My lovely Hazel Rei made this ornament at Sunday school, and I don't know why but I was almost brought to tears when I saw it. I don't know if it was because it was so special to me that she is learning that Christmas is about Jesus or that she made it. She looked at me and said, "don't cry momma!"...and I realized that I was indeed a really cheesy mom.
"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."
Many times I get caught up. Caught up with my children running around and getting into stuff, cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. I get caught up with my own issues, my loneliness, my sadness, my etc. Lately I have been finding myself caught up with Jesus...His word, His will, His coming, and His love. I find myself looking at the world, the war, the hate, the many that do not know of his love...and initially I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. I prayed and asked God what I should do. I am one person, I could not possibly help everyone that I saw. I went to Him and prayed, prayed for him to use me. Lately I have seen face to face the struggle of a friend to provide for her family...I have seen her empty fridge...and God showed me that even if it's only one small bag of canned goods, or one scarf, or one winter coat that I can reach out and help others. Here are a few examples of how we can help and reach out to others during this Christmas season....
1. The Grocery Bag Sew off...I thought this one was good for people that sew and are crafty. The idea is that you make a grocery bag, fill it with food and deliver it to your local food bank.
2. My friend Joanne and I were having a conversation about possibly knitting a scarf and donating it either to someone that we knew might need it or even to a shelter. Even if you do not know how to knit, you might have one in your closet that you are not using, or even blankets, jackets, whatever....Even the items that you have that have little significance to you would be received with such joy by someone else.
3. I found this link on ehow, I thought it was very interesting and the simple advice was profound to me, maybe because it was so simple...I thought it was good advice to bake an extra pie and give it to a soup kitchen or buy extra vegetables and fruits from your local farmers market and donate it. I know we all know people that are struggling, even blessing them with these items to help out would be an awesome idea as well.
4. Feed America is a great resource as well. You can find local food banks in your area.
5. Lastly, God has put it on our hearts to contact our church and we were told that there where people in the community and even at our own church that were struggling and that they were taking donations. At our local grocery store we noticed that canned goods, like string beans, corn, carrots, etc were very inexpensive. We have tons of reusable grocery bags...so why not fill them and donate. I guess what my point is that it doesn't need to be a lot...it just needs to be from your heart and that God can use us if we are willing to surrender to Him.
I got this recipe and photo from the great Simply Recipes. It was great. They are really yummy. Joe the chef suggested adding a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt, and we did, and we loved it. You should try it!!! My cookies were not as pretty, so that is why I did not post any pics, but they taste really good. I think I was a little hasty in the baking part, which is what I am working on.
We sang this at church this morning. The words actually brought tears to my eyes. It is so beautiful, I never really meditated on the words. We are enjoying a white couple of days. I snapped a picture as snow was falling. It feels like winter here and Christmas is just around the corner. Christmas is indeed a wonderful time of year when we celebrate Christ's birth and all the beauty that surrounds it. I love it so much.
I tend to call plants "her"...I don't know why but I guess I think of all plants as being ladies. I think I might get it from my mother. About a month ago we had the need for basil. Joe had gone to the grocery store and came home with a whole basil plant saying that it was all they had. We really had the need for only a few leaves so I had no idea what I was going to do with an entire plant. Yesterday I noticed that she was still alive. I do try to water her and place her next to the window to get some light. I might just buy her a cute little pot. She has a few dry edges but it is nothing short of a miracle that she is still alive one month later!
We purchased the most lovely pumpkin from our favorite farm, and I placed her right next to my most favorite windows in the house, and she sat there basking in the sun for over a month. I would look at her as I had my coffee and admire how cute she was. I loved her so much I didn't even dare carve her for Halloween. Well yesterday I was packing up our fall decorations, and knew it was time to put her away too. Rather than just throw her in the trash...I decided to use her to make delicious pumpkin bread. I used the same recipe as my other pumpkin bread only I used butter rather than olive oil, whole wheat flour, raw sugar, and chopped almonds. I also used mini loaf pans to bake them. To be honest, I actually prefer using the butter, and love any chance to use whole wheat flour!!!
I had stopped by a nearby farm to pick up our weekly eggs and milk when I noticed pumpkins and squash in boxes. I asked the farmer how much they cost and he said to help myself! So I did!!! I roasted the pumpkin and made a pie, and pumpkin bread. As I was perusing through my favorite blogs that evening, I came across a dear friend's blog and was delighted to discover that she was doing the exact same thing that day....except thousands of miles away.
I have been asking you for your address for some time. You have given it to me a dozen times so I apologize for my irresponsibility. You see, I want to send you a very belated gift because I love you so. I have made you something to keep your neck warm. I am sending it to you because you had posted the pattern and I loved it so much. So thank you for the idea, thank you for being born, and thank you for being a kindred spirit to me and a dear friend (one of the very best)!!!
**I must really love you because I am letting go of one of my beloved vintage buttons, so take good care of it.
We were so happy to visit the Camphill Village in Kimberton Pa. It is truly a unique and wonderful place. It is a sustainable farm where individuals with developmental disabilities are able to live, work, and thrive in an environment that is free of judgement and bias. There are so many facets of the farm. They produce honey, milk, eggs, bread that is made there and with their own milled wheat flour, a craft cottage where they sell goods and even their own spun yarn. Our family visited the cafe where they offer a fresh seasonal menu made mostly of organic components. The bread was amazing!!!! I will definitely be back, I treasure programs that enable all individuals to flourish!!
I said to Hazel, "maybe we can make cookies today!" and life happened, I got busy, and the end of the night was quickly approaching and she had not forgotten my cookie statement. She said to me, "momma, aren't we going to make cookies?". I was tired, and for a second regretted my little comment. As it turns out we did all made cookies. Jade, Hazel, and myself. I measured the ingredients, and they took turns dumping the spoons and cups into the bowl. It was so much fun, and truly seeing Hazel and Jade so excited and eating their cookies was priceless to me. We made oatmeal cookies we substituted currants for raisins, and used turbinado sugar and were super happy with the delicious results.
I spoke with my mom on the phone the other day. She said she was doing great, taking care of herself, resting, and yes JUICING! My mom loves to juice! She is serious about juicing because she credits feeling good to juicing, so it works wonderfully for her. She said she had been in an organic market the other day and ordered the "energy juice drink" and it was nearly $5.00. So she vowed to bust out her juicer and make it for herself, rather than giving her money away so freely.
The drink consists of juicing:
I woke up this morning and decided to give our whole family a boost of "energy" and tried it, and it was delicious!!!
I know it looks funky and green but it was amazing...so you just gotta try it :)
I woke up this morning, there was a fire going and it was nice and warm in our living room. Joe was just about to leave when he saw me and said, "you have to see the backyard", so I peaked outside and discovered a blanket of fine frost covering the grass. I suspected that winter is peaking it's way into our lives when yesterday evening it was in the low 30's. Oh my, I don't know if I'm ready for winter! I might have to fly south for the winter too.
Was it more expensive than the average, frozen turkey? Yes, but I hear the taste is incomparable. We plan to try to purchase as much of the ingrediens we can for our Thanksgiving feast locally, within 100 miles. We got the idea from the 100 mile diet. I am super excited to enjoy all the delicious & fresh local flavors.
I simply adore homemade costumes. I think they take imagination, work, and are so much more meaningful than store bought ones. I had to take a few pictures of my most favorite costumes I saw this year. I think these kids are adorable. I especially like the Kleenex & antibacterial hand lotion especially for the flu season. I fell in love with the kid with the candy machine, especially since the kid was actually dispensing candy. Pippilongstocking was my most favorite because she was a childhood hero of mine.
He tells me that I say it too much. That I say Hazel Rei is absolutely beautiful. To me, she is just beauty personified. I adore her. I love every last curly strand of hair, her big blue eyes, her independent nature, they way she looks like him. I just cannot stop telling her that she is gorgeous 100+ times a day. This is why...
I like simple recipes. Often times I peruse the Internet for recipes and get turned off at the 97 ingredients and "chefy" lingo. I am not a cook, do not profess to be a cook, or even want to label myself as a cook or baker. I do however like to eat. Another thing is, I LOVE soup.
We purchased some leeks from our neighborhood farmers market. Beautifully green & lovely leeks, perfect for potato leek soup. I found a simple recipe online and attempted it. The recipe was concise, with pictures, and even someone like me could easily understand it. I think my soup came out a little chunkier than the one on the website but it was really very delicious. I toasted some french bread, perfect for dipping, and enjoyed my warm, hearty soup on a rainy chilly day.
So, I walked into my local yarn store, which is called The Knitting Basket. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful colors & textures of yarns. I gasped at the cashmere, the wool, and yes it was all very, very pricey. My dear friend Kacy had sent me an email telling me about this Japanese yarn, called Noro that I must have because it is lovely & it stripes. So once I found this yarn at the Knitting basket I was so excited. It was right in front of me, so gorgeous and colorful...I was ecstatic. Only it was $12.50 for a small skein; But it was silk, mohair, and wool, and so beautiful. So after the rationalization in my head (I'm worth it and all) I purchased it (thank you husband) and left the store happy, very very happy.
My friend Kacy also emailed me a pattern that would accentuate the colors, so I started the project, and found out that I need about 2 more skeins of yarn to get it to the length I want...goodness gracious. At least I will have a lovely scarf after I'm done!