Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another year is coming to an end, and as for the future ahead it can sometimes
appear quite cloudy, just as the raindrops on my windshield added cloudiness to this beautiful sunset the other evening. I face this new year realizing in my heart that each moment of my life is a gift from God.

Jonathan Edwards(1703 - 1758) made five resolutions in his youth;

"1 ~ Live with all my might while I do live (he died at age 55)

2 ~ Never lose one moment of time, but improve it in the most profitable way possible.

3 ~ Never do anything I would despise or think meanly of in another.

4 ~ Never do anything out of revenge.

5 ~ Never do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."

As a new year dawns, I do want to take time to thank each one of you in this blogging world. I continue to learn so much from each one of you. You add inspiration, encouragement, kindness, and creativity to my life. I want to wish you and your family many moments of joy in this coming year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One of my special neices just celebrated her first wedding anniversary on December 27th. Recently I had the privilege, along with others in my family, to visit their home. In her warm, caring style, she served us a delicious brunch. Quite honestly, I find it amazing to think that these dear neices of mine, are now having their own places to call home, and serving me meals. How did that all happen so fast? It seems like only yesterday, that I was babysitting them as toddlers. It certainly was a joy to experience her gracious hospitality, and realize what a good cook she is.

Walking into her cozy family room caused me to want to curl up on the sofa for the day. There is truly something so wonderful about a wood burning fireplace, especially on a cold, windy day like this day was.

I just had to share this wall art on the main floor powder room. What a unique addition to this little green room. I find it so fascinating to see how people decorate their homes. The new wall art additions add fun touches to painted walls.

Sitting at her beautifully set table with my mother and sisters was a real treat. Eating my bowl of baked oatmeal with skim milk and fresh strawberries made it even better! I liked the height of the table and chairs.

The precious little twin girls love their aunt, and seemed so happy to be visiting in her home. They contented themselves by sitting by her sink and playing with the pots and pans.
Before we know it...they will be serving her a brunch from their kitchens. Life continues to pass by so quickly. Brunch at this home was a real blessing, and I conidered it an honor to be invited. Thanks to my sister for sharing these lovely photographs with me, so that I could share them with you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

As I reflect back over the fun family times of the Christmas holidays, I am reminded of how good food plays a role in the enjoyment of the times we spent together. On Christmas Eve, my husband and I hosted another evening in the garage with his side of the family. Once again we did the tiny lights, the candles, the soft Christmas music and food...lots of good food. Since it was a special occasion, I did provide this small candy station for everyone. The biggest hit of it all...was definitely the" sugar babies", although it all seemed to disappear. It was enjoyable to watch the children's faces when they realized that on this evening candy was available for all.

Christmas morning...10:00am...we sat down to a table in the kitchen of my daughter and son-in-law's home. The table was beautifully set and was seated full of precious children, each excited to eat the food before them. This is the egg and ham casserole that my daughter took out of the oven. It was so delicious! She had discovered the recipe on the Internet and thought that it looked like one we would like. We all recommended that she file this one in her collection. The eggs, cheese, ham, and bread cubes blended perfectly creating a mouthwatering casserole.

This is what she served with the egg casserole on this special morning. I brought it from my house. On the afternoon of the 24th, totally unexpected a dear friend stopped by and dropped off this very special homemade gift. I had not seen her for a long time, and her visit added a touch of joy to my day. I knew we were in for a treat, since she has the reputation of being a great cook. The cinnamon rolls were packaged so attractively on the red plate and tied with a red bow. The tiny spatula that was tied in with the bow completed this surprise package beautifully. I am sure you all can imagine just how deliciously this complimented my daughter's egg casserole at our wonderful Christmas breakfast.

One of my favorite foods of all time is fresh fruit. On Christmas Day evening we all went to my sister and BIL's home. Another one of our yearly traditions. My part was to bring the fruit platter. I purchased one large cantalope, one large seedless watermelon, a carton of clementines and a big bag of seedless red grapes. Thinking that, since it was the winter season, the fruit might not be ripe and sweet like it would be in the summer...but, I was wrong. It was ripe and so very sweet that it tasted just like it came from the neighbor's garden in the summer. I cut it up in chunks, added my fancy picks, and I had a completed fruit tray. For the dip, I took two containers of light peach yogurt, one small container of my frozen peach puree', and a container of light cool whip. I stirred in a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar, and the dip was complete. Oh, yes, to add a touch of color, I cut three small stars out of watermellon pieces to add to the top of the dip.

I peeled the clementines since I thought that would make it easier to serve on this platter. It was not as time consuming as I thought it would be. We are blessed in this country to have access to fresh fruit in all four seasons. Everytime I have the privilege of eating from a fruit tray, I am so thankful for the abundance of something so healthy and delicious.
As you can see, good food was included in my holiday memories and I pray that I never take that for granted, when in so many parts of the world this is not the case.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Christmas Wedding

December 26...a cold and somewhat dismal day on the golf course...

...but inside there was warmth and joy. Our dear family friends got married on this afternoon. The wedding was small, intimate and beautiful. It was a privilege to share in this special event with these two wonderful people.

The radiant bride and her new husband.

The bride's pretty daughter was her maid of honor.

To help with the details of the wedding, we filled the sheer bags with chocolates to be used as the wedding favors...

...and created the simple floral arrangements to be used as the centerpieces.

The beautifully decorated cake was a red velvet cake. It was delicious!

My sister took these pictures. She, along with my sister-in-law and neice, were the official wedding photographers and they did an outstanding job. As you can see this wedding was definitely a family affair for our dear friends.

The bride and one of my sweet neices.

I felt honored to have my picture taken with the bride. Just thought you might enjoy sharing this memorable event with me on the day after Christmas. How this couple found each other and the details that went into creating a day like this, is a fascinating story.
Hopefully, the details of your Christmas celebration have produced some special memories for you also.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Only a few days left until Christmas 2009 arrives. For me, there are still last minute things to do, some food to cook and a package or two to wrap. This will be my last post until after Christmas. I want to take time to enjoy each and every aspect of this very special time of the year.

This evening, as I was driving home from my busy day, this was the scene ahead of me. Sadly, I almost missed it because my mind was so preoccupied. Suddenly I noticed what a gorgeous sunset was before me. I stopped and captured the beauty on this cold, winter evening.
Christmas cards have always been a wonderful part of my Christmas memories. I keep them displayed for weeks after the holiday is over. Each one means so much to me, and represents special people in my life. Fortunately, my dear SIL helped me and my family capture this picture for our Christmas card this year. No small feat considering we had lots of little ones to keep still and focused, but she is a great photographer and she did it.

This is the way I chose to display our cards this year. I took an old wire gate that was painted white and wired little lights around it. With tiny wooden clothes pins I attached each of them. It blesses my heart to stand and look at each card and picture, some with interesting letters attached.

This plaque was done by an artistic friend of mine, as a gift to me. It looks so nice sitting on my white bookshelf. "Tis the season"...and I want to take this time to say a heartfelt thank you to each of you in blogland. Never would I have imagined that I would be so blessed to meet all my wonderful friends through blogging.

My wish for you is time to reflect, time to enjoy and people to share this holiday with.

Merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nature's Exquisite Covering

My "Dreaming of a White Christmas" has actually come true. In the still of the early morning, I captured these pictures. Peaceful, calm, pure, and beautiful were a few of the words that would describe what I found in my backyard. Even the birds seemed to be celebrating this natural wonder of the most exquisite covering of snow on everything.

My heart overflowed with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for creating this gorgeous tapestry for me to enjoy.

As the Christmas season so rapidly approaches, I relished the quiet, undisturbed moments of peace that I experienced outside this morning. Everything was cancelled for the day providing some treasured extra time in my schedule. A free gift to me of refresh, to recharge and to reflect on some of the most breathtaking scenery of the year 2009.
Wishing moments of peace and solitude to each of you, somewhere in your day today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Pre-Christmas Snowstorm

This is what I woke up to this morning. A winter storm, cold tempetures and wind. I flipped the switch of the prepared ahead coffee maker and curled up on the sofa with only the tiny Christmas lights creating a glow in the dark room. Enjoying the peace and quiet of the early morning, when my husband walked into the room suggesting we drive to a nearby town, to one of our very favorite cafe's for the snowstorm. So, a half hour later we were on our way in our trusty four wheel drive the snowstorm. It was so beautiful! Not many cars on the road...afterall who would venture out in the biggest snowstorm of the season for our area of the country!

As we drove, I thought about the many things that I should be at home doing. No, my tree is not totally decorated...actually it only has the tiny lights strung on it. I thought about the gifts that were waiting to be wrapped, and the food that was waiting to be baked and frozen for Christmas. Yes, I only wished that my tree and living room looked like the picture above. It is from a past edition of The Country Living British Edition magazine. I really like the look of this festive room!, my room and tree do not have the completed look that this room does, and yes, instead I was on my way to breakfast, in a snowstorm.

It was a beautiful drive in the snow, with the world just waking up on Saturday morning. The little cafe' was bustling with town folks. The fire was burning in the fireplace, the coffee was hot and refills were abundant, the friendly server had a great sense of humor, and the staff of the restaurant and the familiar faces of the patrons made this a very special before Christmas event. It all made me forget the many things that needed to be done on my list at home.

After breakfast we made a few stops. One of them was at our daughter and SIL's home to spend a few precious minutes with our grandchildren. For some reason, our daughter is always thrilled when we stop in on Saturday mornings and spend time with the children. It gives both her and her husband a much needed break and gives their grandpa and me a better workout than the day at the gym. Trust me I know whereof I speak.
I love this picture! When we back out of their driveway, they stand on the chair at the window and wave goodbye to us. This morning with the snow flakes coming fast and furious, their little faces show a bit of sadness. They didn't want us to leave.

Upon arriving home, I stretched out in comfort in front of the fireplace. Just kidding! But, when I saw this picture in the Country Living Magazine, it made me wish for the exact setting in my home, especially today. Isn't it beautiful?

Each of these pictures are ones that struck me with their beauty as I looked through my treasured past copies of the Country Living(British Edition) Magazines. I am sure you each come across pictures in magazines that strike a chord within you. Here are a few that I would list as my favorites;

If my tree looked like this one, I would post pictures of it everyday of December.

But, can I tell you that this is one of my very favorite magazine pictures of all time. It is really how I dream of my tree and home looking. It reminds me of our dear friend's log home that they built years ago. The visits to this unique and rustic home have provided special memories for my husband and me. This picture also closely resembles the log cabin blog that I visit quite often. If you want to see what I am talking about visit "" This talented couple build beautiful log cabins. Their room with the Christmas tree looks similar to this dream home of mine. It is fun to dream once in a while.

Snow adds beauty to everything it touches.

The snow continues to fall creating an amazing white winter wonderland, with much more snow in the forecast for the rest of the afternoon, evening and through the night with predictions of 24 inches from the weatherman. I am home now, the gifts will get wrapped, the tree decorating will be completed, and the baking will get done. Thank you for joining me on this special Saturday morning before Christmas. May your day today find you experiencing moments of joy in the ordinariness of life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Is...

Christmas is...

...the joy of receiving, like this unexpected box of homemade goodies from the kitchen of a dear friend who just happens to be my son-in-law's mother. Receiving anything from the kitchen of this great cook, is a real treat. With tags, ribbons and cords she makes everything look so attractive. Can you imagine how excited we will be to eat this loaf of her homemade banana bread!!!

She cans most of the treats in her very own Southern kitchen, and each Christmas I am the fortunate recipient. This year it is homemade applesause and southern chow chow. If you are someone who labors in the kitchen, canning food from your garden, I want you to know how much your friends would treasure a gift from you.

Homemade caramel is so good!!! In fact, it is so good that I am thinking about putting a lock on the tin lid. Wish I could share it with you.

I won this adorable, beautiful Winterberry snowman footed cake plate from the blog of a special lady. I think it was provided by a dining room company near her home. My name was drawn and I was the winner through the generosity of a beautiful lady named Kim at Please visit this blog and scroll down through each of her colorful, interesting, meaningful and gorgeous posts. I promise you that it will be a blessing to you. Another totally unexpected gift this Christmas.

This is one of those treasured homemade gifts that I received from the kitchen of an equally great cook. My husband and I consider this to be some of the best granola that we have tasted. My good friend makes this each Christmas and I can tell you that it is something we always look forward to. Maybe someday I will share her recipe with you. Doesn't it dress up the cellophane bag with the green Christmas ribbon?
And Christmas is the joy of giving...Just in case you are looking for a gift from your kitchen, this is one fast, delicious creation that I give often from my kitchen. Pillsbury has just made this recipe easier with by coming up with this Crescent seamless dough sheet. Thank you Pillsbury.

Put a few drops of water on you kitchen counter. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of it. The water keeps it from sliding around while you are working with it. Lay sheet of dough out on parchment paper. Spread all over with softened butter. Sprinkle liberally with a combination of cinnamon sugar. If you don't have cinnamon sugar on hand, add 1/2 cup of sugar with 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir and sprinkle on dough. Using the parchment paper, start rolling dough into a long roll. Slice with a serated knife, into 1 inch slices.

Put the slices into a small sprayed muffin tin. Bake in a preheated oven, at 350 degrees, for 18 minutes or until slightly firm to touch. Remove from oven. Cool for ten minutes, remove from pan unto serving plate. In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of orange juice(or as needed to make a glaze consistency). Drizzle over the tea rolls. Place on a pretty glass or paper dish and give as a gift.

I have found this recipe is one that is most often requested after the gift is given. It looks like it might be complicated to make but it is not. I know that everyone is watching calories over the holidays, but this might bless someone's day today or any time between now and
Christmas, like the homemade gifts I received, have blessed mine. I am so grateful for these unexpected blessings.
Yesterday, I learned that a fellow blogger's special 10 year old son lost his short battle with brain cancer. Oh, how my hearts aches for this beautiful lady, her husband and their teenage children. I never met this lady, but my many visits to her blog helped me to know at the beginning, how her children were a huge part of her life. Andrew's bout with brain cancer went so quickly. As she shared her heart and her tears through this journey, she gathered many thoughts and tears from all of us. Please remember this blogger and her dear family as they face the holidays with this great loss in their lives.
Giving and so many different ways, whether time, food, prayers, tears, hugs, or letters, is truly what this Christmas season is all about.


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