Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving - Days 29 and 30 - Safety of Travel and My Lord and Saviour

Day 29 - I didn't get a chance to post over here yesterday because Christmas came early for my husband and I. Our children got together and sent us to the Welk Theater in Branson, Missouri to see Tony Orlando's 2:00 in the afternoon Christmas show (Tony was kind of "our" guy growing up together and his son 'Candida' is "our song"). It was so nice! Very patriotic! Very Christmassy! And everything pointed to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour! We were totally surprised, totally amazed, and TOTALLY enjoyed our day! We got there early. Our daughter-in-law packed a lunch for us, and our daughter and son-in-law sent along a bottle of sparkling apple cider. John and I enjoyed our lunch together down by beautiful Tablerock Lake. Afterwards, we went up to Inspiration Point by Shepherd of the Hills and enjoyed the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Then, it was time for the show. It was a lovely day all the way around and I cannot tell you how special it was! I am thankful not only for the gift that our children gave us, and for all that my husband and I enjoyed together, but for safety of travel to and from Branson in a vehicle that was lent to us for the day.

Day 30 - And last, but certainly not fact...the thing that I am most thankful for of for my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the work that He did on the cross for me.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotton son, that whosoever 
believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). 

Do you know Him? If not, there's no time like the present to ask Him into your heart and start living your life for Him today. If you don't know how to do that or you need someone to pray with you, don't hesitate to email me via private e-mail ( I would be happy to help you in any way I can. 

God bless all here!

All My Love,

Last Chance To Enter!

The giveaway ends at midnight tonight! To enter for your chance to win choose any or all of the following:

- Leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win a copy of this book.
- Post about this giveaway on Facebook.
- Post about this giveaway on Twitter.
- Become a public follower of HEARTH AND HOME on Blogspot or let me know if you are already one.
- LIKE Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Facebook. 
- Follow me on Twitter (jkswife).
- Write a post, linking to this giveaway, on your own blog. (This is worth 3 entries. Please leave 3 separate comments.)
- Subscribe in an e-mail to Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME

Please leave one comment for each entry. One winner will be selected on Thursday December 1, 2011. If I am unable to reach the winners within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving - DayTwenty-eight - My Family (Again)

Today I am so very thankful for my family (again)! I have THE best children and most beautiful grandchildren in the world! (Okay...I'm biased! But what mother/grandmother isn't?) Seriously, when the older children were growing up we got laughed at a lot because we had so many children. People thought we were crazy, and, often times, people compared us to 'The Walton's' (and, now, watching reruns of 'The Walton's'...especially the early ones...I can see why! And that's great! What a compliment!) Anyway...I just want to say that I love each and every one of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren more than any of them could ever know. Each and every one is a unique blessing that makes our family just that...OUR family! ♥

 Ahhhh! Time is getting away from us! There are only three days left in which to enter! If you've not entered yet, please, do so right away because time's running out! Only three days left and a winner will be selected! The giveaway ends on December 1, 2011. To enter for your chance to win choose any or all of the following:

- Leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win a copy of this book.
- Post about this giveaway on Facebook.
- Post about this giveaway on Twitter.
- Become a public follower of HEARTH AND HOME on Blogspot or let me know if you are already one.
- LIKE Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Facebook. 
- Follow me on Twitter (jkswife).
- Write a post, linking to this giveaway, on your own blog. (This is worth 3 entries. Please leave 3 separate comments.)
- Subscribe in an e-mail to Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME

Please leave one comment for each entry. One winner will be selected on Thursday December 1, 2011. If I am unable to reach the winners within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - DayTwenty-seven - Utilities

Today I am thankful for our utilities...gas to heat our home with as that icy cold wind blows strongly from the north and electricity to run our lights. I am also thankful for God's wisdom as we seek ways to cut down on their usage and His provision that keeps them paid.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving - Days Twenty-six - Rain

Today I am thankful for this beautiful, rainy, Saturday morning! Right now it's in the 50's, but temps are supposed to drop throughout the day and be in the 30's by nightfall. It will be a good day to pack away the autumn decorations and decorate for Christmas. Who knows? We might even put in a Christmas movie while we do it! ♥

Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Minute Friday - GRATEFUL

It's time for another 'Five Minute Friday' and I almost missed it this week 'Five Minute Friday' is where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 

Now...for today's assignment...


I am grateful for so many things...

...people...the people that I love and the people that love husband, children, and grandchildren...parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (those that are still here and those that have gone before us)...friends...good friends, great friends, best friends, friends that used to be friends, friends that aren't friends yet, but will be someday, internet friends, and friends who live far away, but are close in heart.

...places...the place that I am, the places I've been, the places that I will be, and places in the heart.

...things...a giggle, a smile, a knowing glance...the sound of thunder rolling across the prairie, of rain on a tin roof...the call of a loon on a northern lake and the sound of the water lapping at it's edge...the smell of garlic cooking in butter and of pine needles warmed by the sun...a full moon...a cup of hot tea...

These are just a few of the things that I'm grateful for in this life, but more than all these...I am grateful for God's love for me...for His Son, Jesus, and for the sacrifice that He made for me.



Thanksgiving - Days Twenty-three Through Twenty-five

Have been out of town and am a bit behind. Here are a quick recap of my Thanksgiving entries for days Twenty-three through Twenty-five...

Day 23 - Today I am thankful for family. Visited with my mother-in-law this morning and am now at our youngest daughter and son-in-law's in North Kansas City. Will spend Thanksgiving with both my girls and their families this year. Awesome! 

Day 24 - Today I am thankful for our forefathers that were brave enough to leave England in search of religious freedom, for the hardships that they endured that we might have the freedoms that we enjoy today (and pray that they continue so that our future generations might continue to know what freedom really means), and for that first Thanksgiving day celebrated so long ago in Jamestown. Thank You, God, for the bravery and freedom-fighting fortitude of those that came before us. May we continue to follow in the generations of footsteps laid before us.

Day 25 - Am so thankful for the time spent with family over the Thanksgiving holiday, for safety of travel to and from our destination, and for the fact that we are home, unpacked, and ready to relax a bit before going to bed. Had a wonderful time, but will enjoy sleeping in my own bed tonight.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving - Day Twenty-Two - My Dad

Today I am thankful for my dad. He has my heart and he's my hero! Growing up, even though he owned his own business,and I was right there with him all the time, I didn't really know him. It wasn't until after my mom passed away that I really got opportunity to know my dad and find out what a really neat guy he can be and is (and how much like HIM I really am)! I love my dad and I'm so thankful for the time that the Lord has given us to really get to know one another and spend time together. My dad is definitely one of a kind and I'm thankful for all the wonderful lessons that he has taught me.

Poem - Spirits of Thanksgiving Past

Photo Credit -
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (neg. no. LC-USZC4-4961)

by Rebecca Knox
One cold November dawn doth bring,
Spirits from the past,
Of Pilgrim's pride and Indians,
Upon the ground their shadows cast.
I see their table laden with,
The ghostly bounty feast,
As hither comes the morning sun,
Shining in the east.
On this table set before,
I see the places set,
Of young and old, the poor and meek,
Of English settlement.
The Indians in wildish splendor,
Present their native cuisine,
As part of celebration,
In this quaint and rustic scene.
I see before me all the souls,
Of those, who for the sake,
Of freedom, left their native home,
For the chance that they must take.
Of those who starved and froze to death,
Before the feast began,
They are there amongst the trees,
To share the feast at hand.
As sun doth shine, a brightness heralds,
and shadows of the past,
Slip silently away, then gone,
No more to see, at last.
~Written November 1990

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good MONDAY Morning - 11/21/11 - Failed Yogurt Experience and Weight-loss Update

Good Morning, Dear Ladies! It's Monday! (I know some people hate Mondays, but I love them!)

I was up early this morning. Had the cats fed, the dog out, and the chickens fed, watered, and out just after daybreak. Since then I've been baking. Have made two pumpkin pies for tomorrow (an early Thanksgiving with my dad and a friend), a dozen muffins to freeze, and cornbread is baking in the oven now for lunch today.

Over the weekend I had a failed yogurt experience. I used my usual homemade yogurt recipe (and if anyone want to try it, please, read both of these articles before starting - Homemade Yogurt and Perfecting The Process) except, due to the fact that I haven't made yogurt in a while, I was out of homemade starter, so, this time, I tried a less expensive yogurt to use as my starter. I used Dannon-brand, plain, Greek yogurt instead of Oikos-brand, plain, Greek yogurt like I normally do. It didn't work!

When I got up Saturday morning, instead of having a crockpot full of nice, thick, homemade yogurt, I had slightly thickened yogurt-milk! Oh,no! I didn't want to waste it, so I went ahead and bottled it up into two quart jars. I've been using the yogurt-milk instead of regular milk in my baking...namely in the muffins and cornbread. It worked great! No flavor difference really...just a moister, creamier texture...quite good, in fact! Anyway, I wanted to share that with you all and tell you, if you try the homemade yogurt, please, be sure and use Oikos-brand, plain, Greek, yogurt as your starter...not something cheaper.

I've had several people ask me how the weight-loss is coming along. Well, when I first shared about my struggles with the weight-loss back in June of 2011 I was weighing in at 257 pounds (that was down 29 pounds from an all-time high of 286 pounds). At last check-in here (August of 2011) I was 8/10 of a pound away from reaching my next goal of 247 pounds. I have surpassed that one, met another, and am currently 2/10 of pound away from reaching my current goal of 225 pounds. When I hit 218 I will be halfway to the final goal from where my journey began. At my starting point I need to lose a total of 136 pounds; at present I am 76 pounds away from reaching that final goal.

 Well, my kitchen timer is going off and the cornbread is about ready to come of the oven, so I am going to close for now. I wish you all a wonderful Monday and a Happy Thanksgiving week! God bless all here!

All My Love,

Thanksgiving - Day Twenty-One - God's Provision

Today I am thankful for God's provision...for the house in which we live, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the money we spend, and the car that we drive...even if it is falling apart. What we have may not seem like much to some, but what we have is ours and it was provided for us by our loving Heavenly Father...and He is always more than enough! (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-8)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

'Given To Hospitality' Book Giveaway

I understand that some ladies have tried to enter the drawing for Given To Hospitality - Cottage or Mansion by leaving comments here, but have been unable to do so. If that's the case with you, please, email me at and let me know. Be sure to put "GIVEAWAY" on the subject line and include how many entries you are eligible for, and I will include you in the drawing on December 1, 2011. Sorry for the inconvienance. 

Thanksgiving - Day Twenty - My Mother

Today I am thankful for my mother. Even though she's been gone for nearly 7 years now, the legacy that she lived lives on in those she left behind. I am thankful for all the the wonderful things that she taught me over the years...practical grind my own wheat, to cook, can, bake, raise chickens, crochet, etc...her wisdom in financial to save, spend, and stretch a dollar (even though I didn't listen to most of what she said until later on in life...but, praise God! I can still her words today!). But what I am most thankful for is my mother's love for God's Word and the love for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that she passed down to me and John and I's children. What my mother wanted most in life was to see those that she loved loving and serving the Master so that they could spend an eternity with Him (and her) in that which is yet to come. Thanks, Mom! I love you! And I miss you! But I WILL see you again! And for THAT I am truly thankful!

HEARTH AND HOME MINI-ISSUE - How To Make Stocks, Broths, and Cream Soups

Greetings, Dear Friends! 

Right after I posted the November 15, 2011 issue of HEARTH AND HOME, I received the following letter from one of my readers. Becky H. from Tennessee writes...

"There are some of us out here (at least I am sure there is more than me) who would appreciate knowing how to make stock that comes out tasting not watery from the giblets, etc. of chicken, turkey or whatever (hate to throw those away). I've been cooking for years, but never quite mastered the art of beef stock, chicken stock, etc. and it's got to be better for me than those cans of stuff! We eat a LOT of chicken so I have, probably, 2 or 3 pounds of giblets in my freezer. Also how about something on making cream soups, so we don't have to buy cream of chicken, cream of mushroom etc.? Thanks!"

I knew it would take me awhile to sit down and cover all that I wanted to in response to Becky's e-mail, so I immediately sent her an e-mail back telling her that I would answer her questions as soon as I could and, purposefully, set this afternoon aside to do. goes!


The giblets of a chicken or turkey include the gizzard, heart, liver, and neck, and are usually packaged and sold separately, or, are located in a small package tucked away inside the neck or body cavity of the bird. This is especially true in the case of turkeys.

To turn giblets into useable broth, cover with water and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 peppercorns, 2 whole cloves, a small bay leaf, and a little onion. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until gizzard is fork-tender.

Giblet broth can be used in stuffing, gravy, and recipes where chicken broth is specified. Cooked giblets can be cut up and added to gravy or stuffing.


What's the difference between a broth and a stock? We all know what a broth is. It's just the water that we have cooked meat and/or vegetables and spices in. A stock is a concentrated, flavorful form of a broth, achieved by cooking a broth long enough to evaporate much of the liquid. When a stock is used, water is added to the flavor strength of the original broth. Vegetable stocks, however, can be used full strength. Broths and stocks both freeze excellently.


Extract nutrients from vegetable scraps that would otherwise be thrown out and use in place of water in any soup. Save ends, leaves, stalks, and edible peelings in a tightly closed ziploc plastic bag or container and use within one week.

Makes: About 2 Quarts

1. Measure 9 - 10 cups vegetables and water into large soup pot: 
            saved vegetable scraps (suggested list below)
            up to 3 cups carrot, scrubbed, chopped
            up to 3 cups onion, peeled, chopped
            bunch of celery tops
            small zucchini and/or green pepper, optional
            3 cloves minced garlic
            1 bay leaf
            1 teaspoon thyme leaves
            3/4 teaspoon salt, optional
            4 quarts water

2. Cover; bring to a boil; boil 3 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to simmer. Cook at very gentle boil until water is about half volume.

3. Pour stock through a colander into a large bowl. Discard vegetables and refrigerate stock in covered containers until well cooled.

4. Use stock within 2 days or freeze in desired portions in tupperware or plastic cartons. If desired, run hot water over bottom and sides of containers until frozen stock snaps out easily. Place frozen stock in prelabeled freezer ziploc bags.

5. Use stock at full strength or dilute with water, as desired.


1. For additional flavor, saute vegetables (not the scraps) in 1 tablespoon olive oil in bottom of soup pot before adding vegetable scraps and water.
2. For a quicker preparation method just cover whatever vegetable scraps you have with water; bring to boil for 3 minutes, cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours to extract all the nutrients.

Some Suggested Vegetable Scraps:

    parsley stems
    carrot peelings, tops
    celery leaves
    broccoli leaves, stalks
    ends of chard
    potato peelings (if not green tinged)
    spinach stem ends
    green or red pepper - seeds, veins, ends


Purchase beef soup bones or beef shank from butcher requesting him to crack the bones so that the nutrients (calcium, etc.) can be released during cooking. For stock, cook down to a concentrated flavor.

Makes: About 3 Quarts

1. (Optional for a rich dark brown stock) Roast bones at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 1 hour:
      6 lbs. beef soup bones or beef shank

2. Place bones with bits of meat from bone in pot with water and bring slowly to rolling boil:
      4 quarts water

3. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 - 5 hours adding water as needed to keep bones covered (the longer it simmers, the richer the broth or stock will be): 
      3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or sliced lemon (releases calcium from bones)
      small onion, chopped
      few sprigs of fresh parsley
      1 teaspoon thyme leaves
      1 bay leaf
      2 teaspoons salt, optional

4. Skim any gray foam off the top as it simmers.

5. Strain, saving bits of meat. Refrigerate. When fat has risen to the top skim off. Freeze in desired portions, or use within 2 days.


Makes: About 3 1/2 Quarts

1. Follow recipe for Beef Soup Broth (above) with following changes (do not roast bones in oven):
     Use 4-5 lbs. chicken or turkey pieces with bone (or use giblets)
     Add 2 carrots, chopped
     Use 1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves in place of thyme
     Add 1/4 teaspoon sweet basil leaves

2. If desired, cook in crockpot on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.



4 cups of milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a 3 quart saucepan, heat oil. Gradually stir in flour. Let this form a paste, or roux. Gradually stir in milk and continue stirring until thickened.

Add chicken to white sauce mixture. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.

If soup is not as thick as desired, mix a small amount of corn starch with a small amount of water and add to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.


Makes: 4 Servings (6 cups)

1. Saute onion and garlic in butter:
       3 - 6 tablespoons butter
       1/2 cup onion, chopped
       2 cloves garlic, minced
2. Add and continue to saute until mushrooms begin to lose their juice, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes:
       4 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) fresh mushrooms, chopped small

3. Drain canned mushrooms, pouring juice into 2 cup measuring cup:
       3 -- 2 oz. cans mushroom slices (set slices aside)

4. To drained mushroom juice add milk as need to make:
      2 cups mushroom juice + lowfat milk

5. Blend flour into milk mixture until smooth with wire whisk:
     3/8 cup flour

6. Stir into sauteed vegebles, bring to a boil and remove from heat:
     2 cups or 14.5 oz. can chicken broth

7. Blend milk - mushroom juice mixture into hot chicken broth and vegetables, return to heat, bring just to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and stir constantly until thickened.

8. Puree all or part of soup in blender or food processor. Blended soup is more flavorful; unblended is more attractive. Season with:
     1 teaspoon salt, to taste

9. Garnish with:
      reserved canned mushroom slices
      chopped chives or minces fresh parsley


Makes: 3 to 4 servings (5 cups)

1. Saute in fry pan until vegetables are tender:
         1 tablespoon butter
         1/2 medium-large onion, chopped 
         1/2 green pepper, chopped
         1 clove garlic, minced

2. Meanwhile, in small saucepan stir oatbran into boiling chicken broth, lower heat and cook 15 minutes, stirring occassionally:
         2 cups or 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
         1/3 cup oat bran

3. Steam broccoli to cook about 5 minutes; drain:
         3 cups broccoli, chopped stalks or stalks and florets

4. Place in blender or food processor and puree at high speed for 1 minute:
        cooked broccoli
        cooked onion, pepper, garlic
        1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

5. Pour pureed mixture into soup pot.

6. Pour chicken broth cooked with oat bran into blender and puree at high speed for 1 minute; blend into soup. 

7. Blend in:
        1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
        1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
        1/8 teaspoon pepper

8. Garnish as desired with paprika, chopped green onion or parsley

I hope this helps to answer Becky's questions about stocks, broths, and  cream soups, and maybe some of yours, too! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

All My Love,

P.S. - If you haven't already done so, be sure and enter my giveaway for a copy of Judy Lewis's Given To Hospitality - Cottage or Mansion Giveaway ends December 1, 2011. To enter click HERE.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Photo Source

I was reading through Nancy Campbell's '100 Days of Blessings' this morning and, while I've read the entire Bible through from cover to cover several times, I was surprised to read a verse of scripture that Nancy shared. I was so surprised in fact, that I had to grab my Bible and look it up. I honestly don't ever remember seeing the verse before and I've been studying on it off and on all day.

Before I share the verse, I'd like to ask you a question....

What kind of mother are you?

Are you the kind of mother who, by example, leads her children along a path that grieves the Holy Spirit and  is strewn with the marks of the enemy...rebellion, defiance, selfishness, self-pity, half-truths, and "white lies"?

Or are you the kind of mother that leads your children along a path that is pleasing to the Lord? Do you walk in front of your children...leading by example? them vision? ...inspiring them to greatness? ...motivating them to godliness? Do you encourage them to dream dreams and help them move toward realizing them? Do you stir them to fulfill the destiny that their Creator marked out for them from before the beginning of time?

The verse that Nancy shared is Ezekiel 16:44. It says, "...As is the mother, so is her daughter."

Clarke's Commentary puts it this way, "...As is the cause, so is the effect. As is the breeding, so is the practice. A silken purse cannot be made out of a swine's ear. What is bred in the bone seldom comes out of the flesh. All such proverbs show the necessity of early holy precepts, supported by suitable example."

Gill's Exposition says, " ancient and common proverb, used to express a likeness and agreement between persons their nature and disposition, in their behaviour, conduct, and conversation."

After reading all that, I ask you again, "What kind of mother are you?" 

Thanksgiving - Day Nineteen - Our Town And The People In It

Today I am thankful for our town and the people in it. Our town may have a "strange" past, but today it is filled with wonderful, goodhearted people that bless us just by knowing them. Most of the folks that we dealt with early on are gone now...most of them deceased...but we are thankful that the Lord brought us here when He did and that we had the pleasure of getting to know, and minister to, them before they left.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Living On A Dime - Less Is More This Christmas!

Less is More this Christmas!
by Tawra Kellam

After laying down my last women's magazine telling me how to be less stressed during the holidays, I'm even more confused and stressed then ever. On one page I'm told to take time for myself and indulge in a lovely spa bath. As I turn the page, I'm told to give all my friends and family homemade ornaments. Then there are articles telling me how not to gain weight at Christmas parties. Isn't that like telling a three year old to not get dirty while making mud pies?

To top it all off (and the part I like the best) is after they tell us how to get rid of stress and not gain weight, they give us 10 pages of recipes for Christmas cookies made with real butter and cream that are decorated so elaborately in the pictures that it probably took a trained kitchen staff of 10 a week to make one cookie.

Doesn't anyone live in the real world anymore? If you are like me and can't stand that kind of stress, try some of these Christmas ideas from to help you have a relaxed and Merry Christmas.
  • Don't over-spend - It may be tempting to fixate yourself on the sparkling look in little Johnny's eye when he sees that $300 play car under the tree. Advertising people are really good at feeding many parents' fantasies of their children thinking that mom and dad are the peaches and cream for shelling out the cash and looking fondly back on the moment for the rest of their lives. In reality, most kids have lost all interest in that particular toy long before the credit cards are paid off.

    When we were growing up, my mom pulled out all of the stops at Christmas to make it as wonderful for us as she possibly could. The funny thing is that now that we are grown, the things we remember the most fondly are Mom's red jello salad (made with red hots - yummy!) and sitting together and reading the Christmas story before opening our presents. I can't remember what presents I received, but I always look back fondly on the Christmas story.
  • Do a few things well - Instead of trying to do everything and ending up depressed with how it all turns out, focus your energy on a couple of things that are the most important to you. You may be tempted to extravagantly decorate every room in your house, but if you don't have the time or energy, focus on one room, like a living or family room. If your entire house is beautiful but you have to go see a therapist when it's all over, the romantic mystique will be lost. Trust me, I know about this one from personal experience.
  • Limit activities - Think of the holiday season as triage for activities. Don't commit to do too many things. One or two parties during the holiday season will make you get all tingly in that "It's a Wonderful Life" kind of way. One or two parties a week may send you over the edge, especially if you have kids. (Refer to my therapist comments above.) This also applies to all of those appealing looking activities around town like Victorian Christmas events, Christmas celebrations at the zoo or winter carnivals. One or two can be a lot of fun, but too many will ruin the fun.
  • Limit cookie baking - Don't try to make 15 different kinds of cookies like Martha. She may look like she is super woman, but did you know she has a lot of people that help her? How much help do you get with your baking? I mean real help, not your five year old who makes everything twice as difficult for you. This is great for grandma, but you have to see your daughter every day and grandma can send her back when the house is sufficiently covered in flour. Again, pick your two or three top favorite cookies to bake and celebrate the fact that you had few enough priorities that you remembered to put the sugar in them.

    Everything doesn't have to be homemade. I know that we advocate making your own stuff, but Marie Callendar's makes some great pies that you can pass off as homemade if you want to soothe your guilty Martha Stewart conscience. In 20 years, your kids will look fondly back on it as the best pie they ever had. But seriously, if you are making things homemade just to save money, remember that some things like candies and pies are often more expensive to make homemade, especially if you cut your finger while slicing the apples. Don't ask me how I know, just trust me on this one.
These aren't the only things you can do to reduce your stress, but if you stick to doing a few things well, you can truly relax and enjoy the season with your family. In the end, they would rather have fond memories of their time with you than memories of how strung out mom was after she burned the cookies.

Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Thanksgiving - Day Eighteen - The Wind

Today I am thankful for the wind. The wind on the prairie blows almost continually and a lot of people don't like it, but I do. The south wind brings winds of change as winter gives way to the warm, balmy days of spring. In the fall it's the opposite. Cold, biting north winds battle the weakening south wind as autumn gives way to winter. Today is sunny and we have a strong south wind. It's laundry day, so I'm guessing that our clothes will dry in record time...that is...if they don't blow away!

(I'm doing a giveaway! Be sure and enter today for your chance to win a free copy of  Given To Hospitality - Cottage or Mansion by Judy Lewis.)

Five Minute Friday - GROW

Once again it it's 'Five Minute Friday' where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 

Now...for today's assignment...
My thoughts automatically go to what I've shared with so many Christian women over the years who have complained about where life has taken them...for example...through way of barrenness, the loss of a loved one, physical, financial, or spiritual lack...or where God has planted them in "this" particular season of life...the house that they live in, the city vs. country (or vice versa), or even the people they live with. I have reminded them that we are where we are today because, either, God has allowed it, or He has ordained it, so that He can work through us in that "certain situation", or that He can use us in that "certain place" for His glory and His purposes. I have encouraged them to bloom where they are planted by laying aside the flesh and getting into the Word of God (the Holy Bible)...seeking Him with their whole heart...purposefully growing in His righteousness, His wisdom, and His grace as they faithfully, and contentedly, wait upon Him and HIS timing ...not their own. When it's God's timing to do something different in that certain situation He'll make a way. He always does. And, today, I'd like to encourage you to do the same...

Grow in God's righteousness.
..His wisdom...
                         ...and His grace as you

purposefully, contendedly
bloom where you are planted!


"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ..." 
(2 Peter 3:18)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Printable Bookmarks - Free Download From Time-Warp Wife

I just had to share these FREE printable bookmarks from Darlene over at Time-Warp Wife. Aren't they beautiful???

Thanksgiving - Day Seventeen - Seasons

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, 
and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22 (KJV)

Today I am thankful for the seasons. For the beauty of spring as as she comes in in whispy shades of yellow-greens and pinky-purples...rainy days and spring flowers. Slowly march her days through calendar pages until summer arrives in all her glory...blazing hot, fiery...full of fun and sun. For autumn...the trees arrayed in their annual display of splendid color...deep browns, golden yellows, brilliant oranges, fiery reds...warm fires, brassy, at last, autumn fades and passes into winter...the colder turns coldest...icy white...swirling snowflakes shimmering...dancing. These are the things in seasons that I am most thankful for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Given To Hospitality' Book Giveaway

A few days ago I told you all about a book that an internet friend had sent me several years ago called Given To Hospitality - Cottage or Mansion by Judy Lewis. After the book arrived it had got shuffled around and misplaced until just recently when it resurfaced. I've been reading it and am enjoying it immensely.

When I told you all about this book I mentioned that I would like to locate the author and maybe do a giveaway. Guess what??? I FOUND HER! And she's already sent the book! It arrived today and I'm ready to do a giveaway! YEAH! Anyone here want a chance to win?

The giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 16, 2011 until Wednesday 30, 2011 and one winner will be selected December 1, 2011. To enter for your chance to win choose any or all of the following:

- Leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win a copy of this book.
- Post about this giveaway on Facebook.
- Post about this giveaway on Twitter.
- Become a public follower of HEARTH AND HOME on Blogspot or let me know if you are already one.
- LIKE Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Facebook. 
- Follow me on Twitter (jkswife).
- Write a post, linking to this giveaway, on your own blog. (This is worth 3 entries. Please leave 3 separate comments.)
- Subscribe in an e-mail to Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME

Please leave one comment for each entry. One winner will be selected on Thursday December 1, 2011. If I am unable to reach the winners within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you.


Morning Journal Entry - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

~ I Awoke...

... to the ring of the telephone...a morning sunshine call from my daughter-in-law. (smile)

~ I Am Hearing...

... the sounds of my husband and son as they go about their morning routine.

~I Am Thankful For...

... the hope and encouragement that the Lord sends my way through other women. It may come in the form of a spoken word or a hand-written note...a phone call...a prayer...or through a new blog that I just happened to stumble across. However it comes, I always know when it's from Him and I can't help but whisper, "Thank You, Lord!"

~ Things That Made Me Smile Within The Last 24 Hours...

... my crazy 16-year-old. He had me laughing so hard when we were exercising last night that I could barely do what I supposed to be doing!

~I Am Thinking...

... about my plans for the day, week, and rest of the month, the upcoming holiday season, and frugal ways in which to do for and give to others.

~ My Plans For Today...

... today will be a quieter day than most (I hope!). My plans are to straighten house, attend afternoon Bible study, and have tea with a friend as we plan and work on sweet Christmas surprises together.

~ What's For Supper...

... breakfast is over, lunch is ready and waiting on the stove (ham and beans with cornbread warm in the oven), and supper is already cooking in the crockpot. Tonight we're having Crockpot Lemon and Garlic Chicken (recipe below), baked sweet potatoes, green beans, and homemade bread.
(This is one that we especially like!!!)
2 pounds chicken breasts or tenders
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. butter
1/4 c. water
3 T. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 tsp. chicken granules
Brown chicken in skillet, then add all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on HIGH 21/2 to 3 hours or LOW 5 to 6 hours. Spinkle with parsley right before serving.