Friday, November 30, 2012

Event for the Day...

 

Here is where we will be,..come join us if you can!

Fun Finds for the Tree

   Grab your tinsel and plug in your glue gun..it's time to clear the kitchen table for a fabulous fun crafter-noon. Here are this week's fun finds for trimming your tree.
Easy DIY ornaments! 
First let us hop over to College Lifestyles for a quick and simple ornament called a 'Kissing Ball'. A dab ribbon and a sprig of holly accent a simple fabric wrapped ball for a frugal fun way to use a few fat quarter scraps.
37 simple homemade #christmas ornaments 
Next we zip over to Fave Crafts for a whopping thirty-one seriously simple ornaments for crafty tree trimming.  Paper cut rustic angles and sheet music baubles look frugal and fabulous.
 cinnamon ornament recipe 
Our next stop on the web is Turnstyle Vogue where cinnamon and applesauce magically become fragrant decorations just right for tree trimming or accenting a gift. Reminds me of the years my little ones made them in the kitchen with me..after the holidays we hung them in our closets to keep the cinnamon scent going a little longer.
Nativity ornament 
Finally we stop by Crafting and Creativity for a precious vision of simplicity. Little wooden people offer a natural and humble reminder of the reason we celebrate. A precious nativity for showing or sharing..and excellent simple gift for a friend.

   Oh, my but there are so many more things to do and see..burlap ornaments and sparkly ornaments; tulle and ribbon..the possibilities are endless. After the business of this weekend pass, we intend to dust of the tree and clear out a corner to do a little trimming of our own. 
   Have a wonderful crafter-noon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bringing in the Tree

   Winter chill and the light of a full moon stir my heart to days gone by. Christmas on the prairie was a marvelous affair..and bringing in the tree was no small feat. Grandpa and I had a mission to complete..a marvelous trek to make. The purpose was clear..the need certain..a prairie tree it would be.

  When snow came to the prairie it brought with it the anticipation of celebration. With each passing day my longing for our special gathering was faintly pacified with various chores associated with 'company coming'. Oh how I longingly waited for the long trek- a true sign Christmas was drawing near.
   Rising to another bitter cold morning- eggs and toast; sausage and such- another day of snow and work. Sitting there by Grandpa..a sideways glance revealed a twinkle in his eye. My heart jumped- could this be the day? Trying to sit still and finish breakfast is absolutely torturous! Hardly a word is spoken as I wait on pins and needles for the adults to finish 'one more cup of coffee' and another piece of toast.
   On Grandpa's heals I follow to gather the ax and saw..extra work gloves..a pair for each of us. His old blue truck rumbles down the gravel roads as we head off to the woods. Most of the prairie is flat, but here and there are beautiful wooded areas where the men go hunting and morel mushrooms are harvested..but today is not about those things..no today is all about the trek.
   Clomping and stomping we head through the snow..my small boots trying to keep in his tracks. It is hard to see between the woolen cap and scarf warming my face- but I love the sparkle of the snow in the glittering light. He looks back at me- blue eyes shining- as an occasional chuckle escapes him. Together we search..no words are spoken..we just know..soon we'll find the right one.
   Destiny brings us to the spot..the perfect place with just the right one; tall and bright, smelling oh so good. I hold the saw as his mighty ax makes the first few cuts. It is my job to saw a bit- I'm small enough to fit right under even the lowest branches- so this job is just right for me. With a crackle and whoosh, the mighty tree falls; for just a moment sadness grips me as I realize this tree will never be here again. He comforts me..reminding me that in taking one we make room for others; he always knows just what to say. Together we take hold the branches- he on one side, me on the other- dragging the tree back to the truck; I don't remember the walk being so far before.
   The ride back to the farmhouse is quiet; the hum of the heater as it blows- Grandpa places my hands near the vent to be sure I warm them good. We talk of lumps of coal in my stocking as he tries to question my goodness for the year. Laughter and teasing make the ride seem short, but the warmth of the house will be welcome!
   Inside the big warm kitchen smells of good things; beef stew and biscuits and cocoa to sip! My uncle has arrived to help set up the tree...they work on that while I get warmer (reminding me one more time that I might catch my death if I don't stay warm and dry).
  Slipping from my seat I tip toe around the doorway and gaze at the beautiful tree. My mind wanders to the boxes and boxes of ornaments and tinsel, the angel and the lights--how exciting this will be! Yes, it was worth it...the wait, the cold, the long walk through the woods...deep in my heart I store away the beautiful memory of Grandpa and me and the marvelous trek.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beautifully Atop a Tree

   
   Once upon a Christmas tree there was a delicate filet angel- beautifully handmade. Fine white crochet thread intricately worked with skilled hands form the long skirt, frilled bodice and lacy wings of a heavenly vision. Silken floss is carefully stitched displaying delicate lashes; her mouth open wide to sing hymns of praise. Golden thread encircles her halo that sits just above her rows of loopy curls; all painstakingly made one stitch at a time.
   Today as I worked to clean up the mess of a broken water pipe, the ten inch lacy angel peeked at me from her perch atop my amour. Her vision reminded me of tall trees decorated with soft white lights and golden shining balls; of snowy tree skirts and brightly wrapped gifts. Trees from long, long ago.
   This beautiful treasure was hand made by my mother and adorned her tree for many many years before it came to rest on mine. Our tree usually displays a star on top..to remind us of the one guiding wise men seeking the Savior..now it holds an angel..one to announce His coming, to proclaim His name, and tell of His birth.
   Due to her delicate beauty, she is never stored away with the other baubles and things..she rests there in my room..never far away..always nearby. In the midst of my troublesome evening..she made me stop and ponder a moment..to remember those things of long ago.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Prairie Point Star Ornament

    This week we are focusing on crafty preparations for tree trimming. Let me admit..I am not a theme based tree decorator. There are blessed sweet souls who love to chose a theme for their beloved trees and make them absolutely perfectly trimmed..I'm not one of them. For me, a tree is a symbol of us..natural and changing with each passing year. It holds memories and hand-mades..bits and pieces of things that make up our lives.
    This year needed a memory..an activity that pieces our family together..and with teens growing up and moving on..I need some together! Being a quilter, the quilted star ornament caught me eye..the 'no sew' aspect caught the rest of the family's eye.
   So, with the well being repaired by the guys, the teen girls and I set up for an afternoon of ornament making. One was the fabric coordinator, I cut the pieces, and the other gathered pins and foam to piece them together. We laughed, we shared .. we missed running water..and made some beautiful decorations.
   The Prairie Point Star is not my original pattern or idea..I found several wonderful tutorials for them on various Pinterest boards. If you would like to make one, here are the two links I used the most while making my ornaments.

Growing Home


   Happy crafting!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ in Christmas: Ornament Make-Over

 
I haven't started trimming the tree or setting the lights outside. No, this past week has been riddled with plenty of seasonal foods; well repairs kept us eating leftovers much longer than we intended. As soon as my system sparks back into 'go' mode I plan to pull some boxes and sort out the decor.  
   Every year we seek to find ways to keep our Savior front and center in our home- even more so during the holidays. We have a very creative family..which leads to some wonderful ornament make overs. A few years back we were seeking to find frugal and fun way so spark new life in old decor..so we broke out the paint and glitter, gathered our hands and hearts around the table...the result was so worth it!
   One morning Bible searching brought us to the names used in reference to our Savior: Messiah, Prince of Peace, Bread of Life, etc. With a good list going, we headed to the ornament bin for the shiny glass balls and to the craft cabinet for silver and gold paint pens. Each member of the family chose several names of Christ, decorated a ball with that name, and shared the information about it. One of our youth studied a bit of Hebrew that particular year, so her ornaments also have the Hebrew characters written on them!
   Again this year we will sit before the tree in precious remembering as we pull the ornaments out of their box. The names written on each one will be lovingly read as conversation sparks precious memories of sharing the joy of the season. Once again this year, our tree will lovingly hold the beautiful names of Christ and family memories.

   To make your own "Names of Christ" tree ornaments you will need:

    1 box of colored balls
    paint pens..we used silver and gold
    some of the names of Christ used in the Bible 

     Notes:

     *We have used various balls over the years. Any size works, but medium balls were easiest to work with.
     *I painted the names on apples one year..also beautiful!
     For help with the names here are two links:





   

Sunday


Revelation 10

King James Version (KJV)
10 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Slow Saturday...

   This week's preparing and gathering have left us in a fog..desperately in need of a slow day. Today, a bit of quilting and a little coffee sipping before another week of frenzy begins. Have a blessed and slow Saturday!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just for You....

   Just for you, my faithful friends and followers, an invite to visit our Etsy shop and take a savings coupon with you. Quilts and dolls, soaps, candles and more...enter the word "HOLIDAY"..all caps..in the coupon section at checkout to receive a 10% discount. This offer lasts through Monday, so don't delay. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Blessings

 
 Sun set this evening as I watered the herbal garden--beautiful colors of red, yellow and blue. Breathing in the earthy scent of fresh chopped wood and pies cooling in the window, my heart swelled with thankfulness..I am truly blessed. 
My heart is moved by each one of you, my dear online friends. Your comments encourage, uplift and inspire..as do your own wonderful spots on the web. I am grateful for the time you take to visit my little page and share bits of yourself with me. 
As we gather together and remember our many blessings, I count each one of you. 
May your gathering be bountiful and blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving..
from our little homestead, to yours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Memories of a Thanksgiving on the Prairie

   As fall brings chill to the wide open prairie plans are made for the big day of gathering. Grandma starts her cooking weeks before the actual day: pies and treats fill the farm kitchen with tempting aromas. Grandpa busies himself along the pasture fences..repairs are needed to keep the cattle safe. Travel plans are set for those far away; they return to the prairie for the holidays.
   Grandma sets me to scrubbing every corner; every shelf and section. Polish the silver and dust the good dishes..the day of gathering comes soon! Card tables are set in front of the sliding back door..pretty table cloths are lay over top. This is for the cousins to sit at; a kids' table for the gathering. A few paper turkeys, leaves and pumpkin decorations are pulled from the storage space in the basement. I place them here and there around the living room to make a festive scene.
   The day draws near; aunts and uncles join the mass. Good thing Grandma had me washing and changing sheets all week...every bed is full with family. Two Siamese have decided to hide; they do not like a full house...neither do I. Slipping about the corners I seek every opportunity to scoot out the door for a romp in the chilly prairie wind.
   A day of thanks arrives with turkey sizzling in the olive green oven..regular basting sends the tantalizing aroma drifting through the house. I am tearing bread for the dressing, much to my disdain. My personal least favorite dish..dressing. Soggy bread, turkey 'parts', oysters..gag. Every other dish on the table- total yummy goodness..but not the dressing!
   Grandmothers pass plates as the aunts chatter and laugh. Grandpa sets with his pepper shaker ready to attack all that good cooking with his strange habit. Uncles tease and pester while cousins slip in-between adults for 'one more roll' or 'a bit more potato'. So much food. So much family, and everyone has their place. The meal seems to last all afternoon- nibbling and catching up over 'just another taste'.
   Evening falls to find the cousins playing behind the couch where the little toy box sets; adults sip warm beverages accompanied by pies and cakes. One by one we start to trickle off to bed..our dreams filled with the delights of the day. Leftovers will be eaten tomorrow...the routine will repeat until each guest heads back to their home leaving us to ponder the next gathering...the next prairie Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

In Preparation: Warm Wonderful Rolls

   When family gathers for any holiday season there is always plenty of great food on the menu. One of the most requested items from my kitchen are Amish Potato Rolls. This soft dough is slightly sweet and as soft as a pillow- yummy goodness (especially right from the oven)!


AMISH POTATO ROLLS

(yield approximately 3 doz small rolls)
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed potato
1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 pkg yeast
5 cups flour

Mix together well the sugar, potatoes, shortening, eggs and salt. 
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water then add to the sugar/potato mixture.
Stir in 3 to 4 cups of the four. Add remaining flour while kneading. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky but moist. 
Cover. Let rise until double (approximately 1 hour).
Roll dough to 1" thickness. Cut into buns shapes with a jar or biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased baking sheet about 2" apart. Let thiem rise until puffy but not doubled (approximately 30 minutes).
Brush with milk. Bake in 325 degree oven until lightly golden brown, approximately 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. They store well in an airtight container and freeze beautifully.
For a variation: replace potato with sweet potato or pumpkin, white sugar with brown, and use half white/half wheat flour. Delicious results every time.

Pictured is my mother's favorite dinner roll shape; the clover roll. She did not use the same recipe I do, however, her honey wheat bread was always formed in clovers for holiday dinners. To make a clover, lightly grease muffin tins. Pinch a piece of dough the size of a walnut and gently shape a ball. Place three balls per cup (touching). Proceed with baking directions. She also brushed her rolls with melted butter after baking (as I did here). 
  The rolls are always wrapped in my favorite kitchen towel and tucked in a homey wicker basket before we head off for a day of visiting. Served with butter, honey butter, or any favored spread..pillowy soft potato rolls will definitely make the dinner table this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Preparation: Cranberry Bread

 
   We stand at the brink of holiday rush; busy kitchens bustle with activity. As preparations start to take shape, one tasty recipe always hits the top of our list. A sweet hint of orange cradles the tangy bit of fresh cranberries with the option of a nutty crunch. Low in calories (just 116/slice) and big on taste..Cranberry Bread is simply made and easily shared.

CRANBERRY BREAD

Sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Then toss in:
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)

In a separate bowl wisk:
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard loaf pan. 
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until blended (don't over do it). 
Pour the delicious smelling mixture into your prepared loaf pan.
Bake 50 minutes or until the loaf tests done (like a cake- clean toothpick).
Let it cool 5 minutes; remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Yield 1 loaf with approximately 16 slices.

Can be made in mini-loaf pans, a bunt, or muffin pans..adjust the cooking time to around 20 minutes for the smaller pans..but the bunt should cook the same amount of time as the loaf.
Note: My parents make this loaf regularly, but adjust it to be diabetic friendly by substituting Splenda for the sugar...still yummy!
I have used dried cranberries with great results..so, use what you have!

   Shared right before a busy day, or given to a friend..hostess or co-worker.. I have made, enjoyed and shared this bread over the years with wonderful results. I love it with a warm cup of coffee..on the porch swing, of course, with a chorus of barn life to set the mood.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sunday

Revelation 9

King James Version (KJV)
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Have a Blessed Day

Spending today with family and friends...and pie!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fun Finds: The Kid's Table

   Thanksgiving gatherings vary from house to house, yet, most of us share a commonality- the kids' table. I recall my own blessed days of servitude; the card table set off to the side..folding chairs and all. As the oldest, it was my assignment to keep the kids' table in order; plated and drinks filled...fellow sentenced souls entertained so that the adults could chat without interruption.
   My own days of hosting Thanksgiving gave me an opportunity to tweak the kids' table to suit my style. Crafty and inviting- our kid's table was always stocked with activity and close by the adults to keep us all together. Having searched the web, today I share my favorite kids' table ideas..many of which mirror my own.
 activities for kids 15 Crafts: A Thanksgiving For Kids    
My farmstead kids' table theme has always been 'keep it simple'..and you can't get more simple than crayons. Over at Tip Junkie there is a simple napkin holder made of just raffia gently tied around a warm cranberry color napkin and a few seasonal colors crayons. 
kids-christmas-table 
Another simple tip I have always implemented was a plain paper table cover; a perfect canvas for coloring and very easy to clean up. Over at All Things Heart and Home tassels are added for a little flair..hop on over..she has some beautiful decor (love her pine cone garland).
  Thanksgiving Crafts  
One thing we really strive for is an attitude of gratitude. To stir those thoughts we made a paper tree to tape on the wall..and fall colored leaf cut outs were where we wrote our thankfulness ideas. Here we have one from a Pinterest board creatively placed on a cork message board using children's hands for thankful leaves. Now that saves the paint on the wall, doesn't it?
thanksgiving crafts to make   
In the end, kids always finish their plates way before the adults are ready for dessert. A little simple sweet treat works really well..and Holiday Crafts and Creations simple pastry bags pair with raffia and your favorite candies for a pretty and tasty treat.

   We all praise the day when we graduate from the kids' table and move on toward the privilege of adult fellowship, but with a little consideration and a few moments of our time the kids' table can be a pleasant and seat. Since I am not hosting a holiday gathering with any small children..the kids' table will be absent from my set up...but oh the day when grandbabies grace my door...then..the kids' table will return with wonder and fun!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pondering the Path


    It's so easy, isn't it? To let the 'holiday crazy' sneak into your mindset and terrorize your home. I refuse to go there...flat refuse. Commercial images of fat turkeys and perfectly pristine homes decorated with expensive non-necessities make me sick. We have forgotten what is important...what the purpose is..and, it's sad.
   While clipping hooves this week I pondered the traditions of my family over the years...the gatherings and preparings of Thanksgiving days. They were never elaborate or overdone...stressful, well, yes...but not overloaded with 'stuff'. Food and family...friends and fun..where has it gone?

   I am determined, once again, to tune the focus of my heart this Thanksgiving...to once again reclaim the attitude of gratitude so desperately missing from our hearts and minds. This cannot be done with fancy decor or elaborate dining..no, that isn't where it is...it's through the togetherness of preparation and the peace of gatherings.
   When my house was full of smaller children we set our month of November to learning about our heritage; the pilgrims, their plight, our family lineage, the natives and God's provision. Our activities focused on gratitude..reviewing the graces we had been given and praying for those in need. Meals were shared with family...decorations were simple, often handmade, focusing our hearts on being thankful..on being who we are.
   Those children turned to teens when I wasn't looking. Their minds are so busy with education and activity..one no longer lives at home...so to shift their focus is a challenge..to get them all home at the same time is a challenge. Our conversations lately show their distaste for the 'commercial craze'..I'm so grateful...and leaning more toward a desire for simplicity. Asking to hear that story one more time...sharing memories of the 'little things' we use to do.
   Our thanksgiving plans will be a simple ones. Family gathered; no elaborate decor, no fancy 'picture perfect' gourmet meal. It will be a sharing of tradition, a time of remembrance, a gathering together...to bustle around the kitchen with busy hands preparing favored dishes...to sit with family chatting and sharing...to remember the past and the togethers from then to now.
   My heart craves the simpler path...the way of those long ago whose focus was on the graces of God and His merciful provision. It will not be easy..the world will not allow that..but we will set our heart to pondering of a better path.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Crazy-Get-Ready" Already

My "crazy-getting-ready" for Thanksgiving list:
once again, bring the history of the holiday to my homeschool
make lists; several of them-then try to remember where I put them
the menu- why do we need so much food?
the groceries; did I mention shopping makes me ugly
the set up..my house is not conductive to large get-togethers
pray- no, really...family gatherings don't drive you to prayer?
cleaning- funny how that works...no one is really going to look in the pantry, are they?
looking at everyone's work schedule and wondering why I bother

sitting on the green bench under the oak 
sipping warm coffee
listening to barn life
avoiding 
the list

((smile))

   I have plenty of time...right?

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Humble Admission

   Here we stand at the brink of the holiday season- a mountain of things are screaming for my attention. There are babies in two of our brooders and breeding in the stalls; fall harvests are full and finishing as children are enrolling in their college courses while working through their home studies. I haven't even mentioned the holiday 'to-do' planning. Yikes! These tasks on top of daily homestead chores create quite a strain..and as our children move on in their path, more of it falls on the few who remain.
   God is not silent. In the midst of this my tolerance level has dipped very low and taken my patience with it. Humility comes as one falls ill..and this time it was one who rarely takes that fall. A virus has visited him once again ... one that flares when stress is high; shingles. Painful and frustrating, it is something that stopped my crazy frenzy and made me sit for a while and reflect. During his silent struggle I have been his worst enemy. Unwilling to stop and see what was happening before me, I bemoaned the chores and the list while ignoring what truly mattered.
   I share this bracing dose of reality with you, because we all have the potential to be our spouse's worst enemy. For me, it is never a conscious decision or even a deliberate act..it is a slow progression that starts with a single wrong choice. It grows and festers into a vile frame of mind that shows in my attitude and spreads to my actions. Hurtful and damaging, it must be stopped or it will ultimately destroy; I can't afford that in my life or his..we are bound in Christ to be one.
   There are many ways to slip into 'enemy' mode. I have fallen to many over my many years of married life, and due to the prodding of my heavenly Father..I honestly and openly share them with you.

1. When my actions are ruled by emotions, not wisdom
2. When my home is not in order; I am not were I should be doing what I should do
3. When idols take hold of my heart; if I am idle, not active to serve
4. When my words are critical or harsh instead of loving and edifying
5. When bitterness takes root or pride swells where humility should reside
6. When disputes reach my ears and I engage where I should have stopped it
7. When gossip poisons my mind instead of pure thoughts
8. When God is not first; when my husband is not second to God in my heart
9. When I allow my weakness to hinder me; when I am impaired by my shortcomings
10. When others influence me more than he does
When my attitude is out of order!

   The reality hit my like a two by four and knocked me to my knees. I had acted in a way that led him to walk in silence not sharing his needs and concerns. My role as a wife was failed and my place as helpmeet compromised. Confession was called for..to my Lord and my husband. Prayer came with grief..for my forgiveness..for strength to walk right..for my husband's forgiveness and mending of our relationship.
   My heart was drawn to Scripture to strengthen my climb out of this pit; every word one rung higher on the ladder toward the light. One that I cling to:
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things re of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
Philippians 4: 6-9
    Change takes work and correcting a pattern of behavior- even if it was only a few days- is a struggle. Graciously my husband's strong and loving embrace softened my disposition and encouraged me with his loving forgiveness. Today I set aside the desire to 'get it all done'..I focus on my priorities and my heart. No one thing under heaven is as precious or long lasting as our family.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Of Apples & Orchards & A Favorite Recipe

   Apples..these crispy fruits and I have a long-standing relationship..we love each other. Beautiful memories are tucked away deep in my soul..of trips to the local orchard. Several miles from the big prairie farmhouse was a farm stand and orchard; trips were made their yearly for bushels and bushels of crisp, delicious apples...but apples were not the best part.
   There in the market, made right before your eyes, were the best apple cider slushes; oh the love. Standing there at the register waiting for the opportunity to order this amazing delicacy was simply torture; and my family knew it. Time and time again they waited until the last moment- often 'forgetting' the desired delight. Playful teasing nearly killed me as I yearned for the long awaited treat. The long ride home was so much more bearable with my sweet distraction.
   Once home from the orchard trip the farm kitchen filled with aunts and grandmothers all gathering to sort their goods and 'put up' the extra. Pie filling was my most remembered item- possibly the one I recall using the most...for the women in my family have a way with pies; well, most of the women in my family.
   Pie crust and I have a long-standing relationship as well..we despise each other. Years of my life have gone in to the desperate plight of beautiful, flaky crust. My mother can make a pie that looks straight out of a bakery window- I, on the other hand, barely manage a humble edge. It is a sad admittance, but my daughters make better pie crusts than I do. It probably has to do with patience and delicacy..of which I have very little.
   When it came to memories of delightful apple recipes, Apple Dumplings were one that just kept coming to mind. Due to the need for plenty of dough and rolling..I kept putting it off and ignoring the nagging need to conquer the beast. Today I yield...my family prayed as flour and Crisco scattered about the kitchen. Pie dough and I- we meet again.

Family Favorite Apple Dumplings

The crust:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups shortening 
1/4 cup ice water

The filling:

5 apples, peeled, chopped, cored
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Toss the salt with the flour before cutting in the shortening. Gently add only enough water for the dough to 'come together'. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
Prepare the apples and toss with cinnamon and sugar. 
Divide the dough into 5 portions. Roll one out in a circle (about 6 inches). Place approximately one cup of apple mixture in the center of the dough circle. Fold the edges around the filling to form a ball- I left the top open for venting. Place in a buttered 8" baking dish and repeat with remaining dough.
Butter the top of each crust and sprinkle with extra sugar.
Bake 350 degrees 50 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is gently browned.

   I survived the process, but my dumplings were anything but beautiful. As I groaned and struggled with the mound of dough, my husband determined that the emotion was one sided--the crust didn't feel a thing. I beg to differ-- the crust knows my plight and mocks me with its silence. Either way..
   My family payed no mind to the homely lumps, but devoured them vigorously..topped with ice cream. Farm boy had quite an interesting expression when I mentioned my father's favorite way to eat them- warm with milk poured over them. I never quite developed a taste for that..whipped cream is my accompaniment of choice. Despite their lack of beauty..none were left over at the end of the night..but a warning went out from where I sat--these will not be made on a regular basis. My war with pie crust is seasonal and rare!
  


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunday

  Revelation 8

King James Version (KJV)

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Friday, November 9, 2012

History of Veteran's Day

 Remembrance by Nicole Scaife
1918
World War I, then normally referred to simply as The Great War (no one could imagine any war being greater!), ended with the implementation of an armistice [temporary cessation of hostilities-in this case until the final peace treaty, the infamous Treaty of Versailles, was signed in 1919] between the Allies and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918.
1919
November 11: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public mettings.
1920
On the second anniversary of the armistice, France and the United Kingdom hold ceremonies honoring their unknown dead from the war. In America, at the suggestion of church groups, President Wilson names the Sunday nearest Armistice Day Sunday, on which should be held services in the interest of international peace.
1921
Congress passes legislation approving the establishment of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. November 11 is chosen for the date of the ceremony. According on October 20, Congress declares November 11, 1921 a legal Federal holiday to honor all those who participated in the war. The ceremony was conducted with great success.
1926
Congress adopts a resolution directing the President to issue an annual proclamation calling on the observance of Armistice Day. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, most states establish November 11 as a legal holiday and at the Federal level, an annual proclamation is issued by the President.
1938
Congress passes legislation on May 13 making November 11 a legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. The United States has no 'actual' national holidays because the states retain the right to designate their own holidays. The Federal government can in fact only designate holidays for Federal employees and for the District of Columbia. But in practice the states almost always follow the Federal lead in designation of holidays.
1941- 1945
1950- 1953
World War II and the Korean War create millions of additional war veterans in addition to those of the First World War already honored by Armistice Day.
1954
On June 1, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.
1968
Congress passes the Monday Holiday Law which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veteran's Day. The law is to take effect in 1971.
1971-1975
The Federal observance of Veterans Day is held on the fourth Monday of October. Initially all states follow suit except Mississippi and South Dakota. Other states changed their observances back to November 11 as follows: 1972- Louisiana and Wisconsin; 1974- Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia; 1975- California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
1975
Legislation passed to return the Federal observance of Veteran's Day to November 11, based on popular support throughout the nation. Since the change to the fourth Monday in October, 46 states had either continued to commemorate November 11 or had reverted back to the original date based on popular sentiment. The law was to take effect in 1978.
1978
Veteran's Day observance reverts to November 11. 

Unknown U.S. soldier from the North 
  African American Cemetery 
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fun Finds: For the Home


   This week has been a jimble-jamble of what-nots somewhat disconnected in thought..so finding a 'theme' for this week's fun finds was a bit of a challenge. In the end, my thoughts came toward home- mine in a bit of a jumble right now. This week, my web wandering sent me daydreaming of a home clean, organized and pleasantly fragrant.

Curtain Call 
As a girl, there was a yellow 'dressing table' in my room; a reclaimed piece of furniture we painted and fixed up. It had a gathered ruffle 'skirt' to hide all the stuff I often tucked underneath. When I saw this picture it stirred my memory of that nifty little table. For this and more "Fast Fabric Facelifts" hop over to Better Homes & Garden's web sight.

It's the little things! 
When my children were small and those seasons of sick hit our home, keeping track of medication dosing was always a challenge. I often taped a hand made chart to a cabinet for easy record keeping, but when I saw this nifty notion at "Inspire, Design, and Create" I knew someone had finally found a solution. A little chalkboard paint easily makes a spot for record keeping or little lovey notes..don't you agree?
Make Reusable Swiffer Covers 
I admit- once upon a long time ago I tried the quicky sticky version of cleaning; hated it. Wasteful and not overly effective, there is really no fast solution to clean..yet, this idea gives new life to an old 'fail'. "Dollar Store Crafts" offers a great tutorial for re-usable cleaning amendments..love it!
 DIY Naturally Scented All-Purpose Cleaners. 4 varieties using vinegar, citrus, herbs, & spices. Printable tags, too! www.theyummylife.com/Natural_Citrus_Vinegar_Cleaners 
The aromas of home can be, well, less than pleasant...but commercial air fresheners are costly and full of chemicals- not at all good for the home. Over at The Yummy Life I found an excellent DIY all-purpose cleaner/air fresher..easy of the bank account and very easy on the home. Vinegars steeped with citrus and/or herbs lend such variety; very good for the home.

   So much inspiration, if only there was more time for it all. Here I sit mind full, energy empty..sometimes we have the desire, but just not the ambition. Maybe the urge will hit me after a cup of coffee (and a little more browsing)..we'll see.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Fullness of Home..Even When It's Empty


   The seasons of a home are prone to change such as the seasons outside our door. Over the past few years our home has gone from a full and busy home to an empty busy home. I find myself at odds with this situation and in desperation to change it, but is that what is best? The answer is hard to find, illusive thing that it is. It seems the right thing is not to change the situation, but to learn to live within it.
   An afternoon stroll with a steaming cup of coffee drew my heart to deep and diverse places. Breathing deep the autumn air, it came to me..the realization that my home is still full..even when it is empty. It is full of anticipation..baking cookies and stocking the pantry with their favorite eats brings fullness as we anticipate the moments they are here..to stay or to visit. It is full of remembrance..seeing a backpack in the study, or a stock dropped on the stairs brings fullness of their presence even when they are not here. It is full of return..for they are never far from us, and as long as the lines are open..communication is still there. It is full of prayer..as they stretch and explore their path my prayers come deep from within my soul and stretch to heaven..herein is a fullness that brings peace and contentment.
   Not all fullness comes from the presence of the family, for fullness is also found in the hearty growth of fall crops. Carrying my buckets back to the farmhouse filled with every good and hearty thing brings fullness of joy and accomplishment. My brooder house if full with little peeps whose antics cause laughter to rise..such curiosities and conundrums entertain and fulfill. Sitting in the pasture as the sun sets, the herd comes to nibble and rub bringing a tender fullness..a respect for their purpose and being. In the quiet of nite fullness is found in home and rest; calmly breathing in the fullness of a day and its work.
   Despite the empty that is so often found, it seems my home is full and will remain so as long as I purpose to look for it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Follow My Footsteps: As Day Begins

As day begins...
Faint sounds stir my mind as sunlight streams through the curtains; day begins. Warmth and comfort feed my desire to stay here, wrapped in the security of slumber. My husband gives me a nudge for he knows a day awaits ...a day filled with things that will vie for my attention.
Coaxed from the toasty covers, cold stings my feet as the creaking overhead tells me the farm boy has heard it too: the calls from the barn as the farm is waking.

Bundled and wrapped we slosh frigidly to the barn as the hungry noises urge us on. Near the stalls, familiar scents welcome us: sweet hay mingled with muck and mire. Feed is measured and poured while hay is thrown into it's trough...the gentle nuzzles of warm noses tickle our cheeks: a gentle thank you for the morning meal. Hens cackle and turkeys gobble, the roosters give their part...their turn now. Wings all a flutter as grain is poured and their busy scratching begins. The Hadassah will only stop barking once the farmboy sets her breakfast out.

Leaving the warmth of the barn we hurry across the wet farmyard to the warmth of the farm kitchen. The bold scent of coffee draws me to the stove as the farm boy scatter about to clean up and get ready. Soon the delicious aroma of warm eggs and toasty waffles lures him to the table where steaming plates await.
Our conversation begins with the "need to's" of the day. Discussions vary from fences that need work to gentle reminders of lessons and garden plans. Our plates empty with a quietness...chatter slows...with the opening of the Bible, day begins.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Taste of Apple Crisp

   A stormy afternoon, with several project goals met and accomplished, it seemed the perfect time for baking. Fall means apples on hand, and apples on hand often lead to an apple crisp..just right for steamy, crunchy bits- ice cream melting down into every crevice. Yes, it was time for a taste of apple crisp!

Crunchy Apple Crisp

Filling:
12 hearty apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping:
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons chilled butter
Toss the apples slices together with filling ingredients before placing in a 9"x13" baking dish, lightly oiled. In a bowl, mix topping ingredients and crumble in the butter. It will be crumbly and chunky. Sprinkle liberally over the apples and bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Notes:
I use a variety of apples- granny smiths, galas, whatever I have.
A few flax seeds, flax meal or wheat germ can be added to the topping for extra crunch and yum.
Wheat flour adds nutrients and heartiness to the crumble; we prefer it.
Pecans, walnuts, or almonds are excellent- or a combo of them.
I like old fashioned rolled oats in this recipe.

   There you have it- a taste of fall just waiting to be topped with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream or caramel sauce...cup of hot coffee on the side. Precious memories are made over tasty treats such as these!

Growing Home

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Turkey Time...New Arrivals!

 
   It's true. Despite several of us being down with a bug last week, turkeys arrived anyway giving up a much needed push to get back on our feet. Crazy how a box full of gawky little peepers can completely brighten my day.
  Turkeys are not timid by any means, however, these are not violent. They do peck at your boots and the buttons on my jacket...I find them to be rather curious when something different is near their pen. We stir the bedding when we enter the pens - aerating the shavings and encouraging movement of the birds (idle birds are not healthy, growing birds).
   Round the clock stir and checks are on the chore list. Food and water are gone through rather quickly and must be filled often- if they run out they tend to gorge themselves and develop droopy crop conditions which can be fatal - never a good thing.
   Every noise is curious to them. I get a kick our of making a coo or cluck sound at them; the whole flock stops, becomes rather attentive with outstretched necks, and fluffs out their feathers (not in strut, just fluffing out). They will start to coo back and attempt to warble those funny first warble noises.
   I must say, they are a lot of work, but no more than any baby on the farm, and they are fun. Personally, I enjoy their antics and noises, their curious nature and silly, gawky faces. Though we take shifts with the birds upkeep, Farm boy loves them the most. His commitment to their well being is a sign of a good man!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday

Revelation 7

King James Version (KJV)
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fun Finds Friday: Caramels

caramels 
This week we are taking the sweet ride through the versatile goodness know as caramel, and the web is full of wonderful blogs sharing their tasty renditions. If you can't decide between caramel bites or a jar full for drizzling, House and Hone shares their Amish Caramel recipe here; best of both worlds, I'd say.
Caramels!!!!!!!
If salty sweets are your personal love, then hop over to Not so Humble Pie for their Fleur de sel Caramel recipe; here. Salty fleur de sel brings a sharp contrast to their creamy butter caramels..looks so tasty!
salted chocolate caramels
Caramels can only get better when paired with rich chocolate, right? Over at Smitten Kitchen there is a wonderful post- quite fun and insightful- concerning a cosmic quest for divine chocolate caramel. The recipe, here, looks quite promising..I must try this one for holiday sharing:)
caramels
For those who like their caramel a little on the tipsy side, Doughmesstic has a naughty caramel recipe inspired by a tour of the Jim Bean Distillery. Tipsy and tasty caramel covered in chocolate and dusted with salt...this recipe is quite inspiring.
   This week's trip through caramel land has been oh so sweet and tempting..so naughty and so delicious..hope you had as much fun as we did!