A Day For Thanks

Thanksgiving Decorations.JPG

There are days that I wish would not end.  Yesterday was one of them. We spent it celebrating Thanksgiving. The day was gray and chilly but it turned out to be a wonderful day spent with loved ones.

The day started fairly early as the rice stuffing needed to get into the 16+ pound turkey and get in the oven. While that was in the oven and sending out a great Thanksgiving aroma, my husband and I set up tables and chairs, put out plates, glasses, napkins, silverware, and of course the candy corn sprinkled on the tables. We did discover that if you do not purchase your candy corn and candy pumpkins by Halloween you have a very tough time finding them in the store for Thanksgiving! (Note to self…..purchase earlier next time around.)

My side of the family came to our home yesterday. The traditional turkey, stuffing, squash, corn, and pumpkin pie was served. We also had a few non-traditional things such as ribs, a pasta salad, cream cheese pie and a Skor cake. (see previous post for some of those recipes.)

For me one of the highlights of the day was our devotion time. All 22 of us stood in our kitchen. It was full of people, it was crowded and it was wonderful. I found the neatest Thanksgiving scripture cards from Kim Marsh-Weed over at Good Enough. Before my husband opened with prayer we had everyone read their card.

We served the food buffet style (that just works the easiest with this crowd) and after everyone had eaten their fill we were sated. Isn’t that a great word? Word prompt chose that one for today.  I love the meaning “to fill, to satisfy, to gorge, to quench….” Pretty much explains a thanksgiving meal. It also explains great relationship. ….spending time together till you are filled, satisfied and quenched.

successful-chicken-capture

 

We spent a lot of our day satisfying our love of being together.  Some of the group just sat and talked. some decided they wanted to shoot some clays. My nephew’s wife decided her goal for the day was to catch and hold one of the girls. She accomplished that goal in a very short time. It is a good thing my girls are so tame!

No matter which group you were in…talking,resting, chicken capture or shooting, there was laughter, lots of chatter and an abundance of good natured teasing.

 

For some reason everyone who wanted to shoot remembered their shells but no one remembered to bring extra boxes of clays. My husband and son went and rummaged around in the basement and found a box of rabbit clays….the kind that you are supposed to have bounce along the ground. They decided to use them like regular clays and throw them.

After making their way out back of the barn they soon discovered that those clays did not react like regular ones. There was some confusion when clay after clay flew into the air, guns were fired and intact clays hit the ground. It didn’t look like anyone was hitting anything.  Comments were made, “There is no way we are this bad!”, “We are better than this!” and “I think I need glasses.”

retrieving-clays

After shooting through the whole box they decided to go and retrieve any unbroken ones. They discovered most of them had chips  but had not broken when they had been hit…..mystery solved….they were better than that!  To be honest I think they were all pretty relieved to find out they were not such bad shots after all! They also thought it was kind of neat they could reuse the clays!

Everyone started to get cold as the day was gray, damp and cool. They decided it was time to head back to the house and find some hot coffee and dessert; as the turkey and stuffing had settled and left room for sweets.

There was such a sweetness to this day spent with family. It came to a close much too quickly. Fortunately the memories will last a lifetime. We spent much of the day, today, rehashing yesterday. It was rather like replaying a movie over and over and it was so much fun to redo it in our minds. Days like this just add to the bond that holds people together….shared fun, shared stories, shared joys and shared heartaches all rolled up with love.

I am going to end this post with part of the devotions that we did yesterday. I read an email that I had received way back in 2010 from a lady in her 90’s. ( I was always amazed that she learned how to work a computer at her age….it gives me great hope for the coming years!)

The e-mail was titled, “I Wish You Enough.”  It was the story of a father and daughter at an airport as the daughter is set to leave. It was probably the last time she would see him on this earth and he wanted to wish her a life filled with just enough good things to sustain her.

The e-mail ended with the sentence, “They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.”

This is my Thanksgiving wish for you all. May you be blessed and I wish you enough…….

I Wish You Enough
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
Bob Perks

 

 

 

Walnut Whip Wednesday

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I have been watching my mailbox ever since my friend, Mrs. Cobs, told me she was sending me a package, containing walnut whips, all the way from England. I felt like a kid at Christmas every time I went to the mailbox to see if they had come.  Today they arrived!

At noon I saw the mail man come, saw him put items in the box and then turn around on the yard and drive away. I hoofed it out to the mailbox, full of anticipation, and there it was…….a well-wrapped brown package with my name on it.

I give credit to Mrs. Cobs in the wrapping department. If there were a package wrapping Olympics I am quite sure she would win gold, hands down. Her wrapping skills rival those of my youngest son, who is a firm believer in the use (or over use) of strapping tape and duct tape for his Christmas packaging needs.

I must confess I also love strapping tape….maybe it is just the way it makes the package shine when it has been encased in this wonderful stuff.  Or it could be the fun of watching the recipient struggle to open said package and finally have to resort to the use of a scissors, knife, box-cutter, or some other sharp object.

Anyway, I have strayed from the topic.  I hurried back to the house, package in hand….and some other mail that was not near as exciting as my package. Once opened I found, not only, the walnut whips but an absolutely beautiful handmade card as well!  I have another friend who also makes cards.  I call her “the glitter queen”….for obvious reasons.  I believe she may have to share that title with Mrs. Cobs.

I opened the box of walnut whips and then just had to open one of the individually wrapped whips that were inside the box.  It looked just like a little beehive with a walnut on top!  I had planned to take a photo of the walnut whip once I had taken a bite out of it so that you could see and appreciate the wonderful marshmallow crème inside. After that first bite the thought of stopping to take a picture flew right out of my head!

These little bits of deliciousness are really, really good. Marshmallow crème covered in the smoothest of chocolate and topped with a walnut.  I found it to be a great sweet treat to eat while drinking my tea. If there were ever a candy that looked like it had taken the time to primp, a walnut whip would be that candy. It is a fancy bit of goodness with it’s little walnut topper.

Maybe we will have to convince our local grocery stores to stock walnut whips.  I have a feeling this might not be a USA thing and that is really sad. Locally we have a candy distributor that specializes in candy from all over the world.  I may have to try persuade them that these would be a worthy addition to their line of candies.

My husband was amazed that someone I have never met in person; took the time to purchase walnut whips, make a beautiful card and then send it all the way from England!  I am finding that this world holds many, many wonderful people.

I am also finding that blogging has put me in touch with many of these amazing people. I would encourage you to go on over and have a visit with Mrs. Cobs. (⇐click on her name and it should take you right there. You will be glad you did.)

I would be poorer, indeed, if I had never “met” these fellow bloggers! You are all a blessing to me and my prayer is that you are blessed in return.

And to quote Mrs. Cobs, “Love and squidges to you!”

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg
even though he knows that you are slightly cracked

~Bernard Meltzer quotes

Somebody Turn the Light On!

Tea and Banana Bread.JPG

Oh. My. Word.  I had such a senior moment today that I can hardly believe myself!  I had spent the day baking and decorating sheet cakes for our church. (We are celebrating Pastor Appreciation Month this coming Sunday), baking muffins for an all day meeting tomorrow, and banana breads to just have on hand.

My husband and I were sitting and waiting for our after dinner tea to be done heating in the microwave and smelling the wonderful smell of banana bread baking in the oven when the buzzer sounded.  I leapt out of my chair and went to take the bread out, opened the oven and thought, “What in the world is wrong with the banana bread?”

I made the mistake of voicing this thought out loud in front of my husband.  His first question was wondering (also aloud) if I had forgotten a certain ingredient.  He began naming ingredients (some that don’t even go in banana bread). I told him that I had remembered ALL the ingredients and that forgetting one would not make the bread “goopy and undone-looking”.

As I was standing there looking at the breads that were just sitting there looking goopy while they sat in their loaf pans in my oven , it occurred to me that the timer buzzing might, just might have been the microwave for the tea. It was a light bulb coming on kind of moment! (I wonder if it used to be a candle-lighting moment before there was electricity?)

I am pretty sure that my husband sometimes really wonders about the state of my brain. He is probably very sure that at times someone has snuffed most, if not all of the candles out that were supposed to be lighting all those deep dark areas. Hopefully he just thinks that I do it to keep him on his toes.

I remember going to a conference where the speaker was a woman. She had a solution for some of these less than stellar moments….always keep a can of corn on the step.  That way if you go up or downstairs for something, forget what that something was and don’t want to admit to that fact….you can always carry the can of corn along with you and look like you really do know what you are doing.

Unfortunately I think that strategy requires not wondering aloud what is wrong with the banana bread. My theory is that we can only hold so much information in our brains and then we need to kick some tidbit of information out to make room for more.  I am pretty sure that is the only way multi-tasking works.

Sometimes our lives just get too busy to keep everything straight and we mess up. When these oops moments happen we have two choices….we can see the humor in it or we can beat ourselves up for doing something wrong.  On this one, I am choosing humor. If you are like me, in the past, you have spent too much time picking the other choice.

Life really is too short to spend in second-guessing yourself so take a deep breath, realize that some things are not a life altering moment and go light a candle to brighten the darkness.  Who knows…..you may even brighten the day for those around you and sharing your experiences might make life easier for someone else.

Light Your World.JPG

A human being is fashioned with innumerable qualities
which makes a soul shine in the darkness like a candle lighting up
every nook and cranny of the universe
…A human is a soul carrying a flame forever.

Malika E Nura quotes 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/candle/

 

The Happiness Tag

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I have been chosen by the wonderful funny Mrs Cobbs to participate in the Happiness Tag. I have found out this means I need to share 5 things which make me happy. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to hold this down to only 5 things…..

While I am thinking of which 5 things I want to share with you; I invite you to go over to thecobwebemporium and have a great time meeting  my friend, Mrs. Cobbs. I guarantee you are in for a treat!

The last few days have been spent pondering what five things I would place on the list of things that make me happy.  Top on the list would have to be people. For me family is huge. I love nothing more than to have all my family in the same place at the same time. This can be any location……just so the bunch is together. There are also friends who are as close as family. These are the people who know me, know my flaws and still want to hang out with me anyway! You just gotta love those kind of people like they are family.

Another thing that makes me happy is sitting on our porch on a cool fall morning, drinking my cup of tea while my husband enjoys his morning cup of coffee. This morning as we sat there we could see our breath every time we took a swallow from our mugs. We also had the fun of watching a pair of deer playing in a large grassy area.  They reminded me of pups chasing each other in circles.

I am finding that gardening and preserving food also makes me happy. I am not sure if this is more of a contented feeling but it does translate into happiness when I see the shelves filling with produce. Seeing all those full jars makes all the hoeing weeds, swatting bugs and sore muscles worth while. There is just something so fulfilling about growing and preserving your own food and feeding your family with that same food.

Another satisfyingly happy thing is when Bible study season once again comes around. I get to hang out with women I don’t normally hang out with. We usually do a Beth Moore series each season. It is so rewarding to see someone else’s point of view and how they answered certain questions. I have learned so much from the different Beth Moore series and from the women who study with me.

I love when my husband decides we need to take a road trip. One of the funnest (is that actually a word?) road trips we have ever taken was only a day long. We went someplace in Minnesota to pick up a pair of tractor fenders that he had purchased on craigslist. We left early in the morning, packed our lemon sandwich crème cookies (these are a staple for traveling), and headed north. It was an incredibly hot day and the air conditioner did not work in our car. We made stops on the way home at little antique shops, Wal-Marts (to cool off), and anyplace else that looked interesting. We still laugh about how crazy hot it was but also how crazy fun it was.

So there we are: people, morning tea on the porch, gardening and preserving, Bible study and road trips are some items on my list. I could have included books (nothing like a good Ted Dekker or James Patterson book), crafting (of all kinds-stamping, knitting, crocheting etc.), a good movie, having a tea party with the grandkids, junking with my sister, going to the Lakes, aaaaahhhhhhh the list is really never ending!

I think what I am seeing as I write down my thoughts on what makes me happy is that relationships are what make me the happiest. They are such a blessing.

I now have to ask 5 other bloggers to let us know 5 things that make them happy. I do want them to know that if they are too busy or just would rather not take part that is no problem. There is no pressure because, Hey, I want it to make them happy to participate! I would love to nominate most of the blogs I read because they all make me happy but I am limited to 5.

The following are those I am nominating:

A Quiet and Peaceable Life – The pictures PeggyJoan puts on her blog make me very happy.

The Journey of a Million Miles – MariJo writes so honestly of her relationship with God and those around her.

The Vanilla Tulip – I love how Ashley gives young moms so many great words of advice. I am no longer a young mom (but I am a grandma) and I love how her family and her faith are what keep her centered.

Ruthie’s Crafting Corner – Ruthie has such a variety of things that she includes in her blog you are sure to find something to interest you!

Helberg Farm Stories – The Helberg sisters have a blog that talks about relationships and farming. For me this is a double win!

Just a reminder:  there is no pressure on those nominated to take part but should you choose to; this is what you are asked to do:  Tell your readers 5 things which make you happy.  This can be anything because everyone has a different list of things and that makes this really fun.  You are then asked to keep it going by picking 5 blogs to pass the Happiness Tag to.  You may go ahead and use the Happiness Tag graphic posted at the top as it was made by Mrs. Cobbs and she gave us the go-ahead to use it if we choose. She is good like that!!

Oh…..and one last thing…….have fun!!!!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

The County Fair

chicken-grandma-at-the-fair

The Chicken Grandma Goes to the Fair.

 

There is a county in our area that has the most amazing county fair. The famous Clay County Fair (or as we used to call it the Spencer Fair – is located in the town of Spencer) is one of the  biggest county fairs I know of.

My husband and I decided we would attend yesterday as it was not raining. It was cold but we decided wearing a coat was better than using an umbrella to stay dry. It was also better than some years when it is so hot you just sit and bake in the sun. At least when it is cold and windy you can add more clothes…..when it is hot there is only so much you can take off before you either scare people or get arrested.

Every day at this county fair they have a special gate admission for various groups.  The day we went was a discount for senior citizens. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) we do not yet qualify for this discount.  The only concern we had was would there be enough benches for us to rest on when we wanted to sit down? Senior day tends to see the benches with lots of white haired (or no haired) people utilizing them.

We found seating was not such a problem this year as a lot of the seniors rented scooters or rode around on golf carts. After walking around the entire day those scooters and carts looked really, really good!

We spent the day wandering the grounds looking at farm machinery, antiques, tractors, and classic cars. Those are my husbands favorite categories. I love to go in the buildings that have the displays of hand-made quilts, cards, scrapbook pages, canned goods, etc.

It was also fun to taste the samples of the products the vendors were trying to sell. There was a booth that had the most amazing fried bacon Wisconsin cheese. I wanted to buy some till I saw the price. I am a little to tight to pay that much for a small square of cheese.

I love to watch the salesmen trying to sell the gadgets and gizmos.  I do have to restrain myself from purchasing these gadgets and gizmos because how many of them do I really need? At least that is what I keep telling myself; as the man is slicing and dicing vegetables and telling me every reason that I should possess that gadget…..and he has some really good reasons.

A day at the fair is not complete without purchasing a 1/2 pound pork tenderloin sandwich basket for our meal. My husband and I usually share a basket because that is a lot of food and we need to save room for important food like nutty bars and/or Tom Thumb donuts.

The Poultry Building is also a big draw for me…….I guess I would not be the Chicken Grandma if I did not like chickens?  My husband just laughed and wondered if I really needed to see them when I could look at chickens any time I want to. I just told him these were different chickens and went on to have a little conversation with someone else’s girls. They were all very attentive when I spoke with them.

One of our favorite buildings is the second oldest one on the fairgrounds…..the Agriculture building. They are going to be taking it down as it is no longer up to code. This made us sad as we like the old buildings and this one always had the farm produce, home-made wines,  4-H exhibits and the mammoth pumpkins.

 

Maybe it made us sad because we really don’t like to see change. There is a comfort in the familiar. There is a comfort in things remaining constant. It is not always possible to keep things as they were; but knowing that fact does not make change any easier to do.

I have a feeling that the older I get, the less I will like change. I totally agree with the old adage, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  Unfortunately the Agriculture building is “broke”. I will get over it (even though I am not sure I want to) eventually.

There is nothing permanent except change.
Heraclitus

Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/heraclitus165537.html?src=t_change

Day Trip to Junkstock

Junkstock 2016

Junkstock 2016-Omaha, NE

This is the year I finally made it to Junkstock…..three days of Peace, Love and Junk!  At least that is their motto.  I did see peace signs, lots of them.  I am not sure about the love part; but there was a lot of junk (treasures), of all kinds!  If you are into repurposing any and all items into household décor or usable items, this is the place for you.

Morning of Junkstock 2016

April 9, 2016 Heading down the road

 

A friend of mine messaged me a few weeks back telling me we needed a day away and we should go junking. We found out Junkstock was happening in April so one of my sisters, my friend, and I left early Saturday morning……very early for a Saturday and headed for Omaha, NE.  The sky was beautiful and the weather looked promising. After one stop for an Egg McMuffin on the way; we arrived at our destination.

The day promised to be extremely windy and that wind had a real “bite” to it.  We found a great photo opportunity and a place to get out of the wind and dust for a short time; by sitting in the back 1/2 half of a VW bug.

Half a Car is Better Than None......

 

We wandered around for a couple hours before meeting up with my daughter-in-law and her mom.  They had an idea for a great place to have lunch in Omaha…and they were right! (I only call this noon meal lunch because we were in the city.  Back home we would call it dinner.)   The place they chose was Dante Pizzaria. The food was delicious – pizza made in a wood fired oven and ingredients from local people. I would totally recommend going there to eat.  The food was great and so was the service. You may want to check it out by clicking on the link.  http://www.dantepizzeria.com/

They also took us to a neat little tea shop called the Tea Smith.  We smelled all kinds of wonderful teas before we made our purchases. We also tried some samples of teas.  I bought the Chocolate Mint Rooibos tea to try.  It smells amazing!  Hopefully it tastes the same as it smells  I will let you know how it tastes once I try it.  http://www.theteasmith.com/

We then headed back to the farm where Junkstock has taken place for the last 5 years. We spent the rest of the afternoon, once again, wandering the grounds.  We sampled, and purchased a flask, of some really great root beer. We purchased stamped tea towels, bank boxes, an old chicken waterer and a hanging coat rack  made from staves of a wine barrel.

I, personally,  did not come home with much as I seem to have sheds at home that contain all the things necessary to duplicate what I saw and really liked.  I did come home with lots of ideas on how to use what I already have.  I am pretty sure that will make my husband cringe as he knows that this will involve him. I may have to “encourage” his participation in some projects before field work starts.

The entire time we were browsing through vendor booths we were entertained by bands playing songs we remembered from high school.  I should say, some of us remembered the songs from high school.

Junkstock

A “little” breezy at Junkstock

 

The vendors were great, the music awesome, and other than the wind, the day was a success.  I think my favorite part was the time spent with friends and family.  This is definately a road trip that will stay on the annual to do list.

We did make one final stop in Omaha before heading back to Iowa.  We went to a little coffee shop called Storieshttp://storiescoffeehouse.com/  Once again the atmosphere was so cool and the barrista turned out to be someone from my hometown!  If you ever get there I am recommending you purchase a Caramel/Pecan Bar.  You will not be sorry.

If you are looking for a day trip in the Midwest, Junkstock in Omaha, NE is a great destination.  If you have already been there I would love to know what your favorite part was, did you have a favorite vendor booth,  and who did you share that day with?  You have two more opportunities this year to get there……. and make sure you try the root beer!

http://www.junkstockomaha.com/

“Friendship … is born at the moment
when one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

To invent
you need a good imagination

and a pile of junk.
Thomas A. Edison

Egg Dishes and Bridal Showers

Brunch Egg Dish

This past Saturday we, as aunts, had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for a future niece.  It is an exciting time when your kids, nieces and nephews are starting out down the road of that great adventure called marriage.  Because of this event and the Easter weekend we had the fun of having out daughter-in-law and the grandkids come and stay at our home for the weekend. Our son, unfortunately, was not able to come due to illness

Our grandson, who is 4 1/2, (he makes sure to tell us about the 1/2) likes to get up early in the morning.  Usually when he is around he ends up crawling between grandpa and grandma in bed.  That morning we were having a little conversation about what the day would bring.  We mentioned he would get to hang out with Grandpa and the two uncles that would be coming that morning. He immediately picked up on the fact that his sister, mom, aunt and grandma would be doing something different.  I tried to explain that the ladies would be going to a bridal shower. We tried not to focus on the word shower as that brought on mental images of  literally showering the bride with water and that can be a dangerous idea for a small boy!  I explained that Kayla was going to be marrying cousin Ross. The response to that, from a 4 1/2 year old boy, was “Ewwwwww!”  That perspective still brings a huge smile to my face.  I am thinking I should remind him of that in about 12 years.

My perspective on the shower was a little different than my grandson’s view.  I found it to be great fun.  It was a blessing to connect with each other through fun, games, lunch, gift- giving and prayer.

As an aunt I volunteered to make an egg casserole as we were having a brunch.  (That one was kind of a no brainer as I have plenty of eggs on hand.)  This is my go-to recipe for gatherings with a brunch menu.

EGG DISH
3 cups diced ham
3/4 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
1 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
3 cups milk
12 eggs beaten
42 soda crackers, crumbled
dash pepper
small can mushrooms, drained (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in 9 x 13 pan and refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (till firm)

Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3 NLT