Friday, 21 December 2012

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Life holds no sweeter thing than this- To teach a little child the tale most loved on earth
And watch the wonder deepen in his eyes
The while you tell him of the Christ Child's birth; The while you tell of shepherds and a song,
Of gentle drowsy beasts and fragrant Hay
On which that starlit night in Bethlehem
God's tiny Son and His young mother lay.
-Adelaide Love
A Merry Christmas to You!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Creations

Wax paper makes for a much better surface when rolling out cookies. No extra flour which makes for more tender cookies, also easier to lift to place on cookie sheet.

Slit cookies 1 1/2 inches on bottom of heart and pull apart a bit to form the wings.
This recipe is from a Woman's Day Magazine, which I've held onto from a few years back.


  • 1 stick(s) (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure almond extract
  • 1 2/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup(s) cornstarch
  • Decoration: white of 1 large egg, slightly beaten, sliced almonds and sugar

  1. Beat butter, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl with mixer on low speed to blend. Increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and almond extract. On low speed, beat in flour and cornstarch until just blended.
  2. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 1-in.-thick disk. Wrap individually and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm enough to roll out.
  3. Heat oven to 350°F. Have ready a 2 1/2-in. heart-shape cookie cutter.
  4. On lightly floured wax paper with lightly floured rolling pin, roll 1 disk (keep other refrigerated) to 1/8 in. thick. Cut out hearts with cookie cutter. Slide paper onto a baking sheet; freeze 5 to 10 minutes until firm and easy to handle.
  5. Peel hearts off paper. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheet. Cut a 11/2-in.-long slit at bottom of hearts. Spread apart slightly to form wings. Brush hearts with egg white. Attach almonds as shown, pressing down gently. Sprinkle with a little sugar. (Reroll scraps only once or cookies will be tough.)
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until just golden brown at edges. Remove to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Holly is preparing a crown for the school Christmas Pageant.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Fields of Frost and Snow

 O! unto what do my eyes display?
 But a morning drive, that was visually enhanced with the beautiful touch of frost and snow.
 It was hard to keep my eyes on the road this morning. With the white against the blue skies, it just looked so elegant.
 Thank you Father, for Your beauty all around, drawing me closer to You.

 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24. I read this while reading my bible today. A perfect thought for everyday, but especially this time of year, don't you think? And with what has been all over the news lately, the verses that  proceed that and follow bring some peace and hope. Hebrew 10:23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. v.25 and let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Dundee Cake

In honor of my Scottish heritage, I thought I would give a go at baking a traditional Scottish cake, called the
Dundee Cake
I recently learned about it, from a British magazine. It made me think of the all traditional Fruit cake, but I love the look of the decorative almonds on top. I did some collecting of different takes on the recipe, and came up with my own version. And so I think it will make a nice addition to the Christmas baking being eaten and given as  gifts. Oh ya, one more thing, I did cut costs on different ingredients.

¾ cup margarine

¾ cup brown sugar

3 tb. Marmalade

3 eggs

1 cup flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup ground almonds

1 heaping tsp. mixed spice ~~To make your own~~1 Tb. cinnamon, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. nutmeg, ½ tsp. ginger, ¼ tsp. allspice, ¼ tsp. cloves. Bottle up to use.

½ cup each of: currants, sultanas, chopped dates, glace cherries-halved

1 tb. molasses

1 tsp. rum extract

2 tsp. cream

½ cup blanched almonds

~~A Note about Blanched Almonds~~ I’ve been able to find whole natural almonds for a really good price compared to the blanched almonds that are sold in the baking isle. So I figured out an easy method to blanching my own almonds to get them pretty and pale looking for the top of this cake. Just bring about 2 inches of water to boil in a small pot. Place the almonds in, to boil for about 1-2 min. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of cold water. The almond skin can now be easily pinched off.


Method à Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease an 8 inch round spring form pan. Beat the margarine and brown sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the marmalade. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well after each one. Sift in the dry ingredients, and add the almonds. Stir to combine. Next, stir in the dried fruit. And then the molasses, extract, and cream. Once this is all well mixed, spoon into the pan, smooth the surface to place the blanched almonds in circles, all pretty like.

Bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the cake is well risen and a toothpick comes our clean, when inserted into the cake middle. Cool for 10 min. before removing from pan.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Baking and Making Bunting

My Holly, Lake, Violet, and Honey were in the Parade this year!

Well the time of Christmas celebrations has begun. And to be honest I always feel like its pushed so soon in the beginning but then I get right into and miss it when its over. So last year I told myself just get into it right away and it helped a bit. But I guess the part that bothers me the most is the commercialism of Christmas. That's where I always notice it being shoved at me the most. Buy buy buy. I know that I don't need to "buy" into that but it still bothers me that that is the way society goes because of the commercialism.
 Part of my and my families stand against the buy buy buy culture of the eh hem "Holiday Season" is that we do just the opposite and keep spending to a minimum.
I love the bunting I see in many of the British magazines I look at. So I made some in Christmasy colours. This was made from cast off shirts, and pyjama pants. I stitched them into triangles and sewn onto a long piece of yarn.

I finished of my week with a bunch of baking of six loaves of bread, a batch of banana strawberry muffins, and I used up the last of my pumpkin with a pumpkin pecan bunt cake.
I plan on doing some baking for gifts and more sewing for that purpose as well.
Balancing this time of year is tricky, but when I allow myself the same amount of time in the morn. to spend with the Lord but allow myself to spend less time on the things that are not as important. Like the mess in the corner can wait, I'm making a gift. The dishes can wait we are doing advent. This works out so much more pleasantly. Because I don't want to be too stressed out to enjoy the true reason for this season.

Monday, 26 November 2012

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God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
This was just some of the beauty I saw on a walk this moring with my mum. All the freshly fallen snow was still beautifully coating everything.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I Saw the Light

 The drive to school lately has been so pretty, due to the frost, fog and low hung sun. I am constantly wishing I could stop and take pictures. But the kids would be late :(

 I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of self improvement. And I have really come to the conclusion that having children and a husband has made me see myself more and more, enabling me to see the changes I need to make. I am a perfectionist, and that I guess can be obvious in how many "self-help" books one has (chuckle). But one thought  provoking question I had at the end of all of these self-help thoughts, and ways to change and improve myself was .... who should I really be changing and improving myself for? Myself, so I can be The Best? Or for God, to give him the glory and Honor and be His useful tool. And then... this was what I read this morning during my daily bible reading,
Timothy 2:20-21
 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honourable use, Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
 Self improvement (AKA surrendering to the Lord and cleaning up my life), is most useful when done for honouring God and therefore being a blessing to others. 
 So I saw the light in this area of my life. Maybe late? But not too late!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sewing a Zipper Pouch, for a Stranger

 I spent some time this weekend, creating a zippered pouch for someone I've never met, all the way in Brazil. This started by signing up for a Zipper Pouch Swap at this blog, just for fun. I got some tips about favourite colours and patterns. But other wise I had an idea pop into my head as to how it would look, and I went with it. Like most of my sewing projects I used saved fabric scraps, or material from previously used garments.
 I started off by cutting 2 rectangles about 14 x 8 inches. I used a zipper about 4 1/2 inches long. Fold the 2 rectangles in half and cut the bottom corners so they are rounded. I cut out 4 circles in different sizes. Zig-zagged the edges. Sewed on a button into the middle of each. Pinned them into place and sewed about 1/4 inch from the edge. Stitch the side edges of the pouch and lining but leave a 2 inch space on the bottom corner of the lining for turning right side out later. Baste the top edges of both.

With wrong side out, for the lining and right side out the the pouch, put the outer piece of the pouch into the lining so right sides are facing. Pull the basting threads so they are the width of the zipper, and with zipper un-zipped to make it easier to sew sandwich the zipper pieces between the pouch and lining and pin into place, and stitch.

Turn right side out through the hole in lining, and stitch hole shut in lining.

I used a 12 inch ribbon and sewed it in the middle of the ribbon, to the top corner of the pouch.

It could be used for a purse, for make-up, stationary, whatever. I hope its useful, and enjoyed. :) I can't wait to recieve mine!

Other happenings this weekend: roofing, and cleaning up around our big old place. My son was actively involved in the new roof being put on one of our sheds. He takes after his dad, helpful and handy at a lot of different things.

My Grandfather was a house builder, what a neat idea for my son. God knows, but its cool to see extended family traits sprinkled through out your children.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
-Chinese Proverb

Answers to prayer often come in unexpected ways. We pray, for instance, for a certain virtue; but God seldom delivers Christian virtues all wrapped in a package and ready to use. Rather he put us in situations where by his help we can develop those virtues.
-C.R. Findley

 I love these quotes I just came across. The first one, helps me see how its so much easier on myself if I would just accept who God made me and allow myself mistakes, and to freely let others see them as well. This will truly bring growth.
 The second one makes me smile with the holiday season approaching, I think wouldn't it be something if you could request, "Lord I'd like some patience, understanding and compassion wrapped up under the tree for some good Christian virtues added to me." No it doesn't work that way. Its more like- "Lord why is this happening to me?" and then later when we look back we can see that He was using these circumstances for enriching and growing us up to be more like Him!

Monday, 12 November 2012


 Quite a few of my apples were not lookin too hot.

Look at this one...and he was one of many sad lookin apples.

 So I decided it was time to make applesauce. I have heard of making applesauce without peeling the apples and so I thought I'd give it a shot.
 Just had to wash up the apples good and cut out the bad spots.

Then I just used my handy apple slicing tool, to cut them up and get rid of the core. This was so quick compared to the usual process of peeling and cutting.

I added the juice of a lemon for flavour and to keep the sauce a bit lighter in colour.

 After I put my big batch of apples, lemon juice, and a half cup of water in a large pot, I put the lid on and let it cook over medium heat until the apples were all soft.
 I guess some would use a food mill to make it into the sauce, but I just poured the soft apples into my colander and used a wooden spoon to squish through to separate the peels. Very easy and it took much less time then if I had peeled all them apples.
 I do declare, I like the unpeeled applesauce version. Easy, Healthy, and Thrifty. I like this combination!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Readjusting our view of Blessings

 Here we are already more than a month has passed since my husband and I had decided to take up the spending fast challenge, that I mentioned back in... the beginning of October. Oh, here is that post. And it really feels life, no - mind altering. My life really doesn't seem all that different besides the fact that I spend a bit less time in stores. Not just because I buy less, but I don't want to spend any extra time gazing upon the things I have no intention to buy, plus then there is less temptation, right? But I feel so aware in my mind of the all the times I want to buy things. I also see how often I can improvise. Honestly I enjoy the challenge. But... not always, like in the moment, when I am trying to justify a good book I've wanted that has gone on sale or a cheap pair of cute little earrings. And this is sad but I was kinda excited with the thought of looking for winter boots for my son. Now what does that say about me? I just love spending money, Or is it the shopping around? I want to strive to always put wisdom into all my spending. And be CONTENT with what I have. Like food, shopping is a necessity of life. Sometimes this feels like an unfortunate thing when it is a struggle to keep it within its healthy boundaries. So how does one find a balance? To enjoy shopping is not a sin but to overindulge, is not healthy.
 1Timothy 6:6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth...v.8: So if we have enough food and clothing let us be content.
 Lord I pray you will continue to guide me in your ways with how I need to view and deal with shopping. Thank you.

 So here is the low down on how we are doing Our Spending Fast:
Got a note book and some paper clips.
On the first pages we Wrote down
*1 Our debts and their interest rates
*2 Why we are doing a spending fast/what we hope to accomplish
*3 Our commitment statement and signatures
Here is our example:
We are committed to fast from spending any money on wants only spending money on needs, with the Lords help... Signature
*4 How long we will do the spending fast for
*5 Write out the conditions. Our example:
*Write down every penny we spend
*Save receipts
*Improvise to save money
*Use up what we have before we buy new (no 3 bottles of shampoo in the shower, or lets buy some chicken when we have pork, beef, or I'm tired of this kinda cereal)
*In most cases buy the best deal, or the cheaper version, when it best applies. (we all have a couple things we wont skimp on, i.e. coffee, but do your best to be more frugal)
*6 Write out a list of Needs and Wants to really decipher what is important.
And so what is most vital in being able to save our money is that there is NO unnecessary spending. All wants like: eating out, drive thru coffees, corner store purchases, snack foods, clothing-unless it is a need. These are not purchased. Because there are so many things we are blessed enough with in spending money on our needs like: mortgage, food, phones, hydro, insurance, gas. We are blessed with just being able to spend money on these things, aren't we?

 Then after the foundation was laid out we use the rest of the pages to write out what we buy. Each page divided into 3. Date / Purchase Amount / Store and Purchase Category (i.e. Gas, Groceries). I clip the months receipts to the inside cover and I stashed all last months receipts in an envelope and filed it.
It is amazing how aware I am now of the spending that goes on. There is NO--"Where did all the money go?!"
I am so thankful that this was pressed upon my husband and my heart.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Cream & Crumb Schnitz Apple Pie

Cream and Crumb what ?? kinda pie??
Well apparently schnitz just means the way the apple is sliced. But you can just call this Shnazzy Pie or O My what Yummy Cream and Crumb Pie. It doesnt matter, just try it, its so easy and yummy!

You need:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 tbsp. soft butter
4-7 apples
2/3 cups sour cream
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
9 inch unbaked pie crust

Directions: Blend the brown sugar, flour, and butter into crumbs. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the pie shell.

Peel and core the apples.

I don't know why but I get personal satisfaction when I peel each apple in one long strip. I know, its weird.

Cut them into 1 inch segments (shnitz). Arrange them into circles over the crumbs.

Mix 1/2 remaining crumbs with the sour cream and spread over the apples.

Mix the rest of the crumbs with the cinnamon and sprinkle it evenly over the top.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn temperature down to 350 degrees and bake another 30 min.

Cool and serve.