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?
it is nice you were able to use some things from Christmas for your Valentines decorations. Lovie is just the cutest but sounds like you had one crazy time with them and the satellite guy, glad that when you had enough he was done too. your sketches look terrific, no rusty there.ReplyDelete
Love the fabric you used on the laundry bags, too cute with the hearts.
The french toast looks delicious.
The play cabin is looking terrific, those are some lucky grandkids!
Oh Karen, I always love to see what going on in your world. Among your list of favorite things, coffee is right up there with me, and sharing dreams reminds me that when I have a dream that comes with important words, I tend to write them down and think about them after. And I love a foggy misty day as well. You already have touches of Valentin's Day, how wonderful. Your table runner is charming, and the Scotty dogs are so cute. I love the tray with the roses. That was sweet of your Mom to make dolls and quilts. Lovie is soooo cute. How fun you got to spend some time with the precious dog. That must have been scary when the raccoon ran in front of your car. I worry about the deer. I see them often in the woods from the highway, and try to go slow at night when driving. Your nature sketches are very nice. You certainly have a talent for this. The Irish bread sounds wonderful. I think I can eat bread and butter for dinner alone haha. The cookbook brought back many fond memories for you, and I do know what you mean.....I sometimes remember those days of taking the kids to school, working in the classrooms, all the events they had, and it brings a smile to my face. The play cabin is awesome, and I love that chalk board! The kids will love that and it can be a learning tool also. The homemade preserves from Heather is a very nice gift. And how special that is to continue to make preserves. My sister used to do it as well, but she's close to 70 now, so no more canning for her. The frosty spider web I have to say is beautiful. And your grandboys are getting big and precious as ever. Thanks for sharing your home with us so many times. I always delight in seeing all the new projects you are working on. And those plaid thermoses.... I'm so glad you kept them out a little while longer.ReplyDelete
Blessings to you, Karen, in the month of February.
It's good to hear you've been having lots of fun and games especially with the TV guy! Oh my goodness poor you driving around with the dogs while he took over the house. You must have been so pleased to get back home again. I love the idea of a happy list, we do need something like that at this time of year but it is getting lighter now and the bulbs are breaking the surface so things are on the up. You must press on with your drawing, you are very talented. Keep warm and have lots of fun with your grandchildren. xReplyDelete
Always nice to read your posts and catch-up with your news.ReplyDelete
I do like the idea of a happy list, and I think the grand-children's play cabin looks great, I'm sure they love playing in and around it.
Enjoy your January days ...
All the best Jan
Always very interesting to read about you and your life. For me winter is the time to relax, to think about life, to read a good book, to look into cupboards in rooms, I seldom enter, where I often find things like photos, old books or other memories, I enjoy, although it is sometimes painful because it shows a time, when the children were small, we were younger, friends were among us, which died or moved away, and so on.ReplyDelete
But I also enjoy the cold fresh winter air and long walks with my best and longest friend, my husband. It is a so wonderful to be able to enjoy it together.
I love your paintings in your nature book....absolutely great.
You have an eye for the small things!
And I love all the films from
" All Creatures Great and Small". I have got all parts of the original films on DVD and I love it.
Your list could be mine except the last page of a good book.....because I am always very sad to have finished the book. Thank you for dividing your thoughts and pictures with us! And sorry for mistakes!
You share so much delightful beauty in your posts! January is indeed a dreary month - but I actually kind of like it. I have been busy getting a lot of inside projects done. I loved your list though - and coffee/tea are something special I enjoy in the afternoons. You are an amazing artist! I just loved your sketches, they are amazing! You must continue :) The play building for the grandsons is adorable, they are just precious, we love twins! My family has two sets of girl twins, and they are so much fun! I love old cookbooks too. I tend to collect too many. Your Valentine decor using your mother's fabric is adorable! I love your decorating style! Happy thoughts wished for you today dear friend, and hopefully the sun will return soon!ReplyDelete
I liked the photos you shared in this post. Awesome!ReplyDelete
Karen, such a joy to read and soak in the beauty of your glorious post. A post not to be rushed, but to slowly read your lyrical words and delight in your photos. I smiled at the technician's words "middle of no-where, in some kind of cabin in the forest". A city fellow, perhaps. =) Love the photo of your grand-boy being pulled in his wagon to his destination; the fabulous cubby built by your Ramblin' Man. Your home would be the best fun for a child. I have to say when I was visiting my daughter in San Fran, a couple of years ago, my favourite breakfast when we were out and about was French Toast. No-one can do French Toast quite like you Americans. Thank you for delighting my day with a visit to your lovely place. We are blessed, are we not, to live in such cosy and beautiful homes, safe and warm from the outside world; for which I am thankful every day. It will soon be spring in your little corner of the world and you will be out and about, enjoying all that the warmer weather gifts you.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this inspiring and heart-warming post, Karen! I can almost share the list of your favourite things except that I would replace "the last page of a good book" with "the first page of a good book". :)ReplyDelete
Your landscapes never cease to amaze me... this time I find amazing also the fact that so cute doggies could be mean to someone. :D
Your nature journal brought immediately Edith Holden to my mind. Your journal could be published, but if not it will be a treasure of the future generations of your family.
Have a blessed Sunday! xx
I enjoyed your post and the list of favorite things sounds perfect. I love a good book from the beginning to the end. The nature journal is lovely, your sketches are beautiful. The grandchildren will love playing in the little house. Both Kai and Lovie are sweet dogs. The Varied Thrush is a beautiful bird. The French toast recipe looks yummy, thanks for sharing. Wonderful series of photos! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great day and happy new week. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.
I love the spider web and that beautiful birds. And it's always fun to see your home and the way you decorate so comfy and cozy. I really want to open a nature journal and be creative again. Sounds like a plan for this week! Hugs, DianeReplyDelete
What a wonderful post. The dogs are very cute. I like your decorations and your drawing, excellent photos too, very nice. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.ReplyDelete
What a lovely January you've had, and thank you for following my blog. I've tried so many times to start a journal, but I seem to be stuck somehow, and never get beyond having the journal on my desk. Your drawings are lovely to look at. I've enjoyed following you through all the highlights of your month, and wish you the best in the new month ahead.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the lovely visit Karen -- I enjoyed every moment at your lovely cabin home, as always. (In fact, it is hard to leave -- I hope you don't mind me overstaying my welcome!) )) . . I really did go back to the beginning a second and third time -- once to copy the French Toast recipe and once just for the joy! ... (Although cabin fever doesn't come into play here in SW Florida, we certainly have not lacked for reminders to be grateful this season. )ReplyDelete
you don't seem like someone who would get cabin fever. i, like you, have so many hobbies, i am lucky that i don't get cabin fever. making a list of favorite things is a fun idea, i just did a similar post!ReplyDelete
the cabin looks lovely right now, i always enjoy seeing it. and i think i will be making myself some of that french toast you talked about!!
and that radio flyer, awesome pictures!!
Hello dearest Karen!ReplyDelete
I love catching up with you when you do your lovely posts. And thanks for always popping in to visit me when you're able to as well. It's just nice to catch up on life together. I always get cabin fever this time of year too...and I'm still buried in snow piles! Lol I will live through you and your far earlier Springs than mine. 🌸 I love that you're doing a nature journal - you are the most perfect person to do that! You are just so very artistic and you need to keep sharing those gifts. 😊 I love seeing your cozy home in every season too. Loved the dish man story - couldn't help but LOL a bit. You have good watch dogs (even just babysitting) and I guess that's a good moral to that story, right? I love that you and Rambling man seem to have settled into a beautiful rhythm of work around home, grandkids, yummy meals and nature. Sounds like retired bliss to me! And I was that PTA Mom too and I relate so well with those snapshots of time. I treasure them all in my memory.
Thank you for always sharing yummy recipes too! Sometimes I go back and just read some of your old posts too. You always share such wonderful things in such a poetic way. I hope you have a very blessed day, week, and even month until we catch up again. 🤗 💕