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Rebecca

Hi. I'm so glad you're here. I write about faith issues, mental health issues (primarily depression and anxiety), and throw in some DIY now and then for good measure.

I hope you stick around. God bless.

Christmas cookie, 2017

Decorating butter cookies. Yikes!!!!

Last weekend my granddaughter, hubby, and I decorated cut-out cookies. I think I have the best recipe in the world. I’ll include it at the end of this post.

Anyway, I have a new respect for all of you who do a good job of this. It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of patience. My husband and I have decorated cookies every year but we’ve never really tried to do the fancy stuff, like outlining and “flooding”.  My hands are not very strong so I have a hard time using the pastry bags.

I’m already looking forward to next year so I can continue to hone my decorating-cookies-skills.

Here’s some notes to myself. Maybe you’ll find them useful as well.

  1. Have nothing on the table but the essential supplies.Do not mix up frosting, tint frosting, or fill pastry bags on the table. Do this on the countertop.
  2. Make sure you have enough tips and disposable pastry bags so when inspiration strikes, you are all ready.
  3. Decide in advance which colors will be for outlining and which for flooding. In other words, design your cookies, colors, and designs ahead of time.
  4. Make sure your consistency for outlining and flooding are appropriate for the task, thicker for outlining, thinner for flooding.
  5. Place pastry bags in a glass for filling and tie off tightly at the top.
  6. Outline first and let the frosting harden before flooding. Have lots of cookie sheets available for this.
  7. Take your time!
  8. Keep the area where you are decorating free of clutter at all times. When you start to notice “clutter creep”, take a few minutes and re-organize.
  9. Decorate all the same shapes first.
  10. Have fun!

I have a lot to learn but it was so much fun. Last year my mom helped us. She hated decorating but I loved doing it with her none the less. I miss her this Christmas season.

Anyway, here’s some pics.

Christmas cookies 2017

Christmas cookies 2017

 

My husband’s design. Cute, huh?

Here’s the link to the butter cookie recipe. Be sure the dough is chilled and only work in small batches at a time leaving the rest in the refrigerator. We roll them out on a plastic tablecloth rather than parchment paper as the paper seems to move. Remember, it’s my husband who rolls them out and this is his preference. Also, if you are slow at cutting them out and they have gotten to room temp, put them back in the refrigerator for a few minutes (maybe ten?), to chill them a little. We learned that if you don’t, they have a tendency to puff up a little.

Also, I did not have the butter mixed up really good this time and there were chunks of butter that didn’t get dissolved which caused holes in a couple of the cookies. I usually completely melt the butter because I freeze the dough anyway. This time I didn’t. That was a mistake.

I mix all my cookie doughs about two weeks ahead of when we are going to actually be making them, day one.  Hubby cuts them out and we bake them on one day. That’s day two in the process.

Day three, we outline them. If we put them in the garage, they harden up quickly and we can flood them right away. But if you live in a warm climate, you would probably have to flood them on day four. 

If you’re going to go all fancy on them and add lots of detail, that would be day five.

Anyway, hope this helps. As I said, this is the best recipe ever and the frosting is even better. It’s the corn syrup in the frosting that keeps it shiny.

We have all the steps down to perfection, except for the decorating. But every year we are learning more.

God bless and have a great day.

 

 

Rambo 2017

“Rambo” (our kitten”) almost didn’t make it.

I didn’t post this morning and you will certainly understand why when I tell you what’s been going on.

As you know, we rescued a feral kitty about four months ago. We are not cat-loving people so you can imagine our surprise to find ourselves loving this little guy. He showed up in the woods at our cabin just when I needed him. Having cared for my mom for a number of years and then experiencing that void, it was like God sent him to us. He wasn’t even a month old when we heard his first pathetic little meow. You can read the story here.

Anyway, we had him neutered last Thursday. He was fine for a couple of days. Then we noticed he wasn’t eating very much and finally by Monday, he wasn’t eating at all. We took him to the vet Monday. He didn’t have a temp. The vet had no clue but he gave him a combined shot of b-12 and penicillin. He didn’t get any better. This morning we thought we were losing him. His little midsection was so skinny. Weight loss in a kitten is very serious.

Rambo 2017

So back to the vet. He was dehydrated but still no temp. The vet examined him thoroughly and could find nothing unusual.. But he gave him an IV to hydrate him and then a shot of a long-lasting antibiotic.

Basically, we were told to take him home and hope for the best. He said he could do all kinds of tests and take all kinds of blood but that’s a long road to go when he didn’t have a clue. Would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So we brought him home. We’ve been in tears on and off since Monday. This morning was the worst. Mostly because much of what the vet said was what I was told when my mom was dying.

It was really hard.

But we are hopeful tonight.

We came home and in about two hours he had eaten a little. A few hours after that, he started playing. He’s not out of the woods yet. We will have blood work drawn in about two weeks as there is a possibility of feline leukemia. We learned there are two types; one is fatal but the other he can live with a long time.

So for this Christmas, we are just going to enjoy him. He’s our little “Christmas miracle.”

Rambo 2017

Hope your day was good and God bless.

ps. Something interesting. Giving a sick cat some honey is a really good idea. Just smear some on your finger and let him lick it. Or you can rub it inside the sides of his mouth. Pure maple syrup is also recommended. Honey is loaded with antibiotics and is vet-approved.

mom Christmas 2016

The first Christmas without your loved one

These next couple of weeks are going to be very hard for a number of people, those who have lost a loved one this past year.

I am one of them.

At least with my mom, I expected it. She was ill and in her nineties. But even with all that, this Christmas will be kind of “hollow” if you know what I mean.

There’s an echo where there used to be a voice.

There’s a spirit where there used to be a presence.

There’s one less person at the table.

There’s one less person to buy a gift for.

Loss is hard and especially at Christmas. I think of all those who lost family and friends due to violence, drunk drivers, natural disasters, etc.; that’s even harder. I hold them up in prayer.

Later this week I will be posting about my cookie baking over this past weekend. Last year at this same weekend, I was frosting Christmas cookies with my mom.

Can you believe this is a ninety-two-year-old woman? She was something else.

mom Christmas 2016

(I still have the tablecloth.)

When we were baking this past weekend, I found a plastic container to store some cookies. The lid is written all over with notes about what was once in the container. I hand-washed the lid, told hubby to do the same. I have very little in my mom’s handwriting so I’m hanging on to this. I kept her recipes as well for that reason.

Christmas container 2017

One less person to frost cookies with and to laugh about what a bad job she did. She laughed the hardest.

“Hey, mom, I know you hated decorating cookies, but you did it every year because I asked you, too. Thank you.”

The snow is blowing hard today as we are under a winter storm warning. I would be calling her today and we’d be talking about this terrible weather and how glad we both were that we didn’t have to go out.

One less person to talk to about the weather.

But I have more as well. I have people I love and who love me. I have the assurance that I will see my mom again someday. I know she is in God’s arms and is totally at peace. I wouldn’t take that away from her. Not for a minute.

I have the more of God’s grace that we can’t imagine until we need it. I have the more of God’s presence. I feel God’s love more.

 When there is the less, God always provides the more. In ways we couldn’t imagine. He has for me.

It’s just a hard day. Hope I didn’t bring you down. This wasn’t going to be the post for today but all of a sudden, there it was. Hopefully, someone is helped by these words.

God bless and have a wonderful day with the people you love.

 

 

Some Christmas decorating

Here are some pictures from my dining room.  This is my hutch. It’s never been decorated the same way twice.

The cone trees to the left at the left are just styrofoam trees wrapped in cut up strips of an old black and check wool blanket. The sign is a prototype of others I made which you can see here. The snowmen are wrapped in quilt batting. They are some of my favorites.Dining Room Christmas 2017

 

The wreath of circles you see in the background are circles I cut out from Christmas scrapbook paper and glued on to a cut-out circular piece of cardboard. Ordinarily, I take off all the white pitchers and store them away. This year I didn’t. I decided to integrate them into the decorating.

 

 

This is my tiered tray decorated for Christmas. The red and white runner you see is a vintage piece. I have a number of vintage pieces of linen that I like to use at Christmas.  By the way that adorable Santa Clause head is from Dollar Tree. After Christmas, I’m going to dunk him in a bath of tea to antique him a little

Dining Room Christmas 2017

Dining Room Christmas 2017

 

Dining Room Christmas 2017

Dining Room Christmas 2017

 

Once again, instead of taking everything off and refilling, I decided to just add Christmas picks and snowmen. Christmas is the one time that “overdone” works, don’t you agree?

Dining Room Christmas 2017

Dining Room Christmas 2017

 

Dining  room,  Christmas 2017

Dining room, Christmas 2017

 

  Dining room,  Christmas 2017

Dining room, Christmas 2017

 

Dning room Christmas 2017

Dining room, Christmas 2017

(You can find the DIY for the table here. I love it.)

This is my dining room table centerpiece. I usually do something far more elaborate but there’s a new kitten in the house. Need I say more? The bottles usually have white flowers in them.  I did take them all out and replaced with Christmas greenery I already had. I tied red ribbon (Dollar Tree) around the tops. At the present moment, Rambo has bitten off many of the red berries. At least, he only plays with them. The runner is also a vintage piece.

Dining Room Christmas 2017

Dining Room Christmas 2017

 

Here’s another view. I always use these red felt snowflake placements every year with large Dollar Tree snowflakes on top. I noticed that they didn’t carry them this year. I sure am glad I bought lots of them. By the way, here’s a little hint: make sure you buy up larger quantities of items at Dollar Tree that you really like because if you don’t they probably won’t be there again the next year. Check out this post from last week.

Dining Room Christmas 2017

Dining Room Christmas 2017

(I seem my snowflakes are not lined up. Probably the cat.)

I had to completely rethink decorating this year because of Rambo. He’s so much fun, I didn’t mind at all. Next year maybe he won’t be living up to his name so much!

God bless and have a good day.

 

A great find at Dollar Tree

Some days you just hit it big.

I had been to a number of store looking for boxes for cookies. Hubby and I have baked about forty to fifty dozen. I am not exaggerating.

It’s been a tradition for a number of years.

We plan on gifting many of them as usual. But I couldn’t find any cute boxes.

While Dollar Tree would ordinarily be my first stop, it wasn’t this year because I’d just been there a few days prior and there had been nothing I liked.

But I was in for a great surprise.

I mean look at these: They hold about a dozen and a half cookies and a few candies. But my next dilemma was how to keep the cookies separate from each other. I cut waxed paper into squares but that wasn’t the least bit attractive.

Then inspiration hit.

Coffee filters!

Nice, huh?

The coffee filters look all “ruffly”. I love the look.

And, yes, I am keeping some for me for decorations for next year.

Here’s another couple of small ones I found.

God bless and I hope you’re making good progress with your Christmas shopping.

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