Thanksgiving Blessings


Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

I hope you have a wonderful day of celebration with your family & friends.

I have so many things to be thankful for, my wonderful husband, my 4 amazing children, my loving parents, my brother & his family, all of our extended family, our church family, and everything that God has blessed us with.

My heart is full of gratitude, and this beautiful old hymn rings in my heart…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Here are a few articles that you may enjoy for your special dinner!

How to Carve a Perfect Turkey

My Favorite Stuffing!

Candied Carrots

Many blessings to You!

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    Creative Inspiration For Your Home and Garden

    I don’t know about you, but every so often, I need a really good dose of creative inspiration! I am so thankful for the abundance of resources that we have available to us today. There was a time (not so long ago), that in order to find creative visual inspiration, you would have to order a subscription to a magazine…then hope that there were some good pictures in that month’s issue ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now, our options are literally unlimited!

    One of my favorite places to find creative visual inspiration is Flickr.

    For your daily dose of creative inspiration… here is a slide-show of some of the photos from the group! I hope you enjoy…I know that I do!

    I decided to get a professional account there, so that I can add as many pictures to my account as I’d like. I also belong to several groups, where people that share the same interests gather to share their favorite pictures. At Flickr, not only can you find pictures on any topic that your heart desires, but you can add them to your favorites, save a person as a contact if you like their pictures, add your pictures to different groups, comment on any pictures, and more! The site is totally free to start your own account, and you can use the site as much as you’d like.

    One of the “slight problems” with Flickr is, there are SO MANY pictures to look through, that it might take a while for you to find the “best pictures”, and a few hours can pass by without you even noticing! This is why I created a new group called “The Best of Home and Garden.”

    I created the group to give people a special dose of creative inspiration, without all of the work of sorting through thousands of pictures, while trying to find the perfect one. The group is free to join, and even though we receive many pictures to be considered for inclusion, we only allow the best of the ones we receive to be included in the group. This ensures that people who take the time to look through the group’s photos, will thoroughly enjoy their time with us!

    I would love for you to take a second & join the group and submit some of your favorite pictures for possible inclusion! I only ask that you please not be disappointed if it is not chosen to be included. Because even though we love all kinds of pictures, we are trying to use discretion when deciding which ones to allow into “The Best of Home and Garden” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    A BIG thank you goes out to everyone who has already submitted pictures, it is really appreciated!

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      Garden Center Secrets – 10 Tips for getting the best price at your garden center


      Cottage garden
      My beautiful cottage garden, filled with bargains from my local garden center!

      One of my favorite things to watch for in the spring, besides my garden coming alive, is… the opening up of local garden centers.

      I get such joy, when I see the workers pulling out bags of fertilizer, soil mixes, and potted trees & shrubs, and I know that the center is almost ready to be open for business.

      I’ve learned alot while shopping at these places, and I have also learned some secrets along the way!

      You know how I am… I love to find ways that I can still have exactly what I love, while finding it for the best deal possible, if not for free. And, although that may seem impossible to some people, I see the process as an adventure!

      The local place that you buy your garden plants might be called a landscape center (or centre – depending on where you live), plant center, nursery center, farm center, or a garden center, but whatever your center is called, the following 10 tips will still apply to you.

      Tip #1: ALWAYS grab a cart as you walk in
      Not only will it be holding your new found treasures, but it also speaks “I am here to buy” to the those that you might be speaking to.

      Tip #2: Don’t get distracted
      When you are shopping for the best deal, there are a few “best practices” that you want to go by. One of them is, go for the best deals first, then take your time to browse around. If you don’t do this, you stand the chance of someone else walking out with your deal!

      Tip #3: ALWAYS smile & be truly friendly to the staff
      You are most likely going to be making frequent stops to the center throughout the season, and you want as many friends as possible on the inside. Besides, they deal with enough grumpy people throughout the day, so your kindness will be a welcomed treat. I always ask myself…how can someone come into a place filled with such beauty and still be Mr/Mrs grumpy pants? Somehow some people still find a way…ugh! Do you think the staff looks forward to helping people like that? I think not!

      Tip #4: Look for ripped bags
      Because garden centers sell so many bags of soil, fertilizer, grass seed, and other bagged items, many times these bags get ripped. Instead of just throwing them away, many times they will put them in a plastic bag and sell them at a very deep discounted price! I’ve seen bags of product that might have originally cost $50, get marked down to $5! So, if you are in the market for grass seed, fertilizer, compost, or other bagged products, this is a great way to get the best deal!

      Tip #5: Head for the clearance racks!
      Unlike stores that sell other types of merchandise, garden centers have the challenge of dealing with living products, that are constantly moving through different stages of their life cycle. Unfortunately for the center, it is much harder to sell a flowering plant that is not yet in flower, or a perennial that has just finished flowering. Fortunately for us, we know that this is only a stage in the life cycle, and that this little plant will once again come into bloom!

      Terrace Garden Cobblestone Steps
      Ivy that I got for $2 per flat – 12 plants per flat!

      Cottage garden
      This gaura filled in so nicely & became a large focal point of my cottage garden – great deal for $1.50!

      Of course, this is only one reason why plants are put into the clearance section. Maybe the plants aren’t selling, or perhaps they don’t look as fresh as they once did? Whatever the reason, many GREAT deals are to be had in this section. I have purchased many .50, $1, $2.50 plants, that were normally $10, $15, or $40! The only plants that I do not buy in this section, are annuals that have already spent all of their blooms.

      Tip #6: Do a quick scan for sale signs
      Each store has a particular color that they use for their “sale” signs. Learn what color your garden center uses, then do a quick scan down the isles to catch a glimpse of where the sales might be.

      Tip #7: Ask for help
      Many people that work in the plant center are full of knowledge, and want to help you succeed with your garden. Ask lots of questions, so that you can gain as much knowledge as possible about the plants you are about to purchase. This is free help, that will be very valuable to you!

      Tip #8: Try to find a male employee to work with, when you’re looking for a deal ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I’m sorry guys, but it’s SO true! Maybe they were put in the plant section because it was the only job opening in the store? Maybe they want to keep things less cluttered? Maybe they have different taste about what plants are attractive? I’m not exactly sure of the reason, but in my experience, they try to “get rid” of things as quick as possible…especially at the end of the season!

      Tip #9: Ask for the deal (my favorite secret!)
      You have no idea how many times I was able to get a great deal, just because I asked! You may need to speak with a manager to get a better deal, but after you spend enough time at your garden center, you will come to know the staff and who you might need to talk to.

      Here are a few examples of “deal starter questions” to ask.

      – Is this the best price available?
      – It looks like you have alot of these could I help you move them quicker?
      – This plant looks a little tired, maybe there is a better price you could give me?
      – If I were to buy several of these, what kind of deal could you give me?

      True Story:
      I sent a friend of mine to go pick up some large pots of flowers for the church. I described the ones I wanted to her, as I had fallen in love with them over the past week. They were very LARGE pots of ivy planted in a ring. The center opening of the ring was the size of an average pot of flowers. This opening made it possible to remove the current flowers, and replace them with different ones to match each season. They were so beautiful & I knew that we could do so much with them at the church.

      I knew that they were currently priced at $19, and for the huge amount of ivy and the beautiful burgundy mums that were currently placed in the center, I thought that was a great deal. I told her to talk to a manager, and say… “we would like to purchase some of these pots for the church. I see that they are on sale. Is this the best price today?” When she found the manager and asked him, he said to her… “Well, I think that those plants are so ugly & I want them out of here! You can have them for $2.50 each!”

      We purchased them in the fall, so we left the beautiful mums in the center until Christmas, then we replaced them with poinsettias. We were able to use spring flowers for a while, but because the ivy is an outdoor variety, it is now looking a bit tired…so I will plant it outside so we can continue to enjoy it! So much enjoyment for SO LITTLE money…all because we asked!

      True Story:
      I went into one of my favorite garden centers, and as I walked through the doors, I noticed a pallet of roses that had a sale tag of $5 each. Needless to say, I grabbed a long flat plant cart instead of the regular shopping cart. I looked at all of the roses in the store, not just the ones on the sale pallet. I found a male employee/manager, and said…”I see that there are some roses that are marked $5 here on the pallet, but how much are the similar roses over there in the back?” He said… “hmmm, well, I guess you can have any of the roses for $5”!

      Quickly thinking about my new gardens that need plants, I said…”Well, you see that I have already this large plant cart with me, and that I am prepared to buy. So, if I bought several roses, what kind of deal could you give me today?” He thought for a second and said…”If you buy several, you can have them for $2.50 each” Trying not to act to crazy with excitement, I said with a smile… “ok you have a deal”. Then, I proceeded to quickly find the most beautiful, most healthy, and biggest plants in the store! I was able to quickly set aside $600 of gorgeous roses… for which I only paid $37.50!

      Cottage garden
      My beautiful CHEAP roses!

      That day I also picked up all of the remaining LARGE rhododendrons for only $6 each, which normally sold for $45 each! I got that deal buy saying…”You saw all of those roses that I just took off your hands, so you know I’m a buyer! I see that there are 8 rhododendrons left on the shelf over there. What price would you give me, if I were to buy them all?” He said… “If you take them all, you can have them for $6 each!” So off I went singing the Hallelujah chorus, and giving thanks all the way to the car!

      Rhododendrons in the cottage garden
      Gorgeous Rhododendrons!

      Cottage garden
      Hardy Hibiscus only $10 for a box of 15 LARGE roots!

      * At the end of the season you can get SUCH good deals, so I make it a point to go in more often during the last weeks of the season!

      Tip #9: Leave your number
      Because garden centers have to pay to have dis-guarded plants & un-purchased merchandise hauled away, many times they will be open to having you haul it away for them…for free of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just talk to them about their policy, then offer to leave you number, and tell them to feel free to call you when they have items that they can’t sell. If they are of interest to you, this is a way to get them free of charge. Of course the plants will most likely need a little TLC, but hey… you’re a gardener & that’s what you do!

      Tip #10: Visit Often!
      Not only will this help you to become more familiar with the plants, but you will also be able to develop a better relationship with the staff. You will also start to see the patterns that happen in your stores every week.

      For example:

      – There are new sales with each new shipment to help make room for new plants.
      – There are new sales every week to go with the newspaper ads.
      – Clearance mark downs happen on a whim… first come first served!
      * Many times employees will be in the process of marking items down, and you can ask “what else is going on sale & can you make a sticker for me?”

      If you don’t visit often, you will miss out on all of these great deals!

      Of course… the best reason to visit often is… just because you want to ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Enjoy your new deals, and making your garden exactly what you want it to be!

      What tips or thoughts do you have? Be sure to leave them in the comment section below!

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        Canaries Add Beauty And Song to Your Home

        canary cage
        There’s nothing quite as relaxing, as being blessed with an early morning serenade of song, from the chorus line of finches outside of my bedroom window in early Spring.

        It starts as soon as the snow starts to melt, and for some reason, they start warming up around 4am. Not that I’m always up at 4am, but occasionally, I roll over & become startled just enough to catch the beginnings of what promises to be a day filled with inspirational song.

        I think you would love a canary of your own, who was always there to sing for you!

        Having raised parrots & different types of birds for several years myself, I can speak first hand of the joys of having an avian friend in your home.

        Not only are canaries easy to care for, but their beauty is unmatched, both in appearance & song! They come in all shades of white, brown, red, and of course yellow.

        Each type of canary has it’s own unique singing style, so it would be best for you to listen to a few different types of birds sing, before you decide which one you would like to call your own.

        Beautiful Cages

        If you know me at all, you already know how much I love bird cages! There’s just something about them, that is so wonderfully heartwarming to me. I never seem to tire of seeing a beautiful cage. Perhaps it reminds me of the joys of raising birds that my family shared together. In any case, to me…nothing speaks “elegant” more than a beautiful bird cage in your home! And what better use of a beautiful cage, than to be a home for a beautiful singer!


        You can find canaries for $35-$100. The price depends on the area in which you live, as well as the type of canary that you ultimately decide to purchase.

        Having a singing canary in your home means… never again will you have to wait for spring to enjoy the joyful songs in your home!

        I thought you might enjoy hearing a few different canaries perform. I’m sorry ahead of time, because I know you wont be able to resist after hearing them ๐Ÿ˜‰

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          Secret Way to Always Get The Sale Price

          I’ve heard people say things like… “if we just wait to shop until after Christmas, we can get everything so much cheaper, when it goes on sale!”

          Well… I have a secret!

          I know how you can shop, and still get the sale price… even if it doesn’t go on sale for another month!

          Here’s a scenario that I know you have all been through at least once… and I know that you hate it as much as I used to!

          – You go out shopping for a particular item

          – You go from store to store trying to find the best deal

          – You finally make a decision to buy thinking you’ve done your best in making the choice

          – A week later, you are in the same store and notice that the item you bought last week now has a sale tag on it for $20 less than you paid!


          Well, when I learned this little secret, I didn’t have to worry about that scenario anymore!

          When you’re used to being the person who does the shopping in your household, you learn lots of little tips to try to save a few dollars here and there.

          Most of us know about money savers such as; shopping with coupons, finding clearance items, and price matching. But until now, maybe you’ve never heard of the “price guarantee”?

          After you learn this method, here’s how your new shopping scenario unfolds!

          – You go out shopping for a particular item

          – You go from store to store trying to find the best deal

          – You finally make a decision to buy thinking you’ve done your best in making the choice

          – A week later, you are in the same store and notice that the item you bought last week now has a sale tag on it for $20 less than you paid!

          – You take your receipt up to customer service & tell them you want a price guarantee for an item, and they scan the receipt. If you paid $40, but it is now on sale for $20… they hand you $20 back in CASH!

          Did you catch that?

          You don’t have to bring the actual item back in – you just hand them the receipt!

          What does this mean for you?

          If you bought aunt Mary a pair of gloves for Christmas for $40, and now they went on sale for $20, you can simply take in your receipt and get $20 cash back… and aunt Mary is none the wiser ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Think… holiday decorations, seasonal clothes, seasonal gifts, etc. – you know… the items that always tend to go on sale soon after the holiday. But don’t limit yourself to seasonal items! This method works for anything!

          Here is the step by step process for making this work for you:

          Step #1: When you are shopping, always keep a little ziplock bag, pen, & piece of paper with you

          Step #2: Put your receipts in the ziplock bag

          Step #3: While in the store check outline, look for the time frame for the price guarantee in the store policies. Some stores have a limit of 1 week, while others have up to 3 months! Their policies are usually posted at the checkout area, if not just ask. Jot down the store name & time limit for price guarantee on the piece of paper that you keep in the ziplock bag with your receipts. That way you’ll have it for future reference.

          * Different stores have their own name for this service, and might be called something such as price match, price satisfaction, etc.

          Step #4: If you see an item that is now on sale while you are out shopping – take out your little ziplock bag – check the store policy – look for the receipt with this item on it… then go get yourself some cash!

          I hope this little tip comes in handy, and helps you save even more money while shopping!


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            Happy Thanksgiving – Take Peace


            I wanted wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and share a wonderful letter of encouragement that was written to a dear friend back in 1513.

            Although it was written so long ago, the words still ring true for us today.

            “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.”

            “Fra Giovanni, 1513

            I want to encourage you today….
            Take Peace
            Take Joy
            and Take Heaven

            Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is Godรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
            1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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