Thursday, October 31, 2013

An Experiment of Another Sort

There are days when I feel like pitching everything in my house out the door and starting over. I would like to think that not everything would be dragged back in; unfortunately, I know from experience that it would all be back plus a little extra. This works for any weight loss plan I've ever been on, too, but that is neither here nor there.

 Here's a case in point. I wanted to share how cute the bittersweet was in my brown transferware pitcher previously just filled with branches. The pitcher is something that my grandmother found in the attic of my grandfather's homestead. He gave it to her because she liked it so. That's neither here nor there either. The point I'm trying to make is that there was too much going on. Way too much going on. I had no idea until I looked at this picture.

 ~a titch busy~


Ahhhh...now that's better.

If you didn't get a chance to swing by yesterday, I added some extra photos to my bittersweet post showing some small changes.

For Photo Friday tomorrow, I'm going to share my bittersweet source...sort of. 



Enjoy a blessed day!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Decorating with Bittersweet

For years now, I have been on a search for bittersweet. This year, I've found a cache so big... No more trying to describe it for John who has been pretty much no help with such things even though he has a friend with a wall of the stuff so high and so wide that I had been trying to talk him into asking for some, but he always says, "I've never seen anything like that before." Man. Talk about being unconscious. In fact, when I showed him what I had found, he was still clueless. Oh well, we gals can not expect our husbands to think as we do. And we're all glad of that I am certain. Hip hip...fizzle...

~bittersweet in the basket~



 

Must go back and get more bittersweet. The basket is looking skimpy. The door is looking sad, too. I love a nice big wreath; John not so much. He doesn't complain, but it bonks him in the head or worse, in the eye. (You'll be happy to know that I have since cleaned up the corner where the watering bucket, the salt, and the broom have been living.) So I've been wondering about some bittersweet strategically placed on the light fixture as seen below. (Okay, they have branches; I'd use bittersweet.) Too much?




Are all your autumn decorating plans finished? Do you decorate for Thanksgiving if you live in the U.S.? 

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ETA: Thought that I'd pop in the changes right here in this post since it's so logical and all. Not that I've ever been accused of being logical. 




~a study in minimalism or Podso has been vindicated~

Thank you for looking!

A great afternoon and evening to you...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Frosty Morning

Brrrrrr...

Saying goodbye to the garden...

The small azalea above seems to be doing well, but  the large one below looks upset.



Jack Frost strikes again...





 
Too cold, I'm going in...

Where I find Fioré cozying up to a good book. This reminds me to thank you for reading yesterday and commenting. Special thanks to Kristi, NanaDiana, and Cheryl for recommending specific books. I'm on it!

Have a great Tuesday...

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Monday, October 28, 2013

A Book Experiment

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." 
~Forrest Gump
So true, except that around here it's more like a bag of stale pretzels. Oh well, it's Monday and, believe it or not, I've got another post.

Remember that cozy mystery I mentioned last week? The one that I said was way out of my usual reading? I'll say. I made it all the way to paragraph 18, which I quote for you here: "Get Lisa to rub out the kinks in those muscles," Kelly suggested to mountain biker Greg. "After all, she's a physical therapist." 

[Edited to Add: I find this so annoying because the author has a large group of characters to introduce and she does it this way. Goodness, she explained two characters in one fell swoop. Greg is a mountain biker and Kelly is a physical therapist. Sigh.]

Okay, I know that the experiment I am about to share is profoundly unfair. Not every paragraph of every book can sing the high note throughout. But that paragraph resulted in my tossing the book aside forever. My philosophy of book reading is that it must grab me and make me want to read it very early on and it really can never be insipid. What's yours?

Do you like an experiment as well as I do? I don't even care if they're invalid. Now see? A scientist would toss what I'm about to do to the floor! 

Here we go... I arbitrarily drew ten books (
differing genres) from my shelves . I have enjoyed them all. I counted to the 18th paragraph of each book and have copied them down. See if you can find one that you'd toss and one that you'd like to read. This can be fun. Right? Oh come on now, be a sport. (Yes, I'll reveal the book and author after the pretty picture...don't peek!)

1. It is not that the homes of these unself-disciplined children are lacking in parental discipline of a sort. More often than not these children are punished frequently and severely throughout their childhood—slapped, punched, kicked, beaten and whipped by their parents for even minor infractions. But this discipline is meaningless. Because it is undisciplined discipline.

2. Fear scurried down my back. I hauled myself up onto my hands and knees. Dusty Routt, the pretty, ambitious twenty-year-old whose family had lived across the street from us for the past three years, lay a foot away. She still wasn't moving.

3. But that second phrase—"and created the wind." We think of mobiles that modern man is making, mobiles that not only have form but movement, moving with the slightest breath of air. Here is the desire for movement in art!

4. Steven was harassed and impatient. In our business—getting an issue out—time dictated our decisions and our reactions. After a while, it became second nature, and we spoke to each other in a shorthand. There was never time for the normal give and take of an argument. I glanced at Minty. She was typing away studiously, but she was, I knew, listening in. I said reluctantly, " I could manage it by tomorrow morning." 

(Vee here:I chose paragraph 19 because 18 was a one-word response.)

5. A light turned on in David's thoughts. "I consider this guy funny, even though he is a pain in the rear to a lot of people at work, yet I go bonkers over some of the things that the two people close to me do that aren't nearly as bad. Am I using a different yardstick to measure the people close to me?"

6. Now that they've all moved out, our home has changed. Where music once blared, there is nothing but stillness; while our pantry once shelved eight different types of cereal, there is now a single brand that promises extra fiber. The furniture hasn't changed in the bedrooms where our children slept, but because the posters and bulletin boards have been taken down—as well as all other reminders of their personalties—there is nothing to differentiate one room from the next. But it was the emptiness of the house that seemed to dominate now; while our home was perfect for a family of five, it suddenly struck me as a cavernous reminder of the way things ought to be. I remember hoping that this change in the household had something to do with the way Jane was feeling.

7. Obviously, I wanted to have the problem that could melt away. After all the harsh news the doctor had brought to me in those last few minutes, the word melt seemed soothing and peaceful. 

8. They had fun. Two of the first non-baby words I uttered were gin fizz, mysteriously the name of a large blue teddy bear, a favour they brought back from a New Year's Eve party. Gin Fizz was my companion for years, my Winnie-the-Pooh. Because of him, I believed Christopher Robin's bear was blue. My parents claimed that I named him Gin Fizz; that might say something about their life style, but I cannot remember. I did not know it was a drink for years, and by the time I found out, no one drank it any more. The French called a line of yachts Gin Fizz, for equally obscure reasons. For me the words never connoted anything but teddy bear.

9. As Kathy sang of friends who had been taken for granted, sweethearts she had known, and a wonderful world full of strangers just waiting to make a connection with us (while we turn our eyes away), something deep within me stirred. There is so much I was taking for granted. I didn't want to continue to live unconsciously.

10. To top that off, he'd quit smoking twelve years ago, cut out the peach brandy he'd fooled with after Juanita passed, and increased what he put in the plate on the occasional Sundays he showed up at [church].

 ~Library Books~

The memoir about Katharine and E.B. White was read in an afternoon. I love memoirs. I am in the middle of Seaworthy by Linda Greenlaw...interesting and much different subject material from what I usually select, but having read The Lobster Chronicles, it seemed a logical choice. And you already know what happened to the other one.☺

What are your favorite kinds of books to read? Do you actually have a favorite book?

Answers:

1. The Road Less Traveled by M.Scott Peck (self-help, spiritual)
2. Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson (murder mystery)
3. Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer
(Christian homemaking)
4. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan (fiction)
5. Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People by Elizabeth B. Brown (self-help, spiritual)
6. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (fiction)
7. Plant a Geranium in Your Cranium by Barbara Johnson (Christian humor)
8. Wordstruck by Robert MacNeil (memoir)
9. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach (essays)
10. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
(Christian fiction)

There! Wasn't that fascinating? ☺

A lovely week to you...


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Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Condemnation



Christians are continually trying to change their lives; but God calls us to experience the exchanged life. Christianity is not a self-improvement program. It isn't a reformation project. It is a resurrection! It is new life! And it is expressed in terms of a total exchange of identity. Jesus Christ identified Himself with us in our
death in order that we might be identified with Him in His resurrection. We give Christ all that we were — spiritually dead, guilty sinners — and Christ gives us all that He is — resurrected life, forgiveness, righteousness, and acceptance. ~Bob George
Classic Christianity

used by permission


A wonderful week to you!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Tidy Ups

I woke late to a frosty morning. Never even smelled the coffee brewing.
  



John soon had a new pot of coffee going and I had an easy breakfast of an Apple Butter Bar. Hmmmmm...


Just look at that gooey yumminess.  I found the recipe right *here.* If you don't have apple butter lying around, Anneliese offers another suggestion. Gee, Anneliese's don't look as gooey as mine. Anyway, mine were good. Perhaps the egg was too big.

~*~*~


You may remember that earlier in the week I received some happy mail from Abby. While cleaning the house yesterday afternoon, I was about to tuck them away and just couldn't. So I cleaned out the apothecary 
jar — love that thing — and popped my treasures in and around the nest I keep there.


Now I can look at them again and again. Thanks to an idea I found at *Little Blue House* I cut the little piece of birch bark into a heart, wrote l o v e on it and popped it back in, too. That LBH idea has lots of potential. 

Do you have a place where you store and display your treasures?

A very happy weekend to you...
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Friday, October 25, 2013

In The Little Red School House

Great! It's Friday and I'm sorta back on track. 


That's the road home or one of them. The glowing white mailbox on the right is right beside the driveway to my little red school house.

Kindergarten, first and second grade were all accomplished within its brick walls. (Please forgive the blur...I am always passing by when I think to take a picture and John seems to think he needs some speed to make the hill.)


Because there are no buildings between my back lawn and the schoolhouse, if I were to walk out my patio doors here at the haven and down across my back lawn into the ravine and up the other side and do it all over again...I'm not sure how many times...I would eventually arrive on the playground you see at the right side of the building there. It's a parking lot now because it's an apartment house these days. (Once I even thought that I would like to move into an apartment there because I hoped that it would feel like home. Once I visited, not so much. The apartments are so very small.)


(Again, sorry for the blur — seems that life and memories can also be a bit of a blur.) See the windows? They've been modified making them much smaller and thus more energy efficient. Back in the day, they were large and a little scholar could look up and out to the treetops and sky. This was most conducive for daydreaming, something for which I was often admonished.

The bathrooms were in the basement and oh how I dreaded them. It was a horror to descend into the dungeon where the coal furnace lived rumbling and belching and where the janitor sometimes was seen before the flames shoveling coal. Because he was a kindly grandfatherly sort, I found it discomfiting that he was feeding that fire. We had an oil furnace at home. Still and all, we were toasty warm in that schoolhouse through the long, cold Maine winters. 

Though I loved school, my days were much too long since I arrived on the first bus run (our town owned only one bus in those days) and was delivered home at supper time on the last bus run. It was not very good planning on someone's part. I am told that my mother never complained on our behalf. Frankly, I still find that shocking. 

I remember having daydreams about little beds that children could climb into for naps. They floated up toward the ceiling in the large foyer between the classrooms. Cozy little things they were, too, for a daydream.

I really have far many more pleasant memories of schooldays in the little red school house than not. I remember all the teachers, the games we played at recess through the seasons of the year, the music, the stories, and the poems. My first grade teacher taught us Psalm 23 and told us that if we were ever in trouble that we would find it a good thing that we had committed it to memory. 

She may well have thought that we were in trouble since we had so many drills where we had to climb under our desks and huddle there with our hands over our heads. It was all about seeing a brilliant flash of light. Some of us of a certain age remember those experiences very clearly. 

Enough of Memory Lane for today...


~*~


We have recently gathered the winterberries and so I'll be able to make up my Christmas baskets in November. I do it early so I don't have to mess about in snow. If you haven't gathered yours, try to do it before too much longer or the birds and deer will have them all. October is the month!


 
My ivy and geranium are safely inside these days. We had snow in our forecast; it didn't come. Have you seen all the bloggers who have had snow already? Happyone lives in Maryland! Yup, it's just a matter of time...

Do you have a snow prediction for your corner this year? (I predict a warmish, short winter for mine. =D )
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Snickerdoodles~My Way

It's been a busy day, which is why I collapsed around three after making a cup of chamomile tea and grabbing two Snickerdoodles. I love those old standards and have, through trial and error, come up with a recipe that is a modification of a number of Snickerdoodle recipes, which I find easier, more healthful, and just as yummy. The recipe is given here so that you may copy and paste or you may simply click on the link for an easy print. 

The changes I've made are using butter (no shortening) and less butter than some recipes call for. I also melt the butter, which means that I don't have to wait for butter to arrive at room temperature and I don't have to bother with the whip the sugar and butter until fluffy bit. Life's too short for all those extra steps.☺ Sugar and cinnamon ratios are much different as well because we prefer less cinnamon.

Vee's Snickerdoodles
Ingredients: 
* 1 ½ sticks melted butter
* 1 ½ cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
                ***                
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Method:
Allow eggs to come to room temperature.  Mix dry ingredients and use whisk to combine. (If using salted butter, do not add more salt.) Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, add butter slowly to dry ingredients, add eggs, add vanilla. Mix with mixer until well incorporated. Using a cookie scoop, drop formed balls into the mixture of white sugar and cinnamon. This ratio of sugar to cinnamon can be modified to your family's preferences. Ours prefers less cinnamon than normal for digestive purposes.
Bake 9 mins in a 400° oven
Allow to cool three to five minutes on the pan and then remove to a rack. Yield: 36 cookies 
*Printable Recipe*

Now I'm off to read a cozy...this little murder mystery, which is a long way from my usual reads. I just want to read something light and easy to leave.

~by Maggie Sefton~

It may be that I chose this one for the colors alone!

I do plan to get back on my usual track by morning.

A delightful evening to you!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In the Mail Postscript

 ~this gives stamped envelope a whole new meaning♥♥~

About an hour after I posted yesterday, would you believe another sweet package arrived in the mail? It's like Post Office Central around here and I love it! I think that Bloggers are single handedly trying to revive the USPS.









Love the design of this adorable little sachet. It's giving me ideas for those Trader Joe's lavender sachets...


As it so happens, I know of one in my church family who could use a little happy mail. I'm off to whip up something quick. It won't be as dear as my sweet package was, but it doesn't have to be perfect to be a blessing.

Thank you, Sweet Abby at *Little Birdie Blessings.* Your thoughtfulness has been a great joy to me! Abby's thoughtfulness can be a great joy to you, too, as she has so many beautiful vintage images to share. Check it out!

Create a great day now...

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