Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Don't Worry, God Has Your Back - A Miracle Defined

Each morning when I wake up the first thing I do is say my prayers.  I'm thankful for this because it's my feeling that saying prayers is the most important thing I can do in this season of my life.  This morning was different.  I woke up with the past in my thoughts.  The past is somewhere I seldom visit, but this was different.  I was reminded of a time that we seldom talk about in our family because we believe in moving forward and counting our blessings each day.  This experience was no different as far as counting blessings because that's what I was doing - thanking God for His goodness to us.

I'd like to share something that only family and close friends know happened in my family.  For no other reason than to share God's goodness.

When our son was four years old he was diagnosed with AML.  AML is a rare leukemia that very few people survive.  My thoughts are not about the pain and suffering, but rather the things God did to protect us and help us through the eight years that he was ill.  One thing in particular.....

B and all of his siblings- there were three siblings- had to be tested for DNA because B needed a bone marrow transplant.  We had to fly to Sloan Kettering for the tests.  I packed up the four kids for a stay at the Ronald McDonald house on 57th street in Manhattan and we took a flight to New York City.  I don't remember any glitches, the kids did well on the flight and it was easy to get a cab.  The testing was simple as all that was needed was a blood draw from each of the children.  Then home we went.

Mission accomplished.  Three days later we got a call from the hospital that revealed we had to repeat the testing.  All of this was getting rather expensive so Bob stayed behind again to work and the kids and I packed up for the trip again.  No glitches, all went smooth.  It never occurred to me to ask why we had to return for more blood tests.  Sloan Kettering was the best in the world, I had complete trust in the facility.

A few days later another call came in which again was a request for us to return for more blood tests.  It was tiring, but again with pure faith I packed up the kids and off we went.  This time a corporation flew us on a private jet.  I can't remember how we were connected with them, probably the hospital made some calls.  Waiting for us was a Towne car at the airport.  This, without a doubt, was the nicest flight of all the flights we took to New York City in the coming years.

The tests under our belt, we flew home to be relieved to plop on our very own couch.  The couch that we seldom sat on unless it was a holiday or special occasion.  (Long story)

A few days later the call came in with the results of the elaborate testing.  All four of our children were a perfect DNA match!  This has never happened before.  The hospital thought that mistakes had been made and needed the kids to be tested three times because they had never before seen perfect DNA matches.  I'm not sure if they have seen this since, but our family was quite famous in the halls of Sloan Kettering Hospital on York St in New York City.

This is what was brought to mind as I tried to open my eyes this morning.  How good God is, even in the mist of chaos and the most pain a family could experience.  He had our backs all through that eight year ordeal. 

There were a million other times during life that He covered our backs, but this one stood in the fore front this morning.  I woke with thanksgiving on my heart.  What a delightful way to greet the new day. 

Thanksgiving, even for what we perceive as bad things, is one of the most freeing intangible weapons we have at our disposal.  Thanksgiving to God keeps us emotionally and mentally free from depression and anger.  It's not something that is prescribed by a medical provider, but rather prescribed by the Master.  So I would ask you today, if you are going through something that is unpleasant, turn to God and heaven for assistance.  Begin thanking God for the bad thing and feel His compassion and love as He carries you through the situation.  He is our only hope that can be counted on in all things.

Stay safe.

Angie

If you'd like to hear more about miracles, leave a comment.  I have lots of them to share.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Angie's First Give Away

It's time for Angie's first give away.   The give away will be for a set of 12 puter pumpkin shaped dinner place card holders - cards included.  I'll even throw in a couple extra girlie things in the package.

You can enter by:

1. Stopping by Angie's Facebook page and LIKING it, as well as LEAVING a COMMENT.  A simple 'Hi' will do it.

https://www.facebook.com/angiesfrugalhouse

2.  Leaving a COMMENT right HERE at the end of this post.

3.  JOIN this site at the left side bar.  It's fast and easy.

All three of these steps need to be done to be entered in the give away.

That's it.  Good luck to all of my readers.

The drawing will be on January 3rd, 2015.

Please note:  My blog -for the most part- goes out to friends and family.  Please know that I encourage everyone to enter, no matter how close the relationship is.  You all know I will be fair in drawing names from a hat.


The set for the give away includes 12 place card holders.





An After Christmas Shopping Haul, Apples Included

Monday was a rainy and dismal day.  The kind of day that's screaming fireplace and blanket.  The sun was sleeping behind total cloud cover and the rain was cold.  The perfect day, I decided, to stay home.  Something kept nagging at me to get a few groceries because we are expected to get some nasty (nastier) weather by Wednesday.  Reluctantly I got dressed and ventured out the door.  Thinking I could kill a few birds with one stone (as long as I was out) I first went to the mall which was just across the road from the grocery store.  The car had barely warmed up on the five minute drive to a prime shopping area. 

My first stop was at Dillards for a tree skirt at the customary 50% off after Christmas.  Being aware that on January first that same tree skirt will be 70% off, I bought it anyway.  I won't be at Dillards on January first.  I'm told that particular day is worse than Black Friday at Wal Mart.  I also found a few ornaments for the tree for next year.  It was a satisfying visit.


At $3.00 each I thought these tree ornaments were a good price.  I bought three of them.

You know muted colors are my favorite, but the small touch of red adds interest to the new tree skirt.


Off to Macy's with a 20% off coupon for new towels in the master bath.  Suddenly the master bath was gloomy and colorless.  I'm not one for a lot of color surrounding me, but this was ridiculous.  Macy's had towels for 9.99 - original price was 18.00 for the bath size.  So coupon in hand I paid 8.00 for bath towels and even less for hand towels and wash cloths.


The color isn't too bright on these purple towels, but lots better than the really light blue that were there before.  I'm not sure if I like the flower there, but I thought I'd try it to see if it's a keeper.


Since I was in the mall a visit to Bath and Body Works was on the agenda.  I had a gift card that I would forget about if I didn't use it.  It was only for a little more than $13.00, but I thought I could get quite a lot since they had a 70% off sale on quite a few items.  I hit the jackpot and paid $1.36 out of pocket for 4 sprays that were well overpriced with an original cost of $14.00.

Cinnamon pumpkin makes the house smell nice in the dead of winter.


Satisfied with my accusations, off to the strip mall across the street for groceries.  Intentions were good to go directly to the grocery.  Pier One was calling my name so an ignored response would be rude.  More great bargains here.  I got place card holders for a 90% reduction in cost.  How do they do that? 


How pretty are these place card holders?  The place cards are supplied, too.
I detect a give away coming up.


Finally the grocery store was in view.  Harris Teeter it is.  Even though this is the local hoity toity grocery store they sometimes have fresh fruits and veggies on clearance at ridiculously low prices.  It's a gamble, but well worth it.

Monday was the day to gamble.  They had organic apples (originally $4.99 a pound) on the cart for - get this - .50 a pound.  Eureka!  The produce guy packed up 15 apples for me at a total cost of about $4.70.


All I can say is, "Yummo!"


This afternoon will be an apple preparing party.  Two pies, a crisp and a few dehydrated apple slices are in the works.  Gosh, I love a deal.  Especially a food deal!

Have you been shopping the after Christmas sales?  Have you found any real great deals?  I'd love to hear from you in the comment section.

Stay safe.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cherished Gifts and Cherished People

With a bit of sadness, Christmas day has come and gone.  I. like many of you, look forward to this day all year.  Some of us even begin preparing for it the day after the festivities are over.

I have begun to plan for next year by going to Wal Mart with my daughter and purchasing three rolls of Hallmark wrapping paper for next Christmas.  Along with that there was a pack of 100 tags that I brought home and some tissue paper to put in the Christmas gift bags I got for .50 cents each.  Everyone knows the gift bags stay at grandma's house to be recycled for nest year.  My small part in keeping the environment healthy as well as the budget.  I bought more bags this year because I found wrapping most gifts this year had my body, especially my hands, in an uproar.

This year I waited to wrap gifts.  As time went on I found myself with the bulk of the wrapping being done two hours before my guests arrived.  I don't ever want to do that again.  My hands were in pain and my back was not in the mood to like me very much.  The task completed and the gifts under the tree just in time for the guests to arrive.  2015 will be different.  The gifts will get wrapped as they come into the house.  Of course I will forget what's in the wrapped packages so I will put a little note on the bottom to remind me using small print.

I received some tear jerking gifts this year.  My grandson asked me if next year I could get gifts that didn't make me cry.  I'm not sure, but I doubt it.  Time to learn to turn your head when the tears flow.  It's only for a few minutes anyway.  Call it preparation for when you get married.

Our eldest daughter found a picture of her dad when he was on ship in the Navy.  He was 17 or 18 years old trying to learn the guitar.  The picture was a bit beat up so she took it to a friend and traded baby sitting services while her friend and her husband shopped for Christmas in trade for the work her friend did on the picture.

The result of her efforts is a large black and white photo framed in a sturdy black frame.  I'm going to have my husband's ID bracelet attached to the frame to be displayed over the fireplace.  Of course I also cried when my son sent me the bracelet that his dad gave to him.

Daughter number two sent me 2 items that brought tears escaping.  When I opened those gifts I was alone so no one had to be uncomfortable.  I got a picture pillow of my grandchildren and a reusable grocery bag with another picture and the words 'Best Grandma' under the picture.  I see this as a conversation starter when I'm grocery shopping.

Daughter number three surprised me with a shadow box for my husband's flag from the Navy I received when a color guard played taps at his service.  I have been meaning to find one for years, but never remembered when I was out shopping.  Another choked up time when I was thanking her for the great gift.  Her response was she didn't want the kids to unravel the flag while they were playing in the loft.

The one and only son is not to be forgotten.  No tears when I opened a gift from him, only a big smile.  He sent me a large gift card to a national chain.  There's some fun in my future with this gift.

This Christmas was filled with appreciation and lots of fun and great company.  I sincerely hope all of my readers had a warm and happy time with those that you love.


Gifts of love that I will always cherish from people I already cherish.



Reader Comment

A reader left a message on a 2011 post. 'A Recipe for a Healthy Dessert'.  I'd like to thank you for spending some time scrolling through the posts.  It's encouraging for me to continue the blog. 

I tried to answer your comment, but I am unable to search because it goes back to the current posts. 

Dads can be good cooks when they find they have a talent in the kitchen.  I hope you enjoyed his meal.

Angie

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas, The Menu, and Reflection

Just two days before Christmas day.  How exciting!  The Italian cookies are made as well as the sugar cookies I got from Noreen's Kitchen video.  Because my hosting will be on Christmas Eve today is the day I will make the Italian ricotta cheese cake so it can set up in the refrigerator for a few hours.  The crust is made from graham crackers, but I didn't have regular ones so I crushed up the kiddie snacks that have chocolate in them.  It sounds like it will work because a person can't go wrong with chocolate filled grahams - can they?

I spent yesterday in the kitchen slicing and dicing veggies, finishing up the cookies and slicing cheese.  I also wrote down the menu and decided I needed an additional dish with substance.  The menu will be"

Meat tray
Rolls
Macaroni salad
Veggie platter
Wine from my cousin's vineyard  ( award winning and goes down so dang easy)
You can check him out here:    http://rizzowinery.com/
Flavored ginger ale
Cheese and cracker plate
Ricotta cheese cake
Dorittos (for the kids)
Cookies
Pickles from the garden
Russell Stover chocolates
Hot chocolate in Santa mugs
Jello with home made whipped cream
(Not necessarily in that order.)


44 cookies just before baking.  The remainder were cooked the next day which made the total 72.


The finished product.   Iced and sprinkles even the kiddos will be attracted to these.

The mess that was made after the cookies were done.


No one should go home hungry.  Some people will drink and their mates will drink soda as the designated driver.  The kids will paly (act nutty) in the loft and the adults will pretty much ignore any cries for help unless someone decides to hang over the railing.  I can lock all the doors on the second floor and let the grands be a bit free for a couple of hours.

Uncle J will read The Night Before Christmas to settle the kids in for the night just before everyone goes home for the night.  We are having a pajama party theme so everyone can fall into bed when they go home.

Before the activity begins I'll take a few minutes to reflect on the blessings I have and miss those family members that can't be with us.  Some day it would so nice for us all to be together on Christmas.  It would be a miracle if this ever happened, but I understand traveling 900 miles on Christmas is not an ideal situation for families.  We each want to feel the peace of the season and we do this best by being home. 

It's also a time I allow myself time to think about my husband.  I miss him every day, but so much so on Christmas.  I think of the Christmas that he super surprised me with my fist computer.  I cried I was so happy.  The poor man thought I was sad and hurried to tell me I could take it back if I didn't like it.  The only other time he was afraid I didn't want something was when we renewed our vows in front of the congregation - following mass - after 40 years of marriage.  He asked me if I loved him.  Didn't I want to renew?  Through water leaks I told him they were tears of happiness.

That he suggested we renew our vows was a gift from heaven because I'd asked him a number of times through the ten years prior to his passing and he would poo poo the thought.  This time he asked me.  He passed nine months later.  Do you see why I can't stop loving this man.  I know it's suppose to be until death do us part, but I guess I'm like a puppy (a cute one, of course) my loyalties will always be with this man.  And so to you my love, I offer a blessed Christmas.  Save a spot for me and don't forget to pray for us while you have a good seat near the throne of God.

Merry Christmas to all my readers.  You are a part of my life now.  God bless you all and may all you endeavor to accomplish in the new year be blessed.

Stay safe.

Angie


The start of the pierogies for Christmas dinner.

Pierogie dough rolled out.  Not too think or they will be too gummy.

The potato filling placed in the middle.


The finished product before they went into the freezer.



Friday, December 19, 2014

More Verbal Wanderings

Good morning dear readers.  Today the sun is shining making me think it may be warmer out there.  Nope!  It's chilly as December should be.  Not freezing though, so we're good to go.

My early morning was spent watching my favorite yoo toobers while drinking my vitamin Isotonic.  I'm on to the coffee at the moment which will be followed by a bowl of cereal or oatmeal.  I haven't decided yet.  That's the luxury of being retired.  I'm not forced to make decisions well before hand.

The new year's agenda book came out this morning with appointments written in and the old one put away.  Why is keeping the old ones so important?  It's not like I'll remember I put anything in it when I'm looking for dates.  No, I'll scratch my head and look every where else, then remember the agenda.  Good thing I have the time to go through that long process.  The thing is I'm not that organized with paper work so my journey to hunt something down is extensive.  Perhaps the new year will bring with it a desire to do something about that.  I know it's pure laziness on my part so I do have control that I don't exercise in that area.

I made up a holiday jar of the cookie mix I got off of Noreen's Kitchen on yoo toob this morning.  Three cups of the mix along with crasins and walnuts went into the jar with an instruction tag attached to the jar with twine.  This has been done a million times, but it's still a cute and thoughtful gift for a neighbor or work associate.  Bread is also in the bread maker to be served with dinner tonight.


I used a small piece of wrapping paper to cover the jar lid.  A small rubber band holds the paper in place then the screw top is placed over it.  I wrote out the instructions by hand on lined paper then taped it on a gift tag after I carefully cut it to size.  A piece of twine wrapped around the jar holds the tag and instructions in place.


This afternoon I have a couple of errands to run and a medical appointment.  My doctor is trying to get in all of my medical needs before the year ends.  Nothing serious, just the I'm aging and we need to keep up on things type appointments.  This is the first year I've had to see a physician on a schedule.  So I've done pretty well for myself.  I did mention to her (the doctor) that that life will not be focused on healthcare.  I will do my part with good eating and exercise and accept some of the changes that age brings.  My main concern is that my children are not saddled with a broken body to care for. 

Every year I ask God for something for Christmas.  This year I was greedy and put in three requests.  One is for a long time friend - well two are - so I need to know when the miracles happen M.

I'm excited for tomorrow to come because that is when my grandson will be helping me make the perogi I mentioned in a previous post.  The recipe came from my husband's grandmother quite a few years back.  It took me an entire day to tweak the recipe because it was given to me in pinches and handfuls.  LOL  I can still picture the conversation we had on the phone over that recipe.  Precious memories from a terrific lady.

If anyone in the family is reading this and wants the recipe, leave a comment and I'll get it to you through private message.

That's it for today since life is slow and simple for me.  I wish the same for my readers.  Stay safe.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Sing Along

A cute Christmas song by Santa and his reindeer.   Animated


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9sKpDSAQ7I

The Pup, Cookies, and Tables

This week has been crazy busy for me, but not as crazy as it has been for most of you.  I remember the days when I worked, had small children, and all that went with a normal routine, then Christmas prep was added to all of that.

I also remember the day I decided Christmas would be just as much fun if I reduced the amount of baking I did, stopped making chocolate covered cherries, and served less food on the holiday table.  I got to enjoy the month along with the others in my family.

My hat's off to all young moms who do all of this and more.  May God bless your every endeavor.

Yesterday the girl pup got her bath.  She steps into the shower with me and gets the girlie treatment with my body wash.  Then toweled dry and a blow dry on low.  She loves the blow dry part.  I'm assuming because it's warm and she loves to be warm.  Not that she told me this, but because you can find her most days under a blanket with her nose sticking out.

All of my packages for out of state were wrapped early and mailed out.  For some reason I stopped there so the gifts for my family that live nearby have been waiting to be wrapped.  I started that project this morning.  Five down with the rest to go.

The grandson will be coming over on Saturday to learn how to make perogie (spell?) with me.  He and his brother have developed a fondness for cooking shows, but he is the one old enough to work on a big project in the kitchen.

The decorating is now complete for Christmas.  I finished by setting up the table with a Christmas tree theme.  When I  went to the cupboard over the refrigerator to get the holiday dishes, I saw a few things I forgot I had bought after Christmas last year.  What a nice surprise it was to have enough to finish the decorating.




Everything with the exception of the plates was bought on sale after Christmas.  The plates are my one indulgence that came from Williams and Sonoma.  I fell in love with the pattern because it is so warm and homey looking.  The small trees were free with points I earned at the Hallmark store through the year.



One of the best things I found this year was a cookie recipe from Noreen's Kitchen.  Noreen developed a master mix recipe for sugar cookies that makes quite a few batches.  Anything you'd like can be added - nuts, chips, raisins, crasins, peppermint chips - anything.  I made half a batch because hers was rather large.  My needs are less, even with giving this as gifts.  These cookies are knock out genius.  SOOOO good.  I made one batch and got three dozen cookies from it.  I used a melon baller as a scoop so the size wasn't over whelming.  Noreen used vanilla extract, but I experimented with anise extract and was very pleased with the outcome.



The master mix before it becomes cookies.
 
 
 
 The cookies before cooking.
The cookies just before eating.  (Three for breakfast and three for lunch.  Then into the freezer for the Christmas Eve tray.

Here's the link to the video on how to make these yummo cookies.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBjJTa7LQ44

Enjoy and stay safe.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Quiet Day on the Home Fromt

Today was a quiet and productive one.  The windows got cleaned in the living room and the house got aired out with a gentle, yet cool, breeze.  The house smells so good after the fresh air traveled throughout the downstairs.

I did two loads of laundry and put them away after I washed the windows.  The sink was clear of dishes until I made dinner.  I made a mess that will be cleaned up in a few minutes.  All of the food is put away and the dishes are rinsed, but they need to be washed and the counters and stove need a clean up.

I was feeling hungry tonight so I made some seafood and a baked potato.  The potato was dripping with cheese and bacon.  I haven't made myself a baked potato in years, but it sounded so good.  Good thing is I had  a potato in the refrigerator that was not cooked for the Thanksgiving dinner.  Into the microwave it went then mashed and put back in with bacon and cheese on it.  Yummo.  I'm going to make a seafood chowder tomorrow using the shells and heavy cream.  I have one container of chicken broth left in the freezer and carrots and celery in the refrigerator.  Combined these items should make a good soup. 

The rest period today was spent checking out the blogs and yoo toob videos I follow.  There's some great frugal ideas for gifts that I may try.  They are food gifts so I feel confident in trying them.  If they were craft gifts, I don't think anyone would want to receive them from me.  Unless it was a crocheted item.

The passing of my mother in law put me in a reflective mood.  I get quiet and think a lot when I loose someone who has been close to me.  I understand she was ready and knowing the kind person she was, I have no doubt she's a happy woman at this time.  I do have to digest the event and was sad I was not able to attend the services for her today.  I live 900 miles away and couldn't swing it.  Even my kids who live 60 miles away couldn't attend the services because that part of the country is in the middle of blizzard snow storms.

Reading other blogs I see the women are busy sewing and creating beautiful things.  I'm envious that I'm not able to do these things.  I know how good I feel when I cook something special, I can't imagine how good it would feel to create something tangible.  I'm pretty happy, though. with who I am, creativity aside.

It's been fun watching the videos on facebook today.    I wish I knew how to get them here so I could show my readers some of them.  There's one that Clay Riley put out with Santa singing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas that's animated.  It cute when the reindeer sing the chorus.  I thought maybe it was on yoo toob, but no luck finding it.  If it comes across your page, let me know if you know how to transport it here.  I think others would get a smile from watching it.


You can check out this video if you're interested in creating nice gifts for Christmas from the kitchen.

Stay safe.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zcc9RuVcHo&list=UUt4JkHmgAq1EnQc1Cc5M4xw

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Noodles and Ornaments (Oh My!)

I'm watching the sun set and the temperatures plummet as I wait for the water to boil so I can pop the noodles I just made into it.  The process went a bit quicker this time because I bought a pizza cutter from Rada.  It cut the cutting time in half.  So about seven minutes for making and kneading the noodle dough because I have gotten quicker as my confidence has soured and five minutes to cut the dough.  I'm down to 12 minutes of hands on time.  This doesn't take into account the 10 minutes the dough needs to be wrapped and put in the refrigerator to rest.




From one egg and 1/2 cup of flour I got a little over a half pound of noodles.


Earlier this week a trip to the Dollar Tree with two of the grandkids so they could do their Christmas shopping was good for me, too.  Sitting on a shelf were four Santa mugs waiting to go home with someone.  I paired them with a tray that was 1.25 at a thrift store and ended up with a hot chocolate 'station' for the kids on Christmas Eve. 


 
How cute are these?  The kiddos can take them home with them after they indulge in their cocoa.  Maybe I'll learn how to make marshmallows to float on top of the cocoa.


The decorating is almost done as the tree was done today.  I thought I purchased a few ornament after Christmas last year.  The problem is I did, but only three.  The tree is a bit bare, but decked in ornaments that are kid friendly.  After Christmas I'll go to purchase a few more.  The only other items I want are a nice tree skirt and a large Santa.  I may grab a garland, as well.  I'll know when I get there.


The tree is a bit bare, but I don't think the grands will care.  There's plenty to capture their attention for now.  My favorite is the sheep.  He's soft and cuddly.  This will be the first year that the 2 year old will notice things.  I bet she goes straight for the sheep ornament.


The weather in this part of the East Coast has been cold, but no snow, thankfully.  I'll take the ocean winds any day as long as the white stuff doesn't pile up.  It's not that I'm not use to snow, it's that I don't like it when it reaches well above the window sills.  Besides, the sun shining even in the winter season keeps people in a good mood in this part of the country.  There's a smile every where you go.  And, for no reason, at that!

Stay safe.

 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Angie's House is on Facebook, too.

I never mentioned that Angie's House is on Facebook under 'Angie's Frugal House'.  No quotes in the Name

A Well Needed Rest and Other Things

There are days I need to lay low and do a minimum of activity.  Friday was one of those days.  I did a few things to keep my environment clean and I fed myself, but other than that, I watched Christmas videos on yoo toob.  Lots of 2014 Christmas videos, some were challenges that yoo toobers took on and some were dollar store hauls.

The one thing they had in common was all of the decorations were frugal hacks.  The styles differed, but all were lovely.  It's delightful to see the results of creativity.  These ladies bring peace into their homes with the love they put into their efforts.

If you have a bit of time and are interested, here is a site you can begin a holiday blitz.  The yoo toobers who are participating in the challenge are listed in the information section.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJA8OyDxRY-wm0ya2gtHOsw  

Thursday I mailed out the gifts that were destined for other states.  Someone please remind to use gift cards next year because shipping charges were way up there into three figures.  Of course, I won't, but it sounds like a good idea.  Then again I could put that cash into the gifts instead of the shipping.

Today I will be taking the two oldest grands Christmas shopping for the people on their lists.  So fun for a little while today.  Then on to more fun as we all meet at a local pub for a lunch to celebrate my daughter's birthday.  When lunch is over my daughter and her family is stopping by to pull out the Christmas tree and help me set it up.  The little ones will help me 'decorate' the tree which will be exciting for me.  It's been a long time since I've had to move around ornaments after children have decorated.  It brings back good memories of days gone by.

The sad note this week is that my mother in law left us to move on to the next life.  Even though we realize it was time - and she was ready - our hearts are filled with sadness.  She was a good woman who raised a large family and still had a heart big enough to welcome me in.  She taught me quite a bit about family and home making.  My heart will miss her deeply.


My MIL as a young wife and mother in the late sixties - with my father in law.  They made a nice looking couple and had gorgeous children.

This is the same lady this past year with my son and grand daughter.


Stay safe and enjoy your day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Accomplishments and Good Eating

There's nothing like a cup of coffee to start the brainwaves functioning.  Now that I have a cup in my hand I can try to remember the things I accomplished this past week.  Hang on, just one more sip!

Wrapped all gifts going out of state.
Going to the post office today to mail them out.
Washed and dehydrated bay leaves.
Cleaned the garage floor. 
Washed all bedding that included blankets.
Cleaned and decorated the living room.
Cleaned and decorated the powder room.

The bread came out nice.  The first day I made French toast with it using home made vanilla, farm fresh eggs, fresh cinnamon, and milk.  What a delight to have such a humble meal made with good ingredients.  It was yummy.  The pup though so, too.  The second day I made a grilled cheese sandwich with organic American cheese.  The slices are larger than store bought bread so, again, the pup had a small treat.  I added some of the canned pickles I made this summer from my gargantuan plant for the veggie.  Life doesn't get much better than this.  This morning it will be a slice of peanut butter toast and a glass of milk.


My diet consists of humble foods, but as fresh as I can get them.  A recent study has found that the combination of fats, salt, and sugars added to packaged foods is one reason why people gain weight.  The brain is not satisfied with the offering and wants more.




It may seem that the food I eat is expensive, but I have online resources that cut the long term costs.  One of them is www.spicebarn.com offering large packages of spice for a fraction of the cost of grocery store prices.  When I received the cinnamon sticks I was in awe.  I have enough until the day I leave this earth - and then some.  So I shared to avoid waste.  There is minimal shipping and handling, but this was one time I didn't mind paying it.

Don't get this wrong.  I freely admit chocolate is considered a food group in my home.  What has changed is the amount and type of chocolate I eat.  There was a time I could easily go through a bag of peppermint patties in a week.  Now, one a day satisfies my craving.  I started choosing this particular candy when I wanted to loose weight about nine years ago.  They are made with dark chocolate and have very little fat in them.  I had the proverbial cake and ate it, too.



The stems of the bay plant with the seeds on them.

The leaves ready for the dehydrator.
 
What did you accomplish this week?  A comment in the comment section will encourage others to share.  We can learn from the comments things we never thought of.  Thank you.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Package From a Reader

I received a package in the mail today from a reader of Angie's House.  To my happy surprise the package included two items for the kitchen -  bay leaves off a huge bay tree and rose hips off of a wild rose bush. 


Fresh bay leaves for adding to my soups and sauces and rose hips for a healthy tea.


I've used bay leaves for many years, but I've never had rose hips before.  I've wanted to try them for a number of years, but I didn't even know where they came from.  I found out that wild roses leave them behind when the flower dies back.  They grow right behind the center of the flower.  You can pick them off and wash them well after removing the small stems.  There are little seeds in the center of the rose hip that will grow another bush. 

Making the tea is simple.  I found two ways of making tea.  The first is to use fresh rose hips and slice them thin.  Add thin slices of ginger and honey.  Let this infuse for five minutes in boiling water, then strain and drink.  The second is to dry them then turn them to powder in a spice grinder.    Boil water then add the powder and cloves to steep for five minutes.  Strain and enjoy.

Both ways sound challenging and healthy.

As far as the health benefits go, I've read in numerous articles that rose hips contain vitamin C and A, iron and calcium in amounts greater than citrus fruit.  People in areas that have a difficult time obtaining citrus use rose hips for their vitamin C needs.

What do you think?  I'd like to hear from you with your thoughts.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Holiday, Decorations and A Few Rambles

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with loved ones and lots of good turkey.
Facebook was loaded with posts about thanksgiving.  It made me a happy girl to see so many people seeing the good things in their lives.  We all have hardship, but yesterday people were focusing on the good things in life.

My family and I were among those who were thankful.  The amount of food we prepared was massive.  No pictures because - just as always - I forgot the camera. (I even forgot it for my son's wedding.) 

If I were asked what is my favorite food for celebrations I would have to say the spinach artichoke dip from my son's recipe.  It's to die for.  I filled up on pickled eggs, artichoke dip and toasted Italian bread, cheese and crackers, shrimp cheese ball, and home made pickles.  I thought my stomach would be ready for dinner (2 hours later), but I was wrong.  I did stuff some food in, but I got sick and had to lay down for a nap.  A nap solves most problems for me.

After we cleaned up the family sat down to watch Christmas Vacation.  Watching this movie is a tradition that our children grew up with.  This movie never gets old.  I get the heebie jeebies when the beautiful house gets destroyed.  But all's well that ends well.

When I got home I talked with two friends and my daughter and her kids on the phone.  The four year old was exclaiming that she ate pie with daddy.  Her excitement was so high that my daughter had to tell me what she said.  I love the little ones.

This morning - the one I have been waiting for - I put up the Nativity on the fireplace.  No more fall decorations, just lovely Christmas themes to keep me company.   The stocking is hung by the chimney with care and the powder room has a funky red Christmas tree on the shelf to entertain guests.  I also bought a poinsettia to put on the steps, but it looks lonely.  I'm sure Wal Mart has a couple more I can buy to keep it company.  I buy the white ones because red is a stand out shocking kind of color.  I'm very sensitive to color, too much of it makes me unstable.  I get restless and need to keep moving.  So my themes are normally monochromatic.


I'm in love with this Nativity.  I spent two years collecting the pieces.

This little guy is patiently waiting for the grands to visit.  He needs a squish and a kiss.



I only have one stocking holder so I put Marley's on top of mine.  The ornament is a gift from #3 daughter.  It has the names of the grands on it.  Since it's 2 years old, not all of the names are there.  Check out what is written on the pillow.  'Dear Santa, I can explain.'

I didn't realize it when I bought this JOY sign, but it lights up at night.
The funky tree in the powder room.  Sorry for the lighting, but that's the best a picture can turn out in that room.

The coffee table is even getting in the act this year.  The table runner is about 12 years old and the candle holder was purchased at Yankee Candle for under $4.00 after Christmas last year.  Let's face it, all of my decorations are purchased on some kind of sale.



Doesn't this guy look like he needs a couple of friends to kepp him company?



It's been cold here so I have been turning on the fireplace and covering up with a blanket.  I've got to stop doing this because I fall asleep sitting up.  It's so comforting that I completely relax with the pup next to me under the blanket.  We make a fine pair, Marley and I!  This morning began at a little after four AM for me.  Too many cozy naps this week.  My hair is washed and I'm currently working on drinking my OPC vitamin drink.  Next comes the good part - a cup of hot black coffee.

I bought a French press coffee pot because so many people exclaim their praises.  I though all these people can't be wrong.  Keeping in mind I'm no expert, (I'll drink coffee that's been in the refrigerator for two days!) but I see very little difference in quality or taste.  I used a coffee that was from Germany that was gifted to me, but I don't taste much of a difference.  All isn't wasted though because it will work well using a grill to boil the water if the electricity goes out.

Presents that need to go out of state are wrapped with the exception of a couple.  I'll finish those today then take them to the post office on Tuesday.  Mondays at the post office are brutal here because all of the businesses run in to catch up on their mailings.  My branch is brutal on a good day.  My girl friend laughs because her post office is 'busy' if there are two people in line.  There's quite a few benefits to living in a small town.

Off to read the news and drink that hot cup of coffee.  Enjoy your day and stay safe.