Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Monday, November 26, 2018

Full Weekend

This past weekend was full of many good things.  Family, friends, food, music, decorating, games, trips to see the Christmas light display we always visit more than once a season.

I've been knitting cowls, and finished one to take on my trip to Texas.  Today's the day!  Sarah and I will be heading to the airport this afternoon.  Besides visiting our friends, we will be having a  girls only road trip in Texas!  Its going to be lots of fun!

Here are two cowls I'm taking to Texas

I took this photo late last night.  Guests had just left, and I was stitching up cowls.  I can see that I'm tired, but also I'm content.  

I hope you have a great week.  I probably won't post this week, but I'll be busy on Instagram!  We're going to Waco, y'all!  I have to Instagram that!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Table

For me, Thanksgiving kicks off the season of Joy!  We gather to give thanks, in differing numbers every year.  This year we had 13 people.  But however many are around our table, we are full of gratitude for the Lord's goodness to us.

I love to set a beautiful table and I have to say this years table is one of my favorites.  Our kitchen and living room are open to each other, and we have no dining room, so all the photos have 'real life' happening in the background.

After dinner, the girls and one of our nieces went to watch the sunset at the Pinnacle, and when they got back we decided to go see the Christmas lights at the Herr Snack Foods factory in Nottingham.  This company does this every year as a gift to the public, and the light displays are so beautifully done.  

When we got back from doing that, we played dominoes until a friend dropped in for a visit.  Playing dominoes meant that the table display was dismantled, but now the flowers and candles are disbursed all around the room!

Today is my usual Christmas decorating day, and I'll do some, but we won't get our tree until after I get back from Texas.  My bigger priority for this weekend is to spend time with my family.  The older they get the more spread out we are, but by building memories and heartstrings, we are together no matter where we are!

Have a lovely weekend friends!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Tablescape Idea

Thanksgiving is one of two annual formal tablesettings that I do for our family.  (the other is Easter)

Today when I went to our local produce stand for apples and cider, I saw amazing white mums which were huge and only $2.50 each.

I knew it was too big for my table but I had the idea of using this plant as a cutting garden and I am going to cut a lot of the flowers and put them in small jars, and have them on our table.  

 See how big it is?  Here is how some of the flowers look cut and in the jar.

It'll be perfect with the cream colored candles I'm using, along with some faux greenery.  Its going to look wonderful and I can't wait to show you the whole tablescape!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Baking Gifts

Over the last few years we've begun to give baked goods as gifts for people who we interact with throughout the year, and to whom we want to show appreciation.  

Sarah was doing some baking late on Saturday night and took these photos of her making cappuccino muffins, which are a favorite whenever we take them places.

Here are some other ideas for baking gifts -

1. Frozen Cookie Dough - Make cookie dough up and roll it into a log shape and wrap with parchment or butcher paper.  We put these in the freezer until we need a gift, and then tie a fun ribbon and tag on them.  Who wouldn't like homemade cookies without having to make the dough.  This is a great gift for teachers, co-workers, etc.  Everyone is busy during the holiday season, and ready made dough is a welcomed gift!

2. Basket or Tin with Baking Tools - Its easy to find baskets or decorative tins (they're everywhere this time of year) and to use them to hold measuring cups, spoons, a bag of baking chips, or even a nice bottle of real vanilla!

3. Homemade Bread - Homemade bread is such a special gift.  It takes time and effort and tastes so good.  A rustic artisan loaf, a loaf of french bread, pumpkin or banana, too, make wonderful gifts!

It can be tricky these days with food allergies, but many stores have good gluten free sections, or you can find low carb sugar substitutes.  It would be a good idea to tuck the recipe of what you've made into the gift bag, and probably good to just avoid nuts altogether!

I have baking to do first thing in the morning, and then will leave to deliver some muffins to our local produce stand. They will be closing this week until next spring. We appreciate their hard work all year that allows us to each such good local food!

Do you gift baked goods as gifts?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Week

I gathered all my ceramic and glass pumpkins yesterday, along with a few signs and put them away until next year.  Every year, I pull all the fall decor right before Thanksgiving week.  This allows me to match the what's happening outside (we still have patches of snow on the ground).  

With so many people on social media, feeling the pull to decorate for Christmas early, I've been pondering why we feel that we must decorate for Thanksgiving with pumpkins and autumn leaf colors.  

Those are beautiful colors, and it makes for a nice tablescape, but just like it is perfectly okay to prepare roast beef, a vegetarian dish, or a pan of enchiladas for your Thanksgiving meal, I think its okay to have garlands and twinkle lights glowing for your decor.

After all, unless you live in the deep south, you've had bare trees, cold temperatures, and possibly snow already.  The glow of those twinkle lights are likely calling your name!

I tend to decorate with natural items - greens, berries and pinecones - and add in my twinkle lights and plaid ribbons, for Christmas.  

I saw this photo on Instagram yesterday.  I thought that the warm tones, the natural greens and candlelight would make a lovely Thanksgiving table.  We always have a buffet for the food, so I wouldn't have to worry about where the turkey will go.

Speaking of turkey,  here is the link to how I cook my turkey every year.  It's easy and wonderful, and there is nothing like waking up to the smell of that wonderful slow roasting turkey.  Perfect Everytime Turkey  The key is slow roasting!  Everyone really does rave over the turkey cooked this way.

For many of you sweet friends, your Thanksgiving is in October, or at another time of year, and you don't have the angst that happens here in the US about when its appropriate to decorate for Christmas.   

How many of you, from anywhere, have begun to decorate for Christmas?  I'll be honest, this week I'm bringing garlands and lights into some rooms, and I'm excited about it.  It makes the home warm and bright in these days when its dark early, and my whole family loves the glow.  I use nice faux garlands so there is no worry about them drying out.

Another reason I'm doing it is that this girl and I are having a big adventure next week, and I won't be around to decorate in the days after Thanksgiving, as I usually do.

                                             My fellow ENFP in the family, and I last night.

 We are going to the great state of Texas to visit dear friends!  While in Texas we are going on a road trip with my friend Amy, and her daughter Ally.  Ally and Sarah are good friends too, and the four of us are going to have a blast together!

 I've wanted to visit The Silos in Waco, and we get to see it decorated for Christmas!  Won't that be fun?  I'm planning on taking lots of photos, and look forward to this girls trip.  Our darlings grow up so fast and I've learned to savor the time with them while I can!

For me Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Season of Joy, and I choose to embrace it all as fully as I can.  I know that the holidays will be so difficult for those hurting and have suffered loss.  Joy doesn't have anything to do with being happy.  Joy is deeper.  It comes from knowing that in spite of circumstances, there is One who knows and holds us all in His loving arms.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  He is with us in our sorrows.  This season is a celebrating of His coming to be light to the world.

Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!  


Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Five

It's Friday, the sun is shining (what?!), and everything looks beautiful after our snow yesterday.

1. and 2. - I bought the grands little balsa wood houses to paint this week.  They stay with me on Wednesdays and I wanted a little activity for them. Kamryn did a nice job on hers, and Klaire mostly painted her nails and put the paint on her lips!  

3. I had Klaire resting with me before her nap, and she held my hand for the longest time.  I'm glad I was able to get a photo of it.

4. The puzzle is coming along quite nicely!

5. Its a beautiful morning!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  I'll be thawing my turkey this week, and preparing for a trip the following week.  I feel as if the holidays always seem so far away and now they are almost here and I can't believe it!  Do any of you feel as if this year has flown by?  I'm very excited though!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Cozy Before The Storm

Our first 'winter' storm of the season is on its way. In a matter of hours, we should get our first snow, later changing to freezing rain, and then just rain.

With the grey skies and cold temperatures, I thought I'd show you how cozy it is here in my house.

A knitting project to work on this afternoon

Plenty of blankets and throws to keep us warm

A favorite puzzle that we haven't put together since the first year we got it.  I won this from a giveaway Vee was holding on her blog.

My breakfast...
If the storm is as they say its going to be, our last day of co-op will be canceled.  Sarah will need to go into work at 5:00, but I suppose they might close early and she wouldn't need to go to work.  We'll see.

In the meantime, I am headed to the store in a few minutes - not for bread, milk or cheese but for ice!  Ha ha.  We're out and no matter the weather we love ice in our drinks!

  It is very unusual for us to have snow before Thanksgiving, but this has been an unusual year.  Are you getting snow today or have you had snow already?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Inspiration: Terrain

My mom and I had a lovely time at Terrain yesterday.  They were busy preparing for their big festival beginning the holiday season.  The festival is on Saturday.

I always find so much inspiration at Terrain.  They are the reason I got back to having live plants in my home, and they inspire me to live beautifully.  I must add, Terrain is mostly out of my budget, but I take ideas I see there and make them work for me in my home.  

This cannot be stated enough: You do not have to have a huge decor budget to make your home warm and cozy for your family.  There are sources for many similar items to those carried at Terrain.  You just have to have eyes to see it when you're shopping in your normal places.  When you do, you'll start to see string lights that are very affordable, tin houses, ornaments....

I hope that you find inspiration here, to be yourself, to decorate to your taste and that of your family, to BE YOU!

That's the best person you can be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Early Morning Thoughts

These photos were taken last week, on my way home from dropping Sarah off at work.  I love how  beautiful the sky was that day.  It was a reminder that even with stormy clouds there is beauty.

Rachel is writing an essay on the Names of God for her theology class and we were talking about it yesterday.  God, through His names, is continuously revealing Himself to us.  He's our healer (Jehovah Rapha), he's our Righteousness (Jehovah Tsidkenu), he's our provider (Jehovah Jireh).  He also refers to Himself as Jealous (qanna or kanna), as our peace (Jehovah Shalom).  Its really amazing how God wants us to know Him as He knows us.  He's not a being 'out there, somewhere distant' but He is close to us and longs to be in relationship with us.

Our former associate pastor, Jack Wilkins, died Sunday night at the age of 95.  He was a Marine, a veterinarian, a pastor, husband and father.  His Anne went to be with the Lord several years ago, after a long battle with Parkinson's.  Jack was in the hospital with bronchitis and seemed to be rebounding.  We don't weep at those who have no hope, we are sad, but rejoicing that Jack is with the Lord (he was so ready) and reunited with his Anne!

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Preparing For The Holidays - Polishing Silver

I have a  silver plate set, and some random silver plate pieces that have either been gifts or I have purchased. (You can read about my buying of heirlooms here.)   This summer we were very busy and I didn't use any silver in my decor.  It all sat on a shelf waiting for some attention.  I finally got to it on Saturday.

 This piece in the forefront is what the silver looked like before I started to polish it.  I like polishing silver; I find it very satisfying to see it get its luster back.  I also redeemed the time my hands were busy by listening to a book on Audible.  (I was finishing Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis from his Ransom Trilogy.)

When I was done polishing I placed the tea pot on a faux boxwood candle ring and placed the set with a candle on our coffee table.

The spoon is my baby spoon.

So my first holiday decor is out and already we are enjoying the ambiance it gives.

I think when you use heirlooms, and greens and candles, one holiday easily transitions to the next.

Many of my regular readers and commentors are from countries other than the US but I'm interested in whether any of you have begun Christmas decorating yet?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Five

Several people mentioned they'd love to see photos of the wedding that I helped to set up last Friday.

My friend Susan is a wonderful florist and I've learned so much from her.  I helped set the tables (we did the tablecloths, napkins, and plates.  The caterer did the glassware and flatware), I helped by putting greens, flowers, and candles on the window sills, I did the greens and flowers down the head table.  I did not do the centerpieces, or the arrangements on the head tables.  Nor did I do those beautiful chandeliers!

It was fun to help make this space beautiful for the couple that got married.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Out For Tea

A few weeks ago, my mom and I decided to take Kamryn out for tea.  She loves to have tea at my house but has never been to a tea room.  Sarah decided to go too, so off we went yesterday.

The Tea Trolley is still decorated in Autumn hues though the trees are quickly losing their leaves.

We had the tea room to ourselves for a little bit, so we taught her how to hold her cup, how to put her napkin on her lap, how to not just get up and bound around the room! (grin)

Teddy Bear Tea for Kamryn - sandwiches (she had her choice of pbj or ham and cheese), a s'mores brownie, apple dessert with a snickerdoodle crust, and a chocolate chip scone and her own pot of tea!

Her favorite part of going out to tea?  I'll show you!

We all had a wonderful time, and the other ladies who came for tea were delighted to see a young girl having tea.  I told them, "Her favorite part was putting sugar cubes into her cup and pouring the milk.  It's a good start!"


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...