Holiday cookie baking in full swing

Since Columbus Day cookie baking has been in full swing for me.  I plan to have all cookies done before Thanksgiving as I did last year, when I was able to create a wonderful cookie tray to share on Thanksgiving.  I plan to make this a yearly tradition.

When do you begin cookie baking?

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Would all the “stuff” just disappear?

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!

I’ve felt a heavy burden on my body for most of my life.  I’ve come to realize that it mostly has been due to being surrounded by so much “stuff.”  And it wasn’t all of mine.  My family always held onto so much and the more acquisitions only led to more burdens in various ways.   I have accumulated so much in my own home, including much from my childhood, that I’ve begun purging items to create more space to breathe.  My home hasn’t looked like a hoarders’ home because both my husband and I were raised in homes with so much “stuff” around us and we never wanted that for ourselves; however, we still have managed to acquire many things.

A year ago a two week old kitten came into our lives and has made our home a livelier place and insists on following his big sister around, chasing her, and playing with her.  I have seen so many things through his eyes; just as a human parent sees the world in a different light when they have a child.  Once he was on the move he was into everything; unlike our other cat, his sister.  She was so calm and didn’t go on furniture or chew on anything when she was younger.  Once he began jumping on furniture, tables, and counters, everything within his reach had to go to higher ground and behind closed doors.  I had to child-proof my home.  There still are areas where he enjoys doing some devilish things but that’s okay; he’s only a year old and playful as kittens are.  Through him I have truly enjoyed having minimal things in my main living areas.  I don’t miss all of those decorations which I once had sitting around and I don’t have anything on my coffee table (it’s now a table for kitties to lay on and play) and my end table in the living room only has a lamp and I absolutely love it all!  The simplicity and minimalism is wonderful!  For almost ten years I have been saying that “less is more” and it truly is!

I’ve been binge-reading books on decluttering, minimalism, and letting things go and I have crazily begun sorting through so much in my home to remove things from our home. I feel a weight lifting away from me and I see a better life around the corner.  The “stuff” we accumulate throughout our lives doesn’t always enhance our lives; it seems to just tie us down and burden our souls.  The more we have the more we must take care of.  These items will hinder us in so many ways and we get emotions tied up into everything we own which makes it increasingly difficult to “let it all go” and really enjoy life.  I read Let it Go by Peter Walsh and I highly recommend this particular book.  This book tackles the emotional roadblocks which we all have to our “stuff” and it helped me to release the emotional hold which items have over me.  I have learned so much from what I’ve read in this book, taken notes about really good points he made, and I’m now facing and conquering my fears of releasing items out of my life in a much healthier way.  I will say that reading this book before you are faced with a stressful life-event is a wonderful thing.  I feel better prepared to release so much out of my life!

If something is painful to look at then surely you must rid it from your possession.  While going through so much in my attic I found my childhood diaries and found that point to be true.  I decided that I would read them one last time before relinquishing them to the ashes and I quickly discovered my painful memories and feelings returning; things which I had successfully put into my past and forgotten and so I did not finish reading all of them; they quickly went to the flames.  To have them gone permanently in that way has provided such a great feeling which is hard to describe.  And I have a greater appreciation for so much more positivity in my life now.

I no longer desire to be the “keeper” of so many family heirlooms.  Those things now must go to someone else – it is a huge emotionally-draining responsibility and burden on my heart and soul.  That feeling has been with me all of my life; especially when I was constantly told about so many items which I shouldn’t give to anyone else.   What a relief to finally have acceptance of that particular feeling and to no longer fear or worry about keeping those things.  I have a great feeling of being light-weight and burden-free.   The emotional guilt no longer will have a hold on me!

I admit that Let it Go by Peter Walsh has helped me to confront my feelings head-on and I’ve realized all the energy which I have wasted over my lifetime concerning “stuff” has had such a negative effect on my health and well-being and kept me grounded in only one spot without the ability to move forward and do things to enrich my life.  I don’t want things to hold me down in the sand anymore – that’s not what we should waste our lives doing.  The best approach is to begin to disconnect feelings from our objects.  If the item is useful to you in some way and you know it will enrich your life then keeping it is okay.  Otherwise if you have no use for it just recycle it in some way; get it someplace where it may find a new home and be beneficial to someone else.

You will find that giving the item to a charity or another person is a such a blessing in so many ways including a blessing to yourself!

Six months away

In exactly six months we will celebrate Christmas. I especially enjoy the Christmas season which leads up to that big day for all of the memories, cheer, ambiance, food, smells, and lights; for me that is the best time of year. I’m anxiously awaiting Autumn because that will signify the beginning of the holiday season; I love when October arrives.

To celebrate Christmas in June I am sharing this recipe with you. Santa loves these!!

Visiting Bethlehem Steel – Now Known As Steel Stacks

Recently we visited the Bethlehem Steel plant which is now known as Steel Stacks.  They have converted buildings into other venues for entertainment and a museum.  Many of the former buildings are still standing and we were fortunate enough to take a tour on the big Steel Stacks themselves with a former Rigger for the Company; it lasted 2 1/2 hours!  I was able to capture many images from our day trip and want to share some of them here with you.  If you have the opportunity to visit Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, make sure to take a day for visiting the former grounds of Bethlehem Steel and the National Museum of Industrial History which is located there.  It is very sad to me about how important this company was to the world and how it now has become only part of history.

When you see advertisements or other signage for the company this is the one you will see the most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethlehem Steel Flywheel from above

“How can I soar like an Eagle when I have to work like a Turkey” is written on this door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Twelve – Our Final Month of Our Challenge

Well…we have come to the final month of our cook-through challenge.

So to end it I really want to have another

*Wildcard month*

That means only one thing: you can make any recipes from the cookbook which you haven’t made so far during this challenge

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

Thank you for following along on this adventure!!

I hope you were able to try out some new recipes in the past year and have lots of fun and creativity in your cooking/baking.  I made several from my cookbook even though I didn’t write up complete posts here on my blog and I have added them to my rotation of recipes.

Here are a few images of those goodies –

Homemade chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter icing – better than any boxed cake mix and tub of icing!!

Crumb-Topped Apple Pie – so good!!

Homemade Caramel Corn – once you start eating this you won’t be able to stop!!

I substituted Venison for Beef in this yummy Fajita mixture

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

The Days of Long Light

You,

the days of long light.

You always arrive so quickly,

and stay with me for what seems like forever.

You are not welcome here as you take away the beloved long dark nights.

I know it is because you bring to me so many requirements which I dislike.

Long light leads to much to be done of which I do not have the strength nor the desire to complete.

Take your light away and shine it elsewhere so that I may enjoy the solitude of my darkness.

 

I’ve been dreaming about Pi

I’ve been knitting and crocheting shawls for a couple of years now and I really love them.  Not only are they a fun project to knit/crochet but I do use mine regularly throughout the year.

I’ve been admiring Pi Shawls for quite sometime now and I really want to make at least one during my life.  Since I’ve been knitting and crocheting I do enjoy creating my own patterns and often I will tweak someone else’s pattern in some way when I create the item that I’m working on and I feel the same way about knitting a Pi Shawl.  I’ve been dreaming about creating my own pattern for my Pi Shawl and have been looking through various resources for ideas.

As I did some internet research about the Pi Shawl I discovered that the original design was created by Elizabeth Zimmermann (EZ).  It is quite difficult to find the pattern instructions on the internet but many people will direct you to her various books and publications which include the pattern.  The one mentioned often is the book titled Knitter’s Almanac and I have been fortunate to find a digital edition to read through my library.  I found the pattern quickly and made that the first chapter I read and I quickly realized how simple this pattern truly is for creating a circle shawl which has been named Pi Shawl.  If you are a knitter or crocheter you most likely are a member of Ravelry.com and may have seen them on there.  The pattern isn’t listed but you will see all of the projects completed by fellow Ravelers and the various designs other have created based on the very simple formula for expansion of the circle.

I decided that I needed to practice creation of the circle which would be the foundation of my Pi Shawl and so I began.  I ended up casting on 9 stitches (the amount needed at the beginning of the pattern) via the cable cast on method to a double-pointed needle and then spread them out over 3 needles and knit with the fourth.  It took one evening of several tries to get it going but I finally succeeded!

Here are the first several rounds on my double pointed knitting needles.

Once I got this going I became more comfortable with those needles.  I’ve used them for finishing hats before but never to begin a knitted item.

I continued to knit until I had enough stitches to transfer to my 16″ circular needles in the same size as the double pointed ones and then it didn’t take long for me to complete the circle.  I initially thought I would make this into a dream-catcher and get a hoop to attach it to but I believe that I will keep it as a doily.  I also decided to do the method which EZ suggests in her book for binding off all of the stitches.  I added a sideways garter edge to my circle, with random yarn-overs and knit 2 together throughout, to match them in the body of the circle, and it was much easier then I anticipated it to be.

Here it is in all its glory!!

I’m not sure about blocking this because it is in worsted weight yarn and I think it has a nice vintage appearance to itself which I really like.  It looks just like a vintage doily that would have been found in an older rural homestead farm many years ago (or at least that’s how I envision it!).

Have you knit a Pi Shawl?  If so, please share your thoughts on that adventure.

 

It is going to be okay. I will embrace you.

Of late, you have consumed my every thought.

You have filled my heart with fear, anxiety, and restlessness.

Today I have been filled with a peaceful spirit which comforts and holds me.

I will not worry about material possessions and things which I can not control.

I now embrace you with the wonder and excitement

which I once held when I was a child.

I desire the peacefulness, calmness, and happiness which you will lead me into.

I long to see my loved ones,

to run freely through the sunny, big, beautiful, daisy-filled pasture,

and to finally be at home with my Father.

My homesickness will be no more,

once you take me there.

I will be released from the chains which I have held onto since my Earthly creation.

There is peace in knowing that my death will only be the beginning of the life which I was created to live.

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Eleven

Spring is around the corner and we often think of lighter food fare for our menus at this time of year.  We’ve been eating ‘heavier’ comfort foods for several months now and want to change up our menus a bit.

For this month lets grab those Eggs

We are fortunate to have Amish neighbors who sell free-range chicken eggs.  They are so much better than the ones you buy in the store.  There is a quality difference in them.  We will buy several dozen at a time because we eat eggs everyday for breakfast and I love to have breakfast food for supper at times as well.  And since I enjoy baking homemade items I certainly need them for my recipes too.

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Ten

When I think of February I often think of a local community spaghetti supper which is a fund-raising event.

So for this month let us all make some

Pasta recipes

You may even want to challenge yourself to make homemade pasta noodles and/or garlic bread recipes

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

The Long Dark Night

You,

the long dark night.

You have arrived once more,

quickly greeting me with your familiar sights and fears and anticipations.

I eagerly embrace you as I stand at your threshold,

filled with the overwhelming dread which you cast over me.

I recall memories of uneasiness which I have beheld while in your arms.

You bring anxiety when you envelop me and yet I long for you to never go away.

I know you will drift into the days of long light and only then will I anticipate your return.

 

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Nine

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome to 2018 and month nine of our challenge.  Wow!  We’re almost completely through a year in our cookbook challenge.

For this month I’ve decided to go with

quick bread recipes

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

*Last post of 2017* {recipe included!}

As we wind down here in Two Thousand Seventeen I want to Thank all of you for following along and reading my posts throughout the past several years.  I am happy when I find that my posts touch others or help you in some small way (even if it is only a photo or recipe).

I want to share another recipe of mine, which I’ve recently perfected for us to enjoy, and hope that you may have an opportunity this upcoming weekend to try it for yourself.  Whether you are celebrating the beginning of a new year in the comfort of your own home or out in the bitter cold with loved ones as you share a tradition of watching something fall from the sky or rise up a pole I wish you good health, happiness, and much peace in the year to come.

Mary’s Chex Mix

Preheat oven to 265 degrees

Ingredients

4 cups rice chex & 4 cups corn chex (or use your favorite flavor combinations)

1 1/2 cups salted peanuts

1 1/2 cups pretzels (wheels or sticks)

1 stick unsalted butter (use a good quality butter if you are able to)

2 tsp lemon juice

7 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp season salt

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

Place cereal, peanuts, and pretzels in a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Melt the stick of butter in a medium saucepan/pot on your stove on low heat; add your other ingredients and whisk all together.  When it is warmed a bit you may wish to dip in a piece or two of cereal to taste the mixture and adjust the ingredients as you wish.

When heated through (not boiling) pour over your cereal mixture and mix well.

Bake for a total of 45 minutes (approx.) and stir every 15 minutes.  I baked at 265 degrees for the first 30 minutes and then lowered the temperature to 255 degrees for the last 15 minutes and all seemed to be absorbed well into the cereal.

WARNING!!!!

This is very addictive!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

 

So. Much. Yarn. = One-of-a-kind Magic Balls

So. much. yarn.

I have a huge yarn stash.  It is wonderful to have so much at the ready for a project but there always seems to be a particular yarn which I’m needing/wanting so I buy more which leads to so. much. more. yarn.

The best thing about having so much yarn is that I can create the best skeins of all.

One-of-a-kind magic balls.

The exciting thing about these is that there will be so much color intertwined together and no one else will have the exact same skeins as I.

I recently took a bin full of yarn remnants, much of which had been remains of my Mother’s skeins, and put together some huge magic balls of yarn.

This isn’t even all of the skeins but it gives you an idea of some of the colors and sizes of yarn skeins which became my one-of-a-kind magic balls.

This is what I have created thus far.  It is hard to determine from the photo but the skeins are rather large.

One thing I know for sure: they will become a warm, fuzzy and quite colorful blanket which will be like no other to be found, either by crochet or knitting.  I haven’t determined which method or even the pattern.  I’m entertaining some ideas of patterns to use, including the simple pattern for the knit blanket which I made last year which used quite a bit of yarn (although not as much yarn as I expected/wanted to use).  I’m anxious to see what the finished project will look like.  It will be an amazing array of colors including many of the yarns which were my Mother’s and there certainly won’t be another blanket like it.

Have you made magic balls?  If so, what one-of-a-kind projects did you create with them?

I’m looking for various stash-busting knit and crochet patterns and have been looking through Ravelry.com for more ideas.

Stay tuned to see what my final project will look like…

 

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Eight

Yeah – December has arrived!  That means we are at month eight of our Cooking-Through Cookbook Challenge and you probably know already which category I’ve chosen; don’t you?!

December only means one food for devouring by children of all ages:

COOKIES!!!

When I dream of Christmas I always dream of cookies and I’m sure you do too.  We all have our holiday favorites which we’ve been enjoying for generations in our families but you may want to go outside of that box for this month and enjoy some other new cookie recipes which are in your chosen cookbook for this challenge you are participating in.  I have recently acquired a couple of vintage cookie cookbooks and have been drooling over them for months so I’m hoping to also include a few of those recipes for us this holiday season.

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

Even Charlie Brown loves snack mix

When I found this among my Grandmother’s clipped recipes I was excited because I love Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang for their holiday specials. Since Thanksgiving is less than a week away (ABC will have the Gang on Wednesday evening) and Christmas is right around the corner I thought it would be great to share this. I have looked on Amazon for the seasoning packets and they do still exist.  But I certainly prefer making food with fresh ingredients without the added preservatives.

I have been searching online to find the first version of this which was actually called ‘Party Mix’ and have found various versions of the recipe which has differences in the amounts of the ingredients (and bagel chips weren’t part of the first recipe which began in the early 1950’s).  I plan to try one of those this weekend.  There are so many versions on the internet from so many people; the possibilities are truly endless for this  ‘Party Mix.’ A search for ‘vintage cereal box 1950’s images’ is so interesting too.  I recall some of those cereal boxes from my childhood.  Do you have any memories to share regarding your family’s much loved version of this snack mix?