Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Celebrating Winter

The Garden Gate

This is the painting that led me to Nita Leger Casey's blog Gingerbread Art Studio. Images of New England are so pleasing to my eye. Must be because I adore the familiar for these are the scenes I see all around me this January.

Nita has been so kind to give me permission to show some of her paintings. She told me via email that she lives in a gingerbread house in New England, visits Maine often, and also has a blog about France where she was born. Those paintings are beautiful as well, but my focus today is on her artistic view of New England.

Both my daughter and I were charmed by this painting of Owls Head, Maine. She and I have only seen it in summer so the winter view is new to us. If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you may remember my discussion of Owls Head from this photo.

Let's get back to winter, shall we? I'm going to stop typing and allow Nita's paintings to speak for themselves.

Winter Shadows

Pepperell Street

Once in a Blue Moon

Nita shares the most celebratory winter story of "Once in a Blue Moon" right *here.*

If you happen to be at Logan Airport in Boston, you can see some of Nita's work in person. Just check her sidebar for more information.

Please visit Gingerbread Art Studio and be charmed as well. There's so much more to see!

Yesterday, I was visiting Dear Diary - Cait O'Connor where Cait has written the most wonderful poetry named A Walk in the Snow. It made me yearn for the outdoors and, though I couldn't go for a walk, I did lean over the deck railing and inhale the wonderful, crisp air. I'm all for celebrating winter since it will long be with me and this poem will help you celebrate winter, too. Just see if it doesn't!

Thank you for visiting me today and remember to Celebrate Winter!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Weekend

We, John and I, seldom have time away from the house together so it was wonderful to go flea market shopping Saturday afternoon while my daughter stayed with her great-grandmother.

Antsy, I have been; too much at-home-all-the-time. Even Nan has complained of being cooped up. I feel her pain, but she truly can not handle the frigid temperatures, the ice and snow nor do we want to risk her becoming ill with all the flu and colds about. Taking her anywhere is a major effort for all of us, but we shall get her out again even if it looks as if she'll have to bide for a few weeks.

Saturday was a crystal clear blue corker of a day with the temperatures hovering in the teens and a brisk wind blowing. We caught glimpses of our beloved Mt. Washington's eastern face on the horizon across the fields and I thought of our beloved Vermont on its western side.

Coming down from the ridge we found ourselves on the plains where the flea market "open every day except for Christmas" sits beside a pine grove. We wandered about for nearly an hour before leaving empty-handed. Perhaps it was the very first time that I looked at stuff and it was just that — stuff. Nothing that I wanted, needed or even liked. I may be ill.

A quick trip to Wal*Mart proved a boon because we found boxes of candy canes for seventeen cents! Needless to say, we'll be fueling our addiction for some little time.

Yesterday, we had a sweet little visitor come to see us. Her grandmother, John's daughter, brought her and we laughed and delighted in her cute expressions and the way she was interacting with her great-grandpa.

The pastor is visiting today. Isn't it wonderful to have a pastor who makes home visits? It's a blessing to have people come to us since we are so rarely able to go to them. Another one of the many reasons why I love Blogland so very much: human contact...after a fashion.

Enjoy a blessed day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Letters to Emily

The premise is reminiscent of Charlie Shedd's book Letters to Karen, except that the letters are to a young mother about raising children. There are also many encouragements concerning marriage and family. What am I talking about? A new-to-me blog that I stumbled upon (via a comment left yesterday) and a most delightful find it was.

No pictures save those created with words alone, but the entries are concise and poignant with wonderful touches of humor. Look for My Letters to Emily on my blogroll from now on and do visit to see what I'm raving about. You'll find that each entry is a treasure; I'm certain that young mothers and even grandmothers would enjoy reading them.

One that had little to do with child-rearing turns out to be *my favorite.* You'll see why right away.

This is a bit of an unusual twist for a Sunday entry here at Haven, but so delighted was I to see this unique, encouraging blog that I could not help myself.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. ~Matthew 5:15

Photo Source

Friday, January 8, 2010


We hear the weather reports concerning cold and snow from all over. In my corner, we're not experiencing anything beyond the normal, but for all of you who find yourselves in such harsh weather, I offer this. ;D

We have a few candy canes leftover...precious few. Over the holidays, I learned a new way to use them from somewhere. Perhaps this recipe from The Old Painted Cottage will be helpful, but do be warned as it's highly addictive. Here, I'm just using hot cocoa mix and a whipped cream topping with a bit of crushed candy cane mixed in. It's perfect because it's not too sweet, yet there is that subtle peppermint flavor.

How to crush those candy canes without a big mess? I tried a number of methods and wound up using two plastic lids with a nice edge to capture the bits and pieces. Nothing worse than hurtling bits of candy cane all over the place.

Here's what you need...candy canes, lids, and a hammer
On the altar so to speak
Use a dishtowel, if you'd like to protect the lids...I didn't bother and they seem none the worse for wear.

The result
Just three left

And, should you tire of hot drinks, we enjoyed the most delicious peppermint milkshakes last night using this formula:

* 1 cup milk
* as much French vanilla ice cream as you wish (I'm so flexible.)
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 crushed candy cane

Wonder what it would be like with chocolate milk and chocolate ice cream...

Stay warm out there!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thoughts on Doodles

Do you like to draw? Doodle? I love to doodle. I create all sorts of flowers and curlicues. Doodles may say things about us. Last night found me wondering what a doodle drawing done of me says.

It was with some interest that I posed for a drawing my grandmother was working on last evening. Never have seen her pick up a pencil and start drawing that way. It's been a challenge for her to write much of anything lately, though she does stay on top of her crossword puzzles always working in ink and using all caps.

Note the turned-out foot and the way she placed my hand. Find myself wondering if it speaks of my impatience and frustration from time to time. She has made me look like something of a whacked bird, don't ya think? Love the bob that she gave my hair, though.

Looking forward to Thursday morning when we'll take down the tree. It's the morning after Epiphany, which we will celebrate with a Christmas-style dinner and some reading and reflection. We may use the final ceremony of Advent as our take-off place. It was gleaned from Quill Cottage with year before last's Christmas post Serendipity Sunday Week Four. And there may be a final gift of Christmas for John and Nan...we'll see. And it's fun to think that, even though I'm taking the tree down, it'll be right back up before the year ends.

Happy redecorating to us all!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Walking Home Through a Storm

I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm. ~Psalm 55:8

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. ~Psalm 32:7

photo used by permission

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Meet Frosty the Cheeseball.

...with a lumpy frame and catnip arms and two eyes made out of peppercorns. Happy New Year!!!~in an email from my creative nieces.

And just to keep it real, they also sent me the death of Frosty the Cheeseball.

In a completely off-the-topic segue, do you think we can begin to say "twenty-ten" or must we continue with the "two thousand ten bit"? What do you think?

Okay then, I'm off to find a cheeseball dead or alive. Happy New Year, Dear Ones!

Edited to Add: Thought I'd drop in the latest creation by these gals...a tribute to Raymond Briggs of The Snowman fame. It was a two-day project working with precious little but a shovel and a cheese grater. They amaze me!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birds, Star, and a Calendar

Don't you love a new calendar? I do. In fact, I'm so easily excited by calendars that I get a thrill out of flipping from one month to the next. Probably wouldn't if I were using the True Value calendar, but then I am using a new Lang received for Christmas. (My new one is from the paintings of Laura Berry.) Calendars make such nice gifts...more about that in a few.

Sooo, I've been making things and all because my family loved the little bird that I spoke of *here.* You'll find all the information you need for snagging the template from Miss Sandy on that post.

And I've been making stars, which is a Blogland story that connects to a real life one. My mom purchased a pocket calendar for my sister at our local gift shop and discovered a bit late that it was for 2009. That'll never do so she sent me back to the shop where it was cheerfully replaced for a 2010 one. It's a darling calendar from the paintings of Diane Knott. How thrilled I was to find her blog named Diane Knott's Musings while blog-hopping one evening just two days later.

That evening, her post was Starry, Starry Night and I was enchanted. My little copycat star is made from scrapbook papers that I really have never liked well enough to use; nevertheless, how well they worked for this star. And how darling would it be made from favorite Christmas cards or favorite wrapping paper as I did for some of the birds in my collage? It's good to think about these things as you pack away your Christmas stuff, if you haven't already. (Some fine day, I hope to be able to use glitter as beautifully as Diane does.) This is the *star template* I used. Anyway, that's my little find to share with you today.

A warm and loving thank you to each of my readers whether you comment or prefer to remain quiet. I appreciate all of you. May you enjoy God's richest blessings in the year to come!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've Been Known To...

drown my sorrows. But then you know that after the fudge confession of Monday.

Today, I have a peanut brittle confession.

A microwave peanut brittle confession.

(Oh look! A glimpse of my "recession hair" on the microwave door. Don't strain your eyes — it's murky on purpose.)

Oh dear!


It could've been so nice...you know, if it weren't all burned and stuff.


Funny little story about my grandson who believes that I live in a magical place all because of my neighbor's shed. You may remember that, like many little boys of three, he's enchanted by all things Thomas the Train.

Grandson: Dad, look! It's Toby!

Son: No, that's Nonni's neighbor's shed.

Grandson: No, Dad, it's Toby!

Son: Well now, that's kind of fun to think about, but it's not really Toby; it's just a shed.

Grandson: But, Dad, he's got wheeeeeeels.

And so the shed does (have wheels) and, after running into Toby today, I'm not so certain that he doesn't live in my neighbor's backyard.


And I do live in a magical place...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where Have all My Favorite Blogs Gone?

Anyone having trouble with losing your favorite blog listings? I am and I am terribly upset about it! If you've been on my blogroll and wish to remain there, please notify me. My memory isn't what it used to be!

Edited to Add:

Oh blast it! Honestly, on days like this, one should return to bed and remain there until the world rights itself. I had such a lovely old-fashioned blog list going and now even IT is gone. I don't know what Blogger is up to, but I can't play if it won't let me. I'm going to go have some coffee and at least three pieces of fudge.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Week Between Christmas and the New Year

Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. ~Psalm 27:14

Elenka told me in Comments on my last post that she enjoys a relaxing week of waiting between Christmas and the New Year. I've never thought of it that way before, but it is true that the rush of Christmas ends abruptly and we are left with empty boxes, remnants of wrapping paper, and all that leftover food...

I think I'll take a cue from Elenka and enjoy a quiet week. There are many concerns here and I find myself craving time alone with my thoughts. So, if I disappear, don't be too alarmed, I'm only taking some quiet time and if, in the bargain, I make the one who deeply resents my computer time happy, all the better.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Put Them in Columns and Leave Them Right There...

The garment of life, be it tattered and torn,
the cloak of the soldier is weathered and worn.
But what child is this that was poverty-born? The peace of Christmas Day.

The hope that has slumbered for two thousand years,
the promise that silenced a thousand fears.
A faith that can hobble an ocean of tears. The peace of Christmas Day.

Add all the grief that people may bear, total the strife, the troubles and care.
Put them in columns and leave them right there. The peace of Christmas Day.

The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree.
The light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.
The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree.
The light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.

~The Peace Carol by Bob Beers

You may hear John Denver and the Muppets singing this often overlooked carol on my playlist (all the way at the bottom and *right here*). I think you'll enjoy it for the Muppets are in fine voice. ;D

That Miss Sandy @ Quill Cottage went and did it. She created such a fun craft that I had to join her in her last-minute madness. Check out what Lorrie did with this project, too...soooo adorable!

May you all have time to sit and relax this evening. We are planning a quiet time at the Haven where we'll sip warm cider and read the Christmas story and consider the wonder that Jesus was willing to come to this little planet and to each of us.

Blessings to each of you this Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Good thing that I learned some years ago that Christmas is what we make it when we can. Personally, I like lots of Christmases...definitely more than one. (Though I do confess that I fall prey to wishing that Christmas were over...ugh...I hate that I sometimes wish that.) The planned get-together was accomplished and whatever happens for Christmas Day will be more of a spontaneous gathering with whoever is available.

And, if we can manage to stay out of the Emergency Room, we'll be doing famously. We spent the day there yesterday with my grandmother. The good news is that she is perfectly well; the bad news is that apparently she is in need of a little extra attention. *sigh*

I've been doing a lot of catching up and realize with horror, thanks to a thought-provoking post Manuela at The Pleasures of Homemaking did called Blog Etiquette, that I am guilty of not giving credit where credit is due... (No, no, Manuela did not single me out. I'm just the type who could never pass a lie detector test. I always feel guilty. It's a condition, an affliction, a syndrome, a problem.)

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has commented on the Christmas header. Now I need to say that Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse gave me the idea for the JOY chalkboard on her Be Merry and Bright post. I usually have a simple "Abide" printed on my wee chalkboard, but when I saw her amazing kitchen with a giant chalkboard made out an old headboard (I think) saying "JOY," I copied it almost to the "T." Guilty. I am.

The only thing that I didn't do was use that much-coveted chalk ink product Aunt Ruthie raves about. Instead, I used an old trick learned in the classroom long ago. I simply wet the chalkboard (I'm not fond of the messy chalkboard look), clean it well, wet it again and write immediately on it with regular chalk. It's the poor gal's chalk ink. When the chalk dries, it remains quite undisturbed until it is washed off again.

May all your preparations be going splendidly...I am on my way to find out for myself! Blessings...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Most of us celebrate Christmas on December 25. Not my family. Not this year. Today, the 21st, is the day. Things are so very different this year.

I made these cookies yesterday using Suzanne's recipe. My problem was that I had no snowflake cookie cutter and I couldn't find one while out shopping Saturday. So I thought to myself how tough could it be to create my own snowflake patterns? Tough. What a fright show and I am only showing you the best ones. Ha! Yes, I even had help.

Okay, must be something that I have to bake, clean or wrap. Catch you later...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Row to the Ship" and Other Pieces of Advice

One of the things I dearly love about reading blogs is when a blogger shares some secret of keeping on keeping on.

Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me often does and, since she and I are in similar circumstances, I pay special attention. See *When I Stop Asking Why* and *When I Don't Desire Christmas.* If you read either of these, you're in for a blessing.

Recently, I was babysitting for my grandsons. My son left without telling the boys that he was leaving.

You.just.know.how.well.that.went. The youngest set up such a wail as he is wont to do that I had a headache in no time. Then he yelled something quite extraordinary, "Row to the ship!" Turns out that it's a line from Peter Pan that he likes and uses often. I don't know the context of the phrase in the movie, but for me it became crystal clear — in times of trouble, don't try to go it alone: Row to the ship or in the words of scripture, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Esther's Insights remains a little gem on my sidebar. Gwen created a blog to share her mother's secrets of keeping on keeping on and then moved on to bigger things leaving Esther's Insights intact. If you have an opportunity this week, read the poem Daily With You for it helps to put all things back into perspective once again.

Have a blessed week! (I'm still visiting my blogroll folks and having a blast.)

Friday, December 18, 2009


So much to tell and so much water under the bridge, over the dam, wherever-the-heck- it-went, but I did want to stop in to say thank you so very much for your sweet emails and your lovely comments. I do hope to come back and play, but it must wait for better timing.

The good news is that my children gave me a lovely early Christmas gift — a computer! In a true O'Henry style twist, the Internet connection was gone. It's back for now so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Hope that you are all enjoying the merriest of times. I can not wait to visit you all! Soon. Very.