How Does Your Garden Grow?

Sometimes a bunch of doodles…

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…that have been hanging out in your sketchbook…

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…will begin to sprout…

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… and even blossom!

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It’s funny how your creative ideas reflect
what’s been going on in your heart and mind.

“Bloom where you are planted” and “How Does Your Garden Grow?”
are two little ditties that seem to sum up the thoughts I’ve been mulling
over about being content with what we have yet, not growing stagnant….

…about enjoying this season but preparing for the next…

…about tending the garden of “Home,” and waiting
expectantly for that fresh new blossom to pop open…

…about “Thistle Dew-ing.”

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Just put some fun new prints are up in our Etsy Shop to help fund some
of the Blooming and Growing projects escapades around the Frey house!

Click here to pop on over! 

:-D

In the Best of Company….

Since 2008, we have been very privileged
to be part of an incredible group of
Traditional American Folk Artists…

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We have met so many of them in person over the years
at period craft fairs, and also through our family’s store…

… And they truly are a wonderfully down-to-earth group of folk artists.

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And we’re always amazed that we can be included.

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Thank you, Early American Life Magazine
for giving so much encouragement and support
to Traditional American Artists!

Ten Things to be Thankful for This Morning…

1. We were home when “it” happened, so a major crisis was averted.

2. I was not the one taking a shower when it was
discovered that the water heater was not working.

3. My parents live next door, and their shower works just fine.

:-)

4. My Dad’s a builder, and his long-time plumber (and fishing buddy)
gave him a couple of slightly used water heaters that were removed
when clients decided to upgrade to gas hot water.

5. The new (to us) water heater holds 10 more gallons than the old one.

6. The new hot water heater was free.

7. My Hubby knows how to replace a hot water heater.

8. The vacuum and I got to spend some quality time in a hard-to-reach
place that hasn’t been cleaned since the last major appliance broke.

9. Ditto the mop.

10. It’s supposed to snow.

:-D

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In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~I Thessalonians 5:18~

Comings and Goings…

I’ve been trying to keep “home” in my thoughts as the new year unfolds,
but so far “in my thoughts” has been about the extent of it!

We “overed” Christmas and the New Year… That’s a pretty busy time of year for our family. We cleaned up the wrapping paper and cleaned out the fridge. And then we packed, and left home for 12 days. Almost two weeks… Almost half the month! But it was worth it to see these two sweet faces…

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And even though we were far away from home, we discovered that…

Home is where they love you.

Even if they are a little bit silly…

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Use It Up…

One of the earlier Pie from Scratch posts was about making things from scratch… A value that Annie is being taught by her grandparents. As Thanksgiving is approaching, I keep thinking of a little sing-song-y bit of wisdom that Nana always quoted…

Use it up, Wear it out,
Make it do, or Do without.

Another treasure from the Depression Era! The reason I’ve been thinking about it, is because of a phone call from my Uncle the other day. Now, he’s not usually a chat-on-the-phone sort of guy, but he had heard a statistic about Thanksgiving that completely blew his mind. So he called us to see if we could guess the correct number to the following question…

How many pounds of turkey is thrown away after
Thanksgiving Dinner in America each year?

We’re not talking about in restaurants, or leftover turkeys in grocery stores… Just the turkey that’s left after we all sit down to eat. Thrown away.  Any ideas? My answer didn’t even come close.

280,000,000 Pounds.

Somehow that struck me as important when illustrating
a children’s book that focused on old-fashioned values.

I never “picked” a turkey until my first Thanksgiving away from home as a new bride. I’m sure it had been done in my home, but I guess I was oblivious to the clean-up process. (My poor Mother.) For our first Thanksgiving, we invited another Navy couple over for dinner (which was MUCH later than expected, because I also didn’t know it took DAYS to thaw a turkey! That morning included me and Hubby desperately trying to thaw the biggest bird we ever handled in a warm bath tub!) They brought along the wife’s mother and elderly grandmother. After dinner was over, cleaning up was the last thing on my mind, but that Grandma took me in the kitchen and showed me how to pick a turkey! (She even showed me a secret hunk of yummy turkey meat under the bird, with the admonition that “We don’t tell the men about this.”) Before I knew it, I had POUNDS of turkey meat in the fridge waiting for post-Thanksgiving meals. Like Hot Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Soup, Turkey Stuffing Casserole… You get the idea. AND, she told me to save the carcass, and boil it the next day with some celery, onions, and carrots to make Turkey Stock to freeze!

How did I not know to do that?

I’m guessing, according to that 280,000,000 pounds statistic,
that there must be quiet a few young wives out there that also
do not know how to “use up” every bit of their Thanksgiving Bird.

Sooo…. in the spirit of Annie’s farm grandparents,
who would have “used it up” and not thrown it out…

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

You can post a link in the comments if you have a great recipe!

Here’s one of our favorites…

Leftover Turkey Stuffing Bake

Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups diced, cooked Turkey
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Milk
Seasoning to taste… Salt, Pepper & Mrs. Dash is our choice!

Place mixture in deep casserole dish, and top with 2 cups leftover veggies.
(Peas are our favorite!)

Cover the veggies with Leftover Stuffing and bake at 400° for 25 minutes.

Top with grated Cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes.

This recipe was adapted over the years from a Campbell’s Soup Recipe, as we tried to really use up our leftovers, and also adapt it for our dairy-intolerant family members. The original recipe is yummy too!

Do Great Things…

We all want to do great things.

To have some great accomplishment, some “I did it”
worthy of being engraved on our tombstone.

But maybe somewhere along the line, the price tags got switched,
and what is now considered “great” is really not so great,
and what is considered mundane is really pretty awesome.

I ran into this blog post this morning.

I often complain blog about my “To Do List.”

About how long it is, and how in the world
I got myself into all the things I get myself into,
and how to get it all done  on time and
before somebody calls to see if it’s done yet.

But then… maybe I didn’t get myself into those things,
but instead was placed there for a reason
by Someone who had something to teach me.

It may have been to teach me that the last “To Do List,”
the one before that was filled with really mundane things
like snotty noses and dust bunnies and piles of dirty dishes
were actually the real Great Things.

Soooo…

I guess whatever our hand is finding to do,
is exactly what we should be doing at this very moment.

And it is a Gift.

The Gift of “Now.”

Expectation…

Today snuck up on me.

The First Sunday of Advent.

As we were sweeping away the last crumbs of pumpkin pie, and simmering the turkey carcass to make stock, Advent came in quietly. The halls aren’t decked yet, and fighting the crowds at the malls and department store is the last thing I want to do. But, we couldn’t let this day pass without hanging up the Advent wreath.

I first heard of “Advent” when I was a twenty year-old newlywed… the churches I grew up in didn’t celebrate it. Our little church in upstate New York asked Hubby and I to light the Advent candle and read scripture on one of the Sundays in December, and that made our first Christmas together even more special. A few years later, we added an Advent wreath to our home celebration, and our girls grew up lighting candles on the Sundays that led up to Christmas. Every year we tried to find a new theme to study as we prepared our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth. A few years ago, we decided to try hanging the wreath, Tasha-style, so Hubby and I decided to hang it in the living room ceiling again this year. It still needs a dash of red, but at least it’s up!

This will be the first year in 25 years that it’s back
to “just us two” lighting candles!

Advent is a time of expectation… a time of preparing our hearts for the Coming Lord. For our family, celebrating Advent at home has helped us remember that there’s more to Christmas than buying and wrapping and decorating and baking. There’s much more to Christmas than a guy in a red suit and flying reindeer. There’s even more than a baby in a manger… the baby came into the world to be our Savior. The first candle of Advent symbolizes Expectation or Hope, bringing to mind the Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah. It also symbolizes the New Testament promise that He will come again!

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, 
And ransom captive Israel, 
That mourns in lonely exile here 
Until the Son of God appear. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, O Israel!

And before we wrap up November… a little friend at church surprised me with a beautiful drawing of a turkey that she made! Emily’s grandmom printed out my Turkey-Drawing lesson, and she did a great job! Thanks for letting me share it with everyone, Emily!!!

Be Content…

Our pastor spoke last Sunday on contentment. I think he just might have peeked into my Bible and saw all the verses that are double underlined and highlighted and that have stars and exclamation points in the margins next to them. Or just maybe he knew that contentment is something that pretty much all of us human beans struggle with on a daily basis. But… mostly likely… the Lord impressed on his heart that there were some folks sitting in the pews that needed to be reminded about contentment. Like me.

And we have to be content to be thankful.

And with Thanksgiving just two weeks away,
it might be a good time to consider thankfulness.

For the things we have.

For the things we have to do.

And in every circumstance and situation.

The other day I was straightening up a closet and found my “Nana” sign. She had a sign that said the same thing hanging in her kitchen, so when I saw this in a country shop a few years ago, I just had to buy it because it reminded me of her.

Nana had things. She was known in these parts as the Yard Sale Queen, and if you saw her little gray car at a yard sale, there was no reason to stop because she had already gotten the good stuff! She loved to go “junking” and was always coming home with some little treasure or super bargain. She definitely had things… but she held them loosely. From the time I was a little girl, I knew that if I liked something Nana had, I had better tell her, because she might sell it tomorrow! Or give it away to someone who needed it. The things that Nana had were used to make ends meet or to bless other people. When she left this earth, there was very little monetary value to her belongings, yet she left behind quite a legacy for her family.

A legacy of being thankful and content with just enough.

If she was here today, I’m sure she’d remind me of that
when I get tofussing or worrying or wanting
or being discontent or unthankful.

Not that I am speaking of being in need,
for I have learned in whatever situation
I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11