"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Call It A Night

This is New Year's Eve afternoon. I have about zero energy. Do I plan on staying up late tonight? Probably not. I just can't shake off my tiredness. I've even switched allergy meds which has helped a bit. Tiredness and hives are not a nice mix of ailments. But it's better than other maladies so I won't complain.

Tonight we have been invited to a neighbor's home a few doors down. Just Mr. Mac, Nathan, Ann & myself. No big party ... and we'll probably leave by nine PM. They have become good neighbor friends of late and have taken an interest in Nathan. So it's nice to be invited somewhere that he will feel welcomed.

This will be an interesting new year. So much uncertainty. And yet, there is certainty for people of faith in Christ. Be a sharer of your faith to those that have lost hope.

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Cast Your Irons Aside

Do you have a few cast iron skillets sitting idle in your kitchen cupboard? Have you used them in the past decade? Well, before you put them out for a yard sale this spring, why not dust them off, re-season them and start cooking like grandma used to. Yes, they are heavy ... but in their defense, they retain and can take the heat (unlike today's non-stick pans). From stove top, oven, broiler or campfire, cast iron is a sure bet. My grandma 'B' used black cast iron skillets and cooked everything from squirrel :) (no kidding) to fried chicken and in between. Libby 'B' was quite the homemaker with skills of canning her garden goods, making feather beds, raising lots of kids, and cooking up a storm when we visited her. Just ask my pop.

This past year I've been itching to get my hands on a Dutch oven (DO) to cook in outside by the campfire. For Christmas I received a cookbook with all the how to's and what not to do's listed, along with many tall tales and bonafide recipes. To start practicing for when the snow melts and I can once again find my backyard, I'm planning to use my flat bottomed DO inside this winter. It won't be the same, but practice makes perfect. The photos show my newly seasoned DO and a newly acquired 12" beauty of a skillet after their final seasoning. Also shown is the aforementioned cookbook.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Alive ... barely

I have been re-cooperating from our Christmas celebration. Hanging around the house in comfy jammies and slippers, wrapped up in warm blankets snoozing by the fire. If the Lord had fashioned me after anything other than Himself, next in line would be a bear. Not the grouchy association of the creature, but its hibernating habit. Just give me a warm cave to hunker down in til the snow storms pass and let me wake up to a wonderful spring day. Wishing you and yours a safe passage into the New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mrs. Mac ... over the edge

On a recent hike up to my neighbor's property (just above mine) to check on their home ... they are snow birds and I am their property manager... Needless to say, I jokingly told them they don't pay me enough any longer to make house calls in these snowy conditions. Just look at what happened on the way over Friday. Thank goodness Mr. Mac was along for the 'hike' or I just might still be swallowed up in this snow bank,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas

Christmas at home this year will be here before I know it. Now as I type, the neighbor kids are using the common part of the driveway as a private sledding hill, and I may just have to join them in a bit. With the exception of Patrick, all will be home Christmas Day. He is finishing up his last two months of military service and then plans to move home in February and get established in our area. Today was sunny, clear, and cold. But the scenery was awesome! Nathan and I got out for a bit and took a drive around the lake after taking a few turns on the sled. Hoping you are warm.

Hugs from the North Woods,

Photo: View from my driveway 12/20/08

Friday, December 19, 2008

An Early Christmas Vacation

The schools are closed again today ... so now we are officially in Christmas Vacation mode. Sleeping in until 8:00 A.M. and getting dressed at noon. I just hope neighbors don't drop by unexpected before I am put together.
Christmas! 'Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart.
Washington Irving

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Town Closed For The Day ...

Update: We had 32 inches of snow with the last storm!

... Stay Home! That is the general message the news media and emergency personnel are telling everyone today. The airport is shut down, I-90 is for emergency responders only, and most side streets are not going to be plowed for a few days. Fortunately for us, we live in a small town with our own plow equipment. Our street was plowed before sunrise. The snow has been falling since yesterday morning at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour. At 3:00 AM I woke up to take a peek outside. By 4:00 AM I was up making coffee and watching the news reports about school closures. Finally by 5:00 AM it was announced we would have a snow day for our school district. It takes quite a pile up of snow to close down the local schools. The temps are in the teens (F) ... but by tomorrow, we're in for a blast of cold air from the Arctic. Any plowing needs to get done today while the snow is powdery. By tomorrow, everything will be frozen solid for quite some time. So far, we've gotten ahead of the plowing and will be quite busy once again in a few hours. What great exercise ... just pushing the snow blower. Its mantra this morning was ... "I think I can, I think I can" ... as it chugged through my driveway. Hoping you are all safe with this crazy weather ... keep dry and warm and stock up on supplies if needed.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

Hugs from up North,

Sing hey! Sing hey!
For Christmas Day;
Twine mistletoe and holly.
For a friendship glows
In winter snows,
And so let's all be jolly!
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Been Hectic

We are just over an arctic blast and now have snowy weather in the teens during the day. The teens seem warm compared to minus zero temps. I have been busy taking care of my little grandson the past two days; Nathan has had a ruptured ear drum and home from school; and just keeping up with clearing the driveway is my exercise routine for the day! Yesterday I made chocolate fudge and peppermint bark for Christmas goodies. This is so much easier than baking oodles of cookies. I'm just about finished with my Christmas shopping ... and my New Year's greeting card can wait until January. My son Patrick's Christmas package went out at noon so now I can sigh a bit of relief. Aaah. How are you holding up just days before Christmas?

Amid the hustle and bustle ... we have to stop and give thanks to the Son of God that came to earth so very long ago. None of this pre Christmas rush can compare to the simple truth of the Christ Child, Jesus. Let's not just remember him in the manger as a babe, but what he came to earth to accomplish, and conquer. May his Peace reign among the nations and in your hearts.

Hugs from the North Woods,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

... "Walking In A Winter Wonderland" ...

... Old Frosty the Snowman paid us a visit (finally) yesterday. The Mr. and I got up early and used our new snow blower on the driveway. It works so much faster and better than having to use our four wheeler and plow. Just watch out if you're on my naughty list ... cuz the jet of snow this new blower throws has pretty accurate aim ... just ask the Mr :) OK, so I got a little carried away! The weather is that arctic blast (Miss Terry sent) from Canada. We're not supposed to be much above zero degrees by tomorrow. The dawg will be so happy she can live in the basement for a few days. She stood outside at my French door in the dining room with a pitiful look on her face all morning. Mr. Mac just headed off to Santa's workshop for a little charity gig at the airport. He was dressed as a keystone cop and had an important flight to catch with some needy children up to the North Pole. Will hopefully post a picture tomorrow. Have a toasty warm weekend inside by the fire. Hugs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Stress Christmas

The older I get, the less and less I want to do in the 'merry making' department at Christmas. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy Christmas. I still put up a tree and bake cookies. I still have children at home. But, I've come to a place in life that gives me permission to pull back and examine exactly what Christmas means. Christmas, as in December 25, is most likely not Christ's true birthday. One could go on and on about how Christian's converted pagan feasts into Christian 'holy days' as a way to convert pagans. This being said, Christmas has become so foggy of an idea that it's now both secular (Santa) and religious (Christ). Whatever His true birthday is, Christians need to live each day as if it's a special day from God. The Christmas 'industry' (commercialism) is driven by a year end frenzy to buy, buy, buy. In reality, God gave the perfect Gift in a humble setting without all the glitter, garland, paper and bows. Take time this season to examine your motives of this celebration. Christ's birth was simple. Are you up to making Christmas more simple?

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2-8:12 (NIV)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Simply Put

Remembering the humility of Christ. His birth and death have changed the world. May we keep his simple message at the forefront as we yet, again, celebrate his birth.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Almost a Teen

It's hard to believe that my Nathan will be a teenager in March. He is very tiny and the thought of him being 13 just blows me away. Today when I picked him up at the bus after school, he told me he wanted to invite a girl to Mama's house. Now mind you, anyone not tuned in to his language would not have picked up what he was saying ... but, this mom knows his heart and babble to understand him quite well. Maybe over the Christmas break, he can have a very supervised visit as they were caught kissing in the pumpkin patch on a class field trip in October. It's gonna be a rough few years ahead, I can already tell ;)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Soporific Rest

The turkey doldrums hit me on Black Friday. Who in their right mind would want to fight the mobs to save money on Christmas gifts. Stand in long lines before sunrise, shivering in the cold wondering if you might get mobbed or even lose your very life to save a few bucks. Not I. My Black Friday rest was partially induced from the feast on Thursday and the work involved to cook the meal. Taking an allergy pill put me in a near sleep induced coma on the couch for a few days. I viewed just about every cheesy Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas movie and made a permanent dent in my sofa. I can spot sewing batting used for snow scenes and computer animated snow flakes from my finely tuned eyes. Decorating for Christmas will be a slow process; a breather is needed to put some space between the two holidays. Perhaps I need some anti-depression meds to snap out of it ... na, another cookie will do the trick!