Monday, November 26, 2012

~Bits from the Weekend~

We had a relaxing, sun-filled weekend. Went for lots of walks- one of which ends with horse friends. Played lots of pinball on Husband's ipad. Just hung around, trying hard to recuperate after Thanksgiving. We had our friend from Belgium staying with us- it was his first Thanksgiving. It went well . . . he brought LOTS of chocolate. I personally think it should be a new tradition. ;)

Then, yesterday afternoon, my camera died- as in DEAD. I suppose seven-year old cameras do that. But thanks to the Thanksgiving sales and some money I'd earned, I was able to get a NEW ONE!!!!!!! I've been having a blast figuring it all out. Went from 5 megapixels to 16 . . . and the camera itself is so light!! Modern technology is amazing (says the girl who is forever behind) ;)

So the above pictures are from the old camera right before it was laid to rest . . .
And below is from the my new addition- this afternoon in the garden.

I still have a ton to figure out . . . but the practice is the fun part!
(Except for my family who now run when they see me coming with my new baby- I need to get sneakier!)


Thursday, November 22, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ Giving Thanks

For waking to rainbows instead of rain.

Amazed to be all together this year.

Joyful to set a table and share it with family and an old friend.

Grateful to smell what's cooking in the kitchen, to hear chattering and music,
to feel the heaviness of the family silver, to see the glimmering of glass 
and taste and sample what is to come . . .

Happy Thanks Giving- Giving thanks to God!


Monday, November 19, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ Preparations . . .

Pilgrims have been added to the mantel . . . a turkey or two and and some pumpkins can be found . . .
the vintage set of 'wheat' china is washed and awaiting the Thanksgiving table . . . just need to get to polishing the silver. Today the cupboards bulge with bounty. God is very good. He provides in surprising ways.
 Such joy to be found in the preparations!
Whatever you find yourself doing, may it all be done with a heart of Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ A Chipmunk Love Story

Once upon a time, during a November long ago, there was a little girl named Jennie. She was almost 6 years old and attended kindergarten at the local elementary school. 
Little Jennie didn't mind school- she liked to draw, make figures with clay and she loved to read and write -(though the pace at which they were all taught was agonizingly slow some days)! 
There was even a cute boy named Elvin to sit next to and she would sometimes lean her head on his shoulder and bat her eyes at him. He may or may not have loved this.
Yes truly, after a couple months in this strange new institution called 'school' she was able to generally enjoy herself.
Except for one thing . . . recess.
 Everyday in the middle of the morning, Mrs. Hatchel -their teacher- would ruthlessly throw all the children outside to 'play' on the desolate playground. Their options for amusement were slim. They could play tether ball (which no one could reach), climb the dome (which was too high) or play four square though only one yellow, half-deflated ball was available to share among twenty-four students.

It wasn't that Jennie didn't try to like recess. For weeks she had grimly walked in a snake-like line out the door with the rest of her class to endure rain, wind, cold and utter boredom. She would stand with a couple other little girls right next to the classroom window and gaze longingly into the cozy room thinking of all the better things she could be doing. 

One day, when it wasn't too cold, she even tried four-square only to find herself with a bad nose-bleed from getting pummeled with the ball. Kids laughed. Jennie cried. It took all the rest of the morning for the bleeding to stop.
 Another day she stood out on the playground looking up at the tether ball pole, wandering what it's purpose was. She was wearing her grey sweat-dress with the word 'hello' in different languages printed all over it. As she looked up suddenly from nowhere a little boy came over and actually FLIPPED UP HER DRESS! Everyone saw! She screamed! 
He ran away shrieking with laughter and chanting something about 'Friday Flip-Up Day'. 
Kids laughed. Jennie cried. She was utterly humiliated.

After that day little Jennie REFUSED to go out to recess ever again.
No matter how much Mrs. Hatchel begged, she would not be budged. Mrs Hatchel threatened that Jennie would have to stay in with her head down on the desk if she choose to miss recess. Though she would have preferred to color, Jennie found this little mid-morning rest rather refreshing after awhile. 
Days passed. Mrs Hatchel seemed more and more cross with having to stay in the classroom with Jennie during recess instead of slipping off to the teacher's lounge for coffee. Emotions began to run high. Jennie began to feel uncomfortable not only with recess, but with her teacher as well and soon . . . 
little Jennie didn't want to go to school AT ALL!
 It was around this time that she found herself on an outing with her Grammie one day. They were shopping at Hallmark, just browsing around when suddenly Jennie saw HIM!
He was about 2" high, plastic and he had a feather in his headband and a drum in his hands. His name was 'Indian Chipmunk'- and that November, at almost 6 years old, Jennie learned what it was like to fall in love.

Needless to say, Jennie HAD to have him.
But Grammie was clever. She would only unite little Jennie with Indian Chipmunk IF Jennie would go to recess for one whole week.
And so, after a tearful goodbye to her love in the Hallmark store, Jennie left there to brave a week of recess at school. She would go for HIM. She would do it for Indian Chipmunk.

After an agonizing week of cold November recess, Jennie and Indian Chipmunk found themselves together at last!~ It was a match made in heaven. He greeted her from the windowsill in her bedroom and she kissed his little chipmunk nose and stroked his headdress feather. It was their first Thanksgiving together. And there were many more to come.

Little Jennie is not so little now, but every November she brings Indian Chipmunk out of storage and sits him out in a prominent place to greet her. She still doesn't like being out in the rain and wind and cold- and she never did warm to the idea of recess, but luckily there is no one to make her go do such things now. Still- she knows he was worth it all because they lived happily ever after!

Ps. She may or may not still kiss his little chipmunk nose and stroke his little feather . . .  ;)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ Welcoming Wreath

Last week, as I was decorating the house in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday,
I stumbled upon the fact that my old front door wreath was just too worn to be properly welcoming.
However, I had an old grapevine wreath on hand and some dried Indian corn from about ten years ago that has sat at the bottom of my 'autumn decorations' box forever, never really fitting in anywhere.
Until now.

I took some scrap ribbon and bundled my corn together- added a copper dipped leaf that Husband bought me about 12 years ago as a birthday gift and hung it all from the wreath.

I am so pleased with how it turned out- especially since it cost me nothing and as things are these days 'nothing' is about what I can spend ;)

Now that's MUCH better! A proper welcome for any guests, and especially- 
a warm welcome to you!
 So glad you could drop by! :) And please stop by again soon- I have more 'autumn joys' to share!


"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations"

from Psalm 100

Thursday, November 8, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~

 Yesterday morning we woke to soft November light filtering into the house. 

The entire living and dining area were mellowing in a sunshine bath.
I found Quinn on his rocking chair enjoying a bath of his own.

I already love my humble little home so very much, but awash in sunlight . . . ?
-In these moments there is simply no place I could love more.

Now to get up close and personal with my mantle.

-My mantle is my favorite part of the whole room . . . along with the built-in's, the fireplace, the window seat, the wood floors and all the old trim of course ;)

Pumpkin and glittery acorn shrouded in vines and berries . . .

silver candlesticks and autumnal candles . . .

and my favorite salt and pepper shakers ever- silver sunflowers.

Here's a peek at a mini autumnal bunting I created last week.
I really needed a simple creative project to keep my going.
(I haven't been painting or crafting since last spring!)

I love it draped along my pewter serving dish.

We were fortunate enough to have the sun shining nearly all day.
The Youngest, Husband and I spent awhile cutting back and tidying up.

The tree above is our Empress Tree- she grows amazingly fast- as in four feet a year or more.
She also drops some pretty enormous leaves.
It's the Youngest's chore to pick them up- raking is out of the question.

So we had a pleasant hour out in the garden-
the Youngest chattering away non-stop while leaf gathering, and me on the kneeling pad cutting back the endless lemon balm and rotting daisies.

Husband picked up some wood for us and stacked it away in the garage. 
There is a nice, tall wall of logs there now and that fresh-chopped-wood smell to accompany it.
I love the feeling I get when I walk in and see it there- 
I'm so grateful to know these will help keep us warm and snug as the days get cooler and cooler.

We topped off the day with Beef Ale Stew and Green Onion Dumplings for dinner . . . 
and a hot, snapping fire to boot.

What a gift it is to have these busy Autumn days. What satisfaction their simplicity brings.
Regardless of all the technology and politics and social media much has not changed.
We still need fresh air, exercise, a bit of earth, a warm home, good food and others to share it all with.

Really . . . I am grateful to have all I need.


Monday, November 5, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ Recipe for a Cozy Afternoon

Pull out your best teapot and a teacup and saucer per person.

Put the kettle on, bring it to a near boil and steep some Earl Grey
(or Peppermint for the Youngest One).

Complete your afternoon tea with this . . .
 Pumpkin Bars- still warm from the oven.

Sit by the fire, pour another cup or two of tea, make room for a furry friend on you lap and enjoy!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 eggs slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup of oil (I use coconut)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, salt
  • 2 cups flour
With a mixer blend the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin. Set aside. Stir together dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixer and beat until well blended. Pour mixture into greased and floured 9x13 pan and bake about 35 minutes at 350 degrees- bake until the edges pull away from the sides and the center springs back when touched. Let cool while you make the frosting.

For Frosting you will need:

  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 grated orange zest
  • powdered sugar- up to 1/2 a pound
Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Beat them together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla and zest. Then add powdered sugar a bit at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Frost the pumpkin bars after they have cooled and serve! These bars are AMAZING just in case you were a little unsure! ;)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

~All the Autumn's Joys~ November

Happy November~

It hardly seems possible another month has already slipped by.
When we have breaks of sunshine, it comes into the house as a warm glow and outside it illuminates the tree tops while the sky remains dark beyond- it looks more like a stage backdrop with complex lighting then the real world outside my window.

I've been spending plenty of time looking out the window for the last 24 hours due to my back putting me out of commission. But after another chiropractor appointment tomorrow I am hoping the worst will be past and I can get back at it. At least today I can type again- yesterday I couldn't even make it to the chair!

Fortunately we had done some carving previous to my back's issues, so the results were still enjoyed yesterday. This cute little guy is what the Husband came up with.

And the oldest carved this . . .

And the Youngest insisted on this design, but (surprise, surprise) it was actually Mom that ended up doing the intricate and torturous carving while he looked on and gave support. I swear carving this insanely thick gourd had everything something to do with where my back is now. Just a possibility mind you.

And here is the instigator of the kitty pumpkin himself . . .

 He is forgiven for his over-achieving-pumpkin-needs just by being so stinkin' cute in his costume.
(and the minute he heard his father and I exclaiming over how suave he looked with the 'stach he couldn't pass a mirror without checking himself out and constantly worrying over the possibility of smearing it)

And then there is the Oldest . . .

What thirteen year old wouldn't want to be a homeless man?

Hard to believe, but his father collaborated with him on the sign. Fortunately no one took him up on his first request (much to Husband's disappointment).

I'm simply trying to cope with the fact that he used the wrong form of 'to' at the end- I guess that's what happens when you spend eight years of your life homeschooling. ;)

As we welcome November tonight by baking soul cakes (see this post for the scoop on that) we are also continuing to pray for all our countrymen on the east coast . . . without power, without homes, without food.
Our family still needs to have a conversation around what we can to do help out- but regardless of how 'big or small' anyone's help is, let's all do whatever we can to make this new month one full of praise and thanksgiving for all those left to live with such loss.