Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Yes, it is hard to believe the last day of the year has arrived. Have you heard a few people say, "Wow, where did the year go?" or "My, this year just flew by...." I think I've heard a few hundred (or maybe a few dozen, at least) express that thought. I've actually thought it myself - until, yesterday I heard a preacher on the radio include this poem

When as a child I laughed and wept
Time crept.
When as a youth I dreamed and talked
Time walked.
When I became a full-grown man
Time ran.
And later as I older grew
Time flew.
Soon shall I find when traveling on
Time gone.
Its us OLD people who think time flies!! Remember those days when waiting for summer break was an eternity away from Christmas break?!? Oh my.
Tonight, we will have a New Year's Eve service at church. It does not last until midnight; however, there is a dessert fellowship before going home! Yea. I scanned through my Southern Living magazine and found a recipe that I am looking forward to making and I thought I would share it. I did notice that this is my third recipe in a row and, yes, I am sensing a pattern - if not, somewhat of an obsession...with food! Goodness, I suppose I know where to start with my resolutions for next year!!
I pray everyone has a fun - and safe - New Year's Eve! Looking forward to what God has in store for me, my family, and my friends in the next year.
Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
80z. cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-pupose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition.
3. Sift together flour and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mxiture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut, vanilla, and toasted pecans. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup tube pan.
4. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
5. Invert completely cooled pound cake onto a serving plate or cake stand; spoon Powdered Sugar Glaze over cake. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sweetened flaked cocount over cake. (Optional: can embellish with white cake sprinkles, if desired......so it might look like the picture!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hot Curried Fruit

Last week, I asked for new brunch ideas and got several good suggestions...my thanks to everyone. Since some have asked, I ended up with mostly "tried and true" classics...mainly because my family got wind that I was going to get creative and they were less than enthusiastic - who knew they really even cared!

My menu for Christmas brunch included:
Crustless Quiche
English Muffins with Sausage and Cheese
Hash Brown Casserole
and Hot Curried Fruit!!

The Hot Curried Fruit is something I only have once a year but truly should have more often because I LOVE it. It is simple, simple..so I thought I would share the recipe. By the way, the leftovers warm up so yummy in the microwave....actually, I think I might go have a treat right now!

Hot Curried Fruit

1 lb can each of: pear halves, peach halves, pineapple slices and apricot halves
4 oz. jar maraschino cherries
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. curry powder

Drain fruit. Spray casserole dish and arrange pear and peach halves on bottom. Add a layer of pineapple and apricots. Sprinkle cherries on top. Melt butter over low heat; add brown sugar and curry powder. (I added a bit of the fruit juices for extra flavor.) Simmer until blended. Dribble over fruit and bake uncovered at 325 for about 45 minutes. So yummy. I have also seen this with spiced apple rings instead of the cherries but I like the look of the cherries throughout the dish!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shields Tavern Blueberry Crisp

Happy Monday...I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I will not bore anyone with our family details...trust me, they will never make a TLC original reality show based on our family! - but God was very good and we had a sweet time together as a family. As they did last year, my (too grown-up) children work very hard to ease our burden during the holidays (and truly go overboard with gifts) but it is a labor of love and so blesses my heart. None of their efforts go unnoticed by this mother's heart.....

As a family, we travelled to Colonial Williamsburg on Christmas afternoon and had dinner that night at Shield's Tavern. What a wonderful meal we had.... The menu included pumpkin bisque, salad, ham, turkey with stuffing, pot roast, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. Needless to say, we were stuffed when we left! I brought home a souvenir menu and this wonderful recipe (from the Favorite Meals from Williamsburg) was included on the back...

It was definitely worth sharing.

Shields Tavern Blueberry Crisp
2 cans blueberries in heavy syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBL lemon juice
3/4 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cornflake crumbs
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13X9 casserole. Drain blueberries, reserving 3/4 cup of the syrup.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice, and blueberry syrup in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and almost transparent. Remove from the heat. Add the blueberries. Cool.

Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture. Mix well. Add the cornflake crumbs and pecans. Mix well. Spread 1/2 of the crumb-nut mixture over the bottom of the prepared casserole. Pat it firmly to form a bottom crust. Pour in the blueberry filling. Crumble the remaining crumb-nut mixture over the blueberry filling. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

May serve with cream, if desired!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Greetings....


Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas


Luke 2:1-14
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Casear Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth here firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon the, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some Christmas Thoughts




What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wiseman, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart.
Rosetti
If we look beyond the manger
To the cross of Calvary,
We will know the reason Christmas
Brings such joy to you and me.
De Haan
As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin's alloy,
All our costly treasures bring
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.
Dix

Monday, December 22, 2008

What's With December 21st??

Let me say..for the record... I am not superstitious in any way what so ever; however, I have been, shall we say, somewhat leery of December 21st. It was three years ago - December 21st - that my Tyler was diagnosed with his brain tumor and one year ago - yes, December 21st - that I was diagnosed with lymphoma for the second time. So, I had pretty much told myself I was "not doing" the 21st of this month.

I was all set "to break the spell" and happily report that this Sunday went very well and - would you even believe me - that my daughter called from Florida and told us that our son-in-law had "dumped" his bike (for those, like me, who thought what??? he wrecked his motorcycle!!) Yes, on December 21st! He was cut off by a car and went down an embankment. He was pretty banged up but did not need medical attention and we are praising the Lord for His protection. The verdict is still out on the bike...but, really now - what am I to think?!?!? I suppose its a good thing that I'm not superstitious!!

On a lighter note....our very dear friends are celebrating their anniversary on the 21st (all the best guys...we love ya!!) A good day for them, at least...I guess its just me!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Casserole Anyone??

My goal for this weekend is to finalize my brunch menu for Christmas morning. I have some tried and true favorites but was almost thinking I would like to be a little creative - or, at least, new - this year. So, I was pulling out the cookbooks in search of a yummy breakfast casserole. Do you have a favorite or other good ideas? It does not have to be an egg casserole (although we love those) but, truly, what real carb lover wouldn't crave a french toast casserole in the morning? I open for any ideas!

Two things to consider - my manly boy does not like cheese...which is highly unfortunate because the rest of us love cheese and just about 98% of everything I cook has cheese in it. But if I mix it up really well, he will eat it....so casseroles have to be of the low cheese or hidden cheese variety. Also, we have one who is a vegetarian so we usually have meats "on the side" which works fine.

I would love any ideas. If you do not usually leave a comment here, please do today. I would love to get to know all of you. Have a beautiful weekend (and did you notice the countdown tree says only SIX days?!?!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God is Good

Thankful Thursday...today I am taking the sweetest eight-year old out for lunch and some fun for her birthday - just the two of us! She (and her brother and sister) just make my heart happy! As I was thinking about my day..it occurred to me how fortunate I am to have the time to enjoy such special times. And, today, I am thankful to be a homemaker and stay-at-home mom! It is, indeed, a privilege.

I am thankful for a husband that shared the desire for me to stay at home when our daughter was born. He has worked hard and sacrificed much to allow me to do so. I did work for several years when all the children were in school - at their school in exchange for tuition. I mention this simply to say that God has provided all our needs throughout the years and I am thankful. Of course, there were challenges and sacrifices but God has always been faithful.

We are now done with school (homeschooling and otherwise) but I am so enjoying making a home for my family. I don't know what plans God may have for me in the future - it may involve working again - but I am grateful for this time. I am thankful for a flexible schedule..time for Bible study, time for friends, time for service and some time for fun lunches with adorable eight year olds!! God is good!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ready for Christmas?

Thank you to those who left notes of real encouragement for me yesterday. Truly, God promises to meet our every need...but one day at a time. I am encouraged today - and especially looking forward to the little Christmas party I have each year with my little ones at church! How sweet they are..

I came across this poem while reading some on-line devotions (this one from Girlfriends in God) this morning. I hear so many people talk about wanting to "simplify" this Christmas (although I don't see a lot of evidence toward to that) but it really comes down to priorities...where is our focus this holiday?

"Ready for Christmas," she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high...
Then wearily sat for a moment and read
Til soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
"Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?"
She woke with a start and a cry of despair.
"There's so little time and I've still to prepare.
Oh, Father! Forgive me, I see what You mean!
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree.
It's the heart swept clean that He wanted to see,
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin.
So be ready for Christmas - and ready for Him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Be Gentle with Yourself

I so tried to post yesterday. In fact, I spend quite some time setting up a really neat Christmas post (that required lines to be in a specific order, etc.); however, when I publish things, so often the spacing is all changed and it does not look at all like I planned...so frustrating! But typical for a Monday following the weekend I had.

My weekend began well. We went to see a live nativity and then the Festival of Lights in our area with some good friends. Both the nativity and the lights were "ok" but spending the evening with our friends was a lot of fun. I got up feeling heavy hearted on Saturday and, as the day progressed, really did not want to go to our Sunday school Christmas party that night - but I did. We had a good time and actually laughed quite a bit that night. However, Sunday morning I was so upset, I could not pull myself together in order to get to church!

Do you see a pattern....up, down, up, way down, up......etc. During the year, as I live with grief, I find I am able to "manage" a bit better. I can anticipate triggers, recognize when I've done enough or need to rest, and even be more in control of my emotions. During these holiday weeks, though, I just seem to feel a complete lack of control!

If you are grieving - or know someone who is - I wanted to share a few thoughts on dealing with the holidays...mind you, I'm still working on them myself.

First...acknowledge this time for what it is - the holidays are here! I hear so many grieving parents say they "aren't doing the holidays...at all" - but this really does not work. You may deny it..but Christmas will still take place and for the weeks beforehand, it will be the "holiday season". It will be much more beneficial to recognize how you feel/where you are this season and, then

Second...make a plan as to how you will handle the holidays. One of the most helpful things is to make a list of everything you associate with the holidays (the tree, cards, special events, presents, baking, decorating, etc.). Then determine for each thing on the list...1- I can skip this tradition this year, 2 - I really want to do this, or 3 - I would like to try this one but I need help with it.

It is OKAY to skip some (or a lot) of things. Don't pressure yourself. For me, this year, it was the Christmas cards. I just can't do them this year...even did them last year but trying to decide what to say - or even how to sign them - is just too much for me. And, Christmas will still be Christmas without my sending cards.

On the other hand, it would not be Christmas without certain things. I love giving gifts and get much joy shopping for others and choosing "just the right gift".........so that's what I focus on.

And, there are a few things I really would like at Christmas but can be overwhelming without help. Please do not be afraid to ask for help. Those who love you WANT to help but waiting for others to read your mind is most often just discouraging for the both of you. This brings me to the story of my lights (and then I'm done for sure). I like the lights on the bushes and the banisters outside..but I like the inside tree more, of course. I was in one of my pity moments as I pulled all the decorations, lights, ornaments, etc. from their boxes. "Woe is me...how will I get all this done by myself!!" (Mind you..I had not asked anyone to help me..in fact, the rest of my family was not even home from work yet.) My daughter calls on her way home from work and is ecstatic...she had gotten off an hour early!! (apparently this is monumental in her life!) I mumbled under my breath that she could help with the decorating..and, wait, she was thrilled!! She - and the boyfriend - were there in minutes and ready to go..yeah! They even agreed to do the outside!! Fast forward about an hour later...they are done and, well, the lights are....interesting!

I have left those lights just like that for weeks. (Every fiber of my being wanted to "fix" the lights)...but why would anyone want to help me, if I'm simply going to fix their efforts afterwards? Those lights are a constant "love gift" to me...a reminder that all of us (my family) are working through this grief through the holidays together - and we can create a beautiful season together.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What shall I give for Christmas
To Him who gave Himself for me?
To Him I give my life, my love,
For time and for eternity.
Anon

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

I don't know how these military thoughts keep making their way to me..but I recently received this in an email. Of course, it tugged at my heart. Hope you enjoy it, too.



The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem
,So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN30th Naval Construction RegimentOIC, Logistics Cell OneAl Taqqadum, Iraq

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Aunt Joanie

Thankful Thursday....this Thursday finds me on the road to visit my dad's older sister, my Aunt Joan, who will be celebrating her 80th birthday on Saturday. Don't let the number 80 fool you - no ma'am - she has more energy, more fashion sense and certainly more memory than I could possibly muster up! Truly, she defies her age. Not only am I thankful for a chance to visit with her, I am thankful for her and her testimony. She is a relatively new Christian and she is, indeed, a "new creature" since accepting Christ. With much more in common, we have become much closer in these last few years and I have so enjoyed watching her new faith grow.

She was a widow for many years but remarried about ten years ago - shortly after becoming a Christian. She and her new husband were having the time of their lives...until just about two years ago when he became ill and has been bedridden ever since. She has been the total care giver for him virtually making herself housebound. Several people have urged her to put him in a nursing home - not because that would be the best option (or even the only option) but simply because it would be the easiest option. However, my aunt has told me several times that is not what she promised at the altar and will continue until she simply can no longer care for him.

She does have some respite help three days a week now and this Friday we are "hittin' the town"...hopefully, do some shopping and lunch at a tea room. Whatever we do, it will be fun I am certain. I feel privileged to spend the day with my Aunt Joanie. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!"
Charles N. Barnard
What fun we had last night getting the tree "just right"! This picture was taken late at night with the little white lights all aglow...one of my favorite times of Christmas...snuggled in our chair in front of the tree with my evening cup of tea (or other hot drink). You would never really get all that from this photo but we are enjoying our tree. Obviously, photography is one more skill that I do not excel at (I wish I could get all the extraneous stuff out of the background but when I shoot upclose...fuzzy.)
We've done the burgundy and gold for several years - and probably will for several more because its too expensive to just start over. We did get another real tree this year. Every year, Hubbie puts up a protest for an artificial....maybe next year. I have four special "Tyler" ornaments at the top...those, and the 300+ white lights are my favorite part!
Have you finished yours? Have a favorite part? Share a picture!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

So..I changed the title for yesterday's post...where in the world did I come up with "Name Game"??? Anyways, it was the Letter Game and I had fun with it. Donna, your letter is "S"...have fun with yours!!

For today's post, I wanted to share a video I saw yesterday on April's post. It was one of the best I have watched in quite awhile. Only one small problem...I am technology challenged - in a serious way. Normally, this does not really bother me. I have accepted it. But, I really wanted to load this video here so you could view.......so, PLEASE click here to get over to April's blog and watch Steven Curtis Chapman.

Chapman, himself, is a grieving parent - facing those first holidays without his little girl. His faith is very encouraging...but I was so struck by one of his comments. As parents, we are often tortured by the "Why, Lord, Why?" questions...and when we are not able to resolve those questions, we often feel confused, angry or faithless. But we are not able to understand all of God's ways. In fact, not having all the answers actually makes us more dependent on Him and can strengthen our faith. Even without all the answers, I am confident God, indeed, feels our grief and even weeps with us.

Thank you, April, for sharing this video. If you are grieving, or know someone who is this holiday...may this video bless you like it did me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Letter Game

Okay..I'm playing the name game with my friend April...it's pretty simple - or I should say it SOUNDS simple...you are assigned a letter and then have to list ten of your favorite things beginning with that letter. Once I got started, it was a bit trickier than it sounded. My letter is M...and, if you want to play along, just leave me a comment and I will give you a letter!

Here is my list in purely random order (I'm sure my brain could only compile a list in purely random order).....

1 - Messiah....I'm so happy to know the true significance of Christmas - the Messiah's birth....born to save us from our sins!

2 - My Mom....it was three years ago yesterday that she went home to Heaven. She was not only stunningly beautiful but just as amazing "on the inside"!!

3 - Music...a good song can change my entire attitude - and if only you could hear me singing from the shower (for some reason, I'm amazing when I'm behind that curtain!)

4 - our Military....maybe it has something to do with my boy leaving in two months to join the ranks (ya think??) but my heart is so tender right now to all those serving and sacrificing for our country this time of year. Keep them in your prayers.

5 - M&Ms....need I say more??

6 - Medical advancements....in particular with regard to the treatment of lymphoma - even my oncologist is amazed how quickly treatments options have advanced for lymphoma patients!

7 - Material things - I know it sounds petty but, truly, I have so many beautiful things..and luxuries... and it would shameful to take them for granted.

8 - My Marriage...I was going to say "mate" but not only does that sound weird but I really am thankful for a marriage that has lasted for 23 years and four months!! and we still have fun (just about) every day!

9 - Memories (I did NOT say memory because, trust me, that is long gone..at least, the short term) but I have vivid clear memories of my babies and all those years that have flown by so quickly - including so many memories of my sweet boy, Ty...that I cherish every day!!

10 - "M"...you know who you are!! I love you, sweetie. 143


If you want to play....just let me know.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weekend Update

I was gone all day on Friday - my trip to Lancaster was more than fun!! - and away from the computer. I finally checked in today and found I had been given two awards!! Wow...what a way to make a girl's day! Thank you so much to Heather and April for being so kind. (Let me see if I know how to share my awards.......uh, no!) But they said the nicest things...check out their blogs soon - I know you will enjoy them both!


Today, we celebrated Hubbie's birthday and were supposed to be at a Christmas party tonight but, truly I still struggle with holiday parties...things have been going well, so why push it. Anyways, at the eleventh hour, we decided to hit the mall instead. I really do enjoy searching for the perfect gifts for my friends and family. By the way, I took this quick quiz to find out I am.....

A Creative Gift Giver
Your gifts are one of a kind, special, and well chosen.Whether you've made it yourself or searched all over town...There's really no one who has more of a personal touch than you.
What kind of giver are you?? Oh, and here's a gift for my blogging friends. Do you enjoy Debbie Mumm? I do! Check here for some free wallpapers.....FREE Debbie Mumm...yea. Have a great Lord's day tomorrow (oh, and we got our first snowflakes this afternoon!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Story and a Quote

Today, I am off to Pennsylvania to the Sights and Sounds Theatre to see the Sounds of Christmas. Its a girlfriend's field trip and I'm so looking forward to it. The theater is in the middle of Amish country and I love visiting (read that shopping and eating!) up there.

I wanted to share a story that has kept me laughing for two days...it may not be as funny unless you were there but I just had to tell it. I teach 2 and 3 year olds on Wednesday night at church..and they are always good for great stories. So this week, I had about 16 in class and we came in excited...talking about our Thanksgivings and a little bit of everything else. After a bit, I tried to shift gears and started talking about Christmas coming....celebrating Jesus' birthday and we were going to start singing carols and other Christmas songs - like Happy Birthday, Jesus. I told the kids I had some instruments I wanted to bring in and we could make music with our carols. They loved that idea. (The mood was going well....)

So..Daniel (who is too cute even for words!!) tells me, "I have instruments at home. I have 'cordion, guitar and a drum!"

"Wow, Daniel," I said. "Maybe next week, you could bring an instrument and you could do the singing for us."

He beamed!! "OK....and I know (ahem) 'Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin Laid an Egg!" He was singing with gusto, I tell you...and so much for my moment. The class (including the teacher) was laughing hysterically!! He is a mess...and, did I mention he is the pastor's grandson!! I love it!!

One more quick thing to share....my son and I love quotes. My son, in fact, "collects" really good ones that we run across - writing them down in a notebook. (What he plans to do with them, I've no idea). My great quote for the week..........

If at first you don't succeed... skydiving is not for you!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hubbie!!

Thankful Thursday...and with today being two days before Hubbie's birthday, I thought it a great time to express my heart for my sweet husband. I saw this cute idea on April's blog and thought it was a fun way to introduce you to my sweet, albeit ornery, hubbie who has stuck with me for over 22 years (for which he deserves an award...seriously!) I say he is ornery because I thought it would be so nice to include his photo with this post - but..no cooperation at all!! (I just might take the gifts back!!)

Anyways, without further ado......

1. He's sitting in front of the TV; what is on the screen? He is a HUGE channel surfer...very irritating..but if the channel did stop, it would be a college football game - teams really don't matter but definitely college - and, if it isn't football season..something old, in black and white, history and/or war related (and boring!)

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Ranch

3. What's one food he doesn't like? He will eat just about anything but would starve to death before eating tuna noodle casserole. He likes tuna but cook it in a casserole and no way (which is a bummer because I can make a mean tuna casserole!)

4. You go to a bar. What does he order? We have never been to a bar...but I suppose a coke, since we don't drink either.

5. Where did he go to high school? Northhampton County on the Eastern Shore. We actually took the kids there on a "family field trip"...oh boy.

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 (I think. Used to be 9 1/2...are his feet getting fat??)

7. If he was to collect anything what would it be? Uhhh...he collected baseball cards and comic books as a teenager, and we still have ALL his marbles. Now, I would have to say TIES....he has hundreds (well, close.)

8. What is his favorite kind of sandwich? Tuna - which is hysterical considering #3.

9. What would this person eat every day if he could? Ice cream...oh, and he pretty much does!

10. What is his favorite cereal? Corn Pops..but he rarely eats cereal or even breakfast.

11. What would he never wear? Anything that would involve his shirt tale not being tucked in...seriously.

12. What is his favorite sports team? Pretty much any team playing against the Redskins...just because we live in Redskins country. (Did I mention he is ornery??)

13. Who is his best friend? Since I'm answering the questions, I'll say me!!

14. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? (I've been thinking for 15 minutes....um.....I just don't know. I guess I would say he seems to get really aggravated when I forget to give him receipts from my debit purchases - really is that such a big deal?

15. How many states has he lived in? One...but he was stationed in Germany when he was in the Army..way back when.

16. What is his heritage? Born and raised here in Virginia.

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake? He doesn't really like cake unless cheesecake counts!

18. Did he play sports in high school? No.

19. What could he spend hours doing? Watching college football (or channel surfing) - and he does just about every night. But he also likes - actually enjoys - going to the mall with me...I told you, I love this guy!

20. What's his worst habit? Please see Number One!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Just a quick update...the baking today was a lot of fun and the cookies were so yummy (believe it or not, I only ate one!) My picture really does not do them justice...

I mentioned that I found them on Heather's blog but they were from an older (older) post, so I thought I would just give you the recipe here. Enjoy!

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups of quick oats
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar for rolling and dusting.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar in your mixer until smooth; add eggs one at a time and and beat to combine. Add vanilla and beat 1 minute more. Sift flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together and beat on low speed. Add oatmeal and stir until just combined.

Using a large cookie scoop (1/4 cup) scoop level balls and roll in powdered sugar (confectioner's or 10x sugar depending on where you hail from!). Place on cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Flatten slightly with a glass bottom dipped in powdered sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until no longer shiny. Remove from cookie sheets - dust with more powdered sugar if you like!

Time to Start Some Baking

Things have been "Christmasy" fun around here....Tuesday morning was Bible study, which I so enjoy, and afterwards an afternoon of shopping (which I so enjoy...) and today I will get started with some Christmas baking - but let me tell you a little about my shopping. I love to give - and to buy - gifts. I discovered a new project in my area that I really like....Be a Santa to a Senior. It is run by our local HomeInstead office and it was new this year. Basically, it is gift shopping for local seniors who have little (or no) family and may get nothing else for Christmas. They did have little wish lists, of a sort, but you were welcome to get what you liked. I had so much fun with that yesterday!! I bought blankets, those super soft yummy-warm socks, Christmas kitchen towels...oh, and candy! (Chocolate covered cherries were a request!) Tomorrow I am volunteering with the office to help with wrapping - I'll let you know how the project, as a whole, worked out.

I also did some shopping for my friend, Laurie's foundation - Tyler's Tree. (Not my Tyler..) She also lost a son named Tyler, a preemie, and started this foundation getting books for hospitals. Yesterday, with sales and coupons, I got over $60 worth of new books and the Christian bookstore for $16!! Yea.....now to get them in the mail.

Today, I will start some Christmas baking. I learned a long time ago that my love of baking far outpaces my family's love of sweets (I know, go figure!) I usually do most - or all - of the eating....especially cookies! So, now I bake in order to give away. Today I am baking for our military ministry at church. Hundreds of plates of cookies are delivered to the barracks at two of the bases close to our home. I found a yummy oatmeal recipe on this blog and I might try some simple sugar ones with crushed candy canes of the top (classics...right?) My girlfriend will be over to bake as well, so it should be fun. I hope each of you has a great Wednesday as well.

Thank you to all my friends for your sweet comments yesterday regarding my nephew and Tyler....you are encouraging.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Message from My Nephew

These are my cute nephews....two super sweeties! They live too far away - in Texas - and I don't get to see them much but I do love them.
When I wrote about God supplying my need yesterday, I wanted to share a sweet story about my younger nephew (the cutie on the left) but my post was getting long so I saved it for today.
Thanksgiving was nice at our house last week. Hubbie and I had dinner with our children and even the daughter's boyfriend :) and it was a good day. But, as nice as the day might have been, we were missing Tyler....we are always missing Tyler! However, it seems no one really wants to mention how much they are missing Tyler for fear of upsetting the day. This really does not work...but back to my story.
Thursday evening I was talking with my brother and his family on the phone....and my nephew wanted to make sure I knew that he missed Tyler, was thankful for Tyler and was thinking about him!! What a thrill to this mother's heart!! I know we all miss Tyler - but to hear someone acknowledge it and to tell me was a balm for my sad heart.
Please do not be afraid to mention the name - to talk about - loved ones you are missing during the holidays. Mothers, especially, so want to talk about their babies (no matter what age!) and it would be a gift for you to share with her. During the next week or so, I will share some other ideas I found helpful for dealing with grief during the holidays. The holidays can, indeed, be difficult for grieving hearts....but, as I said yesterday, God will supply all our need.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Supplying My Need

Yesterday I posted a familiar verse, Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." So often I read this verse and am reassured that God promises to provide my material needs and not only is that comforting but is also proven true time and time again in my family's life. However, this verse promises us much more. God also promises to supply my many other needs....emotional, physical and spiritual. And that is a promise for you, as well.

All of us have different "need"...but God will supply. This morning I prayed for a group of friends that I keep in contact with strictly by email. We share prayer requests and pray for one another on Monday mornings. Each of us have very different needs - jobs, homeschooling, sick parents, a chronically ill husband, grief, ministry and more - but God promises to supply all our need. And not only does He promise to supply but He will supply from His riches.....abundantly and overflowing! I am so thankful for a faithful Heavenly father who supplies all my need.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Praying for Tammy

I wanted to take a moment to ask all of my friends to pray for the Nischan family. I first mentioned my friend, Tammy, on my blog back in October when I asked for prayers for her son battling cancer. Nick went home to Heaven last night. Both Nick and Tammy's testimony is so encouraging and her faith is beautiful - I would encourage you to visit her blog again - but, of course, her heart is broken...as well is mine. My heart is so acquainted with a mother's grief and, for that reason, I ask everyone to lift this family in prayer. If you are able, stop by her blog and let her know that she is covered in prayers! As I mentioned to her in my comment, I'm sure our boys have found one another in Heaven and are planning a grand homecoming when their mommies - and families - can all be together!! Heaven......I can only imagine!!!

Philippians 4:19

But my God
shall supply all your need
according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer

To all of my blogging friends...I wish the best of days today!! We love today for family, friends, turkey and trimmings (and leftovers) and a list of other things....I thought it would be nice to remember how it all began. This is our country's first president giving proclamation to set aside to thank the Lord for all our blessings!! What a heritage we have....

I have edited it just a bit as it was a bit long but you can view the whole thing (even the original) on line. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!!

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
A PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER,...........

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation;..... and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.


(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving



What a fun "day before Thanksgiving" I had...I spent the day with my good friends and we made pumpkin rolls (four of them!) and a special Thanksgiving treat! I used the recipe I posted earlier for my rolls. They were super easy and smelled wonderful while baking. Wrapped with ribbon, slipped in storage bags with a holiday greeting, and they were ready to be delivered!

The Thanksgiving Blessing Mix was a treat I found at Lady Farmer's blog. What a fun idea....we had fun with the kids putting these bags together and making the labels. My friends are going to take their bags to share with family (cousins!!) tomorrow - what a great idea! I know I will use this idea again next year.

As special as this time of year is - and such a wonderful family time...my heart cannot help but think of those who are truly hurting right now. I personally know many who are grieving .... grieving for a toddler son, a teenage daughter, an adult daughter, a toddler daughter, a mother and a dad.....and the heart aches so hard at the holidays. I know others who are going through very difficult circumstances and their hurt is just as real.

If your holiday is a truly happy day, filled with family, loved ones and laughter......don't take that for granted - and certainly don't complain about the "little things" that truly are insignificant. And, please take a couple moments throughout the day to whisper a prayer for those who are hurting.

I had a great day today (thanks my special friends!!) and, with God's grace, I anticipate a good holiday tomorrow. (I sure do miss my boy!!!!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Choruses

Some choruses we sang at church on Sunday...I'll warn you, though, if you are like me...a little melody will get in your head and, well, then it is there to stay for a while - but that's okay!!

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation
So rich and free!
---------------------------------------------
When the Lord saved me,
When the Lord saved me,
Something wonderful happened
when the Lord saved me.
Old things passed away,
Darkness turned to day
Something wonderful happened
when the Lord saved me!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Notes from Bible Study

Over the past couple weeks in Bible study, we have been studying the feasts. And as much as I love a good feast (just kidding), I must admit I was not really excited about this topic. I'm not exactly sure why - maybe it was too much of a history lesson and, unfortunately, I am not a "history appreciator" as I should be - but I just was not expecting to get a lot from this study. However, our teacher this semester is one of the best (!!) and she is great at making a practical application for our lives from each of the different Jewish feasts. I have learned so much!

I wanted to share just a bit (a small bit) about what I have been learning..not necessarily for the content itself but for two reasons: 1) to praise Him for teaching me, yet again, from His word and 2) to remind myself that every study of scripture (even those books of History :)) holds real nuggets of blessing if we will stick with it and dig a little deeper! Reading God's word is, indeed, wonderful.....going further and studying the Word is amazing!!

The Passover....done as a memorial - so as to not forget the great acts of God. Once the Hebrew slaves were free, more than once they moaned to be back in Egypt...to be slaves again! As a Christian, I have been set free from so many things and, yet, sometimes, it is almost easier "to stay in bondage" because bondage can eliminate some of the fear of walking by faith and can even seem "secure".....at least, that is what the devil would have us to believe. I want to remind myself often where God has brought me, what He has delivered from- and through- and the promise that He will continue with me for my entire journey toward the promised land!!

Feast of the Trumpet..the blowing of the trumpets meant several things to the Jews - the gathering of an assembly, a battle alarm, and the crowning of a king. This feast was the only feast to occur on the first of the month (or a new moon) and watchers were placed to witness the new moon and the pilgrims were to be ready as no one knew the exact day the feast would take place. (Sounds familiar, right?) In the same way that the Jews were to be prepared, armed for battle and ready to proclaim a king....I want to be ready and watching, willing to battle my enemy, and ever proclaiming Christ the Lord of my life!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 21, 2008

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

I know I've said it before...but one last pumpkin recipe. I have to include this one because the sweetest little 7-year old I know assured me, it is the best!! Next week, we will have a Praise and Prayer service on Tuesday before Thanksgiving...I think I just may have found the perfect dessert for the fellowship afterwards.

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

CAKE
Powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup can pumpkin (Libby's..hence the name)
1 cup chopped walnuts - optional

FILLING
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 TBL butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 15X10 jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter

Thankful Thursday.....with a few flurries on Tuesday and some flakes in the forecast today, fall has officially past and the season of cold is here - so today I am going to be thankful for.....um....for..winter!! (That was harder than I thought!!) Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big whiner about winter. It is not winter, so much, that I protest, but COLD!

I have been thinking that my winter attitude could use some adjusting and then in my Bible reading this morning, I read Proverbs 20:4a..."the sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold" - yikes. I know this verse is a warning to the sluggard and about laziness...but the sluggard (don't you just love that word?!?) was a whiner - about the cold!! That said, I am going to be purposefully thankful (at least, TRY) and hopefully get a little attitude adjustment in the process. During these next winter months, I am thankful for:

1 - hot tea, flavored lattes (also hot) and cocoa (and, yes, HOT)...with whipped creme! (my lattes and cocoa are made with skim milk so that cancels out the whipped creme, right?)
2 - the smell of wood burning fireplaces
3 - brisk (very brisk) walks with my puppy...he has so much more energy and fun than during the summer walks
4 - flannel sheets (with cute designs like Christmas trees or sledding penguins) and flannel pjs (minus the designs)
5 - more time inside to catch up on scrap booking, stamping or even reading (I am also mildly obsessed with organizing...so I have time to clean out lots of drawers and closets. When I run out of places at my house, my girlfriend lets me do hers!! I love you, Trisha)
6- the unexplainable thrill of snow in the forecast on a weekday evening (a definite carryover from all those years of working at the school - SNOW DAY is a magical word to any teacher) and the true beauty of fresh fallen snow
7 - children's holiday specials on TV - like A Charlie Brown Christmas and the original Grinch. Not only do these remind me of fun days with my children but also of my own childhood with my brother and parents! (I don't watch much TV so often I don't know when this shows are going to be on...so if you happen to notice one coming up, let me know!)

Well, I was hoping to get to 10 but this is, at least, a start. I really should put the holidays that come during this time of year. I do love Christmas - for my Savior's birth - but the holidays are such a struggle. We have not forgotten or given up on Christmas (as some grieving parents and families choose to do) but the "magic" is missing. But God is faithful...and just maybe I will be adding that to my list again one day.

This was supposed to be a "fun" post...didn't mean to end so somber. I am going to do my best to embrace winter (well, we see). What do you love about winter?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Poem for Thanksgiving

BE THANKFUL
Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
,and they can become your blessings.
~~Author Unknown.~~

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NYC Review (Part 2) - a Few Pictures

Times Square!
(a few drizzles on our way to brunch but it had completely cleared up by the time we were done and the day was beautiful)


On our way to the show...
The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall


Dusk settling in on the Big Apple...





Dinner at Lombardis in Little Italy!
(if only we could have gotten some of that dessert at Serendipitys!?!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My NYC Review

WOW! What a fun Saturday I had in the Big Apple! As I admitted, I'm not a true country girl at heart (although there was a time - back in the college days - I seriously wanted to be a dairy farmer's wife...I begged God to send me a dairy farmer - and, yes, sometimes, we just need to be thankful for unanswered prayers!!) and I don't know that I could really live full time in the "big city" but visiting is a THRILL! I loved it. And, just in case, you ever make it...I wanted to share my two cents review (for whatever it is worth)!

After arriving - and arriving hungry - our first stop was at Junior's Diner in Times Square. They stop serving breakfast at 10:35 (yes, specifically at 10:35) so we had brunch...which was good because it counted as two meals so we got our money's worth. My salad was delicious! Instead of a bread basket while you wait for your meal, this deli brought slaw, beets and dill pickles!! I tried beets for the first time - I really liked them! Junior's is on West 45th and I would recommend it.

After brunch, we headed to the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall - I really enjoyed this show. The music was good, the special effects were fun and the precision dancing was actually amazing. I'm not sure but I think I was expecting Las Vegas...but it was not. I thought it was pretty cool. The last number they did was actually the Christmas story with a reading from the gospel of Luke and traditional carols - heralding the newborn king! Pretty impressive when students at the local elementary school are not even allowed to sing more than Frosty the Snowman.

In the afternoon, we took a cab (everything you have heard about New York cab rides...and more - WHOA!) to Chinatown and then Little Italy. If I don't ever make it to Chinatown again, my feelings will not be hurt. Little Italy, however, was a lot of fun. Lots of shopping and fun people...and the aromas of fresh pizza and pasta were wonderful! We had pizza at Lombardis (on Spring Street) and it was fantastic! I would definitely recommend this restaurant.

By the time we made it back to Madison Ave. and the shops uptown, most of the stores were closed. That was okay, though, as I'm sure I could not afford to window shop there. We did go in FAO Schwartz. I personally think the toy soldiers (aka doormen) out front were the best part of that store......all in all, this store was way overrated. Toys R Us was a lot more fun but M&M World would beat them both any day!! We did try to end our day at Serendipity III (located at 225 East 60th) for dessert - walked ten blocks to get there only to find out the wait was an hour and we did not have that much time. It is a TINY little place but the desserts are supposedly amazing and it was very popular but I would recommend reservations for this one!

I did not have my camera but my girlfriend did bring her camera and we snapped quite a few pictures....as soon as she sends me some, I will include my "photo review".....yea. It was a lot of fun and, as a fundraiser, we raised over $1,600 for the Cancer Society - what's not to love, right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Psalm 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts wtih praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psalm 100:4

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Festivals and Shopping

As I have said before, there are so many things to love about fall, but certainly among my favorites are all the local fall festivals, craft shows and the shopping! I enjoy shopping - even Christmas shopping. I suppose one of my "love languages" is gifts and I love not only giving gifts but also the search for just the perfect surprise. I can't say that I am always successful - and, yes, my budget tends to "get in the way" - but I have fun trying!

There have been several really fun local shows just about every weekend around here. This sweet grapevine angel I actually won during a silent auction at a high school craft show.......yes, won!! YEA I haven't decided where she will go yet - I was thinking my front door but the cranberry colors look so nice inside my house, too. Decisions...decisions.

This weekend is full of shopping......and I am excited! Last night, my girlfriend and I went to a beautiful Christmas bazaar held in someone's home. Apparently these women have been doing this show for 15 years and their things were beautiful!! And, they even had a half-price room out in the garage! I picked up four Christmas presents!

Tomorrow - get this - I am headed to New York City for the day! Every year my Jazzercise club plans a bus trip as a Relay for Life fundraiser and this year I am going with my very sweet girlfriend (we have been friends for 41 years!!! and she still likes me!) and her mom (a second mom for me) and we are looking forward to a great day. Its fun to come home and be able to share my trip with my blogging friends! Although I'm not exactly a country girl...this trip to the city is a big deal for me - I can't wait!

And, finally, on Sunday afternoon there is another large craft show at a local high school. I usually attend this show every year on a Saturday but the New York trip was the same weekend so I will try to get to the high school after church...not sure how that will work out but, we'll see. I may end up with not a penny to spare after Saturday - or I may be completely exhausted but it should be a really great weekend. I hope all of you have wonderfully fun weekends as well.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baby Sarah

Thankful Thursday.....and today I am rejoicing with my wonderful friends at the birth of their daughter, Sarah, who was born Tuesday night. Delivery went smoothly and Mommy, Daddy and Sarah are all doing well. Sarah is beautiful. Truly, the miracle of birth and, then, soaking in a newborn.....those ten tiny toes, button nose and the feel of downy hair....is the clearest picture of our amazing Creator, Savior and God.

Not only am I thanking Him for Sarah, but I am also thankful for Sarah's big brother and sister who have been at my house for the last two days - what fun! It has been sixteen years since the last newborn at our house and how quickly those "little people" years go by! Hubbie and I have so loved the chatter, the laughter, the bedtime stories, GeoTrax (this was new for me!) and the hugs!! In the past two days, I have been to Chuck E Cheese - twice - and had dinner at McDonalds...if that really counts as a dinner?!?! (yes..I tend to be a bit too outspoken against fast food - for myself - but isn't amazing what little sweethearts can cause us to do) :)
It has been a fun and busy two days. My hat truly goes off to all the mommies of preschoolers who love their babies and still find time to blog, clean their homes, (shower themselves), to stay in the Word, to love their hubbies and to take care of the one million other things that demand their attention! God will richly reward you.....as you keep focused on the "best" things of the so many things that need to be done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.
Eda J. Le Shan
Welcome to the world Baby Sarah.....you are perfection and we love you!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No....No...we have not gone over the edge and gotten another dog (one Rascal is enough for any house!!). This is my brother's new puppy but I just had to share her picture...is there really any way to look at that face and not smile?! What a sweetheart!

God blesses us so abundantly..I truly believe puppies are just "the cherry on the top" of His goodness - to warm our hearts..and cover our faces with wet kisses!! Have a warm and wonderful Tuesday!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Broken Chain

I've been thinking about Tyler.....maybe more today..or perhaps again today...or simply always. I was given this poem from another mom missing her boy. I have not been able to locate the author but I wanted to share it. It expresses my heart today.

The Broken Chain

We little knew that morning
that God would call your name.
In life we loved you dearly.
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone;
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories,
Your love is still our guide;
And though we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken
and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us
one by one,
The chain will link again
.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God
rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called
in one body;
and be ye thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Friday, November 7, 2008

Free Cookbooks

How fun is this? Check here to send away for free cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch! What's not to love?? They also have some really cute things on sale on their website....I saw an Annie doll and an entire pumpkin cookbook! Have fun, my friends!

Teatime

Autumn Spiced Tea!!!! Where has this treat been hiding? I do not know if this is a new product or if I have just missed it all this time but this week I discovered Pumpkin Spice tea by Bigelow - and what a treat it has been!! For me, a cup of tea, lightly sweetened with honey, at the end of my day really sets all right with the world! I look forward to it each evening..and I try all kinds of teas but this one has been purely delightful!!

There is a blessed calm at eventide
That calls me from a world of toil and care;
How restful, then, to seek some quiet nook
Where I can spend a little time in prayer
Bullock

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Primitive Give Away

Just a thought for those of you who enjoy - or LOVE - primitives, I discovered a very pretty blog this evening....and just in time for a really nice give away. Check it out in order to get entered - http://fortheloveofprims.blogspot.com/ - I would say "good luck"...but, then again, I really want to win!!

Citizenship

Thankful Thursday .... and I am so thankful for this country and the privilege I have to be an American. I am thankful for the rich heritage of our country - for men and women who bravely came here in search of religious freedom and for the early fathers of our country who, although they were not perfect, sought to found this country on Godly principles. I am thankful for the privilege I have to vote and participate in our democracy. Yes, I am concerned, even fearful, for our country but it is my country and it is worth praying for - which is what I intend to do - and it is worth fighting for. I am thankful for our service men and women who fight for our country's honor! I am proud to be an American.

Although I am a citizen here (as the old hymn goes)..."this world is not my home..I'm just a passing through..there's treasures laid up for...somewhere beyond the blue" and today I am so very thankful that my real citizenship is in Heaven. When I remember that this time here is truly brief and I have a home in Heaven, it helps to restore the calm and peace to my life which has been alluding me lately. There may, indeed, be troublesome days ahead but I will keep my eyes turned toward to my home above to keep things in perspective.

".........but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven ." Luke 10:20b

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Potato Soup, Chili-Cheeseburger Mac-n-Cheese, and Beef 'n Macaroni Bake

With fall starting to settle in, there are so many yummy recipes to try and to share. The best of comfort foods to be sure....warm, filling and full of wonderful flavors. Two new ones I found this week are Mrs. H's baked apples and Kelli's dark chocolate chip pumpkin squares (my absolute two favorite flavors!!)

I usually make my own menu plans two weeks at a time (paychecks every two weeks, shopping every two weeks, you see the connection...) Lately, I have been struggling with variety, so I decided to get down some old recipe books. I have one hand-made book from my mom that I treasure where I have added on tried and true family favorites. I came across several yummy meals we haven't had in quite awhile....but we will be having again soon. Here are a couple of my cool weather favorites.

"Baked" Potato Soup
6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans chicken broth with roasted garlic
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 TBL chopped fresh chives

1. Combine first six ingredients in a slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on HIGH four hours or on LOW eight hours or until potato is tender.
3. Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened; stir in cream, cheese, and chives. Warm throughout.
4. If desired, top individual servings with sour cream, bacon and more cheddar cheese before serving. I definitely recommend this last step!!

This next one was originally from Southern Living and is SO much better than those boxed hamburger meals.....you know the ones!!


Chili-Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese
1 box Velvetta shells & cheese, prepared according to box directions
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1. Brown ground beef in a non stick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until no longer pink; drain and rinse under hot running water.
2. Return beef to skillet and stir in chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook two minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cook five minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Stir prepared pasta into beef mixture and serve immediately.

And one more using a box mac-n-cheese dinner (always a hit with my kids.....)
Beef 'n Macaroni Bake
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 box KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese dinner
2 TBL butter
2 TBL flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten

1. Brown meat; drain. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and spices; simmer ten minutes.
2. Prepare dinner as directed on package. Spread meat mixture onto bottom of 9-inch square baking dish. Top with mac-n-cheese dinner.
3. Melt butter in saucepan on low heat. Blend in flour. Gradually add milk; cook, stirring constantly, on low heat until thickened. Stir small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return to hot mixture. Pour over dinner; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until golden brown.