Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Planning Monday, January 31

Herllo, Friends and Visitors!

A wonderful Monday to you. Hope you are all energized to begin a new week. We have snow on the ground here on this last day of January. However, I am ready and enthusiastic about February beginning.

To start off the week right, below I have listed my Menu. Hope you enjoy it!


Monday - Szechwan Beef Stir Fry, sliced oranges, stir fry broccoli

Tuesday - Chicken Flautas with Black Beans, sliced cucumbers and tomato

Wednesday - Orange Chicken and Fried Rice, Salad

Thursday - Chicken Pad Thai

Friday - Left Overs

Saturday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Tossed Salad

Sunday - Healthier Buffalo Wings, vegetables and dip, fruit salad and various and sundry other fun foods.

For more menu plans, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook, January 25th


Outside my window...there is a fresh layer of snow.

I am thinking...of ways to better serve my family and care for my home.

I am thankful for...relative health. It is an amazing thing to be able to stand up and walk. I know that may sound funny, but there have been periods in my life when I could not do that. Being whole of body enough to be useful is a miracle I never fully understood until it was taken from me. It is a joy and a miracle to be able to move around at will.

From the kitchen...it is clean and sparkly! What a wonderful time for you to visit. It is all fresh and ready for some yummy project to begin.

I am wearing...black pants, rose plaid shirt and black boots. I feel relatively attractive today!

I am creating...clean and organized home office where I can work and be creative.

I am going...nowhere today. This is a home day.

I am reading...Hiroshima by John Hershey

Amazon.com Review

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, few could have anticipated its potential for devastation. Pulitzer prize-winning author John Hersey recorded the stories of Hiroshima residents shortly after the explosion and, in 1946, Hiroshima was published, giving the world first-hand accounts from people who had survived it. The words of Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fujii, Mrs. Nakamara, Father Kleinsorg, Dr. Sasaki, and the Reverend Tanimoto gave a face to the statistics that saturated the media and solicited an overwhelming public response. Whether you believe the bomb made the difference in the war or that it should never have been dropped, "Hiroshima" is a must read for all of us who live in the shadow of armed conflict.

I am hoping...to have the energy that I need to complete everything I'd like to do today. :)

I am hearing...Bernadette Peters singing "No One is Alone" on Pandora Radio.

Around the house...Two sleepin' pussycats...the dishwasher is running... Music on the computer... and me, taking a much needed break from cleaning to visit with you.

One of my favorite things...beautiful music playing in a quiet house, a neatly written list of chores to do, purpose, surety. Oops! That is 4 things. :)

A few plans for the rest of the week: I am going to a Young Women's meeting with my daughter at church tomorrow night. We may catch a movie together as a family Friday night. Also, as a family we will go to the LDS Temple on Thursday night

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...a beautiful country bedroom from Country Living Magazine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu, January 24th and Casserole Recipe

The sun is shining today. After many December and January Days when the sun was covered by a thick gray sky, sunshine feels like a new and blessed revelation.

Today, is of course, Monday. This is the day that I bless my home with cleaning. I need someone to light a firecracker under my bum so that I get moving. Some days it's hard to get the old caboose going. Anyone else out there like that?

What motivates you to get going on cleaning?

I also have lots of laundry to do. I enjoy ironing while watching a movie or good show. That is a treat for me.

Okay, so here is this weeks' menu for suppers. Click on the links if you would like recipes...

Menu for Week of January 24th

Monday - Tater Tot Casserole*, Tossed Salad and Dessert (Gingerbread Cake)

Tuesday - Tuna Melts, Fruit Salad

Wednesday - Black-Eye Peas, Cornbread and Greens

Thursday - Chicken Fingers, Steak Fries and Salad

Friday - Homemade Pizza

Saturday - Stir Fry (to be determined)

Sunday - Ham, limas, mashed taters, squash and pie.


For more Menu Planning Monday, please visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie!

Here is my personal recipe for Tater Tot Casserole.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
1 cup chopped onion, sauteed
1 can of green beans
1 1/2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 lb. Tater Tot crowns
pinch of parsley flake

Arrange tater tots on a baking sheet and brown at 450°F for 25 minutes. While the Tater Tots are baking, brown the hamburger then add the parsley.

Once browned, use a spatula to break up the hamburger as much as possible. Then add the cream of mushroom soup, sauteed onions and green beans.

Set aside until Tater Tots are done. Layer the hamburger mixture into a 9x13 pan and arrange Tater Tots over the top until covered.

Bake for 10 minutes and ENJOY!

Have a great one -

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Sabbath!

One of the most important things we do through the gospel of Jesus Christ is to build people.

Properly serving others requires effort to understand them as individuals —their personalities, their strengths, their concerns, their hopes and dreams— so that the correct help and support can be provided. Frankly, it’s much easier to just manage programs than it is to understand and truly serve people.

Brothers and sisters, may we focus on the simple ways we can serve in the kingdom of God, always striving to change lives, including our own. What is most important in our Church responsibilities is not the statistics that are reported or the meetings that are held but whether or not individual people—ministered to one at a time just as the Savior did—have been lifted and encouraged and ultimately changed. Our task is to help others find the peace and the joy that only the gospel can give them.
~M. Russell Ballard
O Be Wise ~ Conference Talk, October 2006

Have a wonderful Sabbath Day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I Love to Read

I just finished an excellent book (see previous post) and I am feeling a little down. Do any of you get that way after reading something that you loved? This book was a page turner and was beautifully written and the ending was very satisfying. However, now I am at a loss for something to read.

Any suggestions?

I usually read non-fiction, because I love history. However, once in awhile a friend of mine puts me on to a great novel. I love it when there is a bit of a mystery involved.

Having said that, following is a list of some of the favorite books that I've read (this doesn't include scripture, which of course is a fave.


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontee
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Day They Bombed Utah (about results of nuclear testing in the West)
For Those I loved by Martin Gray (Holocaust autobiography)
Escape from Sobibor (Holocaust - prisoner escape from Death Camp)
From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder: The Reinhardt Solution (Holocaust)
Against All Hope by Armando Vallardares (unjustly imprisoned in Castro's Cuba)
Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng (autobiography, what happened to one family during China's Cultural Revolution)
Hiroshima by John Hershey
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Sonnets of Shakespeare

Well, that's just a few, but they are the ones I tend to go back to throughout my life.

What are some of your favorite books?

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook, January 19th


Outside my window
...snow is softly falling, the sky is gray and it is cold.

I am thinking...concerns for the day..my husband is in terrible pain with his back and yet he must go to work...he is strong and loves his family and so he does this for us.

I am thankful for...a quiet moment in life..I am always thankful for the quiet moments which give me a chance to reflect and re-group.

From the kitchen...I confess there is cleaning to do, washing of the counters and then, perhaps, pumpkin bread? I bought many cans of pumpkin on sale after Christmas.

I am wearing...my jammies. I am wrapped up in a quilt, still comfortable in my pjs.

I am creating...not as much as I would have liked to by now this month. A nasty flu went through our house and kept me busy with coughing children. I had been working on organizing every area of my home, taking a room at a time. It is easier to be creative from a clean, well-organized home.

I am going...nowhere today. It is a home day, my favorite kind.

I am reading...The Weight of Silence, by Heather Gudenkauf

"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel." -Tess Gerritsen

"Beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful." -Diane Chamberlain

"Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension." -Publishers Weekly"

You can read more about it and purchase it HERE.

I am hoping...so many largely unspoken things - that everything will work out for our family, what with illness and the timing of our health insurance coverage with Mark's new job.

I am hearing...the ticking of a clock, silence.

Around the house...all is still. One pussycat is huddled up in the living room, looking out the sliding glass door at the falling snow and whatever else interests a kitty. The other puss in curled up next to me, sleeping.

One of my favorite things...hearing from my children during the day with little texts telling me how they are doing or whatever is bothering them. It makes me feel connected and needed.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I would like to get to feeling better (I always catch whatever germ comes home with the children). I want to finish with the laundry, which piled up when we were all sick. I'd like to begin working again on organizational projects. Bake something yummy. Think of some artistic projects I could do, perhaps something for Valentines Day.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

There is nothing more peaceful than sleeping pussycats.

For more daybook posts, please visit HERE.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shaking Hands with History

Dear Friends and Visitors,

First, I would like to pay homage to the man we are honoring today in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I have shared before, my family is from The South, one of the places where Civil Rights was such an explosive issue in the 50's, 60's and early 70's. I was fortunate to have very forward thinking parents who supported integration in a very segregated area of the country. I took this very much for granted while growing up. Now, I know how very fortunate I was to be raised not to judge people by color.

My husband, whose family also has Southern roots, tells a wonderful story that happened to him while his father was stationed with the Air Force in Montgomery, Alabama in the mid-60's. On one Sunday morning, he and a girlfriend were wandering around downtown Montgomery and happened into the Black neighborhoods. There they heard the most incredible Gospel music coming from a particular church nearby. Of course my husband, who is completely color-blind about race, got the idea that he and his friend should go into the church and listen. Now, this was the mid-60's and the area was segregated and I don't know that a white person had ever stepped foot in this black church, but the two of them went in and sat in the back. There they listened to beautiful Gospel music followed by a rousing sermon given by a gifted guest preacher. At the end of the service, the preacher stepped down from the pulpit, exited the sanctuary and stood outside the church doors to greet and shake hands with members of the congregation as they left. Mark was among the first to shake hands, because he was in the back. So into whose hand did Mark put his to thank him for his sermon? Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Next to him stood another famous Civil Rights activist, Reverend Abernathy. Dr. King thanked Mark and his friend for coming. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that it was an exceptional opportunity which means even more to my husband now looking back, than it did when it first happened. He shook hands with History.

Today, I like to remember Dr. King for his remarkable call for peaceful demonstrations against intolerance and for each person to be judged by his or her character than by their color. Much has changed since then and much of that is due to the example of this incredible man.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Show and Tell Friday, January 13

Hello Friends and Visitors!

I haven't done a Show and Tell Friday in a while so I thought it would be fun to show some thrift store finds from awhile back (as in several years). Below is the top of my dressing table.

Everything is from a thrift store, except for the kitty bum, which......belongs to a kitty.
This candle stands in a bed of rose petals that come from a bouquet my dear departed mother sent to me 7 years ago. The candle, holder and plate are all thrift finds.
I love the base of this lamp. It is so unusual. It intrigues me because the pineapple was a symbol of hospitality in Colonial times.
Here is the rest of the lamp which is also a thrift find.
The table skirt is a lovely embroidered sheer curtain panel over a pure silk shawl, which I found in mint condition.
The shawl is also embroidered...
As well as the curtain...
The floral garland I picked up for $1 at a rummage sale. It is like new.
So, there you have just a few of my treasures that I have found over the years. Much of my house is decorated from thrift, rummage and estate sales - three of my favorite places to go!

For more Show and Tell Friday posts, please visit Cindy at My Romantic Home.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Decorating Ideas and One Studious Cat

Hello, Friends and Visitors,

I have been listening to weather reports from across the United States and many places that are not that use to snow are snowed in this week. I know this can be very inconvenient, but I want to encourage you to enjoy Winter. Sometimes, as soon as the holidays are over, we want to rush to Spring, but then we miss so much.

To keep you in a Wintery mood, following are some unique decorating ideas I found off the Internet...

Imagine making a window treatment of delicate paper snowflakes.

Here is an inviting front porch that is festive for frosty days.

Now, for those of you here for Cats on Tuesday, here is a warm feline I caught in a moment of study and reflection. He was reading the scriptures when I surprised him.
For more Cats on Tuesday, please visit Gattina's blog HERE.
Have a wonderful Wintry day and remember to enjoy the here and now.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Planning Monday, January 10th

Hello, Sweet Friends and Visitors,

We finally took down all of our Christmas decorations and tree. Now, we are set to enjoy this wonderful January with snow and cold. Ha, ha. Perhaps that doesn't sound like fun, but I love it.

Anyone else out there in love with Winter?

I haven't posted a weekly menu in awhile. I am happily doing so below. As you will see, I am really into Asian Cooking. I would have something Asian every night if I could, but I don't want to tire my family.

Enjoy the menu and recipes. For more Menu Planning Monday entries, please visit Laura, at Organizing Junkie.


Monday - Vegetable Lasagna * , Tossed Salad and Garlic Bread

Tuesday - Pork and Ginger Pot Stickers, Sauteed Green Beans, Pineapple/Apple Salad

Wednesday - Salmon Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Sliced Tomatoes

Thursday - California Rolls, Onigiri and Stir Fried Sesame Spinach

Friday - Homemade Pizza, Tossed Salad

Saturday - Tacos, Fruit

Sunday - Any Suggestions?

* I add shredded carrots to this

Marinara Sauce for Lasagna, using frozen last Summer's tomatoes from garden

What yummy recipes will you be serving this week?

Have a great one!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Twelth Night

Hello, Friends and Visitors,

If it is the custom where you live to count down the Twelve Days of Christmas then you will know that tonight is known as Twelth Night (yes, Shakespeare titled a play after the custom). Following is a small description from the Farmers Almanac about it:

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, the eve of January 5, is in English folk custom the end of Christmas merrymaking and in ancient Celtic tradition the end of the 12-day winter solstice celebration.

On this night, it was customary for the assembled company to toast one another from the wassail bowl. In Old English, wassail means “Be in good health,” but the term also was applied to the drink itself (usually spiced ale).

When I was a little girl, my mother use to tell me about the tradition of "Old Christmas", which was on January 6th. She would tell me about the old tradition of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve, but the opening of at least some of the family presents would be on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, or the day that was celcbrated as the visit of the Wise Men and the bestowing of their gifts on the baby Jesus.

There are many different Christmas Traditions throughout the Christian world. How one celcbrates this season depends to a great extent on where one's ancestors lived. Mine all come from the British Isles, mostly from Scotland and this idea of "Old Christmas" hearkens back to the old ways and celebrations of our ancestors.

So, tonight my family will do a little toast (a very mild one, as we do not imbibe any alcohol in this very LDS house) to the end of a wonderful Christmas season. If we were a little richer, then we would open a gift, but that will have to wait until next Twelth Night. Tomorrow, I take down our tree.

Why the heck do we do this, now that our family is very American? It allows for the very special Spirit which accompanies the holidays to linger a little longer in our hearts and in our home. That Spirit transforms us just a little, refreshes us and sets us on a better course for the New Year.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Twenty Things I love Most About Winter

1) When it is gray and cold outside, dimly lit and warm inside

2) An undisturbed, fresh coating of pure white snow, upon which no foot has trod, no tire has tread, no bird has lighted.

3) Hot chocolate with marshmallows

4) Reading by candlelight on a dark night

5) A long Winter's nap

6) Winter squash recipes

7) Soups and stews accompanied by warm, homemade bread

8) Quiet thoughts which come more readily on Winter evenings

9) Going sledding with children whose glee at the downward rush is irrepressible

10) The silence that follows a heavy snowfall

11) Baking in an oven that warms the whole house and sends delicious aromas throughout every room

12) The excitement and promise of a new calendar upon which nothing has yet been written, it is all up to me

13) The re-evaluation of a life, the setting of some honest, do-able goals

14) Hot Cider

15) Roasted meats, thick mashed potatoes, warm vegetables

16) Blank pages of a new journal

17) Nag Campa incense, the Winter essence for my home

18) Another year older, another year wiser, another year more thankful

19) Plans, hopes and dream

20) Underneath the frozen ground, the hope and promise of a Spring one day to be re-awakened.

What do you love most about the Winter months? Please tell me!
God bless,