Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies


Today I'm sharing a recipe for Sheila's Breakfast Cookies. The original recipe is from Martha S, but my mother-in-law found the recipe on line and we made a few adjustment, so that's what I call them. 

This recipe makes a BIG batch of dough, and the original directions call for making just eight cookies!  I've never done that, I think they would be the size of dinner plates! I make them BIG, but I still get about two dozen cookies from the recipe. I use a scoop that is about 1/4 cup to measure out the dough. The cookies freeze well, so it's worth making a full batch.

Here's the recipe:

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tps. salt
4 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 cups rolled oats

1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
You can also add pumpkin seeds, coconut, banana chips, flax seed, whatever you like.

  1. Sift together flours, soda and salt. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla, mix. Then stir in the oats.
  4. Add flour mixture a little at a time. I use the mixer for this.
  5. Hand mix in the nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and any other additions.
      Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, if you're using a 1/4 cup scoop.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Preparing for Advent


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.


Advent begins on Sunday. I'm already thinking of how to be more intentional in embracing the peace of the Christmas season.  I dug out this little devotional book that a friend gifted me a couple of years ago. Can't wait to begin.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Talking turkey

It's the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and yesterday's theme of gratitude is spilling over into today. I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving had a happy one, and for my Canadian friends that you had a happy Thursday;)

Onto Friday's Fave Five.

1. Number one, I'm so grateful for my family on this weekend of Thanksgiving, and every day. (I'll put at a note at the bottom of this post for those of you who were wondering how my plan for cooking the turkey turned out this year). Those gathering at our house yesterday: Dad and Carol, Aunt Ann, Joe and Sam, and Emily, Marcus and the kids. One of the things I look forward to on the holidays is the group family texts that going flying around. It makes me feel like we are all together, so it was good to have one of those round robins going with my brothers and Dad (even though he was with us;)  Also, texting with my friend Pamela and cousin Jackie while preparing on Wednesday, made it fun, too! By Thursday morning, Pam and I made a pact to meet halfway next year -- which would be somewhere in Kansas -- and have dinner at a Village Inn! Ha!


2. It was so warm yesterday -- (highs of 72 yesterday and today) -- that we started the afternoon outside.

3. On Wednesday, I walked with my friend Joan for the first time in months. It's so easy to fall out of a habit. It was so good to catch up with one another, and we have made a steadfast promise to get back to our regular routine.

4. I have a new young mom to mentor at the women's center where I volunteer. The center provides support to women who have unplanned pregnancies. I love working with the young moms, they are so grateful for a chance to sit with an 'old mom' and talk about their babies and motherhood, and I learn so much from them! It's the best part of my week.

5. Dan hung Christmas lights today. It's warm today, but a little bit breezy, so I'm grateful that 1) he didn't get blown off the ladder, and 2) that I have a husband who really gets into decking the halls!

* A note on the turkey. This year, I opted to order the turkey pieced out, so that I didn't have to deal with carving, and the messy carcass afterward. Some of you asked me to let you know how it turned out. It tasted delicious and was very moist. I roasted it with fresh rosemary and thyme, and slathered it in butter. Dan liked this method, because he's never been thrilled with the job of carving the bird. I'm not convinced it was all that much easier, though.  I suppose if I'd cooked it the day before, which is how the Pioneer Woman did it on her show, then the cleanup would be minimal on the day of. But, clean up is clean up. Using a foil roasting pan helped, so that -- and spending a little more for a fresh turkey -- would be the takeaway from this little experiment. 

Happy Friday to all!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Finding thanks

What a zoo at the grocery store today, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.  I expected as much, the weekend before Thanksgiving. I considered waiting until tomorrow, when it would be less crowded. But on Mondays, everything is typically picked over and I was afraid of not getting everything I needed, as evidenced by the empty space where the turkey broth should have been. My other shortcut this year is to make the gravy the day before. Gravy stresses me out to no end.

When I made out my list at home, I noted at the top: Be Thankful. So, as I went through the aisles, cart swerving to miss other shoppers, this is what I came up with:

I'm thankful for parents who are trying to shop from their long lists while corralling kids, or juggling one on a hip. And grateful that I don't have to take kids with me to the grocery store anymore. I was never very good at that.

I'm thankful for the military families who had a table set up outside the store, handing out lists of items they need for care packages, and with Christmas cards ready to sign, that they will mail to the troops. It makes it so easy to support the troops this way, something that I love to do and usually put off until it is three days before Christmas, and too late to send a card. And I'm grateful that the veterans in my family all got home safe and sound.

I'm thankful that the whole reason for the hustle and bustle is so that we can all provide our families with delicious feasts and gather together for the day. It's easy to forget that this is something we get to do, and are able to do. Not everyone has that privilege.

I'm thankful for shoppers who keep their sense of humor, and for the young clerk who wanted to hear about how I make my dressing. And I'm grateful for pre-cubed bread -- yet another shortcut.

And I'm thankful for my husband (who I used to call DH on this blog, and for the longest time he thought it stood for 'damn husband' -- of course it's DEAR husband!). When I got home, we were unloading the groceries, and I announced that I'm not making sweet potatoes this year. "Are you disappointed?" I asked. "No, I'm not," he said. "But you will be, it's your favorite part of Thanksgiving."

And then he insisted he was going to make a pan just for me, with pecans and pineapple, and topped with perfectly toasted marshmallows toasted, the way I like it. 

Just kidding about that last part. But, how I do love that man. Coming home to him makes me most thankful.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

The best night of the week

Taking a few minutes to reflect on the blessings of the past week, along with the lovely Friday Fave Five group. The link is here.

1. Dan and I decided to get a jump on some Christmas shopping. Last night we went out for Mexican food for supper, then went to the local big box toy store to look for ideas for the grandkids. We picked up a few things, and have ideas for the rest.

2. I am so blessed by the younger women in my life. I'm a decade or so ahead of most of the women I work with and volunteer with, and I have so much respect for how hard they work in their careers and the way they are raising their families, particularly daughters. It fills me with hope for the future to see how capable and enthusiastic they are.

3. After watching this episode of The Pioneer Woman, I'm excited to try something new for Thanksgiving this year. Instead of roasting the turkey whole, I ordered one cut up at the local grocery store. It has never occurred to me to do it this way! Dan isn't disappointed a bit that he doesn't have to carve it, and I'm happy not to have a big old turkey carcass to deal with for cleanup.  Ree's recipe gives instructions to roast the bird the day before, but I will probably just do it the day of.  I'm thankful for new ideas!

4. I came across this quote and it has resonated with me all week: "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives." John F. Kenney

5. Dan and I have a standing date with my aunt for dinner on Friday nights. Sometimes my dad and stepmom join us, too! We always toast to the end of the week, remembering my grandpa who used to call Fridays,"the best night of the week."

Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the world. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Daybook, November 13, 2017

It's been ages since I've done a Daybook. I always feel grateful and a bit more organized and ready for the week, when I do. Here's the link if you'd like to join in:  A Simple Woman's Daybook (hosted by Peggy).


For Today, November 13, 2017

Looking out my window. . . The sky is a deep blue, the mountains in the distance are covered in snow, and the sun is shining. A gorgeous day.

I am thinking. . . that life is one big, full, messy blessing!

I am thankful . . . for too many things to list here.

One Some of my favorite things . . . making lists, pictures of my kids and grandkids, English muffins with marmalade.

I am creating . . .A knitted hat for Joey, a short story, and organized chaos at my desk.


I am wearing . . . jeans, long sleeved t-shirt and favorite slippers.

I am reading. . . Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan.

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I am hoping . . . to clean my house today (Ha!)

I am learning . . . something almost daily through this wonderful book of devotions:

One Year Devotions for Women The PB (The One Year Book)

In my kitchen . . . I can find most anything now, after organizing my cupboards over the weekend.

In my garden . . . 


Post Script . . . My intention this month was to use some prompts and do a daily gratitude post. Life gets in the way, in all its abundance and messiness and goodness and fullness. So, just doing the best I can with the 24 hours a day that I'm given. In the meantime, just the intention to look for good stuff, has made my heart so full! 

Shared Quote . . . 
"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."
Beverly Sills

A moment from my day . . .
{share a picture of your daily-ness}

This is a shot of my computer screen. See those black lines at the bottom? Not sure what damage has been done, but they keep growing. I am in a little competition to see how long I can continue putting up with this before I cave and buy a new laptop. My husband and son can't believe I haven't caved already. It's a bit annoying -- when I'm typing along and get to the bottom of the screen and can't see what I'm writing. Like now. It's just part of my day!


Happy Monday to all!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thankful


It's Friday, and along with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and friends, it's time to look back at the week and list a few moments of gratitude.

1. On Monday, Dan and I attended an early Thanksgiving celebration for an organization where I volunteer. It's an annual event, where we get to know the families of the women that come to our center, and we all get to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast! It always tastes to so much better when someone else does the cooking, right?

2. I shared an early morning with Brooklynn on Tuesday, snuggling and reading books while everyone else was still asleep.  Such a lovely way to start the day.

3. Dan worked from home one day this week. We had a coffee break in the morning and then took a walk in the afternoon.  I wouldn't recommend he do this full time! but it sure was a nice change, and I enjoyed the company as I went about my day.

4. We had some light snow earlier in the week, and most of our mornings have been cold with lots of frost. I love the change in season and that first bout of really cold weather.

5. I started a new knitting project this week. Just something simple for a Christmas gift, if it turns out okay! It feels good to be creating something, and keeps my hands busy while watching those Hallmark Christmas movies (another favorite for this week).

How was your week?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Touch

I am heartsick about the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas yesterday. It comes on the heels of the Walmart shooting that was just a few miles from our home last week. When does it end?

At times like this, I have to be more determined than ever to look for God's hand in our world, as it keeps me hopeful that good will indeed prevail. Today I am grateful for the gift of touch.

Brooklynn and Bentley are staying with us for a couple of days! This morning, Emily and I were getting their coats on so she could take them to daycare. We zipped up their winter coats and Brooklynn pulled her fur-lined hood on, playfully peeking out at us. Bentley was all zipped up when I realized one arm never made it into his sleeve. He looked a bit puzzled. As Emily herded them out the door, these two precious little tots, all puffy in their winter coats, my eyes stung with tears. "Oh, Em, they're so beautiful," I said, and gave each a hug. I'm so grateful for the gift of touch, especially being able to sweep up these babies with their rosy, chubby cheeks and smothering them with kisses.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Nature



It would be possible to find something different in nature every day for the entire month of November, for which to be grateful.

I think that this quote by Henry Moore pretty much sums up for me, how to find gratitude, and how to express it.

"I think, what has this day brought me, and what have I given it?"

Friday, November 3, 2017

Blessings



Every Friday, Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, invites us to write about our favorite blessings from the week.  Today she shared this quote.

  "It is not happy people that are thankful, it is thankful people that are happy." 

 Doesn't that sum it up beautifully? Gratitude is one form of self care. 

Five blessings from my week:

1. These little cuties on Halloween.  Brooklynn is the police officer. Bentley is the convict. She looks a little stressed, because a few seconds before the picture was taken, he was trying to grab her Skittles.


A closer look at the 'tats' on those sleeves. 


2. Memories. I love taking photos and putting together albums to hold precious memories. I generally order my prints about every six months and have a marathon session putting them into albums. That's one of the things I'll be working on this weekend, as a big batch just came in the mail yesterday.

3.  Netflix. Dan and I watched Table 19 earlier this week, a sweet, quirky little movie. We still get DVDs through the mail. Our TV is old and cranky, and the streaming thing is just not dependable. (If my kids were to read this, they would be rolling their eyes at me. They're sure it's operator error.) However, I like seeing that little red envelope in my mailbox, anticipating a movie night.

4.  Free long distance. And hour-long phone calls with my BFF Pamela in Tulsa;)

5.  Crisp, cool mornings. Hot coffee. Soup for supper. I do love Fall.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Regrowth

Gratitude helps us to see what's there, instead of what isn't.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, during the month of November, I'm challenging myself to find a bit of gratitude in each day, and share with a few words or a picture..


Just keeping it real! I should have dusted this plant before I took the picture! My little Christmas cactus is filled with buds. A nice reminder of our potential for growth and renewal.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hello, November

November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.
(Louisa May Alcott)

I googled 'November' to see if I could find some lovely prose to welcome this month of thanksgiving. It seems not many poets have a lot of nice things to say about November.  They use words like 'dismal,' 'dull,' and 'gloomy,' to describe this next to the last breath of the year. I felt downright depressed after reading Richard Henry Stoddard's take on the coming month.

 "The wild November come at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night winds blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.
The latest of her race, she takes
The Autumn's vacant throne:
She has but one short moon to live,
And she must live alone."
-  (Richard Henry Stoddard, November)

I've always taken a kinder view of November. It's the month that is celebrated with Chrysanthemums and yellow topaz gems. November is Adoption Awareness Month, Caregivers Appreciation Month, and National Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Some pretty cool people were born in November, including Carl Sagan, Mark Twain, and Marie Curie.

A  month of gratitude, it is a benevolent time, for honoring our veterans, and remembering people and things for which we give thanks. Yes, the brilliant colors of October have faded, and the trees stand stark against the sky. But I love the feeling of being pulled indoors where it's warm and cozy, to curl up with a book, start a knitting project, and pull out some recipes for soups and stews. I feel a renewed appreciation for hearth and home. 

So, instead of succumbing to William Bryant's "bleak November winds" and "the melancholy days, the saddest of the year," I'm going to attempt a gratitude challenge to honor November as it should be.

I pulled a list of prompts off of Pinterest. The prompt for today is Food. 

I am filled with gratitude for my husband, who prepares the coffee maker before he goes to work, so that when I get up there is a fresh, hot pot of coffee all ready for me. It truly is the best part of waking up. 

Welcome, November!