Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lost and Gained in 2014


This year has been a year of ups and downs for me.

I LOST my gallbladder -- It started in February with two trips to the ER. After many doctor visits and tests, I had my gallbladder removed in April. It was a long, painful journey.

GAINED a new car -- My old car was on the point of dying so I traded it in for a new one (to me)... a Chrysler 300 which I named Mr. Knightley. (Does anyone else name their cars?!)

I LOST my job and my friend -- after the elderly man I cared for passed away, I lost both a job I loved, and a very dear friend. He felt like a third grandfather to me.

I GAINED a new nephew -- Paul Ronald was born on November 24. I haven't met him yet, but I know he's a sweetie. 

I GAINED a new job -- Exactly one month after I lost my old job, I started working at Chick-fil-A.

LOST 45 pounds -- Between February and April, I had to eliminate all fats from my diet. After the surgery, I had a lot of nausea due to my body adjusting to no gallbladder. I finally got the nausea under control by drinking more water. All of that plus eating less equals weight loss.

What have you lost and gained this year?

Linking up to Gathering the Moments...

Thinking About Home

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vintage Christmas Decorations

I went with a more vintage theme for my Christmas decorating this year. 

Glass jars with red lids, vintage pipe cleaner candy canes, vintage tin, and a red striped napkin on my tray. 

All three of my copies of A Christmas Carol. I love that book!

On top of my desk, I styled red and white candles. It looks so pretty when they are all lit and shining.

On my new cutting board, I have a new blue tray, teacups a friend gave me for my birthday, a cardinal figurine, and a vintage candle holder. 

My handmade snowglobe made with a blue mason jar and a green tea cup set sitting on my bookshelf. 

I got this white and red star on clearance at Marshalls at the end of the Christmas season last year. I chose to hang it in my window this year. 

For my tree this year, I chose to use red balls that were my great-aunt Lynn's, and the bookpage Christmas trees I used last year. For a tree skirt, I used a vintage holly tablecloth my grandmother gave me. 

I used red and white polka dot and red and white stripe wrapping paper for my gifts. I used these gift tags I found through Pinterest and tied up the gifts with red curly ribbon. It was really fast and simple which was just right for this year.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Conversion

Confession: I finished reading this book in September but never got around to blogging about it. Oops...

Even though I met the challenge of reading five of the books, it looks like I won't be meeting my personal goal of reading all the book on the list this year. But I will be adding the books I didn't read to next year's reading list. 


Sisters Book Challenge
Book 6
My Conversion by Charles Spurgeon

"I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribably. 
I could have leaped; I could have danced. There was no expression, 
however fanatical, that would have been out of keeping with the 
joy of my spirit at that hour."

This book is Charles Spurgeon's own story of how the Lord came into his heart. It's very thought-provoking and definitely worth reading and pondering. It's a short book which could easily be read in a day but I found it best to read short passages at a time so as to have time to absorb all I read. It was hard to put it down, though. I would definitely recommend reading My Conversion.

"He never breathed out anything but love. As I looked into the poor, sorrowful face, so full of agony and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His. I said to myself, 'where can these traitors live? Who could have killed such a One as this?'... I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand. It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, wherever I put out my hand, I could not grab him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go. At last, I put my hand on my own breast. 'I have you now,' said I. Yes, he was in my own heart. The murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul. Ah, then I wept indeed that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, would be harboring the murderer."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hot Chocolate Bar

At Christmastime, I usually host a small game party for friends. We have a festive time playing Apples to Apples and Dutch Blitz, eat some goodies, and sit around and chat. 

This year, I decided to put together a hot chocolate bar.

 I searched Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. I found a crock pot hot chocolate recipe I wanted to try. It turned out really well and was enjoyed by all who tried it. 

I designed a sign on PicMonkey with all the menu items. It made it easy for guests to know what all the toppings were without having to explain it to each person. 

I found an idea on Pinterest for frozen whipped cream. They were a piece of cake to make... just pipe whipped cream onto a lined cookie sheet and pop in the freezer for a few hours. It created a more delicate look than a bowl of whipped cream would have. My guests were really impressed!

Candy canes are a must for a Christmas hot chocolate bar. It makes the spread look festive and peppermint is a great flavor to add to a cup of cocoa. 

I made chocolate spoons by dipping plastic spoons in melted chocolate chips and refrigerate until hardened. All the toppings can then be stirred at the same time as you add some more chocolate flavor to your hot chocolate. 

I found the most adorable Christmas tree marshmallows at Target at the beginning of December. They were inexpensive but really packed a punch. 

A shaker of cinnamon, a variety of extracts, and some espresso powder were available to add flavors to each guest's hot chocolate.

This hot chocolate bar really didn't take that long to put together. It was a big success and perfect for a winter party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Day 23-30

The November Photo-a-day Challenge has been fun, but I had a hard time getting my camera out this time.

Day 23: path
Proverbs 3:6.

Day 24: apple
I wasn't able to take an apple picture.

Day 25: shine
A lamp shining during the cloudy day.

Day 26: food
My favorite Thanksgiving food is stuffing.

Day 27: thankful
My niece's Thanksgiving activity page.

Day 28: makes me smile
My "uncle", Pilgrim.

Day 29: home
We put up our Christmas tree on Saturday. Our home is looking festive for Christmas.

Day 30: scarf
The scarf on my "starman" Christmas ornament.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Days 16-22

Week three of the photo-a-day challenge...

Day 16: red
Dad (who doesn't like spicy food) was away so we three girls decided to try Chili's. It was very yummy!

Day 17: hot drink
A cup of English Breakfast tea.

Day 18: hands/feet
Bekah working on making cards.

Day 19: family
I was looking through some old pictures. I discovered these family shots taken in 2006.

Day 20: wood
My new cutting board Dad made me for my birthday.

Day 21: candlelight
Oops... forgot again. We had a very busy day on Friday so I took a candlelight picture today instead.

Day 22: orange
I didn't know I had so many orange buttons in my button jar. Orange isn't a color I use that much.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant {Book Review}

** I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the book.

This book by Lynn Austin is the second in The Restoration Chronicles series. I read and reviewed the first one last year. I was very excited when the second book, Keepers of the Covenant, was available through the Bethany House blogger review program.

Cover Art
I am usually not a fan of Biblical fiction because I find it's a whole lot fiction and not a lot of Biblical fact. Lynn Austin is one of the few authors whose Biblical fiction I enjoy. She does a lot of research for her stories and provides a list of scripture references in the back of the book. She uses the actual scriptures when possible in the story.

This book is about the prophet Ezra as well as a few other fictional characters. The first part of the book deals with the decree of death (orchestrated by Haman). It was fascinating to read from the viewpoint of the Jews who thought they were all going to perish on the thirteenth day of Adar. I had never picked up when reading the book of Esther how widespread and brutal that decree could have been if the Lord (through Esther) hadn't stopped it. The second part of the book is about the return of more of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem led by Ezra. 

This book is almost 500 pages long but don't let the length stop you. The story kept my interest the whole time and I never came to any parts that were boring or tedious. It was a great book! I think I liked this one better than the first one of the series. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November Photo-a-day Challenge: Days 9-15

Here are my photos for week two of the photo-a-day challenge...

Day 9: song
I've been enjoying listening to How Great Thou Art sung by Chris Rice recently.

Day 10: yellow
I've found that I don't have much yellow around. I was able to find a yellow yo-yo on garland I have in my room.

Day 11: outside my window
My baby boy always comes up late at night for belly rubs.

Day 12: small
I purchased these small books in an antiques store in Lancaster. There's a small Child's Garden of Verses, The Courtship of Miles Standish, A Christmas Carol, and a poetry book.

Day 13: large
I did it again...I forgot to take a "large" picture on the correct day. Oops... Instead, I took one today of our large woodpile. 

Day 14: swirl
It was a chilly day so in the afternoon we heated up the teapot of a cup of tea.

Day 15: animal
The robin decided to hang out in our yard for a while this afternoon.

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