Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014

A New Year ~ I've given it some serious thought, and have decided on some things I want to focus on.  In 2011 and 2012 I read through the Bible with the "One Year Bible".  

Last year I chose a different method of reading the Bible which didn't include reading it through, but taking books in the Bible and using John Mac Arthur's Study Bible, reading the scriptures and all his study notes (which are a LOT) and taking my own notes and observations.  It was a very good study.

This year our Church is encouraging everyone to use the One Year Bible and read through it as a congregation.  It's a wonderful way to read the Bible as each day (about 15-20 minutes) you read from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs so I will be using the One Year Bible again this year.

Last year I also competed by 1000 gift journal and that was such a daily blessing and made me intentionally grateful by listing my blessings.  This year I will begin a new prayer journal for 2014.

My motto for 2013 was "I choose Joy" and I have to say, there were times it was difficult, but I tried to always choose Joy.  

This year my motto will be "I choose to give" and I'm going to look for ways that I can give.  Perhaps not so much money, but a smile, my time, more cookies, more visiting, sending more cards, more phone calls to my kids, more texting to my grandkids.  I want 2014 to be my year of "giving from my heart".

PS ~ Today I found a Mother Goose book at the thrift store that has a poem or story for every day of the year.  Some are short and make me smile so I'm adding a smile a day from Mother Goose to the top of my sidebar.  Be sure and check it out.

What are some of your goals and plays for 2014? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

TWEETY BIRD AND A NEW YEAR


The beginning of a New Year means picking out a new calendar for my refrigerator (Since that's what we live by).  Normally I choose a nice floral with different flowers and colors for each month.  This year I was a little late in my calendar shopping and the pickings were thin...  Underneath a group of, what I considered rather dull or even ugly, I saw Tweety Bird, and he called  my name and I brought him home.

He now will live on my refrigerator for the month of January, and then I get to enjoy another Disneyland character each month of the year.  How fun is that?

The calendar is my "brains" telling me what to do and where to go! HaHa
The bottom half of my refrigerator will be graced with pictures of family, friends, and art work from the great grandsons.

I do have a small planner I carry in my purse, but I couldn't get through January without Tweety!

What do you use?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

MONDAY IS WASH DAY

One of my favorite memories of my mom was how she hung the clothes on the old clothesline.  It was truly art on the clothesline and it was every MONDAY.
  
  Everything was placed in an exact order. There were no pictures I could find that even came close to the way she hung her laundry, so I found a picture that touched me because my mom always wore a house dress, her hair was always combed and she would have on some make up.  (Now you know where I get it.)
  
But back to her laundry.  The back line had my dad's work clothes (didn't want those to be seen~ my Dad was a mechanic and his work overalls never looked clean even after a wash).  Then came the sheets, stretch out perfectly even followed by the pillowcases.  

The towels were in order too, bath, hand and washcloths, followed by the kitchen towels and washrags.  Socks and underwear were hidden on the next line (my mother was modest, and underwear was not to be paraded (haha).  

Then came the shirts, dresses, skirts, aprons (the items that would require ironing.)

When she took the dry clothes off the line the first to come off were those things to be ironed and they were sprinkled and rolled and placed in the bag for ironing the next day.   

Did you mom or grandma sprinkle clothes??

I don't have a clothesline, but if I did.... I would hang them just like mom.  A miss her every day!  I was blessed to be raised by her and to learn my housekeeping and cooking skills that I use every day!

 * Painting by Mary Beth Percival from Missoula, Montana...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

THOUGHTS FOR SUNDAY


The devotion in our Daily Bread  Saturday morning had a quote I couldn't get out of my mind and decided to share the thought with you and see what you think.

 "Jesus takes me just as I am and makes me just as I should be."


The author of the devotion shared the food before prepared and presented is nothing like the finished product.  Most of us see this every day without turning it into a lesson.  In the top picture the raw chicken and vegetables doesn't make our mouth water, or our nose smell a wonderful aroma.  But with the master hands of the cook, what was not appetizing before, becomes a masterpiece to the eye, nose and taste.

*"It reminds me of the gracious work Jesus has done for me.  I am well aware of my frailty and propensity to sin.  I know that in and of myself I am not presentable to God.  Yet when I'm saved, Jesus takes me just as I am and makes me just as I should be ~~holy, and blameless, and above reproach (Col. 1:22).  He presents me to our Father as a thing of beauty and worthy to be in His presence."

Doesn't this just speak to your heart?  I want to say Thank You Jesus for making me presentable and lovely before the Father.

*Taken from Our Daily Bread 12/28/13
Images from googleimages.com

MELT MY HEART


Jill just sent new pictures of Tristan.  The sleeping angel ~ The fashion Statement ~ Surrounded by his Christmas toys.

Got to start checking for a cheap flight to Oregon...I miss this little guy so much.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

GOOD ADVICE


I was sharing with Betsy, that I didn't have a good place in my little kitchen to roll out my pie crust.  No large bread board and the counters are tile, so no large flat service.

Her advice ~ How about the dryer ~ a large flat surface, high enough to work as a table.  Sure enough...it worked great, and I posted the pumpkin pie yesterday to prove it!!

What is that saying ~  "Necessity is the mother of invention." 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

CHRISTMAS DAY


Everyone likes pumpkin pie, but this one was made with Kaleb in mind.  He didn't get come home from college back East for Thanksgiving, so made a special request for pumpkin pie for Christmas.  


You can see he and Elijah are both enjoying a piece.  Actually Kaleb had two pieces on his plate and I couldn't see it for the real whipped cream.



The four layer torte turned out nice, and the mousse filling and topper was really delicious.  I was going to frost the whole cake with whipped cream...but that was just too much sugar.



It was a beautiful day, but as evening came the fire pit was lit, and several of the older grandchildren enjoyed eating by the fire.  Roasting marshmellows came later.  It was a great day.  We had a blast with our Secret Santa exchange gifts, and when our family gets together, before long we are laughing so hard our sides hurt.  Get our son Myk, and our oldest daughter Michel together it like stand up comedians.  Love our family.   The only thing missing that would have made it perfect, was not having Jill, Jaya and Tristan with us.

I trust you had a good day too.

*Decided it was time to give the blog a new look and I love hydrangeas and was ready for some colors besides red and green.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



One tiny baby ~ One manger stall ~
One God who sent His Son to show
His love for all.

May the pure love of Jesus
Shine brightly in your heart
This Christmas Season



Sending love and hugs from our house to yours.
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 23, 2013

KITCHEN'S CLOSED. . . .


After finishing the English Toffee and Candied Nuts, I officially closed my kitchen until Christmas morning!  Everything is crossed off my list. 
 
I decided to put the "sweetest" thing in my life right now in the middle of all my Sweets!  Tristan is 6 months, and looks so much like his mommy and our oldest daughter.  It's like looking at baby Jill.

 
Our family has been enjoying my Mother's English Toffee for as long as I can remember.  After her passing in 1991 I took the torch and have been making it every year.  You can tell from the recipe it's been around a long time.

 
The sun was shinning so it's was the perfect day to make the toffee.  I made it one year when it was raining...and it would not set up.  But today it turned out perfect.

The recipe makes enough for each family to have a small can, and the rest we will enjoy Christmas Day.

 
 
 
I also made another batch of candied walnuts, and use some of the Vanilla Sugar my friend gave me.  The touch of vanilla was a good idea.  They are in little jars to give to each family Christmas Day.  I made some little Christmas labels to make them a little more festive.

I will open the Kitchen Christmas morning to make my Stuffing.  (My daughter is doing the Turkey) and the pumpkin pie for Kaleb (home from college) and the 4 layer Chocolate Torte with chocolate mousse filling and whipped cream frosting.

Now for that coffee and dive into my new John Grisham book, The Street Lawyer.  My kitchen doesn't get closed down very often, but I'm ready for my comfy rocker.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

MORE BITS OF JOY

One of my joys at Christmas is giving away my homemade gifts.  It's even sweeter to receive homemade gifts from friends.  Today I got a couple more "Bits of Joy". 
 
A bottle of Arbol Chili Olive Oil, and a jar of "Vanilla Sugar".  I opened the sugar and there is a vanilla bean in the top.  It will be wonderful in my coffee.  My friend said the longer the vanilla bean stays in the jar the more vanilla flavor the sugar will have.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A LITTLE "RED" AND "GREEN"

Our neighbor Bret, brought over a Holiday Velvet Cake Mix the other day to see if I had time to bake it for him.  Since his wife works full time, and he's not a "baker" we have this arrangement.  He brings me a cake mix, and I bake him a cake, but I take a slice or two before he gets it.  HaHa (that's my fee)  I must say, this is the first time I've ever made a GREEN cake.  I kept thinking it looked like the Grinch!

 Well it actually looked like the picture on the box and I had to take a piece to give it a try before calling him to say it was ready.
For dinner tonight I made homemade potato soup and thought it would be fun to eat it from the Christmas cups my friend up North sent.  It felt very festive to eat our dinner out of the cute cups.

I got the last of the boxes mailed out today, and used the final persimmon pulp for a few loaves of bread and a batch of candied walnuts.  Tomorrow I'll make my mother's recipe for English Toffee and  cross off the last baking job before Christmas.

Well, not quite ~~ I still have a pumpkin pie and the Chocolate Torte...but I won't make them until Christmas morning.  The family will gather at 3:00 PM.

How is your list going?  Almost to the end?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

 


Today I spent the day tying up loose ends.  And at the end of a very eventful day, I came home and made White Chicken Enchiladas and they were so good.  Just what we needed on a cold rainy night.

 
When I left at 11:00 AM it was overcast, but not raining.  My first stop was Costco for gas, and a couple more movie tickets for the grandkids.  Before I reached Costco it came a DOWN POUR, and so much so my windshield wipers would hardly work.  Seeing ahead on the freeway with the big trucks splashing up water was rather scary.  I was able to finish the Christmas shopping and visit Elizabeth.  She loved her cat calendar that I ordered from Betsy.  She misses her cat she had to leave behind when she moved into the Nursing Home.  This evening after fixing dinner, the sky was filled with beautiful pastel colors. 
 

 
A batch of Oatmeal~Granola~Chocolate Chip cookies are in the cookie jar and a box ready to mail to our friend in Texas along with a loaf of Persimmon Bread and some candied walnuts.  Another loose end tied up!

 
And just for a chuckle...When I opened this loaf of bread, I said "It must be Golfer's Bread ~ see it's a hole in one!!!!  HaHa..I know it's a groaner...but just trying to tie up this post and bring it to and end!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BITS OF CHRISTMAS JOY

 
What brings you joy?  This week has been filled with "bits of joy"  ~ small things that cause the heart to be happy and feel the Christmas joy.
Taking a few minutes from the busy schedule of Christmas to have a piece of persimmon bread, cheese and hot coffee while enjoying a court room drama...Will she get the 24 million?  Wasn't she just the housekeeper?  What will come out about her family's past in the trial?
 

 
Our neighbor dropped by with some bits of joy.  He knows I collect Nativity Scenes, so he brought me this one that is part of a Scroll.  Lovely!  Thanks Bret.

 
Today a box arrived from dear friends up north that are more like family.  Karen has kept me in Christmas aprons and this is my new one.  Isn't it just darling, and the cup I'm holding says "Friends are SNOW special"  ~ One for me and one for Pastor Don.   Bits of Joy at Christmas.

But, I am aware this is also a time of stress, hurts, illness and so many other things that don't bring joy.  Last Sunday my dearest was able to fill in an preach at our church.  His message was titled JOY, JOY, JOY.  The essence of the message, was our JOY is in the Lord not our circumstances.  No one likes difficult, painful situations...we don't deny our reality, but our joy is in the relationship we share with the Lord.   We take heart because we realize that our Savior "for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross..."  He felt the pain, the rejection, the ridicule, but He looked beyond that to the Joy that awaited.  He gives us that strength too.   So my prayer for all of us, is to find bits of Joy this Christmas.  The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ROSEMARY SALT AND OIL

 
The first thing on my list today was to try the fused rosemary kosher salt and olive oil from the recipe "Linda's Life Journal" posted a week or so ago.  It looked so cute in her bottles, I decided to give it a try as little gifts to add to my goodies baskets.
 
My oil turned out darker than Linda's and I not sure if it was the kind I used, or if I didn't follow the instructions just right.  I used the Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Trader Joes.
 
I'm going to try some of the salt on my Tilapia fish tonight.  Probably should try it before giving it away...you think??
 
Going to use the oil in my salad dressing and see how that works ~  results to follow...
 
Busy days from now to Christmas!  Going to mail out the final bunch of Christmas letters today and I was noticing fingerprints on every door and facing...guess that better be on my list too.
 
Started a John Grisham novel a couple days ago, (Sycamore Row)and just can't lay it down....Love those court room dramas. It was really getting in the way of my list...so I solved that ~added some reading time to my list!
 
Now I'm off to have a cup of coffee, a piece of my persimmon bread and READ a while!!
 
What are you doing today?
 

Monday, December 16, 2013

OH WHAT FUN ! !

 

Oh what fun ~ Saturday the sun was shinning, and we were watching our great grandsons, Issac and Matthew play tag football.  They are getting so big and love being "Ducks".  The parents and coaches take the game very seriously, but the kids just have fun!

 
They fall down, get up, Issac got tired and just sat down for a while.  Matthew got a tag, however it wasn't from the boy with the ball, but he was so excited he grabbed a tag.  But for 5 and 6 year olds it not the NFL for goodness sakes, it fun.
 
Needless to say it was a great time and a chance to give the boys their Christmas Presents since they won't be with us on Christmas Day.
 
Today, back to my LIST
 
Mail Robin's box
Make Chicken Casserole
Call Andy and Chris to deliver dinner at 4:30
(Hip Surgery)
The grocery store
Laundry
Wrap a few more presents
Pay a couple bills
Put empty boxes in garage
Make my Rosemary Kosher Salt gifts jars
Mail out a few more Christmas letter.
 
What's on your list today?
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.

 
Last night I had a dream so real it startled me.  It was about a dear blogger friend who called herself "Crusty Crone" and her blog was called "The Crones Corner".  She posted every day and we were involved in all kinds of art projects.  At that time I hosted a blog call Wanda's Art Challenge".  I would post a picture, and then all us that were participating would give our rendition of it and post it.  This was back in 2009.  Then one day Crusty stopped posting.  She didn't answer emails.  A friend that personally knew her called her daughter, and found out she had died in her apartment of an apparent heart attack.  The crazy thing is ~ her blog is still there...evidently her daughter wasn't into computers, and it was never deleted...so it just hangs there in cyberspace. 

I was shocked and truly missed her.  But life moves on, and other things take up space, so when I dreamed about her last night my favorite sketch from her was in my dream.  Back in 2009 I ask her if I could add watercolor to her pencil sketch and she was delighted.  It's a nameless lady, with her funny hat, her interesting expression and her dog!  I fell in love with this old gal, and think somewhere out there she is a real person. 

Crusty, you are gone....but never forgotten!  You were a delight and made my blogging time with you so very special.  Have you lost a blogger friend?

A PEEK IN THE KITCHEN

 

Everyone knows my favorite room in the house is my kitchen, and decorating it with splashes of red and green and a feeling of Christmas.  I've always love a corner kitchen window and it gives me a place to put my little snowman and Christmas tree.
I love listening to Christmas Music so I tried to camouflage  my boom box with a dollie  and my Little Gingerbread Man sitting on top.  The large window mirror over the stove makes my little kitchen look a lot bigger.
 
 
The little kitchen table is the center for all the goodies.  Every morning my dearest and I have breakfast at the table and read the Daily Bread before we pray for the day.  A little close up of the sink and counter.
 
Do you decorate your kitchen for Christmas?  I know some of you do, cause I've been enjoying your pictures and have gotten some good ideas.  Thanks!
 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MY MIRACLE BROTHER



This is my little brother Hal, 10 years younger than me.  Today he posted the following on facebook and I wanted you to hear his story in his words. 

"Forty six years ago today, my father lost his two year battle with cancer. I was a sophomore at THS, sixteen years old. The Christmas of 1967 is just a blur. One of my goals was to live longer than my Dad, he was a young fifty-eight when he passed. I wasn't sure last year if I would make it. I was told I had beginning stage four Appendix cancer a very rare form. After a year of heavy I.V. chemo I am cancer free, and just take a chemo pill now, and I'm almost sixty-three.
Both of my folks are gone now, Thanks to my awesome doctors and nurses, my lovely Wife of thirty one years, both my sisters, Wanda Slaven and Donna Hedstrom, and all my friends. This is by far the greatest Christmas yet. Thank you Creator."

 
This is my sister Donna, Hal after his diagnosis and weight loss and me.  Just the three of us separated by a lot of years, but as adults we have become so very close.  I thought his story was worth sharing with my blogging friends as so many of you have your own journey with cancer.
 
God is GOOD, every day, and then some!!!!
 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PURPLE GLOVES

 
Today I experience a wonderful sight.  It was a random act of kindness that was not meant for anyone to see, but I did, and I was blessed.
 
My dearest and I were on our way home from the store when I saw a well dressed woman, black slacks and jacket, a purple knitted hat, scarf and gloves.  As we drove by she took off the gloves, and gave them to a homeless woman in a wheel chair.  I wish I could have seen the expression on the ladies face getting the warm gloves, but it was just a "moment in time" as we drove on.
 
I love seeing acts of kindness, don't you? 
 
Image of gloves from googleimages.com

Monday, December 9, 2013

LITTLE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS LOVE

 
It's only natural that some of my Christmas Gifts would be from my kitchen, since that's where I pitch my tent most of the time.
 
With so many persimmons to work with, loaves of Persimmon Bread are the main part of my goodies this year.  I'm adding different things to make then a variety, i.e. chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, nuts, coconut....and always with drizzle.
 
Also I had an abundance of walnuts this year so candied walnuts have been a hit with friends and family.
 
Also, it's nice to have a little "Treat" to give those friends that drop in or when we're invited out.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

GOT MAIL?

 
Several times I've thought of painting our old rusted mailbox.  But it was always a thought, and never done.  Well this year, I just couldn't put a bow on that old mailbox, so a can of gold spray paint in the garage was just the ticket.  Ten minutes later, a brand new Christmas Mailbox.

I have a Christmas List that each year that gets a card or letter.  This year I decided on a Christmas Letter sharing the events of 2013 in our Family.  Today I was writing little notes on the letters, and drawing a little holly on the envelopes.  I'm about half done, and then there are always those last minute folks you missed ~~~so out goes another letter.

Molly is in the Christmas Spirit now that she's been groomed and a new scarf sporting Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Sitting on the arm of the couch getting a ray of morning sun is her favorite place.

How is your Christmas Countdown going?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BUSY, BUSY DAY!


 
 Yesterday Elizabeth was 97 and today on my visit, we had our own little Birthday Celebration.  She is such a blessing to me, and I told her today she's a ray of sunshine in my life.

 
I love "Skillet" dinners.  Browned a small pork roast and after it cooked for about half hour, added red potatoes and cabbage, a little broth and cook on low till the vegetables were done.  It was so good.  Tomorrow we'll finish it off with pulled pork BBQ Sandwiches with coleslaw.

 
I love my little Christmas Kitchen Helper.  She's got her rolling pin and ready to make pies.

I ended up with so much Persimmon Pulp, today I made muffins with a little drizzle glaze.  Plan on freezing these for Christmas.

Did you have a busy day?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Persimmons ~ The Process


 
 I was surprised how many of you have never tasted a Persimmon.  I don't know if they grow other places than California.  But This is the process I do to end up with delicious Persimmon Bread.  I peel them as the skin is rather tough.  They have the consistency of a crisp apple to I cut them in pieces and use my food processor.

 
The persimmon pulp is a beautiful orange.
 
 
I use my buttermilk banana bread recipe, and substitute the persimmon pulp instead of the mashed bananas.

If you still doubt if you would like it, stop my kitchen this weekend and we'll have a slice or two with some hot coffee.

Monday, December 2, 2013

PERSIMMON TIME AGAIN

 
The neighbor that bought Aunt Trula's house brought be a big bag of Persimmons from the tree we've enjoyed since living across the street.

I see some Persimmon Bread, cookies and perhaps some jam out of this batch!!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

COMMUNION MEDITATION

 
Communion Sunday is my favorite Sunday in the month.  In our Church we celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of the month.  Our pastor is out of town for Thanksgiving, and ask my dearest to serve Communion tomorrow.  This is very special as this is his favorite message to bring.

In 2002 we had a guest speaker at our Church in Hughson, Rev. John Carlton,and it fell on Communion Sunday.  I took notes in my Bible and have referred to them many times when reflecting on Communion.  I wanted to share them briefly with you today.

Look in these directions before taking the Lord's Supper.

BACK ~ Looking back to the terrible price that was paid for our salvation (Isa. 53)

AHEAD ~ Testimony until he comes again.  The Second coming of Christ.  Will you be ready? (I Cor. 11:26)

AROUND ~ All the lost in the world, that are unsaved. (John 3:16)

WITH`IN ~ We need to look within and examine our own hearts.  Take an honest inventory.
                                         *Not save ~ Have we made that decision? (John 3:16)
                                         *Living in un-repented sin (I John 1:9)
                                         *Holding an offence against another
Communion is a serious and wonderful act of worship and remembrance.

I was thrilled when I read that in 1969 Buz Aldrin took communion to the moon in Apollo 11.  What better place to remember the Creator of the Universe, and the Savior of our hearts.

Hope this is a wonderful Sunday for you.  Blessing and prayers for all my blogger friends.