Thursday, December 31, 2015

Grocery Haul.....video version!!!

4:20 PM 14 Comments
Yeah you heard right, video version.  I know, I said I was going to try video and then the last grocery shopping I did, I rushed home and had to put it all away because we have visitors.  I ended up not recording a video or even having time to take any pictures, so yeah.....

Did my shopping this morning and decided to give it a try with my phone, so it's not exactly the best quality and I'm certainly not going to win any video editing or vlogging awards, but nonetheless, it made it much easier to show you all what I got.

Are you ready???  Keep in mind it's my first, and no you don't get to see my face just hear my voice, but still, I'm not used to these things so yeah......well......here we go:


As I said, I filmed it on my phone that is why it's got the awkward black sides, but eventually if you all like these recorded hauls, I will get my nice camera out and use that, and then I'll try to get a nice video editing software etc.

It's just not something I usually do and so I don't have all the necessary equipment.  This is as good as it gets, for now.

Hope you enjoy!!!!

New Year Fun......2015 in Review!!!

1:01 PM 6 Comments
I can't believe that we are sitting here on the last day of 2015.  Where did this year go?

So much has happened for us and I can tell you that this hasn't been an easy year, in many ways.  Many lessons learned, many people in and out of our lives, some health scares and financial worries and just a plain ol' roller coaster of a year.

I'm glad to see it come to an end.

Thing is, I always worry about the upcoming year, like what is coming my way, what is going to happen because when I look back on the past year I know that a lot of things, actually MOST everything that happened, I didn't see coming.  I wish I didn't worry and that I could just go with it, but yep, every end of year I feel a sense of almost dread.

I'm going to just not worry about it this time, and truly believe that this year has to be much better than the last 365 days.  This is going to be OUR year.  Our year to shine, our year to be healthy, our year to be financially stable.  This is IT!!!

But let's take a look at our past 12 months......

If you want to join in, here's what you need to do.

Post the first sentence of your first blog post of each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month.


Happy New Year everyone!

******************************************

 January 2015

*sigh*  I have been the absolute worst at updating my blog the past week, and I wish I had some good excuse for it, but I don't, other than the fact that I've been spending a lot of time with my children and husband.

Foggy morning

February 2015

Well, here we are, February.  Is that even possible when it feels like just a few days ago we were celebrating Christmas?

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March 2015

Good morning everyone, how was your weekend?

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April 2015

Right, first I want to say that I'm so thankful that you all still continue to come by and participate in the Happy Homemaker Monday.



May 2015

I had hoped to get this post up early this morning, but life got in the way and before I knew it, the sun was setting and I was sitting on  my couch, in my pj's and wondering just where did the day go?

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June 2015

 It's been forever, or so it seems. 


July 2015

Well, we've been moved in for a little over a month and I thought it high time that I bring you all in, and show you the new house.

Living room

August 2015

My morning started with a 7am wake up call from Miss Lola having a seizure.



September 2015

It seems like it's taken years to get to this moment, when in all actuality it took just a few weeks, but folks, I'm so happy to report that the craziness surrounding and following our move to Texas, has finally died down.



October 2015

Morning everyone, welcome to another Cooking Thursday.


November 2015

Good morning ladies, how was your weekend?  We had an ok one, nothing special going on, though yesterday hubby and I managed to clean and organize the garage, which was no small feat, my word.

November 13, 2015

December 2015

I am here, still here, still living, still around, just unfortunately been very busy the past two weeks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Today.....

7:53 PM 7 Comments
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One of my Christmas gifts, were these little glass jars in a wire basket.  I knew immediately what I wanted to do with them.  They now sit on my bedroom windowsills, and hold my different sprigs of Lavender.

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Leftover spaghetti for lunch, while working on the new meal plan for the upcoming two weeks.

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Finally got to try my pressure cooker.  Made pork chops for dinner and was serving rice with them, and so, that was the very first thing I tried.  So easy, and the rice was perfectly cooked.  I can't wait to try another meal in the pressure cooker.

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Evening hours, kitchen is clean, coffee machine is set and ready for the morning, and shower is taken. 

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I'm absolutely loving my little corner in the bedroom.  I'm using my sewing table as a desk/working space.  When I need to sew, I just pull out the sewing machine and get to work, when I'm not sewing, I use it for my laptop.

I had this pretty big wall in my bedroom that was empty, didn't quite know what to do with it, and after sitting empty for months, yesterday I finally had the light bulb go off.  Now it's one of my favorite areas in the house :)

I'm currently sitting right here in this spot, working on my grocery list for tomorrow morning, and listening to Lockup on TV. 

There is a lot going through my mind, so many ideas and thoughts about what I want to do with my blog in the new year, which direction I want to go with it, how often I want to post, what I want to post about etc.  One thing that I'm certain I want to do, is to start visiting you all again, which has been near impossible the past few months, actually the whole past year to be honest. 

But I want to renew those blogging friendships and really start catching up with everyone, visiting, commenting and showing you some love.  You have no idea how much I love getting your comments and thoughts, and I feel so guilty for not being able to reciprocate at the moment.

So, yeah, I have a lot to think about, ideas to formulate and things to get down on paper and then I'll be sure to do a post on all those things, so that I can share with you what my plans are for 2016.

BTW, tomorrow is New Year's Eve, which I'm sure you all know about and I don't have to remind you, but......I always do the Year in Review, so that will be going up, and I just wanted to let you know in case some of you were going to do it as well.  I would love to come by and see your years in review, so let me know down in the comments if you plan on doing one too :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chilly start to the week....

9:14 AM 10 Comments
Brrrrrrr!!!

Just a few days ago, I was joking around with my brother back in Idaho and telling him that he should be here in Texas, where it's nice and warm compared to their snowy cold days.

I should have just kept my mouth shut because within a few days, we were hit with the craziest blizzard and cold temperatures.

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The night from Sunday to Monday was filled with loud icy rain pounding on the windows and the roof.  It was ongoing, without a break, just constant from about 11pm to 7am.

As I walked past my living room window I noticed that everything was white, icy and the temperatures had dropped significantly from 70 degrees to high 20's.

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Being the blogger that I am, I instantly grabbed my camera and grabbed these two shots, and I had just finished taking the one above when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

It walked from my yard, all the way down the driveway towards the street.

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It took me but a second to realize that I was looking at a coyote.  Not exactly surprised, we've already seen deer in our yard so now a coyote wasn't exactly shocking, I mean we ARE out in the country.

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He or she, just slowly made their way down the street towards the main road.  I lost track of it, and I wasn't exactly going to go out there and follow them.

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How neat is that???

Hubby was home early yesterday and soon after he arrived, the kids asked if we could go to Walmart.  They got some money from their uncle for Christmas and wanted to go and spend it.  Actually we all got money from him so I was quite excited to go and get some things for myself too.

You know as a mom, I tend to buy things for the kids all the time and don't really ever spoil myself, so I was looking forward to some guilt free shopping.

I got myself a few bits and bobs, not a lot at all, but a few things I had been wanting or needing.  

This coffee mug was one of them, I had been eyeing it out for a while but really couldn't justify buying it at any other time.  It was only $3, but I had to have it to add to my collection, it just screams me, the whole mason jar look and the gorgeous robin blue color.  

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I also picked up a Fat Quarter Bundle to make some patchwork potholders for my kitchen.  Even though the walls are yellow (which I really really don't like), most of my kitchen items are blue, so I'm planning to pain the walls soon.  I'm thinking a very light blue would look pretty.

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I needed eyeliner and mascara, but they can be quite pricey, so I waited until I had some money of my own to buy them.  Have never tried this mascara but my sister in law has it and loves it, so I'm sure I'll like it just as much.

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Of course, what would a trip anywhere be without some yarn to add to my stash?  These were less than a dollar so I grabbed 3 colors that caught my eye, not sure yet what I'm going to make but will go through my crochet bookmarks and my books and see what I want to make.

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I was in desperate need of a new cookware set, and the one I currently have is the Paula Deen in the pretty light blue, which I LOVE, but I've had it for so many years.  Curt bought them for me for Christmas back in Arizona, I want to say in 2009 maybe?  So yes, long time and they're all still pretty good, but the pots are getting old and scratched.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I saw this set on sale for $40, down from $60 and nabbed it. 

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Haven't even had a chance to open the box yet, but will be doing that very soon.

Of course I had to grab some new nail polish to feed my obsession.  These were only 90c each.  I love the burgundy/maroon color and the glittery one will be great for accent nails.

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So yeah, not a lot of things, but just a few bits and bobs that I really wanted. 

This morning we woke up to still white grass and pretty cold temperatures.  It does make for some very pretty shots as the sun is rising.

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I don't have much planned for today, aside from the usual homemaking.  I plan on opening up my pots and pans and washing them and of course I'll use them to make dinner tonight.  Also want to try my pressure cooker later.

I need to work on my meal plan so that I am ready to go shopping on Thursday morning. 

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It is now 10:15am and I really need to get cracking with my day.  I've already had my shower and washed my hair, it's still up in a towel though so I need to get it down and brushed etc.

How is your Tuesday going so far?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/28/2015

8:29 AM 6 Comments

Good morning sweet friends, sure hope you've had a good relaxing weekend and are ready for this week ahead.

Can you believe that in just a few days we will be saying goodbye to 2015 and heading to 2016?  Where has the time gone?  My daughter may be graduating early and I'm not ready for this at all.

Alright, let's see what we all have planned for this upcoming week, shall we?





The weather outside is::::
Absolutely frightful.  If you've been following the news then you'll know that we've been hit with some very blizzard like conditions, cold, ice, sleet, rain and snow and tornadoes down south of us.  It's been nuts.  Woke up this morning to a white covered yard.  30 degrees right now but the wind chill is registering a feeling of 18 and I certainly vouch for that. 



On the breakfast plate this morning::::
So far, only a cup of coffee, might have a piece of toast later but not sure.



As I look outside my window:::
White, everything is white, and cloudy skies and dreary looking.  The trees are waving back and forth with the strong winds too.
   


Right now I am::::
In bed, typing this up and enjoying my coffee.  Hubby is in the office in the next room so we are talking back and forth about the weather and the roads etc.  Everything here has been delayed because of the icy conditions, so base is on a 2 hour delay and he doesn't have to be in until 10am.  My neck and shoulder pain is still there, it's been a week now and it's just not going away, I think the weather is not exactly helping either though.
 


As I look around the house::::
Remnants of Christmas.  I plan on getting all the decorations down today and tomorrow and getting rid of the trees too.  Much as I love Christmas, I always look forward to getting rid of everything and putting my house back to normal.



On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Finishing off Jasmine's laundry this morning, then I have sheets and blankets to wash.  
Cleaning....In the kitchen.... Unload the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes. 
In the living rooms....Remove Christmas decorations, tree, and vacuum.
In the bedrooms....Make beds, open curtains.
In the bathrooms....clean the toilets, sinks and mirrors.
Homeschooling....Jasmine has to catch up on some school work.
 


Happening this week::::
Monday.....Housework, removing Christmas decorations and trees.
Tuesday....Finish removing all Christmas decorations and trees.
Wednesday....Get ready for some family coming in for New Year's Eve. 
Thursday.....Grocery shopping in the morning, then spending New year's eve with family
Friday....Spending day with family



Currently reading::::
A Pioneer Christmas, and A Prairie Christmas




On the TV today::::
Dead Files Revisited
Lockup
When the Heart Calls Season 2


On the menu this week::::
Need to work on the new meal plan for the upcoming two weeks.  I've been on pinterest searching for pressure cooker recipes for my new pressure cooker and am hoping to try some out.

Monday - Freddy's Burgers and Fries
Tuesday - Pork Chops with lemon basil cream, basmati rice
Wednesday - Steaks, Mash, Gravy
Thursday - New Year's Eve.....Pizza, Chips
Friday - Pancakes for breakfast....Ham and Cheese Sliders for lunch.....Best Chili Ever for dinner with Cornbread
Saturday - Biscuits and gravy, sausage, omelettes for breakfast.  Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti for dinner. 
Sunday -



What I am creating at the moment::::
Working on a beanie for myself.  Also pulled out my sewing machine and want to make some patchwork potholders for my kitchen.



New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls, and I'll be sharing the recipe with you later today, I PROMISE.  I need to really get back on track with the recipes and the food blog and I plan on doing that this new coming year.
 


Favorite photo from past few days::::

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Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::



Sunday, December 27, 2015

After Christmas.....

2:06 PM 9 Comments
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Hi everyone!!!

I sure hope you've all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas.  I'm sorry I've been away from the blog, just been concentrating on getting through the holidays and some personal issues, but now that Christmas is done and the year is drawing to a close, I am back on track.

I thought I would come in today and show you some snippits of our Christmas, tell you what I've been up to and just basically say hi and have a little chit chat.

Are you up for it?

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As I'm typing up this post, I can tell you that the wind is howling outside and the rain is pounding down on us, it's been doing so for the past 26 hours, non stop.

I'm sure by now you've all seen the news and are well aware of the blizzard like conditions and the severe weather we've been hit with here in Texas.  It's been brutal, tornadoes and blizzards and just horrible weather, and my prayers have been with everyone in the path of this storm.

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So Christmas eve was a very quiet one, spent just with my husband and kids.  We had a table set with just a few goodies

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we opened some presents

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and by 10pm I was fast asleep.  I know, nuts, but I had been in the kitchen all day long and couldn't take it anymore, so after a nice warm shower I fell asleep shortly after.

My mother and father in law came in just after 11:30pm, and Curt stayed up to wait for them.

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The next morning, I was up again early making some quick and easy breakfast.  One of the things I served, which everyone loved, were these yogurt parfaits.  Strawberry yogurt, granola, frozen berries, and some trail mix fruit.  So yummy and they looked quite adorable too!

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Later in the morning, my husband's Aunt arrived, along with his cousin and his brother too.  We had a very nice, laid back Christmas day, we enjoyed a Ham dinner, munched on a ton of goodies, had a few drinks and played a bunch of card and board games.  It was so much fun!!!

By Saturday noon, they had all left to return home, as the weather started getting really ugly and each of them were traveling between 2 and half to 3 hours in opposite directions, some towards southern Texas and some towards Oklahoma.

Much as we would have enjoyed having them all stay longer, the horrible weather conditions just weren't going to allow it and we wanted to be sure that everyone made it home safe.

So I'm sure by now you're kind of wondering what I got for Christmas.  This year the hubby and I decided to keep things very simple and only get each other a few goodies, but he did really well with what he chose to get me.

A new coffee machine from Hamilton Beach that allows for big pots of coffee or individual cups, using the little pods like Keurig.  Love it!!!

He also got me something I've been wanting for a while now, a Pressure Cooker, but he got me a digital one and I'm so excited to try it out this coming week.  I'll be sure to show you all and let you know what I think.

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Unfortunately Curt's cousin and aunt were both quite sick and on antibiotics for colds, which I now seem to have caught on.  I haven't felt very well since yesterday morning and have pretty much been confined to my bed for the past two days.  Oh boy!!!

Thing is, I have all the symptoms of an incoming bad cold, but it hasn't hit me, and the past few years I've noticed that it seems to be how it goes for me, I am down for a day or two feeling horrid and just waiting for it to hit me full force but it never really comes to fruition.  Not sure if it will be the same this time around, guess we will see.

I've caught up on a few shows, watched the Christmas special of Downton Abbey which was the last one EVER and I'm heartbroken.  It's funny how attached you become to a show and when it ends you feel like you're losing a good friend.  I honestly can't believe it is never coming back.

Also watched the Call the Midwife Christmas special, and that was a good one as well.  Today I'm catching up on When Calls the Heart Season 2 so that I can watch the Christmas special that I recorded yesterday.

Really don't have anything else planned or on my to do list today, so going to continue to hang around and do whatever I fancy.

The wind and the rain are still coming down hard outside, but later tonight and tomorrow it is switching to snow.

Glad I don't have anywhere to go until later in the week, and that is just for grocery shopping and to run by the base pharmacy to get our prescriptions refilled.

Alright folks, I hope you have a good rest of Sunday.  I'm going to get on off of here, take some Motrin for this headache and keep looking up some recipes for my pressure cooker.  If any of you have a digital pressure cooker and some recipes, please do pass them on, I would love to have some. :)

This day in 2007:  Slow Cooking Thursday
This day in 2010:  Happy Homemaker Monday
This day in 2012:  Cooking Thursday
This day in 2013:  Low Key but wonderful Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/21/2015

9:06 AM 10 Comments
Morning, morning, morning my friends.  It's a little chilly here today and guess what?  It's almost 9:30am and I'm still in my pajamas.  Oops!!!

I've been a little lazy this morning, mainly because this week hubby doesn't have to be at work so early, it's only an hour later than usual but that extra hour of sleep in the morning, is everything.  Right???

I've been taking it easy, relaxing, just finished watching The Voice Portugal and now I need to get this post up so that I can go and get dressed and start my day.  Grab your cups of coffee and let's go..... 



The weather outside is::::
42 degrees at the moment though it feels colder to me.  We have beautiful clear blue skies and I think the high for today is supposed to be 61, so not too bad.

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Just had a cup of coffee and two slices of the Pumpkin Spice Bread, toasted with some butter. 

As I look outside my window:::
One thing I love, is the morning light, especially when you see the trees with the sun in the background, it makes the trees look black and the outline is just surreal.  Love it.   

Right now I am::::
On the couch, typing up this post.  I've had so much stress the past few weeks, and this whole year in general, that it's decided to come out in the form of a horrible pain in the neck, shoulder blades and back.  Yesterday was worse, today is not as bad but I'm still finding it difficult to move around as usual, so I'm on the couch and not in bed as I typically am in the early morning.   


As I look around the house::::
Did most of the cleaning yesterday so my house looks nice and tidy.  The tree in the living room is starting to die, I'm not sure why, but sometimes we get the odd tree that dies faster than the others.  It's still looking pretty but yeah, soon as Christmas is done, it is GONE.  The tree in the den is my favorite, from the size to the shape to the actual tree, just something about it is absolutely beautiful.


On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Did all the laundry yesterday, or rather, most of the laundry.  Today Jasmine and Nick have to do their laundry (I've been making them do their own once in a while just so they get used to it).  Have to strip all the beds and wash all the blankets, linens etc. 
Cleaning....In the kitchen.... Unload the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes. Sweep and mop.
In the living rooms....Dust.
In the bedrooms....strip the beds, let them air out, and remake them with fresh linens.
In the bathrooms....clean the toilets, sinks and mirrors.
Homeschooling....we're on Winter Break but Jasmine has school work to finish and catch up on.



Happening this week::::
Monday.....Housework, making knitted dishcloths for last minute gifts
Tuesday....Making Rissois for Christmas, Finish wrapping last gifts coming in tomorrow
Wednesday....Get the house ready for company, have my mother and father in law coming, as well as my brother in law
Thursday.....Christmas Eve, relaxing day, waiting for family to arrive
Friday....Christmas Day with family

Currently reading::::
A Pioneer Christmas, and also have A Prairie Christmas.  Perfect reading material for this week :)




On the TV today::::
Christmas movie
Lockup
Whatever is on the DVR


On the menu this week::::
Monday - Homemade Mac and Cheese, Salisbury Steak
Tuesday - Kielbasa with Potatoes and Green beans
Wednesday - Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls (cilantro rice, grilled chicken, black beans, salsa and guacamole)
Thursday - Christmas Eve (Roast Beef Rissois, Oven Fries, Salad, Portuguese Dessert)
Friday - Christmas (Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Beans with Bacon and Onion, Stuffing, Candy Cane Brownie Trifle)
Saturday - Breakfast Casserole...lunch is ham sandwiches and chips....dinner I'm not sure yet
Sunday - Freddy's Burgers, Fries


What I am creating at the moment::::
Knitted dishcloths as last minute gifts

New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
The Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry from last week turned out really good, the family loved it.  The Candy Cane Brownie Trifle is new and I'll share the recipe once it's made.   

Favorite photo from past few days::::



Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas in the Pioneer Times

12:17 PM 9 Comments


With Christmas just a few days away, I thought it would be fun to do a little post about how different Christmas was back in the pioneer days.

It's no secret that one of my most loved shows and books are The Little House on the Prairie, and I even have a few pioneer books around the house, all about the way of life, crafts, recipes etc.

So exactly how was Christmas celebrated back then?

Living in the Old West was no easy thing, for one the way of life was extremely hard and exhausting, but it also meant being far from a more civilized life with stores laden with Christmas decorations, cards etc.  For the pioneers, Christmas meant homemade gifts and a very simple homemade meal.


A blizzard or winter storm, could easily bring everything to a stand still

"Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and r'n'Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon. " - Laura Ingalls Wilder


Some of the items you may see on the Christmas table would be preserved foods, roast beef, turkey, ham, potatoes, pickles, white bread, fruitcakes, cookies, pies.  Women would often start the baking for the holidays with weeks in advance, especially when it came to fruit cakes or the ever popular plum pudding.



Decorating the house and the tree, meant using whatever they had on hand, from making wreaths using greenery around their homes, pine cones, holly and berries and whatever else they could get their hands on.


A popcorn garland was a very common decoration for the tree, and I've done it myself many years, just because it makes it look simple but homey.  Other types of decorations included hand made dolls using yarn or husks, cookie dough ornaments, gingerbread.

Not all homes had a tree though, in some areas there were no trees available, and other homes were so small that a Christmas tree was just not possible.


For us, we have endless gifts at our disposal, and the amount of money we spend on Christmas every year, is quite exorbitant compared to how the pioneers went about theirs.

Many of their homemade gifts were simple, we saw that in The Little House on the Prairie, and quite honestly I think those are the best gifts to receive.  Anything from lavender filled sachets, to wooden toys, shirts, blankets, knitted scarves and hats, mittens and even socks.  Preparing for Christmas began many months before because to be able to get all these gifts made, time was needed, and time was something they didn't have much of with their days so filled with exhausting chores around the homestead.

Christmas Eve was spent around the Christmas tree, enjoying each other's company.  Christmas day meant going to church service, singing carols with friends around town, enjoy a traditional Christmas meal at home with friends and family and enjoying time spent together.


I hope you enjoyed taking a tiny glimpse at what Christmas was like in those times, if anything it helps me appreciate what we have today, but on the other hand it makes me wish that things were still that simple and that focused on family.

However you decide to celebrate your holidays, make sure that you don't lose sight of what matters the most, those special moments with our family around us.  It's not about the amount of gifts or how expensive, or how many decorations we have or how amazing our homes look....for me, I'm choosing to really concentrate on what matters this year, it's been a crazy one for us and as it comes to an end, I want to not only acknowledge what we've been through, but focus on having a much better one next year, one more simple, more traditional, more concentrated on going back to basics.  :)