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Posts Tagged ‘cats’

A bittersweet week


I'm sure most of my readers are keeping busy this month with various preparations for Christmas. Our house is no exception. Rob is busy with his last few classes of the semester and preparing for exams. He also helped out with some landscaping at church Saturday morning when the men had a work day. I've been busy shopping, sewing a few last minute Christmas gifts, and baking a few cookies.

Monday was a very sad day at our house because of the death of our seventeen year old cat Adelaide. She had become very thin recently and was showing other signs of distress. She had a lot of personality for such a little creature and will be greatly missed here in our home. My husband wrote a tribute to her here.

Friday morning I joined a group of people from our church to help with the Christmas decorating. There was a lot to be accomplished but the work went pretty quickly with so many people helping. It was enjoyable to fellowship with ladies I have known for some time and to meet one new member who has recently moved here from Illinois.

After a sad beginning to our week we had a rather sweet ending. My good friend, Sandy and her husband went up to Ohio for Thanksgiving and brought back some cornmeal mush (in a loaf form) and some maple syrup. Sandy and I used to work together and she knew that I love fried mush.

Friday evening we had a special meal of fried mush and sausage patties with maple syrup. After our supper we spent the rest of the evening decorating the Christmas tree.

Have you ever eaten fried mush?

Our one remaining (eighteen year old) cat, Clementine spends most of her time under the tree. We got her at Christmas time when she was about one year old and she has always loved sleeping under the tree.

On Saturday my friend Judy and I went out to the Grain Loft in Duncan for their grand opening. They sell a variety of grains, grain mills, mixers, blenders, dried beans, seeds, rice, nuts, etc. They have a lovely new store and they also deliver here in the area.

This morning we went to a nearby nursing home where one of our pastors has a service each Sunday morning. Rob helps with the music from time to time and it was enjoyable to sing some Christmas carols with the residents there.

Although we are saddened at the loss of Adelaide we have much to be thankful for, including our family, friends, church, and the peace we can have through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Becka


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Dewey Contest Winners


My totally unbiased assistant pulled two names out of the hat to win copies of the new book, Dewey's Nine Lives.

picture of Unbiased Assistant

The winners are:

picture of Two Winners

Joy B.
and
Brenda Evans

If you two will send me your mailing addresses I will contact the publisher and ask them to send you your copies of the book. Please contact me by clicking on the contact button above the header picture at the top of the blog post. Your message will go directly to my e-mail account. I hope you both will enjoy reading this new book.

Thanks to all who left comments and participated in the contest.

Becka


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Dewey’s Nine Lives


A couple of years ago I got quite a few books for Christmas. One that I really enjoyed was Dewey The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. I wrote a post about the book. A few weeks ago I received an email asking if I would like to preview another book by the same authors.

picture of new Dewey book

The new book is Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions. It contains two more stories about Dewey and the rest of the book is comprised of stories from other cat owners who sent in their own inspiring cat tales.

The publisher, Dutton, is sponsoring a contest for anyone who would like to send in their true tale about a special cat that they have known. The winning selection will be included in the paperback edition of the book. You can read all the details here.

In addition, I have the privilege of giving away two copies of the new book, Dewey's Nine Lives. To enter the drawing all you have to do is leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on October 18, 2010. I will be able to accept comments only from those living in the United States and Canada. All the names will be put in a hat (literally!) and my able-bodied assistant will draw the names of the two winners. The winning books will be sent directly from the publisher. Be sure to include your name with your comment so I can contact you in case you are one of the winners.

So, if you like cats and would like to read about some special ones I hope you will enter my first-ever give-away contest!

Becka


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Christmas Decorations


Since we celebrated Thanksgiving a little late we just got our Christmas decorations up this past weekend. I will be the first to admit that I'm a reluctant decorator. I agonize over decorating decisions knowing that I'm going to have to live with my choices for a long time. Fortunately I have a dear daughter who majored in interior decorating. She is not working in that field any more, but she still helps me with my decorating decisions. I especially miss her help when it comes to Christmas decorating.

Back in the last millennium when Nora still lived at home she made us these paper cubes that we can put on our Christmas tree lights.

picture of Paper Cube

The first set lasted through seven or eight Christmases and then she made us a new set a couple of years ago. I think she got the idea from a Martha Stewart magazine. (I found a number of sites on-line with directions when I googled folded paper cubes.) She made them from copy paper. I love the way they look on our tree and the way they diffuse the light.

picture of Christmas Tree

I did make something new for our decor this year for our Thanksgiving centerpieces. I got the idea at a blog called 320 Sycamore. I couldn't find the exact glassware that she purchased, but came up with this combination at our local Dollar Tree. For Thanksgiving there were colorful leaves in the outer glasses and now for Christmas they contain nandina berries and leaves.

picture of Christmas Candle

Here's a picture of our cat, Clementine in her favorite spot each December:

picture of Clemmie Under Tree


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A favorite fall treat


Someone in our house is having a birthday this week (on the 30th) and has requested apple dumplings rather than a birthday cake. Several years ago I found this recipe and it has become a family favorite. Let me tell you a little story.

I first came to know the Lord while I was in high school through the witness of a friend from school. Soon after I was saved I met a woman, Norma, from my church who was about my mother's age. I came to find out that Norma and my mother had known each other many years earlier when they had worked together in a munitions plant during WWII. My mother had even been a bridesmaid in Norma's wedding. In the intervening years Norma had come to know the Lord and started attending the little church that I attended.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Norma and my mom became reacquainted and Norma very faithfully ministered to my mom and witnessed to her over the years until one day mom professed her faith and trust in the Lord as her personal saviour too. Norma did not have an easy life as her husband was not a believer and was very unkind to her. In spite of her own trials Norma was a faithful witness and the Lord used her greatly to bless my life.

Often when I was home from college Norma would invite Mom and me over for a meal. It was at one of these meals that I first tasted apple dumplings. Norma's dumplings were absolutely delicious! From the first time I ate them I hoped that she would serve them every time we would visit.

Being the diligent home economics student that I was I also asked her how she made them. She gave me some very sketchy directions which I eventually tried, but my dumplings were nothing like Norma's.

After Rob and I were married I continued my quest for a good dumpling recipe and finally found success when I found this recipe in the book Hospitality with Confidence by Grace Pittman. It is a book that I used for several years in teaching a class on Christian hospitality.

picture of Hospitality With Confidence

These dumplings are very rich, so save them for a special treat. Grace has aptly named them:

World's Greatest Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening as if you were making biscuits. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4" thickness. (For 6 dumplings I roll it out to a 15" x 10" rectangle. For 12 dumplings 16" x 12".) Cut the dough into the number of squares desired. Place apple slices in each square. Fold the corners in to make an envelope shape. Don't worry if these look messy. Place the filled dumplings in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour the syrup over the dumplings making sure every bit of the dough is moistened by the syrup. You might want to use a spoon as you do this. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. You can reheat any leftovers.

Here are the raw dumplings being spooned with syrup:

picture of SpooningSyrup

Here are the baked dumplings, right out of the oven:

picture of Baked Dumplings

Here is a dumpling topped with ice cream, ready to be enjoyed:

picture of Dumpling with Ice Cream

These are delectable and I hope you will try them sometime. It's amazing that such simple ingredients can be combined to make such a delicious dish. It's also amazing that that a simple friendship can change the course of a life for all eternity.

Becka

P.S. Here is a picture of my faithful assistant blogger, Adelaide. She hops up beside me on the desk whenever I am at the computer.

picture of Wanda Simone


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