Thursday, November 28, 2019

A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving graphics by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Just a quick Thanksgiving post before I go whip some cream and prepare some side dishes!

I pray that each and every one of my readers will have a truly blessed Thanksgiving.  I know that some are grieving today.  Some are going through some very, very difficult times.  There are personal friends of mine in both of these situations today.  And yet, as believers, we still have so very much to thank God for.

Think of it!  We have a personal relationship with the God of the universe!

  One thing I have come to realize is that even in the hardest things of life, I can be thankful that God is with me.  There are many other things to be thankful for as well: He loves me; He wants the best for me; He is good; He has a good purpose for all that He allows; He knows all about every situation; He is in control and sovereign over all things; He is all-powerful and able to change any situation.

And so today, Mr. T and I pray that each of you will spend some time counting the blessings God has given you.  There are so many, starting with salvation.

The hymn "Thanks to God" is one of my very favorites at Thanksgiving time and always.  Here are the words:

 Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

 Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

 Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." 
(Psalm 100:4)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday five for November 22

Let's see, can I squeeze in time for a quick Friday five?  The weekend looks pretty crazy, so I will try to do this now.

1.  I know I'm strange in thinking this, but I'm really enjoying that Thanksgiving is later than usual this year.  It's going to make Christmas decorating a little bit off schedule, I guess, but I must say I have truly enjoyed what has felt like more month to focus on thankfulness and gratitude.
2.  Getting out for a nice long walk yesterday!  A combination of inclement weather and different things going on in both of our lives has kept my friend and I from walking as much as we'd like the past couple weeks.  So good to get out yesterday for almost an hour.

3. Having time to list some items on Etsy --  and the fun of having sold several listings in the past few days.  The vintage Hallmark Treasures booklet below is one of my newer listings.

4.  Doing a little decluttering.  I've been taking some inspiration from Becki, over at Field Lilies, who is doing a "Less is More" decluttering post every day this month.  I haven't done that well, but I am finding myself very inspired just by seeing what she's doing.  This week I cleaned out the kitchen drawer where my kitchen towels, dish cloths and pot holders reside, and I did get rid of quite a few items.  I didn't take photos (though I should have) or count what I got rid of, but many things went straight to the trash and a few others are going to the thrift store.    I'm going to do my candle drawer next!
This one did  not go anywhere,  however.
5.  Time to write and schedule a few December posts in both blogs.  Looking forward to posting in both every day, Lord willing!

Okay, that is it for today.  Lots to do ... company's coming for supper!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More randomness

Here we go with another random November post.  Seems that's life around here lately.

Let's see, what to share? 

🍁  The card at top was from our daughter Joanna last Thanksgiving.  The message says:

 "No matter how many miles are between us,
you're always close at heart this time of year."

She wrote in part:

"While I was shopping for groceries last week, I spotted this card and it just 'jumped out at me'! πŸ˜€  I think it must have been because it reminded me of our old mailbox ...".

This card is so cute!  Everything except the cornstalks is three-dimensional, and the mailbox appears to be actually made out of a thin metal.  The letters are actually tucked inside it.  Adorable!

But even sweeter is the heart behind it that made a busy mom of six, while shopping for groceries, pull it from the card rack, write a note inside, and send it East.  Love that girl!

🍁   Back in September, I think, I'd included a package of the classic maple leaf sandwich cookies in a birthday package sent to Nevada.  These were a cookie from my childhood, and I when I saw some of these at Ocean State Job Lot, I took the opportunity to pass on a memory.  Yesterday I got photos that told me the cookies had been opened and enjoyed.

🍁  Snow has been in the air here most of the day, but nothing is sticking, thankfully.  Although it isn't that cold out ( mid-30s), it just feels raw and damp.  I'm thankful that the snow we had previously has mostly melted.  I know winter is coming, but I'm not ready for it just yet.

🍁  Today I had the opportunity to attend a really neat concert that three of our local grandkids were in.  This semester they have been part of a homeschool choral lab at the local university.  Today was the concert: five songs, each directed by a different university student.  It was a great experience for the kids (some university students sang with them as well) and so much fun for them!  My daughter got this photo after the concert.

🍁  Last week our oldest grand, Sarah, was in her high school's musical Beauty and the Beast.  I didn't get any photos (still no camera) but it was a great show.  We were happy we were able to see it!  Sarah is at right in the photo below, taken in Nevada in summer 2017.

🍁  Thanksgiving plans are firming up a bit.  We'll be going to our daughter Carrie's for the day ... looking forward to that a lot!  Still deciding who is going to bring what, though we do know Carrie is doing the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.  I'll be making some sides and desserts.  Photo below is from last Thanksgiving.

🍁   Speaking of Thanksgiving, if you need any recipe inspiration, just click "Thanksgiving" in the label cloud at right and you'll see many posts featuring my tried-and-true Thanksgiving tips and recipes.  I've done so many of these posts over the years, and my recipes haven't really changed a whole lot, so I don't think I'll do one this year.

🍁   I've been working on some handmade Christmas gifts and thinking about Christmas in general.  Pulling out my Gooseberry Patch Christmas books for some fresh inspiration.  I'll likely start cookie baking this week or next.

And, for December, I'll be posting every day in my Christmas blog, Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen.  Maybe  here at this blog as well; we will see.

🍁  Oh, and I've been listing some fun pre-owned Christmas cards in my Etsy shop, too.  Aren't these the cutest?  More to come ...

Hope you are all having a great week!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Enchilada sauce mix

In my November randomness post, I alluded to using an enchilada sauce mix, and some readers were interested in the recipe.  Alas, I find that that recipe is not on my computer anywhere.  I have it scribbled down on the recipe for the Tortilla Enchilada Soup, but cannot find it elsewhere.  I don't even know where I found it to begin with.  Hence this post.

ENCHILADA SAUCE MIX (for equivalent to 1 can red enchilada sauce)

1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Combine with 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes to approximate 1 can of enchilada sauce.

Or, and this is what I do: quadruple the recipe, measuring the spices into a small bowl, and mix them well.  Transfer to a small jar and label.  When ready to use, combine 2 Tablespoons of the spice mixture with the 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.

This has worked very well in every recipe I've tried it in.  As I mentioned to Vee, I really don't know how authentic it tastes, but it's great in recipes and the price is right!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday five for November 15

November graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Just a very quick Friday five post before the day gets completely away from me ...

1.  Having a quieter-than-usual week with very little time out of the house (our van was in the shop getting snow tires and having other issues checked out).  I was actually thankful I couldn't go anywhere when we ended up with snow and freezing rain, not to mention subzero wind chills this week.  Truly, God cares about every detail of our lives and His faithfulness is great!
Another by Abby
2.  Lovely chats with my two daughters and also with Jennifer, my "daughter of the heart". 

This past week as I studied for Sunday School,  I came to a question I had previously answered concerning people who have mentored us and helped us get to where we are today in our Christian life and walk.  This particular lesson is on thankfulness, and the question was to get us thinking as to people we could thank for bringing us along spiritually. 

As I thought further about this, I realized that my own daughters have mentored me in a way: while they were in college they frequently shared things they were learning about various spiritual disciplines, and they also shared helpful books they had read.  Definitely a good bit of what my prayer life is today stems from their sharing with me what they had learned on making a prayer journal.  Joanna is the one who first told me about Elizabeth George’s book Loving God with All Your Mind, which is truly life-changing.  At this point I'm a mentor to Jennifer, so in a very real way she is reaping the benefits of what my daughters shared with me.  God is so good!

Abby again!
3.  Time for some long-deferred housework, including scrubbing the tub and shower!

4.  Time to blog in both this blog and my Christmas one (link in sidebar).  Getting some posts scheduled for later this month and also for December.  Lots on my Christmas blog this week about cookies, candy, and freezing these goodies for later gifting.

5.  Saving money on groceries two weeks in a row.  Gotta love that Hannaford Rewards program that gives you 2% off on their store brands.  My bill was under $72 today and under $69 last week.

And there is this week's Friday five!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

November randomness

Lacking inspiration,  I thought a random November post might be in order.

Is anyone but me surprised at how fast November is passing?  It's over one-third over already, folks.  I am just not ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or wintry weather. Speaking of which, we got our first measurable snow yesterday.  And this morning we had wind chills of six below zero.  I hope it warms up.  I heard a forecast of 40ΒΊ for Friday.  Hope it's true and that it's sunny so this snow will melt.  Otherwise, we may be stuck with this until spring.  Oh well, it's all in God's hands.
Let's see.  I'm trying to get organized with my Christmas gifting.  Still not as organized as I would like to be, but I have some gifts purchased and made and a few more planned for.

Over at my Christmas blog,  I've been posting my lists for cookie baking and candy making.  As usual, I'm planning to post in the Christmas kitchen every day during December, Lord willing of course. 

Maybe here at my kitchen table too, I'm not sure about that yet.   I've written and scheduled a few posts for December already, so it's possible I'll get here every day.

Anyone else find their December calendar filling up already?  We have a couple of church events already scheduled and my hubby's work Christmas party.  I'm trying hard not to overcommit myself this year.  Other than a card swap with my friends at the Christmas craft forum, I'm not planning to participate in any online exchanges this year.

Doing some cleaning today, I was reminded of just how much I love these Crocheted Swiffer Covers.  I've made three of them now and find that I really use them.  I think I'll make a couple more so I can always have a fresh, clean one ready to go.  If you look at the pattern, you'll see that it calls for changing colors with the rows.  I don't bother with that; just use a variegated yarn.  It goes more quickly.

I find that I'm using the slow cooker more already this season.  I use the slow cooker even if I'm going to be home all day.  If I'm doing lots of cleaning, writing, crafting, or whatever, supper can just cook itself and I don't have to think about it once I've loaded the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Tonight's supper is going to be


4 cups chicken broth (I use water and the chicken "better than bouillon" soup base)
2 cans chicken with rice soup
1 small boneless skinless chicken breast (frozen is fine -- or use a can of chicken, flaked)
1 cup salsa or picante sauce
1 can red enchilada sauce
Flour tortillas (or sometimes I just use tortilla chips)
Shredded cheddar cheese OR cubes of velveeta-type cheese

In crock pot combine the broth, soup, chicken breast, salsa, and enchilada sauce. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Remove chicken breast from soup; shred it or cut in small pieces. Return to soup.

When ready to eat, cut flour tortillas into strips (scissors work best for this). Put tortilla strips in each bowl and ladle the hot soup on top. Top with shredded cheddar or cubed velveeta. About 6 servings.

This is another favorite in our “rotation” of crockpot meals. It is just delicious and soooo easy.

(So now I see I am going to have to write another post very soon and include the recipe for homemade enchilada sauce mix.  You combine a blend of spices with a can of diced tomatoes and it works admirably.  I mix up a small jar full of the seasoning and keep it on hand.  I haven't bought enchilada sauce (other than the green kind occasionally) for quite awhile.)

Check out "slow cooker recipes" in the label cloud for more ideas!

I've been thoroughly enjoying  the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge at Women Living Well, and have been posting my thoughts on Instagram most days.

Lovely graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Guess this post has gotten unwieldy enough so that I'd better close and go get myself some lunch.  Oh, one last tidbit -- Mr. T has 22 days left of work.  We're both looking forward to him taking a bit of time off while we think about what he'll do next.  An early Christmas present, if you will -- that time off. πŸ˜€

Monday, November 11, 2019

Monday musings

Graphic from Gooseberry Patch
First of all, I would be remiss if I did not mention that today is Veterans Day.  Some time ago I read a post from  Barbara H. who blogs at Stray Thoughts. She used a graphic which pointed out the meanings of Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and Armed Forces Day.  I am often confused about these holidays, so I appreciated her sharing the information.  Memorial Day honors those who died in service to our nation.  Veterans Day honors the living who have served in our armed forces.  And Armed Forces Day honors those who are currently serving in the military.

I couldn't say it better than the folks at Gooseberry Patch have done above.  Veterans, we honor you and thank you today and every day!  Veterans Day is a blessing in itself as it reminds us of those who serve our country and help to keep it safe.

Let's see, other blessings. 

🍁  We had a lovely time on Friday evening with our friends Sam, Jenn, and Noah.  It's such a blessing to have these younger believers around our table, enjoying a meal and then a time of Bible study together!

🍁  Celebrating this little girl's 5th birthday on Saturday was a special time! 

🍁  I was also thankful to finish a gift I'd started for her some time ago.  She is really getting into spelling and sounding out words, and needed more of these to spell words to her heart's content!

🍁  We enjoyed edifying church services on Sunday as we received a final report from missionaries our church has supported for over 30 years.  They are leaving the field of Brazil and their mission, but they won't really be retiring from serving the Lord at all!

🍁   I'm thankful to have begun Week 2 of the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge at Women Living Well.  Week 1 focused on gratitude and was certainly a blessing.   Week 2 is focusing on Meditation and it, too, promises to be a great encouragement.

🍁  We're continuing to thank God for sustaining our church family while we wait on His timing for a new pastor.  He has given us good leaders and He faithfully supplies encouraging speakers for us every week. 

Just a few Monday musings to share with you all ...

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Tuesday thankfulness

Wonderful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
The weekend was very busy and there was no time to post a Friday five, so I am going with a thankful Tuesday.  I'm participating in the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge this year, and the theme for Week 1 is Gratitude, so posting this today seems just right.  Here goes:

1.  Strength and stamina to look after four grandchildren for the weekend!  (We spent the days at our house and the nights at their home.)  The kids were great and so helpful.  One example:  At one point after Saturday's breakfast I suggested the dish drainer could use emptying so I could start the breakfast dishes. Instantly the three big kids converged on the kitchen and flew around putting things in their proper places. 

2.  Lots and lots of furniture moved with the help of 15-year-old grandson Sam.  My parents' dressers and a nightstand moved to our home; one of our dressers becoming a storage area for my Etsy items; some antique furniture from our home moved to storage until we can decide how to sell it; other pieces of furniture destined for the dump as soon as a dump run can be scheduled; well, you get the idea.  Lots still to do, but lots got done.

3.  Coupons to eat out at Subway on Saturday night.  Not sure I could have produced a meal that evening after having spent a lot of time cooking for Sunday.   Again, the kids are so good and were so appreciative of this treat.  Not saying this because they are our grandchildren, but kids like this are a blessing to be around!

3.  Acquiring a new-to-us wood stove for the kitchen to replace the ancient one we've used for years.  With Sam's help Mr. T got all of the new stove pipe in place and the stove is up and running!  It's cozy and looks so nice too.

4.  Having longtime friends over for lunch after church on Sunday!  Due to circumstances and busyness it was a simple meal -- Italian Wedding Soup in the crockpots, purchased Italian bread, and then Apple Crisp and ice cream for dessert -- but it all worked out and of course the fellowship was the most important thing.

5.  An extra hour of sleep on Saturday night!  I am not a fan of Standard Time; however, in this case the extra hour of sleep was hugely helpful.  The three big kids all woke up in plenty of time to get ready for church and the little one slept on until awakened.  And Mr. T and I were so thankful for the additional sleep for ourselves.

6.  A beautifully sunny morning Monday for our dear friend's interment at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery.  We had prayed for good weather and for the day to not be cold, so that his widow need not stand out in the cold.  When we saw how beautiful it was at that time, we knew we were seeing an answer to prayer.  Later, the day clouded in and grew chilly, but we were so thankful for sun and warmth yesterday morning!

I could go on and on ... there is so much to be thankful for!  But I'll end this post and get back to work...

Friday, November 01, 2019

November goals

Wow, another month.  This year has simply flown by, it seems to me!  But November is here, and it's time to set some goals for the month:

* Do the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge at Women Living Well
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers
* Continue to help a recently widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  
* Limit sugar
* Drink enough water each day
 * Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week (with some help from Clean Mama)
* Do something creative each day
* Post in this blog several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* 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
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Look after said daughter's children while she and her hubby have a getaway
* Make and carry out Thanksgiving plans 
* Cook and bake for a Harvest Dinner at church
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time
* Continue to sort out and declutter my dad's house, hopefully taking many loads to the dump and thrift store and consolidating the remaining items yet to dispose of;  work on estate
* Possibly spend a day helping my cousin get started with a similar task at her childhood home
* Have a getaway with my hubby
* Maybe go out for breakfast with friends from Vermont
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
HEALTHY HABITS FOR NOVEMBER:  Drink more water/get more sleep/limit sugar
🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁  πŸ‚  🍁 
And here is how October went:
* Do an October Scripture writing challenge -- DONE!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- DONE!
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers -- DONE!
* Continue to help a recently widowed friend with the challenges of life in general -- DONE!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus -- DONE!
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  -- really worked at this, but not done consistently
* Limit sugar -- not done consistently
* Drink enough water each day -- not done consistently
 * Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week -- DONE!
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week (with some help from Clean Mama) -- not done
* Do something creative each day -- DONE!
* Post in this blog several times per week -- DONE!
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible  -- once was all I could manage, apparently
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones -- DONE!
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects -- DONE!
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items -- DONE!
* Work on Etsy and trust bookkeeping as necessary  -- n/a right now
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- not as often as I'd like
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church -- DONE!
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time -- DONE!
* Continue to sort out and declutter my dad's house, hopefully taking many loads to the dump and thrift store and consolidating the remaining items yet to dispose of;  work on estate -- DONE!
* Possibly spend a day helping my cousin get started with a similar task at her childhood home -- DONE!
* Have a getaway with my hubby -- DONE!
* Get together with friends visiting from Indiana -- DONE!
* Maybe go out for breakfast with friends from Vermont-- not done
* Attend a couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England -- DONE!
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating -- done most of the time
HEALTHY HABITS FOR OCTOBER:  Drink more water/get more sleep/limit sugar