Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Advent E-Calender Giveaway



My mom certainly knew how to make Christmas fun and exciting for her kids. One such treat were the Advent Calendars, which held center stage in our cozy farm kitchen hanging from a nail ... or was it tied by a ribbon from the curtain rod?

Since there were four of us, we'd have to take turns -- still, it was a lot of fun to rush out into the kitchen of a frozen December morning to see what hidden picture or saying had been revealed. Some years there were little chocolate treats.



Many years later, my sister and I had great delight in creating an advent calendar for my young nephews. We fashioned tiny ornaments from felt and fabric -- appliqued candy canes, a Christmas tree, a gingerbread man, the star, presents, a stocking, little pockets for chocolate treats, as well as the sweetest little Nativity scene that was always saved for December 24th. My sister still has it and, though her three sons are all grown now, it comes out each December to this day.



We're having an
Advent E-Calendar Giveaway



Because I have such fond memories of those advent calendars, I'm hosting an Advent Calendar Giveaway. It's not from paper or felt (and no, it doesn't have chocolates hidden behind the doors). This one is a true 21st century version, as it's an e-calendar and it comes to your email inbox from the beautiful art studio of Jacquie Lawson. Her advent calendars are magical and they bring out the little children in us, what with a new surprise to tickle our fancy every morning when we get up.

It was my blogging friend Lorrie @ Fabric Paper Thread who first introduced me to Jacquie Lawson's charming advent calendars, when she surprised me last year with one in my email inbox.

Oh my ... I had so much fun with it that now I want to YOU to have the same pleasure. That's why I'm giving away two calendars: the European Christmas Market and the Edwardian Country House. Click on the links under the calendars below, there's an opportunity to see a little more about each one.

GIVEAWAY #1

Christmas Market Calendar



GIVEAWAY #2

Edwardian Country House Calendar


Giveaway Now Closed

 


Wishing you a cozy day,
Brenda and Snowflake
xox






Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Have A New Snowy Friend



She arrived in the mailbox this afternoon in a padded envelope along with some hot chocolate and English Breakfast tea. This was an out of the blue surprise (my favourite kind) and it came from a new Facebook friend, Maria. Online friends are just so special, aren't they? Thank you, Maria!!
 



She's sitting atop my desk and she says she wants to be my little companion throughout the coming Advent season. I'll think I'll call her Snowflake.

It's cold and blizzardy here in northerly Alberta today. When I went out this afternoon for an appointment, I was surprised at how quickly the snow had drifted around my car when I got back an hour later. 'Tis the season for staying near to home whenever at all possible. I'm looking forward to snuggling under the quilt for a long wintry nap.

I've got a s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e for you tomorrow. As I still need to finish up the post for it -- and I really, really, really need to find my bed -- please watch for it later in the day.

Hugs to you all,
Brenda and Snowflake
xox




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Glad For Birds Who Don't Mind Winter



When the summer birds migrate south for winter, I'm so glad for the faithfulness of the birds who don't fly away. Like the ubiquitous house sparrows or the cheeky chickadees, who stay with us all winter in our northern climes. And we're glad for the red polls who migrate 'south' to our part of the world from the Arctic. It's funny to think that our more northerly climes are warmer than where they came from.

How empty the air would be without bird song filling in between snowflakes and roaring winds.

Sparrows seem to know how to sing their little hearts out even on the coldest days! Maybe the Heavenly Father keeps his eye on the sparrow because He loves their cheeky perseverance to sing in the deep midwinter!

Now, I don't know how they survive--brrrr--the frigid temperatures we have some winters! But I'm glad for their cheery company in the midst of snow-frosted days.


Happy is the person who not only sings, but feels God's eye is on the sparrow, and knows He watches over me. To be simply ensconced in God is true joy. ~ Alfred A. Montapert


Don't let the song freeze in your heart...
Stay warm, dear ones!

Hugs,
Brenda
xox




Saturday, November 08, 2014

This Was Yesterday...


This is today in the same corner of the garden....

 

 

Frozen in Time...





When we woke up this morning the world was white. And it's still snowing. That very fine stuff we're seeing today can fool a person -- it doesn't look like much but when it carries on all day, well then, you've got A Snow Day.

I took these pics this morning with my iPhone and, as you can see, I had some creative fun (between cleaning the bathrooms) playing on PicMonkey. Now, if I was pressed to choose my favourite of this set, I think I'd pick #2.

It's a great day for playing inside. I'm grateful for my warm house today. And for books, creative handwork, and sharing a bowl of hot soup with my sweetie pie (today it's potato sour cream soup with green onion).


 
When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I'll know I'm growing old. ~ Lady Bird Johnson



Wishing you a relaxing *´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * and happy Saturday ! *


Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Photos belong to Brenda C Leyland, 2014




Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Soup Simmering on the Stove

The fixings for COLD DAY BEAN SOUP

I never started out being a good soup maker. Soup has never really been my 'go to' meal. Now I do enjoy a robust, full-flavoured soup, like homemade chicken noodle or corn chowder or potato and sauerkraut soup, but if we go out for a meal, it's not a first choice for me.

On the other hand, for Mr. Hubby -- the same man who votes pasta as his all-time number one favourite meal, yes, even over turkey dinner which he loves -- soup is often a 'go to' as he believes it makes a good meal choice any time, any season.

So I've learned to make soup over the years. Sometimes the melding of ingredients using what one has on hand, and aren't necessarily what's listed in the recipe in front of you, makes for a wonderful new discovery. And it's so delicious even I am saying 'more soup please'.  And some days we end up with something that's a little 'less than and not so much' in the over the top delicious.

I've learned over the years, you must not stint on the ingredients when making soup. Too much water and not enough vegetables makes for a thin gruel that feels flat, no matter how many pinches of salt and pepper and herbs you add later. And, for those of us who aren't vegetarian, it's the bones of a ham or chicken or beef that gives great body as well as the enriched flavour to a broth. Believe me, I know.....
“The soup, thin and dark and utterly savorless, tasted as if it had been drained out of the umbrella stand.” ~ Margaret Halsey (1910 - 1997), American author
Thankfully, hubby has never yet turned up his nose at any of my soup experiments. And I'm happy to report that with practice comes experience and with experience comes knowledge and with knowledge comes recipes that turn out delicious much more often than they used to.

Today I'm not relying on my own creative pinches and dashes of this and that. Both Mr. Hubby and I are looking forward to this next soup meal. It'll be a real treat -- I've gathered the ingredients to make Susan Branch's Bean Soup, which includes a smoked ham hock, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and white beans in a big pot of water that simmers away for hours.

Already the house is filled with yummy smells coming from the kitchen.


Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.” ~ Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)


Wishing you happy smells *´¨)
> ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
> (¸.·´ (¸.·´ * from your kitchen ! *


Hugs
Brenda
xox


Two Soup Quotes: FoodReference.com



Sunday, November 02, 2014

Simply Sunday: God's Love


I'm pleased to welcome my long-time friend, Ruth, as she shares a poem she's written about God's love.
There are times in our lives when we don't feel that God is near, but as Ruth shares, it's coming to that place where we know He is near even when we don't sense the warmth of his presence. After all, He did promise that He'd never leave us. I pray these words by Ruth will warm your heart today.
Sending you hugs,
Brenda xox




THE LOVE OF GOD
By Ruth Sakstad

The bright sun shines down on my skin

Like the love of God shines down into my heart

The bright sun warms my skin

Like the love of God warms my heart

Yet not every day is sunny

Like not every day do I feel the love of God

But even on gloomy days

I know the sun still reigns in the sky

So to, on days when I don’t feel the love of God

I know that He is still there

So I need not dread the gloomy days

The sun will shine forth again

So to, will I feel the love of God again

The bright sun shines down on my skin

Like the love of God shines down into my heart 





Ruth Sakstad enjoys writing poetry. She is currently working on a volume which will include both her poetry and photography. She wants to capture a glimpse of the world for each day of the year as the seasons change. The poem shared here today will be included in the volume.