of it into the center of each coffee filter.
Gather up the edges of the filter so that if forms a little bag.
Use a piece of string to tie the bag securely closed.
Store the sachets in the same sealed glass jar until needed.

Instructions For Use:
 Pop a sachet into the new vacuum bag each time you change it. When you vacuum, the fragrance from the pouch will fill the room.
If you prefer not to go to the trouble of making the actual sachets, you can simply add a few tablespoons of the mix into the new vacuum cleaner bag when changing it.

A few helpful thoughts: I found the cedar shavings in the pet aisle at Walmart.  The smallest package will last a long time.
Our local natural foods store carries herbs and spices in bulk.  That's where I got the lavender.
I used lavender essential oil, but you could use any blend that you like, and use more of it if you prefer a stronger fragrance.

Happy crafting and vacuuming!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday five -- January 25

Delightful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

Friday again!  I really like doing a Friday five post because it's so good to remind ourselves of the  many blessings God gives us.  Personally, I delight in how He is always working in the little things of everyday life!  Here goes with five blessings from this week.

1.  Trying a recipe for dairy-free ice cream to serve to a lactose-intolerant friend.  It actually worked out very well.  Find the recipe here: Coconut Ice Cream.  It actually is a vanilla ice cream, made with coconut milk instead of cream and/or regular milk.  It can be made with sugar (it's only a small amount) or options for healthier sweeteners are given.  I used maple syrup as a sweetener.  The recipe has several flavor variations.  I didn't have an ice cream maker handy, so the way I went about it was a bit more labor-intensive.  Next time I will get out the ice cream maker and use it.
Photo from Chocolate Covered Katie
2.  Even though our church services were canceled on Sunday due to the horrendous weather, we were able to watch the livestreamed service from Grace Baptist Church in Elko, Nevada.  Beautiful hymns, a challenging message from the book of Luke, and the added, unexpected blessing of getting to see and hear our NV daughter playing piano for the service.  The miracle of technology!

This church is in Maine, though.  Photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

3.  Creative thinking for a project.  I like to make vacuum cleaner bag sachets to impart a clean, fresh, natural scent while vacuuming.  I thought I had everything on hand that I needed to make the sachet mixture and I set about to mix it up on Tuesday.  I was wrong, though -- I needed dried rosemary and knew I had nowhere near enough.  Then I remembered a package of fresh rosemary I'd gotten at a great discount back in the fall.  I'd put it in the freezer when it looked like I wouldn't be using it right away. 

The cookbook that came with our first microwave was very complete, and I remembered it had directions for drying herbs.  It worked like a charm!  Later that day I was able to crumble the rosemary and add it to the mixture.  It's now in a sealed canister for a week.  I'll transfer it to coffee filters for the sachets next Tuesday.

4.  Getting a nice, long walk on Wednesday.  My friend used her fitness tracker and found that the loop we walked was over 4 miles!  It was a cloudy day, but not cold and there was no wind.  Plenty of ice underfoot, so we walked very carefully.

5.  Getting to spend some good quality time in my Christmas notebook.  I always like to make a complete list of what we actually gave to whom.  (That way I don't forget and give someone the same book or game twice!)  And I like to begin a tentative list for the coming year's Christmas and also one for birthdays.  All that got done.  In addition, I like to use the post-Christmas debriefing form from Organized Christmas.  I don't always get to that, but I find it so helpful when I do.  Yesterday afternoon I actually found time for thinking and journaling about this!
That's it for this week's Friday five.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Medley for January 23

  Time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida!   Terri asks the questions and bloggers come up with their own answers. 

 Wouldn't you like to join in also?  It's easy, and might be good blog fodder on a January day.  Just head over to Terri's blog, get the questions, then copy, paste, and answer them on your own blog.  Then you can go back to Terri's and link up if you like.   Here we go!
National Pie Day is celebrated annually on January 23rd. (Not to be confused with March 14 which is PI π Day.) 
National Pie Day was created simply to celebrate the pie.  It is a day for all to bake or cook their favorite pies.  Even more importantly, it is a day set aside for all to enjoy eating pies!
 1.  Okay, fess up.  Tell us your top three favorite pies, please.  Will you have some pie today?
 I probably won't have any pie today, but I am thinking about making a couple of pies for Friday night when we have friends over for supper. 
My three top favorite pies -- oh, this is a tough question but I will try.
* Reese’s Pie -- a layered chocolate and peanut butter pie.
* Red, White, and Blueberry Pie -- best made in summer when the blueberries are fresh.

* Apple Crisp Pizza -- maybe not technically a pie, but is essentially a large one-crust pie made on a pizza pan.  Scrumptious!
2.  While we are talking about food... are you a picky eater or are you ready to try almost any new food?  What is the worst thing you have ever eaten?
I don't consider myself picky at all. I would try almost anything ... but would definitely draw the line at things like eel or rattlesnake.  The worst thing I've ever eaten?  I really can't remember, which is probably just as well.
3.  Baking could be considered an art as could cooking.  How do you define art?
The beginning of the definition of art in my computer dictionary reads:
And yes, I agree that baking and cooking are both arts. Especially baking.  I frequently count baking as crafting, and I count both cooking and baking as creative pursuits.
4.  Tell us a really stupid joke that made you laugh, please. 
 I just can't think of any jokes right now, stupid or otherwise. But the vintage ad below makes me smile.  My aunt had a stove almost exactly like this.
5.  January 23rd is also National Handwriting Day. Do you have nice handwriting? Did cursive writing come naturally or did you practice in those double-lined practice books until your fingers hurt?
I'm glad we are still celebrating handwriting even though cursive writing is no longer a priority in schools.  My handwriting was okay, I guess.  I didn't have to work at it really hard as some students did.  That said, when I was 18 my legal signature became printing, not cursive.  It is still printing to this day.
6.  Tell us something random about your week.

Hmmm .. the extreme cold is probably the biggest news. Right now (I'm writing this on Wednesday), here's the temp here:

Take a look at this, though:

I guess the real randomness here is the weather itself.
And there is the Wednesday Medley for this week! 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Really cold!

Yes, it's really cold here in New Hampshire!  What you see above is the temperature right now, at 4 pm.  And then for tonight, we have the same as last night:

That's right, another wind chill warning!  Even colder than last night's, actually. 

So, how about some other randomness?

Let's see.  Well, yesterday was pretty much a day of snow and wintry mix.  Although we didn't get the huge snow amounts we'd been promised, still there was plenty of snow.  Our church, along with others around the state, cancelled services for the day.  I didn't get any snow pictures because it really seems that we already have plenty of them from previous years. 

Mr. T and I decided to watch the live stream morning worship service from Grace Baptist Church in Elko, NV, where our loved ones attend.  What a lovely surprise to see our daughter playing the piano for yesterday's service!  Yes, she's in a rotation of pianists but there are quite a few, so for her to be playing yesterday was by no means a given.  A special blessing for us!

Friday night we had friends over for supper and a little discipleship type Bible study.  If you're in the mood for a little comfort food, here's what I served for the main course:

Chicken Pot Pie!

It went over really well.  Although the photo above is not mine (it's from Genius Kitchen), it looks exactly like mine.  I prefer to make chicken pot pie in a glass 13x9 pan just like this one. 

One thing I would mention.  I wanted to make the crust (there is only a top crust) gluten free, so I used a King Arthur gluten free pie crust mix.  It really soaked up the gravy, making the chicken pie rather dry.  Still delicious, but rather dry.  If you happen to make this and use a gluten free crust, I definitely recommend making a larger amount of gravy. 

For a side dish, I made this Squash and Apple Bake I've been making for over 40 years. 
Photo from Taste of Home
It also got great reviews.  This recipe was actually published in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook
along with a heartwarming memory of preparing this dish as a newlywed.  I can always find the recipe when I want to use it because it is safely in my free copy of the book!

I also made a cooked cranberry relish from a Ken Haedrich recipe.  It uses apples and oranges in addition to cranberries, and is quite delicious.

For dessert I made a Gingerbread Pudding Cake in the slow cooker.  All of this turned out to be the perfect meal for a cold and snowy night.

Saturday Mr. T had to work, so I just puttered around the house.  It would have been my turn to bring snacks for the coffee break between services at church on Sunday, so I baked a couple of coffee cakes.  I cut them in squares, packed them in tins and froze them, since we didn't have church.

When he got home in the late afternoon, we went and cleaned the church.  Although we were almost sure to cancel services, we wanted to clean anyhow and have it done.  The snow began while we were cleaning.

Yesterday I did lots of work on my Sunday School lesson and listed some vintage Valentines in my Etsy shop. 

Oh, and I've been wanting to make a Christmas cookie recipe book on Shutterfly.  I got a free photo book offer that expired today, so I spent a lot of time on that project yesterday and did get it done.  I'm quite pleased with how it looks; I'll post pictures when the book arrives.

Today has been very cold, as previously mentioned, and I've tried to alternate between upstairs and downstairs and between sitting still and moving around, just to stay warm.  I have Tortilla Enchilada Soup in the slow cooker.  It's one of the most warming suppers I can think of!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday five for January 18

Friday again!  So it's time for another Friday five.  Here goes:

1.  A wonderful evening last Friday with a couple we're informally discipling.  Getting together over a meal and discussing God's Word with believers who are eager to grow ... it just doesn't get much better than that.
Lovely graphic from Baptist Bible Hour
2.  Birthday blessings -- supper at our local daughter's home on Saturday evening, with homemade pizza by Carrie and a pasta salad I brought -- and then Mr. T took me out to our favorite local seafood place for lunch after church on Sunday.  Carrie made a delicious chocolate eclair dessert rather than a birthday cake, as a nod to the eclairs my dad always got for my birthday for many years.  A fun moment of the birthday supper at Jim and Carrie's was when we sat down to eat and Josiah pointed at both his mom and me and chanted, "Two good cooks!  Two good cooks!"

3. A wonderful day in church with great fellowship and encouraging, challenging messages from the book of James.
Gorgeous photo graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
4.  A lovely phone chat with our Nevada daughter on Tuesday afternoon!  It's always a  joy to catch up on the happenings in one another's lives and to share prayer requests and praises.

5.  The opportunity to get out and walk at least four times this week.  The roads were pretty icy and there was often a rather stiff breeze, but we got out there.  Tuesday we were able to achieve a longer loop we've been wanting to try -- at least 3 miles.  It was such a blessing to be out in the sunshine and fresh air.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Medley for January 16

 Yes, it's Wednesday again, so it's time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida!   Terri asks the questions and bloggers come up with their own answers. 

 Wouldn't you like to join in also?  Just head over to Terri's blog, get the questions, then copy, paste, and answer them on your own blog.  Then you can go back to Terri's and link up.   Here we go with the questions:

Wednesday, January 16th, is National Do Nothing Day!! National Nothing Day was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. This day has been observed annually since 1973. Of course, the way to celebrate it is to do nothing! 

1.  To commemorate Do Nothing Day in SOME way, tell us something about your life (or the life of someone close to you) in 1973!! 
I think I would rather commemorate the day by doing nothing ... that is, nothing that must be done.  I would like to spend a day quietly, resting, thinking, praying, pondering, dreaming ... with some crafting time thrown in. It's almost certain not to happen, but what a nice fantasy!

2.  Now that we are thinking back, please tell us what your favorite past time was as a child.
When I think about winter in particular, one of my favorite pastimes was paper dolls.  I could spend hours making them and playing with them. 

3.  What is the best way to cheer you up on a bad day? 
Taking some time to stop and pray and commit the difficult situation or situations to the Lord.  Spending some time in the book of Psalms always encourages me.  And a nice cup of tea or coffee or some chocolate doesn't hurt either.

4.  How old were you when you first started dating? Do you remember your first date?
This was a very informal "date", but I think I was around 14 when a fellow member of my youth group asked me to meet him at a dance our group was having.  I remember very little about it except for the dress that I wore.  The fabric had pastel candy-stripes and I absolutely loved that dress.  (I probably wouldn't have remembered any of this, if not for that question!)

5.  Today is also National Fig Newton day.  Do you like figs/Fig Newtons?
I like figs but seldom have them.  I love Fig Newtons!

6.  Tell us something random about your week.
Getting back to walking after a week (last week) of having to miss it due to rain and snow.  Feels great! 

And that's the Wednesday Medley for this week!   (All winter decorating photos are from previous years ... most from 2010 and 2011.)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Goals for 2019

(The delightful graphic above is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.)

A new year calls for new goals, and it often takes me awhile of reviewing and reflecting to formulate mine.  Here are my thoughts as I look to 2019:

Personal growth (I included both spiritual and intellectual growth, as well as character development, in this category): Work on character qualities of unselfishness, kindness, compassion, perseverance, graciousness, and self-control.  Work at eliminating the time-wasting habit of procrastination.  Read, study, journal, memorize and meditate on God's Word daily.  As time allows, add to my "What do I know about my God?" Scripture notebook.  Attend a couples' retreat with my hubby and a ladies' retreat or two on my own.  Read and study at least 6 books.  Nurture creativity.
Health (includes physical, mental, and emotional health):  Exercise at least five times per week.  Get enough water, sleep, fresh air, and sunshine.  Cook and eat with health in mind.  Do something creative or craft-related every day.  Journal and write as often as possible.  Continually cultivate the habit of gratitude.  Continually seek to be joyful and to keep my eyes open daily for the little things that make each day special.  Find moments of relaxation with my husband as often as possible.
Marriage/family life (includes homemaking): Plan periodic getaways.  Take the best possible care of my husband and help him in every way possible.  Take advantage of every moment together.  Take time for dates.  Plan fun activities with nearby grandchildren.  Minister to my husband  and others with the gift of a peaceful, orderly home by decluttering the entire house and implementing homemaking routines.  Stay in good touch with faraway family by regular phone calls, emailing, writing, Skyping, and sending packages.
Money matters:  Spend less on groceries on a weekly basis.  Continue listing and selling small vintage items in my Etsy shop.  Pray about eventually making items to sell at craft fairs or on Etsy.  Consider doing some writing for paying publication.  Prayerfully fulfill my trust responsibilities, seeking God's continual guidance in them.
Relationships outside the home:  Be more of an encouragement to my daughters, friends, and the ladies in my Sunday School class.  Stay in better touch with faraway friends and family.  Make myself available to help and encourage those who are nearby.  Continue blogging as a means of encouraging other ladies; take advantage of opportunities to meet fellow bloggers.  Work harder at cultivating extended family relationships, staying in touch with and spending time with my cousins more often.
Ministry:  Deepen my prayer life, praying regularly for those with deep needs, praying daily for our pastoral search.  Continue working on and teaching the study A Woman who Reflects the Heart of Jesus.  Continue cleaning the church with my hubby once or twice per month and providing Sunday coffee break snacks once per month.  Minister to others with hospitality as the opportunities arise.  Continue our informal ministry of fellowship and mentoring with younger friends. 
Have you set goals for 2019 yet?  I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do find it very helpful to consider and set goals for a new year.  You can find further inspiration on this Pinterest board of mine: A new year, a fresh start.  Happy New Year, and happy goal setting!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday five for January 11

Gorgeous graphic from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Friday again!  Somehow they roll around so regularly.  I find myself with a dearth of photos to illustrate this post, so will just use winter photos, most from previous years.

With the help of my wonderful Best of My Days notepad from Ashley at
Under the Sycamore, I'm managing to keep track of my blessings and the good things in each day a lot more regularly.  Below you see a Best of My Days wrapped up for gifting, in a previous year.

So here goes with the Friday five:

1.  A wonderful time of fellowship and a mini Bible study around our supper table last Friday night.  Five young adults joined us and it was just a refreshing, encouraging time.

2.  Celebrating our "Christmas" with two local teen granddaughters who had not been able to be with us for our traditional Christmas eve time with them.  It was sort of nice to extend the celebration a bit!

3.  Seeing our dear friends Dick and Terry back in church on Sunday, thanks to a recent move back to New Hampshire after twelve years away.

4.  A lovely phone chat with my Nevada daughter on Monday.  She told me she had glimpsed a tray of our traditional Christmas cookies in a photo her sister sent her, and could almost taste them right through cyberspace. 
A small cookie tray for friends in 2013 -- several of the traditional favorites are on it.

5.  Getting some serious decluttering of cleaning supplies completed and also getting the Christmas wrappings decluttered and put away.

And that's it for this week's Friday five!