Sunday, November 30, 2008

Words to Live By: Thanksgiving Songs

I have to admit I get a little bah-humbuggy when I hear Christmas music playing in October...and well, yeah, even November. (What happened to Thanksgiving?)

My daughter heard me complaining about all the early Christmas music again, and said, "Well, Mom, those are Thanksgiving songs, if you really think  about it."  Well, I did think about it. She was right. They are songs of thanksgiving...and joy...and hope...and happiness. Why? We sing for joy because a wee babe was born in Bethlehem. A very special baby -- He would be the Savior of us all! 

As we celebrate this holiday, may we remember to celebrate the deep significance of the birth of our Savior, and think of our Father's loving gift to us.

It's already a Merry Christmas, don't you think?



This beautiful collection of images was created by photographer Mark Mabry and is entitled Reflections of Christ. This slide show was created by Cameron Trejo and it's accompanied by an arrangement of 'Come Thou Fount' performed by Clyde Bawden and Freddie Ashby. See this website to learn more.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving wishes 

T   hanks for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that abounds.


 That spells THANKS for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.

                                                                                               --   Aileen Fisher, All in a Word

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings Mix

I found this fun snack mix idea to share with family and friends at Thanksgiving time, at Organized Christmas. It sounds yummy, and it also reminds us of our nation's blessings. It's too late for me to use it this year, but I am definitely going to make this next year! Enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bag this mix in favor-sized gift bags and decorated with a harvest poem, Thanksgiving Blessings Mix brings a festive touch to your Thanksgiving table.  Organized Christmas makes it easy to create Thanksgiving Blessing Mix with free printable gift tags.

New! Print this Blessing Mix gift tag in .PDF format.

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix Recipe


2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey's-brand chocolate kisses
free printable blessing mix gift tag


In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.

Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.

Print 4 copies of the Thanksgiving Blessings Mix printable gift tag or hand-write your own tags with the following wording.

Cut out tags, and attach one to each bag.

Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.


Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.

Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.

M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.

Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Thanksgiving Proclamation

Herewith the 1863 proclamation by which President Abraham Lincoln transformed the Thanksgiving tradition into a legal holiday:


Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State

Monday, November 24, 2008

So Many Ways to be Thankful

 I've got a Sweet Girl home from school today, and not doing too well -- so I'll just post some quick (but wonderful) last minute Thanksgiving ideas I've seen out there in Blogland. Please visit these sites to see the full projects and their fabulous ideas! 


Hand and footprint turkeys, an idea from Just For Fun! What a cute keepsake!



Look how Full Circle displays their thankful leaves!

Check out No Fuss Fabulous' ideas for kids tables:

 Tree of Blessings Kids' Table


...and more from No Fuss Fabulous -- you really should go over and check out the whole Nuts about Thanksgiving Kids' Table theme. So dang cute!



Little Nummies has more acorn ideas -- look at these cute treats! 


Words of Thanksgiving book from Cathe, at Just Something I Made


 Do you have something you and your family do for Thanksgiving?  Please share!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Words to Live By

Family at the Thanksgiving Table 

It's not so much what's on the table that matters,
as what's on the chairs.

                                                                                  --  W.S. Gilbert

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Music for the (Bend in the) Road


If you look a-ways down on my sidebar, you'll see I added some music to the blog yesterday. I'm trying it out. I'm not sure how I feel about it -- not sure if it will stay or go. I thought maybe during the holidays it might be fun to have the option to listen to some seasonal music. A lot of autumn favorites are down there right now. (ooh, I just love "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep") Click on the play arrow to listen.

Hmmm. How do you all feel about music on blogs? Do you hate it? Love it? Why?

I really should do a poll on this, but let's do this the low-tech way -- leave a comment telling me:

  • ♪  how you feel about music on blogs, and why?
  • ♪  what you think of music on this blog
  • ♪  share any autumn/thanksgiving songs you love

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Deb's Cranberry Relish

imageJust in time for Thanksgiving, a Cranberry-Orange Relish recipe you are gonna love!  ♥  All the credit for this recipe goes to my talented sister, Debbie. She's an excellent cook!  When I grow up, I want to cook like her. She was kind enough to walk through the recipe with me and give hints throughout. I'm gonna pass those along to you.  Just a heads up -- this yummy relish is addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you...


Deb's Cranberry Relish

1 lb. fresh cranberries (Deb uses 1  1/2 package)

2   1/2 cups of sugar

1 whole orange, including the peel

1 large (6 oz.) package of lemon jell-o

1  20 oz. can crushed pineapple


Empty the cranberries from the package. Remove any mushy or fermented-looking berries. Grind the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Grind them pretty fine. Add the sugar and let the mixture stand 3 hours. Do not skip this step.

Grind the oranges in the blender now: cut each orange in 8 pieces (remember to take off the stickers!) and throw them in, peel and all. You want to grind the pieces until there are no big chunks left. Look for an even texture.

Take the pineapple and strain it, saving the juice.  Heat the pineapple juice with enough water to make one cup. Stir in the jell-o until dissolved, then add pineapple and ground orange. Make sure it's mixed well. Add this to cranberry mixture.

Let this set up in the fridge overnight. Use it for your meal, or freeze it in several small freezer containers. Deb uses Gladware ...



Deb's Hints:

♥   Make this now! :-) Fresh cranberries are only available a short time during the year. (You can find them through December 1st in most places.) Do not use canned or frozen cranberries for this recipe. Only fresh cranberries will work.

♥   Since fresh cranberries are not available all year round, Deb suggests doubling this recipe (at least!!) and freezing the extra. Trust me -- you will be glad you did!

♥   This relish goes great with turkey, ham, pork, chicken...

♥   This relish freezes very well and keeps in the fridge a good long time.

♥  These make great early Christmas neighbor gifts!


Wendy adds:

♥  This stuff is awesome at Thanksgiving Dinner, and we adore it on Deb's Leftover Turkey Sandwiches! I'll share that recipe, too, if you want.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanks and Giving

Over the weekend we had cousins over. We hadn't seen these girls in a long time, and we had a lot of fun together. Lots of talking and laughing, especially from the girls! :-) My sweet sis-in-law brought a project along, perfect for the season. The local soup kitchen is always in need of sack lunches to distribute out to people having a hard time. SIL had all the girls decorate the brown bags however they wanted -- and then we all hit it, assembly line style, filling each sack with lots of yummies. Filling the Sacks

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays, and it's only become more dear to me through the trials our family's been through over the years. We give heartfelt thanks for even the simplest of blessings -- a home, a job, family -- there have been times that those blessings were threatened or outright denied to us for a time. DH, the Sweet Girl and I remember how that time felt. We clung close to the Lord, but it was still a hard time in our lives. I remember how it felt when kindness and help were extended to us; how much it meant.

So, you know that I just LOVED that my sister in law brought something along that teaches the kids to remember to give back. Yes, be thankful for your blessings, but how about we  go one more step, and bless others?

The soup kitchen was thrilled with the sack lunches. They were tickled with the girls' illustrations. They gave us a tour of the facility, which was just icing on the cake. I think the girls got a real feel of the good that they had done. Thanks and Giving. Love it.


I have to say my #1 very favorite craft I've seen out there in the blogosphere this season has to be this one from Chocolate on My Cranium. Thanks and Giving Trees. Cocoa's got a PDF you can download. Go over and check it out. Leave her a comment and tell her how awesome she is!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Words to Live By



Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. 

                                                                        ~Robert Caspar Lintner



Picture Credit: "Grace" by Eric Enstrom.  Go here to find out the story behind this famous image...

Friday, November 14, 2008

And the winner is....

Blessings Giveaway

Before I announce the winner of the "Count Your Blessings" package, I just wanted to thank all that jumped in and participated in my first giveaway. I am thankful for all of you and your fun comments! I loved hearing about what your favorite blessings are -- the things that you hold dear. And your Thanksgiving traditions ranged from birthday cakes, to black Fridays, to black olives! LOL

Loved it. :-)

Okay... let's get down to business!

Ready for the drawing...

The winner of my 100th Post Giveaway is ....

The Winner!

Congratulations, Julie! :-) Leave a comment on this post with your email address (all spelled out so the spammers don't find you) and I'll be talking to you soon!

Thanks again everyone! I had a lot of fun doing this. I plan on doing other giveaways in the future, and with the holidays just around the corner....well... hmmm... ;-)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Little Things Make You Happy?

**Woo-Hoo! Tonight's the night -- the drawing for the giveaway! **
We'll announce the winner tomorrow morning!


Autumn leaf heart

To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.
                       ~Charles Dudley Warner


Ah, November. I've been enjoying this one very much.

We enjoyed an Indian Summer here during most of the month of October -- but as soon as the calendar turned, so did the weather. November, so far, has been grey, drizzly and much cooler. Instead of depressing me, I have reveled in the change! I love it.  Things have felt much cozier. Quilts and extra blankets go on the beds. Hot cocoa is daily treat. Yummy sweaters come out of storage. Thoughts are turned to family, friends, counting blessings...and food. :-)

I am way behind on lists and plans for Christmas, and yep, even Thanksgiving. I'm not  feeling guilty or stressed -- I'm enjoying the simplicity of these few days before the hustle and bustle hits. I'm focusing on the little things that make us happy. I'm going to follow the Nester's lead and share a few things that make me happy right now:

hot cocoa

turning the porch lights on (the evenings come earlier and earlier now)

sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar

climbing into bed at night, and feeling toasty warm

a fire in the fireplace

geese honking as they fly over my house

soups and stews...with homemade bread...

kitties that curl up beside you

watching a storm -- from inside :-)

What little things make you happy?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Low-fat Quesadillas

(...sing it with me...) It's the most wonderful time of the year.....

No, I'm not talking about the holidays! It's when the sports fan is on Cloud Nine -- nearly every sport that is a sport is being played right now! College football, the NFL,   baseball (the World Series just ended), college basketball, the NBA... the list goes on...

And with all those sports, goes food. You know you want to have some snacky goodness while you're watching your team on TV.  DH and I wanted this too -- we wanted the yummy factor, but didn't want to undo all our good work.

Here's one of our favorite finds -- Low-fat Quesadillas! We L.O.V.E. these.

This recipe comes to you from Hungry Girl. Peeps -- this is the best site out there for finding the yummy factor and still eating healthy. You must check her out.  I promise you that you can search on her site for your tummy's desire, and she'll have a healthy alternative to it. These quesadillas would normally be 12 points per serving, and HG tweaks the recipe a little, and [poof!] her version is a 3 pointer!

Bring it.

Ok, I will. Here ya go.  


Hungry Girl's Quesadillas

Low-fat Quesadillas

This simple recipe lets you make low cal quesadillas that could be easily mistaken for  the fat-filled real thing. Need we say more? Go try it out!

1 La Tortilla Factory Low Carb, Low Fat Whole Wheat Tortilla (small size)
1/4 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese (or ff mozzarella, ff American, ff jack)
2 oz. chicken breast, grilled and sliced
1 tablespoon green onion, diced
1 tablespoon salsa
1 teaspoon light sour cream

In a pan lightly spritzed with nonstick cooking spray, set down your tortilla. Spread the cheese, chicken and green onion evenly on top. Let set (cheese will just be beginning to melt), then fold over. Cook on medium heat for a minute or so, flipping quesadilla halfway in between. Slide your quesadilla onto a plate and serve with the salsa and sour cream. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info:

Calories: 155
Fat: 4g
Sodium: 680mg
Carbs: 15.5g
Fiber: 8.5g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 22.5g

*3 Points!!


Picture credit: HG's Cheesy-Good Chicken Quesadillas, Hungry Girl site

Monday, November 10, 2008

100th Post Giveaway: Count Your Blessings

Blog 100 giveaway coupon


I was so surprised to see that I had reached 100 posts last week. I'm always looking for a reason to celebrate, and I've had a lot of fun blogging this year -- so that can mean only one thing! It's Giveaway Time! Woo-hoo!



Blessings Giveaway

The Giveaway: 

I love Thanksgiving, and "count your blessings" is one of my favorite proverbs. So, I've gathered a few things for the giveaway that represent some of the blessings I'm thankful for:

Family: a family shadow-box style frame

Food: Simple and Delicious cooking magazine and a "Best Loved Cookies and Bars" book (just in time for holiday baking!)

Shopping  Abundance: $25 Target gift card


The Rules:

If you'd like to be in the drawing for the Count Your Blessings package, just leave a comment on this post by 10:00pm (MST) Thursday, November 13th.

In your comment, tell me a Thanksgiving tradition your family has, and then tell me a blessing you're thankful for.

Please make sure in your comment that I have some way to reach you if you win! If you have a blog link that I can follow to an email address, great. If you don't have a blog, but read this one, then include your email address (all spelled out  (so the spammers won't find you) like this:  somebody[at]somethingmail[dot]com.)

I'll enter you twice if you advertise this giveaway on your blog. Grab the giveaway button if you want...

I'll draw a name and announce the winner on Friday, November 14th!
Good luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Words to Live By

little lace hem


Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. 

                                                                                                       ~Author Unknown

Friday, November 7, 2008

100th Post -- Giveaway News

Hey, everybody! That was my 100th post! Celebrate this little milestone with me as I hold my first ever blog giveaway! Stay tuned on Monday for all the details when we kick this baby off. Have a great weekend!


Just a Little More Curb Appeal...

We got a new garage door! You may be thinking sarcastically, "Wow. Somebody call HGTV. "  Hey, it's a home improvement! I'll take it! I love the new look it gives to the house, and at this point it was a NEED and not a WANT.

We won't mention all the stories this door could tell. Like the driver's side door being ripped off by a distracted driver in reverse (oh yeah -- that one was in front of the neighbors!), or driving a vehicle in the garage while the door was coming down... 

I will mention that the installers laughed and shook their heads when they saw how old the door and openers were. Let's just say Michael Jackson still looked normal, and was singing "Bad", when these beauties were installed. :-)

Well, tell me what you think...

Out with the old...

sunbursts ala 1987

the old look

And in with the new...

the new door

little bit more curb appeal

Loving how the new door looks

Welcome to 2008, little house!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


No, really - they are. This is the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe...ever!

Chocolate chip cookies should not be paper thin. They should be thick -- crispy and golden brown on the outside, and soft on the inside. These turn out *every* time for me.  A helpful hint: watch them the first time you make this recipe in your oven. Once you figure out your ideal cooking time, you'll be set.  My oven is old, and I've found that 12-13 minutes gives me perfect choco-chip cookies. We use a cookie scoop (looks like a baby ice cream scoop) to make the cookies, which helps to give you a yummy, thick cookie.

According to this recipe, each cookie is 2 points. (82 calories, 4 g of fat) This includes the nuts in the recipe, which I never use.

You can get it down to 1 point if you use 3/4 cup shortening, 2 egg whites instead of  1 egg and 6 oz. chocolate chips. Omit the nuts. (63 calories, 2.5 g fat)  But, really why would you do this? Go for the 2 point cookie!!! :-)

One more thought -- if you're using the cookie scoop -- better add another point. Trust me, it's worth it. ;-) 


Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening

1/3 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 oz. package chocolate chips (we love the milk chocolate chips at our house)

3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)


Mix shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together well and add nuts and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 8-10 minutes or until delicately brown.  Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. Makes 8 dozen cookies.

NOTE: to make bar cookies, spread cookie dough into greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.


Bright Impressions Busy Family Cookbook, p.100

Hello Winter!

Oh, I just love autumn...

Autumn entrance





...(ahem) Oh, I just love winter...

Snow on the pumpkins

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Halloween Report 2008

Katie's Elven Princess Costume 2008

Here is the Sweet Girl's costume this year. She went as an Elven Princess (ala Lord of the Rings), and wore a beautiful handmade cloak one of my neighbors helped me make a few years ago. We sing her praises every time we see it in the closet! (Jean, you're the best!!!)  :-)

Isn't she pretty? I took lots of pictures of her that night. She started calling me paparazzi (really, shouldn't that have been MAMA-razzi?) Check her out, fleeing from the camera like a Hollywood star....LOL


She had lots of fun trick or treating with friends in our neighborhood, and ended the evening watching an old Audrey Hepburn movie, "Wait Until Dark"  with all her friends -- if you've seen it, you know that movie is perfect for a Halloween night! (shiver) DH and I manned the front door, giving out candy and ooh-ing and aah-ing at all the great costumes.

He and I had 1 point pumpkin cookies on standby to help with all the candy temptation -- we did really well until someone insisted on sharing their homemade donuts with us. Homemade donuts, people! I was done for. ;-)

All in all, lots of fun and we made some *sweet* memories.

What was your favorite thing about Halloween this year?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Words to Live By

halloween candy 

Once in a young lifetime, one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold. 

                            ~Judith Olney


I think it happens more than once in a lifetime. It happens once a year.
It's called Halloween.

Hope yours was fun.