Monday, December 24, 2018

Kind of Beserk!


For an explanation of that title see the featured post in my sidebar. It never fails. I always find myself slightly harried as I get ready for hosting Christmas. I would like a Silent Night sort of Christmas Eve, but some character flaw has me in its grip. ツ I sure hope that you are better prepared in your corner than I am in mine.




I so enjoy preparing a Bunte Teller (photo below). It's an easy way to offer treats all in one location. Bunte Teller is German for colorful plate. This one has had many more things added since I began building yesterday.


Currently, I am listening to the radio, though I really like the mix of sacred and secular carols on this You Tube video. You can find it *here.*  The graphics are wonderful.

 See?

My gift to you is to close comments so you can read, look, and scoot!  Thank you for your visit. 



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'Tis the Season for Pictures and Gratitude

Found myself with some time on my hands and, since I have many thanks to give, surprise! (I'll try not to chat too much.)


My friend Shane at Roses Lace and Brocante blog sent me a sweet Christmas package with these treasures all the way from New Zealand. 




tea towel, delicious chocolate, sweet angel




Christmas Sweater Tea Towel♥ 


Thank you, Shane! What a blessing you are!

The next package to arrive came from Karen at Life is Good.




Welsh Cookies...hmmm, if my math were better, I'd know how many calories three might be ツ





These plates are the real McCoys Hummels. Karen explained that she had quite a few from her mother's collection and was sharing two. I was gobsmacked. I have always loved Hummel. I'm naming mine Laurel and Adam. ☺ (Not quite their years, but very close.)

Karen, thank you so much. I will treasure them. And the cookies were uniquely delicious. I've never had anything like them. 

Would you believe there is more?




This totally unexpected package came from Sara at Across My Kitchen Table. I could smell the wonderful sachet and soaps  before I ever opened the package. By the way, Sara is posting daily in her kitchen blog where you can find lots of wonderful recipes and tips. The link is listed in her sidebar.

Thank you, Sara. I will think of you whenever I smell these wonderful soaps and, as you know, the sachet is hanging in my tree.

Lastly, Deanna from Creekside Cottage sent me this scarf...I think it has a more specific name. I love the colors and I really appreciated it last Monday when it was windy and bitter cold. She made this with her own hands. 

I look weird because I ran myself through the diffuser a few ten times

Thank you, Deanna! It's going to keep me nice and warm.


My Auntie and her daughter-in-law could have used a scarf like mine when they were visiting my Uncle Red's grave at Arlington this week. She visits every year for Wreaths Across America and I always look forward to seeing the photo. It is a gift! My aunt is my father's eldest sister. 

Thank you, Aunt Marjorie!



Wishing you a Merry Christmas today just in case...though I actually hope to return one more time before Christmas. I just love Christmas. It's getting a little more challenging to Sparkle...the spirit is definitely willing; the body is tuckered. How're things going at your place?










Saturday, December 8, 2018

Comfort and Joy

Hi there! How's the Sparkling going? ッ

Some days are better than others, right? I am so glad that The Lord remains unchanging no matter what is going on with me.

First of all, I want to thank all those who commented and those who sent emails (without commenting on the actual post) regarding the What's the Point post. We should certainly be respectful of differing opinions and get along. I have heard of several teachers within the last few weeks who took it upon themselves to tell their classrooms of young children "the truth" as they saw it. Not good. Not at all good. 

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As I wandered over to my laptop, I thought that this might be my last post before Christmas. I'll just whisper that because I might get the inclination to post again. I never really know, but just in case, I'm wishing you the joy of a true Christmas. I hope that you celebrate, make merry, feast, and delight in the love of family and friends. Spread the joy all over the place, too, while you're at it!

I have a few links to share today and a few pics of my decorating and baking and what not...


Here's that tree I mentioned last time all decked out with every ornament I can find in the house. Most years, I don't bother to open every Christmas box; this year, I did. 

While I'm chatting about Christmas trees, my friend Mona from The Hidden Art of Homemaking blog and Instagram has the most enchanting tree. She used all her Shiny Brite collection and created a delight. You can find her post right πŸŽ„hereπŸŽ„. Think of all the hours that it took her! I love it!

More decorating in a bit... 

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I have actually been baking some in recent days. I made apple hand pies for John's sister Judy earlier in the week. I am not supposed to be eating hand pies, but they looked and smelled so good that I ate the imperfect looking one because it had no sugar and no calories. ッ



"That is a blatant lie" you say. Yes, well, I am quite capable of that. Why just today at the Transfer Station while recycling my old egg boxes, a gentleman who works there said that lots of folks who raise chickens appreciate the cartons. Yes, I said blithely, "My niece raises chickens."

"Oh, how many chickens does she have?" 

"Twenty-two," I responded. 

< insert *thud* >

I am sure that this will come as quite a shock to my niece who may not even have two. Why did I say that?! I didn't have time to think about it. Perhaps I am in need of drama. Anyway, I may have to tell that man that I am a liar, but I thought perhaps if I told you...

Okay, where was I?

Oh, yes, John's sister Mary came for lunch on Wednesday and we had a chicken casserole. I made her an acorn squash boat with butter and maple syrup. (You can't make me eat squash.) For dessert we had a molten lava chocolate cake with peppermint stick ice cream. Delicious. After all that, we went Christmas shopping. 

Yesterday, Sis arrived and we had a cookie baking day. We made many of those recipes that our mom would have made back in the day. We were hoping that they'd taste just the same; they didn't. Nevertheless, we had a fun day. If you're on Instagram, you may have seen that story.

One thing I learned all over again was that we need to read a recipe all the way through before we assume that we know what we are doing. Ahem.



So today I made sure to get reacquainted with my cookie press. I remember the first time I used this gizmo, John had to gently take it from my hands and get acquainted with it himself. Then he explained it to me. I found it that complicated. One of those discs up there is almost destroyed because of that episode. Apparently, I had put it in upside down.















I did better today even though you can tell by looking closely that things were not perfect. There are sprinkles everywhere and I do mean everywhere.

This is the recipe I used today.

Cookie Press Shortbread

1 cup butter (room temperature)
½ cup conf sugar
¼  tsp vanilla (I used an entire tsp)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and use favorite discs to create your cookies. Bake at 275°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly brown.

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Have you finished your shopping? I almost have and I must say that I found my blogging friends' online shops most helpful. I can't show everything, but in a moment of weakness, I had a Merry Christmas to me moment.



This sweet camera bag was created by the incomparable 
πŸŽ„Stephanie at The Enchanting RoseπŸŽ„ and purchased through her shop, which you can find listed in her top bar at the blog. I did not order the sweet little bag filled with teas, but Stephanie was very generous. I do love that Buttermint tea from Twinings.

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So here we are back at decorating again. Mary, John's sister and not the Mary depicted, had mentioned that she needed some grass for her Nativity scene. When a package arrived with all of this straw-like packing material, I put it to good use and saved some for her, too. (It's that big ball of straw right behind the shepherd boy.)



I am using a lot of battery operated light strings with the "seed" lights. I haven't quite figured them out because the Nativity lights come on when I least expect them. I was up in the night and there they were burning in all their Shekinah glory. ☺It was rather pleasant, almost as if I had caught the animals speaking at midnight on Christmas Eve. 




I always said that I would never have curtains in this dining room window. 
 The Pella windows have inner blinds, alas, the center blind failed and Pella no longer services them. While I decide what to do about that, I ordered these lace panels. I decided that πŸŽ„Brenda's beautiful lace curtainsπŸŽ„ had influenced me.







It has been wonderful to see so many sacred classic Christmas Carol phrases being used in decor. Joanna Gaines has famously used "A Thrill of Hope." All of this caused me to ponder what I would share with folks if I were in a position to share. This is it: Comfort and Joy.* May they be yours today and every day!




*(Copied from a lovely graphic at Pinterest)