Hello, Dear Friends!
I hope that you are staying warm and dry, and finding safe haven
from the storms of life.
While trying to keep up spirits
during these short, cold winter days,
I made a list of favorite things ...
Crocuses peeking through the frosty ground
Moonlight on an empty road
Sharing a dream
Fog rolling in
Hearing someone say, "You're Welcome"
Sending thank-you notes
The sound of popping corn
Shadows at sunset
Singing to myself
The last page of a good book
Hugs from loved ones
I hope these make you smile and encourage you to
make your own happy list!
I've finally finished putting the last of the Christmas things away!
I kept finding little things that I forgot :)
It encouraged me to do a lot of cleaning and organizing, too.
And a bit of redecorating.
I started putting out a few things for Valentine's Day.
I sewed this applique runner years ago.
I kept a few things from Christmas, like my plaid thermos's.
My Scotty dogs stayed, too.
My sweet sis-in-law sent me this pretty tole tray.
The 'family' sign, wooden heart and 'bushel and a peck'
are sweet gifts from dear loved ones.
I kept the plaid pillows, matching drapes and plaid throw
The rest of the pillows were sewn by me in previous times.
I like to mix and match.
I've learned to make pillow covers with zippers so that I can
remove them and store them flat, as I've accumulated quite a few!
My dear Mom gave me her whole fabric stash in her later years.
She made dolls and quilts.
We have a new houseguest.
This is Lovie.
She is my daughter, Jennie's long-haired dachshund.
I am pet-sitting her for a few weeks.
Kai has enjoyed the company and has been a perfect gentleman.
But they both hate the Dish TV, satellite technician who
came to upgrade our system.
I had to hang out with them in the back yard
to keep them from being mean to him.
They just wanted one little bite. Haha!
I did get some yard work done, but
when it grew dark, I had to drive around
with them for a couple of hours until he left!
I couldn't go inside the house with them because
the technician was going from room to room.
(We have multiple TV's to watch our favorite shows,
like 'All Creatures Great and Small' on PBS
and 'Home Town' on HGTV)
They were well-behaved in the vehicle,
until I drove by a man walking his dogs
under the streetlights in town.
I had to keep to the back roads, and it was very dark and spooky.
A large raccoon ran right out in front of me at one point,
and when I jammed on my brakes, poor Kai slid off the seat
and had a hard time trying to get back up. I had him tethered to the seat belt,
so that he couldn't climb into my lap:) I usually have him in a harness,
but due to the chaos, wasn't able to put it on him.
Then I almost hit a deer - and that's when
I pulled over and texted Ramblin' Man that he needed to tell the technician
to go home. I had enough adventure for one day!
Turns out he was almost finished anyway, and I actually passed him
at the bottom of our mountain road when I was coming home.
Going the wrong way!
Luckily the roads are all dead ends, so he couldn't get too lost!
Ramblin' Man told me later that he overheard him calling
his boss and explaining that he was in the 'middle of no-where,
in some kind of cabin in the forest'.
I set up a small area to do some sketching
while dealing with a bad case of cabin fever.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to keep a nature journal.
So, a work in progress, obviously.
I've always loved to sketch. It's something I've done since I was
a child. I haven't taken much time for it in the last few years,
and my skills are a little rusty, but I am enjoying the process.
It is the one thing I can do anywhere and doesn't require
much, other than paper and a pencil.
I finally cleaned my sewing room, too.
It was a repository for wrapping paper, boxes,
and other Christmas paraphernalia.
Once it was all neat and tidy,
I had the urge to sew again, and
made a couple of laundry bags,
complete with lavender sachets, to hang
on the back of the bathroom door.
some home-made soup,
and the recipe always makes two loaves.
Usually I freeze the second loaf, but
this time I tried something new.
I was browsing through this little cookbook that I helped
create for our local PTA fundraiser when I was vice president,
when my children were very young.
It is filled with recipes from the women of our small
community, and I found a recipe for French toast
that looked delicious.
It was bittersweet seeing these recipes from the women
that I once knew and worked with during my
time with PTA.
Many have moved and some have even passed away.
This little cookbook is a snapshot in time,
back when we were young, life was always busy,
and full of family dreams.
Now our children are parents, and some are even
Three of my own grandson's go to the very same school!
MAKE-AHEAD FRENCH TOAST
This is refrigerated overnight, then baked
in a 350-degree oven for 45-60 minutes.
Generously butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.
1 long loaf French bread,
or other unsliced rustic bread.
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
syrup or honey
Cut bread into thick slices and place in
casserole dish in single layer.
Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, spices and vanilla.
Pour evenly over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The bread will absorb any excess.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Dot bread with butter.
Bake uncovered, 45-50 minutes, until bread is lightly browned.
Serve with syrup or honey.
Despite the cold, Ramblin' Man has been working outside
nearly every day, weather permitting.
He has been putting the finishing touches on
the grandboy's play-cabin.
The ground slopes here, so he built
a nice stone wall and put down gravel.
And he made a big chalk-board for playing 'school'.
The red cupboard was my Mom's. It was in
bad shape, so we repaired it and I gave it a new
coat of paint.
It holds plastic dishes for impromptu picnics.
An icy morning.
Sunlight illuminates Angel's lanterns.
Early morning fog.
Home-made preserves from daughter, Heather
and husband, Eric, from their own garden, complete with beautiful labels.
Maple syrup hand-tapped from Sis-in-law Donna's
trees in New Hampshire.
The sky before a storm.
Blooms in my indoor garden.
Varied Thrush on my fencepost, taken from my kitchen window.
They have a one-note, reedy call that always prompts
a reply from another, all at a different pitch.
It's wonderful to hear on a quiet morning.
Aren't they pretty?
Tree mushrooms - you can see how large they are in comparison
to Lovie, who is to the right in the first photo.
I believe these are called 'Sulphur Shelf' mushrooms.
They are growing on a dead cottonwood.
Thick moss indicates its shady location.
Our little grandsons came for a visit.
They are twins.
A frosty spiderweb.
We are almost halfway through winter, but already
the days are getting a little bit longer.
We've had a mild January here in western Washington state,
after a very cold and snowy December.
So many in this world have no shelter in the storm,
and those of us that do, realize it is only through grace that
we can even experience such a thing as 'Cabin Fever'.
So while I wait for spring, I count my blessings
while making the best of every single day.
"There are two ways of spreading light: To be
the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
- Edith Wharton -
"Grace is available for each of us every day - our spiritual
daily bread - but we've got to remember to ask for it
with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will
be enough for tomorrow."
- Sarah Ban Breathnach -
Linking with Saturday's Critters
Won't you join the fun?