Mondays: The Simple Woman's Day Book

Today I am following the guide for journaling established from this sight:

For Today 12/22/08

Outside my window...

I see the lightly frosted mountainside awaiting another delivery of snow this morning. As I look again, the air is now full of those promised flurries!

I am thinking...

I am glad I got my garbage cans out just 20 minutes ago and can stay inside in my nice warm house.

I am thankful...

I am grateful for peace and warmth in my house and heart also, for this time of year when we can really ponder the meaning of that sacred birth and the influence it has had on the world.

From the Kitchen...

I just cleaned up the dishes from last night and mopped the floor. I wish I had the ingredients to make a batch of fudge!

I am wearing...

Today I have on a red top and black with red and green velvet jacket with my special pewter creche necklace. I am wearing black pants with this outfit.

I am going...

I have plans to see the Nutcracker this afternoon with my family (weather permitting, of course)

I am reading...

the morning paper.

I am hoping...

If I leave this computer, I may get my house cleaned today.

I am hearing...

The wind outside and the whirl of my computer inside are the sounds right now.

Around the house...

Things are looking a lot like Christmas with presents around the tree, Christmas pillows on the bench and wrapped presents for the neighbors by the front door.

One of my favorite things...

I love skipping my workout and in the early morning when everything is still and light is just beginning to come into my home I have energy and I can do things without interruption of phone conversations.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

My plans are of course, the Nutcracker today and cleaning the guest areas, preparing food for Christmas Eve dinner Wednesday. Then spending Christmas with family and Friday the rest of the family arrives and the fun continues with grandchildren's happy chit chatter filling the house.

Scripture on which to meditate today...

My Sunday School teacher brought me a star last night and with it some thoughts to ponder about its meaning. Here is some of that message.

Revelation 22:16

"I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things.... I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." The Savior is the Light of the world. He is our sure guide. His appearance and mission was planned in advance. He is our source of Light, our sure guide.

And in 2 Peter 1:16-19 : "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty... "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts".

The Savior's life and His teachings are like the light that shines in a dark world. "He marked the path and leads the way". If we do as Peter said and "take heed" and follow that light, Christ's light that is in each one of us, that light will grow and we will be blessed with more light. The light can grow so bright within us that the day star, the "bright and morning star" will arise in our heart if the Savior is in our heart. The star is a powerful and message-filled symbol at Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all of you!


Aprons and Cookies

I have some great friends who cook! I decided to make aprons for some of them this Christmas. I delivered their aprons to them yesterday in our 3 hour window between a snowstorm and dusk when black ice forms on the roads. Here are four of them in their new attire ready to show the world their newest cuisine. I am hoping they will share their deliciousness with me soon.

Since we had a major blizzard today, Ella and I decided to make Spritz cookies.

The first batch came out perfect. (except that about half of the sprinkles ended up on the floor!)

The second batch--our pink princess flowers all melted together because as it turned out, I was trying to mix the second batch, timing the first, and trying to keep all the pink sanding sugar on the cupboard and not join the sprinkles on the rug and floor, at which time I lost track of the flour amounts I had added and was 1 cup short. And so, the beautiful pink flowers all melted into one large mass on the cookie sheet. Does this ever happen to you? (The whole thing went into the garbage when it cooled.)

My last attempt- I was vacuuming up all the teeny, tiny, multicolored sprinkles and the pink sanding sugar and by so doing, didn't hear the timer go off (or didn't set it at all, I don't know) and so that batch of lovely, lemon stars that Ella called 4th July (meaning fireworks) burned! At that point I gave up on the cookies, put what I had in a jar, and called it a day!


Christmas Open House

Welcome to my Christmas Open House!

My front hall is all silvery, glass and glittery. Antique ornaments are my favorite.

The carolers are singing on the mantel.

The ornaments on this little tree are only 3/4-1" high.

These are my huge mercury glass ornaments. The biggest one is 8" in diameter.


My tree with most ornaments that are decades old and crystals from a chandelier from a previous house.

I like to put a little Christmas in the bathroom too.
My diningroom chandelier that I found in the attic when I bought the house.

Diningroom chairs are dressed for the occasion.

Kitchen hutch.

Kitchen table with Paperwhites that keep drooping over at night because they are about spent but still smell devine.

Family room hutch.

Little seating area with Christmas pillows.

Old outdoor kitchen hutch that I use as a library.

Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas one and all!


Soup Glorious Soup!

It snowed today for six hours so I decided it was a great day to stay inside and make my favorite soup--Butternut Squash Soup. I like this recipe because it is not bland like so many of the squash soups. It has some wonderful flavors from the cumin (I think it smells like sweaty men's armpits! but I love the flavor), coriander and red pepper (cayenne) which gives it a kick. So, if you need a warm and delicious soup, this is how it is made.

Peel 1 Butternut squash.

It looks like this inside when cut open. One end is solid and the other is hollow except for seeds and fibers.

Scrape out the seeds and fibers leaving just the shell of squash.

Cube the squash.

Dice one onion. Melt 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter in large pan. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 6 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 15 minutes.

Peel, core and dice 4 red or golden apples. The easiest way to do this is with this Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Place apple level into the prongs and turn handle. It peels, slices and cores all while you turn the handle. It makes speedy work of this job. Then just make four cuts through the finished apple to make diced apples.

Add apples to pan.

Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 t. ground cumin, 1/2 t. ground coriander, 1/2 t. ground ginger, 1/4 t. cayenne pepper and 1/4 t. ground pepper. Next add 2 cups canned chicken stoock and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Puree in batches in a food processor or use an immersion blender like this one,right in the pan. I leave some lumps so it doesn't seem like baby food. Thin with additional water if necessary, although I like mine thick. Serve hot with garnish of your choice.



T'was the time before Christmas

I just love this time of year. I really like the time before Christmas maybe more than the actual day of Christmas. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. I love going to the elementary and middle school music concerts where the 4th graders all have on Santa hats and play their recorders as if they were in a famous Symphony (so cute), and the 7th graders play their flutes like they have really practiced.

2. I love to find at the store that my regular milk and yogurt have been replaced with seasonal ones like Pumpkin Spice and Egg Nog.
3. I love to see the children trying so hard to be on their best behavior leaving little notes saying "You are the best mother/grandmother in the world".

4. I have been listening to Christmas carols since October when I got a new CD for my birthday. Need I say I love them?
5. I love making just the right gift for someone and the anticipation of their response when they open it and see it for the first time. My sister always makes the neatest gifts for me so there is a lot of pressure on me with her gift.
6. I love a good party and it seems that everyone is having one at this time of year. Why not when your house is decorated with lots of twinkly lights on the mantle and candles everywhere?
7. Did I mention candles? I visited a friend's home today and had to see what candles she was burning-- Cranberry Wreath and Christmas Tree, it smelled so good!
8. There is nothing like seeing an envelope in the mail with familiar penmanship and you can't wait to read all about her year since she last wrote to you. You can reread it over and over again if you want.
9. When I make green Christmas tree Spritz cookies I have fond memories of my Aunt Ramona who always had them on her table for all the guests at Christmas time. Although none of my children like them, It wouldn't be Christmas for me without them. (I have not made them yet this year).
10. When I walk through my house at night with just the lights in the garlands glowing, the carols in the air and fireplace and candles burning, I just love it. I see my old stuffed dog from my childhood with a red bow around his neck, the ornaments we bought so many years ago along with crystals from a chandelier (we found in the attic of a previous home) on the tree and it makes me happy. I feel so cozy and content with everything the way it is right now. I will leave Christmas morning for the children, I don't need more than I have right now.


A Gift of Love

I am helping a friend make four memory quilts for her children. They are made of pieced blocks from shirts of her husband who passed away four years ago this month. My friend pins the blocks and I am sewing them together. Because she does not sew, the quilts will be such an unexpected surprise to the children who are now grown with families of their own. I know each quilt will be so loved and bring back wonderful memories of a father who was very dear to them as they wrap its warmth around them. It is a heartfelt labor of love and I am happy to be part of this special Christmas gift. Friends and family are the messengers of the wonderful gift of Christmas peace and joy. Here is what they look like before they are quilted.


My First Post!!!!

We just finished having a Princess party for Ella who turned 4 and loves, of course, everything pink. Last night was a mad scramble finding a pink tablecloth for my 72" round table. I ended up buying tricot at the local fabric store because it is 108" wide! I used a white tablecloth underneath the pink tricot, trimmed the pink corners so they were round, put everything I could find that was pink on the pink netting in the center of the table including things I found at the dollar store (what a great place!) like tiara and earring sets, pink bubble gum and pink m&m's and Ella loved it! Afterward dinner we all made chocolate mice. You might like them too. Very easy! Dip stemmed marachino cherries in almond bark or melted chocolate. Lay them on waxed paper on their sides and attach a chocolate kiss on the end of the cherry for the head. Place two slivered almonds in between the chocolate kiss and the dipped chocolate for the ears. Use silver dragees or other small candy for two eyes and a small round red ball for the nose. Voila, done. These are adorable, fast and easy. I will try to post a picture of them and the very pink and dreamy table too.
Thanks for stopping by!