Card Making and Sister Time

Card Making

I had a great day spending time with my little sister making cards today. In the weeks before surgery we picked this date as a good day to get my mind off recuperating and onto something fun.

She came before noon with dinner in hand…..chicken, broasted potatoes, and cactus bread from our local Pizza Ranch. That was a great way to start and was delicious!  Once eating was out of the way we got down to figuring out what cards we wanted to make.

She got her “stuff” out of her vehicle and then we scavenged through my craft cupboards. We also looked through Pinterest to find ones we thought we could make with what we had. The picture above shows the ones we decided on and ones we put our twist on.

We decided early on that perfection was not the goal.  This was a good decision as our cards ended up not always so perfect. The stamps and ink we used were mainly ones from Stampin Up. Our cardstock and paper came from anywhere we could get them. (Michaels, Ben Franklin and/or Hobby Lobby).

We spent a lot of time today making cards; but what was so much fun was the time spent visiting about anything and everything. We rehashed past surgeries, family history, good jokes we had heard, recipes we have tried and so many other topics. It was a good day spent laughing and connecting.

The time spent turned an ordinary day into something more. It turned it into a time of family and the memories that family carries. We have already made plans to do this again….only next time we are inviting the other sisters and friends. I have one sister who tells us that, “crafts make her sweat.” She will also be invited and we will try to make it as sweat free as possible!

The thing to remember is not what the cards end up looking like ……but how much fun it was gathering to make them. So much of life is like that….it is not what you accomplish but how and who, you accomplish it with.

What do you like to do with your sisters? What makes for a great time spent with your family?

May your weekend be filled with family, friends and fun. May you make memories that will last a lifetime and be the kind you can’t wait to revisit when you gather.

“The only ones who truly know your story are the ones who helped you write it.”
Unknown

 

Anticipation of the Season

top-hats

Only a few more days till Christmas and I have one more cookie recipe to share with you before the day is actually here. This is one is that my youngest two sons wait for with great anticipation as it is their all time favorite. In fact, the youngest told me just the other day; that he did not care what other varieties of cookies there were…..as long as there were plenty of Top Hats.

His enthusiasm for these cookies is contagious.  When I told him I was in the process of making them I could almost hear his smile through the phone line in that one word he uttered, “Yessss.”

It is always fun to find out what things are important to my children and husband on the holidays. Certain foods and certain traditions all speak different languages of love to each of them.  With daughter-in-laws and grandchildren added to the mix; it just makes it all the more fun.

Anticipation of the season for me is about so much more than all the preparation, baking, list making, shopping and so on. For me it is wrapped up in family and the love I see in their eyes for each other. The joy they have when they get together is a blessing to the heart and soul of this mom.

The anticipation of the laughter, the memories, the stories, the good-natured joking has taken hold and added a glow that rivals the brightly colored lights on the Christmas tree in the corner. My mindset is ready for the day to arrive….my preparations are not…..but they soon will be completed and if they are not; it really does not matter.

I finished the last of the cookies yesterday and tomorrow is house-cleaning time. If I figure it right I will be all set to go by the time the kids arrive this weekend.

I am not sure where I got this recipe; as I have been making these for more years than I care to count. These cookies take a little “canooey” work as my Grandma used to say. I will tell you; if you do make them….they are definitely worth the effort.

Top Hats
Cookies:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup nutmeats (optional)
1 cup flake coconut
Frosting:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
Melt and beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Mix cookie dough and shape into 1 inch balls.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes at 325º – 350º
Remove from oven and thumbprint.
Mix filling and put on top of cookie.
Top with chocolate frosting.
NOTE: I choose not to add the optional nutmeats to the filling as my family does not care for them.

I will be counting the days till my family gathers. (I will also be guarding the cookies till they all get here!) I will be soaking up the joy that is this season and anticipating the contentment that is family.  May you be blessed in your preparations for this season of joy.

Christmas…that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.
Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance
…a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.

Augusta E Rundell quotes 

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

 

 

 

Friendships and Tea Sets

Well-Loved Tea Set.JPG

For some reason tonight I am struggling to organize my thoughts.  I keep rearranging them and sorting them out in my mind while I try to get them typed into this post. Perhaps it is because the day was full.  It was full of laughter, joy, sharing and love. The day has left so may thoughts swirling through my brain that it is difficult to know where to start and where to end.

It was a great day spent with two close friends. I have known who these two women are; for probably 16 years.  It is only the last few years that I have really come to know these two women. We met at a Christian retreat and have met at that same retreat for many years.

When you have shared life stories, shared tears and shared laughter you realize what a gift friendship and relationship can be. These women have seen the best of me and I am pretty sure they have seen the worst of me…..and yet they call me friend!  It is almost as if God has gifted me with two extra sisters….you know…..where they have to love you no matter what????

We spent the day in a couple small towns in our area today. As friends, we share a love for small little shops that are full of repurposed things made from windows, doors, ice-skates etc. We love to find the odd and the unusual in everything from home decorating items to clothing. I am thinking we  might also love to BE the odd and unusual! (Trying on “blingy” headbands and taking selfies is always a good time!) I have no doubt there are some stories being told about “three crazy women that came into the store today……”

We have learned over time that when we plan a day out we struggle to make up our minds as to what we want to do or where we want to go. (That might be a woman thing……but who really knows?)   After the first time we made plans to have a “friend day” we have also learned that we need to make very “loose” plans and be ready to rearrange as necessary.

That first time we got together, we never did get out of the small town that was the prearranged meeting place. (It probably did not help that we met at a little coffee/tea shop and spent a couple hours just catching up!) Our husbands were stunned and their eyes kind of glazed over when we came home and told them we never made it to the city with the big stores, malls etc. and that we had spent the entire day poking through the little shops and second hand store that this small town offered. I know my husband spent the night just kind of looking at me and shaking his head.  Every so often he would mumble something and give me an odd look.

These two women are the kind of friends who are great to go shopping with.  They will give you an honest answer when you ask the dreaded question, “What do you think of these jeans on me?” We then ponder on the fact that men never ask that question. Do they not care what jeans look like on them? Those are also the type of question we discuss when we are together….we have come up with lots of answers to these types of questions; but I am thinking they might not be the right ones.

These two are also the kind of friends you can be intensely serious with and intensely silly with…..sometimes in the same conversation.  They are the kind of friends where you laugh till you cannot breathe and sometimes you laugh so hard you snort.

They are the kind that help you find a well-loved, well-used, well-worn tea set for an almost 3 year old granddaughter….because they know your granddaughter loves tea parties. I love the thought that when I am invited to a tea party with my granddaughter these two friends will come to mind because of that tea set.

The older I get the more I value relationships with those around me.  Not just the surface kind…but the kind where people are “real”. The masks are off and you know that what you see is really what you get. It is a rare gift.  It is a blessing. It is something to be valued.

May you be blessed with friends who are a blessing to you as much as you are a blessing to them.

I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3
NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Life….Together

Family.JPG

My husband and I had the opportunity to go to a wedding this weekend of a cousin. It was a great time spent with family that you don’t always get to talk to. It was so much fun reconnecting with some of his cousins.

Lots of childhood stories were passed around the table at the reception. Stories of games played at family gatherings, tales of “remember when…….”, time spent comparing memories each cousin had of the same event in their past, and stories of uncles and aunts who pulled pranks on newlywed couples (also known as Shivareeing….and nope I am not sure how to spell that!).

The sense of family and being together was like a warm blanket wrapped around our hearts and souls. The feeling of belonging to something that was timeless brought a contentment that is hard to explain. As talk and laughter swirled around that church fellowship hall it was neat to just stop and look around to absorb the joy of relationships.

So many times in life, busyness gets in the way of relationships and so it is good to have an event that celebrates that very thing. It is good to be reminded that these cousins and siblings have been there your entire life and you can pick up the threads of your childhood anytime you get together.

There is something special about the bond of siblings and cousins. They know pretty much everything about you and still love you….they have to because they are family! They know your strengths and your weaknesses and if you have stayed in touch they will always have your back. It is indeed, a good thing when your family also becomes your friends.

Talking to a cousin or sibling will definitely keep you grounded as they never, ever forget all the brilliant (and stupid) things you did as a kid. They will not let you forget that you shot your brother in the back with a BB gun (this would be my brother in law). They will never let you forget that you put a shotgun shell through your mom’s living room ceiling (another brother-in law ….though my husband usually gets the blame for this one). The stories of roller skating in Grandma’s basement, playing in haymows and remembering certain favorite toys at uncle’s and aunt’s homes are such sweet memories.

I always have so much fun just listening to these stories of my husband’s life. We have been married almost 36 years but every time we get together with his family it seems I learn something new about his childhood.

Maybe that is part of the beauty of relationships…..there is always more to be learned about another person, another facet to their life. I have a feeling it may take way more than my lifetime to really know everything about this man God gave me.  I think that is a good thing.

 

 

A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost
Marion C. Garretty

Chicken Bocce Ball?

Chicken Bocce Ball.JPG

Some of my kids were home this past weekend.  It was a great weekend for them to be here. The weather was perfect…..in the 70’s for temperatures and hardly any humidity.

We decided, after Sunday dinner, that we should haul out the Bocce ball set and play a game.  I use the term “play a game” rather loosely as I am not totally sure what scoring is needed to make it an official game of Bocce ball. I was just thrilled to finally use the Bocce ball set that I had purchased at the Goodwill Store for ten bucks!

After playing a couple rounds; my middle son tactfully suggested that perhaps we should have mowed the lawn. We assured him that this just made for a higher level of skill in the game. We also did find out that our lawn is not smooth. (This was really no surprise.)

It took a lot of skill to get the balls anywhere near the little white ball that was our target. About the time we thought we were close we would discover we had been aiming for a blooming white clover. And when we could actually see the little white ball it was on a mound and whenever you got near to it; your ball would just roll on by and pick up speed as it hit the back side of the mound.

My husband did the honors of flinging the little white ball. (He may or may not have a sadistic streak as he usually tried to get it perched on a mound or some other difficult location.) I have since googled Bocce Ball and discovered the little white ball does have an official name — pallino.  I have a feeling we will just continue calling it the “little white ball”.

We also discovered that when you toss that white ball, most of the chickens that roam around here took off after it like it was the last thing they would get to eat in their lifetime.  This made it pretty difficult to throw our colored balls toward the white one.

The kids were worried about hitting one of the girls. My husband cavalierly assured them if they did we would have soup. (I do think he likes the girls more than he lets on!)  I assured the kids that if they rolled the ball instead of throwing it; the chickens would jump out of the way…..which they did….with a lot of wing-flapping and squawking.

Food.JPG

I have no idea what the girls were thinking when they chased down those balls.  Were they thinking it was food rolling by?  Were they wondering if one of them had been an over achiever in the egg laying department? It does make me curious what goes on in that walnut sized brain of theirs.

Eventually they (the chickens) tired of chasing the balls all over the yard and went back to chasing bugs.  This made it a lot easier for us to finish the game. We only played till someone made it to 10….I have since discovered that 16 is the official number that means you have won the game.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon with the family. There was lots of laughter, good-natured ribbing, plenty of sarcasm and plain good fun. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that really are the best…..a good Sunday dinner, good conversation, and a rousing game of Bocce Ball complete with chickens.

I am happy to report that no chickens were harmed during the playing of that Bocce ball game. I cannot vouch for their mental state after that game but physically they are fine and today they seem to have forgotten all about the episode.

Play Bocce Ball
whenever you can.
It’s cheaper than meds!
Unknown