Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Low Carb Scone Recipes

I'm hosting a group of 18 moms at the Cottage this evening for tea and scones and to talk about having a Lifegiving home.

As you know, I follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, and that means no regular flours or sugar for me.  Fortunately, I've found some amazing recipes for low carb scones!  An added bonus is that my friends who are gluten free can eat these treats, too!

This first scone is a plain scone, much like the one I make with regular flour.  However this recipe has no sweetener in it, and I like a sweet scone, so I am going to try adding 1/4 cup of erythritol (which is a sugar alcohol that doesn't trigger the glycemic index - so you taste 'sugar' but the body doesn't register it as sugar and so doesn't release insulin).

I like these so that I can have my lemon curd and cream on my scone.

These chocolate peanut butter scones are amazing!  Everyone who has eaten them, loved them!

I won't be making these for tonight, but these Lemon Scones are one of my very favorites!


I make my own lemon curd and my own mock devonshire cream, so that I can eat them!  No one even knows they are sugar free!

Mock Devonshire Cream

1- 8 oz cream cheese, softened.
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
(for low carb I grind 2 TBS of erythritol)
blend it in a mixer or food processor

Here is an easy recipe for Lemon Curd.  Again I will just substitute, erythritol for the sugar.

I'll be back tomorrow with some photos and tell you how it went!

Just a quick note about sweeteners.  Many of the sweeteners that end in 'tol' such as maltitol or sorbitol can give you digestive issues.  Erythritol does not.  However, each person is different and some may be sensitive to it.  Another sweetener that I like is Xylitol.  This, along with Erythritol, taste just like sugar and are a 1 to 1 substitution.  However, if you have pets that may eat your snacks do not use xylitol.  This is deadly to pets.  Just the difference in human bodies digestion verses a dogs digestion.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Heart Is Overflowing With Thankfulness

It's been two weeks of spending time with family, building relationships, loving on our grandbabies, and caring for Tim's mom.

When we were driving home last Tuesday, Emma, Vinnie, and Isla were headed up here from South Carolina.  We had not seen them since the weekend before Thanksgiving and Isla was only a month old then.

Now at four months, she is interactive and alert.  

Yesterday we had a big family lunch together - including these two little monkeys!
I've got the cutest grandgirlies!

 Lindsay had scheduled a LARP day at our house for this same afternoon.  LARP stands for Live Action Role Play.  They had a whole time period picked out and a story line.  She had a big campfire and cooked beef stew over the fire.  They had a grand time.  Afterward some of them came in and ate some dessert and visited for a while. Some of my kids were involved, besides Lindsay, and some friends from childhood and then also from work came to play.
 There was also a new to us game being played all week, and yesterday.  It's called Coup.  Have you ever played?

Lots of baby holding went on yesterday, too!

Kyle and Kamryn are always excited when Joseph brings his Surface along.  That means they get to play Minecraft.

 Here's my handsome oldest son!

 Our niece Nicole dropped by for the afternoon, too!  She and Emma are good friends.

My Momma and Daddy were here all afternoon and into the evening, too!
It was a really fun day.

This morning our dear ones are on the road again, headed back for the last trimester of classes for Vinnie.  We will see them in April, as we are planning on going down to their school for the yearly prayer conference.

I'm so thankful for the time we all had together as a family.  I love seeing my adult children enjoy each other and each others' families.  Baby passing, late nights talking, hanging out with grandparents. 

It really blesses my heart.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Popping In With A Few Photos

We are enjoying our visit with Emma, Vinnie and Isla.  We are happy that she is easy going, and will let us hold her and play.  We don't see her often so, having her be outgoing is a blessing.

I got to see my other grandgirlies today, too!  Klaire had an well baby check and I dropped Kayleigh and Klaire and took Kamryn to be my helper at the store.  She did such a good job, that I bought her a roll of Life Savers!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

We're Back!

We arrived home Tuesday evening, around 9:00 pm, having left Tim's mom's home around 6:15 am.  We had smooth sailing all the way, which was completely amazing, considering we had to go through several major cities along I-95, including Richmond (at rush hour), Washington D. C., and Baltimore.

Tim and I have always loved a good road trip together!  We listened to music, an audiobook on Audible, talked, texted with our kids (I was riding shotgun the whole way!), ate snacks.  We arrived in the evening down there and his mom was so happy to see us!

She has short term memory loss, and at 95 years old has had some small strokes over the last three years.  She always recovers quickly, though since her last strokes, on January 14th and 15th, she is having trouble with her speech still.  We know that she will continue to have strokes, and perhaps a big one, but she is receiving great care, and does so well with her therapies.  

I worked with her on her speech therapy exercises and we laughed, and rewarded our hard work with some good chocolate! You can check out the kind we treated ourselves to here.  They are pricey, so they are a treat, and I only eat a little bit at a time so they last longer!  Mom loved it!  In fact when we left, she was very sad, so I  mentioned I had left her a whole Lily bar and her face lit up!  Nothing like some great chocolate to lift your spirits!

Tim's mom has had an amazing life.  She was quite the mischievous child, and grew up loving the Lord and went on to serve Him, as a missionary in West Africa, and then at home continuing mission work, like prison ministry.  

We've seen this truth lived out too,  

"Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you."
 Isaiah 46:4 

We don't always understand God's purposes, why some people live into very old age, and others don't.  Why she and Tim's dad went through the death of two children in West Africa, the death of two husbands (after 30 years of marriage to each), why the strokes (and loss of some speech).  But He has carried her and sustained her and He has his purposes.

I didn't understand why He allowed a change of plans that necessitated me going along with Tim on this trip, but we trusted that He has his purposes.  We are thankful that He did have reasons for me to go along, and I'm so grateful that He did!  

It was a really special time.  She had visitors on our first full day there (Saturday).  Tim's cousins came by for a visit (from Canada) on their way to see their son a few hours away.  We hadn't seen them in maybe 10 years and it was a delightful visit.

In personality types Mom is a sanguine and complete extrovert.  She loves being around people and for years had company for dinner every week and had guests stay with her for years.  She really perks up when she has people around.

 Tim did some repair work around her house and on one of his trips out for supplies, he returned with these beautiful flowers for his Mom.

 Driving down her road.  She has lived in her house since 1982!  This used to be a quiet road that leads down to a lake, but now there is a housing development across the road from her and more houses down the road.  She likes to sit out and watch the cars come and go on the road.

Sunday we were able to take her to church.  I snuck a quick photo of us.

Then we went to lunch!  Mexican food!  Yum!  Mom has some swallowing issues, but she had Huevos Rancherous and refried beans!  She loved it!
 We drove along a pretty lake, and while I stopped in at a store, Tim and his Mom enjoyed a cup of coffee and a cookie.

Our friends, who are like family to us, came by every evening and we enjoyed our time with them, as we always do!  

Monday (our last day there) we had a quiet morning then sat outside in the most perfect weather!  Upper 70's, a beautiful breeze, dappled sunlight.  She has a beautiful Bougainvillea.

 That's her neighbors house you see in this photo.  Her house is behind where we were sitting.  

That evening we took her to dinner at Cracker Barrel, along with our brother in law, niece and great niece and our friends Rick and Jane.  They have all done so much in the care of Mom.  We had a really good time.  Again she ate so well - catfish, sweet potato, cheesy grits.

We headed home Tuesday morning.  As we drove through South Carolina, I was texting with Emma.  They were leaving at noon and headed up to Pennsylvania!  It was fun to chat and text during the day, sending updates to each other as we both made our way home!

They are sleeping at Lindsay and Joseph's house, but they spent the day with us.

As usual, we had people coming and going - some to frisbee, Tim to a job.  So Emma and I took Isla and did a bit of shopping and then went over to my parents house to visit.

Tim met us there and enjoyed holding Isla.

If I am scarce around here a few more days, I know you'll understand.  

Thank you friends, as always, for your kind comments.  I am grateful for the community we have built here at the cottage.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Blue Hour In Winter

As I drew the curtains closed this evening, I saw that it was The Blue Hour.

Venus was shining so beautifully, so I decided to snap a few photos.

Our winter has been mild overall, with a few patches of cold weather.  I think spring is actually going to be early this year, but I do hope we don't get a late hard freeze after this mild weather, so we do not lose the blossoms an fruit trees, which is what happened last year to the local cherry trees.

We do love our local orchards full of wonderful cherries, peaches, and apples.

Unexpected Journey

Hi friends!

I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day.  I'm spending the day with my husband.  I left cards and treats for my kids to find when they wake up!

Our dinner and a movie was a big success last night.  

Tim and I are headed to Florida, to stay a few days with his mom.  This was a planned trip for him but not for me.  It will be a whirlwind trip, but a necessary one.

When we return, Isla is coming for a visit along with her mama and daddy.  So exciting!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mentoring Monday: Quotes By Sally Clarkson

"I have blown it many times with my children, but even these mistakes have helped me to mature and depend on God more than I would have without my parenting responsibilities. As I walk honestly before God, with my children watching, they will learn how to have a real relationship with him as well. As they see me apologize to them and pray in front of them to ask for God’s forgiveness in my own life, my children will learn that God is a God of grace who forgives me and guides me.” p. 87, The Mission of Motherhood

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dinner and A Movie

On Monday we are having dinner and a movie at church for couples.

We have a small church and will be having only 6 couples attending.  I'm going to set up 3 round tables and have two couples at each table.  

My thinking (at the great suggestion of my husband) is that each table can be set up so that everyone can see the movie easily.

I am planning white tablecloths, low candles, flowers, pretty dishes and napkins.  We'll be eating chicken, spinach salad, fruit and desserts.  We'll probably have sparkling juice, too.

The movie is the 1938 Academy Award winning, "You Can't Take It With You" starring Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Lionel Barrymore.  It was directed by Frank Capra.  Its such a good movie!

I'll be sure to take photos.

That's what I'm working on this weekend.  What are you up to?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Giving New Life To An Old Clock

This clock has been a part of our lives for over 20 years.

It used to keep time, and chime prettily.  It wasn't our first choice for a clock.  Our first choice was one I loved and when we moved to Pennsylvania 23 years ago, it got damaged.  It was still under warranty, but as the way it goes sometimes, they no longer sold 'our' clock anymore.  This one above was the only option to replace it.  So we took it but I never loved it.  After it stopped working, we never changed out the works, because I didn't care.

 It occurred to me recently that I could paint it and even if we didn't replace the works, it would look better - nice even, and fit in our decor.  I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old Ochre.

We are happy with it, though it needs a bit of tightening up with the wood.  We are thinking of getting the works replaced now, too.

What do you think?  Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mentoring: Self Care

As women we have many responsibilities - home, marriage, children, work, school, caring for parents.  The weight of all we have to do - even when it is all good things and there are no crises - can overwhelm us.

It's important to take care of yourself, but usually women do for everyone else and put themselves last.  There are stages in our lives where the care of others is a priority, but we must learn to carve out time for ourselves, in order to sustain the ability to care for others.

What might that look like?

When my children we all small, I stayed up late.  It was a toss up - sleep or time for myself.  I chose time for myself.  I would watch a movie or read, take a long bath.  I always would light candles  or at least make sure there was soft lighting.  I needed peace and beauty.

I usually didn't do work - though I might fold laundry if I was watching a movie. Mostly this time was for me to recharge.  To have time to think my own thoughts, without interruption.

This is especially important for someone who is raising a special needs child, or caring for an elderly parent.  We may not be able to get out of the house, but we can make space in our lives and our home for a place of refreshment.

Maybe its a chair by a window with a little table, where you can drink a cup of tea or coffee and read, or listen to a podcast or watch the birds at the bird feeders outside.

We need to think about what fills us up, and encourages us.  Perhaps for you it is the chance to be creative, without lots of little hands getting into your 'stuff.'  Maybe its the chance to get out for lunch with a friend.

I have a dear friend with many children, who can't get away from home often, so she created a little space in her bedroom, with two comfy chairs and a table between them. She has pretty pictures and things that speak beauty to her and she invites a friend to come one evening a week for tea and conversation.  When I went we talked about music, decorating, our kids (who are married to each other).  We drank tea, shared our hearts and had a wonderful time. She has found a way to have a fun time with her friends, and to fill her soul.

Maybe its a chance for the kids to sleepover at your parents house for one night and letting you sleep in, and just do whatever you want for the day.

Perhaps a friend of the family, would come for a visit with your elderly parent, and while they have a good time together, you can slip out for a breather.  Sometimes we think we need big chunks of time away, and that may be needed in certain situations, but I think that small bits of time add up, too, and may be easier to come by.

I know I don't know all the details of your lives.  I don't even know what my needs may be in a year from now, as our lives and circumstances change.  But I've learned to take time, even just an hour or two, to refresh and encourage my spirit.  

We women are needed, but lets make sure we are caring for ourselves - being in the word, eating well, reading, listening to music - so that we can continue to love and care for those whom the Lord has placed into our lives.

What are some ways that you practice self care?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Home Keeping: Replacing Towels

Recently, I've noticed the lack of decent towels in the house.  It has snuck up on me.  We've had most of our towels for many years, and since they were still in okay shape we used them.

Most of us now have a particular towel we use for showers and the other towels are 'extras', used by those without a particular towel or guests.  Most of these 'extras' will be moving into the rag box.

We seem to have a ton of hand towels, many stained.  I've often wondered how towels, that are to dry hands that have been WASHED, can get stained.  Badly.  Can anyone explain that to me?

For a while I had been talking about getting all white towels.  They look so great when you stay in a nice hotel or resort, don't they?  But the reality, at least for us here at the cottage, is that they would only be nice for a few weeks.

When I mentioned that to Tim last week, he said, "Why don't you just buy a different color?"  It was like an epiphany!  Seriously.  I was married to the idea of all white towels, until he said that.  Now I feel the freedom to get something different! Lol!

So now the big question is what color?  I thought of all navy.  I love that color and it wouldn't show a stain very easily.  Tim says I should just buy any colors that I like.  I do LOVE color, but I wasn't sure that I wanted the towels to look like the circus was in town.  

When we had all six kids living here, we did have different color towels for each kid.  That was helpful on many levels, especially for training little ones to make sure they hang up their towels to dry! It was easy to see who had forgotten to hang up their towel!

I think I'm going to enjoy the process of buying new towels, hand towels, and wash cloths.  We are in serious need of wash cloths.

What do you do at your house?  All one color?  Different colors?  Do you have different towel colors for different bathrooms? 

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...