Happy New Year – Welcome 2016

A New Day Lies Before Us

Happy New Year - 2016

“The future lies before you
Like a field of driven snow.
Be careful how you tread it
For every step will show.”

We have before us … a new year, a new season, and a new day filled with new hours.

My mother has always taught us from her life & favorite scripture:

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

And it is so true!

We each have the opportunity to invest ourselves more in the lives of others, so that
we will leave this year so much richer that when we started it!

How will our lives will interact with others?
Have we loved?
Have we really lived?
Have we mattered?

The wonderful news is, as long as we have breath, we can decide to live a life walking
with God, with purpose, and full of love for others.

Please never take for granted the life you have!

I encourage you to …

Put your life in God’s hands.

Show kindness more than you ever thought you could.

Enjoy the little things about each day – the sunrise & sunset, the stars, and a simple smile.

Love others like you’ve never loved.

And live each day to the fullest!

Let’s walk purposefully in 2016, because others will be following in our steps!

* I took this picture from the mountain above our little village.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lake Delta Rome NY
This is Lake Delta, a beautiful lake not far from our village.
 

I want to share one of my favorite writings with you today. It’s a short letter
that Fra Giovanni wrote to his friend in 1513. It’s called – “Take Peace”

 

I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much,
very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance.
Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Take joy!

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will
find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . And so I greet you, with profound
esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and
the shadows flee away.

 
 

May your table be surrounded with love & laughter this Thanksgiving, and may your heart
be filled with thankfulness, as you’re reminded of the many blessings that God has
brought to your home.

Pearl

For The Love Of Autumn

 

Autumn Colors

As with spring, autumn brings with it a sort of nesting instinct. Kitchen gardens are giving up the last of their harvest, and cottage gardens the last of their blooms. The trees are now taking center stage with their coat of many colors, and pumpkins & mums are greeting you at every doorstep. Here and there are beautiful stacks of firewood, speaking of the cozy evenings by the fireplace yet to come, and the loving hard work that provided it.
 

Candles give off their spicy autumn scents, and birds are now showing up by the dozens at the feeders. Apple picking, pumpkin farms, cider, chili & corn bread, hay rides and fall festivals of every kind fill these sunny warm days, while the chill of evening is growing stronger. Squirrels & chipmunks scurry back and forth at a fevered pace not only collecting nuts & other foods for their winter pantry, but leaves and other bits for making their home more cozy place for their family during the colder season to come.
 
Where spring was a time of building & creating nests, autumn is a time for making the nest an even more cozy place for the family to spend their time together…kind of like snuggling into a cozy, protected, warm place… HOME.
 
I too feel the urge to bring bits of nature into our home. It think it reminds us to be thankful for the bounty of the season behind us, and while we’re snuggled up inside, it speaks life!
 
Here are a few of the beginnings of our Autumn decor <3   It has begun...   Here's a pile of Autumn goodness getting ready to be turned into our lovely fall decor. Autumn - pumpkins

 

I’m in love with all of the shades of white, yellow, and green that we’re seeing in the pumpkin patch this year!

Autumn - white pumpkins

 

My husband created this display area & mantel for me last year, and I love the light colored pumpkins mixed with a bittersweet crown & large bittersweet wreath. (bittersweet is one of my favorite things…can you tell? :)

Autumn Mantel

 

And here’s a close up of one of the little white pumpkins & her bittersweet crown on the mantel. I love the evening lighting in this room!

Autumn - white pumpkin and bittersweet crown

 

Even though it’s just begun, I’m excited about where it’s going :)

Savory Sausage Stuffing With Secret Ingredients!

Stuffing Recipe

At your first glance over this stuffing recipe, you might find yourself with at least one raised eyebrow. I know I did the first time I heard what was in this dish during one of our family gatherings. But, to my surprise, I absolutely loved it! As a matter of fact, everyone loved it!

To be honest, I just wasn’t used to having fruit as an ingredient in a main course, so I had no idea how tasty it was! Of course, my taste buds have certainly grown & expanded in the last few years, and I now enjoy all sorts of fruit, meat, and salad combinations!

This recipe is not exactly like the first one that I tasted, as I’ve added a few more “goodies” here & there.

Feel free to add, take away, or change amounts of any of the ingredients as well. My mother tells me that I am a lot like my great-grandmother Pearl, who never really used recipes or measuring utensils, but rather added different ingredients until it looked & felt right! So, with that being said, I hope you enjoy this special recipe!

Savory Sausage Stuffing Surprise

12 Cups bread cubes
8-16 ounces ground pork sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Maple sausage)
1 1/2 Cups chopped onion
1 1/2 Cups diced celery (save inner leaves, dice & add as well)
2 larger cans of chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 Cups chopped granny smith apples
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Cup dried cranberries
4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth (more if needed)
1 cup butter

You could buy pre-made bread cubes, or make your own with a loaf of your favorite type of bread. To make your own, simply break the bread into small bits (1-2 inches), spread on large cookie sheet, place in 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes – just to dry them out. Then remove bread & set it aside.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet, being sure to break it up into smaller pieces while cooking. Using a slotted spoon, drain the drippings from the sausage before you place it into a large bowl. Add the butter, onions, celery & celery leaves, mushrooms, and all seasonings to the pan & cook until tender. Add chicken broth and simmer for approx 5-10 minutes.

In the large bowl, add the walnuts, cranberries, and apples to the cooked sausage and mix well. Then, stir in the bread cubes and mix until well blended. Lastly, pour contents from the skillet into the bowl & mix until all the ingredients are coated & moist. You can add more chicken broth if the mix is to dry.

Place stuffing in a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with poultry seasoning, and bake until thoroughly heated and golden brown.

I know that you will enjoy this wonderful new twist to your traditional holiday dinner as much as we do!

Autumn Dressed In All It’s Beauty

beautiful fall display

Autumn is one of our favorite times of the year! Here in Upstate, NY, and in our little village… the colors, sights, and smells of the season are simply magnificent!
Autumn Door
My Autumn Entrance

Early this morning, while driving down into our little village, the mist was so thick, and the radiant beams of sunlight made everything look as if it were on fire. As I looked around… these thoughts came to me.

What beauty lies beneath the mist
What treasures to behold
And might I ask what you’re hiding there
Under resplendent rays of red & gold
But soon enough the mist will rise
And there for all to share
The wonderful form & fashion of nature uncovered
As it now lay open, uncovered, and bare

I’m not sure about how the season is going in your area, but here, we have had unseasonably warm weather, lots of sunshine, and many of the leaves are still on the trees! Because our leaves are almost always on the ground by the 2nd-3rd week of Oct., you can imagine how thankful I am for this wonderful blessing!

I wanted to take you on a little journey with me, so you could see the village through my eyes today.

We’ll start with my front door…

Autumn Entrance
I’m so thankful for my husband’s help with pulling our new entrance together! I just love it :)

I wanted to do something different this year to celebrate my new front entrance being done, so I decided to throw together some of my favorite Autumn things & make a display. I just love all of these Fall colors together!
Autumn Door

Autumn Arrangement

More ornamental cabbages close up – I just LOVE these!
Ornamental Cabbage

With this only being the first year for our new “upper garden”, I think it has filled in nicely! I’m looking forward to seeing the chartreuse sedum & the chocolate leaves of the ajuga, against the deep blue ajuga flowers spikes in the Spring.
Garden Walk

All of the different ground covers are filling in the front walk nicely.
Stone Steps

This is our crab apple’s first year with us, and look at the beautiful little fruit!
Crab Apples

Little Crab Apples

A Walk through Forest Park – Our wonderful forest located in the heart of our little village, available for all to enjoy!

Sunlight Through The Mist

Moss Hill
Moss Hill

Neighbors
Spider Webs

Forest Mushrooms
Forest Mushrooms

Lady of The Forest
Lady of the forest

He wasn’t home when I stopped by
Forest Home

Around the Village

Life begins again…
Milk Pod - Life Begins Again

Fall berries
Beautiful Red Berries

On the farm
Autumn Beauty

Golden Splendor
Autumn Splendor

Red Beauty!
Burning Bush

And back into the village – We’re greeted with this amazing hedgerow of fiery red burning bushes
Autumn Beauty - Village

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little ride together! Be sure to leave a comment & tell me about how your season is going so far below!

** I have been working on several projects & I will be sharing pictures & how to’s really soon!

Creatively Yours,
Pearl

Christmas Wreath – How to make a beautiful Christmas wreath for $7 or less

Christmas-Wreath

Christmas Wreath

Nothing seems to say “welcome to our home” during the holidays like a beautiful Christmas wreath!

I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed about this, and needless to say, I have been so excited about the possibilities!

You see, because we have been in the process of carving out our little slice of heaven deep in the woods, we have had many projects to complete. I know you know the feeling, so you can probably relate to my excitement right about now. We’ve had trees to remove, ground to move, grass to plant, gardens to grow, a stacked stone terrace to create, a forest to care for… not to mention a home to build! So… the finishing touches are sometimes the last things that you get to focus on.

My husband has worked so hard over the last several months, trying to get things completed before winter. One of those projects was my Christmas gift! Of course he didn’t think of it as my Christmas gift, but I quickly claimed it as my own!

For the last 4 years of the building process, and many years of dreaming before that, I had a vision of being able to decorate the front door area of our home for Christmas. So, for the last few months, Dan has been creating a stone walkway that leads from the top of the stone terrace steps, to the front door (here is the previous year’s stone terrace cottage garden project that we did, and here’s what the cottage garden project looked like only 3 months later), the stone entrance, and all of the paint, moldings, and finishing touches that had to be done to the entrance before the snow started.

Well… he finished it…and what a beautiful job he did! Now it was up to me to decide how to decorate the space. Because this is our first year being able to decorate outside, as well as the fact that I like to find a way to have what I love for the lowest amount possible (for example, all of the work done & materials needed were paid for by our siding company…but that story is for another day), I needed to find a way to have something beautiful for little cost.

I knew that I wanted a Christmas wreath to start with, but everywhere I looked, they were at least $20 or more…and that was for little “homely” wreaths. I wanted a nice full wreath to welcome our holiday guests.

I did think about making my own, but the snow came “in a big way” before I was able to go out & collect evergreens, so I decided to find a way to buy something I loved, while not paying much in the process…you know how I love to find creative ways to do that 😉

After going to several places to find the perfect wreath, we finally gave up & decided to go over to Lowe’s and pick up our long needle pine roping that I had spotted there last year. Thankfully, they had it again this year… and… it was only $6.97 for 20ft of roping! Other places I had gone where charging almost $3 per ft!

In the checkout line, while looking at my new beautiful roping and being quite happy with myself for snagging such a deal, I was still saying to myself… I sure wish that I could find a wreath that would match this long needle pine garland. Then the idea hit me like a ton of bricks! Why not buy another 20ft section and turn it into my wreath? After all, it’s only $6.97!

So…we checked out with 3 rounds of roping instead of 2, and I rode all the way home with the biggest smile on my face! I tell my husband all the time… “Aren’t you glad that it doesn’t take much to make me happy!”

Here’s a picture of the long needle pine roping, that I will use for both our garland & the wreath for our front door.

Long needle pine roping

It comes bundled up in these nice manageable little rounds. Then, you simply cut the ties and unwind the roping.

To Make Your Wreath

– Decide how big you want your wreath (make sure it will fit on your door & allow it to open & close properly)

– Start by making a circle with one end of the garland and securing it with wire (don’t cut the roping)

– Continue to wrap the roping around the circle securing it to the initial circle every several inches

– As you tie continue to tie the wreath together, try to secure it “under” the long pine needles to keep the wire from showing

– Have someone hold the wreath up for you & turn it, so you can see what part should be the top

– Add a wire for hanging

– Decorate with little bits of decorations that you already have, or little things that you collect from the garden

– You could decorate with, pine cones, twigs, ribbon, bow, rusty bells, holly twigs, berries, or anything that you love

Here is my wreath after it was hung & ready for some finishing touches.

Christmas Wreath

And of course, here is what the garland and wreath look like all finished.

Christmas Decorations

I hope you find a way to have the front door of your dreams, and a wreath that says “welcome to our home” this holiday season, while saving alot of money in the process!