Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Thursday, March 31, 2011

And the Giveaway Winner Is...

...Jamie from What I Did Today.

She will receive the Victorian Apron.  For the rest of you who entered the Giveaway, I will be having another one soon.  Thank you so much for all who posted.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oven Fries and Utah Fry Sauce

Alright, to those of you who may think that my present chubbiness is due to the following recipe, you are mistaken.  I rarely indulge.  However, when I am in the mood for "junk" food, these Oven Fries are a lower calorie version.

  • 2 russet potatoes, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, halves cut lengthwise into fourths to make 16 big, fat wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Preheat a baking sheet in the hot oven for at least 5 minutes.
While the baking sheet is heating, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, garlic, dried parsely and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Then dump the potatoes out onto a baking sheet, spreading to a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until the potatoes are cooked through, brown and crispy.

Now for the finishing touch, a truly Utahn condiment:  Fry Sauce.
Picture courtesy of Desert News

  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce of your choice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • cayenne pepper to taste
Mix all the above ingredients together and you are done.  Now, dip your oven fries into the fry sauce and see if you never want to use just ketchup again!

If you haven't entered my GIVEAWAY yet, you have until midnight tonight to do it.  The instructions are HERE.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Door Is Always Open

The Door Is Always Open
Nancy Byrd Turner

If you come cheerily,
Here shall be jest for you;
If you come wearily,
Here shall be rest for you.

If you come borrowing,
Gladly we'll loan to you.
If you come sorrowing,
Love shall be shown to you.

Under our thatch, friend,
Place shall abide for you,
Touch but the latch, friend,
The door shall swing wide for you!

I came upon the above poem in an old issue (and I do mean old) of Ideals magazine.  It reminded me of an experience that I had last week...

I was busily cleaning my house when there was a knock on my door.  I looked out my side window and saw that two nicely dressed young men were standing there.  Normally, if I see two young men standing at my front door, I assume they are missionaries from the LDS Church, as missionaries and members are plentiful here in the state of Utah.  However there was enough difference in dress that I knew they were members of another church.  I hastily opened the door (CAUTION:  I follow the Spirit and my own intuition about opening my door to people whom I do not know, especially when I am home alone).  These were missionaries from the Jehovah's Witness church.  We stood and chatted for a few minutes.  They asked if I would read their magazine if they gave it to me and I said that I would.  They asked if they could visit and chat with me some other day...


Some ten years ago, while I was at home working on the house, my doorbell rang.  When I opened my door, I found two lovely young women standing there.  I knew they were probably Jehovah's Witnesses, so after a few pleasantries, I was prepared to dismiss them with the information that I was devout in my faith (LDS) and go on about my busy day.  But God had other plans.  I distinctly heard Him say in my heart,

"What do you have to do that is more important than talking about Me?"

Ahhh, nothing.

So, I let them in.

There transpired one of the sweetest hours of conversation that I have ever had.  In short, we shared together what we held in common - a love of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ.  We shared a  lot about what if feels like to be judged on appearances instead of being valued for who we really are inside.

I learned a lot that day.  I learned that conveying God's love to all, whether we share the exact same beliefs or not, is all important, that taking time to listen and look in a person's eyes gives them a wonderful gift, even if we shall never see each other again, and that there is nothing more important than conversing about God, especially when it is done in love.

When I closed the door on these two sweet young women that day, I felt the Peace of God in my heart.  I may not have gotten my laundry and ironing completed, but God taught me to take care of the most important thing, loving others as I would want to be loved.


As the two young men from the Jehovah's Witness church stood waiting for my answer at the door last week, I remembered my experience with those two young women years ago. I felt safe in this situation to say...

"Yes, when my husband is home, you may come another time.  We are devout in our faith, but our door is always open to others who love God".

Sometimes we believe we have to agree and if we don't, it is more comfortable to keep to our own.  God has taught me that loving and sharing a mutual reverence for God should come first before all other things.  In this way, the door of our hearts is always stands open.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Show and Tell Friday, March 25th - Romantic Purses from Days Gone By

Cindy, from My Romantic Home, is hosting another Show and Tell Friday.  I decided to participate with a post that was first published almost two years ago.  I thought it would be fun to share for so many of you who never read it before.

(Don't forget to check out my GIVEAWAY  HERE)

Today, I share my antique purses..
I got this one 30 years ago at a thrift store in Provo, Utah. I routinely found antique items back then at this one particular store (not so much anymore).
The bead work is very lovely.
This purse was given to me by my sister, Jeanie, who knows my affinity for very feminine things and for pastel colors.
The beadwork on this bag is much more intricate.

I love to wonder about the ladies who carried these bags before me. Were they in the bloom of youth or were they older ladies like I am now? Did they make a special memory, meet a special someone while holding them? Did they pack them for travel and visit some far-away place where they took them out and used them? Did these purses ever hold handkerchiefs that dried a tear or were given to someone as a remembrance?

I, myself, carried both of these purses in the bloom of my young womanhood. I held the flowered one in my lap when I went to the ballet to see the Bolshoi and another time, the Kirov. They went on special dates with me when I felt young and beautiful. Now that I am older and rarely dress up the way I use to, they grace my bedroom wall. Someday, I will pass them down to my daughter while she is a young woman. Hopefully, they will help her to feel feminine and pretty, because beautiful things affect the way we feel about ourselves.

For more Show and Tell Fridays, please visit Cindy HERE.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Spring!

Dear Friends and Visitors,

A happy and glorious Spring to you!  Today it is sunny and warmer and I swear that the little birds outside began chirping on Monday.  They are thrilled with the slight warming, just like I am.

What is it like where you are?  Is it Spring or Winter?

In honor of this wonderful time of year and also my love of pretty aprons, I am announcing a GIVEAWAY!

This lovely apron can be yours!  I just bought a new one for this purpose.  All you have to do is to follows the directions below!  You have until March 30th at midnight.  Then the Giveaway will close and I will announce the winner.


1)  Leave a comment on this post

2)  Announce the Giveaway on your blog and then link back to this post

3) Let me know in your comment here that you have advertised on your blog and you will get 2 entries.

Good luck to you!


Monday, March 21, 2011


Dear Friends and Visitors,

I intended to write a Happy Spring post today, but my heart is a little heavy after attending a funeral this morning for the daughter of my husband's close friend.  She was murdered last week (The story is HERE).  She was only 24 years old and the mother of two small children.  She was seeking a divorce from her husband.  He was very angry and so when she went to pick up the children from him one day last week, he shot her during an argument.  Today, as I stood looking at the body of this young woman in her casket, I just kept asking, "Why?!"


A death from an accident or illness for one so young is sad, but understandable.

The murder of a beautiful young girl at the hands of someone who once promised to love and protect her is incomprehensible but becoming all too common.

Fortunately, my husband's friends have a strong faith in God and that faith is sustaining them in a way that is very inspiring to others.  They will be raising the two grandchildren.  Their youngest son, who is still at home, is now calling them his brother and sister.

Why is it that increasingly people are settling their differences with violent acts?  How could this young man honestly feel that murdering his wife, the mother of his young children, would solve anything?  We cannot ask him any of these questions, because he is dead, too.  After killing his wife, he turned the gun on himself.

Two families are now grieving two deaths and two children have lost their parents.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook, March 15th, 2011

FOR TODAY March 16th, 20100...

Outside My Window...Cloudy and overcast.  There is a lot of snow on the mountains, but it is warmer in the valley and on the foothills (benches).  We are expecting rain.

I am thinking...  I add my prayers to all those from around the world for the poor people who are being directly affected by the tragedy in Japan.  Help to those in need, comfort for the grieving, food and shelter for the homeless, purpose for those who can give aide, hope where there is none...all blessings for which I pray

I am thankful for...everything in my life.  The more news coverage that I watch about the unfolding events in Japan, the more that I am grateful for a warm home, plenty of food to eat, and o, so many other things.  We live amongst so much abundane that we don't fully realize how fortunate we are.  We are no longer aware of how much we have because we are surrounded by it all the time.  We live in the most abundant time in history and we have lost perspective on how rare in the overall scheme of history this is.

From the learning rooms...(if this applies)

From the kitchen...Amish Friendship Bread...Salmon Patties...Fried Okra...Lima Beans for tonight

I am wearing...

A lovely apron that I was able to pick up for a song on ebay.  Makes me feel very feminine!

I am creating...A softly decorated home Spring ...only 4 more days...
I am reading...The Backyard Homestead...lots of ideas!

I am hoping...for warmer weather...:)

I am hearing...soft instrumentals which help calm me and focus my efforts throughout the day.

Around the house...it is very quiet..but a little disordered.  I need to get up and get going!

One of my favorite things...creating a beautiful table setting for supper, so that my little family can feel that this time together every evening is set apart and special.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

St. Paddy's Day dinner tomorrow night with music provided by the Irish Tenors Dublin Concert.  More decorating and Spring Cleaning.  Some time alone with hubby at the end of the week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Wish hats would come back in style.

For more daybooks, please visit HERE.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Planning Monday, March 14th

Dear Friends and Visitors,

I have been trying to compose a post for the last few days, but the horrors of Japan's current catastrophe are vivid in my mind and I am finding it difficult to think of anything else.  I add my prayers to all those from around the world for the poor people who are being directly affected by this tragedy.  Help to those in need, comfort for the grieving, food and shelter for the homeless, purpose for those who can give aide, hope where there is none...all blessings for which I pray.

This week's menus are as follows:

 Monday - Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken,Tossed Salad

Tuesday - Lentil Loaf, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Lemony Green Beans

Wednesday - Shredded Chicken Tacos, Grapefruit and Avacado Salad

Thursday - Mustard Glazed Corned Beef, Scalloped Cabbage, Red Potatoes, Artisan Bread

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Tossed Salad

Sunday - Asian Stir fry

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

Try and make it a good one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Feminine Pleasures

Hello, Sweet Visitors -

I am back online after another episode of Life that required my full attention. Thank you for not giving up on me when my blog grows silent. Your friendship and visits mean so much!


I have recently been thinking a lot about what it means to be feminine. Oh sure, we hear a lot about being sexy these days, but scant little about femininity. When I think of this quality, my thoughts turn to my earliest memories. There, my mother stands supreme as my first impressions of what it means to be a woman.

My earliest memories are of my mother's dressing table upon which stood a tray of lovely perfume bottles...
...Some were very old, others were hand-painted. Each one seemed to tell a story of its own. I lovingly admired these bottles, would sample their scents and wish to heavens that they were mine.

My mother's hair was always beautifully coifed and she was never without jewelry. She never wore anything austentatious, but was always tastefully adorned. Oh, how I loved her jewelry box full of different colored, beaded necklaces, especially her tiered pearls. Many woman wore pearls back then.

Homemakers did not dress in jeans and T Shirts, or any old shirt, as I have put on. They always took pride in their appearance. Not the pride that "goeth before the Fall", as the Bible says, but in always putting one's best foot forward. It showed a respect for themselves, for their surroundings and for others.

From the top of the head down to the toes...
..every item worn was cherished and cared for. Articles of clothing were scrubbed, ironed, polished, mended and always in good repair.
There was no frivolity in how one dressed, mind you, this was the generation that withstood the Great Depression and war. But people cared what example they reflected to others.

Men and women seemed to relish and celebrate the difference between the sexes. I have been thinking much about this recently. My church teaches that God created the sexes as separate and distinct in wonderful ways. How separate and distinct am I when I grab old pants and tops all of the time?
When I was young I relished my womanhood. I wore mostly skirts and dresses, even on non-work days. I loved the way they made me feel and look. But over the years as a married woman, I have somehow let go of all of that for what was quick and "practical". My feelings about myself as a woman have slid along with my appearance. Recently, I have begun to think again of my mother and what a wonderful example she set for me of womanhood and I have begun to ask myself, am I setting a similar example of femininity for my daughter? H.m.m. I am a little ashamed of the answer.
So, when it came time to get some clothes for myself recently, I focused my thrifty mindset on obtaining more feminine tops and skirts which bring out my femininity. I still shop thrift and outlet stores (as well as ebay), but I have opted for more ladylike attire than before.
The affect that this has had on my behavior is remarkable. I find that I behave in a softer more refined manner when dressed a little less casually. I feel better about myself and my family has noticed a change.
I know that I am walking against the wind of societal opinion that would have us be seductive, but not soft and refined. We are equal to men so we are the same, right? Well, I don't believe so. I want to be different in wholesome and lovely ways.
My mothers example created in me the belief that womanhood was a mysterious and glorious thing. She taught me that one can be industrious and also careful about one's appearance. With her netted petticoats and modest pearls, she exemplified that being refined and lovely was wholesome and something to be desired.
If we are truly daughters of our Heavenly Father, as I believe us to be, then shouldn't our appearance and demeanor reflect such a heritage?
Food for thought.
...And a fond remembrance of a generation of women who believed in putting their best foot forward.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sleepin' Kitties

Cuddling up with a kitty is the coziest thing that I know. They are so soft and comfy. I have to confess that when I awaken in the morning and find two snoring pussycats by my side I have a really hard time getting up.
Who can resist the opportunity to rest beside a furry friend? Not I.
I want to burrow under my covers with one arm outside to cradle my two little friends, to pet a nose or to gently smooth their fur.
I watch them as they dream. They twitch here and there and occasionally mew as they respond to some danger in their dreamland.
Ultimately, I have to leave the cats to their slumber, because they do not have a house full of chores as I do. But my heart is happy and peaceful after sharing some love with Timmy and Sunny. The world feels like a better place because it has in it two gentle spirits covered by warm, orange fur!
Have a great one!