Friday, December 30, 2011

Five Minute Friday - OPEN

It's FRIDAY! And that means it's time for another 'Five Minute Friday'. 'Five Minute Friday' is where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, says, 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 used to be a very open person. I still am to some degree, but not like I used to be. Dealing with negative people and negative situations has made me close my heart at times and put up walls that I thought would never be built. As we go into a New Year, my prayer is that God will give me all that I need to make me open and open-handed when it comes to dealing with others...eyes wide open as, along side my husband, we seek His will for all that He has for us in 2012...spiritually, physically, and financially.


Living On A Dime - 10 Ways To Lose Weight and Gain Money

10 Ways to Lose Weight and Gain Money
by Jill Cooper
  1. Eat smaller portions. The less food you eat, the less food you have to buy which means you spend less money on food.
  2. Walk more. I have a grocery store 2 1/2 blocks from me. Shame on me for driving there, especially when I only need one or two items. I can't even use being in a hurry as an excuse because it takes me the same amount of time to walk as to drive. Stop complaining about gas prices and start walking.
  3. Stop paying someone else to do your work. Start doing your own yard work and housecleaning. You don't think you have time to clean? Use that hour you would have worked out at the gym each morning to do your house work or yard work. Not only do you save the money you are paying someone to do these things, but you don't have to pay to go to the gym. Don't think you can lose weight cleaning your house? Trust me. If you are doing these things properly you will lose weight. You can clean and organize in five minutes.
  4. Stop going out to eat as much. Not only does it cost so much less to eat at home but you can control how much you eat and what you are eating better. How often do you eat everything they give you in a restaurant just because you don't want to waste money? Make easy meals at home and save money.
  5. Take the kids to the park instead of the movies. It doesn't cost a thing to go to the park and you get exercise. Plus there is the added benefit of actually talking and playing with you kids instead sitting staring at a movie.
  6. Drink water and not pop (or sodas). We all know it. Pop is just empty calories with no benefit. Why spend the money or pack on the extra weight?
    That goes for Lattes too. It costs much less to just have a regular cup of coffee from home and is much less fattening. Save the lattes for a special treat or dessert.
  7. Reduce excess scheduled activities. Many of us are just too busy with things that are often not really that important because we think that's the way it should be. Eliminating some of your excess commitments will save on gas and will reduce stress, which will make it less tempting to eat or spend as a stress reliever.
  8. You don't need to bring out the fatted calf to entertain or impress people. Have simple cake and punch at your child's birthday party instead of going to Chucky Cheese's. It's funny how the expensive flashy things are rarely the things the kids remember fondly when they grow up.
    If you're having people over for dinner, keep the food simple. You don't need a 10 course meal that includes everything from lobster to an expensive cheesecake. There are very few people who wouldn't enjoy roast chicken with fresh fruit for dessert just as much, especially if the company is good.
  9. Stop shopping and start exercising. When under stress there are two things at the top of the list that people do. Shopping and eating. Have a plan of attack so that when you start feeling stressed instead of grabbing your purse (or wallet) and heading for the mall you hit the yoga mat, hop on your bike or just start walking.
    Do you know how much money you would save if you exercised instead of shopping? Not to mention you probably would rid yourself of a lot of your stress. If you don't have as many money problems from over spending you wouldn't feel the need to go shopping or over eat and you would eventually break the cycle.
  10. Drive quickly by fast food joints. Don't even drive by them. Don't drive on the same street where they are. If you have a big problem with this, don't drive in the section of town where they are. And if you have any in your town then move to another town! (This was my favorite son-in-law's idea. Guess where his weakness lies! HA! HA!)

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam 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!

Living On A Dime - How To Save Money On Groceries

How To Save Money On Groceries
by Jill Cooper
If I said I would give you $150 extra a month to help you pay off your credit cards, lose weight and help your family become healthier, would you accept it? Does it sound too good to be true? The average American family spends 1/4-1/3 of their monthly grocery bill on things to drink but can't find any extra money to pay off their credit cards.
Do you buy sodas, coffee, tea, juice and milk, plus all the things that go into these drinks like creamer, flavorings and sugar? Do you grab a glass of soda, juice or milk instead of a cold glass of water? You may even argue that juice and milk are good for your children but fertilizer (food for you grass) is good for your lawn.
We all know that too much fertilizer will kill it and if you don't water it, it will die. I'm beginning to wonder if most of us are more concerned about making sure our yards are watered then our children. Of course they need some milk but like everything else do it in moderation.

Here are few tips to cut the costs of the drinks in your home and find some extra money to pay of your credit cards:
  • Find out how much milk is actually needed for your child. The USDA recommends that children under 5 get three to four servings of dairy per day. That is 2 cups of milk OR one serving equals one slice of cheese OR 1/2 container of yogurt. Don't forget milk added to cereal.
  • Juice is just sugar water. Eat the whole fruit instead and give one glass of juice as a treat for breakfast or snack.
  • Limit the number of glasses of milk or juice given a day. After the allotted amount they get nothing else but water. If they are used to drinking it for meals, either give them one glass (1/2 cup) and when it's gone they drink water or have them drink water first and then milk after they finish their meal.
  • Use small juice glasses. They give the appearance of more.
  • Don't fill their sippy cups with juice or milk. Give them water instead.
  • If you put some milk in a cup and they don't drink it all, put it in the fridge until later.
  • Limit sodas to a treat once or twice a week.
  • Don't dilute your juice with extra water. Not only does this not taste very well but by "stretching" the juice you teach your kids bad eating habits by giving into their demands for juice instead of giving them water.
  • Keep water in the fridge. After water has set, the chlorine evaporates and the water tastes better cold.
  • Add a small amount of lemon juice to your water if you don't like the taste.
  • Be careful to shop wisely. Sometimes buying name brand flavored or specialty coffees on sale costs less than making your own.
  • Use powdered milk instead of creamer in coffee or tea or try mixing your creamer half and half with dry milk.
  • After making coffee save the coffee filter and the coffee grounds in the maker. Add your coffee for the next day on top of the old grounds. This way you can use each filter 2 or 3 times. Buy a reusable coffee filter. They last for years.
  • If you run out of coffee filters use a paper towel until you can get to the store to buy more.
  • You don't always have to make a full pot of coffee. Just make one or 2 cups at time.
  • Save extra coffee in a thermos instead of making a new batch or buy a smaller coffee maker.
  • To make flavored tea, add a package of flavored drink mix to each pot of tea.
  • For leftover soda - Combine 2 cups of flat soda with 1 package of unflavored or same flavored gelatin to make a rich flavored gelatin. This is particularly good with root beer, orange and grape sodas.

Creamy Orange Shake (like Orange Julius)
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
5-6 ice cubes
1/4 cup sugar
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup water (optional)
Combine ingredients in blender until smooth. Can be kept in the refrigerator 1 day. Serves 4.

Cafe Vienna
1/2 cup instant coffee
2/3 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. dried orange peel
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (optional)
Stir ingredients together. Process in a blender until powdered. Makes 1 1/3 cups mix.
*Attach this note to the jar if making a jar mix:
Use 2 teaspoons to 1 cup of hot water.

Swiss Mocha
1/2 cup instant coffee
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup nonfat dry milk
Stir ingredients together. Process in a blender until powdered. Makes 2 cups mix.
*Attach this note to the jar if making a jar mix:
Use 1 cup of hot water and 2 tablespoons of coffee mix for each cup of coffee.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam 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!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Afternoon And That Leftover Turkey Carcass

Good Afternoon, Dear Ladies!

Christmas is over and oh! What a lovely Christmas season it's been! We haven't had a lot of money and we certainly weren't able to give like we would like to have given (in fact...most of our money in December went towards fixing plumbing problems...roots in our sewer pipes...not so lovely!)...but, regardless...we've had a beautiful Christmas season spending special time with family, friends, and loved ones.

Our family Christmas (the one spent with all of our children and grandchildren) was the 10th of December. Christmas Eve was spent with our oldest daughter and her family; Christmas Day (after church) was spent at our oldest son and daughter-in-law's with two of our children and their families. Afterwards we visited with old friends from back home, then John and I spent Christmas evening together unwinding after a busy week of holiday and church activity.

To be honest...Christmas night a dark depression fell upon me, but after a good cry, a long talk with the Lord, and scripture reading I was able to rise above it. By this morning I was back on top and ready to go!

So far today I've straighten house, did dishes, two loads of laundry, and have deboned the leftover turkey, and am now cooking down the carcass for broth. In doing a search I found this great article on what to do with that leftover turkey carcass and it includes a whole host of recipes...

Save That Turkey Carcass and Your Leftover Turkey And Turn It Into Turkey Soup!

Next, I'm getting ready to plan my menus out for the next week or two.

I pray that you and yours had a beautiful Christmas, as well, and I wish each and every one of you a bright, prosperous, and happy New Year! God bless all here!

All My Love,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Old Paths Ladies' Christmas Tea - 12/23/11/Tea-Time Recipes

What a busy week it's been! I've barely had time to catch my breath and oh! How I've missed visiting with you! I thought I'd take a quick minute to share a little bit about our annual Ladies' Christmas Tea that was held this morning. I served Mini Cream Cheese Sandwiches On Rye, Double Orange Scones, Cherry Bonbons (recipes included and I can't believe that I didn't even take one photo of the food!), thin mints, and three kinds of loose-leaf tea...Angel's Dreams, Blueberry Vanilla Cream, and Rhubarb Cream. I shared a devotional based on Isaiah 9:6...

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Not all of our ladies were able to join us, but I think that the ladies that did attend had a good time and I know I did! 

Now...for those recipes!


1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1-8 oz. package cream cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 package (2 1/2 oz.) thinly sliced cooked corned beef, chopped
2 tablespoons grated red onion
3/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound thinly sliced seedless rye bread

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Miracle Whip, and mustard. Add corned beef, onion, dill, and salt; mix well. Spread 2 tablespoons of filling over half of the bread; top with remaining bread. Makes about 16 sandwiches.


2 cups flour
3 T. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/3 c. margerine
1/2 c. manderine oranges, drained
1/4 c. milk
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together. Flatten dough into a disk in the middle of a cookie sheet. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sugar over the top and, using a floured knife, cut disk into eighths. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Orange Butter (recipe below). Make 8 scones.

Orange Butter

1/2 c. margerine
2 T. orange marmalade

Mix together until well blended. Serve on warm scones.


Maraschino cherries with stems
Semisweet chocolate chips

Take the cherries out of the jar they come in and put them on paper towels so the liquid can drain off. Then, fill a small deep container (like a coffee cup) with chocolate chips and place in microwave. To melt the chocolate, heat it on high for 20 seconds, stir, then heat again for 20 seconds. Repeat until chocolate is just melted. Then, holding the cherries by their stems, dip them in chocolate. Set the dipped cherries on wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator.
Next it's time to get ready for tonight's Candlelight Service. Have a blessed evening and a wonderful weekend as, together in heart and spirit, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

All My Love,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nathan Andrew - 12/19/82

It was exactly 29 years ago at this very time that Nathan Andrew was born. Something had been wrong for a very long time. I had been bleeding off and on since my second month of times very heavily.

On the 18th of December I was out Christmas shopping with my mother, my aunt, my 1 1/2-year-old daughter, and my three little cousins. All of a sudden I went into labor. My aunt took my daughter home with her and her children, and my mother rushed me to the hospital. Next thing I knew I was being strapped to a gurney and was being shipped by ambulance to a bigger that was attached by a walkway to Children's Mercy in Kansas City. Even though I had been given a lot of medication and was pretty much out of it, I could hear the doctors and nurses talking. If they didn't get me to the other, better equipped hospital soon, they were going to lose me AND the baby. It was one of the most frightening experiences I've ever had. All I could think about was what would happen to my little daughter at home if I died.

I arrived at the other hospital in record time and was immediately surrounded by all sorts of doctors and nurses. I was plugged into every kind of equipment they had...which wasn't nearly as good as the equipment that they have now, but, at the time, it was state-of-the-art. Immediately, the head doctor wanted to know who my doctor was and how long I had been bleeding. She said that the placenta had torn away from the uterus wall and that this baby should have been "taken" months ago. What was she talking about? I would never have allowed my baby to be "taken!"

Long story short...27 hours of intense labor later (I had been given every kind of pain medicine available and nothing seemed to be helping) Nathan Andrew was the hallway on the way to delivery. He was immediately rushed across the walkway to Children's Mercy and I was taken on into delivery where a DNC was performed. A few hours later the doctor came into my room with a nurse who was carrying my baby. Nathan had fought hard and lived for two hours, but his lungs were just too little. Now days they probably could have saved him, but, back then...there was nothing they could do. There was just nothing that they could do. 😞

Nathan was perfectly formed. He had long, black hair, had perfectly formed features, perfect, tiny, little fingers and fingernails...toes and toenails...on the outside he was just that...perfect! Tiny, yes (he was 10 inches long and he only weighed a pound)! But still...perfect.

Not having money for a funeral left me with few choices. I would not be allowed to leave the hospital without signing papers for Nathan's body to, either, be donated to scientific research, or be cremated in the hospital crematory. Not wanting to do either I chose the lesser of the two evils...the hospital crematory. To this day I regret that, but I don't know what else I could have done under the circumstances. It still hurts me beyond anything that I could ever express and there's never been anywhere to mourn Nathan's loss. I came home on Christmas Eve with two very blurry pictures, a set of tiny footprints on a piece of paper, and a poem that the hospital chaplain had given me.

I've never written about all this before, but, tonight, I felt a need to do so. Perhaps there is someone else out there who has been through a similar experience...someone who needs a word of encouragement. Even though all that I went through was, and still is, very sad...there are two things that have ministered to me over the years since Nathan's death...

#1 - The poem that the chaplain shared with me. It was entitled FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND, and I had never read it until the night that she gave it to me there in the hospital. It is still very special to me.

#2 - There's a verse of scripture that the Lord gave to me many, many years later, and it is still the verse that comes to mind whenever I think of Nathan. The verse is found in Psalm 30...verse 5...and it says, "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that Nathan is with Jesus and that someday I will see him again! Not as a premature baby, but as the spirit man that God created him to be!

And, if you've suffered the loss of a child...whether it be at birth or beyond...know that, if you are a born-again believer then you will see that child again and be reunited with them in days to come! If you've not accepted Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of your life, know that it's not too late! Click here to find out more.

And as you remember that trial that you've gone through...perhaps you're asking (or have asked), "Why God? Where were You when I was going through all that? Why weren't you there for me?" I leave you now with that beautiful poem that was shared with me by that wonderful, old chaplain at Children's Mercy...


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Good SATURDAY Morning! - 12/17/11

Good Morning, Dear Ladies!

I can hardly believe that Christmas Eve is a week from today and that a New Year is peeking just around the corner! Where does time go? It seems to be speeding...speeding...speeding along ever faster as we move toward that glorious day when Christ returns and His earthly reign begins! I can hardly wait!

There are so many things that I've wanted to share with you this past year and, unfortunately, have not been able to do so. Time just seems to elude me anymore. And there are so many Christmassy things that I've wanted to share, but, alas...the same. It hasn't happened.

So, I just decided to sit down this morning and visit with you while I have a cup of tea. Today is my day to clean, clean, clean! The back of the house is done and the laundry is started. I got a late start. Have been up and out super early the past two mornings (doctor appointments and food box deliveries for the elderly on Thursday and shopping with my d-i-l all day in Joplin on Friday...we walked MILES) and I was exhausted! I've not slept in in years, but I did this morning and it felt good! I didn't get up until 9:45! Wow!

Today I've got to clean house, do laundry, clean the fridge, and get my house, lists, and calendar in order for next week. Every day (and evening) there is something going on somewhere and I'm not at all ready. I still have five stockings to finish, a little bit of shopping to do (I haven't got my dh anything to speak of yet), and multiple events to prepare guess as I finish this cup of tea, I better get off here and get busy.

I do wish each and every one of you a beautiful, wondrous, and joy-filled last week before Christmas. I pray the Lord's blessings down upon each of, your family, and your, together, we join in heart and spirit to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Go out there this week and be a light! Let His Light shine through you as we celebrate the most wondrous event ever!

Love and Christmas (((HUGS))),

P.S. - For fun, why don't you leave a comment and tell me how you plan on letting your light shine this last week before Christmas? <3

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday - CONNECTED

It's FRIDAY! And that means it's time for another 'Five Minute Friday'. 'Five Minute Friday' is where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, says, 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...


Have you noticed that how, over time, as a people (the 'human race'), as we have propelled ourselves into the 21st Century and become more modern...more 'intelligent'...more technologically sophisticated, we, for the most part, as a people, have lost the ability to stay connected? Even though knowledge has been increased (just as the Bible said it would in the end times) and even though we live in the 'information age'.....even though we have more communication devices than ever before and we are constantly and, for the most part, instantaneously, connected with one another at the push of a button or the touch of a screen...there are a lot of lonely...LONELY...people out there. While these devices are wonderful and can be (and are oftentimes) used for the glory of God, no computer screen, no Skype program, no phone...whether it be land-line, cell, IPhone, electronic device of any kind can take the place of a real-live, in-the-flesh person to hold the hand of someone who is ill or dying, to share a smile or a bit of conversation over a cup of freshly brewed tea, or give an often much-needed hug. During this Christmas season and into the New Year, be on the lookout for ways to stay connected with others in your sphere of influence...loved ones, neighbors, the elderly, those that are ill, those that hurting, those that are suffering from loneliness. I dare won't have far to look. Stay. Connected.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

HEARTH AND HOME - December 15, 2011

Greetings, Dear Friends! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

How wonderful it is to be with you again! I pray that this holiday season finds you and yours healthy, happy, and rich in the blessings that money cannot buy...especially the love of family and friends, and a close, personal
relationship with the REAL reason for the season...Jesus Christ.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)


* Save used coffee grounds, tea leaves, and crushed egg shells and feed them to your poinsettias and other houseplants. They love the nutrients!

* Make holiday pancakes by lightly greasing heavy metal cookie cutters in the shape of Christmas trees, etc. and placing them on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Pour pancake batter (approximately 2 tablespoons) into each cutter. Using tongs remove cutters after 1 minute; cook pancakes two more minutes, then turn over and cook until done. Serve as usual. The children will love them!

* Decide what table linens you will be using for Christmas now and Scotchguard them. It's a great fabric protector and spills will be easier to remove.

*Keep candles in the freezer until ready for use. That way they don't have a tendency to drip or spark when lit.

*When candles do drip on your pretty tablecloths, fear not. Lay paper towels on the ironing board over and under the drips and iron the wax spots with a medium-to-hot iron. Keep moving the paper towels around until the wax is absorbed into them. Presto! The wax is gone and the cloth is saved.

* Save odd containers throughout the year to be used again at Christmastime. For instance:

* Save empty nut cans and attach Christmas wrapping paper to the outside. They're perfect for Christmas goodie gift giving! (Try filling with CHRISTMAS  PECANS recipe below!)

* Try stacking cookies in empty Pringles cans covered in red and white striped paper, then wrap the whole thing in cellophane with ribbons tied at both ends so that the package resembles a piece of wrapped peppermint.


* Suspend Christmas balls on ribbon of different lengths and colors from you wall moldings.

* Paint a large straw basket red and use it to hold a grouping of plants.

* Cover a container with heavy gold foil, then fill it with gold-sprayed leaves, tinsel, and pinecones.

* For an instant centerpiece, fill a silver or glass platter with a cheery assortment of Christmas balls and strings of miniature lights.

* Tie some bright red ribbon around the necks of vases and lampshades.

* Decorate a window ledge with holly and ribbon, then stand gingerbread men (real or made from wood) or other tree decorations along the ledge.

* Set out potpourri in decorative dishes.

* Light some scented candles.

* Place bars of strong-scented soap in closets and in drawers.

* Hang clove-studded oranges in closets to banish mustiness.

* Fill outdoor window boxes with spray-painted pine cones and tie an oilcloth "ribbon" around them.

* Wind greens around the posts on your front porch and tie with a red oilcloth bow.

* For outdoor beauty string cranberry and popcorn garlands on the trees outside your house.

* Drape garlands around your mantel, windowsill, banister, or from a chandelier.

* To attach evergreen roping to a staircase or banister, use ribbon or fabric lengths to tie the roping to your rails.

* Hang holiday stockings all around the house-along the mantel, up the staircase, on a towel bar, even on the bathroom shower rod.


The legend is that the candy cane was invented by a Christian in England in the seventeenth century. At that time, the government would not let people celebrate Christmas. So, a candy maker made candy shaped like a shepherd's crook to be a secret symbol of Jesus. The white stripe represented the purity of Jesus and the
red stripe represented His blood that He shed for each of us. The candy was a double gift: a sweet treat and a symbol of Christmas.


* Instead of cutting little bits of wrapping paper off a large roll, try wrapping small gifts in pretty Christmas paper napkins.

* Reuse old Christmas cards by splitting them and using the fronts for Christmas 'postcards' next year!

* Create a Christmassy atmosphere throughout your home by setting out pine, evergreen, or cinnamon-scented potpourri in decorative containers in every room.

* Try tucking favorite Christmas cards into picture frames and mirrors throughout the house.

* Sew small brass jingle bells along the hem of a tablecloth.



16 cups powdered dry milk
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bags. For a smoother looking cocoa mix put the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process for a few seconds. (Do just a little at a time.) To use, measure 1/3 cup of cocoa mix into a cup, add hot water, and stir.


May the spirit of giving
Go on through the year,
Bringing love, laughter,
Hope, and good cheer.
Gifts wrapped with charity,
Joy, peace, and grace,
Ribboned with happiness,
A tender embrace.

-Norma Woodbridge


* Wrap strings of tree lights around cardboard paper towel tubes. Taping down the ends prevents unraveling.

* Use the divided boxes from wine and soda to store your other ornaments.

* Store tiny ornaments in egg cartons to prevent loss or breakage.

* When packing your decorations away in boxes, store your heavier ornaments on the bottom, and the lighter ones on top, with layers of paper towels or newspapers in between.


Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy
with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking,
and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.

Mama watched Martha Stewart,
Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour
the presents they'd wrap

When what from the T.V.
suddenly caught their ears ?
'Cept an ad.. which told
of a big sale at Sears.

So away to the mall
they all flew like a flash...
Buying things on credit...
and others with cash!

And, as they made their way home
From their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no... not at all.

Their lives were so busy
with Christmas time things
No time to remember
Christ Jesus, the King.

There were presents to wrap
and cookies to bake.
How could they stop to remember
who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior...
they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
to "Shop til they drop!"

On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's

From the big stores downtown
to the stores at the mall
They would dash away, dash away,
and visit them all!

And up on the roof,
there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung lights
up on his brand new step ladder.

He hung lights that would flash.
He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never prayed to Jesus...
Light of the World.

Christ's eyes... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit... how merry!
Christ's love... how enormous!
All our burdens... He'll carry!

So instead of being busy,
overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in
Christmas and enjoy
some good nights!

Merry Christmas!

”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”  (John 3:16).



8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced, divided
4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons margarine
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup chicken broth
dried parsley flakes
Hot cooked noodles or rice, optional

Place half of the mushrooms in a 13x9-inch baking pan. Dip chicken in beaten eggs; roll in crumbs. In a skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides; place on top of mushrooms. Arrange remaining mushrooms over the chicken; sprinkle cheese, dividing equally, over chicken breasts. Add broth to pan. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve over hot noodles or rice, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.


6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup light cream or 1/2 & 1/2
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 loaf sweet french bread
sliced 5/8 inch thick

1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tblsp. corn syrup

Butter 9" x 13" baking dish. Cover bottom with bread. Fill gaps between slices with pieces of bread. Combine eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour entire mixture over bread; cover and refrigerate over night. Next morning

Preheat oven to 350*. In small bowl combine butter, sugar and corn syrup; spread evenly over the whole surface; sprinkle walnuts over all. Bake 30 to 40 minutes till puffed and golden. Serves 6.

1 pkg. frozen hash browns (NOT the formed patties)
1 lb cooked crumbled bacon
1 package sausage
1 med onion
1 green pepper
12-18 eggs
1 1/2-2 cups Cheddar, shredded
salt, pepper & oregano

1) First cook the bacon until crisp and crumble.
2) Chop onion and pepper into small pieces.
3) Crumble sausage.
4) Put a layer of the frozen hash brown on the bottom of the crockpot. Next a layer of bacon and sausage mixed together, a layer of onion and green pepper, and a layer of cheese. Repeat this layering process for 1-2 more layers.

In bowl whisk 12-18 eggs (depending on size of crockpot) a little salt, a little pepper, and a little oregano and pour into crockpot. Cook on low 10-12 hours. (I usually make it before bed at night and let it cook while we are sleeping.) Whatever is left over the next day I save in the refrigerator and everyone helps themselves the rest of the week. It microwaves great to heat up. I did this Christmas Eve and it was a BIG hit Christmas morning and great because I didn't have to spend time cooking breakfast, it was all ready.


12 medium navel oranges
4 ½ cups whipping cream
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons orange extract
1/3 cup orange juice
Cut a thin slice off the top of each orange. With a grapefruit spoon, scoop out pulp. Invert oranges onto paper towels to drain. Remove and discard membranes from orange pulp; set pulp aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in orange juice. Fold in reserved orange pulp.  Spoon into orange shells. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.


   Streusel (below)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Streusel. Beat remaining ingredients, except for raisins, in large mixer bowl on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup raisins into batter. Spread half of the batter in greased oblong pan, 13x9x2 inches, or square pan, 9x9x2 inches; sprinkle with half of the Streusel. Top with remaining batter; sprinkle with remaining Streusel. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. 9 to 12 servings.
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons firm margarine or butter

Mix all ingredients until crumbly.



1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 T. powdered sugar

Mix with hands until crumbly.  Press into 13x9" pan and bake at 350°
for about 10 min.  Cool.


2 c. cool whip
8 oz. pkg cream cheese
2/3 c. powdered sugar

Whip with electric mixer and spread over cooled bottom layer.


2 3-oz pkgs pistachio instant pudding

Mix both packages of pudding with only 2-1/2 c milk.  Let sit until  thick and spread on top and then add more Cool whip.  Cover with  toasted slivered almonds.  Refrigerate.


3 cups flour 

½ cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 ¾ cups eggnog
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, eggnog and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins and pecans. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 16 muffins.


Makes 13 cups.

2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
2 quarts apple cider
2 cups sugar
2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
1 cup water

TIE first 3 ingredients together in a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter.
BRING cider and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spice bag; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Remove spice bag; discard.
STIR in orange juice and remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes or until heated. Serve hot.


5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 cups pecan halves

STIR together 4 tablespoons sugar, melted butter, pumpkin pie spice, and orange rind. Add pecan halves; toss to coat.
PLACE on lightly greased aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
BAKE at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once.

Yummy treats to stir into coffee or hot chocolate
You'll need:
  • Dark, milk and/or white chocolate chips
  • Higher quality plastic spoons
  • Sprinkles or jimmies
  • Clear or colored cellophane
  • Ribbons
1.      Adult: Melt chocolate carefully.
2. Dip colored plastic spoons in melted dark, milk or white chocolate.
3. Top with multicolored or glittery sprinkles. Allow to harden.
4. Wrap in clear or colored cellophane and tie with ribbon.
5. For a special addition to this yummy gift, glue a photo of your child onto a square of construction paper & make a gift tag.


6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried chives
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup sour cream

Defrost chicken breasts. In a large skillet, melt butter and brown breast filets on both sides; remove chicken and arrange in a single layer in a large baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. To butter in skillet add mushrooms and seasonings; cook until mushrooms are tender. Stir in chicken broth. In a small bowl combine flour and sour cream. Stir sour cream mixture into skillet contents and heat through. Pour mixture over chicken breasts, cover with foil, and bake at 375 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes until chicken is done and tender. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes before serving.


3/4 c. milk
2 T. lemon juice
3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. grated orange peel
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. cold butter
1/2 c. chopped walnuts


1 c. powdered sugar
3 to 4 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. almond extract

In a bowl, combine milk and lemon juice; let stand for 2 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, orange peel, baking soda, baking powder, and spices; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add walnuts and milk mixture; stir just until moistened.

Turn onto floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 7-inch circle; cut each into six wedges. Separate and place 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Combine glaze ingredients until smooth; drizzle over warm scones. Yield: 1 dozen.

(NOTE: These scones are really good after they have cooled. They're even better after they've been frozen, thawed, and brought to room temperature. They're a great make-ahead-and-freeze-until-needed recipe!)

Well, Dear Friends, that's it for this time. I pray that you all have the merriest of Christmas's, and the brightest of New Year's. May the LORD bless each and every one of you and yours as you celebrate the season of Love's Greatest Gift...Jesus! God bless all here!

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Award

I am pleased and excited to announce that Rebecca's Hearth and Home has been awarded a new blog award from Shelby over at Every Little Blessing! Thank you, Shelby! What a sweet surprise! And what a blessing! Thank you!

This award comes with a few rules:
  • Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post. (Again, thank you SO MUCH, Shelby! I feel so loved today!)
  • Share 7 random things about yourself. (That’s easy. I’m pretty random.)
  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers and let them know about it.

7 Random Things About Me:

1) When I was little Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" with Leslie Ann Warren was my favorite show (and it still is!). I could hardly stand the yearly wait between runs. After I was married and living in Blue Springs I found a copy of it on VHS at BlockBuster, but, now that I no longer have a working VCR, I've gone several years without seeing it. I need to find a copy of it on DVD! :)

2) I've known my husband since I was 5 and he was 12. Our dads worked together, played guitars together, and were best friends. Years later we discovered that they were distantly related. John and I were always close friends, but we both grew up and married other people. After both marriages ended in divorce we married each other and combined our families. Between us...his, hers, and ours (actually they're all "ours" because all of our children were friends their whole lives before we got married, too!)...we have seven children (six of whom we've raised together) and we have been blessed with ten beautiful grandchildren.

3) I used to work in retail at a little place called Matco in Blue Springs, Missouri (it was a branch of the Mattingly Brothers Corporation...bigger than Mattingly's 'five and dime' and this was before Wal-mart came to town)...and I loved, loved, LOVED the Christmas season there! I can remember having all the registers open and customers lined up clear to the back of the store! And, while I know there were "those" customers that were complainers, overall, people seemed much happier...much more joyful...more full of the Christmas spirit...than they are now. I loved working retail back then during the Christmas season!

4) I am an only is my husband. We have no brothers and sisters, have no nieces and nephews, and will never be an aunt or uncle. The thing that we were blessed with though is lots and lots of cousins! Some of my closest cousin's children call me 'aunt', as do the children of one of my best friends and one of my ex-husband's nieces that I have inherited. The name...'aunt'...though not really my one that I treasure.

5) I grew up very different from most of my friends. My parents were into self-sufficiency...wind generated electricity, solar heaters, wood heat, gardening, canning, grind your own grain, chickens, goats...the whole nine yards. It was kind of like growing up on a 1960's/70's commune without the commune. BUT...all those things I learned back then have come in handy throughout my lifetime and I wouldn't change that upbringing for anything in the world now. Thanks, Mom and Dad! <3

6) My two favorite kinds of candy are York Peppermint Patty and Dove Dark Chocolate.

7) I collect hearts, teacups, saucers, and teapots, small nativity sets, and, in honor of my heritage, anything Irish or Scottish.

So now on to MY nominations. This part was difficult, not because I couldn’t think of 15 people I wanted to nominate, but because I had a hard time narrowing the list down to only 15. Please check out these blogs. They are fantastic.

1) Crystal at Homemaking on the Homestead. (One of my favorites for a long time!)
2) Sandy at Nutmeg Notes.
3) Barb at Handbook of Nature Study. (I love, love, LOVE this site!)
4) Tina at The Quiet Home.
5) Tamara at Apron Strings & Holy Things.
6) Laura at Harvest Lane Cottage.
7) Lorie at The Midlife Housewife.
8) Jolene at The Alabaster Jar.
9) Lilly at Lilly's Home Journal.
10) Carla over at Glimpses and Reflections. (Carla is just getting started, but you've got to go check out the aprons that she crocheted for her girls! They're beautiful!)
11) Keri at Growing In His Glory.
12) Marybeth at Let It Grow.
13) Georgia at Georgia's Kitchen & More.
14) Denise at Shortybear's Place.
15) Nicol at Ladies Of Virtue Journal.

Please visit these ladies and, while you're there, please, be sure and leave them a comment or, as Shelby calls it, some blog sugar (isn't that precious?). And, Shelby, thanks again so much! This was a super fun meme!

All My Love,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Five Minute Friday - COLOR

It's FRIDAY! And that means it's time for another 'Five Minute Friday'. '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...


Ah! COLOR! I needed this assignment today! It's been an awful week. Busy, yet blah and bland...full of problems (minor ones, really, when you consider the big scope of everything, yet, irksome when you're working through the process of it all) and nearly colorless. Which is unfortunate because today is "our" Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow is our family Christmas...our annual get-together based on whenever our youngest daughter and her husband are able to get away and join us for a time of celebration...which is usually two weeks before Christmas. I so look forward to it every year! Having our daughter and son-in-law here, gathering together with the rest of our children, their spouses, and all of our grandlittles (that's 22 people right there!), plus my dad and anyone else who happens to join us. It's always a joyous time! And spending time with my youngest daughter always puts me "in the pink!" (smile)

Speaking of our youngest daughter and color...

Amanda's favorite book growing up was "Hailstones and Halibut Bones - Adventures in Color" by Mary O'Neill. Ever hear of it? If you're looking for a book on color to share with your children...THIS is THE book! It's AWESOME! Here's how it starts...

"Like acrobats on high trapeze
The Colors pose and bend their knees
Twist and turn and leap and blend
Into shapes and feelings without end..."

Then it goes through each color...purple, gold, black, brown, blue, gray, white, orange, red, pink, green, and yellow...and talks about what each one is and how they live "between black and white" and how they make you feel.

Which brings me to my next thought...

How many of us live our lives between black and white, yet never experience any color other than gray? How many times, because of problems that present themselves in our lives (be they spiritual, physical, financial, or other), do we never rise above the muck and mire of them to see the beautiful  colors that God has created in our lives. There is a poem that comes to mind...


My life is just a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaves so skillfully.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ‘til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And explain the reasons why-

The dark threads are as needful,
In The Weaver’s skillful hands
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

                          ~ by B.M. Franklin - 1882-1965

Okay...longer than five minutes and more of a rambling lesson in literature than anything else, but bottom line is this...when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, instead of losing sight of the color that the Lord has provided in our lives...let us remember that, while we're here...struggling...He already sees the finished work. Instead of going through the motions living a  colorless life, let us, rather, choose to look for the color around us and live purposefully by fixing our eyes on Jesus...the author and finisher of our faith...and living our lives for Him.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Depression

During the Christmas season I often hear from women who are suffering (some severely) from the effects of holiday depression. I'd like to ask you to join with me and as we for another...during this holiday season, let us join hearts and combat those feelings of depression through prayer, fasting, and praise. Let us, together, trust the Lord to turn those feelings of depression around and help us to overcome the enemy that seeks to undo and destroy us, using all for the glory of God and His purposes as an example and aid to others. Let us allow the Lord Himself to permeate our thought processes and give us creative ideas to share with others during this holiday season...even when the funds are low. He will do it! Will you join me in this?

Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to You right now, in the name of Your precious Son, Jesus Christ, and, Lord, I lift up all of precious women who are reading this before You. Lord God, we praise You and we thank You for sending Your Son to die for us. And we thank You, Lord, and praise You for putting us in the awesome position that You have placed us in, those of us who are married and privileged to be our husband's partner and helper in life, as well as those of us who are single and still searching, those that are widowed, those of us who are moms, and those of us who are not. Help us to remember, Father God, that without Christ's birth, there would have been no resurrection. Help us to remember, Lord, that as we stand as examples before our families and friends this holiday season, that Christmas celebrates Christ's birth...not ours. Father God, I pray health and healing into the women who are reading this this morning...physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Lord God, as this holiday season rapidly approaches, help us to overcome feelings of depression, inability, and inadequacy. Help us to realize that nothing comes to us or happens to us without first being filtered through Your loving fingers. Help us to receive all that You provide for us with thanksgiving and gladness and help us to use that which You have given us for Your glory and Your purposes...knowing that You make no mistakes in our lives. Father God, endow us with Your creative thought processes. Help us not to get caught up in the world's commercialism and help us to make the most of all that You have given us. Help us to share those good things that You have given us with others in new and interesting ways, Father. Ways that will speak to them of You and Your goodness...not of us. Father God, I pray a special blessing down upon each and every woman within the walls of this community...over her...her spouse...her family...her home...and her church. Lord God, use us to further Your work in word and deed this holiday season in a way that is glorifying and pleasing to You. In Jesus' holy and precious name I ask it. Amen!

Love and Christmas ((((Hugs)))),