Thursday, November 29, 2007


Tomorrow night Earl and I are hosting the dessert part of a progressive dinner for our Adult Bible Fellowship at our church. I haven't gotten lights strung on the front porch because it has been very cold and windy and I just hate cold wind! I hope it will warm up just a little just long enough for me to put the lights up soon. Anyway, to greet our guests tomorrow night I pulled some old green jars out of the basement, washed them up, tied some ribbon on and dropped in some tea lights.
I know these pictures are dark, but the glow of the candles on the front porch makes me think that even if I don't get the lights up this year....
It will be ok. I will take some pictures of the party to share tomorrow:>)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What it's all about...

My husband is working on a little building to go with this set, but I couldn't wait to show you one of my most prized possessions. This nativity set belonged to my dear grandmother. She kept the holy family displayed year round, but brought out the rest for Christmas. I have always loved this set.

The shepherds have LOTS of sweet sheep!
The wise men are arrayed in their fanciest robes and carry such beautiful gifts for the Christ child.

I love the sweet faces painted on each one and it just seems so much more detailed than the sets you buy today. I don't know how old it is but I know I remember it from the 60's when I was little. I am quite sure it is older than that. I was so pleased to get Grandmothers nativity set when she passed away, because it always brings back sweet memories of her and the homey farmhouse she and grandpa lived in. I just wanted to share it with all of you. Earl and I have quite a few ornaments and things from grandparents and they are truly treasures. I will share some more when we decorate the tree!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have been hanging more pictures in the living room. I got this set of three frames at a yard sale for $6. They had old faded rose prints in them that had seen better days but I loved the frames. I had also picked up a book of Audubon prints for $1 a couple years ago and was saving it to frame some of the prints. So this is the result! It is hard to take a picture without getting a reflection in the glass that makes it hard to see the print so I took these at an angle.
The wall they are on was a huge blank for so long, I decided they belonged here and I really love how they turned out. My darling husband loves birds, and so do I, so it was a great way to put some in the house. The lighting is a little dark, again I was trying to get the glare of sunlight out of the photo, but the wall color is a little more accurate than the photos I took of the wreath over the sofa a couple days ago! I am slowly getting things decorated, Christmas is a great incentive to get the house in order, suddenly all the little disorganized spaces in the house are just screaming to be handled! Being stuck inside for the winter will hopefully get me going on some things I have been putting off because there were fun things to do outside:>) This weekend we get our Christmas tree (always a live tree at our house!) and I hope to have most of the decorating finished by then for the first Sunday of Advent. We love to celebrate Advent and make it special family time and time to slow down and remember the real focus of the season. It is one of the things our daughters look forward to the most! Do you celebrate Advent?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's begun....

I have been spending a little time in my Christmas boxes, I thought I had so much more than I am finding, maybe it is just that I need a change. I am using a lot of bright red in the living room this year. I saw this idea in one of my Christmas decorating magazines and remembered I had a big gold frame that I had thrifted this summer down in the basement. The wreath was a 60% off deal this weekend at Joanne Fabrics. I still hadn't hung anything on the wall since painting this summer (I am indecisive if nothing else) so I started thinking about what I wanted on the walls for the holiday season. I think this turned out pretty well. The daughters looked at me like I was looney when I told them about it, but loved it once it was up:>) I also had some old silk poinsettias stored away, and had gotten this little carriage at a yard sale for $1 this summer and set it aside. I stuck some foam in it and added the flowers and now it sits in the bay window. I am having a great time finding new ways to use things and doing something a little different this year. Decorations I have used in the past just seem a little tired and I love to create new things. I will still use our family ornaments on the tree, but I think everyone enjoys a change. What have you done to decorate this year?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Well we had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I got the table set and then when guests began arriving never picked the camera up again so no pictures of the food! I could line up the leftovers but there are precious few of those too..I'm eating veggies today to make up for my disgusting lack of control yesterday! No shopping with the crowds for me today, I detest crowds, so today I am working on projects and Christmas decorating! Yay! I've already begun digging through the Christmas boxes and planning out the day. We wont get the tree until the first of December, but we have the dessert portion of a progressive dinner here next friday night so I want the house to sparkle:>) Come to think of it, maybe I should be eating vegetables all week in preparation!
All right, I confess, I am not just eating vegetables! What am I ? Superwoman?! I did intend to be a good girl and stick to my diet yesterday and today but the cornbread stuffing and gravy was calling my name and it would be rude not to answer wouldn't it? Well wouldn't it!?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

The day before the big event, I have a lot of cleaning, cooking and last minute shopping and decorating to do! I will get it all done, it is just a few things here and there since I got most finished in fits and starts over the past few days. I wish each of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving full of reminders of our Heavenly Fathers good and perfect gifts:>)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sausage and cornbread stuffing

Photo courtesy of :
As promised I am posting my husbands Sausage and cornbread stuffing although it should be called, sausage, pecan, cornbread, dried fruit, incredible yummy stuffing! It's his own recipe, he does Thanksgiving every year, I just clean the house & decorate (yeah, how blessed am I?) and, just like most good cooks, he doesn't have a recipe written down. You can
put in whatever dried fruit you like or have on hand, it will still be great. I like this because it has that slightly salty/sweet combination with the cornbread, sausage and fruit giving you so many flavors. It has a drier texture than the lumpy white bread stuffing, but it is still moist and flavorful. So if you think you want to try this and have any questions email me, all comments go to my email too. I will be checking Thanksgiving morning. This really is easy and I love it!

Cornbread Stuffing for Turkey

2 boxes Jiffy (or your favorite brand) Corn Muffin Mix, prepared as loaves of cornbread
1 Lb. Pork Sausage (plain, sage, or your preference)
½-1 Lb. Onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1-2 Cups Pecans, toasted
1-2 Cups Dried Fruit (Apricots, Cranberries, Raisins, Apples, Peaches, Cherries or a mixture—avoid tropical fruits)
2-3 Fresh Apples (any good cooking variety will do)
3 Eggs
1-2 Cups Chicken Broth or homemade stock
½ Stick Butter, melted
Sage and Thyme to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tuesday or Wednesday
Prepare the cornbread. When cool enough to handle, break the loaves into rough chunks and let stand until Thursday morning. Brown the sausage thoroughly. Drain, reserving fat. Crumble finely. Refrigerate both until Thursday morning.

Thursday Morning
Dice Onion and celery. Cook over medium heat in reserved sausage fat until softened and somewhat caramelized. While onions cook, peel core and chop the apples. Chop any larger dried fruits into uniform small pieces. Toast the pecans in a 375*F oven on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times to avoid burning. When nuts are cool, crumble them coarsely in your hands. You’re looking for crunchy little nut fragments, not dust. Crumble the cornbread into small pieces (about ½”-1”).

In a large bowl, mix the cornbread, sausage, dried fruits, caramelized onions, and pecans. Add sage and thyme to taste. Grind some black pepper over the mixture, and add a little salt if you feel it needs it. Use your hands to blend the ingredients, looking for a uniform appearance. Drizzle the chicken broth and melted butter over everything and remix. Taste a small amount of the stuffing and correct the seasoning to your preference. Scramble the eggs and pour them over everything, blending them in well. Don’t taste the stuffing once the eggs are added.

With a large scoop or spoon, place the stuffing into the cavity, packing it in very lightly. You can stuff the neck cavity, if desired. If you have extra stuffing, spoon it into a buttered baking dish and set it in the oven the last hour or two of turkey roasting time (the time it takes to bake the extra stuffing will depend on how much there is—look for a nicely browned crust on top when done). Roast the turkey according to cookbook or package directions, making sure to follow the timetable for stuffed birds. Basting the stuffing in the baking dish with a bit of the turkey drippings during roasting will help its flavor and moistness.

Note: I’m stuffing a 20 lb. bird with this recipe. If yours is smaller, adjust the proportions accordingly (unless you’re a real stuffing fiend).
I am thankful for the love of God that surrounds me and goes with me every day:>)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but now is when the pressure starts to build for Thanksgiving for me. Time to make sure the linens are washed and pressed, the house spiffed up and decorated, and everything is clean as a whistle. I pull out some of the turkeys for decorations.

Polish the yard sale silver collection:>)
and maybe rearrange the shelves a bit, just so things look fresh.
Then, the cooking and baking will begin. Earl and I both had today off so we started it with breakfast out and some errands and (gulp) Christmas shopping! There, I admitted it, I did some shopping before Thanksgiving! I think it takes some of the pressure off to start early. I know some of you don't agree, but I am sure each of our schedules and activities for the season are different. Then out to buy the turkey and fixins and get it started thawing. We got a 20 pounder so we would have lots of delicious leftovers! By the way, we stopped by a new, huge Salvation army today and I could not believe the prices! A used bed, $300.00! a stained antique picture in a chipped frame $300.00! I kid you not! Are any of the rest of you finding the thrift places hiking their prices like that? Crazy! I saw lidded jars (used!) that they had $30 price tags on, I can get one new at Marshalls for $14 or less! I just couldn't believe it. There were lots of things that I could have bought new for less than the prices they had scrawled on the used filthy stuff. Anyway, we left in disgust. I probably wont donate to Salvation army anymore if they are going to ream people. Those are retail prices and more but the retail stores have to buy their stock, it isn't donated! So that is my rant for the day,LOL. Back to my cleaning. Anyone else out there starting to feel the pressure?
Ooh! I forgot my thankful thing for todays post! I am thankful for never being hungry, for the bounty of blessings God has given us, and for the smell of wood smoke on a crisp autumn day:>)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?"

John Greenleaf Whittier
As promised I am sharing the Chocolate and pumpkin marbled cheesecake that has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our household. Our girls insist on this treat over any other dessert. You won't be surprised to know that I got this recipe out of the pages of Victoria magazine, back in one of their "vintage" issues. It is also in the pages of the Victoria cookbook called "At table with Family & Friends". This picture comes from another source but is the closest I could come to what the cheesecake looks like. it is easy to make and will feed a large group of people easily. We usually have 12-20 people at Thanksgiving and have always had plenty for everyone. The cookbook says it serves 12-16 people but you can stretch it further because it is sooo rich:>P If anyone tries it please let me know how you liked it!
Graham cracker crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP. granulated sugar
4 TBSP melted butter
1 cup miniature chocolate pieces

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate pieces
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese- softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 16 oz. can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Butter a 10 inch spring form pan. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and the butter. Press mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle crust with 1 cup chocolate pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3.To make cheesecake, melt 1 cup chocolate pieces in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and the brown sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the eggs and evaporated milk until blended. Sift in the cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat just until mixed.
5. Stir 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture into the melted chocolate. Mix until evenly blended.
6. Pour the remaining pumpkin filling into the crust. Spoon the chocolate mixture on top of the filling in small mounds. Swirl the chocolate into the pumpkin with a knife. Place the spring form pan on a baking sheet.
7. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the edge of the filling is set. The center will jiggle. Turn off the heat and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
8. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

(Photo credit: Nestle,

I am thankful for good food and good friends!

Monday, November 12, 2007

And the winner is....

Hi, I did say I would do the drawing for my give-away today. Sorry it is so late but the winner is...
Thrifty Miss Priss who makes the most adorable aprons and other crafty things! Check out her blog and say hello and Congratulations:>) I want to thank everyone for the sweet comments and visits. I had a great weekend and am looking forward to the holidays that begin next week with Thanksgiving. My hubby will be sharing his recipe for stuffing and I will be sharing the pumpkin chocolate swirl cheesecake recipe that has become our Thanksgiving tradition. I really can't wait to share Christmas decorations and visits with everyone. Sharing ideas just makes everything more fun!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gratitude Gala

Well, this is Gratitude gala weekend! I am posting a little early because tomorrow after work I am heading north to a womens retreat for the weekend. I have so much to be thankful for, but it all starts here
With this man. I am so grateful that God gave me my sweetheart, this man who hates to have his picture taken (sorry babe!) is the best guy in the whole world! He brings me flowers for no reason, supports me in everything I do and loves me unconditionally! I can honestly say he changed my life with his love for me. He is a wonderful dad to these two....

And what can I say about my girls? They are the joy of my life! Two sisters who love each other to the moon and back:>) Who bring fun and laughter and happiness into our lives every day.

These are some of my favorite pictures of them, taken December of 2005, I came home from work, grabbed them and threw them outside and told them they were posing for our Christmas cards! The pictures capture their fun loving spirits and joy in life. I love my family so much!

I am grateful that God has given me my own little cottage and gardens to enjoy. A place of warmth and love and safety. A place to be creative and to enjoy the company of friends and family. I am so grateful for the friendly, fun community of bloggers I have discovered just this year! There are so many things to be thankful for, I doubt I could even begin to list them all here, but to show my gratitude I am having a Thanksgiving give-away! Leave a comment on this post and you will be entered in a drawing for this Autumn gift cone, filled with fun surprises
I will draw a name on Monday and send it out in plenty of time for Thanksgiving. I think this whole month I will end my posts with more things I am grateful for. I have a long list and the month is probably not long enough to even begin to tell how blessed I am, but I'm going to try:>)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blueberry cobbler

I was in a baking mood tonight so I dug through the freezer looking for some blueberries and whipped them up into individual portions of warm blueberry cobbler. Yum! I found these little baking dishes at an estate sale this summer and as it turns out they work wonderfully for little desserts. You probably can't see but the outside of them is a beautiful pale blue. I had mine with whipped cream. By candle light. It doesn't get any better than that:>)
Here is the receipe if you want to make your own:
Heat oven to 400. Blend 1/2 cup sugar, 1 TBSP cornstarch, 4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) and 1 tsp lemon juice. Cook , stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil & stir 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole. Keep fruit mixture hot in oven while preparing biscuit topping.
Measure 1 cup flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 1/2 teasp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt into bowl. Add 3 Tbsp. shortening and cut in, add 1/2 cup milk and mix until dough forms a ball. Drop dough by spoonsful onto hot fruit.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown. Serve warm and, if desired, with cream.:>)

Candle light

One of the things that I do not love about autumn? The shorter days. I am a person who needs light! So when the days get shorter and colder, out come the candles! My favorite tea light holders are these glass block star shaped ones. Earl got them for me years ago and I have been on the lookout for more ever since with no luck. I love the star shape with the glow of candles for the holidays. It is a symbol of the star that guided the wise men to Jesus. I also have these hanging star tea light holders that I use in the dining room. It is often dark when Earl gets home from work and I like the warmth of the candles in the windows welcoming him home to a warm dinner and the love of his family. I light these almost every night in the winter, and whoever is out at night enjoys coming home to a cozy looking house. I use candles all through the house and buy the tea lights in bulk. We don't have a fireplace so the warmth and glow of candles fills that need nicely. What are some of your ideas for using candles during the holidays?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hope your Saturday was better than mine...

I had an interesting Saturday! Earl and I spent most of the day cleaning the basement,or rather, I cleaned the basement while he cleaned the duct work. Yikes! You see, we got an estimate for having someone else clean the duct work and they wanted $500, so being the frugal do-it-yourself types we decided we could do it ourselves. Sometimes I hate being a do-it-yourself kind of person, it means a lot of dirty work and blowing perfectly lovely Saturdays in the bowels of your home! Anyway, we got that done and Earl wanted to bake a couple cheesecakes as pastor appreciation gifts so I ran to the shopping center with my youngest daughter, Victoria, to get some cake boxes. As we are leaving, with Vicky driving, some lady comes out of a side drive and T-bones the van! Poor Victoria, who is on her level one permit was very upset, because as a student driver I am sure she thought it was her fault and that she would get in trouble. I told her it wasn't her fault in any way but with the police coming I think she was still nervous about what they would say! Well we got the nicest female officer who walked her through the whole process, assured her it was not her fault and that these things happen and people make mistakes. Everyone involved was fine but the woman who hit us hit the front passenger side tire and axle on the van so it was undrivable and had to be towed. We have full coverage and I think the other drivers insurance might pick up our deductible. I was able to keep my cool through the whole thing and didn't even get angry with the woman who hit us. Earl came and got us, and the funny thing was, he had already picked up some cake boxes a couple days before and hadn't mentioned it to me so we really didn't even need to have gone on that errand! A friend will lend us his car until ours is fixed (he works at a dealership so he can use one of their vehicles) so it wasn't the end of the world or anything. I am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing today after church though! And how was your weekend?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Appetizer for the Blissful party

Melissa at The Inspired Room is having a satellite party today for the Blissful. She has asked us to bring our favorite appetizer and this looks like just the ticket. Crab dip in little phyllo dough shells. I love little finger foods like this for the holidays. Easy to eat and yummy! Here is the recipe (and don't forget to join Melissa for the party!)
Crab DIp in Phyllo Shells:>)
1 cup cooked crabmeat or one 6-ounce can crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or green onion
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dillweed or 1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or lime peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice or lime juice
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and black pepper
Finely chopped red or green onion (optional)
Assorted crackers and/or vegetable dippers
1. In a small bowl stir together crab, mayonnaise, sour cream, the 2 tablespoons onion, the 1 tablespoon dill, the 1 teaspoon lemon peel, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, and, if desired, cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
2. Transfer dip to a serving dish. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. If desired, garnish wtih finely chopped red or green onion. Serve with crackers or vegetable dippers.
3. Makes about 1-1/3 cups
4. Crab Tartlets: Prepare dip as above through step 1. Spoon dip into 30 miniature phyllo dough shells (two, 2.1-ounce packages). For a hot appetizer, place the 30 miniature phyllo dough shells on a large baking sheet. Spoon dip into phyllo shells. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until heated through. If desired, garnish with finely shredded lemon peel and fresh dill sprigs.Per tartlet: 62 cal., 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 8 mg chol., 52 mg sodium, 3 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein. Daily Values: 1% vit. C, 1% calcium, 1% iron. Exchanges: 1 Fat

Happy November 1st!

I'll tell you the truth, I'm glad Halloween is over. Never been a favorite holiday and now we get down to the good stuff! Penny at Lavender Hill is asking about our favorite Thanksgiving traditions so I thought I would share mine. Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories are from when the girls were little. We still host the holiday at our house every year but when they were little EVERYONE was there, sometimes right down to aunts uncles & cousins and sometimes their guests! Now heres the thing, our dining room is 12x14, not huge. We have had up to 23 people around our humble table on these occasions and it was easier when the children were little because you could squeeze them here and there and at the childrens table. Not so easy now that they are adult size! We are fortunate to have a beautiful antique table that stretches to 104" long, and we put it corner to corner in the room. We always have everyone bring their favorite dish but Earl does the turkey & stuffing (cornbread with pecans and dried cranberries) and his specialty pumpkin/ chocolate swirl cheesecake. We have pumpkin and pecan pie too and his sister Karen brings home baked rolls and we always have too much to eat and tons left over. When the kids were little we did Christmas crafts with them after dinner and then all sat around talking and trying not to fall asleep. it is always a fun family day and we dont care if we are all a little crowded because we love each other and we love our kids:>) Can you see why I love it? It is a great time to be thankful for all we have and our wonderful families and a great kick-off to the best season of all!
On another note, tomorrow Melissa at the Inspired Room is hosting a satellite party for The Blissful and hosting a great surprise give-away! Run over there and check it out because it promises to be a fun and beautiful start to the holidays! I know I'm going:>)