Saturday, December 31, 2011

When The Song Of the Angels Is Stilled....

When the song of the angels is stilled, 
When the star in the sky is gone, 
when the Kings and princes are home, 
when the shepherds are back with their flock, 
The work of Christmas begins: 

To find the lost,
to heal the broken, 
to feed the hungry, 
to release the prisoner, 
to rebuild the Nations, 
to bring peace. 
To make music in the heart. 

Howard Thurman, American author, 
civil rights leader, and theologian

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Family Christmas Adventure...

The week before Christmas started off great. I was ready, I was prepared. Well, I thought I was. 
I had forgotten that when I think all is well with everything; Something happens that I was NOT expecting. 

This time it was my Truck not starting. The old girl usually gives out on us every Winter, but normally it waits till the first or second week in January. This time it thought we needed a Christmas surprise. 
Thankfully our Neighbor and Friend Ron,  got us right in and found the problem. Our Distributor cap is on the back wall of the truck. When it's rainy and damp it lets moisture into the cap and corrodes it. It was replaced and sealed to help stop this from happening. I also found out I need a new water pump. Thankfully I could wait until Dec. 28th to get it put in. So that takes care of my plans for Wed. this week. 

Christmas Eve Husband and I spent at home. I think we had a touch of some kind of stomach bug. We both felt puny all day. I hated missing the Hubby's family Christmas.. Missed My family's too. We'll catch them next time. 

Christmas Day was full of adventure too. Dinner a couple of hours late.. sickness, getting rides to and from in sync, But finally we were ready for the fun. We all ate in shifts since we showed up in shifts. so that was kind of fun cause we all got to sit at the table. Then it was gift opening time. WE loved it.. So many thoughtful and sweet gifts. We all had a blast.. 

The Day after Christmas was spent perusing the local Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, and Meijers. Looking for deals on Christmas stuff and gifts for next year. I got myself a new dish drainer and a new can opener. woot woot.. I also found another Chef's mat. I got one for a gift and loved it. I had put it on my list of things to look for cause I wanted another one for in front of the stove. Low and behold I found one.. there was only one left so I grabbed it. I also got a few gifts for next year. 

The weather here was so great.. almost 50 and Sunny. (unheard of in Michigan this time of year) We took down the outside decorations. I"m leaving the inside decorations in place for a while yet. I love looking at them and it's always so dreary and dull when all the bright sparklies are put away. 

Today I'm watching it snow and cleaning up the kitchen. There will be a pot of bean soup on the stove soon. I  can't wait to use that Ham bone from Christmas dinner. There will also be a big pan of Cornbread to go with. 

I love Christmas even when it's full of adventure.. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus...

‎"Silent night.. Holy night.. all is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin, mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace".. 

As I sit here in peace waiting for the hustle and bustle that accompany 
This Special Holiday Season. 
I like to think about all the things I love about this time of year. 
I love the music, the laughter, and the singing.  
I love the sharing, and smiles, and extra hugs. 
I love the baking, and the eating, and the candy canes. 
I love the way people show their true hearts. 
Their giving hearts. 
I love the decorations, and the snow, and the bright shiney lights. 
I love the Joy that fills my heart and soul. 
I love all these things, 
But the thing I love the best
is remembering the Birth of the Christ Child.

I Love that Christmas is a Birthday!
God's best gift was His gift of His very own son. 
In a very short 33 yrs. of life that son would give an even greater gift. 
His own life.
So that you and I could live in Forgiveness, Joy, and Peace. 
Christmas is a Birthday. 
A very special day. 
When I celebrate the birth of 
My Savior. 
I hope you are celebrating too. 

Happy Birthday Jesus. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gift Wrapping... A Marathon Event...

Today was gift wrapping day. 
Not just any gift wrapping mind you.. a gift wrapping Marathon. 
I love to procrastinate, especially gift wrapping.
I save them all up and do an entire afternoon/evening of wrapping. 
I grab some snacks, a diet Coke and
a couple of my favorite Christmas movies and wrap.

I leave the gifts in totes in the basement until wrapping day. 
Our basement is all old and smelly and dank..
Yukk. I sure don't want smelly presents.
So I can't wrap them and put them back down there. 
They would get all smelly. 
That being said one of the main reasons I put the un-wrapped gifts
down there in the plastic tote boxes is
so they don't smell like cigarette smoke. Dear husband smokes
and I don't want the gifts smelly.. 
Are you getting the theme here.. 

Today I gathered up all the gifts. All those lovely special Family gifts
and brought them along with the plastic tote boxes up from the smelly 
basement into the lovely scents of pine and balsam, cinnamon and apple. 
As a side note these plastic totes are the same ones that 
held my stock pile of shampoo, body wash, lotions, shaving supplies, deodorant etc. 
I moved those items out and the special gifts in. 

As I sat lovingly wrapping each gift. The smell of freshness began to 
enter my nose. hmmm what was that smell ? 
Not balsam, not pine, not cinnamon, not apples. 
Hmmm  I think it kind of smells like bodywash, or maybe some shampoo. 
Oh NO.. Everything smells like shampoo and bodywash.. 
It's all smelly... 

I guess if my gifts have to smell like something, then the fresh clean 
smell of bodywash and shampoo are not so bad. 
I just hope little Kristopher, My great grandson who's 2. will love that 
his new pillow pet smells like Vive shampoo. 

Happy Wrapping.... 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe Share: Yummy and Quick Cranberry Sauce...

Oh hail the wonderful Cranberry.. 

I love cranberry sauce. I don't care what form it takes. whole berry, jellied, 
canned or cooked from the real berries. 
Cranberry sauce is wonderful. 
I got this recipe from a friend. 
It's quick and easy and very very yummy. 
My family, who do NOT like cranberry sauce LOVED this.. 

1- can cranberry sauce. (I use whole berry, I think it has more juice, but you could use either) 
1- small box of red Jello (any kind of red jello will due. This year I found cranberry so I used it.) 
1/2-  of a 15oz  can of crushed pineapple 
Chopped nuts of your choice. (I had pecan, so that's what we used) 

Into a small bowl, dump the canned cranberry sauce. 
spoon in the pineapple. Juice is OK. 
add the chopped nuts.. I'm thinking about 1/2 cup will do. 
Now open the jello and sprinkle the dry powder over all. 
and Mix.. 

place in the bowl you would like to serve this in
 and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
Over night is better. 

Serve and enjoy !!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Preparations..

Oh the Christmas Preparations..

The Christmas wreath has been hung on the porch. 
Husband has strung the lights on the same porch. 
The tree is up and decorated.  
Christmas goodies have been made and consumed. 
Goodie boxes have been made and given out. 
Christmas packages have been mailed. 
Cards have been chosen and the newsletter made out.
Said cards have been mailed. 
All gifts have been purchased. 

I am amazed.... 

I usually still have lots of things to do the week before Christmas. 
This year I just have to: 
Bake more cookies.
make more candy.
and wrap the gifts. 

And finally Spend the day with family and friends 
Just enjoying Christmas. 

I hope your preparations are going well. 
I wish you the Love, Peace, and Joy of Christ this Christmas
and I wish you lots of Family, friends. 
and Just enjoying Christmas. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My First Dinner In My New Electric Pressure Cooker...

My very first Dinner with the new electric pressure cooker turned out great. 
I must admit I wasn't to adventurous. I just made a very simple
Beef Vegetable Soup. 

Being new to this whole electric pressure cooker thing, along with knowing how scary the old stove top cookers of my grandmothers era were kept me cautious. 

I loved being able to brown the hamburger in the cooker. It has a browning feature, and also doubles as a slow cooker.. kind of cool.  I added the onion and garlic to the browning burger then drained the fat. 

I chopped up carrots, and potatoes, added a can of green beans and a can of corn. I also added a quart of tomato juice with green peppers and onions, a cup of beef broth, and a stalk of celery cut up. 

I then set the pressure on high for 15 minutes.. it takes 10-15 minutes to reach the high pressure setting.. then it counts off the minutes and automatically switches to warm when the cooking time is done. 

The recipe I found online suggested cooking for 20 minutes but all the ingredients were raw. 
since some of mine were canned and technically cooked I didn't want to cook them for that long. I also let the pressure release the natural way for about 10 minutes and clicked the release valve and let the rest of the pressure out. Most of the recipes I've found suggest quick release of pressure when cooking veggies. Apparently they will turn to mush if you don't release it quick. They suggest under cooking veggies to prevent such things from happening. 

Husband and I both agreed that the soup was excellent. Tasted like it had been cooked all day.
no mushy veggies, and it warmed up good.. 

My next try will be with a roast. I see you cook the meat first.. then add the veggies in for the last few minutes.. I think I'm really gonna like this cooker especially in the summer when the fresh veggies are hip deep in our garden. 

I think using it in the winter will be fun too. I've found several recipes for quick dinners made with chicken breasts, pork chops, and tough cuts of steak like sirloin.
I even saw a recipe for ham and scalloped potatoes.
I saw one recipe where a woman cooked her spiral ham in it.
She talked about how with the ham you can get a glaze on it using the pressure cooker.
I can't wait to see what I can do with it.

If you have an electric pressure cooker.
send me some recipes or ideas of good things to make in it.
 I think I'll try the rice pudding too...

Friday, December 9, 2011

My New Electric Pressure Cooker Pre-test...

  I'm really excited today. Dear Husband got me an Electric Pressure Cooker for Christmas. Today is pre-test day. I've read all the instructions about 15 times. I've read instructions on pressure cooking websites. I've checked everything over to make sure I'm doing it all correctly. 

 I am ready to test. 

I filled my pot 3/5 full of water, put on the lid, set the steam vent knob to Seal. Set my time for 15 minutes. 
Now I wait. 

Here is a pretty picture of my Electric Pressure cooker.. See the pretty meal it prepared? Probably in 15 minutes or less. I can't wait. I want to make big roast beef dinners in an hour. woot woot.. 

I hear occasional hissing in the kitchen. I'm kind of scared to be in there.  I've used stove top pressure cookers for canning. They can be scary things if you don't know what you are doing. 

I have my mother-in-law's canner. Husband's daddy bought it for her in 1943. I haven't used it for a few years. They don't make replacement gaskets. It's huge. I swear you could can a whole cow in it.. 

I'm so excited. I just checked and my cooker has come up to pressure and is counting down. I think I'll go check on a soup recipe to make for supper. I only have 5 more minutes to wait. then another 15 or so for the cooker to "naturally" release pressure. They suggest you use the "Natural" release method during the pre-test. I'll let you know in my next post how it all worked out. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh How I Wish...

Today's post is about wishing. Husband and I love antiques. We love to peruse the flea markets and Auctions, Estate sales and yard sales. We look, we admire, we plan. 
Oh how we wish these treasures could go home with us. 

Having a small house is not conducive to our love of anything old and unique. At one time we planned to build a new home or restore and old one in our beloved Ky. 
Now we just look and imagine.. 

Here are a few of our favorite finds today. 
you can find these and other treasures here.

The coffee grinder above. A lot of times these sat in the stores on the counter.
 I can almost smell the beans being ground in it now.. 

This Bed. Hubby and I both swooned over this. I don't really think 
it would fit in either of the bedrooms. But isn't it just wonderful. 

And Lastly this old girl. We still hope to find a wood cook stove to take to our Ky. cabin. 
I can almost smell the coffee and biscuits now.