Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fresh Start . . . . . Tomorrow

But today is 'old year's day', the last day of this year and the end of multitudes of chances and opportunities, some taken and missed, some not taken, and some taken and made successful. I won't go into everything that's happened or not happened - besides, I prefer to think about the positve things, so here are my favorite things in 2008:

We've apparently got my dad's meds straightened out, and he hasn't had a hospital visit since April - PTL!!!

We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in July by purchasing our Trikkes. I love mine, and took to it like a fish to water, and can ride rings around my hubby. In the first 6 weeks of regular trikkeing I lost about 1 1/2 inches in my waist. Sadly, there's nowhere I can ride it here at home, so I don't get to ride it as often as I'd ike, but 2009 is a new opportunity to go out and find new trails!

I made new friends! Many online buddies through (Linnny, Jamie, Irene, etc.)and various blogs and recipe forums. Two very special friends I met on the QVC recipe forums are Nancy and Jane, and I was so fortunate to get to visit Jane at her mountain home and she cooked us an incredible meal! Also, I met Tish through, and she lives a mere 20 minutes from here, and works only 5 minutes or so from my home. We've had several cardmaking play dates already, and she and her hubby came for dinner a couple of weeks ago. She's such a sweetheart, and has become a very special friend in a short amount of time.

We had four week long vacations this year - a first ever for us! Of course all of them were camping trips, but we had a great time on each and every one!

In May we visited Reed Bingham State Park near Adel, GA, and spent a lot of time paddling on the Little River which flows through the park, the Santa Fe river in northern Florida, and Banks Lake NWR near Lakeland, GA. We estimated we paddled about 25 or more miles total - a lot for us!

In June we visited Boone, NC and explored surrounding areas for a week. It was our first trip into the NC 'High Country', and we loved it!

In October we visited Richard B. Russell State Park near Elberton, GA. That trip was in the height of the gas price explosion, so we stayed pretty close to the park that trip, and enjoyed reading and playing games and just being lazy!

And Thanksgiving week we spent at Skidaway Island in Savannah, GA. We really love Savannah, and here's so much to do there! We had our Thanksgiving meal at Barbara Jeans restaurant on Wilmington Island, and it was delicious! We also visited a couple of NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) areas, and in one just south of Darien we picked up a huge bag of the most beautiful and huge pine cones I've ever seen. They are in a basket on our hearth right now!

We had the best, most peaceful and drama-free Christmas I can remember in recent years. We celebrated what means the most, and let the other stuff fall by the wayside, and let the families know that was how it was going to be!

What does 2009 hold? Well, I'm guessing there's a lot we won't know about until it happens, and that's just fine with me! But what I do know is that I'm going to work harder at

  • Finding a new church home
  • Loving, laughing and learning more
  • Stressing, wasting and being idle less
  • Spend more time working on our home
  • Get out more and do stuff just for me
  • Quit letting other people's actions and attitudes change the direction of my days
  • Start trying to sell my crafty wares and see where that venture takes me

I want to share some pictures of the things I've already got made toward my 'stock'. I've only started recently, but I've got a lot done already.

These little cuties I made in the wee hours this morning when I couldn't sleep. The heart is a lavender sachet.

This is my favorite one to date! That dark purple ribbon and lavender ribbon rose match the fabric perfectly!

A few of the gift tags.

Price tags - I got a bundle of 100 and am inking and stamping them on one side. Some say smile, hello, and some have little birds.

I call these cuties 'change purse mirrors. They are about the size of a quarter!

These are all made using vintage (50+ y/o) chicken feed sacks from my childhood.


So, that's it from me for this year. Now what are your goals, hopes and dreams for 2009??? After all, that' what mean the most - resolutions are made for failure, but goals, hopes and dreams can come true! Have a blessed end of 2008!!! Becky

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dream House

Hi Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful, magical, reverant, fun-filled, delicious Christmas!!! I did, lol! We declared this to be a drama-free holiday, and it was just that - peaceful, delightful! Hubby out-did himself, and I hope to show you pics of some of my gifts from him soon.

I just found this great blog called Blondie 'N' SC and about the third post down, she showed pictures of her dream house, and asked her readers to tell about their dream house. In my minds eye, and in my heart, there's only one kind of house for me - a farmhouse. Here's what I wrote in my comment to her post:

"My dream house is a farmhouse (old or new made to look old - doesn't matter!) sitting on a short bank reinforced with local stones, covered with thrift in the spring and shadowed by large oak trees, surrounded by hydrangea, lilacs and foxgloves.

The house itself has long, deep porches with little nooks and crannies in which to hide on a hot sunny day, and sunny places to visit on cold days, and a swing to sit in on rainy days and listen to rain on the tin roof.

Inside there are wide plank floors, exposed wooden joists in the ceiling, whitewashed. A large, cozy living room, dining space between it and the somewhat open kitchen - with room for a large round table, lots of mis-matched chairs and a huge white hutch to hold dishes and treasures.

The kitchen is farmhouse style, with plenty of cabinet space and countertops, a huge pantry in which to store all my pots, pans, appliances, deep freeze, etc. Large appliances disguised with beadboard panels, a baking station, an island with room to roam, and a cozy 'keeping room' in a corner with just a low table and a couple of cozy chairs (and windows looking out on the herb garden and bird feeders).

The bedrooms are cozy and light. Bathrooms are nice, but simple and not over-done.

And in the attic, among the eaves, there's a large room with white painted floors and lots of windows, cabinets, countertops, tons of storage and every crafting and office item on my extensive wish list.

That's my dream house!"

So, you tell me - are you living in your dream house, planning and about to move in, or like me, is it still just a dream? I want to know what YOUR dream house is like! Blessings, Becky!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Christmas Gift To You

Luke 1:26-45 and 2:1-20

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

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. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


This is what I choose to believe, and this is what Christmas means to me! A child was born, so He could die on a cross, to free me of my sins, so that when this body, this shell I live in now dies, I'll be able to live forever with Him in heaven. With this belief, this KNOWING deep in my heart, comes a peace you will never find anywhere else. If you don't have this peace, find a local house of worship and tell them you need to know Jesus!

I won't be around much until after Christmas, so this is my prayer for you:

Father, thank You for your Son, that He died to forgive us our sins, and give us the peace and joy that come from knowing Him. I ask you to bless the person reading this, that they may know this peace and joy as well. Touch their heart, Father, and touch their life with Your loving mercy and grace. I pray these things in Jesus name, Amen


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things are finally coming together . . .

. . . and I'm so relieved! I normally put so very much pressure on myself at the holidays to make everything look and taste perfect! I think that's why this year from Thanksgiving until late last week I have been in such a terrible funk, and not gotten ANYTHING done that I normally do except decorating the 2 trees and online shopping - PTL for free shipping is all I've got to say!

I've decided this year I'm not doing my pre-Christmas stressing out major cleaning - it can wait for sunnier, warmer days of spring. My house will be clean, just not sparkling, spotless (windows and carpet done) clean!

Also, our minimal entertaining will be easy peasy stuff. Our friends who are coming on Sat. night are getting homemade chili, chips, salsa, cheese dip, jalaeno cornbread and assorted cookies for dessert. Tish is bringing a salad. Having easy to prepare (and eat) foods means we'll be ble to talk and maybe even play some games. Hubby and I just LOVE Apples to Apples, and another favorite is Imaginiff.

Anyway, so last Friday when I had to be out of the house for hubby to wrap my gifts (see my other BLOG), I went out and bought my dad's and the girls Christmas gifts. And yes, our two little doxie girls get presents, usually treats and a toy, but this year it was a doozie!

They really, desperately needed new beds, so when I got to Discover Mills and saw there was a Ross store there, I high-tailed it over to the doggie bedding section - usually there's only 2 or 3 things - to find a treasure trove of doggie beds! These two, fleece inside and out, with a cute little paw appliqued on the center, were only $5.99 each!!! Do you believe it? So once I picked out their matching beds, I went over to bedding for humans and found these two ivory fleece throws for only $4.99 each! So, including tax for $23 and some change, the girls have new, warm, cozy beds for Christmas! BTW - that's Bessie up top, Bailey is burrowed down into her blankets in the bottom bed.

Just FYI, if you aren't familiar with Doxies, they are cold natured because of their short hair, but they are also burrowers - they were actually bred to burrow underground to catch burrowing animals. So they like a nice warm bed and covers they can wrap themselves up in - just like us, right?

Okay, enough about the girls and on to more decoratng! As I said, we have friends coming over for dinner on Sat. night, and we're eating casual which means probably eating in the kitchen, so I wanted to decorate the dining table. But I didn't want the same old thing I've had there for the last few years. And definitely don't have the budget to buy all new stuff this year, so I decided to 're-purpose' what I already had!

I remembered these two red glass hurricanes that I haven't used for several years were in top of the guest room closet, so I grabbed them and washed them (dusty, dusty) and then got the big clear hurricane from the bottom of the same closet (washed it, too) and started playing around with them and some other treasures. Here's the end product.

The red hurricanes were taller than the clear one, so I took some of my collection of Christmas decorating and cooking books and stacked them, with the clear hurricane on top. Put a few treasured Santas around and added some pine cones. I'm hoping this weekend I can get a few pine or spruce sprigs to tuck in there for some green among the cones.

The long view.

The top of the china cabinet, showing our Christmas dishes. Okay, okay, they are mine - hubby couldn't care less what he eats off of like most men! I got them at Target a few years ago, and they are by Christopher Radko. I've also got the soup bowls and large coffee mugs, as well as 2 serving bowls, cream and sugar, salt and pepper, gravy boat and butter dish. (sorry for all the glare and reflections - its hard to take a picture of something with a mirrored back, lol!)

And this, in the center of the china cabinet is my treasured punch bowl. It belonged to my paternal grandmother, and I got it along with at least a dozen cups and a glass ladle. I saw one identcal at the old Lakewood Antique Market in Atlanta a few years ago (except it had the large platter underneath) for over $350!!!

Well, back to work - I've still got a lot to do to get everything spiffed up today. Tomorrow I'll go to buy all the Christmas groceries and do the prep for Sat. night (including making the chili ahead), and Saturday I'll have an easy day. So I won't be stressed out when the company gets here. Maybe that's when I'll get the gift wrapping done.

Once again, determine what's most important about this wonderful holiday, and concentrate on that. Let all the stuff that stresses you out go by the wayside or be reduced to a manageable level. You'll enjoy yourself so much more, and you'll actually have more special memories because you'll be paticipating rather than working the whole time! Blessings friends, Becky

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A quick post . . .

Just a quick post to let you knowI've posted pics of some of our Christmas decorations and such over on my other BLOG, so please go visit it if you are interested. Thank you! Blessings, Becky

Monday, December 8, 2008

Occasional Brilliance!

On occasion, rare though they may be, I am capable of true brilliance! Today I had one of those moments - brilliant, I tell you! I was working on decorating the guest bathroom with a few baubles. And one of the things I was trying to find a place for was this box >>>

The body is red corrugated paper over cardboard, and the lid is the lovely snow lady print above. A few years ago hubby used it to wrap one of my Christmas presents, and I haven't been able to part with it, so I always find somewhee to put it - usually in the guest bathroom. It's also pretty handy for packing up some of the many little knick-knacks I use at Christmas time - many of them gifts from my former preschool Sunday School students.

Sorry to interrupt this message, but there's a lovely red-bellied woodpecker visiting the feeder not 6 feet from where I'm sitting! I just love watching my bird feeders!

Anyway, back to the box. So a little while ago I was trying to decide where to put it this year, AND where to put the ugly non-holiday looking tissue box I keep on back of the toilet.


Then it came to me - why not make a decorative tissue box that I can keep year after year and NOT have to wonder where to put it! Genius! So here's what I did:

1 - carefully using a utiliy knife, cut a slit in the corrugated side of the box about 3 1/2 to 4 inches long by about 1/4 to 1/3 inches wide.

2 - cut 2 strips of green cardstock just slightly shorter than the slit and about 1 1/4 inch wide, scored about 1/8th inch from the edge.

3 - glue these two strips inside the box, with the two 1/8th inch sies resting on the cardboard inside the slit to cover it.

4 - glue a couple of strips of ribbon (mine is red with green Merry Christmas) on either side of the slit.

5 - glue a couple of green buttons to cover the top and bottom of the slit.

6 - open the old tissue box and remove the tissues, place them in the new issue box

7 - pull the top tissue through the slit

8 - place the lid on the box

And this is my finished product >>>

Don't you just love it when you 1)have a great idea, 2) it's really easy to do, and 3)you have something pretty and useful when you are finished?
So, now it's back to the real world of laundry (last load is about to go in the washer) and washing dishes (Christmas dishes are out of the closet (lol) and in the dishwasher). And then it will be time to start dinner - hamburger stroganoff, noodles and green beans - such an inspired menu, lol! Blessings everyone! Becky

An Apron Giveaway You Say???

YES! This neat blog I just found called "Maple Lane" is giving away a gorgeous apron (red with white polka dots!) and I'm entering - how about you??? Now I have quite a collection of vintage and newer aprons, and this one would look just precious on the rooster rack in my farmhouse kitchen with lots of red, mustard yellow, blue and white. Here's pic of what's on it now >>>

The yellow one at far left is one I bought at the "Farm Chicks" booth at the 2007 Country Living Fair in Ohio. The red sunbonnet one, and the two bibbed ones that are barely visiblewere in a box lot of linens I bought at Freehome Auction for a couple of dollars a few years ago. The pink one came from an antique store, I think in Warm Springs,GA, and the patchwork one on far right is from a yard sale just up the road from a lady who was in a square dancing group! It is hand pieced.

Now these two pics are of the 'laundry line' in our laundry 'closet'. The ceiling in there was high, and the shelf is a great place for storage, but the closet needed a little something, so I hung some of my aprons to look like a line of laundry. Please excuse the mess - this IS after all a working/functional (and busy right now) laundry room!

The blue cross stitched one was a gift from a precious little old lady at our former church one Christmas. She decided the preschool Sunday School teachers didn't get enough appreciation, and gave several of us a goodie bag of her treasures. I still love Miss Lucy Nell and her sister Miss Floy, even though I haven't seen them in over 5 years. I couldn't tell you where got the pink to the right, but the blue two layered one was a gift from my friend, Fay. And the pink bag was a laundry bag that was also in the box lot I bought at the auction. Oh, and see - I told you this is a real working laundry!

The orange checked apron you can barely see for the boxes is one I bought at a yard sale for next to nothing, and the blue gingham one at far right I've had so long I can't remember where it came from any more.

So, as you can see, I love, LOVE aprons, and would love to win that sassy one over at Maple Lane. Everyone have a great day! Blessings, Becky

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comfort Foods = Joy

I just took one of my favoite holiday treats out of the oven - cranberry shortbread! Yesterday I made a pot of spiced cider. Hot Spiced Cider plus Cranberry Shortbread equals a joyful mouth and tummy! At least for me they do, since one of my favorite treats is a cup of one and a chunk of the other, enjoyed while blog-hopping in the morning.

The cider is easy. I simply take a gallon of the clear cider - I find it works better than the fresher stuff - and pour it into a large pot - my 5 quart one works great. I add about 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar, a few cinnamon sticks, a bunch (tablespoon or so) of whole cloves, a few strips of orange peel (without the white part) and simmer it all on the stove for a while, testing occasionally until it tastes spicy enough for me. Then I strain the spice pieces out of it and pour it back into the jug it came in from the store, and keep it in the fridge. Bear in mind, as it simmers, it also evaporates, so you won't have a gallon when you are done. When I want a cup, I simply pour it into a cup and zap for about 1 min. 20 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes, and voila! It's ready to drink.

The cranberry shortbread is easy, too! I've been making this recipe about 3 - 4 years, and originally got it from HERE on the Martha Stewart website. I have made this same recipe with mini chocolate chips, nuts, etc. and each one is delicious! Anyway, Martha baked hers in a cake pan and cut the pieces out with heart shaped cookie cutters, but I have this >>>

>>> handy dandy Nordic Ware Shortbread Pan. You can find more info about it here, just bear in mind I didn't buy it from there, and didn't pay that much for it, either. Anyway, it is perfect for baking the shortbread, as you can see here >>>

>>> and it makes nine 3 inch squares of shortbread, which is a nice sized piece for washing down with hot spiced cider, lol! Each square has different design on the top, including a pineapple, a butterfly, a stem of two cherries, etc.

The recipe for this is very easy - just remember to take the butter out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature ahead of time.

Cranberry Shortbread

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature (I've used salted and it's okay, too, just reduce your salt in the recipe a little)

3/4 cup sifted confectioners (powdered) sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (or less if using salted butter)

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries (craisins) or cherries (or nuts or mini chocolate chips)

Heat oven to 325 degres.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until combined, but not too creamy. Stir in last ingredient (dried fruit, nuts, etc.)

Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Bake until just beginning to turn golden - about 20 minutes. (Note, in my heavy pan it takes closer to 30 minutes, so check it often, and bake until it's just getting golden) Place pan on cooling rack until cool enough to touch, turn out and cut into squares, or if desired, into shapes with cookie cutters.

Cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Here are a couple of pictures of my finished product >>>

Doesn't that look delicious! Very pretty sprinkled lightly with sifted powdered sugar, too!

Well, we got the tree put up and all the decorations out of the attic today, but that naked tree in the living room isn't decorating itself, so I guess I'd better go help it out some. Have a great evening! Blessings y'all! Becky

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bakerella Blog Candy!

Bakerella - a really incredible baking blog - is giving away some neat Fiesta "Head Chefs" goodies, but you better hurry - sign-up ends in about 2 hours 18 minutes from right now! So, skeedaddle! Blessings, Becky

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Verses

I have a very special friend named Teresa. She lives hundreds of miles from here, and we met through an online recipe forum. I've not yet met her in person, but hope to meet her someday here on earth. But I feel sure if that doesn't happen, we'll meet in heaven one day, and we'll know each other instantly! She's such a sweetie, and is frequently sending me a prayer or poem she found somewhere. Following are two such poems she shared with me today. Blessings T, and thank you!

The Sights And Sounds Of Christmas

The sound of joyful church bells
Heard from a distant hill,
A warm and cozy fireside
To chase the winter's chill.

The jingle of the sleigh bells,
A Christmas candle's glow,
The cherished celebrations
Each heart has come to know.
A child's anticipation
As he peers beneath the tree,
And finds the gift he asked for
When he sat on Santa's knee.

The sights and sounds of Christmas
Woefully will depart,
But the wondrous love of Jesus
Can remain within each heart.

—Catherine Janssen Irwin

Everywhere Christmas

Peace on earth—
It's Christmas;
Silent is the night.

All about
the beauty—
Earth is dressed in white.

Hear the angels—
Songs are in the air.

Wide eyes shine in wonder—
It's Christmas everywhere.

—Joan Stephen
One more thing - I resisted addng music to my blog for a long time, but decided to add some Chrstmas music. How do you like it? Had you rather have music, or not have music? Please let me know what YOU think! I'd really like t know. Blessings friends! Becky

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Have you started your holiday baking yet???

I'm so far behind already, that I am now in the "Oh, another day won't make much difference . . . " mode! But I do hope to do some baking soon, and the cookies I'm about to share the recipe with you are so delicious - truly addictive - and extremely easy to make! And there's very little sugar in them, which is always a good thing.

I found this recipe in the "Eaglefest" cookbook, compiled by Linka R. Bowen in 1987. At the time she was a junior at Georgia Southern College, and many of the recipes were submitted by alumni. I actually got the cookbook at a yard sale a few years ago for 25 cents! On the bottom left hand corner the original price tag of $10.95 is still there, and a yard sale ticket at top right hand corner of 50 cents. I got there late in the day, and everything was 1/2 price -yay!

If you see the oatmeal in the recipe, and don't particularly care for oatmeal cookies (like me) - take heart! The oatmeal is a really nutty addition, and this cookie bar bears no resemblance to an oatmeal cookie.

Here's the recipe >>>

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter - softened
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon water
  • 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped nuts (my addition, and I use either pecans or walnuts)

Sift together flour, soda and salt.

Blend together with butter, sugar, vanilla and water. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts.

Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice into bars of desired size.


That's it! A very easy cookie recipe, with not much sugar, good amounts of fiber, and a great, addictive taste! I hope you try them, and if you do, please let me know how you liked them! Blessings, y'all! Becky

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back To The Real World!

Can you believe it?!? It's December already!!! So much to do to prepare for this special time of year, and yet there's never enough time!

Yes, we are home from our Thanksgiving trip to Savannah, GA, and yes, we had a great time! So great we caught ourselves wondering out loud why it had taken so long for us to return to that beautiful city and the equally beautiful state park on Skidaway Island. We are already planning on making that our spring trip in 2009 - probably going down for a week in April or early May. But next time we'll definitely take the canoe. There are so many great places to paddle around there!

Highlights of the trip for me:

  • Finding a wonderful campsite that was very private, and that had our own private 'mini-pond' in our back yard. We were visited by great blue heron, wood storks (when researching to verify this was what we saw, I found that this beautiful bird is endangered in GA, but apparently not too badly endangered as we saw 4 or 5 together in our small mini-pond), egrets, numerous songbirds, and what was probably a raccoon that got into one of our coolers one night. All he got was a piece of leftover steak from dinner, but the funny part is he got tangled up in the windsock I kept tied to the corner of the raised bed so we wouldn't hit our head on it! The tails of the windsock were right at ground level, and I kept hearing what sounded like something in a grocery bag right under our bed.
  • Being able to ride my Trikke all over the paved surfaces in the park.
  • Finding my dream 'home town' in a tiny town called "Isle of Hope" which is just south of Savannah and just east of Skidaway Island. The only commercial business on the island is the marina, and there are narrow little roads and gorgeous houses right on the river. My favorite was up for sale - white wood frame house with a red tin roof, and with views of the river and marshes beyond.
  • Stumbling across the Bethesda Home for Boys where Paula Deen was married, and realizing it was literally a stone's through from the state park.
  • Having lunch (chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash casserole, assorted breads, sweet tea) at Barbara Jean's on St. Simons Island, then walking around the tiny town and watching two ships pass in the narrow passageway that leads to the Port of Brunswick.
  • Taking a back road off of Hwy 17 to a wildlife/waterfowl refuge that wound way back on a dirt road, and then stopping and filling up a 13 gallon trash bag with huge, lovely, pine cones to add to the basket of cones from Coopers Creek on my hearth. I can't wait to get some firewood so we can build a fire and throw on a couple of those resin-y cones.
  • Spending some time walking around the riverfront and historic district of Savannah, and having lunch at a great cafe/bakery between Broughton and Congress Streets.
  • Having a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch (turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, broccoli rice casserole, assorted breads, sweet tea) at Barbara Jeans on Wilmington Island. Then we drove to Tybee Island and walked the beach and then went up on the pier to join the brave souls standing in the wind and watching the bulldozers and workers working on the beach recovery project.
  • Deciding to come home on Friday instead of Saturday because of predicted rain all weekend. A pop-up (or folding trailer) camper doesn't do well when put up wet, and we knew this would be our last trip until next spring and wanted to put her up dry to prevent mold. It was great to be home!

It was a really nice trip, and I'm excited to know we'll be going back in the spring.

I haven't made a thing crafty, although on Saturday I went to Hobby Lobby and got a pattern and some gorgeous fleece to make some stuffed animals to try to sell on Etsy. I've got the yellow bunny cut out, but haven't started the stitching yet. I also got blue and cream fleece, and plan on doing a lamb in the cream and bear in the blue.

I also haven't even started my Christmas decorating, and it will probably be this weekend or beyond before I do start. (Oh wait, I did put out my 'Season's Greetings' flag on the wrought iron flag pole outside the front steps) First, I've got to finish putting up all the stuff from the trip and finish the mounds of laundry. I got about 1/2 of it done yesterday, so I'll finish that today. Wednesday is 'mom's monthly shop-a-thon' day, so I'll be gone all day, and then I need to clean the carpet before I start getting the decorations down out of the attic. I've also GOT to clean this messy office/playroom because it always seems to get the brunt of 'messy' in my house, and is staging area for a lot of things when getting ready for a trip.

So, too much to do to play very much this week. Hopefully I'll have time to get some playing time soon!

I'll leave you with these words: "Remember, you are a powerful person! Your words have power and carry weight, choose them wisely! Your actions and choices are powerful because they never only affect you, but those around you, too! You never know who may be listening and watching and you may be the person who changes their attitude, their day, or their life just by your words and actions." (rfg11/2008)

God Bless!!! Becky

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Grace

My friend Teresa in Maryland e-mailed me this beautiful poem, and I thought I would share it with you.

Our Father, fill our hearts, we pray,
With gratitude Thanksgiving Day;
For food and raiment Thou dost give,
That we in comfort here may live.

With bread of life our spirits feed
And grant to us the grace we need,
Guide Thou our feet lest they should stray
From paths of righteousness away.

True service may we render Thee
In love and deep humility;
Deliver us from every sin,
In His dear name we ask. Amen.

Luther B. Cross

Blessings friends! Becky

Holiday Recipes

It's a week until Thanksgiving, and usually I would be cooking up a storm, or at least doing some prep work for the day's eating, but this year we've decided to take a camping trip down to one of our favorite places - Savannah, Georgia - and I will be letting someone else do the cooking this year! We'll be eating out at a restaurant somewhere in Savannah.

We were there three years ago for Thanksgiving and had our big meal at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House - a restaurant owned by Paula Deen and her brother, Bubba. The food was incredible and the weather was great so we ate at a table out on the deck overlooking the marsh - it was so beautiful! But this year, with money tight and their prices WAAAYYYYY too high for our pocketbook, ($31 p/p) we'll be finding somewhere less expensive.

Anyway, in honor of the holiday, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite holiday recipes with you. First is a recipe I got from a lady I worked with years ago, Aunt Fanny's Cabin Squash Casserole - it is soooooo good!

Aunt Fanny's Cabin Squash Casserole
  1. In large pot, boil 3 pounds chopped yellow squash with a little salt until tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Drain squash, and put in a large bowl with 1 egg.
  4. Mash up squash with the egg.
  5. Add: 1/2 stick butter or margarine, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1/2 +/- (to taste) chopped onions, dash black pepper, 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  6. Mix all ingredients well.
  7. Place in 2 quart casserole dish (I use 9 x 13).
  8. Sprinkle top with another 1/2 cup bread crumbs and drizzzle with another 1/2 stick melted butter or margarine.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until bubbly in center.
This is such an easy recipe, and can be made a day ahead up to the baking and refrigerated until you are ready to bake it the next day.

Recipe number two is my all time favorite holiday dish, and brings back bunches of great memories! My Dad's Mother (Cliffie Bell Cook Forrester) always made this for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and always put it into the same bowl - a pink depression glass footed bowl. I never got the recipe from her, and regretted it so much, but after many failures I finally got it right. After she passed away a few years ago I was able to get her bowl, and now I always make the cranberry salad in that bowl for our Thanksgivng and Christmas meals. Here's a picture of the bowl - without the salad.

And here's the recipe:

Mama Cliffie's Congealed Cranberry Salad


  • 2 small packages jello - can be cherry, black cherry, strawberry - basically any RED jello - although I prefer black cherry
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 2/3 to 1 cup orange sections, in chunks (you can use mandarins cut up, but I prefer fresh oranges.
  • ½ to 2/3 cup diced apple, peeled
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans or english walnuts work well)
  1. Mix the jello and boiling water and stir to dissolve.
  2. Add the can of cranberry sauce while warm and stir to dissolve sauce.
  3. Add cold water, stir well and put into fridge.
  4. When the jello is 'set' or beginning to firm up a bit, add the fruit and nuts and stir well.
  5. Pour into a mold or pretty bowl and return to fridge and continue chilling until firm.

This will keep a couple of days in the fridge, so it's easy to make ahead of time.

I hope you try these, and I hope you enjoy them. If you do try them, please leave me a post and let me know how they turned out for you and your family. Everyone have a very blessed, and THANKFUL holiday! I am grateful for YOU! Blessings, Becky

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Needlework Bed!

I know that sounds weird, but that's kind of what my latest project looks like, lol! First, though, some history. For probably 20 years now I've kept a big tote bag filled with felt and embroidery stuff that I can take with me when I'm sitting with someone in the hospital, or in the car when we're on a road trip for something to do. I just get bored to death if I don't have something for my hands to do!

Then, I got this neat little fiberboard tray a while back when I ordered some Prima flowers from QVC. It's really cute, about 11"x14"x3" deep, with cutout handles. A few weeks ago when we headed out for a Sunday afternoon road trip, I grabbed my bag so I'd have something to do, and went looking for something to put in my lap to catch buttons or needles if I dropped them. Well, I came upon this raw, unfinished tray and took it along. That was the best thing! I just loved having something to lay my scissors and project on if I needed to get out of the car, and I could use buttons, beads, etc. and not worry about spilling them all over the car.

That got me thinking about how I could make it better, and sometimes I just have to give things time to 'marinate' in my brain before I come up with a solution. I also knew I didn't want to go buy any 'stuff' because money is tight and I've got tons of 'stuff' that might work just as well, so this gave me time to get what I would need gathered together. Here's my solution, I call it my needlework bed!


  1. sanded the tray
  2. painted it with white satin spray paint as a primer and let that dry
  3. painted it a couple of coats inside and out with white indoor/outdoor gloss enamel paint and letting it dry completely in beween
  4. while the coats were drying, work on the 'liner'
  5. I used an old piece of 1/2 inch thick foam core board, cut slightly smaller than the inside of the tray
  6. I didn't have any quilt batting, but I had some old black fleece that I cut to size and wrapped it around the foam core board, pulling tight and stapling as I went
  7. next I took a piece of black and white gingham fabric (oops, guess I won't get that tote bag made any time soon!) and did the same with that, pulling it tight as I went
  8. Lastly I used some clear vinyl and wrapped it tightly around the gingham and stapled it with 1/2 inch staples. (Gotta love that electric staple gun!) So, I had the bottom of my tray, but I wasn't finished! I wanted a pin cushion that I could stick needles, safety pins, quilters pins, etc. into as I was working on a project. Sometimes I'll have several colors of embroidery floss on one project, and I hate having to dig every time I want to change.
  9. I took a piece of the gingham, measured it to fit along one end of the tray, sewed it together on 2 sides (using the fold for the other side), turned it right side out and filled it fairly tightly with poly-fill. Once that was done I turned the end under and stitched it on the sewing machine. I did NOT cover the pin cushion in vinyl, lol!
  10. Once the tray was completely dry, I took another piece of the black fleece and cut it to size and glued it to the bottom (underside) of the tray so it will sit comfy in my lap if I've got on shorts or want to sit on a table.
  11. I put the finished liner into the tray, used some self adhesive velcro dots to attach the pin cushion to the vinyl, and I was done. Here are a couple more pictures.

I just love how it turned out, and am looking forward to using it. I can hold it in my lap whether I'm sitting in a car, in my bed, on my sofa, or in the camper, and it'll keep everything I need right at hand.

Thanks for looking folks, and have a great day!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blue Skies . . .

. . . are finally beginning to peek through the clouds, and while I'm thankful for the rain and drizzle we've had the last few days, it will be nice to see some sunshine by tomorrow. Isn't that the way we are - we pray for rain (or whatever) and then when we get it we want something else! But we got a little over an inch of rain over 3 -4 days and while that isn't much, it's very much needed.

I'm sorry for not posting in a few days. I had the pre-weekend cleaning and straightening up to do on Thursday, then yesterday my friend, Tish came over for our 'play date' in my scrap room. We had a really good time, and this time we actually got some cards made!

Here are a few pins and things I've gotten made lately >>>

A cute little blue and ivory pin that I've got pinned on my old fleece hat. These would be cute on a hat, a scarf, sweater, jacket, or even on a little girl's coat! They are backed with safety pins so they won't come off and won't stick you!

This little one is only about 1 3/4 inches across, and would be such a cute pin for a little girl!

This pin is made from a red grosgrain ribbon with white polka dots and green felt leaves.

Another small (1 3/4 inches) pin that would be cute for a little girl.

A white mitten Christmas tree ornament with fake fur around the wrist.

Today I've been deciding which cards to send in for a card-making design team I'm trying for, and got them sent - I'll be sure to let you know if I make it. I have also been re-organizing my felt and embroidery bags - they really needed it, but I knew I had to get them straightened out if they are going to be my main entertainment on our trip next week. I do have one tip to share, and I'm so excited about it, too!

I've always struggled with an easy and efficient way to carry my craft felt with me. I mean for a long trip like our Thanksgiving trip to Savannah when I'll be working on felt ornaments and pins on the trips down and back up, and the evenings in the camper. Anyway, I was stacking all these crumbled pieces of felt and trying to think of a good way to carry it with me when I remembered my hubby had brought home a small surprise the other day. It was one of those new reuseable woven grocery bags with his company's logo on it. It's got pleated sides and a piece of cardboard that lays down in the bottom. Well I stacked that felt in the bag, got my needles and pins box in, and all my embroidery floss AND a Mary Engelbreit book that I like to take for inspiration. Take a look >>>

Now I've got my button box and ribbon and lace box in an old tote bag, but next time I go to the grocery store I'm going to buy an extra of these bags just for that, and I'll have easy at home and away storage for those things. I take this stuff to bed with me at night and work on projects while I'm watching TV. You see, hubby and I have widely different likes when it comes to TV, so he watches in the living room and I get the comfy bed, which gives me more room for all my stuff too, lol!

Well, that's enough from me! I'll have a post tomorrow with one or two of my favorite holiday recipes for you. Have a great rest of the weekend! Becky

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gratitude Filled Days!

When I got up this morning one of the first thoughts I had was 'hmmmm, what to be thankful for today', and from that moment on I have been so abundantly blessed by things for which to be thankful that I am overwhelmed! So much so that I had to write a whole post to tell you about them!

First, sleep! Sound, restful, restoring SLEEP! I remember changing the channel at the end of Dancing With The Stars last night, but I don't remember what I changed it to! I remember getting up once to go potty and realizing hubby was in the bed, but I dont' know what time it was! Next thing I knew I was waking up, the bedroom was somewhat light (our bedroom is on the west end of the house, so the sun has to be up and at'em for the room to be very light), and I was instantly awake and up within 2-3 minutes of stretching and thinking over my day. It's so nice to get a nice, long, cozy nights sleep!

Second was knowing I don't have to leave this house today. I'm doing laundry, I've got to pick up the house and get ready for my friend coming for a play date on Friday, and I'll have to make dinner for hubby and I tonight, but I am here for the day, and that makes me happy.

My first official 'action' for EVERY day is to rouse the girls from their slumber and make them go outside. Then I go out, check the temp on my deck and stand and look out on 'our' woods. They aren't actually 'ours', but they reach down as far as you can see, and right now there are so many golds, yellows and oranges down in there that I had to stand there in the chill and give thanks for my home and the view behind it!

Then I grabbed my wake-up glass of OJ and headed for my play room. First off, check e-mails. One of my e-mails was from Deena, with a teaser saying she had a surprise for me on her blog, so I went to her blog and was so surprised (and extremely happy and thankful) to find she had given me my very first Blog Award - the Kreativ Blogger Award!!!!! You can see it on my other BLOG.

Another thing I'm thankful for today is only 4 loads of laundry. Most week there are at least 5 or 6, but today it's just 4 - a special day!

And one last thing that I am grateful for - YOU! Whether you are a faithful follower, dearest friend, or just stumbled here via the web, I am most grateful that you made it here today and chose to read this long, rambling post.

Have a gratitude filled day my friends! Blessings, Becky

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nature in All It's Joyful Glory!!!

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend, as I have. This afternoon hubby decided he wanted to ride up to Cooper's Creek and ride some of the back roads through there. It's not that far from here, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, but not as far as it sounds, because it's mostly all 2 lane, tight curvy mountainous up and down roads just to get there. Add to that that it was a peak weekend for leaf watchers and traffic was pretty heavy both going and coming.

We got out and walked some, at two of our favorite paths, collecting pine cones for the fireplace and pictures to share with you. One road is an old Forestry Service fire road, but it takes you to grassy knoll surrounded by hills covered with blazing red, yellow and gold trees. Oh, and some of the lovely conifers mixed in for contrast!

I just wanted to share a few pictures with you. Enjoy!

Our first stop along the way was down by the creek. It's one of my favorite places because it's surrounded by tall old trees, mostly conifers (pines, spruces, etc.) and is cool and damp, even in hottest summer. The picture just above this paragraph reminded me of me! The stream was moving fairly swiftly, in fact little whirlpools were going right beside this little spot packed full of dead leaves and pine needles. It was just like me - I sit here in my room and let life pass me by, the 'things' and 'stuff' of this world keeping me bogged down and leaving me unable or unwilling to break away from them.

How amazing is this! An old log, felled ages ago, became home for soft green moss and made room for a new generation of it's own kind. Love it!

This was amazing - this fern was almost hidden by limbs and fallen leaves. I guess they turn white like this as they are bitten by frost and lose their leaves for the season, but I'm not sure. This one was almost pure white, and so pretty.

This photo was another reminder for me. Look up!!! I was so carried away by the things at my level and on the forest floor that it seemed dark and dank, but when I looked up, I saw the blue sky way above the towering trees, and it was comforting for me. I need to look UP more often, and in more ways than just looking to the sky!

Have a great week everyone, and don't forget to look 'UP' once in a while! Blessings, Becky

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy Ramblings

Good Afternoon Friends! I've been 'piddling' in my play room some this afternoon, just playing at this and that, and I found myself singing some wonderful old lyrics . . .

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He's watching me.

Now, things are tight financially right now, my parents are aging and needing more help all the time, and we just elected a man for president who scares me to death. But I'm content all the same. Why? I'm here at home, with my husband in the living room on the sofa watching the Georgia - Kentucky game, my 'girls' are at my feet on their bed, and I am doing something I love to do.
Contentment is so much better than happy, don't you think??? But my deepest sense of contentment and happiness comes from knowing that despite all the trials and tribulations, God, my heavenly Father, is in ultimate control, and I trust Him. I trust Him because I am His, and He is mine, and He knows my heart, and all is well.

I wanted to share a couple of pics with you from just a few minutes ago. This is Bessie, devouring a rawhide bone . . . . . .

And this is Bailey, begging me, beseeching me, pleading with me to take the bone away from Bessie and give it to her!

Just so you know, it didn't happen! Nice try Bailey!

Now, I did go riding for a while this morning, but getting pictures in Saturday morning traffic isn't always easy, but I will leave you with this one picture. One tree, making the most incredible statement of joy you can imagine!

Have a blessed, peaceful, content, and maybe even a little joyful weekend! Becky