the view from my kitchen window

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anyone up for going SKATING!!

It's Christmas!  It's cold and frosty . . . the farm pond should be frozen enough for ice skating, I would think!  We could have such fun out there swirling and twirling around . . . falling down, getting back up, skating in pairs or ice dancing. 
Then we could come back to the house, get close to the firepit and the toasty warm and cozy fire while we sip hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cappuccino and/ or cider.  I've made lots of Christmas cookies . . or we could pop some popcorn, even make 'smores over the fire.

We could laugh, share in the joy of one another's company and we could sing Christmas carols!  We could sing loud and clear . . . raising our voices to the starry skies and the heavens!   Then we can tumble in the house, shed our outerwear, put on our Christmas jammies and slippers . . . laugh and sing some more!   What a glorious night we could celebrate!   "O HOLY NIGHT"! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tree Lit from the VERY TOP!!

Our "Miracle Tree", the Colorado Blue Spruce that is at the end of our driveway and about 30 feet tall had to have it's tippy-top pruned off  because it was a tad bit close to the power lines.  We asked the tree company guys to be GENTLE, CAREFUL and THOUGHTFUL . . . because of the history of this stunningly beautiful tree's survival of our terrible fire in July 1994.
I watched them carefully trim off the top . . . and was glad they were careful, but it still made me a bit teary eyed.  As my  hubby says, "that tree was hard won".   I went out and asked them for the top and decided it would make a perfect little Christmas tree out on our deck.  The end was just perfect to fit in the hole (for a patio unbrella) in the middle of our metal patio table.  I strung on some mini lights and topped it with a good Scottish tartan plaid bow . . . and we have our little blue spruce Christmas tree . . . all lit up from the top!!!  Another way to enjoy a bit of our "Miracle Tree"!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The "COMFORT and JOY" of homemade bread

My mom was a farmwife, farmmom and the best cook ever and that included her mastery of homemade bread.  She taught me everything I know about making bread and it is such a pleasure to engage in, what is now, an indulgence.  When our children were still at home I made all of our bread, as well as other baked goods.  After we became "empty nesters" and I was working more than one job, my hubby became the cook in the house.  So, my breadmaking basically went by the wayside.  It is now becoming one of MY holiday traditions . . to set aside days to bake and that includes my favorite yeast breads.  I made several loaves and put them in the freezer to enjoy long after the holidays are over.  I don't have a bread machine and have never used one.  I'm not against their use, I just don't make bread often any more.  However, I actually enjoy kneading bread . . . it is therapeutic for me!  It is an activity that allows me to remember my mom, my life as a "farm kid', gives me opportunity to express gratitude to the Lord for His grace, mercy, comfort, strength, provision and love.
It is truly a COMFORT to me to make bread, taking in the aroma of the yeast and the baking smells, hearing that "hollow" sound with a thump that tells me the bread is done, rubbing a little butter on the hot tops.

The JOY is in slicing of the "heel" . . end piece while it is still warm and savoring it with butter and, sometimes, local honey.  I enjoy homemmade bread anytime . . but for me, the JOY is that very first, heel slice fresh out of the oven!   My family knows that that piece is MINE!!!   Better not try to steal it from me!!

Honey Whole Wheat bread, fresh and cooling on the rack!

Getting my "therapy" by kneading the Oatmeal Molasses bread.  That "heel" piece was just heavenly!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Angels Watchin' Over Me

It was about 1:00 AM on Sunday morning, July 17th, 1994.   The angel who was attempting to rouse me from sleep looked like my mom!   This angel's job was to get me and my husband, awake, out of bed and out of our house because within 1/2 hour it caught fire and was totally destroyed!
It was an arson fire started by malicious pranksters playing with illegal fireworks!  I don't believe they intended to burn our house down but it was malicious and irresponsible!  Our yard and natural wooded area on three sides of our property were already engulfed in flames and we had time only to get dressed, call the fire department, get out, move our vehicles and pray!!!!

My mother had passed away earlier that year in February and this angel who had her appearance used the strategy to wake me that my mom had used when I was in high school and had to get up EARLY to practice the piano before going to school.  I'm thankful for her!  For that angel!  For the fact that she was already in heaven when this happened and for the fact that both of  our children were no longer living at home.

God worked a miracle out of that terrible catastrophe and we are grateful for how He worked through it!  Yes, I believe in angels!  I have many reasons to believe, without a doubt that they exist, that there are out there watching over us, protecting us and keeping us out of harm's way many, many times.

There are three lovely angels on this "tree".  Some of the other Christmas angels are in pictures below with the sleighs!
I collect angels and have them all over my house.  Some of them are put out only at Christmas, others are out all the time.   I ALWAYS have some gracing the top of my piano!  There are some Christmas ones there now, but I also have some hanging out in the bathroom.  I can see them when I'm getting myself put together for the day . . and I'm reminded of their presence in my life and the lives of those I love so very much!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Sleigh-ing we will go

Someday I'm going to go for a honest-to-goodness sleigh ride.  Seems like our winters of late have been rather sparse of snow, except for the last couple.  We were in Arizona for the Christmas holidays the last two years which put a crimp in any style for a sleigh ride.  We have gone cross-country skiing at night in the moonlight and while it is cold, we stay active enough and aren't out terribly long.  There is something about that crisp, clear, snowy, moonlit venue that is invigorating and refreshing . . .and not just because of the cold.  It's quiet and you can really reflect on that nocturnal beauty.

I have a few sleighs for decorating my house for Christmas and I'd like to share a few pictures of them here. I love to decorate my house all over and that includes the bathroom.  It's just so fun for me to "deck the halls" of my house!

A vintage gold colored metal sleigh with green metal holly leaves and red bells as the berries.  I've filled it with vintage glass ball ornaments, placed in on top of a vintage-look Christmas box.  It sits on my dining table with some other items.

This sweet little white sleigh sits in my bathroom on the "towel table" and is graced with vintage hankies and an angel.  There are Christmas towels, other vintage hankies and angels here as well

Another cute little red sleigh on the counter in my bathroom, enhanced with silk decorations, vintage hankie and linens, including doilies, a sweet crochet angel.  And there are other Christmas decoration items here as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Clucking in my Kitchen

I grew up on a farm and we raised a lot of different animals, crops . . and lots of chickens.  I can tell you more about chickens than you'll ever want to know.  But they seem to have some charm when it comes to kitchen decor and I have a few little "chickies" gracing my kitchen.  
I'm also very fond of antique items and have some treasures that I was able to claim from our farm and a few things that were in my in-laws house.
Thought I'd have some fun and use the first egg scale we used on the farm in my decor, weighing a ball ornament.  Use some cute little aluminum molds to hold more vintage ball ornaments or light string bulbs and add some other bric-a-brac.

A vintage quart milk bottle makes a great container for peppermint sticks.  Tie up some silverplate utensils, add a vintage gallon milk jug and a complete set of vintage glass tree ornaments and use some fun dress shaped potholders and Christmas themed napkins.

Vintage thermos bottles all dolled up for the holidays, along with cordial glasses holding vintage ball ornaments, chickens, rusty bells, plates, mugs, evergreen branches, an antique butter churn and more napkins.   And, just lay it out on kitchen-y towels and redwork tea towels.

Better look at the churn with a fun 1950's salt/pepper set and antique kitchen utensils.
Well, in true farmgirl, "lover-of-old-stuff" fashion, I wanted to incorporate some of these antique/vintage items into my kitchen Christmas decorations along with the chickens.  Boy does this remind me of Christmas on the farm . . that big, two-story house whose only heat was the Warm Morning coal stove in the dining room and the fireplace in the living room.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa Claus . . and Snowmen

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!   I have such a fun time decorating my house and planning festivities to celebrate the season.   In my heart I KNOW . . and BELIEVE . . that "JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON".  That reason and that reason alone are what it is ALL about!  HALLULEJAH!  WHAT A SAVIOR!!!!

I enjoy the other parts of Christmas just for the fun and joy of it.  In my Christmas boxes, bins and tins are lots of decoration items.  Boy!  I have a vast array of fun things.  I have enjoyed collecting Santa Claus figures over the years.  They range from a tiny Santa doing handstands, or one barrelling down the slopes on skis to a tall Santa dressed as a woodsman with a toggle button jacket and burlap gift sack.  I just enjoy looking at all the different features of each one.
This is just a FEW of my Santas . . I just love the blue one on the left.

I also have a wonderful and delightful collection of snowmen figures.  They range from a miniscule clay snowman covered with a glittery finish to a tall resin snowman holding garden implements.  There are soft sculptures, metal, wood, clay . . . all kinds.  I even have "Irish Snow People" which includes one with sheer green angel wings and another wearing a green Irish cloak. This pair was made for us by a fellow traveler on a tour in Ireland several years ago.  Again, I just enjoy handling them, looking at the faces, admiring the different features.   My snowman collection stays out through January!!

Just a couple of my snowy friends.  I display my snowmen on this snow/snowman themed mini-quilt that I made.