Saturday, January 30

as colorful as


Can we talk crayons this morning?

Crayons have come to mind several times in a matter of minutes.

While sitting at our other computer, I needed to write down some information on the screen in front of me and I used the nearest and the only utensil of several similar ones that I found on the desk.  A crayon.

As I got up from there I went up our staircase noting a different color crayon marking on the wall.  

Once in the hallway to the kitchen I could smell melting crayon as our furnace kicked on this morning with the subzero temperatures and there's a crayon lodged in one of the heating vents.

In the kitchen a new cup of coffee was poured and as I opened the frig to get my splash of milk it was hard not to notice the handful of crayon drawings magnetized to the door which were made by my grandchildren.  

My life consists of crayons!

That's not a bad thing.  It's a good thing. 

Really.  Think of a box full of crayons.  Think of all the wonderful colors.  Especially the pinks!  C.O.L.O.R.F.U.L.

My life has been colorful!

And it's those little people who use crayons that keep my life so wonderfully creatively colorful and bright!

May God open your eyes to the color found in your garden!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 29

the January brrrrrs

I thought perhaps we'd get through this mild January unscathed with the blessing of lower utility bills, but it found us.  That deep cold weather finally found us. It took all month for those "take away your breath every time you go outside" subzero temperatures to settle in a bit.  

But you know what?  They aren't staying long.  The high temperatures are suppose to move back up into the teens again this weekend. Isn't it funny how the teens feel warm after you've done a few days of hovering around zero?  

Actually, I don't mind the deep cold so much this time of the year because it allows me to snuggle in deeper in my home.  My list is long with things to do - bored?  who's bored? - and I could keep busy from morning until night.  As long as I am warm.....

How thankful I am for our wood heat which provides a steady coziness in my home and for a working furnace that supplements to the far corners of our home in this extreme cold!

Stay warm!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 28

the finding

"Ask and it will be given to you;  seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."~ Matthew 7:7

Seek and you will find.

It's a principle that works.

As I spent time seeking yesterday, I found a basketfull of treasures from God last night as we gathered together for Bible study in our home.

The timely lesson last night was Learn Humbly and here are a few tidbits that I jotted down:

*It's the struggle that strengthens.
*God never wastes a struggle.
*Learn from struggles. 
*When God doesn't change a circumstance, He will use it. 
*God never makes a mistake.
*Depend upon Christ.
*God can be glorified by our struggle. 
*Continually surrender, humble yourself, and follow God.
*Struggles are our greatest opportunities for growth.
*Embrace struggles. 

A few Bible passages to help:

*James 1:2-4
*Romans 5:3-5
*John 9:1-7 
*Second Corinthians 1:3-5
*Hebrews 4:15-16
*Second Corinthians 12:9

At the end of the evening I was recharged!  My hope is that by sharing this someone else can be encouraged along the way.  The Lord does not leave us wandering alone, but He's always there and allows other believers to come alongside us for support.  

Today is a new day!  Hallelujah!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 27

rambling to my knees

"I've never met anyone who became instantly mature.  It's a painstaking process that God takes us through, and it includes such things as waiting, failing, losing, and being misunderstood--each calling for extra doses of perseverance." ~ Charles Swindoll

Here I am...calling for extra doses of perseverance!  

The waiting, failing, losing, being misunderstood, and a collection of other things currently rambling through my life make me feel quite immature in my walk with the Lord.  

Extra doses of perseverance?  Perhaps.

Abundant doses of prayer?  Absolutely!

And aren't the ramblings of life that put us in a constant state of prayer right where God wants us in the first place?  

Sure wish I'd learn that lesson and learn it well.....

As we tend to our gardens filled with our family, remember that a majority of the work is done from our knees whether through the Lord's way of humbling us or as we seek Him in prayer.

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 26

cooking with playdoh

The other day my littlest wanted to wash her play kitchen dishes for a tea party.  

She was busy washing and drying her dishes, then later enjoying some sipping with a sister.

Late yesterday afternoon while I was sitting at the kitchen peninsula with my paperwork all around as I was writing out checks for the first of the month, she showed up once again with these dishes.  This time, however, she had a few containers of playdoh and some additional supplies.  She spread everything out next to me and was busy working and chattering.  

As I finished up my task, I paused to listen to her for a few minutes.  She continued chattering away oblivious of my attention until I stopped to ask her who she was talking to while she was cooking.

"Oh, I'm doing a cooking show for TV" was her reply.

And I smiled.

You have to realize that we don't have cable TV here.  In fact, we raise up a cheer when our antennae picks up a channel or two so we can watch a show or two.  Often the choices are poor and we turn the TV off.  Nope, definitely not heavy TV watchers.  So, this little girl has not grown up watching any of the food channels or knowing any celebrities in the food world like Paula Deen or Rachael Ray.  The only possibility is that perhaps she's caught a rare cooking show on PBS.  The rest is totally up to her imagination.

Have a mentioned that I'm in no hurry for this littlest one to grow up?  There is nothing like the play and creativity that comes with having a child in the house to warm a mother's heart.  And to put a smile on a mother's face :-)

Thank goodness there's grandchildren coming along that will keep my heart warmed and my smile in place!

Enjoy your children on this day in your garden as the days of childhood pass much too quickly!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 25

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 25

For today January 25

Outside my window.....there are heavy gray clouds AGAIN with snow in the forecast.

I am thinking.....about how fast this month is going by and how it looked so LONG when we started the new calendar.

I am thankful for.....God's continued provision.

I am flannel robe as I just got up a little bit ago and am still sipping my first cup of coffee. 

I am husband coughing.  Ugh....

I am creating.....a new project list for the week and hopefully doing better prioritizing.

I am keep taking all my supplements with hopes that my cold won't get any worse.

I am reading..... my devotionals and the Bible.

I am praying.....for the relief workers in Haiti to have the strength and endurance to get through their days.

I am every January seems to have a hibernation feeling to it.

I am hoping.....that by the end of the week everyone will be well again in our house.

On my a bunch of words that need to be put down on paper this week.

From the learning rooms....we'll need to take a closer look at the work done in the subjects of health, history, and science.

Noticing desk has somehow gotten very cluttered again after being so clean for a bit :::sigh:::

Pondering these words....."A God you understood would be less than yourself." ~ Flannery O'Connor

From the kitchen.....will be simple meals because I don't feel like cooking.

Around the house.....are traces of Sunday messes since I plopped down and watched Emma last night and was too tired to pick anything up when it was done.

One of my favorite things.....are notes in the mail.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....are running the girls back and forth for some babysitting,  drivers ed class in the evenings for a son,  addressing envelopes and sending out our end of the year family letter and picture (can you believe that I STILL haven't done this!), early morning women's Bible study at church plus hosting Bible study midweek, and some sewing.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

Ahhh, yes, it's that time of the year again.  As the wife and bookkeeper of a business owner, it means working on all those fun end of the year forms. I'm pleased to say they are all done and ready for mailing today as well as getting our personal tax things in order to meet with our accountant.  Whew!

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day! If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Enjoy this January day!

Tammy ~@~ 

Saturday, January 23

kitten timing

As I put the picture from yesterday back into the album, I flipped over to the next page and was suddenly surprised.  There was the picture taken at my parents house of my mom with the kids.  It was taken a couple of days before she went in for her surgery to remove her brain tumor.  I instantly smiled because my mom had HAIR!  It was hard to remember her with hair since after her surgery she had radiation treatments to her brain and only a few lonely strands of hair grew back after that experience.  My memories of her were either scarfed or bald.

And just as instantly I cried.  Funny how memories trigger such a range of emotions.  I'm sure my heart was just extra tender at the moment anyways which only compounded the sadness.

But then I smiled again as I pondered God's goodness.  I hadn't ever thought before about how God brought that sweet kitten into our lives right before my mom's surgery.  As my heart and mind was so distracted about my mom at the time, at that same moment God provided a sweet distraction for my children that kept them very busy and if you've ever had a kitten you know exactly what I mean!

Now, how cool is that?!  Nothing like a "Go, God!" moment to cheer your heart!

May you notice little unusual ways God has provided for YOU just because He loves you so much!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 22

a sad parting

Over fourteen years ago we heard about a group of stray kittens that had been brought into a local animal hospital.  The ears of six children quickly perked up! Oh, it wasn't that we really needed another cat as we already had two at that time, but one was getting quite old and the kids thought it would be good to have a companion to play with the younger cat.

Off we went!  When we got there, they brought out the group of kittens and I could hear the murmurings among my children about *maybe* picking two kittens....a murmur which I quickly squashed!  Besides, mom got the final say and voted for a long haired female kitten with unusual tortoise coloring.  

We waded through millions of name options finally settling on the name Sophie while she settled into a family who loved her from the start.  Fortunately she easily tolerated the constant handling by children although she loved her escape out the door once summer came around.  Somewhere through the years Sophie picked up the nickname Miss Tee or Tee for short and I have no idea why she was ever named that, but perhaps one of my older children will remember? She settled into family life growing older with the rest of us. (That sweet little boy sucking his thumbie on the left with the curls his mother didn't have the heart to cut is the one who got his temporary drivers permit this week and his brother holding Sophie will graduate from high school in May.)

Before we knew it she was showing signs of aging which began accelerating over the last several months.  Thinning down.  Not grooming herself.  Food coming up.  Not using the litterbox properly. Sleeping in odd places.  But always purring. 

Purr.  Purr.  Purr.

That purr that kept me from making a phone call.

Until today as my eyes were finally opened to how frail she had become.  And I picked up the phone, made an appointment, and we said our final goodbyes within the hour.

Thank you, Miss Tee, for almost fifteen years of purring even when we screamed as you released live birds or chipmunks in the house!  We will miss you in the days ahead!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 21

moments of prayer

"An important help in the life of prayer is the habit of bringing everything to God, moment by moment, as it comes to us in life.  This may be established as a habit on the principle on which all habits are formed, of repeated and constant attention, moment by moment, until that which is at first an act of will becomes spontaneous and second nature." ~ A.B. Simpson


About twenty-five years ago when I became a born again believer in Jesus Christ, one of the first women's Bible studies I was involved in was What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson. It was an excellent study which established many good habits into my prayer life which remain with me today.  During the time we went through the study, the power of prayer was distinctly established in my life.  Prayer truly is a tool that can never be taken from a believer and is always readily available.

Perhaps one of the best principles learned during that time was the short simple prayer which A.B. Simpson talks about in the quote above and which became a moment by moment habit while raising a large family.  Oh yes, I'd rather have long extended prayer times every day, yet an intimate relationship with God involves constant communication and I think I mastered that through the years.  

"Lord, help me....."

"Thank you, Lord, for....."

"Lord, I need your wisdom with....."

"Lord, keep me safe while...."

"I praise you, Lord, for....."

"Lord, may You comfort...."

"Lord, I see You working in....." 

That's just the start.  It is a love language between God and myself as I know He is always there, always listening, always answering as I pray for His will in each situation.  And sometimes it's only, "Ohhh, Lord......" allowing the Holy Spirit to fill in the blank because I have no human words.

Although I still use these short simple prayers throughout my daily life within my family, it is also an effective way to pray as I hop online each day.  Whether stopping at my favorite bloggers, reading status updates on Facebook, or going through email, it is easy for my heart to be in a prayer and praise mode knowing God is listening each time I pause.

How interesting it is twenty-five years later to be a part of a women's Bible study which is beginning Becoming a Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald.  It's exciting to once again be studying the topic of prayer knowing I will learn new principles to apply in my prayer life.  I look forward to seeing how this study will impact each woman in our group in the days ahead.


Whether your garden is busy or quiet, may your conversation with God be moment by moment!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 20

that big wall

Did you hear it?  The thud?


It's the sound that is heard reverberating through my house when I hit the wall of overwhelmedness (can you believe that spell check doesn't know that word?) You know, like today.


I think it probably began way back at Thanksgiving time and has been building and building and building.  The "to do" list has been getting longer and longer and longer.  The interruptions have been increasing and increasing.  And life just refuses to stop for a moment so I can catch up!  The nerve!

Ohhh, a lot of it has been good stuff.  I love family times.  I love times spent with friends.  I actually love doing the things on my list like writing and cooking and schooling and cleaning and insert a million other things here.  I don't, however, love being so far behind on so many things.

The greatest irony in all of this is that in a couple of weeks I need to speak to a group of women about stopping and catching your breath.  Yup, God certainly has a sense of humor, doesn't He?  And I'm guessing that sense of humor will come with some timely lessons for me in the days ahead, eh?

Until then, I think I'll procrastinate a bit longer and pull my sewing machine right next to the wall of overwhelmedness.  The hum of my sewing machine will not only put a hum back into my heart, but will also give me some quiet time allowing me to stitch together a plan of focused intent to tackle that big wall!

Whew!  Hope to see you on the other side of that wall tomorrow! 

Until then, may all the walls in your garden be little ones that you can hop right over! 

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 19

here we go again

The day has come and much too slowly for the child involved.  

My husband did the honors this time driving our sixth child to the closest DOT office this afternoon where our son - who has been in drivers education class since the beginning of the month - could take his written test for his drivers permit.  Only one wrong on the test easily allowed him the opportunity to begin actually driving.  It seems the tradition has been - and perhaps foolishly on our parts but I think we are as excited at they are! - to allow them to drive home after taking the test. And he made it home without a scratch or a dent to my favorite car afterwards stating the three typical responses we've heard five times hard it is to keep the car at the right speed, how hard it is to keep the car in the right spot on the road, and what a challenge it is to keep checking the mirrors.  Ahhhh, new drivers!  You gotta love 'em!

Am I too relaxed?  I dunno.  Perhaps it comes from doing this so many times before?  I dunno.  However, so far all the kids have been conscientious careful drivers while in the learning stage.  

What's been most interesting this time around is that this laid back son has been chomping at the bit to get driving which is quite contrary to his next older sibling who had a ho hum yawn approach about the whole behind the wheel experience.

I'm just looking forward to this summer when he actually has his drivers license and will be anxious to run errands for me!   Woo hoo!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 18

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 18

For today January 18

Outside my is a heavy cloudiness with a chance of snow flurries.

I am thinking.....about how I have way too many projects going at once and that perhaps I need to work on finishing some rather than adding more!

I am thankful for.....a bit of a January thaw as we've had high temps in the 30's recently.  

I am flannel robe and fuzzy socks over my jammies as I just got up a little bit ago. 

I am hearing.....the telephone ring as my husband forget to tell me something when he left this morning.

I am creating.....a lap quilt for a friend.

I am enjoy being home a bit more this week as last week was filled with lots of out-of-the-house stuff.

I am reading..... my devotionals and the Bible.

I am praying.....for good health for my family as there's been a *bug* in our house over the weekend.

I am those "getting up during the nights to check on little ones" felt the next morning.

I am hoping.....that my left knee will start feeling better soon.

On my the Bible study we are going through right now and wishing I had more quiet time to ponder it.

From the learning rooms....we'll be catching up on corrections.

Noticing that.... January is FLYING BY!

Pondering these words....."Fulfillment is not a goal to achieve, but always the by-product of sacrifice." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

From the kitchen.....I'll be making a big pot of chili for family and friends today.

Around the house.....are lots of messes from my grands visiting this weekend. 

One of my favorite knowing there's some chocolate in my stash right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....are the departure of my son and family and their friends later on today,  drivers ed class in the evenings for a son,  addressing envelopes and sending out our end of the year family letter and picture (yes, this was suppose to be done last week!), dentist appointments for the girls, a meeting with a possible doula client, hosting Bible study midweek, and some sewing.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

My three youngest were cast in a production of The Pied Piper which had two performances on Saturday.  They thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the rehearsals and the play!

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day! If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Enjoy this January day!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 16

garden peace

"If our minds are stayed upon God, His peace will rule the affairs entertained by our minds.  If, on the other hand, we allow our minds to dwell on the cares of the world, God's peace will be far from our thoughts." ~ Woodroll Kroll

May you be surrounded by God's peace in your garden this weekend!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 15

the pieces of history

It's a sound no mother likes to hear.

The shattering of glass.

I heard it this morning and went running into the kitchen. 

Not a soul around, but shards of glass on the floor by the sink.

The container for my blender.

Not any ol' blender.  It was a blender that had been around since ancient of days at my parents home and which they gave to me years ago thinking I'd get a lot of use out of it with my houseful of kids.  

And we did get a lot of use out of it enjoying every whir of the blades.  Lots of malts and shakes and weird concoctions that the kids loved to blend together.  The poor thing has lived through the battles of food recipes and has the scars, drippings and gunk build up to prove it.

Unfortunately, it appears it was poorly stacked into the dish rack last night by the dish doer and has met its demise.  

Blenders are fragile.  So are relationships.  Handle with care.....

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 14

be extreme

"We have learned that suffering is not the worst thing in the world -- disobedience to God is the worst." ~ A Vietnamese Christian pastor imprisoned for his faith (From the devotional Extreme Devotion)

For Christmas this year I purchased a new devotional as a family gift for us to use during our morning devotional time before we begin school each day.  Extreme Devotion is a daily devotional from The Voice of the Martyrs which holds true to what it states on the cover - "Daily devotional stories of ancient to modern day believers who sacrificed everything for Christ".  Although best suited to those twelve years old and up, our younger ones do listen as we read the Scripture, the true accounts of believers, and the closing thoughts for the day.  

Our devotional time always includes reading a chapter from the Old Testament and the New Testament and this devotional complements those readings by providing real life examples of Christians applying God's Word, even to the point of persecution or death.  My hope is that it will allow my children to think a little deeper about what their commitment means as they follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

If you'd like to read another viewpoint, head over to Timberdoodle and read their Extreme Devotion review.  I have found that their devotional recommendations through the years have been Scripturally sound and well grounded for our family's continued spiritual growth. 

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 13

a happy visitor

While doing my post holiday cleaning, I noticed that I missed the arrival and departure of a visitor.  He comes quite often to our house and sometimes I'm almost able to catch him, but this time I had no idea when he was here.  It must have been too busy, too noisy, too much other activity in our household.

But at least he was happy.

Multiple times.

Recognize him?  Yup, Mr. Nobody.  

At least I was pretty certain of who helped him as a certain six year old in our household apparently hasn't quite grasped the whole "we only write on paper" concept yet.  Hopefully this will be the last time I have to have the "just say no" talk as she scrubbed down the whole ledge of the China cabinet.  

Don't worry, I'm not a rude hostess.  I'm quite certain that Mr. Nobody will feel free to stop again as he has other favorite things to do here such as leaving dishes in the living room where no one is suppose to eat or leaving essentially empty containers in the refrigerator or pantry after eating the last bite or two.  At least his accomplishes for those favorite activites are easy to find since I know where the "I'm hungry!" teenagers live in my house.

May your garden days be Mr. Nobody free!  (I can hear you saying, "ya, right..."  hee hee)


Tuesday, January 12

noting a smile

It's been a busy time for me since the holidays with effects from the holidays strewn all over the house. It's taken some time to gather decorations that were in all the various rooms of the house and get them all packed up.  The problem isn't that we have a lot of things.  It's more a problem of having many little things.  A candle here, a jingle bell there, an angel on top of that, a glass Christmas tree on a shelf, etc.  Once gathered, it all gets packed up and stored.

Then begins the task of getting the house back in order, even more so after family comes home and we use almost every square inch of each room or so it seems.  Vacuum here, change a bed there, pick up little people, clean up a hairball under that (I know, YUCK!), wash this, etc.

Seems I hardly had time to spend sitting at my clean desk.  In fact, I had moved my laptop out to the kitchen since it was actually more convenient there.  Okay, it was also warmer to use it there as my corner of the bedroom has been cold.  But I've recently moved my laptop back to my desk and as I was admiring my neat clean desk, I noticed a corner of a piece of paper sticking out of the only pile of papers and notebooks I have on my desk.  

Uncovering it lead to reading the sweetest encouragement note left behind by my daughter-in-law.  Words that were soothing balm to my hurting heart.  Truly, the note had a sweetest factor of 10! 

For you see, our family's last two big holidays have had some unexpected challenges and difficulties arise.  Harsh words have been spoken and it's been very hard on my mother's heart as I muddle through how best to handle these situations.  My prayers have been for discernment as I long to be in God's will as He is ultimately in control.  If I need to speak, I need to speak the truth in love.  If I need be silent, then I ask the Lord to close my mouth as He closed the mouths of Daniel's lions.  It's such a fine line to walk as I learn some new ropes of dealing with adult children.  

A note of encouragement was just what I needed to be reminded that all was not ruined over our holidays.  That there were moments of joy and delight to be remembered.  That love did shine in every corner of our home.  That I have a choice to either focus on the negative or focus on the positive and I'm so blessed to have my heart nudged in the right way!

Plus there was an added bonus.  A hand towel that had been forgotten to be put in the mom gift basket.  A lovely reminder of encouragement!

My hope is that you have someone in your garden who encourages you when times are challenging and difficult.  Someone who will point out the joy.  Someone who will love you through the tears.  And if the Holy Spirit is nudging you to do that for someone else, do not hesitate.  Do it immediately! It will put a smile on both of your faces!

Tammy ~@~ 

Monday, January 11

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 11

For today January 11

Outside my is mostly cloudy and lightly snowing.

I am thinking.....about my crowded life and how to create more space.

I am thankful for.....a pastor who loves his flock and who encourages us to become more God focused and to have a heart for relationship building.

I am wearing.....dark blue pants, a white turtleneck long sleeved top with my favorite old wine colored sweater thrown on top.

I am littlest singing her own songs. 

I am creating.....a secret project but am not sure I have the things on hand I need for it so I may not be able to do it after all. 

I am start working on some end of the year tax paperwork.

I am reading.....very little at the moment except for my devotionals and the Bible.

I am praying.....for good health for our family this week, especially for my daughter-in-law who can't shake her cold. 

I am long it would take to bundle up all my kids for the wintry outdoors when they were all little and how they'd only stay outside for about 10 - 15 minutes and then I'd reverse the process wondering why we kept doing this over and over again?

I am hoping.....that I will find out what is going on with my left knee which has been sore since Thanksgiving.

On my wanting clear discernment and wisdom about a particular difficult relationship.

From the learning rooms....we are back on track with our studies after having a slow week of schooling last week. 

Noticing of the dogs seems to be in a naughty chewing mood which I need to keep a close eye on right now.

Pondering these words....."If we have the true love of God in our hearts, we will show it in our lives.  We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it.  We will show it in everything we say or do." ~ D.L. Moody

From the kitchen.....I think I need to try a potato soup again since someone recently mentioned having it for supper and now that's all I can think about making for our supper.

Around the house.....are lapsized fleece blankets that the kids bought on sale last week which they are using for snuggling when they are chilly.

One of my favorite things.....are the smiles found in chubby dimpled cheeks.

A few plans for the rest of the try-outs for my girls later this afternoon which will determine the main schedule for the week, a meeting for women's ministry tonight, addressing envelopes and sending out our end of the year family letter and picture, hosting Bible study midweek, and enjoying a long weekend with visiting grandchildren.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

We were blessed to attend a beautiful wedding over the weekend of a couple overjoyed to become married.  Not only are my children growing up and getting married, but so are the children of my friends.  Children that I remember as babies.  Children that played with my children.  And suddenly I feel very old....

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day! If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Stay warm on this January day!

Tammy ~@~


Saturday, January 9

tri yummy

Here's the recipe for a cookie I've made a few times before, however it really hit the perfect spot of yummyness this holiday season.  I don't recall where I originally got the recipe and it doesn't say how many it makes, but thinking back I'm guessing around four dozen cookies or so.  
Neopolitan Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
red food coloring
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

Line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with waxed paper and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt;  gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Divide the dough into three parts.  Add the strawberry extract and 5 - 6 drops of red food coloring to one third, then spread it evenly in the prepared pan.  Add the coconut to another third, then spread it evenly over the first layer in the pan.  Add the chocolate to the last third, then spread it evenly over the second layer.  Cover the pan with waxed paper and refrigerate overnight.  Unwrap the dough and cut it in half lengthwise.  Cut into thin slices placing them on ungreased cookies sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 12 minutes. 


Tammy  ~@~

Friday, January 8

ba bye

We are finally at the end of our Christmas cookies!  YAY!  We ended up with too many cookies after the holidays because when the older ones were all saying their good-byes, this mama forgot all about her plan to send them home with treats to eat. Fortunately our midweek Bible study was a good place to use up many of the cookies and saved me from having to do any baking that day. 

However, it is time to address the leftovers.  Like the men.  

As a traditionalist and sentimentalist to the core, it is very hard to say goodbye to the gingerbread men, yet I know it's time.  Next year they will not be gracing the cookie plate as hardly a single one was eaten.  When the kids were little, they liked dipping the gingerbread cookies into their milk, but those kids are growing up and have other cookie preferences they like much more.  Besides, frosting and decorating the gingerbread always came at the very end after frosting and decorating the sugar cookies and no one had much enthusiasm for doing the task by that point (as you can see by the "dumping" of color on them).

And time to address a new attempt this year. Like the Cinnamon-sugar sticks.

It was a biscotti recipe found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine in an issue from last year.  It totally flopped with my family who do not have sophisticated tastes.  Just give them SWEET and they are happy as bugs in a rug.  That's okay.  I'll keep dipping one or two in my morning coffee until they are gone.

Do you have any recipes that are non-repeaters for next year?

The good news though is that there does seem to be a new favorite cookie emerging from the cookie plate and if I can find where I tucked the recipe, I'll post it tomorrow!

May all your Christmas cookies be long gone from your household by now!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 7

a year of mini blessings

After filling out my large wall calendar this morning, I moved on to filling out my mini wall calendar that is on the wall next to my desk.  It's nice to have a calendar to glance at when working at my desk.  It's also a Lang calendar and although it is sold out for this year, they still have a picture of its cover on their website (unlike my large calendar from my earlier post). I confess to tossing and turning about whether or not to buy it this year since our finances are so squeezed, but am willing to give up brewing a second pot of coffee that occasionally is made around here and instead drinking tea I already have in my cupboards since this simple calendar is worthy of my smile on a regular basis.  

Have I mentioned that I love this calendar, too, which is entitled Beautiful Blessings?  It's opening verse for the year has already blessed me - "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd." ~ Isaiah 40:11 - as our family enters our annual time of limited employment while heavy snow covers our land.

Here's to many mini blessings ahead in the new year!

Tammy ~@~

a year of flowers

About five years ago after we remodeled our kitchen, I ordered a calendar frame from Lang to match my cabinets.   There's a couple disadvantages to this set-up such as NOT being able to flip through the pages to write things down on upcoming months and always needing to climb onto the kitchen countertop - hey, I'm vertically challenged! - to pull the calendar out of the frame as I flip to each new month. 

With a group of people coming into our house last night, I thought it best to FINALLY get my new wall calendar out of the package instead of being embarrassed by the empty frame on the wall - yikes!

As soon as I pulled the new calendar out, I remember the major advantage and reason why I ordered the calendar frame.  It's because I absolutely LOVE the choice of calendars to go into the frame!  The calendar I ordered for 2010 was designed by Susan Winget and it has bright beautiful flowers on each page AND a Scripture verse to go with each month.   

Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE it?

Of course, I will have to take it back out of the frame today as I have not yet written out all the important dates of the upcoming year, but that's a task I enjoy doing every new year.  And it's about time I get at it, eh?  LOL!

Enjoy the new pages of a new year in your garden!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 6

a little tea kettle

One thing I've wanted to add to my kitchen for quite a while has been a tea kettle as there's always something we need hot water for such a cup of hot chocolate or hot cider or a cup of tea.  Oh yes, you can warm up water in the microwave in a couple of minutes or heat water in a small pan on the stovetop, but my thoughts kept wandering back to being in my grandma's home and hearing the whistle of her silver tea kettle. 

For over a year on Wednesday evenings we have been hosting Bible study in our home.  Coffee, tea, and a treat have always been a part of our fellowship time and my longing for a tea kettle has been strengthened with the many tea drinkers in our group.  Since it is Wednesday today, it seems like a perfect time to share one of my Christmas gifts which, of course, delighted my heart.

A tea kettle.  With pink on it.  With flowers on it.  Absolutely perfect!

Although we've already tested it out and have adjusted to being startled by the whistle that sound more like a weather siren (!), I can't wait to put it into official hot water use when our group begins meeting again tonight.

Until then, I have much cleaning to do since we've only been in the packing away and putting away mode for the last couple of days.  Time to actually CLEAN the house.....

May your day include a hot cup of tea with a friend!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 4

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 4

For today January 4 

Outside my is mostly cloudy and lightly snowing.

I am thinking.....about all that has happened over the last several days.

I am thankful opportunity for all my children to be together for a few days because I don't know when that will happen again in the future.

I am flannel robe with pastel flowers on it and warm fuzzy socks on my cold feet.

I am hearing.....the wood in the woodburner crackle a bit.

I am creating.....a list of projects for the new year.

I am find some fabric in my stash that will work for embroidery lessons for my girls.

I am devotional in the morning and one at night before bed.  Once the new year settles I hope to get back to a good book!

I am praying.....for safe travels for my son as he flies back to his base today.

I am remembering.....the rowdy laughter heard during game times around our table.

I am hoping.....that my heart will calm in the days ahead.

On my mind.....are difficult relationships and wanting to protect my heart with some thicker skin, yet knowing that I cannot love others fully and completely by doing that which feels safe.

From the learning rooms....will be a slow start this morning, but I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Noticing children are still my children even when they do grow up and leave home.  That statement probably makes no sense to younger moms, but perhaps an older mom would understand the sentiment?

Pondering these words....."Leave the irreparable past in His Hands, and step out into the irresistible future with Him." ~ Oswald Chambers

From the kitchen.....we'll be eating lightly for a couple of days as I've been baking and cooking heavily for the last couple of weeks and would welcome a break!

Around the remnants of Christmas everywhere  as I didn't want to put away a single thing until all my children had left for their destinations.

One of my favorite hugging those I love.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....taking down the Christmas tree and packing up all the holiday decorations, straightening up the house, finishing up our end of the year family letter and sending it out with our family picture, writing out my 2010 calendars, getting my new devotional organized, hosting Bible study midweek, and designing my next quilt.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

 My husband left for the airport around 3:30 AM and after I kissed and hugged him and my son goodbye, I wandered back into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee knowing sleep would elude me until probably after lunchtime *wink*  I lit the tealight one last time in the little Christmas tree that sits in the window above my kitchen sink and enjoyed the cozy quiet.

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day! If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Enjoy your newly January day!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 1

the first steps of twenty-ten

"And now let us welcome the new year full of things that have never been." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A new year always reminds me of looking out the window at a fresh deep snow.  Not a single footprint yet made.  There's excitement with wanting to take those first steps, yet hesitation in not knowing the actual depth of the snow.  

And yet a new year does not allow us to sit and wait and ponder.  We have no choice but to go forward with each day.  

With all of our family home right now, we've been talking about many of the changes, challenges, and events that will be ahead in twenty-ten.  The support and encouragement of family members is a comfort that comes with hearts being knit together.  Even greater though is knowing that the Lord goes with our family into the territory of a new year.

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9

May you, too, be encouraged as the new year stretches out in front of you knowing you will never walk a step of it alone!

Tammy ~@~

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