Monday, December 31, 2012

The party's over....

"Wait a minute," you say.  "The party isn't over!  It doesn't begin until tonight!  New Year's Eve, and all, you know!"

Well, that may be true for some of you.  That is not the "party" I mean, however.  I'm referring to all the fun and gaiety that filled our house during the Christmas season.

It is time to store these little guys away.

Aren't they cute?  They were a Christmas present, so they haven't been on display very long.  I will be excited to add them to the decor for Christmas 2013.

No longer hanging on the mantle.

 That's right!  It is time to store the stockings away until time to hang them for Christmas 2013!

We were very fortunate in having all the family here at the same time for a Christmas visit.  Look what they left behind!

Not being one to "air my dirty laundry in public," I guess I'd better get that washing machine going - pronto!:-)

Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate  your comments.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


For the last Sunday in this year - 2012 - I found this poem.   I am not sure of the author.

                                            "So remember while December
                                          Brings the only Christmas day,

                                      In the year let there be Christmas

                                            In the things you do and say;

                                    Wouldn't life be worth the living,

                                    Wouldn't dreams be coming true,

                                          If we kept the Christmas spirit

                                             All the whole year through?"

 I send wishes for a blessed Sunday to you!

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate  your comments.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

That recipe....

My last post had a picture of Turkey Lasagna all ready for the oven.  The recipe for it comes from Susan Branch's "Christmas From the Heart of the Home."  I mentioned I would post it in case you are interested, so here it is.


8 oz. lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-oz. can peeled tomatoes, drained & chopped
8 oz. tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. fennel seed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 egg, beaten
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded, part skim milk mozzarella cheese

- Prepare noodles according to package.  Rinse in cold water and set aside.
- In a skillet, cook turkey, onion, and garlic just until done.  Stir in tomato products, dried seasonings, and 1 Tbsp. of the parsley.  Simmer 15 min.; set aside.  Meanwhile mix together egg, cottage cheese, pepper, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and the remaining Tbsp. of parsley.  Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To assemble:  in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish layer half the noodles, half the cottage cheese mixture, half the meat mixture, and half the mozzarella.  Repeat layering with second half of everything.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.  Bake 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate and bake later.  Serves 10.

Very, very good!  Very easy to prepare!  Heartily recommended! 

Now, it is "catch up time!"  That will take awhile!:-)

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The past few weeks have included  much time spent in preparations.  As with many of you, there are a few other people around our place these days!  One thing I did to prepare for them was, of  course, do some cooking in advance.  I am most excited about this:

Turkey Lasagna!
Here it is, all assembled and ready to slip in the oven to bake! 

The recipe for this comes from Susan Branch's "Christmas" book.   Recipe to follow in a few days.   Our pace is really picking up around here.:-)   Posting might be a bit irregular for the rest of the week.

Thanks for reading!  I appreciate your comments. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas is here!

If you have been following my blog for awhile,  you will know that I have taken you through the Sundays in Advent.

The first Sunday....

The second Sunday....

The third Sunday....

The fourth Sunday....

All leading up to....


As I previously mentioned, our family has a long-standing tradition of attending church on Christmas Eve.  At the service this past Monday evening, the choir sang an anthem, "Love Came Down at Christmas."  Once again I quote words written by Christina Rosetti.

                     "Love came down at Christmas,

                          Love all lovely,

                               Love Divine,

                      Love was born at Christmas,

                               Star and angels gave the sign."

It is my hope that this has been a blessed Christmas for you and your family.

I notice a new follower!  Welcome, and thank you for reading along!

Thank ALL of you for following!  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day - 2012

                     "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."

                                                                                                - Luke 2:7 KJV

Merry Christmas to you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve....

One of the most meaningful events for our family on Christmas Eve is the candlelight service at church.  The white candle on the Advent wreath is lit at the beginning of the service.  The service ends with everyone having a lighted candle and the singing of "Silent Night."

                  "What can I give Him,
                         Poor as I am?

                    If I were a shepherd

                    I would bring a lamb.

                    If I were a Wise Man

                      I would do my part.

                   Yet what can I give Him?

                      Give my heart."

                                                        - Christina Rossetti

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday in Advent....

This is the fourth Sunday in Advent.  On this Sunday, the first, second, and third candles are lit, and the fourth one is added.  This is a symbol of Christ, who is known as the Prince of Peace.

Advent wreath.

             "Your savior is born today in David's city.

                        He is Christ the Lord."

                                                          Luke 2:11

Resource - "Advent - A Calendar of Devotions 2012" - Robert V. Dodd

Today is also the day to send birthday greetings to Munchomom and Country Girl!  Happy Birthday to both of you! 

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Happy Saturday to you!  Are you glad to have the week-end arrive?  Have you had a busy week?  What about that list?  Are you making progress on it, or is there more to do?

This past week has been a very busy one for me.  The chorus gave three performances!  One was across town, requiring a little less than an hour to reach.  It was there, however, that we probably saw the most promising sight.

Is that Santa?

Caught in the act!

Yes!  Santa actually made an appearance!  All of us were quite quick to reassure him that we had definitely been good!  He even gave out gifts! 

Our final chorus performance of the season was on Thursday, so we put up the Christmas music, and put our "costumes" away until needed once more in the future.  Rehearsals will resume in the New Year.

Still work to do around here on that list!  Technology isn't always my friend, and there have been a few snags in some of the things I wanted to do.  Oh, well.  I just think back to the days when what I had on the list wasn't even an option.:-) 

I hope you will enjoy your week-end!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Winter has officially arrived!  This morning, we have very cold temperatures around our area, with a predicted low tonight into the teens!  No snow or flurries here thus far, though.

A few months ago, I posted about a couple of road construction projects in our community.  Those projects have been completed.

Bridge replacement - uphill

Bridge replacement - downhill

New road

New traffic signal

While the bridge replacement work was being completed, the road was closed for about three weeks, forcing us to take a detour.  Recently reopened, it is really an improvement!

While the new road is also an improvement, we have been given an additional traffic light!  Now we will have to leave home earlier to allow for that extra light.  In the last picture, you may be able to see that we were "caught" when the light turned red.

Next post - spotted! 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate  your comments.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas splendor....

We have a very rainy Thursday morning here.  Some parts of the country are experiencing blizzard conditions.  While a little snow for a white Christmas might be nice, blizzards cause big problems.  I hope you will take care, whatever your weather conditions are.

Recently we were able to go to a nearby town for a visit to a theater there.  Just as in most towns these days, theaters that were once very lively have given way to developments in the suburbs with shopping malls and larger multi-screen capabilities.  This may have happened where you live.

In this case, someone has purchased the former theater building and transformed it into quite a showplace.  It is available for private functions; however, on the evening we were there, oddly enough, nothing else was scheduled, and we - along with the Country Couple - were the only ones in the building!  We enjoyed coffee, tea, and ice cream treats - all delicious.

There was some marvelous Christmas decor that I want to share with you today.

In the stage entry.

In the reception area.

Falling snow.

The last picture doesn't pick up the snow that was being "recycled" through, just like a fountain recycles the water.  I had never seen a tree that would have falling snow going through in that way.

Feathers on the stairway to the balcony.

Crystal lighting.

More crystal lamps.

Then, there was this lovely bench!

Isn't it cute?

The ice cream was delicious, too!:-)

I send along wishes for a good day to each of you!  Next post - all about progress!

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

That delayed post....

On my last "routine" post, I had mentioned pets.  For many, their pets are just like family.  Each year, we have included our pet/pets on our Christmas list.

This is a stocking for Shadow.  He will really appreciate the treat that is in it.

This stocking is for our "grandcat.":-)  Sprout makes life interesting for the Country Couple.;-)

This doesn't take care of all of the animals, though.  There are two "grand dogs," five "grand horses," and then there is that flock of chickens!  Since they have given us such wonderful eggs, isn't it right that they should receive a gift of some kind?:-)

This has been a busy week here.  The chorus has already performed twice, with another performance on schedule before the week is over.  Also, there was lunch with fellow retired teachers from my school, plus my annual physical was yesterday afternoon!  

In the days ahead, there will be the baking of birthday cakes for Munchomom and Country Girl.  That birthday comes on the 23rd!

I want to recognize a new follower.  Thank you for signing up!

I really appreciate all of you who are following along with my blog.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  I love reading your comments.

Monday, December 17, 2012


On this Monday, I want to refer you to Susan Branch's blog which was posted on Sunday.  She has expressed the feelings of so many of us in such a beautiful way.

There is a book, "A Prayer for Children," written by Ina Hughs, which I have spent some time reading in recent days.  I would like to share a portion of this poem with you today.

 "We pray for children
         who give us sticky kisses,
         who hop rocks and chase butterflies,
         who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
         who sneak Popsicles before supper,
         who erase holes in math workbooks,
         who can never find their shoes.

"And we pray for those
         who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
         who've never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
         who've never 'counted potatoes,'
         who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
         who never go to the circus,
         who live in an X-rated world.

"We pray for children
        who bring us fistfuls of dandelions and sing off-key,
        who have goldfish funerals, build card-table forts,
        who slurp their cereal on purpose,
        who get gum in their hair, put sugar in their milk,
        who spit toothpaste all over the sink,
        who hug us for no reason, who bless us each night."

There is more.  I think this is enough for now.  The rest may make it into a future post.   I don't know if the book is still in print, but it is definitely worth having on your bookshelf.  Ina Hughs is a columnist for our local newspaper.

After the past few days, here we are at a new week.  Hopefully this day gives you additional time to deal with recent happenings.  I continue to offer prayers for all those who have been affected by the tragedy in Connecticut this past Friday.

As for me on THIS day - it's "over the river, and through the wood," as the chorus heads across town to present our Christmas program for the third time!

Thank you for reading.  Your comments are appreciated.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This is the third Sunday of Advent, and it is the day to light three purple - or blue - candles on the

Advent wreath.   Sometimes the third candle is pink - or rose.  It is the symbol of Christ our Joy.

                              "When they saw the star, they were filled with joy."

                                                                                                      Matthew 2:10

Resource - Advent - A Calendar of Devotions 2012 by Robert V. Dodd

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not today....

This post is not as promised in the last one.  Instead, I think it is more appropriate to focus on the horror that has unfolded in Newtown, CT on Friday.  My words seem so inadequate at this point.  All I am able to do is express my sympathies to all the families and friends of those whose lives have been lost as a result of this tragedy.  My prayers are offered for all. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

The chorus at the Senior Center.....

Happy Friday to everyone!  Are you happy to see the week-end quickly arriving?  Do you feel that time is passing too quickly?  Regardless of how much people seem to think they have to get done, there were approximately 100 or so who attended our chorus performance at the Senior Center this past Wednesday afternoon.

Our musical program is about 45 minutes long, with three sing-alongs included, so there is time for "audience participation."  There was a special treat present for this performance.

Santa - and friend!

Yes, we had a visit from Santa!  He actually contributed to our Rudolph song, too.

One of the features of Senior Center events is the drawing of numbers for door prizes.  There were several given on Wednesday, and I actually won one!!

Nicely wrapped!

There were poinsettias being given as some of the door prizes, but mine was this nice, soft package!  Inside was......

Oops! Not good lighting again.:-(

This will be a warm wrap to wear during these cold evenings.  There are durable-appearing snaps that hold it in place so that it will encircle my shoulders and give room for my arms to be able to move freely.  I will certainly enjoy it!

How are you doing with that list?  When you are shopping, do you include your animals on your gift list?   Return for the next post for a little on that subject.:-)  This morning?  Why, I'm out for another morning of bridge!:-)  Before I leave, I want to remind you to head over to Acorn Hollow for a really good giveaway.  You will enjoy what Cathy has to say.  That address would be

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yankee Magazine....

Do any of you subscribe to Yankee Magazine?  I have a feeling there may be a few of you who do since some of the followers of this blog are in the northeast. 

Yankee Magazine is on my mind because there have been representatives from the magazine on Martha's Vineyard this week!  That's right!  They have been doing a photo shoot at Susan Branch's home!  I suspect this is for publication in next year's December issue, and you can be sure that I will be in line to purchase one, if need be.:-)

I have been a fan of Susan Branch for a number of years.  I was really pleased when I found the following Christmas mugs several years ago.

They are currently displayed on the shelf in the dining room.  I apologize for the lighting.  A cup of hot chocolate certainly has a special flare when served in these mugs!

If you head over to her blog page - Susan - you will be able to read about what has happened when members of the Yankee Magazine staff came calling.

The chorus presented our Christmas program yesterday.  The next post will share a couple of things from that program.

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


How is your week progressing?  Are you taking time to enjoy the beauty of this season?  It has always been over far too quickly to suit me!  That is why, on the day after Thanksgiving, the china cabinet gets a "new look."

The china pattern, now discontinued, is Christmas Magic by Vista Allegre.  There are six different motifs on the china.  These pictures show two of them.  The lighting just doesn't allow better pictures.  I am sorry.:-(  I also have done some partial table-setting.

The crystal pattern, also discontinued, is Glamour Green Mist by Fostoria. 

The Nativity set is displayed in time for the first Sunday in Advent.

This is a set that was done by the same person who did the large lidded pumpkin that I shared on the blog a couple of months ago.  It is my favorite of all the Christmas "decorations" we have!  After all, it tells the story of why we are celebrating during this season!

Still working on that "to do" list here!  There is time, however, for tea every afternoon!  It really does help me to take time to step back, take a deep breath, and relax a bit - even when things are most hectic!

The music of this season is my favorite, and it is time for the women's chorus to perform again today! Our program is about 45 minutes long and includes some sing-alongs!  I wish you could be here to hear us!

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The pace of life....

Do you ever feel that the pace of your life becomes too hectic?  What do you do to regroup when....

......the clean clothes are overflowing the clothes basket,

We need folding!

......the clock says it is time to think about dinner,

Time marches on!

.......and you want to do nothing except enjoy this?


Well, I hurriedly prepared some chicken breasts for the oven....

No hands-on process here!

......and prepared this tray.

Tea time!

Dinner was served on time....

The Husband made potato wedges!

....and those clothes?  They were folded while watching the news!

Ready to store in the closet!

We're still making progress with that shopping here.:-)  After all, we DO still have two more weeks!:-)  Seriously, I hope that will be completed before the week is over.  Today?  I'm playing bridge!:-)

As for everything else, it seems to be getting done bit by bit, day by day.:-)  Perhaps I will share some of that with you in the next post.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, December 10, 2012

You know Christmas is coming when....

....well, could the outside temperature be used as a sign?  Our temperatures have been more like spring than the approaching winter season!  Our high temperatures have been near 70 degrees this past week-end!  The prediction, though, is for cooler temperatures this week.

This is actually one sign that Christmas is coming.

When the fruit sold by the local high school band arrives, we know that Christmas will soon follow!

When this appears........

The Christmas Clown    

                                                             ............we know Christmas will soon follow!

When this tree makes its appearance, we know Christmas will soon follow!  

Country Man and the team he was with on the mission trip this past week returned around midnight Saturday night.  Unfortunately, he isn't feeling very well.  That seems to be the case with the others, too.  Hopefully, Immodium and Gatorade will be a help toward feeling improved. 

I hope this will be a good Monday for you, setting the tone for a good week ahead!

Oh, I have heard from Lisa who won the giveaway, and the calendar is on its way to her!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday in Advent....

This is the second Sunday of Advent.  The Advent wreath may have purple or blue candles in it.  Whichever color there is, this is the Sunday to light the second one.  Actually, the first one is relit, as well as the second one for the first time.  The second candle is a symbol of Christ the Way.

The Advent wreath at my church.

The white candle in the middle is called the Christ Candle, and it is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

                              "A child is born to us,

                                    a son is given to us,

                                    and authority will be on his shoulders."

                                                                                            - Isaiah 9:6

I send wishes to you for a blessed Sunday.