Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Napkins

Last year I bought a new Christmas tablecloth, and had wanted to also buy the cloth napkins to match. At the time, they didn't have enough of them, but I just bought what they had, and kept my eye out for any extras. Sure enough, after Christmas, they tossed some more into the clearance section, and I eventually had enough to complete my collection. So this year I was able to set my table with matching tablecloth and napkins.

One of my daughters received a napkin folding book for Christmas, and so she was happy to practice with a new design. When it came time for dinner, all of our place settings looked just like this (well, except for the fork being placed too high -- all of the place settings didn't have that special feature)

My daughter thought that a great idea for next year will be to buy some inexpensive and colorful Christmas ornaments to place in the middle of each napkin. On each ornament we will write the name of each guest with some kind of glittery pen, and that will serve as the place card. I can just picture it now. In fact I think I should take advantage of all of the sales going on at present to purchase some inexpensive ornaments in order to carry out this vision. It sounds pretty cute to me.

And as a side note, just in case someone is wondering why I have a yellow dish along with my red dish ..... I used my Fiesta dishes to serve our Christmas dinner on. I have a great variety of colors, and they actually looked quite festive.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I know that not everyone has turkey for their Christmas dinner; but for those of you that do, here is a quick and easy way to deal with some of your leftovers. When naming my recipes, I am not overly creative as you can tell by the name of this one -- "Turkey Surprise". It is quite simple. In any size baking dish that you desire, place leftover stuffing in the bottom of it. Then comes a layer of leftover mashed potatoes, followed by a layer of turkey that has been cut into small pieces. Once this has been compiled, I pour all of the leftover gravy over the top, cover it with foil, and pop it into the oven at 350 deg. for about 30 minutes, or until it is heated through. At my house this is always met with a warm reception, and seems like a quick way to finish up the leftovers. Even "non-stuffing" eaters seem to enjoy it. It is also very easy to put together, and a nice warm dinner on a very cold day.

Speaking of cold days, I just have to tell you that since my posting of December 18th we have received a total of 62 inches of snow! Prior to that we only measured 4 inches, bringing the total to 66 inches. These are all official measurements from a couple of days ago. This makes this December our snowiest December on record, and December isn't even over yet. Just last night we received an additional 10-12 inches, and even as I am writing this, we are in the midst of another big snowstorm. It is really coming down hard outside, and it is absolutely gorgeous.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

With gift wrapping needing to be finished, big dinners to be prepared for, and a long list of goodies to bake, I'm quite certain that I won't be spending much time on the computer for the next couple of days. So in light of that, I wanted to take a moment now to wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your time celebrating the birth of our dear Savior.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Funny Chickens

My most recent, and probably last, project before Christmas has been my little chickens. They are actually pincushions; but I have been enjoying them just sitting around making me smile. My daughter has had them all lined up on the window sill in my sewing room, and they have really added a bright spot. I have grown kind of attached to them, but with Christmas drawing near, some of them will find themselves in a new home come Christmas morning.

I had a great time picking out all of the different kinds of fabric to use. I tried to choose patterns that would look very cheerful. After I had made a few of the larger sizes, I decided that they needed to have a little chick to go with them.

All of the other hens were in awe of the new little baby that was added to their little flock. You see, there has only been one so far, but maybe after Christmas a few more chicks will be hatched.

They even have funny little tails:

When I finished my first little hen, it just made me smile; and I immediately thought of my sister, Kass. She is always such a cheerful person, and always makes us smile. She is a very talented artist, and everything she paints or draws is very colorful, cheerful, and sometimes very whimsical. Whenever I see something that is very colorful and makes me laugh, I think of her. She has brought a lot of joy into our lives ..... thanks, Kass.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Snowy Day

Yesterday morning when I woke up at about 6:00 a.m., the snow had begun to fall. Prior to this snowstorm, we already had a couple of inches, but nothing significant. This morning when I woke up, we had close to 3 feet of snow on the ground! It has snowed for the greater part of the day, finally stopping just a couple of hours ago. It has been an absolutely gorgeous day. Of course we have spent the greater part of it shoveling, thanks to our neighbors that loaned us their shovels (ours have mysteriously disappeared somewhere throughout the course of the year).

In this picture, if you look real close at the base of the trees, you will see the very top of a fence post of a 3 foot high fence.

This was the beautiful sight that greeted me early this morning looking out my kitchen window onto my deck:

And the playground ...

The cars in the midst of being found ....

And as darkness began to fall this evening, the driveway was finally cleared, some of the snow pulled off of the roof, and we could actually open our gate.

And the fun thing about it all .... we are supposed to get another possible 10 inches tonight. I love winter!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baking Inspiration

Today I stumbled upon a very cute website for purchasing items for baking. It is called Bake It Pretty. They really have some cute ideas like these vintage cupcake toppers:

Or how about some cupcake liners that look like flowers:

A cupcake 101 kit including everything someone needs to make cupcakes packaged in a cute tin:

And little sugar flowers for decorating cupcakes or cakes:

There are other unique items for sale that are worth looking at if you enjoy baking or know of someone who does.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flannel Sheets

As I write this note, it is currently 4 deg. outside. According to AccuWeather.com, our "real feel" is -25 deg. I haven't been outside to experience these temperatures yet this morning, but it sounds really cold outside!!! I know that there are many areas up in our neck of the woods that are experiencing even colder weather than this. Our furnace has been running almost non-stop through the night and this morning. But in spite of all of this, it is absolutely gorgeous outside. The sun is shining very brightly on all of our snow, and the sky is such a beautiful color of blue. During this time of year we don't get many blue skies, so it is a very welcome sight indeed. But for me it all gives me many reasons to be thankful. Thankful for a warm house with a dependable furnace, and especially my flannel sheets. Being able to climb into a bed with warm flannel sheets brings me so much joy every single night. There is no need to get into bed and have to wait for it to warm up, it is already warm. God bestows His wonderful blessings on us in every possible thing -- even flannel sheets.

"...For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Matthew 6:8b

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Snowy Day

As I write this, we are in the midst of a snowstorm. The snow has really been coming down, and the wind threatens every now and then to mix things up a bit. But I think it is just beautiful. The perfect kind of day to stay inside and work on my Christmas projects. Today I hope to finish up my gifts of hot chocolate mix. I have been working on a creative way to present the gifts, and this is what I have come up with.

I scooped the mix into a clear cellophane bag that is used for putting cookies or candy in. Then I hit my fabric stash for some fun wintery types of fabric. Made a little gift bag and embellished it with some embroidery. My daughters helped me choose some brown ribbon with gold bells tied on it to finish it all off. Here is a picture before it was all put together:
And here is the finished product:

This was really fun to put together, and I think it makes for a very festive presentation of the gift. Now I get to spend the rest of this beautiful, snowy day, making a few more of these while sipping on some hot chocolate of my own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dickens and Christmas

I don't think many people go through a Christmas season without reading, watching, or just thinking about "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I always try to read the book, and watch at least one movie rendition each year. Some of the movie versions are great and others are very pitiful. In fact the other night we began watching one that was so bad, we turned it off. I'm quite certain that Charles Dickens would have been horrified to think someone had done that to his work. Last year I received as a gift, the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production, which is a wonderful version.

This morning I came upon this website, where you can find everything you ever wanted to know about Charles Dickens and Christmas. I was directed there via a trail from the homeschool freebie site which also led me to their homeschool radio shows site which currently has a free mp3 adaptation of "The Pickwick Papers" also by Dickens. This location is currently having a Dickens Christmas Festival, wherein each week they offer a free mp3 program just in case you might be interested.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Paper Dolls

My mother has a beautiful cedar chest that she received before she was married. After she was married, she kept her special treasures in it. She has letters in it from my dad that he mailed to her when he was in the Navy during the war, childhood keepsakes, her high school prom dress, and newspaper clippings of my brothers and sisters and their special 4H awards. I can remember on special occasions (most likely rainy days when all of us kids were bored) my mom would open up her chest for us to take a peek inside. She would carefully take the items out and tell us the stories behind them. My eyes would always be searching for one thing -- her paper dolls. I loved it when she pulled out the candy box where they were kept. After she would show them to us, and tell us the story about how she made them; she would let us play with them. I can remember being so careful and not wanting to tear them in the least.

On a recent visit with her, she surprised my daughters and me by having her paper dolls out so that we could enjoy them once again. She made them from catalog pages in the late 1930's and early 1940's. My favorite of all of her dolls were the "twins". I always searched for them first amongst all of the dolls.

You will notice that they don't have any arms. That is because my mom would cut the arms off of the dolls; but then as she chose outfits from the catalog, she would leave the arms on so that any outfit would work with any doll.

Of course there are lots of dolls ...

and lots of outfits ...

After she would put the dolls back away in their safe little abode in the cedar chest, I can remember getting out our big catalogs and making some of my own. Of course they weren't as special as hers, and I didn't ever keep any of mine. I wish that I would have, because then my daughters could have played with mine. But that's okay, because they can enjoy the very same ones that my mom was always so kind enough to let me play with.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Good Life

I recently came across this picture here, and thought how much fun it would be if this could be a reality. Just imagine, you look beautiful, your hair is perfect, you are wearing a darling dress with cute shoes. The house is very tidy, you have a bouquet of beautiful flowers to enjoy (probably picked from your perfect flower garden), and you have time to sit in a comfy chair with a comfy pillow, and sew. And of course there is a hand stitched picture hanging on the wall. I love it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Hot Chocolate

In a previous post, I shared with you a recipe for hot chocolate mix. I mixed it together yesterday, and decided I wanted to make it a bit more chocolatey. There is really a lot of room for play when whipping up a batch of hot chocolate mix. Just by adding a little more of this or a little more of that, you really can't go wrong. If you prefer a lighter chocolate flavor, stick with the other recipe. If you follow the rule (as do I) that more chocolate is always better, then try this recipe.

Hot Chocolate Mix #2

1 (25.6-oz) pkg. instant nonfat dry milk (10-2/3 cups)
1 (6-oz) jar powdered non-dairy creamer
2 cups powdered sugar
29.8 oz. instant chocolate drink mix
20 tablespoons Hershey's baking cocoa

Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Store in an airtight container and use within 6 months.

Add 4 tablespoons of this mix to 1 cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Cookies

I can imagine many of you are beginning to do your holiday baking. I know I am hoping to start mine in the next couple of days. Typically, I leave it until the last minute, but I really don't want to do that this year. Somehow waiting until the day of Christmas Eve to make the sugar cut out cookies makes it more stressful than enjoyable. This year I am going to begin with the cut out cookies since they take the longest to make. Each year I also find myself on a quest to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe. If you also find yourself on the same quest each year, you might want to look here for a recipe and some easy decorating ideas. I personally haven't tried this recipe out yet, but it looks promising.

Monday, December 1, 2008


My mom taught me how to knit when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Some of my other friends at school were learning how, and I thought it looked like fun. I can imagine that this truly was a labor of love on my mother's part, because she really does not like to knit. She is a crochet person, and does so beautifully. I can't even remember ever seeing her knit, but I guess I just assumed she knew how. I learned on an old pair of wooden needles that seemed to have been a part of our household forever (of which I now have the honor of possessing). She only knew the basics, but that was enough to get me going. I still enjoy knitting; however, it takes me a really long time to finish something. I've never made anything amazing, just small projects throughout the years. My mother-in-law has also taught me more detailed knitting. She is an amazing knitter!! At one point, she even owned her own yarn shop. I have always been absolutely amazed at the projects she finishes in an unbelievable short amount of time. I'm quite certain that my niece, Rachel, has inherited this skill from her. Rachel is a busy mom with 4 small children, and never ceases to amaze me at the projects that she turns out in such rapid succession.

For the past few years I have been drawn to all of the pretty sock yarn that is out there on the market. When I visit a yarn shop, I always find my way over to this particular yarn, pick it up, and think that I would really like to learn how to knit socks. I have checked books out at the library reading about how to knit socks, but have never actually come to the point where I have begun to knit socks. For my birthday this year, one of my daughters gave me this as a gift:

Everything I need to make my own pair of socks!! My birthday is in the summertime, so obviously I haven't begun them yet; but am looking forward to the perfect cold winter day when I can sit down with a hot cup of tea, pick up my needles and yarn, and begin knitting socks.