As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.




Saturday, December 21, 2019

Pineapple House | Christmas Tour 2019



Today is the day that I invite you all over for a little Christmas tour! 



I've been doing Christmas house tours since the first year I starting blogging, so this is my eleventh! When you come in today, try not to notice me over in the corner finishing up my wrapping, okay? Or I might be baking when you arrive. Or practicing the songs for the Christmas cantata. I'm sure I'll be scurrying around, so just come on in and have a look. 

Although . . . I could very well pour us both a cup of coffee or tea and it would be a long tour as we chat our way through. Oh yes. I'm sure that's what I'll do! 





You'll probably come in the back door, so we'll start in the kitchen. 

My Christmas decorating theme this year is greens and fruit. 

Oh wait. My Christmas decorating theme is always greens and fruit, you say? Well, yes. You're right.



I have a mix of old and new in the corner shelf. "Old" is the cornhusk nativity that I have had since my oldest children were small. New are the pieces of redware that I have collected this year. The patterns aren't vivid in this photo. I'll take better photos and show you another time.





Do you love the little LED lights? I put some on this little rosemary tree. (I promise you that they don't look so green in person.)


Fill your cup here! 



This is the new part of the kitchen, the south wall. I promised to tell you all about this last stage of our kitchen renovation, and I haven't forgotten! But this little sneak peek will have to do until January when I'll do a full post. 





Let's bring our hot drinks into the dining room. 


More greens? More fruit?

Yes indeed.



I had fun with my new stepback cupboard for Christmas!



Shall I tell you a story about this little arrangement? 

Bekah and I were working on this vignette. We narrowed it down to the blue willow platter, the pewter candy dish with pomegranates, and the small creamer with berries, letting the pewter bowl of pomanders serve as the star of the show. We decided that it needed to be nestled in greens, so we tried every wreath that we had but they were all too big and the bowl was dwarfed. We needed a smaller wreath. 

Bible study was starting in one hour, but we decided to make a dash to Target! We were planning to purchase one of the Hearth & Hand wreaths. We were thinking about the pretty juniper wreath with blue berries. As we rushed into Target, Bekah picked up a little cedar wreath from The Dollar Spot and I grabbed one too. They were three dollars each.

Well, they were sold out of the smaller juniper wreaths, but we chose a pretty cedar wreath that we thought would work well. It was $24.99.

We made it home with a minute or two to try out our wreath before leaving for Bible study, but . . . sadness. Our smaller wreath was still too big. On a whim, Bekah pulled out her $3.00 wreath and tried it. Hmmm . . . not quite right. But when I layered my own $3.00 wreath on top of it, it was just right! 

So here were are. Our vignette completed by two $3.00 wreaths. 




The light on the sideboard is a recent purchase. I actually paid more than I thought because I misread the price tag. But, despite a little sticker shock, I am glad that I bought it because I love it!







Now that our coffee cups are empty, let's step into the living room and find a comfy seat.





After briefly considering doing something different with the mantel this year, I went with the familiar Della Robbia arrangement. It is so easy to repeat something that works. And with such a short Christmas season this year, I did a lot of repeating! 






This is the wool tree that my friend Barbara and I made in a workshop several years ago. It's in a new spot this year. The cupboard that I usually set it on is out on the sun porch, replaced by the stepback cupboard. You know how that decorating chain reaction goes . . . 



I always put this olive wood nativity that Ryan brought us from Israel in a conspicuous place.





Continuing our tour, we'll take a peek into some of the rooms down the hallway.

Here is Bekah's lovely room . . .






The guest room has some simple touches.




The library has a tree on the desk and some Christmas puzzles, books, and a Playmobil nativity.



The bathroom has a tree and some holiday soap.



We'll walk out to the sun porch, but we won't stay long. It's cold out here! Besides, there's not much to see. I didn't put a tree on the porch this year nor a centerpiece on the table. I filled an old box with pine cones and called it good.





That concludes our Pineapple House Christmas Tour for 2019! Thank you for coming along with me again this year!


Can I leave you with a song that I've been enjoying this Christmas season? I had forgotten all about this song (it's an oldie-but-goodie from 1987) but it just came to me one day and I found it on YouTube and have listened to it over and over. It is a song that is full of JOY about His coming!

"Prophesied! Now alive! Jesus is born!"

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Today



Today is a big day. 

It is exactly one week before Christmas and there is much to do. 

It is our sweet daughter-in-law's birthday. 

It is the day that I meet with the lead teacher of our ESL group and plan some lessons for the new semester . . . some of which I will be teaching myself. 

It is the anniversary of my first date with Ron. Forty-three years ago he brought me to his Sunday School class Christmas party. The rest is history. 

It is the day that Kati will have an anatomy scan  and (probably) learn the gender of this dear baby. 

December 18. One day. 

And I am struck with how much the past is intertwined with the present and with the future. 

There is lots to ponder, lots to rejoice in, lots to look forward to.

May we always be mindful of how important the moments of our days really are

Dear Lord, direct my steps each and every one of those days!




The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9


For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they were all written,
The days fashioned for me, 
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
Psalm 139:13-18



Monday, December 16, 2019

Gingerbread Loaves for Gifting




This time of year, I like to have a few goodies ready to give . . . for hostess gifts or a little something for a friend or neighbor. Sometimes I make cranberry orange bread. Sometimes I make Marry Me Toffee. Sometimes it's pecan shortbread. One year I got ambitious and made these little sponge cake houses. 


This year, I wanted to make gingerbread, but I wanted it to be in a loaf form . . . not cut into squares and not cookies (although I have a super yummy gingerbread cookie recipe). I didn't find exactly what I wanted in an internet search, so I put together ideas from several different recipes and this is what I came up with. I love the spicy flavor, and the texture is just right, so I'm saving this one! 

My recipe makes three mini loaves. I doubled to make six loaves. Of course, we wanted one for ourselves. Quality control, right? Or maybe a little slice is just right with a cup of tea or coffee. Either way, it was just as easy to make six. :)






GINGERBREAD LOAVES
(makes 3 mini loaves)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk



Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt. 
Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together brown sugar and butter. 
Add molasses and vanilla; mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time, until well-mixed.

Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk, stirring just until blended after each addition. 

Spoon batter into three greased mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
(You could also make one full-sized loaf. Increase baking time to 45-50 minutes.) 

Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.






After your loaves have completely cooled, you can wrap them in plastic wrap or cellophane and tie with baker's twine or ribbon for giving. 






If you're not ready to give (or eat) within a few days, place wrapped loaves in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.

Happy giving!! 


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