Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Handmade Gifts and Games With the Families

Wanted to share the tin of Christmas treats I took the neighbors this year. Each house got a tin and a handmade Christmas card. Our neighborhood is going through some changes right now and we're getting more families with young children and babies on the way. One neighbor has a son the same age as Brooklyn. They are all very delightful, but I do admit it makes me feel old...

This pillowcase is one of the gifts we gave to Keith's mom. We saw the KIT at a local quilt shop and thought the fabric looked just like her. She's a very happy person, always laughing and she adores all sorts of bug fabric, including butterflies.

I worked on this and of course made an error, which meant I got to use my trusty friend Mr. Seam Ripper. Finished and so happy with the results. The funny part was when she opened it she thought we'd gotten her some butterfly fabric. Keith pointed out it was a pillowcase and she smiled and set it aside. The lightbulb came on later and she asked if I made it, then she got it back out to look over more carefully. She was stunned and amused to hear that I had used a pattern for a pillowcase and this started quite a discussion between my mother-in-law (a quilter extraordinaire), sister-in-law (who made exquisite tote bags for each of us - note to self: need to post a picture) and I about whether or not patterns are necessary when quilting or if it's better to wing it. We all were laughing quite a bit at the different way we each approached this.

This year we finally got back to playing games again. The picture above shows mother-in-law, Loni, Lynne' and sister-in-law Rhonda while we were playing Cranium. LOADS of fun and it was interesting to see what each person's "gift" was as far as charades, drawing, singing or spelling. Keith and I were talking about the games after we got home and we remember when the kids were little and we'd visit his family we'd always play games until the wee hours of the morning after the kids went to bed. Not sure when we got away from it, but after playing at Christmas I realized just how much I miss it.

We also played Cranium and Uno Attack when we were at my mom's house and again, I don't know whey we don't do it more often. It's fun to just laugh and have a good time together.

While playing Uno Attack back at Keith's folks house James took Miss B over to great grandma's organ and let her play. I swear this child will end up doing something musical or dance because she LOVES music. The minute she hears it she starts moving her shoulders to the beat and it just makes me laugh every time.

Good times.....

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. - Psalm 145:3-4

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brooklyn and Joe at Christmas

For some reason Brooklyn just loves Joe.  But Joe is not quite as fond of Brooklyn so we really have to keep an eye on him.  This Christmas Miss B seemed to be particularly fond of Joe.  We bought him a Christmas collar that had blinking red and green lights this year and she was entranced by it.

While opening gifts Brooklyn methodically took a red bow apart and used the little pieces to pet Joe while he was sleeping.

And then she used the dog as a jungle gym and slide.  He has the patience of a saint right about now.

And she loved to hug Joe.  This picture would be absolutely darling...if she had been hugging the other end!!!

I have no idea why I chose this series of pictures from our Christmas to show first.  There will be more posts coming so that I can share more family fun.  I'd really like to get all of Christmas posted before the New Year!

Good times....

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
- Psalm 143:10

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome Tori!

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season what better way to step back and slow down than to visit a newborn at the hospital?  Lynne's best friend had her baby yesterday evening.  Of course Lynne' was there last night and tonight the two of us went up to the hospital to see the baby.

Little Tori was 18 inches long and 5 lbs 13 oz.  She is so beautiful and has big, alert eyes.

There is so much joy sitting in a rocker holding a newborn baby.  When we walked in the room the nursery nurse was in showing A how to hold the baby while feeding her.  Apparently now they hold babies more upright than they did 24 years ago - and it all made perfect sense when the nurse was explaining it.

I could have sat here all night.   :)

Good times....

Every good and perfect gift is from above. - James 1:17

Gift Card Holder

This project was made during a recent stamp club night and wonder of wonders - I'm actually getting ready to use it!!!
Only one stamp was used and the rest are die cuts, everything from Stampin' Up.  This flips open and has a pocket on the inside to hold a gift card.
I'm very pleased with how this turned out and I know the recipient will be too.  :)
We are all faced with magnificent opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. - Charles R. Swindell

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas With The Extended Family

We had such a wonderful Friday night and Saturday.  Mom, grandma, brother and sister-in-law came to town last night and we met the kids for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  Just love spending time with the family.

This morning I made scrambled eggs with chopped fresh jalapenos (Yum-O!) served with picante sauce and sour cream.  I do believe it is a new favorite breakfast!  Then we all piled into cars and headed to my cousin's house for our Christmas celebration.  My grandmother started the tradition - longer ago than I can remember - that we get together the Saturday before Christmas to see all the extended family.  She knew that everybody would be with their families on Christmas and this way we could all see each other.

This year we had 6 littles under the age of 2 1/2 years old!  Oh what fun and what a joy they all were...even though none of them had much of a nap.  They all played well together and just had a grand time.  My cousin transformed one of the rooms of her home into the North Pole Playroom complete with a small ball pit and crawling tubes!  So now get ready for the pictures.....

This is my cousin's grandson Max, who is not quite 2 years old, sitting in the ball pit with Miss B.

Not a good quality photo, but these kids were moving f.a.s.t.!  And I wanted to show Miss B once again with major static hair.

Crawling through the tubes was so much fun!  I think I was a little bit surprised that Brooklyn wasn't scared by them.

At the end of the afternoon, as the sun set slowly and the major cold front blew in, both babies finally gave up and fell asleep.  B fell asleep in Loni's arms and then moved to Aunt Shell and poor little Max fell right asleep while sitting at the table eating.  Bless their hearts.

And good times....

At the heart of the cyclone tearing the sky
And flinging the clouds and the towers by,
Is a place of central calm;
So here in the roar of mortal things,
I have a place where my spirit sings,
In the hollow of God's palm.
                                     Edwin Markham

Friday, December 19, 2008

CFBA - Where Do I Go?

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Where Do I Go?
by Neta Jackson - Thomas Nelson (December 9, 2008)

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books. In addition to writing several books about Christian community, the Jacksons have coauthored numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

They're trying something new! Not just new for them, but something completely new in Christian fiction: “Parallel novels,” two stories taking place in the same time frame, same neighborhood, involving some of the same characters living through their own dramas and crises but interacting with and affecting one another … just the way it happens in real life.

It’s something that only a husband and wife writing team could pull off. While Neta has Where Do I Go?, her husband Dave has written Harry Bentley's Second Chance.


A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."

Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”

Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leav[es] readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

To read the Prologue and first Chapter of Where Do I Go?, go HERE


I was so excited to see this book on the review list as I just love Neta Jackson books. Her Yada Yada series is legendary and I predict this new series will be even greater.

Gabby is the type of person that I honestly would want as a BFF. She's not afraid to kick off her shoes and dance on the shore to celebrate life. And yet she's just as willing to be introspective and open to new ideas.

She is married to a fast-paced, high-powered executive who moves her into a penthouse apartment. The people that Gabby meets and befriends are so real that I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with them. Her husband is not nearly as approving.

I read this book so fast because I got so involved in Gabby's life and quest for answers. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. And I plan on ordering her husband's parallel novel that has some of the same characters as this book. Definitely this is one of my favorite books of this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas Card

I just realized that I better hurry and get this and one other posted before Christmas is over and gone!
This is a card I made at a recent stamp club night.  I dearly love it and what I found most interesting is that Keith absolutely loved it as well.  He's a very good sport about looking at the things I make and he makes sincere comments on them, but this one must've really struck him.
The camera didn't pick up the glitter on the rooftop that made the snow sparkle, but it's there.  And we all know that glitter is something I like a lot!
Card recipe:  To You & Yours, Curly Label Punch Bundle; Holiday Treasures pattern paper; Red Riding Hood and Chocolate Chip cardstock - all by Stampin Up
"Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again - REJOICE!" - Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Operation Baking Gals - Round 5

I decided for this month's Operation Baking Gals that I really wanted a more festive looking cookie in honor of Christmas.  Luckily M&M's always have Christmas bags out this time of year and that sounded perfect.

Unfortunately I could not find my recipe anywhere.  A simple Google search brought up close to a bazillion choices, so I printed the recipe from the M&M site (surely they would know best, right?) and was ready to shop for ingredients.

And then the day of baking arrived and I couldn't find the recipe I'd printed, so a Google search again.  This time a new recipe was near the top and it was on a blog, which is always the best way to find a recipe.  I printed the recipe and then also printed the M&M site recipe to compare.  There were some subtle differences and I of course agonized over which to make.  Then it hit me that since I had no plans for the day really except for baking these cookies and I since I needed a BUNCH of cookies - I'd make a batch from each so we could compare!

Oh the house smelled delightful!  And what a happy man Keith was when I asked him if he'd mind doing a taste test to help me choose the recipe that would become "our" M&M cookie recipe.  I brought two cookies from each recipe and two glasses of milk in the living room (football, it's a way of life doncha know) and we each chewed and pondered.

In the end it was a draw as we each chose a different cookie.  And what it really came down to was what kind of cookie we each preferred.  Keith prefers a cookie with a little bit of a crunch to it and I like chewy, almost not quite done cookies.  The recipe from the M&M site had double the butter, so they spread out a little more and had more crisp.  The blog site recipe had a tad more of a cake-like consistency so I loved it.

I think I'm going to keep both of these cookies.  You really can't go wrong with either of them.

Good times...........

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." - Proverbs 24:26

Monday, December 15, 2008

My First Sweater!

I have finished my first sweater and it is fit for a princess!  Of course, it doesn't really  fit our princess, but at least it's too big and not too small.
I can't even link to the pattern because I can't find it anywhere online - not even Ravelry.  The yarn is Caron Simply Soft Baby and there was a free hanging pattern with the yarn, so that's what I used.  I do have to say that the pattern is NOT one I'd try again.  The sleeves are kind of a kimono style and I think they would fit a sumo wrestler, not a 17 month old baby girl - that's how ginormous they are.  :)
But Miss B did melt my heart last night when we took it over to their house.  I put it on her, but really it was so warm yesterday and she was running a lot, so I took her sweater off as to not have her overheat.  She fussed and wanted it back on, so what's a grandma to do but oblige?  Such a little sweetie.
At least now I can say I've knit a sweater.  And I'm ready to move on to a better sweater pattern now.  With better yarn.  For a precious baby girl.
Speaking of the weather....when we were driving home last night it was 71 degrees.  Tonight Keith and I ran to the store to get more crunchies for Joe and we could hear the ice pelting the window.  Driving home, the same time as last night, it was 28 degrees.  BRRR!!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kit Kat Bars

Last night I made the first holiday treat of this season - Kit Kat Bars.  They turned out amazing and took almost no time at all to prepare.

I first saw the recipe on Bev's blog and immediately knew this was one I needed to try.  Be warned though - they are very, very sweet and very, very rich.  Keith isn't as much of a chocolate fanatic as I am, so he just had a small bite.  This leaves me with an entire 13x9 pan to enjoy.  ;)    just kidding...

I think this might be my new "go to" recipe to take for holiday functions.  And since it's kind of a cross between a cookie and candy it will go in with cookie boxes quite nicely.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone, but woman sure can!"  - Unknown

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Morning Routines

Depending on the day of the week I use one of three of my daily routines. And lucky for you I’m going to share my week day routines in this post. =)

All mornings I get up and do the shower routine, then head to the kitchen for a large cup of coffee. I go to one of my two favorite spots in the house and have my Bible reading and prayer time. If you are needing a Bible reading plan I highly recommend this one as you read part of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day. The readings take about 15-20 minutes a day, so definitely doable. I finish getting dressed and leave for work on the days that I am in the office.

Days that I work from home I am blessed with the extra 30 minutes that I usually spend driving. Those days I listen to my now favorite podcast, Revive Our Hearts by Nancy Leigh DeMoss .  The Revive Our Hearts podcast is produced M-F and is about 20 minutes long and she has done several different series’ lately that really touched my heart. One of them was on the Titus 2 woman and loving our husbands – just great. And the end of last week she had a few days of finding comfort and peace in today’s economy. Great reminders of looking upward during these times.

While listening I pull out my knitting and just have such a relaxing start to my day. This morning I started knitting a new hat for a homeless project and hearing the needles click and feeling the yarn slide is just magic for me. On top of that I hear Nancy Leigh DeMoss telling me that all is going to be ok. The cherry on top is my cup of coffee sitting next to me.

And the pictures of Joe and Meeko? That's because they are always in there with me. I guess they want to have a relaxing start to their day as well.

Good times…..

He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken - Psalm 62:2

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hybrid Penguin Card

This is the chemo angel card I made last night to go with a penguin themed package I sent.  It's kind of a hybrid card because I combined computer graphics with some of my card making supplies.
I bought the penguin graphic here and was so pleased because it was exactly what I was looking for!  I just printed the graphic twice, cut out one of the penguins and popped it up on dimensional stickers.  I then took my stickles - naturally! - and dotted it on the snowflakes.  The picture didn't capture it well, but I love the sparkles of the snowflakes.
Very pleased with how this turned out and I think I might look through the other graphics on this site for future cards.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. - I Peter 4:8

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fabric Gift Bags

Like so many people I've become more concerned about my footprint here on earth.  A couple of nights ago while Keith and I were at Hobby Lobby (you just have to love a man that will go to hobby shops with you) I noticed that Christmas fabric was on sale 50% off.  We bought one yard cuts of three different fabrics and decided to start making some of our gift bags.  They are reusable and still so cute.

This is the first one and the gift is now under the tree.  All I did was fold under the upper edge half an inch and iron it, then stitched it down.  With right sides together I sewed the bottom and up the side, then turned right side out and it's done.  Mom described it as similar to a giant pillowcase and that's it exactly.  Keith and I went out and did a very small amount of shopping today and the number one stop was Garden Ridge to get some ribbon.  We put the gift inside and tied the top closed with a pretty bow.

And just like that a gift is wrapped in fabric.  :)

"For it is in giving that we receive." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcake

I know that December makes a person think of peppermint and other desserts, but I still want to post about a cupcake I made for Thanksgiving. James and Loni got me the book Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman for my birthday and I finally had a chance to use a recipe.

This little cupcake is actually called the Halloween Pumpkin Pecan Cupcake in the book and the description says that it is "pumpkin pie in a cupcake." They are so right! I didn't have high hopes for them when they came out of the oven as they looked a little funny. And instead of the Fresh Orange Juice Frosting that was used in the book I used my favorite cream cheese frosting and that was definitely the way to go.

One bite made believers out of all of us. This truly did taste like pumpkin pie rather than a pumpkin spice cake like so many do.

Absolutely fabulous cupcake that I will make again and again.

CFBA - One Perfect Day

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling - FaithWords (October 22, 2008)


Today, Lauraine Snelling is a member of the more than Two Million Books In Print club, but when she first began, she was a mother of three teenagers with a simple dream to write “horse books for kids.”

All told, she has over 50 books published. She thinks. She’s not sure. She’d rather write them than count them. Lauraine’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish and German as well as produced as books on tape.

Awards have followed her dedication to “telling a good story”: the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

Helping others reach their writing dream is the reason Lauraine teaches at writer’s conferences across the country. She mentors others through book doctoring and with her humorous and playful Writing Great Fiction tape set. Lauraine also produces material on query letters and other aspects of the writing process.

Her readers clamor for more books more often and Lauraine would like to comply, if only her ever-growing flower gardens didn’t call quite so loudly over the soothing rush of the water fountains in her back yard and if the hummingbirds weren’t quite so entertaining. Lauraine and husband Wayne have two grown sons and a cockatiel named Bidley, who loves to tease their Basset Hound named Chewy.


Two mothers end up more closely connected that they could dream...and yet they are strangers to one another.

The first has two children--twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there's an accident--a fatal one involving a drunk driver.

Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren't always easy to receive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Perfect Day, go HERE

From the moment I started reading this book I had a hard time putting it down - that's how good this book is.  Ms. Snelling writes this book in first person from the point of view of each of the mothers in alternating chapters.  And honestly her writing style is such that once you begin this book you will want to finish it right then.

It's also rather an emotional roller coaster throughout the book.  The one mother whose entire world has just has just been shattered by the death of a family member and her subsequent spiral into misery and despair.  The other mother whose world has just been filled with hope as an organ donor has been found for her daughter.

This book also brings with it a beautiful lesson about prayer.  Because sometimes when we pray for things we don't realize the flip side of our answered prayer.  But Jenna, the mother of the daughter that received the organ gift, constantly is thinking about and praying for the mother of the child that had to give this gift.  What a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Joyful Dancing Video

A short post this morning.  Keith and I took M-W off this week to get the house decorated for Christmas and just enjoy being together.  Unfortunately, I have been sick and I finally went to the doctor this morning and have sinusitis and bronchitis...and most importantly, amoxicillin.  I've started taking it and know I'll be better soon, but in the meantime I've been in bed most of our time off.  :(  This too shall pass, but it's not fun while a person waits it out!

And since the name of my blog is Count It All Joy and this is not much of a joyful post, I will leave you with this.  I'm way behind in my email and blog reading since I'm just so tired, but I was sent this and to me it is the epitome of joy.  Sorry for the crass title of his video, but once you get past that and watch the video I think you'll enjoy it.  And I think it shows that the world over there is hope and joy and the laughter of children and adults.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas Tree at the Galleria

On Friday the entire gang headed to the The Galleria in Dallas for the official lighting of the Christmas tree.  As you can see the tree is very large and it's sitting right in the middle of an ice skating rink.  We watched a few skaters, though the attention span of a 16 month old isn't very long.
However, the last skater was Santa Claus and he did some flips and twirls and there was quite a bit of applause throughout his program.  Miss B enjoyed the applause and delighted in clapping along with everybody else.  The absolute best moment of the entire excursion was at the end of Santa's routine.  He had something on the back of one of his skates that sent out sparklers while he skated.  Brooklyn watched it for a minute, then said WOWWW!!!!  Now, when you read the "WOW" you have to say it in a reverant whisper, draw out the W and over-emphasize your mouth into a giant "O" while saying it.  So very darling.
Of course, I did hear the "WOW" at my house this weekend as well.  She would walk into the kitchen, open the two cabinet doors that house my Tupperware, hold the doors open while she stared inside and said "WOWWW"!!!  Now what does that say about the inside of THAT cabinet, hmm????
Good times.....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Tis But A Memory

And so the curtain closes on another Thanksgiving.  My rolls turned out very good (though I still say that mom's have more flavor than mine did), I had a lot of help in the kitchen and I do believe a good time was had by all.  By the time we sat down to our Thanksgiving dinner poor little Miss B was exhausted.  We gave her a cute hot pink plate with some bits of turkey, rolls and mac & cheese and after maybe one bite her little peepers just closed and she was sound asleep.  Bless her heart - she tried so hard to keep up with us all.  I went and put her in her bed, then we finished our meal.

As is our tradition every Thanksgiving we go around and say what we are thankful for.  And apparently as is my own goofy tradition I start crying before I can finish.  We have so much to be thankful for and I'm always so happy having my family together and I guess it's just too much emotion.  :)

After dinner they all got out Rock Band and started playing it.  We had guitarists....
and drummers...
and bass guitarists and vocalists.  It really is a fun game and they all had a lot of fun doing it.
And of course there has to be a Brooklyn photo!  I have better pictures of just her, but I love this picture of her grandpa and her playing in the yard.  They both went crawling towards each other at lightning speed, though he did slow down at the end, because Brooklyn loves to "bonk" heads with people.  :)
Hard to believe tomorrow is already December!  Good times...
"O thou who has given us so much, mercifully grant us one thing more - a grateful heart." - George Herbert

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Second-Best Dinner Rolls in the Universe - I Hope!

You know there really isn't anything very pretty about a picture of roll dough....

This year I'm going to attempt the unthinkable - prepare the rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. Making bread and rolls doesn't scare me. Making Thanksgiving rolls from my mother's recipe that is the best roll in the universe does.

So far things seem to be coming along just fine. The dough is in the fridge and has risen enough that I even had to punch it down.

And like I told my mother, if these turn out awful and we end up running to the store for brown and serve, that in itself is a memory. In the coming years we can all laugh about the year that the rolls didn't turn out and we had store bought instead.

Good times.....

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” - James Beard

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Simple Embossed Card

Yesterday as I was getting a chemo angel package ready to send I realized I had no cards.  Sometimes when you are any sort of crafter there is a lot of pressure you put on yourself.  I almost feel bad putting on a sweater or gloves from the store because "surely I could knit that."  The same is true of papercrafting.  Before I started doing this I would take a piece of paper, fold it in half and use it as a card.  But that internal pressure keeps me from doing that now.  I have all these fabulous tools and should put them to use!

Since time was a factor - the package was ready to go to the post office and I like to do that before it gets dark - I reached for my embossing tools again.  This card literally took all of about 5 minutes to make and I'm quite pleased with it.  I'm thinking about doing a set of them just to have on hand.

(card recipe:  Lasting Impressions embossing template, Score-It for the outer square.)

I'll be leaving in just a couple of hours to pick up Miss B.  My heart just sings with happiness when I get to be with that little girl.  :)

"...Is any one of you happy?  Let him sing songs of praise." - James 5:13

Friday, November 21, 2008

Preparing for Thanksgiving

I took this picture of Joe last weekend and am always struck by how white his face is in photos. When I look at him in real life I don't really see it.

We have turned downright chilly here in Texas. Goodbye flip flops, capris and t-shirts and hello jeans, clogs and long sleeve tops. Goodbye Cheerios, hello oatmeal.

I look outside and see all the leaves on the ground and toy with the idea of bagging them. But Miss B will be here tomorrow and one of the things we enjoy is going outside and stomping on the leaves. Time enough later to do the work - I'm going to leave them out there for my grandbaby to have fun with.

This week has been filled with getting the house ready for guests next week. Like most people, I do a little extra cleaning before having people over. I think I've lost my mind a little this time though because yesterday I pulled most everything out of my kitchen cabinets and scrubbed the insides. Because, you know, that's what guests do is check out the inside of your kitchen cabinets.

So does everybody get a case of spring fever in the fall? I do like to get my home clean before bringing out the Christmas decorations. And the insides of my kitchen cabinets are indeed ready to be decorated.
"You prepare a table for me...my cup overflows." - Psalm 23:5

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CFBA - White Christmas Pie

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter - Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)


Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also publishedA Sister's Hope


Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

I made a promise to myself when I started reviewing books that I would always be honest.  And I have to say that I just had a really hard time reading through this book.  I don't know if it just isn't a style of book I prefer or what it was, but I found myself skimming just so that I could say that I finished it.  I was disappointed that I couldn't get into the story as I am fascinated by the Amish people and the premise of the book was good.  Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to try another of Ms. Brunstetter's book sometime and perhaps I might enjoy it more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY – November 17, 2008...

Outside my window...fall is definitely here. We have a cool breeze with a nip in the air and a when a neighbor just walked down the street I heard the sound of rustling leaves with his every footstep.

I am thinking...of how happy I am that Thanksgiving will be at my house this year. I dearly love having my family all together.

I am thankful for...family traditions and the promise of joy at the holidays. I love the sound of laughter and teasing when we all get together and truly enjoy having family and friends in my home.

From the learning rooms...I’m on the final leg of my class this semester. I’m still undecided whether to take a class the spring semester or spend more time learning my camera. So much to learn and experience in this beautiful world of ours!

From the kitchen...up until a bit ago there was not a thing exciting in there. But Keith came home from work happy to inform me that today is National Bread Baking Day (or something like that) and who am I to argue? Right now my home smells simply divine with a loaf of bread baking in the oven.

I am wearing...jeans, t-shirt and flip flops

I am creating...I’ve been pulling out necessary tools and papers to make a sympathy card for a friend that just lost her father.

I am going...I actually have no “going” plans for a bit! Strange feeling since I tend to be on the go quite a bit.

I am reading...my Bible and my school book. Right now I’m between books.

I am hoping...that I can get everything done in time for the holidays! But if not, I’m ok with that too. My family is so wonderful about saying “Be all right” if things don’t go according to plan and we just switch to Plan B.

I am hearing...the tv while Keith watches a movie. Not sure which one.

Around the house...oh the mess! We’re pulling stuff out everywhere and rearranging and cleaning and tidying. But I’ll bet by the weekend it will be spit spot and we can relax and enjoy.

One of my favorite things...is a moment with the husband. As we go about our evening and sometimes we’re in different parts of the house pursuing our interests, it’s always nice to see him pop in to tell me something. Or I’ll go out in the garage just to let him know the bread went in the oven. Small moments in time that we will always treasure.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I’ll be spending some time getting the official menu written down, then pull a shopping list out of that. I have a couple of cards to make and get in the mail and I want to work on finishing Brooklyn’s sweater.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
(This picture was taken yesterday at the lake.  He knows better than to get on the furniture at home, but I guess he knows that rules are a little more relaxed at the lake.)
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Homemade Sandwich Bread

Today's forecast was for a strong cold front to come through, complete with winds from the north.  Those winds are here and it's supposed to be quite cool at night now.  I believe that fall has arrived.
And so I get the urge to nest and cook.  This morning I started some sandwich bread and was delighted with how it turned out.  I've always loved homemade bread (who doesn't?), but really it doesn't work that great for sandwiches or toast.  This one does.  It slices thin and the texture is perfect.
The funny thing is, I got a text message from Keith about lunch time telling me he doesn't want to buy the "unnamed" bread that we usually buy ever again.  He said that it's stale, has no taste and smells.  I had planned this homemade bread to be a surprise, but what girl could pass up this opportunity?  I sent him a text telling him that I had a loaf of freshly baked bread waiting for him at home.  He was pleased.  :)
And now I've promised him that I will continue doing this and he can have his daily sandwich made with homemade bread.  It must be love....
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live by bread alone.'" - Luke 4:4

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red Scarf Project Complete

I've had a real problem lately with not being a monogamous crafter/hobbyist.  I have way too many projects going and really I enjoy each and every one of them and hate for any of them to feel left out.  A couple of knitting projects, books to be read, a quilting project, scrapbooking, card making, and the list goes on.  If I would just narrow down the scope of what I enjoy doing it would probably make for a more productive me.  But where's the fun in that???  ;)
Today I finished a scarf for the Red Scarf Project, which uses them in Valentine's Day care packages for college-bound foster youth.  I have to say this pattern was one of the easiest I've ever done and I really like the stitch it produces.  Great tv watching knitting!
Yarn: Paton's SWS yarn in Natural Crimson - I had heard a lot about how this yarn splits while knitting.  It does split a LOT more than most yarns I've used, but it wasn't insurmountable.
And while taking the pictures of the scarf my cat Meeko jumped up on the nearby chair to figure out what was going on.  Since he hasn't gotten much air time on the blog I figured I'd post this photo, for which I'm sure he will be eternally grateful.