Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This evening, I was grocery shopping.  It was raining and cold.  I had just loaded the
groceries into my car, when I received a call from a friend who knew I was nearby.
She said she was baking Christmas cookies, and made a fresh pot of coffee, and thought maybe I would want to stop in and say "hi". What a fun and unexpected invitation, on such a dreary day. 

I walked into her kitchen, and was greeted by the wonderful aroma of freshly baked
cookies.  You may remember that I shared with you, a few years ago, her
gift of decorating for Christmas.  Today, I was reminded again of her ability to create such a beautiful, warm and "homey" atmosphere.

Simple, colorful, and always with touches of nature.  This is the window sill in her

The centerpiece on her dining table, was a wooden piece filled with colorful ornaments.
What an attractive way to dress up a table!

On her island was a creative vignette made up of greens and berries in a white pitcher, along
with touches of burlap on a black wicker tray.  The ornaments were gifts from a previous

On her kitchen counter was a white ironstone platter, with fruits and pinecones.  I liked the
look of it, although I must admit, I never would have thought to put the two together. 
What a creative approach to decorating.

The vintage looking napkins and the coordinating mugs with steaming hot coffee, offered
therapy on a discouraging day.  If you want to brighten someone's day,
call them and invite them over for a cup of coffee, spontaneously.  It will bless their day,
I promise. 

And, if you want to bless it even more, call them when you just pulled out a sheet of
cookies from the oven.  It is bound to lift spirits, even if your friend has been
running in and out of the rain for a few hours, and looks like she did...invite her in

Oh, and by the way, I found the Christmas tree display so attractively done, I asked her if I
could use it as my banner picture. She so graciously gave me that privilege.

Since blogging presents opportunities to step into other's homes and lives, I knew
you would appreciate seeing my friend's decorating gifts and talents.

Thank you for stopping by this evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"You're kidding...right?"
"They delight in your smile
They thrive on your approval,
They need your wisdom.
You are a source of life
and strength to your kids
in a way no one else
could ever be."

Like little wet sponges, they soak it all up, as they watch, imitate, and admire.

And, even when duty demands restroom time, they will be on the other side of the door...

So thankful for the gift of good dads this Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014


As I looked around my home, I realize how my way of decorating for Christmas, is with
lights.  Hesitantly, I will share a few of my decorating vignettes. 

Once again, I filled my crystal bowl on the dining room table, with ornaments and a wire
strand of tiny lights intertwined throughout.  Crystal, colorful ornaments, and lights,
are the perfect combination in my book.

I added two glass dishes on either side, with a red poinsettia tea light in each one.

The light in the old wooden manager, that held a place of prominence in the home where
I grew up.  Every year, we looked forward to it being taken from the attic, and placed
wherever our mother chose to place it.  Even the straw is the same as back then.  But,
like me, it is getting a bit on the fragile side. However, the Nativity scene...... it's message
is stronger than ever!

I found this old transom frame (with mirror) in an antique barn recently, and chose
 to place it on my mantel.  I like it there, with all of it's character.. and the
lights add a festive touch, too.  (The walls of my living room are actually coffee colored,
but, thru the camera lens, they look green)

A few days ago, I read an idea in a magazine. offering quick decorating ideas for the
holidays.  It said to add a strand of lights around the powder room mirror.  I did, and
it makes me smile every time I see it. 

More lights, via the electric candles on the shelf in my dining room.

I placed an big apothecary jar filled with ornaments and a strand of
lights, on the old iron chair, by my front door.  As you can see, lights
are the predominant theme throughout my home.

A "Starbucks" beside my kitchen sink, adds another aspect of light.  I discovered this house in
the attic.  It was a gift to one of our girls, but for some reason, it remained in the attic,
until now.  I love having it sit by my sink, because it brings back happy memories for me,
of coffee times with friends over the years.

I share these few pictures with you, because I appreciate that you all shared bits and pieces
of your decorating ideas.  But, I share the pictures hesitantly, in light of the tears
and heartaches that many of you are dealing with now.  I do hope that it offers a bit of light
to your life today, along with the prayers extended for you.

"I am not alone at all, I thought.

 I was never alone at all.

 And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.

 We are never alone.

 Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest,

 the world seemingly most indifferent.

 For this is still the time God chooses."

 ~Taylor Caldwell

Thank you for stopping by today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are you trying to find some last minute gifts for certain people in your life?  I present
a fun gift that I discovered recently, when I also was in the same situation.  I was
walking the isles of the local Kohl's Store, and I came upon a Food Network section,
in the home goods section.  What really caught my eye, was the 50 percent off sale,
of the products.  First of all, I did not know that the Food Network started making
their own products.  I really liked the quality, design, and sturdiness of the glass
ware.  After all, people who specialize in kitchen life, should know what they are
doing when they create a new line, right?  If you ever find yourself in a Kohl's
store, you might want to check out their products.  I found something I chose to
use for my gift.
(coffee photo from Google)

The boxes that hold the tiny oranges, or halos, are sturdy, and I thought perhaps I could
recycle one of them, to hold the gift I was going to give.

With glue and tissue paper, I covered the bottom and the sides of the box. It was not an
easy feat to cover the box, using tissue paper, but I placing the tea towel on the bottom,
of the box, somewhat taking the attention away from the covering job:)  Tea towel from

Here is the purchase I made for my gift.  A porcelain soup and sandwich set.  I like that
it features a ridged area to place the cup of soup, and plenty of space for a sandwich on
the side.  I made a big pot of chili soup and froze it for over the holidays.  I put some
chili in a glass jar and froze it too. 

The plate and bowl fit into the recycled box perfectly.  I will place the jar of chili behind
the set.  I crushed some nachos and put them in a clear cellophane bag, since that is the
way we eat our chili.  A bowl of chili, a dollop of sour cream, and then we sprinkle on
top, crushed nachos.  Maybe the gift recipient will want to do that too.

When the time comes to give this gift, I will thaw the jar of chili, then wrap the entire
box in clear cellophane and add a green bow.  I am not sure why I am sharing this
simple idea, but I thought just maybe, the new Food Network product line, might
offer some needed and useful ideas for you. 

Today is a "hot soup" kind of day. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In 1938, Milton Hershey made a statement I think is relevant, especially at this
time of the year.  He said, "The more BEAUTIFUL you make something
which people can see and use, the more ENJOYMENT they will get out of it."
That is what God did yesterday morning.  The sunrise was spectacular!
One that took my breath away.  In the stillness of the early morning
hour, the grandeur of it all, caused my heart to overflow with gratitude.

It seemed like even the birds were celebrating the morning sky.

It is also what Sue and her committee did in our church basement this past week,
for our annual Christmas dinner and celebration.

It showed us all once again, how time and creativity, can transform an older, simple
looking church basement, into a thing of beauty, with ambience abounding. 

They took greens from their trees, and decorations from their cupboards, and set the tables.

Adding to the ambience of the dinner, one of the men, put a fire on the screen in the corner.
For the first time ever, we had the cozy and pretty element of a fire burning during our
dinner.  Milton Hershey was right!

Even the entrance doors provided colorful welcomes and goodbyes, with the outdoor and
indoor wreathes.  Maybe Sue would give bow making classes:)

On Saturday, in our part of the country, it rained all day.  We had our five grand-
children here for the day.  Thanks to this "Gingerbread Mini Village Kit", purchased
at the local grocery store,  we were able to add fun and beauty to the day.  Five tiny
houses...five young, eager children,and one very patient and gifted paw pa, made
for a few hours of entertainment. 

If you want to sell a product, especially to children, add lots of colorful candies and
white icing, and the interest will be there.  For a few minutes, he had their rapt attention,
including the one wearing his black cap.

Each one took their turn, carefully crafting their appointed house.  Still wearing their
nametags, from the afternoon visit to the train room at their great-grandma's retirement
home.  Who would have thought, that five tiny houses, could bring such enjoyment!

Add a candy, eat a candy...works well:) 

Proudly, they displayed their finished houses.  The mini village is now displayed on their
mother's kitchen counter, and in the process,  their paw pa has aged a few more years, in
those two hours of time:)

Finally, tying in perfectly with Mr. Hershey's quote, was the amazing rendition of
"The Old Rugged Cross", which Craig Wayne Boyd sang last evening, on "The Voice".
It brought me to tears.  In a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams, it
spoke of "hope" and "peace", and the audience responded in heartfelt applause.  For
me, I could hear both of my grandma's singing this song, in my memory, as they both
loved the song.  Thank you Craig Wayne Boyd!  I am still singing it.
If you want to hear him share this song, you can find it here;


Thank you for stopping by today, for the things you make BEAUTIFUL on your
blogs, so that all of us can enjoy it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

So you need to bring a dessert to a dinner event, and prep time is limited, here is a suggestion.
Instead of buying a ready made dessert, here is a recipe that is quick and easy........... and I know
for a fact, that it tastes good!  This dessert has helped me out of many a tight situation.
And, it does not cost as much as buying already made:). Also, it looks a bit on the "homemade"
side...I like that too!

I need to take a dessert to a family get-together this weekend, and my "to do" list
is long.  So, early this morning, I took these two boxes out of my pantry.  I used a pretty
9 x 13 casserole dish.  I pulled two glass bowls out of my cupboard.  One for the graham
cracker crust and one for the cheesecake filling.  The instructions are so simple.
Even though this dessert tastes good as is, I do add 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup
of chopped walnuts to the crust ingredients.

To the filling ingredients, I add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, along with the cold milk already
called for.  That's it.  You whip up the cheesecake mixture, pour over the graham cracker
crust.  Then I added a can of cherry pie filling, because the red looks nice and festive,
but I have added many other fruit fillings or fresh fruit over the years.

Don't you like the red color, with the green dish?

Then, I chose to cover it all with whipped topping, some red Wilton color dust, and a sprig
of faux greens.  This took only a few minutes to complete.  I covered it and placed in the
refrigerator till needed.  I found it is better to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before

I must run.  Just thought you might be like me, and want a quick dessert.

After my early morning dessert creation, I relished the few quiet moments to
have a cup of coffee in my special Christmas mug.  I love pulling it out of
the cupboard each Christmas.  Reminds me of the dear friend who gave it to me.
That might give you an idea, too, in case you need a gift for someone.
I discovered that they are selling the tiny red poinsettia tea lights again,
this year at Kmart stores.   What a pretty little light!  The camera does not do it
justice. Oh, and better yet, they are on sale now.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness."
~William Arthur

"I love those random memories that make me smile no matter what is going on in my
life right now."  ~Quote diary

"Happy girls are the prettiest!"    ~Audrey Hepburn

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a
beautiful thing."    ~Mother Teresa

"Silence and smile are two powerful tools.  Smile is the way to solve many problems, and
silence is the way to avoid many problems."  ~Unknown

December...a busy and somewhat stressful time of the year.  The "to do list" is long, the
stores are full, the days are flying by so quickly.  But...in the middle of all the busyness,
one finds a "smile" can be the mood changer. 

It happened to me recently.  The store was so full, I had to wait to get down the store
isle .......then I passed "her".  I never saw her before, but we caught glances and she flashed
a quick smile.  That smile said to me, "isn't this crazy?"  "Why are we doing this?"  It
was like we understood each other, even though we did not know each other.  That is what
smiles do.  And the times when you may feel like your heart is breaking, and a smile is the
last thing on your mind, someone's smile might be just what you need to get you through
the next hour.  I look at it as God's gift to each of us.  A mood lifter, a spirit brightener.
During this Christmas Season, I want to be reminded that the simple, "no cost" gifts, are
by far the very best.  I pray that you are gifted with a caring smile, when you need it the

"Everything happens for a reason, live it, love it, learn from it!  Make your smile change
the world, but don't let the world change your smile."


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