December 31, 2011

Hello to 2012 With Purpose....

I've heard it before.
I've said it myself.

2011 was....

Hmm, how does one
describe this year?

for some...
(Weddings, new babies
new apartments!)

for others...
(Loss of jobs, loved ones,
too much on the plate,
loss of self worth)

Isn't this how every year stacks up?
Some people just have better years than others.
Maybe that's how it is suppose to be.

Ponder this... 

I think we are suppose to be
so intertwined with each
other that when one of us has a
bad day, week, month or year,
others of us are there
to offer the open arms for a hug,
a listening ear, that proverbial glass
of cool water....

As a society, we've become quite
self focused. We've forgotten what it
is to be so much a part of another
person's life that we feel their pains & joys!

All of this to say, as this new year 2012
rolls in, my personal goal is to be

Purposeful in my use of time,
purposeful in my eating & activities
more purposeful in growing in my
faith walk with God,
and more 
purposeful in making and taking
time to 'smell the roses' along the way!

And, I'd like to say that I've seen the ocean,
at least once in this new year.... 
Geesh, it's only a couple of hours from here!

"For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the LORD,
  "plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
  plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Can you even imagine the thoughts
of Mary during her pregnancy or
the years of raising 'the Son of God'?

"The angel replied, ".......For nothing is impossible
with God."  Mary responded, "I am the Lord's
servant. May everything you said about me
come true." And the angel left her.

Portions of Luke 1:35-38

"Mary gave birth to her first child, a son.
She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid
him in a manger, because there was no
lodging available for them."

Luke 2:7

I pray that this during Holy-Day weekend
you will ponder the Truth about Christmas.

Remember that the same baby whose
birth we celebrate at Christmas, was born
for you and each of your loved ones!

He came that you and I would have LIFE...
not as we know it here on earth, but
LIFE with the Father in Heaven.

"For God loved the world so much
that He gave His one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in
Him will not perish but have
eternal life. God sent His Son into
the world not to judge the world,
but to save the world through Him."

John 3:16-17

You are greatly loved!

Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2011

Favorite Christmas Traditions....

We all have favorite Christmas traditions,
a few of mine are...
Christmas caroling,
Decorating our tree as a family,
Listening to Christmas music,
crocheting gifts & ornaments....
"White Christmas" and "It's A Wonderful Life",
Cookie Swaps....
Spending an afternoon with Gary making Chex mix
and singing Christmas carols!
 Gary is mixing up the "Puppy Chow"...
2 1/2 gallon Zip Lock bags are perfect
for mixing up batches of Chex Mix!!
 Gary is filling up the cup so he can ...
 pour it in to all of the gift bags!
Now he's all ready for Christmas....
Shhh... don't tell!
Gary and Lilly relaxing on the couch!
Ahhhh, now I'm almost ready for
one of the greatest, most important days
of the year!

December 18, 2011

Cookie Swap Fun

Last weekend some friends and I gathered
to have a cookie swap! We had a fun pot
luck lunch and Yankee swap too!
 We each made 4 dozen cookies ... some made
two batches of 4 dozen cookies!

Left to Right
Cindy, Rhonda, Rita, Jaqueline, myself
(Anne taking the picture)
Below, I'm taking the picture
and Anne is between Rita & Jaqueline!
(Sadly, a few friends had work
committments they couldn't get out of)

 Cindy & Anne checking out the
pretty packaging on one of the gifts!
Cindy was dubbed 'The Queen of Christmas'

We all had a wonderful time together! 

December 16, 2011

Christmas Must Be Something More

    I don't know if this
is a new song or one that has
been around for a while.
I just discovered it...
and I LOVE IT!!

At my first listening,
it made my eyes all misty.
 This song touched my heart and
I wanted to share with you!

December 14, 2011

Sugar Plum Fairy

This is sure to make you smile!

November 26, 2011

My Christmas Organizer

I found that "My Christmas Organizer" was
a very helpful tool for me last year and
decided to make another one for this year!

It is very simple to make...
Let's untie the bow and check it out!
The ribbon is attached on the back
only with double sided sticky tape
so I won't lose the ribbon when
I untie it to use!
 Simple enough to make... using one sheet of
colored card stock paper, I folded it to
accommodate the note paper I chose to use!
(Last year, I made a smaller one and cut down
note book paper.) This year, I didn't want to
be bothered so I used sheets from a
5X7 mini legal pad of paper!
 I have enough pages for lists of stores I need
to go to, page per person in my family for ideas,
family pages, crafts I'm working on and
shopping lists for them etc.

 Separate sections for food items for the
events that happen this month!
(Cookie Swaps, Tree Decorating Day,
Christmas Brunch, Christmas Dinner etc.)
I even included a page for "New Recipe Ideas"
that I may try this year....
 I included three envelopes! I folded the flap inside
and had to cut a little bit off the bottom so that
it would fit, but reinforced it with pretty paper!
There is an envelope for Store Receipts, Coupons,
and Misc. (maybe to hold a recipe card?)
These work great for section dividers!

Over all, I think it took me a couple of hours to
make, but it will help me keep all of my
Christmas ideas, lists, receipts etc. in one
place so I'm not soooo scattered all over!

It was fun to look back into last year's organizer
to see what I did, where I went etc.
I may even adapt a calender page to
 fit in it for next year!

November 22, 2011

God Speed Kim....

It's hard to say good bye.
The time has flown by so fast.
I'm thankful for the love and happiness
you've brought back into his life.

We will all miss you.
Your parents,
Your husband,
Your daughter,
Your grandson,
your friends,
and your extended family!

Praying that you'll be
untethered from this earthly
shell and on your
way into the Lord's arms
very soon.
We love you Kim & Andy!

November 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Travis!

Happy 24th Birthday Travis!

"Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.

For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just and protects
those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart, and
knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe."

Proverbs 2: 2-11

God Bless you and Keep you Sweetheart!

November 9, 2011


Just when you think you're finished....  someone you love brings home a bushel of apples! No, I'm not complaining. I made applesauce, we ate lots of them fresh, I've made apple pizza, apple bread, apple cake...  and now, I'm trying something new to me!

Freezing Apple Pie Filling

24 cups sliced, peeled baking apples (6-7lbs.)
3 TBsp. lemon juice
4 1/2 Cups sugar (I use half brown, half white)
1 Cup Cornstarch
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
10 Cups water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. In a large kettle, over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add apples, return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 - 7 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Ladle into freezer containers or freezer bags, 1 quart per container, and cool to room temperature before freezing! This is enough to make about five 9 inch pies!

After thawing, put it in a pie crust, dot with butter and seal with a top crust! I'm hoping it will be as yummy as it was smelling!

I made one and a half times the recipe, that's why there's more then 5 bags ready for the freezer!

October 28, 2011

This Morning...

Do you see what I see?

What do you see?

Extra layers of clothes
Windshields to scrape
2+ inches of snow on the railing
Walkway that might be slippery
Need of winter tires
A future of shoveling before work
COLD toes & fingers

shining over the trees and 
reflecting off the garage?

It may be the beginning of winter...
but I still know spring is on the way!

Life is all about perspective isn't it?!
I've always been a Pollyanna...
I've actually been called that by a few.

Well, anyone can see the doom and gloom.
It's so obvious, it's ready to ruin your mood
or day if you let it!


October 22, 2011

A-Z Get to Know Me

A. Apples or oranges?: Like them both... but apples make better pies and aren't so messy!
B. Bed: Queen size with quilts!
C. Chore you hate: Vacuuming the floors, don't know why, but I've always hated it!
D. Dog: Have had 3 dogs .... 1 as a child and 2 now!
E. Essential start to your day: Cup of hot tea with milk.
F. Favorite Color: Medium pinks, periwinkle blue and sage green!
G. Gold or Silver: Gold
H. Height: About 5' 5" I'm now the shortest in my house.
I. Instruments you play: Does the radio count? Played clarinet & bassoon in high school, but not anymore!
J. Job You Most Liked: Working at home with children!
K. Kids: Two adult sons and an adult daughter
L. Live in: New England and love it!

M. Make of Car: Don't have one at this time.
N. Nicknames: Mom, Mel, Auntie Mel
O. Overnight Hospital Stays: Tonsilectomy at age 4 then childbirth as an adult!
P. Pet Peeves: People who claim to have integrity but don't live like it.
Q. Quote from a movie: “Houston we have a problem!"
R. Right or Left Handed: Right
S. Scary Movies-yes or no: Absolutely No!
T. T.V. Shows: Crime shows; NCIS, In Plain Sight, Castle and Feel good shows like; Everwood, Wildfire etc.

U. Underwear: Yup!
V. Vegetable You Don't Like: Lima Beans, Shell Beans... GROSS!! Pretty sure it's a texture thing! 
W. What makes you run late: Sometimes the kids, sometimes the husband, most of the times... me, remembering the last minute things!
X. X-Rays: Teeth...
Y. Yummy Food That You Make: I like to make LOTS of things... breads, soups, pizza, jellies, pickles, roasts....  
Z. Zoo Animal: I like the looks of giraffs... The last time I was at a zoo I was 4!

Want to play along? 
Copy and paste the A-Z questions to your blog
and then change the answers so others can
get to know you too!

October 21, 2011

Roots & Squash Soup

Here's an interesting soup I made for dinner tonight! 
After reading the recipe from "Stuff I Feed Brian"
and having been wanting to use butternut squash as a base
 for soup, I'm trying this recipe!! I used the recipe almost as
written... but made a few adjustments for our family's
 taste. It is a soup that will be making its
way into the regular rotation here!!


1 small to medium butternut squash (or winter squash of your choice)
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
3 medium to large beets
Dash of salt

Peel & boil these veggies with just enough water to cover them.

Sweet red pepper - diced
1/4 vidalia onion - diced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Continue to boil until the veggies are soft.

Using a slotted spoon, remove about 3/4 of the veggies and put them
into a bowl. Use a potato masher to mash them up and then
add back to the remaining veggies still in the water/juices.
Stir in well. (You could also put the veggies into a blender
or food processor to mash or use an immersion blender!)

Add a hand full of cut up kale and/or beet greens and
cook on low for a few minutes,  just until the greens are wilted.

Serve warm with optional toppings of
sour cream, grated cheese, parm. cheese or plain yogurt
and salt & pepper to your own taste!
 (Warm cornbread is yummy with it too!) 

Be prepared for a DELICIOUS SOUP!
Your taste buds will be very excited
with the combination of  flavors!!
(Next time, I think I'm going to add
some back beans to it! Maybe make
it ahead and keep it warm in the crock pot!)


October 15, 2011

Grape Jelly

  My mom called the other day....  she had LOTS of
grapes on her vines and would I like some!?
OH YEAH....  we're in business now!

First of all I needed to get the majority of
the vines & twigs out of the grapes!

 I added just a little bit of water...  maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups
so they would begin to boil and smoosh easily!
Handy old potato masher mashes them down
really easily and within the hour the grapes are
simmering and the juices are smelling sooo good!

Using one of my favorite kitchen tools.... the
'Foley Food Mill'  the seeds, skins random twigs
all get separated on top and the juices and 'meat'
press through the mill into a pot or bowl below!

Voila! In no time at all the juice is ready

32 Cups of grape juice.....

Grape Jelly

5 Cups grape juice
1 Box of Sure-Jell

Bring this to a boil and then add
7 Cups of sugar and bring back
to a roaring boil (stirring continuously!)

 Boil for a full minute (or two). Skim the foam
from off the top and then carefully
pour into canning jars. Seal with lids and rings.
Each batch makes approx. 8 cups of jelly!


They all must be put into a boiling bath for 5 minutes.
Remove from the water and allow to cool!
Store in a cool dark area!

Here are two of the 5 batches I made today!!
I always put the little bit of leftover jelly
in a mug for immediate use!

I'd like to figure out a recipe to make
BBQ sauce with grapes.
I did do a search and found the
grape jelly and add stuff to it, but I
wonder if there is a way to just
make and can the BBQ sauce ahead of time?!
Hmmm, gonna have to think on that one ...
I know more grapes are on the way next week!

I shared this on Simple Lives Thursday!
Go check out what other fun ideas have
been shared this week....