Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Ends

The year is ending as well as the holidays and I find myself reflecting on all of the blessings and joy that have come to me.  Is my life perfect?  Certainly not!  I choose to focus on the abundance of joy that I experience.  Our Christmas was certainly joyful.  We were blessed to have our children and grandchildren in our home on Christmas morning. 


Joyful faces experiencing Christmas as only a child can do!

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays there is little time to take photos.  Most of these were taken by Grayden.  I don't know how some of you friends take the lovely photos you do when your homes are full of family. 

Our children and grands stayed with us through Wednesday.  We celebrated Christmas, celebrated Noel's birthday, ate, played games and enjoyed each other's company for five whole days.  It's kind of like we had a vacation together.

“Best of all are the decorations the grandchildren have made ~ fat little stars and rather crooked Santas, shaped out of dough and baked in the oven.”  Gladys Taber

On Tuesday my extended family came for dinner.  Unfortunately my brother-in-law was in the hospital so eight of our family was unable to attend.  We are glad that he is now on the mend and is doing well.  My sister and her family were able to come so we had a smaller group of fifteen. 

We are now relaxing and reflecting on all the precious time we were able to spend with our family. 

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.” 

― Gladys Taber


I hope you are looking forward to the New Year and all of the possibilities it may bring to you!  I will be making Hopping John for good luck for tomorrow's dinner.  If you need a recipe you can go Here  

Happy New Year to all my friends!  I hope you continue to find joy in all that you do! ♥

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Preparations

Our home is bustling with Christmas preparations as I'm sure it is at your home as well.  I try to do as much as possible in advance of  the big day ahead.  Both of our children and our grandchildren come to stay for a few days beginning on Christmas Eve.   All of the beds in our home are made up to accommodate the big ones and little ones.  Along with the master bedroom we have a guest room upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs that will serve as home for our family.  Also the office will be turned into a little bedroom for the youngest grands.  Our home will literally be full to the brim.  It's all good and we are so thankful to share this special season with our family.

Long Night's Moon

There is food to buy and cookies to bake.  Cookie making has started as Samuel and I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  We had to bake off two dozen to check to see if was of the finest quality!  The rest of the dough is resting in the fridge and will be baked next week.  This saves a lot of time for last minute preparations.  I also made sugar cookies with the younger grands, but they are at their home now along with the cookies.

Sadler Christmas Teapot

I've mentioned before that our daughter Noel was born on Christmas Day.  Years ago I asked her what kind of birthday cake would she like.  She said she wanted Peppermint Ice Cream Cake.  This is a cake that I first had when I was a little girl at my great aunt's home.  It all seemed so exotic to me at the time as I'd never had an ice cream cake.  It's quite simple to make and is very tasty and suits the holiday season.  I've been making this cake for Noel ever since she graduated from princess cakes, Miss Piggy cakes and such.

If you want to make it, now is the perfect time to find Peppermint Ice Cream.  Not all stores have it so you will have to probably visit a few groceries.  Even though I originally had it in the summer as a child, I've only seen the Peppermint Ice Cream around Christmas these past few years.  Of course you can make this cake with any of your favorite ice creams.

All you need is two ingredients!

Peppermint Ice Cream and Angel Food Cake

First tear an Angel Food cake into pieces.  It doesn't matter if they are uniform.

Place the torn angel food cake and the softened ice cream into your mixing bowl.  You can do this by hand, but I find it's easier in my stand mixer.

This is so easy, now after all of the ingredients are mixed,  spread the mixture into a greased pan.  I often use the plastic container the angel food cake came in.  I've also used a Christmas ice mold and also a bundt pan.  Then wrap your cake and place it in the freezer to harden. 

We always make a special time in the afternoon to recognize Noel's birthday.  We bring out this cake and presents wrapped in birthday wrap.  If you want to read ideas on how to celebrate a birthday that falls on Christmas , you can read what Noel wrote last year Here

After seeing many of all of your lovely decorations, I was inspired by Liz  to dress up our chandelier in the dining room.  I've always kept it plain, but I just adore what Liz has done.  I used some little angels to hang from our chandelier.  I have many angels and I thought this theme would look well in here.  I used an old swag that has seen better days and just doubled it.  I think I like it!

Here is a close up of one of the angels.  They were a gift from my sister-in-law years ago.

My sister gave me this angel a few years ago and she lights up the dining room when the lights are off.

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 them, 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Have you heard about hygge?  I started seeing this word being used a few weeks ago on social media sites.  I believe the first person I heard mention it was  Deb .  Then a few days ago I started seeing it everywhere.  Susan Branch recently did a blog post about it.  You can check out her post Here that really is a wonderful explanation of what hygge is.  Really Susan Branch is the epitome of hygge!

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word that closely means cozy.  In order to survive a long winter we all want to make our homes cozy and warm.  Anything that makes you feel that way is hygge.  Lighting candles, taking bubble baths, reading, sewing, writing, creating, cooking, painting, baking --whatever creates a joy filled life for you!

Hygge was never meant to be translated-it was meant to be felt.

ToveMaren Stakkestad

I made a lovely soup this week that will bring hygge to your home.  As the weather turns colder soups are always a welcome addition to our menus.  If you are vegetarian I'm sure you can still make this soup and just add more vegetables.  If you like stuffed peppers, you will like this soup.

Pepper Soup

  • one large onion chopped
  • two to three large bell peppers chopped
  • one clove of garlic minced

Saute' vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil.

When the onion is translucent add one pound of ground lean hamburger or ground turkey.  Brown until cooked.  Then add:

  • one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • one tablespoon paprika
  • one tablespoon chili powder
  • one teaspoon salt
  • one teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • one tablespoon of basil
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 

Let this soup simmer for one half  hour and then add :

  • one half cup of uncooked rice

Simmer the soup until the rice is done.  If you want, you can top each bowl of soup with a grated sharp cheddar. Enjoy.

Another hygee activity around here is making s'mores.  The eldest grand adores it.

I hope your days are full of hygge moments!  ♥
I've been misspelling hygge --opps!  Correction now made.  Thank you Vee.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Our Christmas Tree

What kind of Christmas tree do you have in your home?  For many years now we have enjoyed an artificial tree. Gasp!!  Years ago we would get a live tree and every year the needles would be on the floor before we knew it. With an artificial tree we are able to put it up after Thanksgiving and enjoy it the whole Christmas season.  Yes, a real tree smells heavenly and truthfully is heavenly.  Our children still have live trees in their homes.  As the years have advanced we want to still enjoy a large tree.  Our tree has the lights already on it which is so easy.  I remember many years being frustrated with the strands of lights that needed repair.

A Christmas tree is truly a walk down memory lane.  Angie (our angel) is put on top of our tree as she has topped our tree for her fiftieth Christmas.  Ornaments from our parents adorn our tree along with ornaments made by our children as children.  Honestly we are unable to put all of the ornaments on our tree.  I used to put up another large tree in the living room, but it's not practical as our family has grown and we need the room for people and not trees.

If you would like to read about our old German ornaments you can go Here

The tree is the first item that we bring out to start the Christmas decorating.  Along with candles in the windows, we prepare for the most wonderful time of the year.  🎄🎄🎄

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Public Service Announcement

As we all make our preparations for Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I wanted to remind you my friends, to please check something you may not have thought of.  I know we are all busy and don't need to do one more thing!

We have noticed over the last couple of months that our clothes were not getting dry during just one cycle in the dryer.  So we would often let them go for another cycle.  My dryer is not that old.  Well, I don't think eight years is that old.

Grayden said he felt he was being urged to do something about this issue.  We always clean the lint filter after each drying cycle.  We also will occasionally use a special brush made to go into the filter basket for further cleaning.  Our dryer is in the laundry room in our basement.  The dryer is vented to the outside through the normal dryer venting system.

Grayden decided to check the vent on the outside.  Well, lo and behold, he was able to get out an enormous amount of lint.  At first he was able to get a small amount, but then came up with this pile of lint.  We were beyond shocked! We know the venting was clean when we put this dryer in place.  I'm sure you are aware of problems with lint catching on fire in dryer vents. There are fires every year that are started this way.  With this amount of lint a fire could have easily started!  We are so thankful that Grayden was listening to that small voice that speaks. Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don't.

Please ladies and gentlemen, make sure your dryer vent is clear all the way to the outside.  If you can't do it yourself, there are businesses that can do it for you.  In some areas, local firemen do this job on the side.  It is worth the life of you and your family.  According to FEMA there are 29,000 dryer vent fires every year in the United States, resulting in deaths, and 35 million dollars of property damage. Most dryer vent fires are in the fall and winter, peaking in January.  It is recommended that you clean out the dryer venting system every three months!  Grayden, please add that to your list! ♥

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Day in the Mountains

Autumn has been so lovely here in Virginia.  The late turning of leaves has been a bright spot for what is usually a gloomy November.  Our first frost occurred last evening.  Looking at past year's frost, this is late by at least a month for us.  Grayden and I emptied our pots of begonias that were hit by the heavy frost.  We always put all of the spent plants into our compost heap.  The other pots that I overwinter in our basement are now making a home in the Florida room as they acclimate to being inside.  I overwinter geraniums and re pot them in the spring.  I have some that are quite old.  We use grow lux bulbs that simulate the sun.  It's good enough for their winter vacation.  I also picked all the green grape tomatoes so I can let them ripen in brown paper bags.

Last week after voting we decided we wanted to get away for a few hours, so we drove up to the little town to have dinner and see what remains of the autumn color in the mountains.

On the way we stopped in two country stores.  I adore going to Yoder's Country Store.  It's been a while since we visited and we found they have opened a brand new big store.  It's a wonderful place to buy flour, nuts, jams, honey and kitchen items.  I bought a new little garden flag.  Also we couldn't resist a loaf of their honey wheat bread.

We made reservations to have lunch at Grave's Mountain Lodge.  We have been going here for years. They usually serve buffet dinners, but the day we visited it was family style dining.  Years ago we  attended retreats at this mountain lodge.  Grave's Mountain Lodge is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Syria, Virginia.  It was enjoyable to share our dinner with two other couples that were getting away for the day as well.

After our dinner we rocked in the rocking chairs and soaked in the beauty of the area.  Samuel commented how quiet it was there.  All the hushed tones of the mountains, except the chirping of the wrens and the sounds of leaves falling to the ground was good for the soul.

On our drive through the rolling hills we stopped at an antique store.  I bought nothing.  Buyer's regret on a few things.  I couldn't believe I didn't buy this sweet cross stitch piece that was only $12 dollars!

What was I thinking?

What little day trips do you enjoy?  I'd love to hear about them.  I hope you are enjoying the days leading up to Thanksgiving. ♥

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


We enjoy taking walks to get exercise.  It's what we have enjoyed for years.  Our walks have been a good way for us to talk and observe the beauty of the world outside of our home.  There have been  many problems solved on our walks.  Over the years the paths we follow have changed depending on the time we have to spend.  Mostly we spend about thirty minutes walking two miles.  Starting the day with a walk always feels right.  All you really need is a good pair of walking shoes and off we go. 

This time of year is so lovely as we observe the leaves taking on their fall colors.  Trees seem to light up with the sun.  How beautiful our world is.  I'm so glad I live in an area that has four seasons.  

Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.

Jim Bishop

Let's take a look at our walk that we enjoyed recently.  It is the walk that we take frequently.

Sometimes we go on a longer walk.  Our city has a wonderful Canal Path/ Heritage Trail that takes a little longer.  It's a 3.1 mile circuit that we usually begin by the river and takes us around the old canal and then back to the river.  Along the way you can learn more about our town and the changes that have taken place.  This past weekend was so pretty we decided to take this path for our walk.  There were many folks outside enjoying this wonderful autumn weather.  Folks walking their dogs,  bikers, children with parents all enjoy this path.  Many communities are adding trails for the enjoyment of their citizens.  Old rail beds have been converted into walking paths.  Our daughter worked on the committee to develop an old rail bed into a trail for her community in New England.

Here are a few photos of our Canal/Path Heritage Trail.

Old Germania Flour Mill

Along the path there are many markers reminding us of those who came before us.  

Now after all of this walking let's go inside and have tea. ♥