Thursday, November 29, 2012

Friday's Favs....Troutdale General Store, a Christmas Wonderland!

On Wednesday, my daughter and I both had hair appointments at my favorite salon,
 which is located just east of Portland in Troutdale, Oregon.
My oldest granddaughter came with us and afterwards I took her to see the Troutdale General Store,
 all decked out for Christmas!
The store has an old fashioned candy counter filled with the kind of candies I remember getting at 
"The Variety Store" on the main street of the small suburban town I grew up in.
It also has an old fashioned soda fountain counter where you can have lunch.
But, best of all, at this time of year, there are three levels full of Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!
So much to see and oooo and ahhhh over.
It's definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the Portland area.

They also sell old timey style toys.
I bought this cute little snowman stacking toy for our youngest granddaughter.
(And there's a little sneak peek at our Christmas tree.)

Well, it's almost Friday...woohoo!

Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
and a BLESSED weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mama's Christmas...a re-post

I was sitting in my office having my quiet time with Handel's Messiah playing softly in the background.
I was hoping some inspiration would strike for a blog post for today, 
but truly I seem to have writer's block of late.
Instead of stressing over it, I decided to repost this piece I wrote last year, 
about my Mama's first Christmas in heaven.
She's the one who taught me to love Handel's Messiah.
Christmas is a bit different this year
with Mama spending her first Christmas
with The Reason for The Season Himself
She’s the one who first taught me to love Handel’s Messiah
on those big, black, platter sized records
playing on the stereo encased in that big cabinet
that was still a part of her furniture up til the end
I’m wondering if Handel is conducting
an orchestra of angels
and a choir of cherubims
in a live performance
for the Messiah Himself
I like to think that Mama has a front row seat
and when they get to the Hallelujah Chorus
all of heaven stands
in ovation to the One Who Reigns Forever and Ever
and Mama claps the loudest
because now she really knows for sure
that He is and He does
Christmas is a bit different this year
for us
but especially for Mama
who’s having her Merriest Christmas ever

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Let the decorating begin!

 It's not even December and I'm already done decorating for Christmas!
I think my grandkid's enthusiasm for it helped to energize me.
We even have the tree, (two trees actually, but only one real one). 
 I have a fun story about getting our tree with the grandkids, but that will have to wait for another post.
This simple little vignette is on top of my dish cabinet in the dining room.
One Christmas, my Mama, who's celebrating her second Christmas in heaven this year, 
bought me this little snowman and snowwoman when I had admired them at Target.
My two oldest granddaughter and only grandson went with me tromping through some woods
 near our house to gather some greens and holly for decorating.
This branch plopped into my enamelware pitcher looks like a miniature tree.
I find that this type of simple, clean look in decorating is appealing to me more and more.
So, have you started your Christmas decorating yet?

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Worth the wait...

We waited Thanksgiving dinner until late in the evening.
We usually eat our annual feast mid-afternoon, but we were expecting a very special guest, 
who's plane wouldn't arrive until 6:30 p.m.
My second born daughter and two oldest grandkids flew in from the east coast.
My youngest daughter and her friend and we planned to eat mid-afternoon as usual 
and heat up the leftovers for the late arrivals.
However, my eight year old grandson was quite upset that he wouldn't be there for the actual sit-down traditional meal.
We decided he was worth waiting for.
His smile at Thanksgiving dinner, (and of course, the rest of my loved ones too), is one of the many things I'm thankful for this week.
I’ve taken the Joy Dare.

I’m counting one thousand thanks in one year.

I hunt for thanksgiving using the prompts Ann gives us each month.

If you are interested in joining in, click the link above or at the bottom of this post.

I continue to count my thanks

piling up gratitude day by day

in my little black journal…


3 gifts autumn-
-shopping for the groceries for Thanksgiving dinner
-baking for the "big day"
-planning and preparing for family coming

3 gifts of traditions-
-making the same favorite, traditional foods year after year
-baking pies with my youngest daughter, the best pie baker in the family
-going to the holiday parade the day after Thanksgiving

3 gifts family-
-anticipating all my children and grandchildren together
-a quiet morning with the Hubs before they all arrive
-seeing the four grandchildren all together, "the cousins"

a gift grateful-
-God's great love
-that His love never fails
-so many, many, blessings-unearned, undeserved

3 gifts only in Christ-
-salvation in Him alone
-eternal life
-unconditional love

3 gifts humble-
-crayon drawings stuck to the frig with magnets
-sweet oldest granddaughter helping me, without me asking or expecting her to, clean up after the downstairs toilet overflowed
-a cheap, fake Christmas tree for the grandkids to decorate by themselves, but which brought them great delight

3 gifts ugly-beautiful-
-that same cheap, fake tree, quite lovely once they decorated it
-our "real" tree for the living room, with it's crooked-y top that we didn't notice until we got it home
-me, when I'm over tired, over fed, and under exercised

Gratefully yours,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Psalm 118:24

I bet you didn't know that New York City isn't the only place with a Macy's parade!
Portland has a Macy's holiday parade the day after Thanksgiving.
When Macy's bought out a beloved Oregon department store that had sponsored the parade for years, Macy's agreed to keep the parade going.
It's not as grand as the one in New York, of course, but we still love it.
When the kids and grandkids are with us for Thanksgiving, it's our tradition to get up early the next day and head downtown for the parade, rain or shine!
Today it was rainy, but we still had a great day, and plenty of reasons to rejoice.
I love it, that in spite of the fact that Santa was the star of the show, and the parade was called a "holiday parade" not a "Christmas parade", the true meaning of Christmas gets in via the songs.
Today songs such as Oh Come All Ye Faithful and The Hallelujah Chorus were a part of the celebration.
'Tis the season and Jesus is the Reason and you just can't hide it!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Greetings and More Hand Pies...

I took an unintentional 3 day blogging hiatus.
I'm sure that all of you have been as busy as me, getting ready for Thanksgiving, and have not been stressing about where I've been!
I've been grocery shopping, baking, and cleaning.
I've even been Christmas shopping, and am almost done!
My second born daughter and two oldest grandkids will be here tomorrow in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
My son-in-law will join them here closer to Christmas.
They will be staying with us through the Homabenase well project in Ghana, West Africa, (which has had to be bumped back to February), so I wanted to get things rearranged around the house to make it more comfortable for them and get as much done ahead of time for the holidays so I can enjoy those grandkids of mine.
That's why my blog fell by the wayside for a bit.
I thought I'd share a couple of new variations of my "hand pies" recipe that I made for a church baby shower last weekend.
It's probably too late for you to make them for Thanksgiving, but I do hope you give them a try in the future.
This crust is so yummy and flaky that it is now my go-to pie crust recipe.
It's the crust I used for the Thanksgiving pumpkin pies I just made, (recipe makes two 9 inch crusts or about ten 5 inch hand pies).
For the crust:
In a food processor pulse together:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Add 2 sticks, (1 cup) cold butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cold plain greek yogurt, (which is what I used), or sour cream
2-3 Tablespoons of icy cold water
and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pulse in food processor just until dough is combined
Form dough into a ball on a sheet of wax paper and chill in refrigerator while you make the filling.
When filling is ready, roll out dough and cut into 5 inch circles.
For the baby shower I made apple hand pies and strawberry cream cheese hand pies.
For the apple filling I peeled and sliced 6 granny smith apples
Add 2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Add about 1/4 cup of the filling onto the pastry circle.
Fold dough over and seal edges with a fork.
Prick top of hand pie with the fork two or three times.
Brush hand pie with egg wash, (one egg beaten with a little water), 
and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes until golden brown.

 For the strawberry cream cheese hand pie filling I sweetened 8 oz of softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla blending it with a mixer.
Place about a tablespoon on pastry.
For the strawberry filling I cooked 3 cups frozen strawberries with 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch until thickened.
Add a tablespoon or so on top of cream cheese.
Fold dough over and seal edges with a fork.
Prick top of hand pie with the fork two or three times.
Brush hand pie with egg wash, (one egg beaten with a little water),
 and sprinkle with plain sugar.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes until golden brown.
When the hand pies are done I drizzle them with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar thinned with milk and flavored with a touch of vanilla.
The apple hand pies were delicious,
 but the strawberry cream cheese hand pies were my favorite.
They tasted like a flaky, delicious danish.
They were good to the last bite.
I have so much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving,
and you are one of the blessings in my life!
God bless each of you.
I pray that your Thanksgiving is filled with faith, family, friends, and wonderful food!
(Will you join me in taking a minute to pray for fellow blogger, Tiffini at House of Belonging, who is facing a big challenge this Thanksgiving.)

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Also linking to Jennifer Rizzo's Fabulously Creative Friday