Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent- The first candle

I don't remember growing up with an Advent wreath, and lighting the candles each Sunday. But I want our kids to, so starting this year, we are going to be consistent about it. Our son brought an Advent candle holder home today, one he has been working on in the craft part of his Sunday school class (which is always woodworking). He still needs to stain it, so today we have a lone candle. Next week, I will have the wreath and candles all arranged...

Each candle has a traditional color, but you can choose any colors for your candles really. I am just choosing colors that go with my dining room. :) Right now, as I don't have it all together yet, I am just using a light green one for now. I may replace it~ we'll see.

The first candle is the Prophecy candle. This candle stands for the promises foretold by the prophets, promises of the birth of Christ.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." ~Isaiah 9:2

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee,
O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring,
come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
And fill the world with heaven's peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where is that tooth fairy?

Gracie lost her very first tooth today! She was SO excited about this, and has been waiting for this one to fall out for a while. I was kind of sad about her losing it, because it's just another sign she's growing up...but she looks awfully cute a little toothless! She is very proud and loves to show us the gap when she smiles! :)

A few days ago, she was telling her Nana that she'd had a dream it had fallen out. (This being a good dream.) I chuckled because I sometimes have those kind of dreams, but it's NOT a good thing! These are what I call nightmares! (Someone told me that if you have dreams you lose a tooth/teeth, it means you have unhealthy teeth. How do "they" know these things? Kind of like when they say if you're falling in a dream, and you hit the bottom, you die for real. That one still gives me pause....)

But Gracie has nothing but pure joy at the thought of losing teeth. I made sure she put the tooth underneath her pillow, although she informed me, "I know that the tooth fairy is really you and Daddy." Hey, who told her that?!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Better late than never?

Well, I don't know about that in this case, because I was supposed to give you a few Thanksgiving recipes...but the good news is that these also make great Christmas recipes! I am still going to pass these along~ after all, it is Thanksgiving weekend, right? Although, if truth be told, to my family, this day after the day of giving thanks means the first day of the Christmas season! We are SO excited around here! We have the lights up outside and in the kids' rooms so far...

Now, I must apologize first for not giving the recipes on time...I just know that millions and millions of you were absolutely crushed at not receiving these as promised, but somehow managed to brave it through Thanksgiving without them. Uh, yeah...anyway...our Thanksgiving plans changed when my mom came down with an awful cold. She was really sick, and didn't want to expose anyone to it, so she wasn't able to have Thanksgiving at her house. We have a tradition of spending this holiday with both my husband's parents and mine, and his mother and mine alternate years. (Our house is too small to accommodate everyone who comes.) We missed my mom and dad this year, and Gracie was SO upset that she wouldn't see her Nona! SO...this year my mother-in-law came to the rescue with just two days to spare, bless her heart! And like many of you, I brought out all the recipe books...

Then spent the day before and the day of cooking and baking...

Until I was ready to drop from exhaustion...but then the fun part came~ time spent with family! We ate until we could eat no more...

And everyone else played games, one of which was a very loud game called "Pit"...

With everyone laughing and trying to win...

And then we ate some more...

While they played Pit, I had fun crafting something...

...that I meant to make days beforehand! But maybe at least this is better late than ever! I saw this on Cherry's Jubilee, and asked her pretty please for the directions...promised I'd make it...barely kept the promise, too!

So all's well that ends well. It was a great Thanksgiving, and to top it all off, I got to craft a bit. What could be better? (Besides my mom and dad being there of course!)

I hope that you had a wonderful day, too! What did you do for Thanksgiving this year? :) And my next question you still want these recipes? Well, okay, you twisted my arm! :)

Sweet Potato Pie

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix and put into greased casserole dish or pie plate.


1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)

Mix until crumbly and spread over entire casserole. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 30- 35 minutes, until top looks hot and bubbly.

Pumpkin Pie~

Pie Crust:

*This is a recipe for a double crust, but I LOVE this recipe. You can just cut it in half if you only need the one crust, and this is a great recipe for a double crust pie, especially fruit pies! :)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold, cut into bits
1/3 cup very cold water ( I puts ice in the water)
I have found it necessary to add more water, about six teaspoons more.

1. Combine the flour, salt, and butter in bowl. Work until mixture is crumbly; the butter should be about the size of small peas.
2. Add the water all at once and work until just mixed.
3. Without handling the dough any more than necessary, divide in half and press each half into a disk.
* If using this for a double crust pie, wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
For the pumpkin pie, prick the sides and bottom of unbaked crust with the tines of a fork, and bake in a preheated 450 oven for 10 or so minutes, or until lightly browned.

Pumpkin pie filling:

This recipe uses real sugar pumpkin for the filling, but you can use canned pumpkin as well.

2 cups sugar pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Cut up pumpkin into fourths and remove seeds; steam. Remove skin and mash like potatoes. Mix the two cups mashed pumpkin with all the other ingredients. Add to baked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about one hour.

Well, there you go! Just in time for Christmas! (SMILE!) Have a fabulous, fun-filled weekend! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Thanksgiving recipe

I told you that I wanted to share a few recipes before Thanksgiving with you that are very important around here. Important in the sense that, if I didn't make these, it wouldn't go unnoticed! What I love about all of them is that they are so easy and uncomplicated! :)

I like to bake way more than I like to cook, and one of the things I love baking is for Thanksgiving morning! It is a recipe my husband grew up with, and my mother-in-law shared, so I can make it for my family. :)

Grandma's Secret Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup raisins
1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries

Mix dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice at all once. Stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Do not overmix. Fold in raisins and cranberries. Spoon into a greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Enjoy! :)

And yes, it did sink a tad bit in the middle, I am not sure why. I don't think it's ever done that before...but anyway, I will be back tomorrow with a couple more recipes...Sorry that I'm posting these too close to Thanksgiving! It's been SO crazy around here lately, and two out of three of our kids have been sick AGAIN. But thankfully the prescribed medicine for our youngest is working and everyone is back to school! :) But, did I mention that these recipes are also great for Christmas as well? Yep, it's a fact! :)

On a side note, guess what came in the mail? I mean besides bills, advertisements and the first copy of Romantic Homes, my second favorite magazine! (Romantic Country is my first.)

I decided to just subscribe since I always end up buying them all anyway! Then Better Homes and Gardens came (a gift from my mother-in-law) and I am just happy as a clam. There is nothing like fun things in the mail! And now I will have good things to read this Thanksgiving break! :) I just love the front cover of Romantic Homes this month, featuring a beautiful fireplace...

We are still searching for the "right" mantel/surround for our living room. (The mantel we have now is not going to be long enough after we redo the brick around our fireplace.) But we'll keep on looking, and while we do, I can look at pretty pictures like this and dream! :)

Well, I had better go~ tomorrow is going to be a full day! I hope you have a great night! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some Thanksgiving ideas

I was visiting the Better Homes and Gardens website, looking at their Thanksgiving tabletop ideas. Not that I really need one, because we will all be at my mom's house this year. But I thought it would be fun to see what ideas they had. :)

I love this table setting, everything about it is warm and cozy. I love the stemware, too~ it seems I've seen these glasses somewhere, but I can't remember where...

I really LOVE this next one! "Whimsical" was how they described it, and I can't argue with that! What a clever way to create a pumpkin! :)

And you can't go wrong with a simple arrangement of pumpkins, acorns, nuts and leaves...

I think this next idea is so sweet! I love its simplistic beauty.

This next arrangement is very colorful, and I love the mix of the cranberry and raspberry tones with the orange!

Another beautiful table setting...

And last but not least...

I am a little sad to say goodbye to fall this year, even though it does mean the beginning of the Christmas season! I have a few really good Thanksgiving recipes I will be posting in the next couple of days...I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Thank goodness this week is a short one! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another yummy cookie recipe

Okay you all, I know I just gave you a cookie recipe yesterday, but I am compelled to give you another! Really and truly, I must pass this one on! And if you make this, you will know just why I am so compelled!

A little background behind this recipe: Our neighborhood is really friendly (minus one house, I have only seen them smile once) and some of us like to give Christmas cookies or what not. Last year, one family brought us this enormous tin platter of cookies, and they were all delicious, but one kind was to die for. Yep, just dig my grave right now~ they were that good. And I don't even like peanut butter, mind you. But this is one of two peanut butter recipes that are so good, you forget it even has the stuff in it! :) Now, to all of you who LOVE peanut butter, I don't mean to offend. Peanut butter does have its merits, after all. For example, add jelly and you can make everyone's sandwiches in no time flat...but I digress. Here is the super fabulous, gotta-have-it recipe~ a chocolate peanut butter concoction that is not only delicious, but is a NO BAKE recipe!

Five Minute Cookies

(1/2 cup) 1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk

Mix together in a pan and stir on high heat until it is a rolling boil. Time for one minute on boil. Remove from stove. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 peanut butter (crunchy or creamy), and 2 1/2 cup quick oats. Mix together and put out heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper or foil.

After they set, which is pretty quickly, they are ready to eat...


And the question that practically begs to be asked is, what IS this? No, I promise it's not one of my son's science experiments! It's actually the homemade play dough the girls and I made yesterday when they were home sick. Our other play dough was really old, and so we mixed the ingredients together, added blue dye and white glitter. This is my favorite recipe for play dough; bless my friend for passing it along! It's easy to make and always turns out great. The other positive is that the kids can add and mix the ingredients first, before you cook it on the stove. They like to help, but with our other recipe, it all is done over the stove, so they couldn't do it with me. But then again, that was back when they were much younger. So this is perfect for anyone with small kids! :) I am going to give this recipe while I'm on a roll here, because it's such a fun one! :)

Play Dough

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups water
3 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
4 Tablespoons oil

Mix ingredients together. Add food coloring of choice. Heat on low heat until mixture lumps together in one lump. Then stir or knead into dough consistency. Store in a ziplock baggie or plastic bag.

Easy as pie! :) The kids all love how soft this play dough is, and it stays that way a long time!

Well, I hope you all are having a great week! Is it only Tuesday? It feels like it should at least be Wednesday! :) Have a good night!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This and that

Hi all! I hope your Monday was good! :) I had two sick girls home today, but I think they will be able to go to school tomorrow. They shared their colds with me, bless their hearts, so it will be nice to be able to rest tomorrow. If we get one more cold...

On a different subject, I finally finished a little Thanksgiving project I mentioned earlier this month.

I used white cardstock and gold sticker letters/numbers I found at Michaels, then glued ribbon from the Michaels dollar section for a border. Add a couple felt leaves and some adhesive gems, and it was good to go! A simple project if you don't count the problems I had with framing it! I spray painted a frame gold, then white, then a different frame gold, tried a black one~ NONE of them looked good! I finally found this one at Wal-Mart for two dollars. I haven't shopped there for around four years, even though it's really close to us, but I have been there twice in the last month searching for the very elusive Christmas topiary...I didn't find the topiary, but I found some frames, so I guess it wasn't for nothing! :) I am not a huge Wal-Mart fan, but that's a whole different subject. :)

Oh, and I wanted to share this wonderful pumpkin cookie recipe, because they were a BIG hit at my house! Something about pumpkin, chocolate and icing...

Pumpkin Spiced and Iced Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (15 oz. can) pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Vanilla Glaze (recipe follows)

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. ( I found 15 minutes was perfect.) Let stand for five minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle or spread with Vanilla Glaze. Makes about 5 1/2 dozen.

For Vanilla Glaze:

Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well.

These are SO good, and they disappear fast! :)


I also wanted to say a great big thank you to Sandy Toes at Shell in Your Pocket for giving me this sweet award! It's taken me a few weeks, but I hadn't forgotten! I love her blog, and it's one of my "must reads"! :)

I would like to pass this award onto the following bloggers:

1. Angie from The Happy Homebody
2. Carrie from Buzzings of a Queen Bee
3. Tricia Anne from Notes of Sincerity

If you haven't visited these blogs, make sure to check them out! They are so much fun! :)

Well, sorry this post got so long! I hope you all have a great night! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! This was one of the best weekends I've had in quite a while...partly because my husband and I had a "date night" on Friday. We don't get to do this often, so it is such fun when we do! I just love having him all to myself! (I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but it's the truth!) We decided to go all out, and first ate at Azteca, our favorite Mexican restaurant. Then we also got to see a movie! We'd seen the preview for "Fireproof" and couldn't wait to see it! We were NOT disappointed! It was an amazing movie, and we have been talking about it ever since. It really leaves you thinking. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do! It is one of the best movies we've ever seen.

I had heard of the movie, and heard that it was really good, so when I saw this book, which is the exact book from the movie, I bought it. It is a little devotional/workbook you can do with your spouse, and since we are almost done with our current devotional book, I thought why not? It said it is a great book for any marriage, whether your marriage is hanging by a thread, or your marriage is strong. I thought it would be fun. It IS fun to do together, but it is also really helpful. It gets you thinking about the way you treat each other, the words you say. It talks about what love really is, and how to show it. It makes you want to think less about your "rights", and more about showing love. It is such a great book, and I highly recommend it. I agree that any marriage can only benefit from it! :)

Well, anyway...does anyone else feel like this weekend went by WAY too fast? And so it's back to the old grind...and this week is going to be a doozy, let me tell you! Tuesday night we "get" to go preview our son's school "HIV/ Aids video they show in FIFTH grade now! Can you believe that? AGH! I was talking to my friend next door, and she said before you know it, they'll be showing it to first graders! Well, they're not showing it to MY first grader, and maybe not even to my fifth grader. Maybe it will be all right for his age, but I'll have to wait and see...

...Sorry about the tangent there! I hope you all have a great Monday! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just wanted to let you know...

...that Memoirs of a Southern Domestic Goddess is having a fun giveaway! The gift is twenty dollars toward her beautiful creations on Etsy! How cool is that?! :) So make sure to head on over and check it out! :) You won't be disappointed, because no matter who wins, it's so fun to see what she's been making!

Have a fantastic day! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you

Today is Veteran's Day, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has served or is serving in the United States military. I know it is because of you that we stay safe and free! I am so very thankful~ thankful for your courage and your sacrifice. I am thankful for your families as well, for they sacrifice with you.

My father served in the Air Force for twenty years, and then retired the year I was born. I didn't grow up as a military kid, but my three older siblings did. My dad served in the Vietnam War. I know his time in Vietnam was very difficult, and was also hard on my mother and sisters and brother to be apart from him. I know this required courage and sacrifice on their part and I am so thankful for it.

So, thank you Dad, for serving in the Air Force, so that we could continue to enjoy this precious freedom! And thank you once again to all of you who serve and have served. You are a living tribute to this beautiful country, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another banner!

I know, I know~ how many banners does one girl need? But, I couldn't help myself! This one is a mini one, for our front door wreath of course! ( I have to replace the "boo" banner I took down.)
Making these is so fun and kind of addicting! I am making one for my sister next, and maybe a couple for my very barren Etsy shop! ;) I need to do something about that!

I am sorry I have been kind of MIA, both writing as well as visiting you all! I have been trying to get our house back to some semblance of order, now that I have finished painting the living room and hallways. It sure needed/needs some time and attention for sure. I spent half a day excavating in our son's room~ at least it felt like it. He loves collecting things~ he's my little pack rat, and I say that with affection, really. And now his room is so clean, and it's likely to stay that way for the night! :) Oh, I love his room when it's clean. Actually, I just love clean in general. I think Junior is happier now too; he even told me thank you. Voluntarily. That means a lot!

I hope you all are off to a great start this week! Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, which means no school for the kiddos. They are looking forward to that! :) Well, have a good night!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Missing Lillie and a Thanksgiving banner

I have been in such a funk this week! I know some of it is due to the election. (Don't worry, you won't have to read another editorial on it.) Part of it also is that I miss our cat Lillie something terrible, and no, we still haven't found her. Today, I thought I heard her outside our dining room window~ her collar has a bell on it that jingles wherever she goes. Just in case, I opened the door and called her name. (She didn't come but her brother Max did! ) Our neighbors are on the lookout, so you never know...

I have had two separate offers from friends, who know people with kittens for adoption. It seems too soon for that, but the kids REALLY want to adopt one. When our cat Lucy died, we waited a long time before getting Max and Lillie, because I just didn't have the heart after losing her. I know Max misses her, and maybe he would like a friend. But maybe he would feel unhappy if we did. I don't know what the right decision is. He is such a sweet cat! (And he really does think he is a person, as the above picture shows!) Anyway, about this "funk" I've been in, I've felt so much better today! And I finished this banner, which I think is a good reminder for me right now!

Pardon the night time picture~ hence the flash was on, and it's not the best! You might remember this craft I showed you last week, which was inspired by At Home In Georgia~

Well, for now I took that paper out, and replaced it with some pretty scrapbook paper. I left it hanging up with the new banner, because I thought it would be neat to make a frame with the date of Thanksgiving on it, and add the words "A day for Thanksgiving". But it will have to be a gold frame with gold letters, I think. So for now, this black frame will mark the spot until I do the new one. (I just felt like I should explain the pictureless frame hanging up! )

I have always LOVED Thanksgiving! It gets me thinking of all the ways I am so blessed, and leaves me abundantly grateful! And I have so many Thanksgiving themed crafts/ideas up my sleeve; we'll see how many I get to! :) Thanks for letting me ramble on and on! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I never thought it would come! :)