Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Past & Present

I've been in a blogging funk lately. Isn't it funny how many new words there are in our vocabulary that our grandparents didn't have in their's? I can't imagine my Nanny, God rest her soul, using words like "blog funk". Of course, I can't imagine Nanny saying things like GPS, or having a cell phone, or knowing what Tivo is, either. The explosion in technology in the last twenty-five years blows my mind. Daniel prophesied in the bible that knowledge would be increased in the last days.
Between my blogging funk, and my efforts to provide some handmade Christmas gifts this year, I've been very busy. I have commented on a blog here and there, but for the most part, I'm so far behind in my blog reading, I fear I shall never catch up. I may just mark you all as read on January first, and start fresh. I would appreciate it if you didn't post anything too exciting or too funny until then. Speaking of January first, that is my one year blogiversary. The year has flown by, and it's been fun! I look back at some of my early posts and I cringe with embarrassment at how goofy I sounded. Of course, I do the same thing with my current posts, so that's not sayin' much.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I'll likely be on haitus until after Christmas. If I don't manage to post again before then, I wish you all a very merry Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Last year at this time, my daughter, Nikki, and her boyfriend, Jim, were living in Minneapolis. Prior to Christmas day, they spent a few days in the Wiscconsin Dells, making merry with Jim's (very merry) family. Their plans were to stay home for Christmas, since Nikki couldn't take more than a day or so off from work. However, when they got back to Minneapolis from visiting Jim's family, Nikki got very sad, thinking of her family back in Texas. Having just moved back from Germany earlier that year, she'd already missed three Christmases at home.
Jim, sensing the quiet mood in someone who is rarely quiet, and being the thoughtful and sensitive guy he is, suggested they make a whirlwind trip to Texas. Taking just enough time to shower and repack their bags, they hit the road and drove all day (in heavy snow through Iowa), and all night, arriving on our doorstep Christmas Eve morning. They didn't call, as Nikki wished to surprise us, and surprised, we were! My shrieks of delight could have shattered glass. Their plans were to leave the very next day, but we convinced them to stay and leave the morning after Christmas. Nikki called and managed to clear it with her boss. It was a wonderful Christmas!
That's Nikki holding our dog, Leyna, and Thing on the left.

Oh, look, Thing grew a body!
Seriously, that's Jim and Nikki, laughing at John's (her bubba) reaction to a comical gift they bought him. That ugly looking unidentifiable spot on the wall in the background? Don't ask.
Those happy memories will have to do me this year, as there's positively no chance they'll show up on our doorstep this Christmas Eve. Though I didn't figure they'd return to the states this soon after their move to England (last September), I had hoped they'd come home next year for the holidays. That won't likely happen. Since going to work at the daycare on base (which she loves!), Nikki's learned they have a drawing each June to see who gets to take time off at Christmas. Of course, Nikki wasn't even there yet this past June. She'll get off for Christmas and the day after, but that's it. At least we'll be able to talk to them on the phone while watching them on the webcam. I can just hear my Nanny's reaction at watching someone on a webcam who's thousands of miles across an ocean. My Swaaaaaaan, she'd say, with her voice rising at the end. I sure miss my Nanny. And I sure miss my Nikki. I thank God for modern technology.
Merry Christmas, and God bless you all!
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And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
~Luke 2:10-14

Saturday, December 6, 2008


This video is only a few minutes long, but in those few minutes it manages to illustrate a powerful message.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
~John 3:17 Amplified Bible

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Dot a Toad

Worn out pup~taken the night we got home from our camping trip
Leyda looks in this picture about how I feel, bidus a Rudolf red dose and tissue hanging from her dose. She looks much cuter than I do, so you're seeing her and dot me. I'm dot doing much at all this week but blowing, snorting, coughing, and hacking. I'm reading a blog here and there when I spend a brief few moments at by desk. Mostly I'm living on cold meds, Campbell's Chicken Doodle soup, and Sam's (Wal-Mart) version of Diet 7-Up.
I haven't even felt like ditting, though I bight opt to dit a dose bitten for my ruby red dose. I'll be back when I can sit at the computer without sneezing sn*t all over the screen. For some reason, Mr.Studley has an aversion to a sn*t covered moditor. Go figure.
I left the vowel out of sn*t in hopes that you of sensitive stomachs would be less offended by the word and the image it creates than if I had spelled it out in all it's glory. If it offends you, just think of it as snit, as in I have a snitty dose. I'll be back when I feel dorbal and my dose isn't snitty.
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By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
~Hebrews 13:15 KJV

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In Flew Enza!

I had a little bird,
It's name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in-flu-enza.
A children's playground song in 1918.
Back in the 80's, I watched a movie on VHS titled "1918". Matthew Broderick was one of the cast. This was back before he was thrust to fame in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 1918 was pretty much a sleeper. I'm not even sure if it was released in the theaters. It wasn't a blockbuster sort of movie by any means, but it was good, especially if you like period films. It gives the viewer a sense of what life was like for our ancestors in the year 1918. WWI, also known as "the Great War", was coming to a close. It was declared by a character in the movie to be "the war to end all wars".
More people were killed by the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 than in all of WWI. It was known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe", and infected one-fifth of the world's population. Unlike most flu strains, it was young people who were predominantly infected, the average age being 20-40 year olds. Death would sometimes happen within hours of the onslaught of symptoms. As you can imagine, the consequences to society were devastating!
Aunt Leona & Toby
This is my husband's Aunt Leona. She turned 90 this year. She's a pretty good looking broad for a 90 year old, wouldn't you say? She's been visiting for the past couple of weeks, taking turns staying at the homes of Mr.Studley's two sisters. We've had ample opportunities to spend time with her. She's amazing. Not only is her mind sharp and clear, but she loves the Lord, and loves to talk about Him. Her depth of knowledge and understanding of spiritual things, and God's Word, is astounding.
Aunt Leona, or as some of the relatives here in Texas pronounce it, Ain't Leona, was born in the year of 1918. My late mother-in-law was three years old, and her baby sister, Leona, was six months old, when their mother's life was snuffed out by the horrid influenza. Word was sent to the dead young mother's sister and mother that she had perished, and that the baby would be buried with her in the casket. They were told there was no milk to feed the baby who'd not eaten since midnight; and besides, they were certain it was only a matter of time before the babe fell ill as well. My understanding of this story is that this word was sent by the local midwife, who I assume had tended to the sick mother. I'm not sure where the father was in this picture. This little motherless baby, with no one to nurse it, and no one to tend to it (there were several other children in the home), was going to be buried alive!
Aunt Leona's aunt and grandmother immediately sent back word that they were not to bury the baby, but to hold off until they could arrive, that they'd take the baby home with them. Word was returned that it would be foolish to come there and expose themselves. They went anyway, and the baby was handed to them through a window, to keep them from having to enter the house. The baby had already been dressed in burial clothes.
It's hard in our modern day thinking to imagine such a horrific thought as buring a baby alive (though thousands are killed each day in the wombs), but we haven't a clue what life must have been like in that time period, and in those circumstances. People were dying right and left. Doctors and nurses were dying along with the patients. Entire families were wiped out from the influenza. It's such a testimony of the power of God that Leona's life was spared. The aunt and grandmother raised her on their farm in Kentucky. She shared some wonderful memories with us of her childhood there.
I'm not sure at what age, but Aunt Leona was later introduced to Jesus as her Savior by her older sister, Mr.S' mom. She shared with Mr.S and I last night how she and her sister (his mom) loved to sit and talk about the Lord together. She remembers one night while visiting her sister when they were adults, that they spent the entire night lying in bed, sharing with each other the goodness of God.
My late mother-in-law died a few years ago, at the age of 90. Numerous people approached us at the family visitation night in the funeral home and told us how it was Miz T---that first introduced them to the Lord. I can only hope to leave behind the legacy such as these two sisters have, one now with Jesus, and one still living here for Him; to be known as someone who was passionate in my love for Christ, and always bold to share it with others.
*I gathered my smattering of facts about the influenza pandemic of 1918 at this site.
If you'd like to learn more, click on the link. I only scratched the surface of the shared facts.
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For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
~Jeremiah 29:11 Amplified Bible

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Sing a song of sixpence
a pocket full of rye
Four-and-twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie
And when the pie was opened
The birds began to sing
Wasn't this a dainty dish to set before the King

I bet you thought my title today was about pie birds. It isn't, though while we're on the subject, I think I'd like to have a pie bird or two. Why, if I had a pie bird, I might even bake more pies. Lest you're unfamiliar with pie birds, they're the whimsical little ceramic figurines you place in the center of a pie when you bake it. They vent out steam from within the pie to keep it from boiling over and making a dastardly mess. Hmm...I know a few humans who could benefit from a Pie Bird. Moving on, some people collect pie birds, which aren't all in the shape of birds, by the way. I wouldn't mind collecting them. I imagine they'd look quite charming on a shelf in my kitchen.

I photographed these birds while visiting my sis-in-law who has a beautiful home and acreage out in the country. I try not to covet. She and her husband have put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to enhance the landscaping. There's a large family room on the backside of the house with windows on three sides which overlook luscious landscaping, an abundance of colorful flowers of all kinds, scads of tall trees, and a small lake. I told her the next time Mr.Studley and I go camping, we'll skip the campgrounds and haul our RV out to their backyard. It's as pretty as a picture out there.
My Kodak Easy Share has a 10x optical zoom on it, but it wasn't enough to get a good close-up shot of the woodpecker in the picture above. It's the first woodpecker I've ever captured in a picture. I do occasionally see them in the trees in my own yard, but I've never been able to get their picture. They just won't stay in one place long enough. They're constantly on the move. A lot like Mr.Studley.
Click on pictures to enlarge the view
Ooh, aren't you a pretty bird.

Why, thank you for posing for me.

Oops! There goes Woody Woodpecker. Click on the picture for an enlarged view to see him flying off to the left.

Oh, I almost forgot why PIE was in my title today. Remember when I posted a picture of my Bisquick Impossible Buttermilk Pie, along with the recipe? Natalie, my bloggy friend over at Tins & Treasures, left me a comment on that post that she had a recipe for a Bisquick Impossible Pumpkin Pie. She obligingly posted the recipe on her blog, along with pictures of the pies which her students baked yesterday. I am anxious to try it out myself. Thank you, Natalie!

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
~Psalm 106:1 KJV

Monday, November 24, 2008

Give Me Your Eyes

I'm rather busy today, so I'm skipping my Simple Woman's Daybook entry this week. My women's group meets tonight and I haven't even shopped yet for something good to cook and take to it. I had to take Putty Tat to the vet this morning. I am thankful that her ailment was treatable. She has a bladder infection. The doctor said she's not really in pain, she just feels the sensation of needing to "go", if you get my drift. The nice vet gave her a shot, gave me a bottle of Amoxicillin, and a bill for $81. Ouch! Now, who's in pain?

I first heard the song in the video below at Kay's, at The Rustic Cottage. She has it playing in her Playlist. The words gripped me. I immediately set about to see if there was a video which accompanies the song. Before you view the video, if you don't know Kay, or read her blog, I'd encourage you to do so. She's had a very rough past year, losing her job, and struggling to make ends meet as a single mom. Yet she always brings glory to God in her posts. In her post today, titled Thanksgiving Blessings, she shares the special way the Lord met her need this week. It demonstrates her faith, and His faithfulness. If you read it, you will be blessed.

The song in this video is my daily prayer. I'm sorry for the years I wasted, not being about my Father's business. We are all here for a purpose greater than ourselves.

Lord, let me not see the external of those I meet, but rather let me see with Your eyes into their hearts, and let me look with Your love and compassion, offering Your hand extended to those who are hurting and in need.

Brandon Heath -Give Me Your Eyes

Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest time comes? Look! I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.
~John 4:35 Amplified Bible

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Big Bite of Comfort

It's been all about the comfort foods around here lately. This yellow cake was made from a box mix, and the frosting was storebought as well. I generally prefer to make my cakes from scratch, but I'm not above accepting a little help from Betty Crocker now and then.

I find chicken and dumplings to be the epitome of comfort food. I know I found great comfort from the steaming bowl of them I ate for dinner this evening. I had some pre-cooked chicken breasts in the freezer. I boiled some canned chicken broth, water and Minor's, and quickly made dumpling dough from a storebought baking mix. It was a quick fix, but very satisfying.
Here are a few links to some holiday projects and recipes I thought you might enjoy.
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But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.
~John 14:26 Amplified Bible

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fun at Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

This was our view as we hiked along beside Cedar Creek, near Davies Bridge, at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. It's near the spot where we went Letterboxing and found a snake egg. Not quite what we were hunting, but still fun, nonetheless.
That's Mr. Studley standing next to the marker, probably contemplating how he'd like to live in a cave, and wondering how to convince me. Dream on Stud!
The cave is known as Rock House Cave. You can go inside and walk around with no ropes or barriers preventing you from getting up close to the paintings on the wall, which some archeologists suspect to be more than a thousand years old. Technically, it isn't a cave, at least not the likes of Carlsbad or other caverns which go deep into the underground. This is more of a shelter under a huge rock bluff. It's quite large inside, and goes back plenty deep enough that it's inhabitants would be completely sheltered from the weather.
The hike down to it from the nearby parking lot and road is easy enough for a healthy person, though I think it might be too much for an elderly person, or anyone who has trouble with their balance, as you have to climb over a fairly rocky area before getting to the trail leading down to the cave. I like to add little details like that for anyone who may Google about the park when considering a trip there. I do lots and lots of Googling before we travel. I don't like surprises....unless it's flowers..or chocolate...or a diamond ring...or....well, you get the picture.
Our view from atop Davies Bridge. I'm not sure if this little waterfall had a name or not. Cedar Falls was farther on down the creek. We didn't hike to it, though we did hike to the overlook above it. I took a picture of the falls from there, and will show it in a subsequent post. Picasa only lets me send four pictures to a blog post at one time. Drat.
This is one of my stepgrandsons posing in the cave. Is he a cutie, or what? I only add the 'step' in there so no one will think I'm old enough to have a grandson that age. Vain, aren't I?

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

~Psalm 100:4-5 Amplified Bible

Friday, November 21, 2008


My eldest stepdaughter and her sixteen year old daughter are avid Letterboxers. They've been doing it for a few years now and have an impressive number of stamps in their logbooks. We met up with my stepdaughter's family (her, her husband, and their two youngest kids) on our recent camping trip to Petit Jean Sate Park in Arkansas. They live in nearby Little Rock, and drove up to join us for two days and a night.
Melissa, my stepdaughter, had decided it was high time that her dad and I take up the hobby of Letterboxing, since we travel around a bit with our RV. She'd brought us each our own stamps to use. Mine was a flower, and her dad's was a set of footprints, since "he's always on the go". I thought his was quite fitting, for it's quite true about Mr.Studley. The man can't sit still.
We all set out on that Sunday afternoon for a day of hiking, sightseeing, and Letterboxing. After visiting the Davies Rock Bridge, we hiked along Cedar Creek. Melissa had printed off clues for a Letterbox that was supposed to be hidden beside the creek, not far from the bridge. This was my first Letterbox hunt, and I was pumped. Melissa's enthusiasm for the hobby was contageous.
One of the clues, the paint mark on the above tree, left of the hiking trail. Oh, boy, we're getting warm.
An iron grate by some large rocks, to the right of the trail. Bingo! The Letterbox should be beneath the grate.
The fam raising the grate. That's Mr.Studley on the right, wearing his Army National Guard Wind Suit. It reads "ARNG" across the back. I harass him when he wears it by calling him "Arng", spoken with a hard G (as in, goat), so it comes out sounding like Arn-guh. He loves when I do that-NOT.
After much digging around in the earth, mostly by Melissa (at left in picture up above), this was the result of our search. As you can see, it is not a Letterbox. It is a snake egg. Gasp!
My first Letterboxing expedition was not fruitful, at least not in the sense that we located a Letterbox. Melissa was concerned I'd be let down, but I really wasn't disheartened. I know there will be other opportunities to find more Letterboxes that will be in place. Though we didn't find a prize at th end, the hunt was a reward in itself. It was a fun time spent with family members we see far too infrequently, soaking in the beauty of God's creation. And thankfully, no one was snakebitten!
So, how about you? Do you, or does anyone you know, go Letterboxing? I'd love to hear your comments on the subject!
edit to add:Letterboxing, not to be confused with Geocaching, doesn't require the use of a new-fangled, high-tech gps, of which I are too poor to own. ;-Þ

And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.
~Isaiah 45:3 Amplified Bible

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...

Outside my Window... are piles and piles of leaves, despite the fact that Mr. Studley mowed with the mulcher mower this week, as well as raked bags and bags of them. It will be an ongoing job until all the large trees around our house have finished shedding for the season. I do love the feeling of stomping into a big pile of leaves. It brings out the kid in me.
I am thinking... about how we'll handle the holidays this year. I hate that this is so, but the holidays always prove stressful for me. With blended families, sooo many people, and a house not big enough to house them all, it can be a bit tough to decide how best to handle it.
I am thankful for.... the fact that my mom had the first pain-free day yesterday that she's had in a long time. She was taking pain pills, but they seemed to actually work yesterday. I pray this continues.
From the kitchen... I read the various Simple Woman daybooks, and most have delicious sounding dishes mentioned as coming from their kitchens. I'm always a little envious, and a little ashamed. I guess I'm not that simple. It's a good thing Peggy doesn't require some sort of test to prove one's simpleness (simplicity?) before letting one participate in the weekly Daybook, 'cause trust me, I am very simple. I don't have any scrumptious dishes baking in the oven, filling my house with mouthwatering aromas. Some days I do, but it seems I never do on Mondays when I write my Daybook. Don't you worry, though, the fam will get fed!
I am wearing... my favorite, most comfy, winter knock-around-the-house pants. They're made of sweatshirt fabric, but don't have elastic around the ankles (which I hate) like most sweatpants do. Best of all, I found them one year on a clearance rack in Big Lots for $1.98. I'd say that certainly qualifies me as simple! My lovely (not) teal sweatpants are accompanied by a short-sleeved tee, and my slip on Obakashis.
I am creating...for charity, a Special Olympic scarf.
I am my weekly ladies group night at church tonight. They're going to start having a weekly men's group at the same time. Pastor announced yesterday that the men will share the meal with the ladies, then go to a separate room for their meeting. That means, of course, that the ladies will need to bring a lot more food!
I am reading... a Chronological Study Bible I'm reviewing for Thomas Nelson Publishers.
I am hoping... some doors will open for increased income soon. I realize Christmas isn't about gift-giving, but I do enjoy giving gifts (nothing extravagant) to our children and grandchildren this time of year. Unless something changes soon, I don't see it happening. I am not sitting around stressing and worrying, though.
I am hearing...nothing but the jingle of the tags on Leyna's collar. No air-conditioner humming, no heater humming, no fan humming. I love this time of year when the temperature is perfect, which translates to a lower electric bill, and that makes me happy.
Around the house... Ish. You don't want to know. It's messy. I seriously need to do some housework. Everytime the front door opens, new leaves blow in, then get scattered and crushed underfoot. It doesn't help to sweep off the porch, as the wind scoots them right back up the walkway just as soon as I turn my back!
One of my favorite things... is gazing up at the inky sky each night as I'm out dogwalking. I am a stargazer. A star lover. I seriously love looking up at stars. I don't know anyone (personally, I mean) who delights in it to the degree I do. We don't get the best view of them here in town due to street lights, but lately, they seem to be showing up better. One fall, a few years ago, I got Mr.Studley to drive me out to a nearby lake to view a predicted meteor shower in the wee hours of the morning. We took blankets and lay on the hood of the car and watched the stars shooting across the sky. It was almost romantic, except that we had also taken along a neighbor friend who'd very recently lost her lovely husband to cancer. She professed to loving star gazing, too. I'm not sure if it was the star gazing she craved so much as merely human companionship, escaping a house that had suddenly become far too quiet and too lonely to bear. The three of us and our coffee-filled thermos did have a good time that night.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... is to get serious about my knitting gifts. I have too many UFO's (unfinished obects, for my non-knitterly friends), and not enough FO's (finished objects).
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... This picture I took on a hike in Arkansas last week isn't a particularly pretty picture, but I was struck by the seeming tenacity of this little plant growing right out of a wall of rock. Sure, I imagine there was some hidden dirt beneath the rock's surface, but it wasn't at all visible. I believe it's a Beauty Berry (isn't it, Tracy?). It's as if the plant grit it's teeth, pushed it's way through the wall of rock, and announced to the world "I am here, I am a survivor, and I will let my light shine! ". Okay, that may be a bit much of a declaration for a plant, but it's what went through my head at the time. We could all learn from the little Beauty Berry.
~Visit The Simple Woman's blog to see how you can participate in the weekly Daybook on your own blog. Click on The Simple Woman's Daybook icon in her sidebar for instructions.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
~Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gone Campin'

Taken at our campsite at Spirit Mountain, Duluth, MN. Fall 2007

Mr. Studley, Leyna, and I are off this morning for our week long camping trip in Arkansas. Yessiree, Bob, we'll be enjoying the good life. Arkansas is a state packed full of natural beauty. In the fall, it's as if God dipped His paintbrush in a dozen colors to paint the trees. My little corner of blogland will lie silent for a week, but I'll be back with plenty to say, and lots of pretty pictures to show you. Who knows? I might even be in one of them if I can teach Leyna how to use the camera. Y'all be good, now!
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse...
~Romans 1:20

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted!

And I got this great button Here.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

~James 1:5 NKJV

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Jewelry Etsy Store & Giveaway!

My friend, Marilyn, at A Mixed Bouquet, is a woman of many talents. I think I sometimes embarrass her by singing her praises, but she really is an amazing person. She can do so many things, and do them well. She's always encouraging me that I can, too; so you can add exhorter to her long list of good qualities.

Marilyn creates beautiful jewelry, and has opened her own Etsy store to enable others to purchase it. I've looked at a lot of sites online that sell jewelry, and in comparison, I think her prices are really good! She always puts God first in her life, second only to her family. I'm praying He'll now bless her with many customers, who will in turn be blessed by obtaining her lovely creations!

To kick-off the grand opening of her Etsy store, Marilyn is having a giveaway contest. The prize is a beautiful birthstone bracelet. The winner gets to choose their own choice of birthstone color. You can see a picture of the bracelet, as well as get the details for entering her contest, at this blog post.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...

Outside my Window...someone needs to do some raking. Miiiiisssttteerr Stuuuddllleeyyy!
I am thinking...about the election, about our camping trip this week, about my mom, who was in horrible pain when we saw her on Sunday, and has been ever since her shoulder surgery weeks ago.
From the learning rooms...I am learning how easy it is to slip into a habit of fault-finding and complaining. Not such a good thing to learn, I know.
I am thankful son, who has been cooking us Sunday evening dinner for the past several weeks. Last night was fajitas (beef & chicken!), and they were superb!
From the kitchen...well, I keep waiting for the maid to announce that Cook has a meal ready to eat, but silence...nothing but silence. You just can't get good help these days.
I am uniform, tee and capris. Maybe someday I'll put on an evening gown, just so this line can be something different for a change. Of course, in order to do that, I'd have to own an evening gown.
I am favorite blogs. I don't seem to have time for anything else, so you guys better write some intelligent stuff if you want me to advance my mind!
I am hoping...I can keep on track in my head and get everything done for our trip (sounds like a broken record from last week's Monday post!).
I am creating... a Special Olympics Scarf for charity with my knitting needles.
I am hearing...the jingle of Leyna's tags as she runs through the house. We take her collar off to bathe her, and we've learned it's best to get it back on quickly. Without the jingle of her tags, it's a little too easy for her to get into undetected mischief.
Around the house...are piles of things which need to go to the travel trailer.
One of my favorite walking the dogs in the evening with Mr. Studley. I have an invalid neighbor who can no longer walk her dog, Pepper, so I walk Pepper, and Mr.S walks Leyna. We generally go about ten at night. Lately the sky has been inky black, lit up with stars that look like tiny fairy lights strung across the sky. We talk about what's going on in our lives, our kid's lives, our church, and our country. There is no tv, computer, or telephone to distract us from sharing with each other what's on our minds.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... is to finish packing the kitchen stuff in the trailer, pay a few bills, finish the laundry, and clean out the fridge before we leave town. With Nikki grown and moved away, and our homeschooling days being through, I can no longer claim the dishes of geen hairy looking foods are science projects.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...that Nikki's (dd) boyfriend sent me. He snapped this while they were on a walk about Harrogate (England) where they are now living. I found it funny for some reason, and I don't mean that in any sort of disrespectful way toward the elderly, as I am not that far off from being one. I guess it's just because I've never seen a sign like this in the states. Maybe the US isn't as concerned about their elderly having safe crossing as England is? I dunno. It just made me chuckle. I guess J found it funny, too, since he took the time to take a picture of it and send it to me.

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Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
~Romans 8:27 NKJV

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back to Nature?

We got back to nature this weekend. Sitting outdoors near this waterfall, reflecting on our experience while listening to the rushing water was quite soothing to my soul. We celebrated life. We connected as a family. We forged new trails. We witnessed the survival of the fittest. We scrounged for food. We filled our bellies with leafy greens. We created warmth to guard off the cold. It was barbaric, yet fulfilling.
Some of you are probably thinking I'm really enjoying my camping trip. Truth is, we aren't leaving until Thursday morning, earlier than I'm used to facing a day, I might add. We moved our trip forward a few days since the turning of the foliage slowed down and peak week has been delayed.
Those of you who know me, know there's nothing pretty like the above picture near me. You know that, since I'm always complaining that there's nothing pretty near me. So, how'd I do all that stuff I yammered on about above.
I might've stretched the truth a tad....just a tad. In actuality, in honor of my son's birthday, he, Mr. Studley, and I drove to Dallas to celebrate said birthday with my mom and her husband. Traffic on I-35 was quite nasty in places, especially considering it was a Saturday. Since I've not lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area in over twenty years, my memory of locations is a bit sketchy. My son, John, was not yet of driving age when we moved away, and Mr.Studley has never lived there. Not being high tech yet, in that we don't own a gps, we were forced to rely on the map John printed off for directions to the Old Spaghetti Warehouse in West End of Dallas. The map John left sitting at home on his desk. Oh, well. We may not have driven the straightest route to our destination, but we did get there, and without getting lost.
Living here in Hicksville, USA, where life moves at a snail's pace, it's always fascinating (and alarming!) to see the automobiles zip in and out of freeway traffic at 70+mph. Clearly, the bigger guys on the road have the advantage over the small compact cars. I find it amazing there aren't more wrecks than there are!
We had a wonderful meal at The Old Spaghetti Warehouse. I have fond memories of that place. It was one of the first restaurants I went to after moving from Small Town, Oklahoma to the Dallas area as a young teenager. I remember that night so clearly. I was with my folks and my sort-of-aunt, Aunt Jo (who has long since been dubbed as Saint Jo). Along with us was Aunt Jo's real niece (as in, her real blood kin, which I'm not), Teresa. It was Teresa's birthday or very near her birthday. I'm guessing her folks must surely have been with us, too. Okay, maybe I don't remember the night that clearly.
Being shy by nature, I was nervous of my first time meeting Teresa, who would later become my very best friend in the world, though of course I didn't know that then. Though much more outgoing than me, Teresa was also shy about our first meeting, since it was obvious our families were hoping we'd hit it off well. One of us knocked over and spilled our water glass. We were both terribly embarrassed by it. The funny thing is, I can no longer remember which one of us did it. I just remember it happened, and being embarrassed; whether for her or myself, I don't know, and it doesn't even matter, really. Sadly, Teresa and I drifted apart about seven or eight years ago, and I still don't know why.
Sorry, I really drifted away there for a moment. Give me a sec to come screeching back to the present. We all had delicious meals. Spaghetti Warehouse makes a wonderful lasagna. I generally don't tend to order lasagna when I eat out as I'm never pleased, but I took a chance and it paid off! My mom ordered spaghetti. I felt sorry for her as it looked a little plain compared to the lasagna on the rest of our plates. There wasn't a lot of meat sauce. When I saw her disappointed look, I assured her it looked great and asked if she'd be willing to trade me half her spaghetti for half my lasagna. I didn't have to twist her arm. ;-)
The meals came with refillable salads or soups, of which we all chose salad. The basil vinagrette dressing was out of this world! They also bring complimentary sour dough bread loaves to the table, along with a garlicy, cheesy tasting butter. I could have eaten only the bread and salad and been a very happy to speak. I was really pleased to see, that after all these years, The (original) Old Spaghetti Warehouse is still a great restaurant. It doesn't have quite the ambiance I recall it having so long ago, but they do still have the great interior-the old trolley car with dining seats, tables that look like beds, etc. The red velvet barber chairs were no longer in the bar area. I guess they wore out over time. Best of all, we all had coupons to buy a meal, and get a meal free. It was a wonderful dining experience!
After gorging ourselves enjoying our meal, we waddled on out to the car, drove my mom and her hubby back to the parking lot in Irving where we'd met up with them, and said our goodbyes. We then headed to the establishment in the picture below where I had John pick out a coat for his birthday present. I might as well spill the beans and admit that is also where I took the picture of the waterfall.
If you've never been to a Bass Pro Shop, it's worth it, even if you're not at all interested in outdoorsy type gear. It's an awesome place. It starts with the gigantuan parking lot with it's natural looking landscaping of waterfalls, creeks, and fishponds. Then inside, where it's just as massive, are the huge wall size aquariums with fish swimming around that would make a fisherman drool. You can look from above, or go to a different level and watch them through the wall of glass. It's all very natural looking inside it, too. We then made our way back to the car, walking a little slower by this time, and headed back to home sweet home. All in all, it was a very good day.
Her children rise up and call her blessed..
~Proverbs 31:28a NKJV

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So Good You'll Slap Your Mama!

Bisquick Impossible Buttermilk Pie
I've been making this custard-like pie for nearly as long as I am old. I can go from start to finish in under 45 minutes, and have a pie on the table. It's easy, it's quick, and it tastes good; that is my kind of recipe. Don't be put off by the fact that it has buttermilk if you don't like buttermilk. You will not taste it. I solemn pinkie promise. Now, go make one and tell me what you think!

Bisquick Impossible Buttermilk Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix, or any other brand baking mix (I used Kroger's brand)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
*1 tsp lemon extract*optional (I like the hint of lemon flavor it gives it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9" pie plate (I use a nonstick spray)
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds;
or mix in a bowl with a hand mixer for 1 minute
Pour into greased pie plate and bake for 30 minutes, or until sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean
Cool 5 minutes before slicing.
You can eat it warm or chill it in the fridge first, it's great both ways.

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
~1 Corinthians 14:20 NKJV

Monday, October 27, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...

Outside my Window... I'm still seeing a lot of green, though there are some leaves collecting on the ground beneath the huge oak tree. A squirrel is racing across the top of our wooden privacy fence. Leyna is watching from the futon in the sunroom, irked and perplexed as to why I won't let her out there.

I am thinking... we leave for our camping trip in one week, and I have much to get done. Lists, shopping, more lists, packing, and more lists to be made. As many times as we've done this, camping in our 5th wheel, we still inevitably forget something.

From the learning rooms... let's just say, someone somewhere is learning's just not here!

I am thankful for.... the beautiful weather we've been having. It's such a pleasure to be outdoors. We spent all of Saturday outdoors at our town's annual Pumpkin Festival, and the weather could not have been more perfect than it was.

From the kitchen... leftovers from a delicious cranberried pork roast I cooked in the crockpot on Saturday. I'm shredding the remains for sandwhiches. I got the recipe from Karen, at Over the Back Yard Fence. She mentioned it in a previous Simple Woman's Daybook post, and shared the recipe with me in an e-mail when I expressed an interest. Thanks, Karen! :-)

I am wearing... a t-shirt and capris, my 'uniform' until the weather turns cold.

I am reading... I'm in a slump. I need new books. I hate borrowing from the library. I'm such a procrastinator, and the library is on the opposite side of town from me. I always end up taking books back late. I am not allowing myself to check out anything else until I can improve this area of my character.

I am hoping... I hesitate to say, as it may sound selfish. I'm hoping our ladies group meeting at church tonight goes the way I want it to. Hmm...seeing that in print, it does sound selfish.

We each bring food to share, from a fast food joint, or from our kitchens. The plan is to then eat and fellowship for a half hour before getting to our meeting which ends with prayer....but it seems our food and fellowship time inevitably drags out until some have to leave before we get to a meeting or prayer. I want us to have the fellowship time, I do know it's important, but yet I would like a balance of fellowship, meeting, and prayer. I need to spend time in prayer about this. both that the Holy Spirit will lead our meeting, and that I will be submissive in my heart to His leading.

I am creating... I haven't picked up my needles in a week. I need to get back to my Christmas knitting!

I am hearing... a call to prayer and intercession.

Around the house... are too many dustbunnies, which breed faster than real bunnies!

One of my favorite the phone calls from my daughter. At twenty-four, she's finally going to college, yea! Her first class begins in a couple of weeks. She'll be going all day Saturday and Sunday for about a month. That's after working all day Monday through Friday. I hope pray she is able to stay healthy and strong, as she tends to get sick when she burns the candle at both ends. She's really excited about the course. She's also scouring the internet to determine a plan of action for online courses toward a child development degree. She found she cannot get the necessary classes for it through the campus on base. The classes she'll be taking there will be toward a business and management degree. She already has a bad cold, something the other daycare workers informed her comes standard with the job. I'm praying over her!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... After I finish making my shopping lists, I need to go to Big Lots this week. We get a lot of our non-perishable foods there much cheaper than at the grocery store. I also need to pick up supplies at the Dollar General, as well as at the grocery store. I need to check the weather forecast for the area of Arkansas where we'll be camping to determine the type clothing to pack in the trailer. Mr.Studley does all his own packing.

I've not yet made it to the vet with Leyna to get her nails trimmed, so that's on the agenda. We'd do it ourselves, but she turns into a little piranha whenever we try. It is not a pleasant experience! I've been wondering if that Peticure product advertised on tv is any good. It works like a Dremmel tool to file down the pet's nails. Mabye a Dremmel tool is what I should consider?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... This cute little tyke was turned and watching Leyna, our Min Pin who we took to the Pumpkin Festival with us. I thought the child looked so cute that I grabbed my camera. When his mom saw me focusing for a picture, she had him (her?) turn toward me. When he saw me, or more specifically my camera, he broke into that huge smile and waved. He's obviously not at all camera shy! Isn't he a cutie?

~Visit The Simple Woman's blog to see how you can participate in the weekly Daybook on your own blog. Click on The Simple Woman's Daybook icon in her sidebar for instructions.

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
~Hebrews 4:12 Amplified Bible

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the Kitchen

Banana Smoothie

  • 1 sliced frozen banana

  • 1/2 cup skim milk

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

  • 1 TBSP honey

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup crushed ice, or ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth & creamy.

Pop in a straw and slurp away. It's good for what ails you!

And now for a bit of comfort food....
Chicken & Dumplings

  • stewed chicken, parts & amounts of your choice

  • low sodium chicken broth, plus broth created from stewing your chicken

  • 1 tsp (or so) poultry seasoning

  • 1 large can cream of chicken soup (optional-I used it with a can of water to make my broth go farther)

  • Bisquick mix

  • milk

Stew the chicken, then remove from the broth and strain out any icky pieces of fat and such left behind in the broth.

Set the chicken aside to cool, remove the meat from the bone, chunk or shred the meat.

Return the meat to the broth, also adding the storebought broth, and poultry seasoning.

If you wish to add the cream soup and soup can of water, do it now. They will taste just as good without it. I just happened to have it on hand and needed more broth.

While broth is coming to a full boil, mix dumplings according to package (2 cups mix, 2/3 cup milk).

If you wish your dumplings to be chewy, hand mix the dough and let it set awhile.

If you wish your dumplings to be light and fluffy, mix lightly with a fork, just until mixed, and put in boiling broth right away.

Make SURE your broth is at a full boil when you add the spoonfuls of dumpling mix to the pan.

Gently drop the dumplings onto the top of the broth.

Keep the heat high and let them boil for ten minutes, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and let them cook an additional ten minutes.

I have made my dumplings the long way, from scratch. These are a fraction of the work, and I like them every bit as much.

It's comfort food at it's finest!

If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

~Numbers 14:8 Amplified Bible