Saturday, October 30, 2010

"It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it is making a great deal out of the little ones." ~Jean Webster
I like my craft and sitting area. I chose the old wooden table and the other pieces surrounding it. But, late yesterday afternoon, after a busy day, I sat down on the soft sofa facing my work area, and was reminded of the artistic decor that had been added. The big tree outside of my screened in porch had changed from the dense green foliage of the summer, to brilliant colors almost overnight. I enjoy decorating. I like visiting decorating blogs. But let me tell you, there isn't any paint, wall paper, or decorating additions I could have made to this room, that would have added more beauty than what this tree's changes did.
Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer add their own decor to my simple work area, all without any effort or time on my part. It is amazing isn't it?
In the quietness of that moment, I was again made aware of the gifts the Master Artist creates for me. Thank you God for time to recognize your creativity in my daily life.

If it were possible, I would choose to keep the tree this way for many more months, but just like daily life, the leaf cycle continues without noise or fanfare, season after season.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It is a gorgeous, sunny October morning. Recently I was working ahead and creating a few ideas for Christmas gifts. Just for fun I thought I would share this simple idea with you.

Three empty salad dressing bottles. Was not sure what to do with them. Washed them in hot, soapy water and removed all labels.

Purchased some new stoppers at Pier One store. Cost...4.00 and 5.00 each. The store has a large array of stoppers that fit properly in my recycled bottles.

Will fill with one of my favorite homemade salad dressings, add stopper, bow to match and tag to state my wish, with the gift.

Added red wooden stopper, bow, evergreen and some red berries.

Added silver stopper, ribbon and homemade tag. Will make dressings closer to the time needed. Trying to plan ahead for the upcoming season and recycling at the same time.
Not easy for me since I tend to be a procrastinator in some areas of life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our oldest daughter baked an old family favorite on Sunday evening. With that and some good pizza, we celebrated our youngest daughter's birthday. The name of the cake is "Glorified Gingerbread Cake" and it comes from a cookbook that my grandma gave to her mother and two sisters Mabel and Grace, in 1957. In 1984 my grandma gave the cookbook to me. She had these details written in the first page of the book.

We had been making this cake for many years because it is one of all of our favorites. But, I have not made it for a few years and was happy to eat it again. We serve it topped with applesauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Either way it is so delicious!

It is a blessing when my daughters carry on some of the family traditions. It was fun seeing this cake come out of her oven. Once again we were reminded as to why we enjoy it as much as we do.

Just in case you ever need an old, simple, and delicious recipe, I will share it with you;

"Glorified Gingerbread Cake"

1/2 cup of shortening
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Sift flour; measure and add spices.
Rub fat into dry ingredients to make fine crumbs.(I use a fork and make the crumbs)
Take out 1/3 cup of crumbs to sprinkle over the top of cake.
To remaining crumbs add;
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of buttermilk
Beat until ingredients are well blended and batter is smooth.
Pour into greased, paper lined pan(I only spray with Pam).
Sprinkle with crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
This has a mild gingerbread taste. I serve it warm with applesauce and a scoop of ice cream.

How do you like the new, trendy hat she received from her two sisters? I think it looks good on her. A birthday gift from New York city.
It was a fun and busy evening. Our oldest daughter and son-in-law always offer warm hospitality and good food.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I wanted to share a few moments of a beautiful, tea party bridal shower that I attended on Sunday afternoon. It was in honor of my nephew and the pretty girl he will be marrying in December. My middle sister, her daughters and the bridesmaids hosted the shower. It was a privilege to be part of such a lovely occasion.

The afternoon hostess, my wonderful middle sister. A hostess extrordinaire!

The "soon to be bride" and her young looking mother.

The decorated bride's chair.

Flower bouquets created by the bride-to-be's mother. Flowers from her garden and a few roses from Costco. They added the perfect touch to the tables, along with the strings of white pearls on each table.

My neice's twin daughters were thrilled to be a part of the celebration. They can't wait to be in the wedding.

Homemade peanut crunch in cellophane bags and tied with huge plastic diamond rings, were the fun favors of the afternoon.

The bride-to-be and her good friends, added laughter to the celebration.

My sister and the girls in her family. She is so blessed! Her two daughters, two granddaughters, and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
Hope you enjoyed sharing in this special tea party with us. Thanks to my youngest sister for capturing the many beautiful moments. She blesses so many people with her skillful photography.

Monday, October 25, 2010

She wanted to make it for her mommy. She chose the flowers, the butterfly and the size of the paper. I offered to help her write the words she wanted to express, but she said she wanted to write it. The copy me wearing my reading glasses to write:) Love it!

She took it all so seriously, and could not wait to give it to mommy when she came home from a recent trip.
A reminder to me...never miss an opportunity to say thank you. Heartfelt thanks can often be felt in one's heart and not expressed to another. Take time to thank family and friends who fill your life with happiness and love, for you never know how long it will be, that you will have that privilege. When a thank you is delivered with feelings from your heart and it is written down on paper, it can be stored in one's memory bank forever.
Is there anyone you need to thank today? Thanking someone is a gift in itself, however you choose to do it, even if it is a white 8 x 10 sheet of paper created by a little one with sunglasses.
Thank you my blogging friends, for giving me renewed reasons to blog. Each of you bless my life in unique and special ways.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wishing a Happy 23rd Birthday to a very special youngest daughter on today, October 23rd.
You continually bless our lives.

Last evening was the beautiful Fall wedding of a good family friend. I know you will enjoy seeing a few pictures I took of this girl who was our middle daughter's college roommate for three years.
Due to the recent birth of their little girl, our daughter was unable to fulfill her role as a bridesmaid. On the evening program, she was listed as an honorary bridesmaid.

Candles and pumpkins added a soft ambience to the affair.

An old, historic church in a nearby town, was the perfect place to hold the ceremony. Painted and glittered pumpkins lined the isle, along with iron holders and candles.

Their first walk together back down the isle as husband and wife.

The colors of the dresses and flowers were so perfect for a cool, October evening.

The butterflies on the pumpkin were in memory of the bride's sister who passed away a few years ago. Her sister collected butterflies, making it a kind tribute. The wood pieces were done by the grandfather of the couple, including tiny carved pieces that held the names and table numbers.

The newly renovated fireplace in the ball room of the restaurant added warmth and a soft glow to the room.

This was the centerpiece at our dinner table at the reception. The carved out logs were another one of the grandfather's contributions. The bride painted and added the glitter to each pumpkin she purchased at a local farm. Her good friend and family decorated the reception room and each table so creatively. Really, the room was breathtakingly decorated.

I should have taken this picture before the reception to show you how good the table looked. Her friend took clear cylinder vases, added willow sticks and tied gold tuelle around each vase. Small pumpkins surrounded the it's base.

The photography wall in the room, was certainly a unique conversation piece. The frames can hold past family bridal pictures from each bride and groom. Mementoes can also be included such as the bridal gown from one their parent's weddings. In the center was a large, framed opening for the wedding guests to go behind and pose for pictures. I have been to many weddings over the years, but I have never seen a photography wall done like this. It was a big hit...

...including this dear couple. They are the grandparents of the groom and they are in their late 80s. What a kind, fun, and spunky couple! I love this picture of them. About 20 family members were on the opposite side of the picture snapping away and celebrating a memorable moment of the evening.

As we walked to our car after this lovely evening, we carried with us fond memories of a wonderful Fall wedding.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two huge mixing bowls and my mother's old basin...okay, we were near the bottom of the barrel when it came to fun and creative ways to pass time. Who would have thought that these three items from the kitchen pantry could bring so much fun, and help pass a whole hour?

They fit in them perfectly. They rocked, the swirled, they pushed each other across the carpets. I can't help but wonder what you could be thinking about now? You just wait, it could happen to you.

I never thought when I pulled the basin and mixing bowls out of the pantry in a somewhat desperation mode, that they would find such enjoyment with them.

The little one sure does add lots of fun to each situation.

Just remember my friends, when all else fails, you might want to give this a try if you have a few of these huge containers in your possession.
Their parents picked them up early this evening. Thank you for joining in our fun, and yes, you can be sure I will be scrubbing the bowls with hot, soapy water before using again. I can just hear my mother asking me that question:)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

As I read back over the last half year of my blogging posts, I came to realize that my posts have taken on a new direction. I realized I spent probably too many posts on my grandparenting role in life. Then I realized that is what my life is comprised of the most these days. I find great joy and contentment in this role although I am not sure it would add much interest to the weekly blog reader. So, maybe you will want to skip over the next few years, and come back when I go back to more of the crafts, recipes and gift-giving that made up this blog originally. I will totally understand, really I will.
Since Monday evening five of my grandchildren, ages 4 and under have been in my care. Their parents had an opportunity to go away together on my son-in-law's business trip. I wanted to keep them, the five of them. I wanted to see what days are like with these five little ones. I tell you, I have a whole new appreciation for my daughter and the life she lives each day. I personally have never been so busy, so tired. This week their little lives have blessed mine in so new ways as I am there throughout all of their happenings, their questions, their fights, and their "best friends again" moments.
And yes, the twins did turn 1 year old while they were away. Actually one had a birthday tonight and one tomorrow. I mentioned before that even though they are identical twins they were born on separate dates...1 hour apart.

Tonight we celebrated the two of them with our very simple and hurriedly prepared birthday dinner. Did you ever prepare dinner with five little ones. I wonder how the Duggar family did it? Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law who came and took the three oldest on a long walk and treasure hunt, and the two littlest ones who were taking a nap, I made a pot of spaghetti, broccoli and salad. Actually, my other sister-in-law came in the morning to give me a needed break also. How fortunate I am to have these two special SILs and good friends in my life! If you know anyone near you that has many small children, taking time to give them a break, even if only for a hour or two, is a most AMAZING gift. Today, I was made more aware of that then ever before. Gifts of time are so precious!
Hard to believe these two little guys have been with us for a year aready. They certainly add lots of fun and energy to our family.

I hesitated sharing this moment of our family dinner, but I thought you just might enjoy seeing how we went about serving 5 small children dinner. My youngest daughter has help to nanny these children since they were born. She does a great job! I felt a real sense of relief as she walked in the door after her day at work. She has a real gift with little ones. She has evening bath time for the five mastered perfectly. We will miss her so much when she gets married in the next few months. As you can see we divided the adults with the children.

Spaghetti...what grandma would serve that as the dinner menu to so many children? But, I knew they all liked it and you can see by the pictures that they really did....messy faces and all.

Even I have some trouble politely eating spaghetti.

When it came time for dessert, these two had had enough. Quite frankly, birthdays are not as great as they thought they would be. We just could not console the one little one. Actually, the other one doesn't look thrilled either.

Vanilla ice cream balls, chocolate syrup drizzled over and colorful M&Ms on top. Add four big-eyed animals from a KMart clearance counter and you have one fun homemade version of birthday cake. They all loved it. As for the 4 candles instead of "1"...I wanted it to look brighter and I knew they would like it.
It has been a fun and tiring day. Soon their parents will be back, and now I have new ways in my mind to be better able to help out with my daughter and son-in-law's crazy busy, yet rewarding lives.

A yummy, simple dessert with no leftovers when dinner was over.
They love to eat ice cream.


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