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. 


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... 


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.


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.


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)


  1. What a joyous post, Vee. It looks so festive and welcoming in your Christmas haven. The tree is gorgeous and so full of light. Your hand pies are making my mouth water! And your cookies are pretty. I used to make those spritz cookies growing up and found the old tin spritz cookie contraption a lot easier to work with unlike the new ones. I made cookies with the grands today. They wanted chocolate chip--their favorite. Have a relaxing evening. ♥

  2. My goodness what an uplifting post. It was indeed a 'comfort and joy' to stop by and see your lovely decor. The tree was a delight, it looks beautiful. The cookies looked delicious, made with love and that is all that matters. Wishing you a wonderful season.

  3. Mona's tree is gorgeous! I don't think I have ever seen that many Shiny Brit ornaments in one place at a time!
    I have a cookie press and really enjoy using it. I like the selection of discs mine has.
    Your tree is so pretty. I need to put mine up still.

  4. Oh, MY! I loved my visit with you this morning as I love my every visit! Your tree is beautiful! You sure have been busy shining like a star yourself this Christmas season! I have a cookie press. Somewhere. This will motivation to clean out that cupboard of mine and see if it’s still there!
    Merry Christmas, Vee....

  5. The tree is gorgeous. Your decorations look so pretty. Yum on the food and cookies.

  6. Such a pleasure to read this post and see your photos, Vee. You make me smile and I like to smile. We were just discussing with our kids last night what they were going to teach Addy about Santa. They hadn't thought about it but now they are discussing it. Hope your week is Merry and Bright!

  7. Very lovely post! Yes Stephanie is so very talented and such a sweet soul! Enjoy the rest of your day!


  8. Wonderful post! I enjoyed reading along.

  9. Comfort and Joy. I feel comforted and joyful when I read this blog post. I love the wood paneling in your house. Your decorating style is sooo homey and warm. Your tree is delightful.

    I, too, am using the battery-operated lights a little more every year. They are really pleasant. I love that you fancy you caught the stable nativity animals talking at midnight.

  10. What a joyful post, Vee! I love it. My sparkle is slowing getting underway. It's been very busy lately and today we go to Emily's for Advent Singing and kaffee und kuchen. Aldi's have some wonderful German Christmas cookies this time of year! I have a lot of present wrapping to do, but am using gift bags a lot! You are having a truly beautiful Christmas home this year!

  11. What a lovely happy Christmas post.
    Your tree is beautiful and I love your lace curtains. Very pretty.
    Sounds like lots of fun baking cookies with your sister.
    Ken and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

  12. Your tree is beautiful and those cookies look yummy! I also like your lace curtains!

  13. I love your tree! It has been pleasant to see so many using the happiness of the season for inspiration in dΓ©cor.

  14. I loved visiting your home on this Christmas season (via your blog) and hearing about all the delightful things you've been doing. Your tree is lovely. Thank you Vee. ~ Abby

  15. Oh Vee - your tree certainly does sparkle!!! Mine is barely up and I do mean "barely" - no decorations yet, just the lights. I love your chalk board quote and might be stealing it for mine! Those hand pies and cookies have my mouth watering. This coming week might see some baking over here - no promises tho!
    Take care my friend and if I don't "see" you till after Christmas, may you have a joyous and peaceful one! Hugs!

  16. Thank you for pointing us to Mona's tree - I really loved it!

    My favorite part of this post of yours was your lying! You made me laugh out loud. I will have to come back again before Christmas because I can use more Ho Ho Ho'ing in this season :-)

  17. Oh, and my laughing made me forget that I loved YOUR tree and the whole room that it fits so beautifully in. I was wondering to myself, Why doesn't MY tree ever look like that, and I realized it is because I don't have warm wood paneled walls, nor pillowed easy chairs or bookcase near my tree. That room is where I'd want to be in winter, and at Christmas especially.

  18. It all looks so cozy at your house. Your tree shining so bright makes me think I need more lights on ours! I LOVE your lace curtains. But I'm very partial to lace at windows. They look lovely. I haven't had my old (much older than yours) cookie press out in years. I love seeing your renewed energy this year. Me too, a little. Last year we didn't get our regular tree out but this year I had the energy. Grandson asked how that could be, that I would have more energy this year, since I was a year older than last year. Someday he'll understand, maybe. Lastly a comment on those battery "seed" lights. I got mine at WM. Once you turn mine on, they stay on for 6 hours, turn themselves off, and then in 18 hours they turn back on for 6 hours. Maybe that's up with yours. So you have to get it right when you first turn them on as they will keep coming on at that time until the batteries wear out. I think I may have solved my commenting problem. Let's see if this works ....

  19. This is completely full of Christmas Joy, Vee! Delights around every corner! I want to do some baking this week, with my girls.
    Some of the lights have two on settings, one is a timer type thing. Dotsie mentioned it in her comment.

    Your tree is lovely, by the way! And your lace curtains are lovely, too!

    You are truly Sparkling this season!

  20. Your tree looks sooooo beautiful, Vee, and your hand pie is calling to me! I love lace, and I think your window looks charming and enchanting. How fun to bake with your sister. Our sweet friend, Stephanie, does beautiful work, doesn't she? When I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie and Debbie, Stephanie gifted me with a pack of the buttermint tea, and I loved it, too. She's such a dear. Now you need to try some Comfort and Joy tea, to complement your pretty chalkboard message.

  21. I forgot to mention, the spritz recipe is the one I used with Harper, and that's the exact same cookie press, I have. Yes, it's frustrating when the disks are upside down!!

  22. This post made me laugh and since I woke up with a sinus headache, that was a good thing!

    I'm making shortbread cookies today, using my only shortbread mold that I kept (a Christmas mold). Otherwise, I prefer just rolling them into a log and slicing them once they are chilled. But this mold makes them a festive Christmas gift.

    Oh... I learned a long time ago to always read a recipe all the way through. A favorite cookbook author used to famously not include all her ingredients in the list given and suddenly one is in the middle of making it there is an unexpected ingredient!

  23. Oh Vee,
    Thank you so much for mentioning my tree. It has truly been a delight this year and I am so glad so many are enjoying it too.
    I love your post here. Feels like we have just had a nice visit.. had to laugh about Pella windows as they are our competitor and my husband is always telling people about issues like you have because they are frequent.. but I'm sorry you are having issues. anyway..
    Maybe your daughter will get funny..
    Merry Christmas to you.

    1. My daughter and chickens?! 😳 I can not even imagine. My niece does actually have chickens. She just doesn’t have twenty-two. πŸ₯΄ Now I am very curious about Pella’s competitor...

  24. I do believe this post was the next best thing to a face to face chat. I enjoyed this chance to see and hear about the Christmas plans taking place at your house. All looks lovely and the cookies look delicious. My sister and I had a standing cookie baking tradition until I moved to NC. I sure do miss those days. I'll just be glad to get any baked this year. I am still chuckling when I think of your chicken story.

  25. Oh, Vee, if I could write like you maybe I could do more posts. But, I am just run dry. I do so love to read what you post. It lifts me up and makes me smile. So, don't ever stop!! Have a Merry Christmas, friend of mine.

  26. Oh my...where do I begin... first of all, I knew that tree of your would be stunning and I was right. Your home is so warm and cozy. I did pop over to Mona's blog and her Shiny Bright tree is aMAZing! I would have to stop and catch my breath after placing all of those ornaments! I love the butter cookies but have never tried using the cookie press...I'll just enjoy others'. The packing material is perfect for the nativity and the tiny lights are perfect. And what's not to love about a lacy curtain, especially one as gorgeous as looks perfect there! It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas at your place! But you really must do something about that lying! Merry Christmas, dear Vee!

  27. I've got to come back and read this again and visit those links.

    I enjoyed "What's the Point" so much that I sent the link to a daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. They enjoyed it, too. I'm so glad you shared the experience here.

  28. How did I miss this lovely chatty post? Your tree looks bright and happy as Christmas trees should, and I do love the lace curtains you put up. The hand pie looks scrumptious and we all know that with the imperfect ones, the calories leak out immediately, falling to the floor in invisible crumbs.
    Comfort and Joy are wonderful things to share these days. We are all in need of it in this broken world. I am so glad that we know the giver and source of true comfort and joy.
    Blessings to you, Vee, as you prepare for Christmas. I hope, along with others, that the urge to post once again before Christmas hits you hard!

  29. Oh how I have enjoyed this post this morning as I sip on my coffee and eat peanut butter cookies I made! LOL! SO GOOD TOO! Love all the pictures and what an adorable camera bag. Your cookies look so good too! Loving your Christmas tree Vee. Speaking of recipes. I am SO BAD to add on and take off when it comes to reading the recipes and doing what it says. Sometimes I FAIL! That is what I get for not following the recipe. Other times...I have mastered a new technique. Hope you have a Very Merry Christmas Vee and a wonderful New Year. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  30. Ooooh, can I come over for hand pies and cookies? Everything looks soooo good!

    Your Christmas tree is stunning, Vee. I hope you have a most wonderful and beautiful Christmas Season.

    And oh, what a DOLL you are for sharing the camera bug. Wish I could give you a big hug!

  31. So many fun things here, I hardly know what to comment on. First off...the tree. It is beautiful! Smiling about the imperfect handpies meant for you! And now you reminded me of my favorite 'cookie press' Christmas cookies and I can't for the life of me remember what I did with my cookie press. Wishing you many blessings during this countdown to Christmas 2018. :)

  32. Vee, I love what you did with your window. Looks beautiful. As does that hand pie and the cookies. It's been years since I've made an cookies with a cookie press, don't even have it anymore. Maybe I'll just see what I can do with a pastry bag?

  33. Vee, your tree is gorgeous!! I am taking that recipe of shortbread press cookies and running with it saving it for our next cold front its still 80 degrees here I am longing for colder weather.

  34. Vee...this was your best post ever!!! I can tell you are in the spirit of Christmas and it's heartwarming to see...Merry Christmas love!

  35. It felt good to be in your home for the holidays Vee, Merry Christmas! You always make me smile and can feel the love you share and the words that make me think!
    May you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year...
    Hugs, Roxy

  36. I can't believe teachers would take it upon themselves to tell their classrooms the truth about Santa. I'll bet there were some pretty irate parents and rightfully so. I can't wait to try this recipe for Shortbread Spritz cookies! Time to get my old Super Shooter from the 70's out :) A Merry Christmas to you, Vee

  37. Comfort and joy is what I was blessed with through this wonderful and humorous post. I love your tree and the hay and lights surrounding your nativity. Your lace curtains are oh so lovely and the apple hand pies look scrumptious.

    I just signed up to get notifications via email of new posts from you.

    Have a wonderful pre-Christmas week ~ FlowerLady

  38. Those hand pies look amazing and delicious! It sounds like how I cook! Funny! Your tree is gorgeous and your nativity is beautiful. I love how you use the packaging for the setting. Have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year. xoox Su

  39. Those hand pies look amazing and delicious! It sounds like how I cook! Funny! Your tree is gorgeous and your nativity is beautiful. I love how you use the packaging for the setting. Have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year. xoox Su

  40. Oh, what a post full of beauty, warmth, good food, and that tree is stunning. I love your pretty wooden walls, warm and cozy.
    I am using a lot of battery powered lights this year, too. Wonder if yours are on a timer since they came on during the night. I have a candle that is on one and it lasts 5 hours and then turns off. Ck your lights.
    Have a wonderful Christmas...I hope you are doing ok...still have my good and bad days...but bad days not so often most of the time.
    Love to you, dear one.

  41. The tree is just gorgeous. I've not ever used a cookie press before, not even thought about it. Now I'm wondering whether to invest in one or not, you've got me thinking...

  42. This was truly a post full of comfort and joy, Vee. I had scanned through it back when you first posted it, but finally had a moment to come back and thoroughly enjoy it. Your tree is absolutely gorgeous and that hand pie is making me hungry. Off to see about some lunch ...


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