Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking Back and Looking Forward

It is kind of hard to write a retrospect of 2017.  It has been a year of extremes...some good, some bad.

As Jimmy Buffet said, “Breath in, breath out ~ move on.” 

As some might remember, I started the year with two different groups doing a year of monthly challenges.  There was the homestead skills group.  First third of the year was great fun.  However by May the leader was getting tired of it and by June she went bye-bye.  The other was the food preservation group.  Being ‘pressure canning’ was in the late fall, everything to that point was hot water bath... which means pickles basically.  I left both groups by late summer out of sheer boredom.  It wasn’t all for nothing... I found some things I really liked in the food preservation challenge that I will continue to make.  And I came away with a few tid-bits from the homestead skills group... one of those being I do not like to garden in the bug infested South.  The Amish produce auction is where it is at!  (BTW, the Worm Guys are doing great).

However I did find that I really liked the ‘yearlong challenge’ thing.  It was really fun exploring each month’s topic and experimenting with the activity. 

So this 2018 will be my year of challenges.  I am going to focus on my world and less on what’s going on ‘out there’.  Because frankly I am completely sick of the idiots out there.  I’m cocooning to take care of myself and my own.

Each month I’ll challenge myself in 12 different areas:

1.  Home - Thing to make my home 'sparkle'.
2.  Yard - Gotta get that curb appeal going.
3.  Kit - Making a ‘kit’ to make life more simple.
4.  Fitness - Adding each month something physical in my life.
5.  Appearance - Being more mindful every day.
6.  Spiritual - Getting back to my core.
7.  Assemblage/Mixed Media - My favorite creative expression method. 
8.  Creative Focus Project - Working on a creative outlet other than the above.
9.  Writing - Study and practice.
10.  My photos - Time to cull and organize.
11.  Photo albums - Getting the printed photos into finished albums.
12.  Photo books - Getting the digital into books published on Blurb.

An additional challenge is to simplify down/declutter 2018 things during 2018 (more on that later).

There’s going to be more cooking as we both enjoyed doing the country cuisine explorations.  But instead of being rigid about the whole thing, cooking will be spontaneous. 

To be able to do this means I will be spending a lot less time on the computer. 

Let the cocooning begin!!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Pentatonix - Little Drummer Boy

I love this version!  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

MY City...

... well, at least MY name!

Our last stop coming home from The Pilgrimage was at Hanna City, IL.  I had hoped it was named for one of my ancestors since they were early settlers of Illinois but it wasn't the case.  But it was a hoot seeing my maiden name everywhere I turned!

The day was cold and blustery, and we were tired so we didn't spend too much time exploring.  Next year we'll plan better and spend more time there.  Hopefully an Airbnb will open up by then!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Home 2017

This was the year that I finally got my Christmas decorations down to what I want.  Decorating got out of hand over the years and to the point that I dreaded putting stuff out.  Early in the month we pulled out the tubs and started our KonMari decluttering of Christmas.  About 3 tubs worth headed to a charity store the first week of December so there would be plenty of time for others to enjoy.

My funky little purple tree in my studio.

The only decorations that didn't get out this year was my second small tree what we decorate with trinkets from our travels.  A mouse made a nest in it and it had to be thoroughly cleaned, after which I just didn't get it up.  But next year...

(Both small trees and all their decorations are now able to be stored in their own mouse proof plastic tub!)

And here is our live cut tree we picked up from our local tree farm.

Here's a bit of the decorations on it...

Yes... just a few...

This year we put a nativity under the tree.  I love it!!!

Our angel topper we got for our second Christmas.

And the rest of the decorations...

We hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

We Three Kings... The Piano Guys Way

How about some great music for this beautiful day?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hit of the Party - Honey Chicken

One of the dishes of Israel that I took for the Christmas Around The World potluck was "Honey Chicken".  It is so good and incredibly easy.  It was a complete hit and I was asked several times for the recipe... in fact, when I went up to gather my things at the end of the party I found one of the women scraping the leftover sauce onto some white rice to take home!


1 chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
   OR 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into nuggets

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Rinse chicken, pat dry and place in prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder and pepper and pour over chicken.

Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour until slightly browned.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Being Part of Something Wonderful

Last Saturday was our second opportunity to help with the laying of wreaths at the Western KY Veteran's Cemetery.

We arrived early on that chilly morning to help family members laying wreaths however we could.  There was a lot of searching for loved ones (since everything looks exactly the same... except for new rows...), took photos for people of them laying the wreath so they could send to other family members, and a whole lot of listening.

See the coins?

A penny means you knew them and have visited the grave.
A nickel means you were in their unit.
A dime means you were in battle with them.
A quarter means you were with them when they died.
(In this case, obviously not in battle).

Family was allowed private time from 9:30am to 11:30am to lay their wreaths.  After that volunteers placed wreaths on all the rest.

So many people there to help.

People from all walks of life.



In about 5 minutes the whole field was done.

While we waited during family time, we visited some of the graves...

A friend's wife

A friend of Himself.  He was indeed "a good man".

Makes you wonder...and smile.

A true hero.

Would it not have been fun to know him?

A kindred spirit.

Wow... tough, really tough.

Kind of says it all...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christ Church Limestone

When we travel, if at all possible, we like to attend a local church on Sunday.  It worked out on our MN trip that we were in Hanna City, IL on Sunday morning.

I looked at what churches were there, and came across the information for the Christ Church Limestone.  It is an Anglican church, which evolved out of the Church of England.

The church web site and Facebook page seemed very welcoming, so it was there we decided to attend service.

It was an excellent decision.

Father Harold Camocho and the entire congregation welcomed us warmly.  In fact, it was the most welcomed we have ever been at any church...EVER.

It is a small and lovely sanctuary.

Aren't the doors on the pews interesting?

Beautiful windows.

They have a nice little fellowship building next to the church.

We were invited to join them in a potluck lunch of chili and sides.

A table in the fellowship hall.

LOVE this photo!!!  (No, it's not mine.)

Before we left, we walked around the grounds.

The gardens are simple and peaceful.

The adjoining cemetery is well taken care of.  

We are fully planning on coming back thru this route on our next Pilgrimage trip.