Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Isn't Working for You?

Aha! That is the question of the day. You may remember my saying that I'd save furniture arrangement for another day. This is the day.

Right in the middle of the Christmas season, I noticed something for the very first time. I am a bit slow. Can you see what it is? I'm sure all those numbers all over the place make it a challenge so I'll just tell you. The chair, the big blue Volkswagon of a chair, is right in front of my hubby's bookcase, the one he uses all the time. Right. I can be quite slow about what isn't working when I am not the one affected. That day, as I watched him leaning in trying to retrieve a book, I finally noticed. (Let us not discuss the fact that I hadn't for two and a half years.)


It was such a simple fix. Why hadn't I thought of it before? Now you may say that the hassock is causing grief, but John uses it to sit on while he's looking for his book or he simply backs it up. It's nowhere near as heavy as either of the Volkswagons. And, trust me, this is a cozy little arrangement. (Please forgive the unattractive fleece blankies...it's cold up here!


Here's a slightly different angle...

So that's the story, now tell me, is there something in your furniture arrangement that isn't working for you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Embroidery Patterns~Mosaic Monday


January and February bring many quiet hours for a lot of us. Bad weather, cold temperatures, and the cozy comforts of home all contribute to those quiet hours. (We shan't mention the Christmas let-down.) I always try to have some embroidery to work on in the evening or late afternoon. This year, I will find myself doing plenty of waiting and so I have made up an embroidery kit so that some dog-eared magazine doesn't get too much of my attention.

I thought I'd gather up some free patterns. If you visit the site given, you'll find the patterns ready to print out.

*Bustle and Sew  (Though no patterns are shown, this site offers some really terrific free items. Check out the sidebar!)
*Pattern Bee Free Patterns 1 and 2
*My Transfers 6, 7, and 8
*The Baby Gardner 4
*Stichado 3 (The link no longer works.)
*Tip Nut  5

(#9? I can't find my source and I have actually worked this pattern and love it. If anyone knows the source, please let me know so that I may give proper credit. Julie tells me that this is on Flickr *here.* That's not where I found it, though it's a better representation.)

Should keep me going for some time to come.
Wonderful patterns for embroidery are available for purchase at some of these sites. You'll find the prices very reasonable. (No one has asked me to endorse her products nor have I been paid.)

Please join Mary at Little Red House for more fun mosaics. (Thank you, Mary, for all you do. Mosaic Mondays are so much fun.)

Enjoy a great week...

No, Lord, I Have Not


This question has kept coming to me over the past few months along with some others that God asked Job. I'm no Job, but I have asked God many questions and sometimes with a fair amount of "attitude." When the tables are turned and He is asking the questions...

***

Some giant snowflakes, eh? John told me that when they start getting this big, we're definitely moving to Florida. This idea was lifted from inspired by Terri and Bob at Lakewood Manor right here on *this post.* Yes, the weather does get cold down there in Missouri.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Come this Far

Dishes are done; supper is ready for the oven when it's time; final decorations are down; beans are gathered, clothespins, too. (More on that later.)

I awoke to find John already taking down the lights on the deck as fast as he could. Guess he's ready to get on with the year.

Lower resolution

Higher Resolution

Now all that's left is my little angel standing guard over the Christmas aprons or else she's joining John in a hallejulah.

Lower Resolution


*Higher Resolution

Wish that my pumpkin pie would finish baking so I could carry on with the day.

Hope that you're having a great one!

ETA: *Experimenting Again

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany


A dark picture taken last evening showing what it'll be like this evening when we settle down to honor the day. Peeking closely, you can see that the clock high on the wall says a little after 4 in the afternoon. I am already noticing the lengthening days. (Happyone keeps me well informed on length of days.) Because you can't see it so clearly, I'll save the furniture arrangement story for another day when the tree is down.


I'm certainly going to miss my Christmas things, including my newly inherited Christmas village. This is a little church with the manger scene outside. The wee worhippers are just about lighted out. I love how the door is open a crack allowing the glow to spill out and giving another peek inside. 

As always, I'm comforting myself by saying that Christmas is not a day of the year, but a matter of the heart. And before this very year is out, we'll be celebrating all over again. Have a Merry 12th Day of Christmas!

~*~*~*~

If you checked in on my post early yesterday and had any questions, I did some clarifying that might be of interest. 

  


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

Oh I have such exciting things to tell you...  Sure! Believe me at your own risk.

Dismantling Christmas means that I have stripped the tree of everything except the angel top and the lights. We will enjoy it this evening and tomorrow. I must think of a good Epiphany Supper. Last year, as I recall, I gathered the Nativity Set and plenty of candles and we ate by candlelight. I remember looking up at Nan as she ate her meal quietly and she smiled back at me. It was her first celebration of Epiphany and, quite frankly, she found it unusual and said so, but once she got into it, all was well.

Today I am babysitting for my little sister Molly (the poodle). Mother has a luncheon invitation. Molly can't stay behind at my niece's because my niece has a killer cat who has nailed poor Molly on a daily basis for over two weeks. Molly is quite the nervous wreck over the whole thing with my mom right behind her. Mother and her granddaughter are going to have to figure out a plan. So far, they've tried separate rooms with Molly whimpering incessantly and the cat yeowling. Not pleasant.

Friday, the baby grand (I've got to stop calling him this as he's nearly four years old and it makes him sound like a piano) is coming for the afternoon. I will pick him up at school after going through a security check even though I will have visited twice before...I'm going along for the pick-up run tomorrow afternoon as well. Believe me, if anyone took my baby grand, it'd be The Ransom of Red Chief all over again. He's a handful that baby grand. I already know what I'm serving him for supper. Every single time I ask him if he'd like something to eat he responds hopefully with "mac and cheese?"

So on that note, I'm sharing our favorite recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Ham.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

Ingredients:

* 3oz uncooked macaroni  (cook and drain)
* 3 Tbs butter
* 1 heaping Tbs flour
* ½ cup evaporated milk
* 4 oz grated cheese of choice (I use several or whatever is on hand)
* 2 eggs (beaten)
* 3 oz chopped cooked ham

Method:

* Heat butter until bubbly
* Stir in flour
* Whisk in milk
* Whisk well and cook until slightly thick stirring constantly
* Stir cheese into slightly thickened mixture until melted.
* Add a small amount of mixture to the beaten eggs to temper and then add the remaining cheese mixture and stir in until smooth.
* Stir ham and macaroni into the cheese sauce and heat until warm without boiling on top of the stove. (This is the way I prefer it; although, the ingredients may be baked in a casserole dish for 20 minutes at 325F)

To clarify, since Robin is questioning the 3 oz of macaroni... Yes, this is correct. This recipe serves four, if you are the type who sticks to such things. If not, it serves two. Sorry that I didn't share that earlier. (If you're dieting, a serving, one quarter of this recipe, equals 2 proteins, 1 bread, 1 fat, and ¼ milk.)

Printable Recipe

ETA Again: Oh my this was sooo good! I thought that I should whip some up because, truth to tell, it's been a few months and I was second-guessing myself. We don't have this often because it is too good...so creamy, so delish. It's hard to keep to a ½ cup serving. I did, but just barely. There's no way that John could though. He's getting the other 1½. For Friday's supper, I'm making a meatloaf, serving vegetables, leaving out the ham, and using this recipe in place of potatoes.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dismantling Christmas...Slowly

It is always difficult for me to put away Christmas. This is a discussion I've had before at Haven so I know that some of us struggle with it. We are divided between those who can not wait to get things back to order and those who want to hang on a bit longer. I'm one of the hangers on who keeps decorations up until Epiphany on January 6. Neighbors drive by slowly and ask themselves if it is Christmas lights they are still seeing here. Guilty as charged.

This year, I've decided to take a slightly different path. Each day I am taking down a little bit more of Christmas until Friday morning when the tree itself will come down. Since Christmas is stored upstairs, this gradual dismantling will help my knees, my back, and ohhhh my aching behind. (I fell down icy steps Christmas Eve and haven't been the same since.) So far, all poinsettias are put away, many bulbs, and assorted decorations. The wreath made of springs has become a train wreath for the grands, the candy canes are saved in a pitcher for hot chocolate this winter and peppermint milkshakes. And, as always, some Christmas things remain out all year long. The kitchen night light is a case in point.

Taking things slowly and steadily makes a lot of sense with other things as well. It's when impatience sets in that situations begin to nosedive. Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said that haste makes waste. The older I become, the more sense taking things a bit slower makes. It's not necessary to do it all in one day.

We are facing a number of challenges in this new year. Most are ones that we dragged along with us from last year, but somehow a bright, new year looks more hopeful than a tired, old one. You may wish to read "Behind the Scenes" in the coming days as I'll be adding more information there. Perhaps I need a "Behind the Scenes II and III" as well. Pacing myself is going to be an important part of my year.

Looking forward to doing some catching up in Blogdom today. I really do miss you when I'm away from the computer.

A blessed day to you...
Photo taken January 2010. This year the ground is almost bare. I like this year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!


 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Waiting for the Ball...

Steve Breen
Dear 2010,

It is with great joy that I say goodbye. Great. Very. You've been a truly rotten year on so many levels. I never would've thought it possible until I lived it. Does that make me a survivor?
Hoping (praying, too) that your successor will do better. 
No fond farewells from me,
Yup,  that's what I'd say if I could write 2010 a letter.

Thank you to each and every one who found your way to this corner in Blogdom. You have made the year bearable and kept me sane. ( Let's not question this. ;> )

Here's to a much happier, healthier and prosperier prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26

Yes, we had a lovely Christmas! Hope that you did, too. Now it's time to eat up the leftovers, including the owl-shaped cheeseball!

Enjoy a pleasant day...

(Since I myself have no time for leaving comments, I'm closing them here as well. It's only fair.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Fun Day Planned

Last Saturday, my daughter, mother, grandson, and I went to see Tangled — my daughter's treat. It was great fun and my grandson's first time at the theater. He was alternately horrified and thrilled.  The first film I ever went to see was Disney's Pinocchio. As I recall, I was also alternately horrified and thrilled. There are 70th anniversary editions of Pinocchio on sale now, but I assure you that I have not yet seen my 60th year and won't for a few. Obviously, it was a re-release. ;>

Anyway, my youngest grandson has been waiting patiently for his day. Today is it. We are going to spend some quiet time reading stories, coloring, playing in a box (one of his very favorite things), baking some cookies, playing on the piano, and whatever else suits his fancy. We might even watch a short video, which is all his budding attention span allows.


My mother's favorite childhood Christmas book front and center and mine below...

She has yet to make it through The Little Match Girl without weeping and I have yet to read Herriot's The Christmas Day Kitten without doing the same. We are two sappy gals now let me tell you. Neither of those Christmas stories will be read today for obvious reasons. :D

Any favorite children's Christmas stories you'd like to mention and/or do you remember the first movie you went to see in the theater?



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Narnia and Beyond




I used my limited knowlege of my Paint Program to create a "better" clock. My imagination can not be explained otherwise. :D

I confess that I've recently watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe again. Perhaps that is why, every time I look out my window and see this tree, the spot where a limb was removed looks like a giant clock. If I start hearing ticking, I'll let you know.

Over the weekend, I had a nice catch-up conversation with friends who are married to each other. He loves this movie; she has never seen it and doesn't care to. She isn't "into fantasy" she says. I told her that there is a far cry between fantasy and allegory. Far. Way far. I encouraged her to watch this movie in preparation for going to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It'll be fun to learn if her curiosity was piqued at all when I see them again Christmas Eve. (It is my fond hope to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next week and I'd love to have them go with us.)

Okay, I am certain that I hear that clock ticking...gotta run. Is there a big old clock ticking in your world, too?

(My apologies for having this post get away from me last evening with its being posted, removed, and returned. Perhaps I'm too analytical because I'd really like to know what happened. The post dating thing just didn't hold. Anyway, it's all straightened around now.)



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A White Christmas After All


Just when we'd given up hope of a White Christmas, a Nor'easter took a sharp left.

Can you tell that I'm still crazy about my spring wreath?  Oh the decorating possibilities!

If you have a cactus hanging about and you don't know what kind it is and why it's blooming now or why it's sitting around twiddling its thumbs, La Tea Dah excellently spells it out at Gracious Hospitality on her post titled Bloom, O Christmas Cactus. I now know that I have an Easter cactus that sometimes blooms in November and again in spring. (It also sometimes blooms in July, but that's only when really confused.)

A happy day to you...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pretty Blue Lights

So you're looking for a pretty mosaic? Especially on the last Sunday before Christmas? Well, move right along for you'll not find it here. ;>

This was the night I had reserved for seeing the lights. It also happened to be the night of the church concert. Fine. We'd see lights after attending the concert.

John driving...Mother in front passenger seat...I am backseat driving. I know, you'd think it was a pattern.

Me: John, you're going to have to drive VERY slowly and stop just when I say stop or else I'm never going to get this picture.

John: I'll do anything you want.

Me: STOP!

He didn't stop. He slowed down some, but no stop.

Mother: Pull into this yard and turn around there.

Me: Don't pull a u-turn in the road.

John: I'll do anything you want.

He didn't exactly pull a u-turn, but it was close. A u-turn in a parking lot is not the same as a u-turn in the highway.

Just as I was setting up my shot, we got to see the really pretty lights. Blue lights. Bright, bright blue lights. Blue lights that rotate hypnotically.

John: Hello, Officer.

Officer: Hello, Sir. I was really concerned about your erratic driving and just wanted to make sure that everything was okay.

Erratic Driving? Well what do you think?


This is what I think. I think we won't be doing drivebys for a very long while.

Oh, this is what I was trying to capture. I had to do weird things to the photo in order for you to see it; although, I did decorate it for Christmas.


May these days leading up to Christmas go much better for you!

Visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics.

He's Not a Baby Anymore

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.  ~Frank McKibben

I heard a sermon long ago that remains with me. (I wish they all would.) The pastor said, "He's not a baby anymore! He is the living Christ crucified, risen, and coming again!" There was something about the "he's not a baby anymore" that excited me that day. So while I do think of the baby in the manger at Christmastime, my thoughts don't stay there very long before moving on to "He is the living Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again!"






Comments are off for Sunday post. ♥

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Chatty Little Post

And no one has time to read it. My timing is certainly interesting. :D

Mother moved to her new home this week. I've been feeling lost. It has been so much fun having her here. I don't know how to describe it exactly. When I wanted to talk there was a woman to talk with, yet we could sit and read and be quiet for long stretches of time. I had a built-in "playmate" who was more than willing to go along with any of my schemes. She was happy to try a new recipe, work on a new craft, read a blog I pointed out to her or head off for a little shopping. Perhaps I was afforded the luxury of a return to childhood without all the fussy parenting. Some fussy parenting, but not all. While I know that she's not even a mile down the way, it's not the same. I told her to hurry back. And she will be back for a few days over Christmas. Think I can last?

It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where many events culminated in troubles. The old "when it rains, it pours" kinds of weeks. We all have them, but it is a special affront during Christmas when we fervently wish for things to go well, for people to be well, for there to be abundance, for there to be joy and peace across the land and around the world. When world peace becomes too much to hope for, we still hope for peace to reign in our hearts and families. All too often that is another "too much to hope for" because we can not control other people and the decisions that they will make. When my son stopped by to pick up some packages he'd had sent here, I shared some of this with him. He listened to me vent: he's so wonderfully sympathetic that I didn't know when to shut up. Thankfully, I pulled it together and he gave me a big hug and told me that things would get better. May it be so...

Mercifully, I have been aided by so many of you and your wonderful blogs. If you haven't noticed the section in my sidebar named "Inspiring Posts of the Month," you might look and see if there's something there to comfort and cheer you, too, should you need a bit of cheering. Currently, I have five posts listed. I highly recommend them all and each one points to the the Lord. After all, our help and hope come from Him.


There's a lot to be done in the time before Christmas around here. Procrastination and I know each other all too well, though I did get the bookcase top decorated for the second or third time. (Note to self: Must learn to move forward instead of sideways.) I really am loving those springs. (Springs are "harvested" from old mattresses or they were in this case. It so happened that my mother gave her mattress the boot so I got lucky blessed. John did all the hard work of harvesting so I had it very easy. I understand it was ghoulish, tricky work.)

A blessed Saturday to you...

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Digital Story of Christmas

John's sister sent us the link for The Digital Story of the Nativity. Though not always one hundred per cent scriptural, it is very cleverly done. Made me laugh with joy. If you have a minute, I think you'll enjoy it as well.


Hope to get back to better blogging soon. It's been crazy busy here as I am sure is true in your home as well. Here's to a Merry Christmas!

Edited to Add: I see that this is making the rounds in Blogdom...all good, of course. I should have been paying attention and then I would've seen that my friend *Diva* had beat me to it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holding Onto Joy

John arrived home from church with a lot of these little candy canes. The weather had been vile Sunday morning and not many people were out braving it. Therefore, the pastor had a lot of candy canes to share with the few in attendance. His sermon had been the classic one about the real meaning of the candy cane. I like that story, but this year the real meaning of the candy cane is going to be all about the letter J. For me, the J=Jesus and the J=Joy. We may not always experience joy in the ways that we might expect, but joy is always present when we look for it. And that is why all the mini candy canes are hanging like Js all over the tree.

Thanking you again for all the prayers. My parents' marriage ended today after nearly 57 years (nearly 58). It has been very difficult for both of them, but especially so for my mother who has always considered my father her God-given mission in life. (Personally, I am glad that God has this mission back. It's going to take a miracle.)

So we are off to do some heavy duty cleaning...that should keep our hands busy and our minds occupied.

Blessings to you this day...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spring Wreath~Mosaic Monday


These weeks are passing by so very quickly!


Following what has become the staple format:

1. Top of Fridge...I'm just now realizing that what I wanted to show is being covered by my fussy design...check #8. Frosty the Pumpkin found his new home up there, too.
2. A calendar pic by Laura Berry centered on fridge...it needed something... 
3. My spring wreath...visit *Margo* for details...she does the neatest things!
4. My poor mother trying to relax in the midst of chaos... I didn't even pick up the table for you!
5. Vintage bulbs in the midst of the spring wreath
6. A spring bulb...pardon the play on words...a single spring with a vintage ornament on top
7. Spring wreath decorated with silk poinsettias for a different look. (My wreath doesn't fit on my front door as I'd hoped...not enough room between the storm door and the main door.)
8. Leftover springs slapped together and tossed on top of the fridge.

Please visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics!

Have a wonderful week...

Sometimes the storm is going to nail me. There's no avoiding it. It's coming through. The good news is that I'm not going alone and no matter how much the wind howls, God will still hear me. (Isn't it great when even the weather cooperates by providing a powerful metaphor?)

The waves of death crashed over me,
devil waters rushed over me.
Hell's ropes cinched me tight;
death traps barred every exit.
A hostile world! I called to God,
to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
my cry brought me right into his presence—
a private audience!

II Samuel 22:5–7 (The Message)

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and all the sweet advice. I am praying, playing music, and resting. I am confident that there are answers as I keep my heart open to them. And this, as always, is true: This, too, shall pass.

~comments are closed on Sunday

photo source:accuweather.com

DB