Author of Women's Christian Fiction – This Is the Day!
Writing has always been a love of mine. Except for school reports! I didn't cherish those moments. I began with poems in grade school, and short little stories that I illustrated. I created something for each family celebration, and probably wore my family out. But I graduated to a longer 'book' by the time I was 18, following traditional romance novel writing as I pounded it out on a Royal typewriter I had found at a garage sale. You didn't worry about your nails when using one of those! When our first four children were still young, I wrote my first book back in 1998. I followed it with three more in that series. Those are my current WIP, needing many updates and editing before I give them to my editor to slash to bits. But the books are always much better with her advisement and help! Currently, I have nine published books.
My husband and I have been married for thirty-six years and we have five children and seven grandchildren. I've been a homeschooling mom, Sunday school teacher, AWANA director and a pastor's wife. I've worked as a CNA and an Activity Director. When I'm not busy writing...which I love, BTW, I'm working on home projects, marketing and attending events, where I love to meet you...my readers!
Christmas Eve has arrived. I always look forward to this day and tomorrow. A special time spent with family, and whenever those days occur…memories abound.
I am missing my mother this year. She is still with us, but in a nursing home. The woman that was once a huge part of our holiday celebrations, only remembers the work involved. And I guess I don’t blame her for that. She went above and beyond for her family during the Christmas season.
Weeks of baking which included cookies of all kinds, and decorating sugar cookies. See’s Fudge, and gingerbread houses when we were older. We always had several trees to decorate. My father and brothers hung strings of white lights over barns, and shrubs, while candles illuminated every window.
We didn’t always have new clothes for Christmas. My mother shopped at the Salvation Army when we lived in Longmont, Colorado. We always had plenty of new-to-us clothing, and often from high-end places. My mother was a savvy shopper. She could stretch a buck to the breaking point in those days. What she didn’t purchase, she crocheted or knitted. Our babies always were well-dressed, and warm.
In between all of that, my mother played piano and organ for our church services. Which always meant a Christmas Cantata. I don’t know how she did it all.
Many of you have your Christmas baking in full swing by now. And if you don’t…you may be just a bit panicked. After all, Christmas is in just three days!
Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago when the memes started floating around about the Christmas countdown? It was still in the nineties here…and the Christmas mood was still months away for me.
To say the Christmas season snuck up on me this year is an understatement! But here we are. And delicious food is just one of the items that comes to mind.
Every Christmas, our family grew up with See’s Fudge. I’ve probably posted on here before about it. It’s just that big of a deal for our family. My mother’s mother made it, my mother made it, and I’ve made it every year since I married.
Until last year…when I quit eating refined white sugar. Last year I thought I’d miss it dreadfully…and I missed it a bit. This year, I don’t miss the cloying sweetness of it, but just the thought. I won’t be making it this year. I don’t want the ingredients in the house, but I miss having it for the holiday season, and the little gift canisters I made for family and friends. At some point I want to try a version of it without the white sugar and condensed milk. I have other options to use. But it probably won’t be before summer arrives!
So all that said…I stumbled upon something else that is just as good in my opinion, and I’m going to share it with you all!
Once again…I am NOT a food blogger, or keto-recipe guru. So I don’t have the calorie, sugar, and carb information listed. I don’t particularly worry about all that. But for those of you that need to keep a watch, I do apologize for not having that information.
I have made these many times now, and our family loves them. I have to say I’m a bit lazy when it comes to shaping them, so I always double the recipe, and put it into a 9×13 pan. I place it in the refrigerator while I melt the chocolate and coconut on the stove, (I don’t have a microwave, by choice,) and then I smooth on top. They are wonderful! This recipe does have all the calorie, carb, etc. information that you need if you follow the above link.
This past Sunday, our church was having their Christmas celebration. We had a meal after our morning services. The theme was to be Mexican and Canadian dishes. The ladies did a wonderful job of decorating! Very festive. I made chicken enchilada’s, potatoes, and I tried a dessert.
I spent some time researching Canadian desserts. One that kept appearing in the top ten was the Nanaimo Bar which “is a tremendously sweet, no-bake layered bar cookie from Canada made almost exclusively of packaged ingredients.” Every time I looked at a recipe for this bar, the ingredients for the bottom layer were very close to the above recipe I shared. I thought, why not try to make the bars sugar free? I did, and they were fantastic! I was actually shocked that they turned out so well on the first try.
Don’t they look yummy?
I have to say, I have not ever had the original version of this bar. I don’t know if it tastes similar. I just know this was delicious! If you want to give this a try for your holiday baking, here you go:
Make the Poodle Doodle recipe that I shared above. I doubled mine to fit into a 9×13 pan. Chill in the fridge while you mix your second layer.
In a bowl, mix together with beaters:
6 ounces softened cream cheese 6 ounces softened butter 3/4 cup powdered sugar-free sweetener, I use Swerve 1 Tablespoon cream, you can add a bit more if you want it thinner to mix and spread 11/2 teaspoons vanilla
You want it to be frosting consistency. Spread this on the first layer, put in the fridge while you make the coating which is in the original recipe shared above. Again, I doubled the chocolate chips and coconut. I melt my chocolate and coconut on the stovetop until it is nice and smooth. Pour over the top of the second layer and smooth evenly. Work quickly because the cooled second layer will harden your chocolate. I use an offset spatula. If it glops, it still tastes wonderful! As a side note, I use Bake Believe chocolate chips. I’ve come to almost prefer them over Lily’s Chocolate Chips. They are always readily available at our Walmarts here in Kansas.
Now all you have to do is enjoy! My husband and I have had them every day this week for breakfast with coffee for a little dessert after our omelets. If you make this, let me know what you think!
All my life I have absolutely loved miniature anything. If it came packaged smaller, I was a huge fan. This included miniature horses, baby mice, fairy gardens, and of course doll houses. They make me smile!
When our youngest daughter showed me this site when it first began, I was just enthralled. I wondered…why? But I have spent way more time than I should watching these little cooking shows, and feeling my hands cramp.
I included the one above because it is a tiny gingerbread house. At one time I made these every Christmas, and it fascinated me to watch this itsy-bitsy construction.
Many years ago a friend shared using graham crackers for the construction instead of the gingerbread, and it really changed it for me. It was much less prep work, and easier to assemble. But a true gingerbread house…no. If I made one this year for Christmas, I would use the graham crackers. By the time you have it decorated, who sees the siding anyway? 😉
But, back to this post.
I love miniature items, and my favorite are mice. I don’t know why I feel an affinity to mice, but I do. No, I do not want them in my house, and if I saw one I would probably scream and jump on something to get me away from their scurrying little body. But when they look like this…they are adorable.
I know, some may argue that mice wearing clothes isn’t really done, but they are adorable.
When a friend shared this on Facebook, I knew I had to include it in a post. It is miniature, and there are tiny rabbits living in a cute little house, they are wearing clothes, and there is music. And the tiny mice are ice-skating. It just doesn’t get any better for me!
As you prepare for Christmas this year. Take a moment to watch this video. It will put a smile on your face.
The Christmas Day countdown began the first of December for me, but I know a few of you started way back in October! I still cherish Thanksgiving Day having its own little celebration…a wrapping up of autumn and all the golden glory of the days.
The Petersen family featured in this video came to our church several times over the years. Back when they were still in high school, the youngest in grade school if I remember correctly. It’s been fun to watch them grow up, and now have such an amazing following all over the world! They are an extremely talented group of musicians and singers. The young man playing the dobro also came to our church with his family many years ago. The Franz Family was also a joy to watch.
Today, in America, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s become a day of copious amounts of food and eating.
A day to share with family and friends.
At one time, our schools taught that the Pilgrims and Indians came together during those first autumn days, and shared their bounties.
It’s been a very long time since I was in school, but I hope there are some memories of those first years when the settlers struggled, for our school children today. I remember being in first grade, and our mothers made a Thanksgiving dish for us to share during class. My mother also made me a long, calico skirt that I wore for a few years. I loved it! A couple children dressed as Indians, some as Pilgrims. We sat on blankets on our classroom floor…and we tried to place ourselves back several hundred years.
My take away from that day at school wasn’t all the political stuff, but the working together, and being thankful for our family, friends, and good food.
I pray your day is filled with Thanksgiving memories, and the acts of sharing, and caring for one another. We all have much to be thankful for.
Today, here in America we celebrate our Veterans. The men and women that have served in our armed forces. Without their dedication and sacrifice…some the ultimate sacrifice…we would not have the freedoms we still enjoy.
While I have no memory of family serving in actual battle, my husband’s paternal grandfather served in World War I. His Uncle Cal served in the Vietnam War for multiple tours. During my years working in rest homes, I had the privilege to speak with many war survivors. I was always amazed at the stories they told, the experiences they had.
And I was extremely thankful for them serving their country.
Today we remember all of you, and we thank you for your service.
My maternal grandfather, Daryl McMillen, United States Navy
My father, Larry Johnson, United States Air Force
My husband, George Dykeman, United States Air Force
My brother, Todd Johnson, United States Navy
My husband’s family…
His paternal grandfather, George Dykeman, United States Army
His father, Robert Dykeman, United States Marine Corps
His uncle, Calvin Dykeman, United States Air Force
His uncle, Albert Dykeman, United States Air Force
His brother, Ron Davis, United States Marine Corps
His brother, James Dykeman, United States Marine Corps
My husband has another uncle, Tom Dykeman that may have been in the service as well. If family reads this post, please be sure to correct me and post the branch.
Please be sure to show your thankfulness and support for all our Veterans today. Display your flag correctly and with respect. Attend services for these Veterans if available in your community.
And always…remember their dedication and sacrifice to the United States of America.
My mother loved old homes, and probably passed that down to me. Throw in a little history, maybe some drama about a place, and I’m hooked. Because of those two items, I read a lot of Victoria Holt in my teenage years. I also enjoyed John Jakes, and Eugenia Price for the same reasons. And yes, when I was younger, I read a wide assortment of genres. Usually spending my lunch hour reading in the library rather than eating, if I had the option.
Because of my mother, we were privileged to live in some real beauties over the years. That also meant a lot of restoration projects, and cleaning! I don’t think we ever just lived in a house. And about the time it was fairly decent, and had a good kitchen, we moved. This happened a few times in my memory. That is probably the reasoning behind so many of my own kitchen projects!
So imagine my surprise when a friend from high school, (actually in my sister’s class I believe) shared this link with me a couple days ago.
My parents purchased this house the summer of 1978, the year I celebrated my 14th birthday. We had been living in Burlington, Vermont since that January and my parents saw this house on the way through Crown Point, New York. So about August, we began making weekend trips to the house to clean, paint, and get ready for us to move into. Those were long days, but I was so excited! For one thing, I had hated living in Burlington. It was one of the rare times we had moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and the schools were not great. I won’t even mention how miserable it was to move to Burlington in January! You can let your imagination run wild and it will be on course.
In a previous post of mine, titled All Hallow’s Eve in 2017, I included this: A gorgeous home built by the town banker in the late 1880’s from what we were told. His name was A.J. Wyman, and he began a banking business in April, 1881 in Crown Point. My parent’s talked with people all over town getting as much information about the house as possible. They were told that the oak staircase in the front of the house was hand-carved and took a year to make, and other interesting facts and trivia. Some they questioned, because you never know how the stories change over the years. Another item that was shared was that nuns had lived in the house for a while. The Catholic Church in Crown Point was just a little ways from the house. A realtor friend of my parents at the time said the house had porcelain sinks, tubs, etc. originally, and they had disappeared from the house during a time of it being rented.
The summer we arrived, the house had been a duplex. The section that had been for the Wyman family when built, the north side, had been done in oak. The south side was done in cherry, and housed the servants. There were pocket doors between the two sections for servants and family to be able to cross discreetly. So these two sections had been closed off to make two homes. My parents used it for one home, opening it back up.
Because of this, there were two kitchens, and three bathrooms at the time we moved in. For some reason, my mother elected to use the south kitchen, which is what you see in the above real estate pictures. I say for some reason, because the other kitchen was rather nice, actual cabinets and counters. But it was modern, and my mother wasn’t into modern too much back then. She even put a wood cookstove in the kitchen we used. It was located on the same wall where you see the stainless range now. My grandfather built a brick wall for the cookstove, and that’s where I learned to lay brick. When we lived there, the kitchen had no cabinets. Just an old porcelain sink. There was a gorgeous butler’s pantry just off this room, all done in cherry. We kept all our kitchen supplies in there. The other kitchen has now been made into a bedroom, the only one on the first floor.
I was amazed, and so very pleased to see that all the woodwork is still intact, and not painted! It was gorgeous, and it still is. I spent many hours with lemon oil polishing it. My father hung the wallpaper that you see in the front foyer, parlor and what was our formal dining room. That included the wallpaper you see going up the stairs and in the upstairs hall. I remember him placing a long board across that rotunda, and hanging that very heavy wallpaper. It’s wonderful to see that it survived all these years! I had noticed that the red-flocked paper in the northwest room we used as a formal dining room is not finished on the west wall. I seem to recall my father running out of wallpaper, and that was not completed. I will have to ask him about that!
My sister and I had the two bedrooms on the north side of the house with the bay windows. Mine was on the west and her room was on the east. One brother had the room next to mine, that is now a bathroom. The room that was a huge bathroom when we lived there is now a bedroom. Another brother had the bedroom across from the bathroom. It is now where you see the baby bed and whicker furniture. A doorway that was installed, and not original to the house leads to a bedroom in the servant’s section of the house that my parents used. In the pictures above, you see a really pretty bathroom with burgundy colors and an old toilet. This was where the cistern for the house was located, and it was gigantic! That was all that was in that room. The bathroom my father used was the bedroom you now see at the end of the hall. The bedroom across from there has a daybed in it if I remember correctly. When we lived there, the walls in the servant’s quarters were pretty bad. It’s nice to see that they have been updated…but for my taste I would have gone with something not so dark, and that complemented that cherry woodwork a little better.
The large room at the back of the house had been the woodshed. It was pretty rough when we lived there. We used it for a family room, and I had a sleep-over with many friends in that room! The Christmas we were there, we had a huge Christmas tree, and my father anchored it to the supports in the ceiling. The room is nice now, and very cozy-looking. Not to mention the added bathroom that was once my mother’s laundry room. You entered it through where the washer and dryer combo is in the kitchen now.
The row of pine trees beside the house on the east side were planted by my parents. My mother would be thrilled to know they grew to be so big! I was surprised to see how very much the house is blanketed by trees. It seemed rather open to me back in the ’70’s. My brother had a horse and a pony that had stalls in the barn, and a corral behind the barn. We kept rabbits there as well. A very large garden area was to the west of the barn. My father grew lots of potatoes that second summer we lived there. He stored them in that cavernous basement beneath the house. It was a terrible thing to hear my mother ask for wood for the stove or potatoes. That meant a trip to that dungeon, and that is exactly what it looked like! I can still remember the damp coal and heating oil smells from all the years before us.
Memories! Mine seem even more sentimental now. My mother is in a nursing home. A small room with very little of the items that she at one time enjoyed having surround her. She does have memories of the Crown Point home, and other homes she enjoyed fixing up and decorating. She often mentions all the work they took to maintain! Slowly, her material items are being given out to family members, and I hope they come to love them as she did.
I suppose this post is more for me than anyone else. A record of my thoughts when I was looking through the pictures that Allison shared with me. I have good memories of my school years in Crown Point. My favorite teachers were there, and I still have many friends that I stay in touch with through social media. Someday…it would be nice to return…preferably with my siblings, and remember the good times.
Not just the bad.
Below is the house our first Christmas. Isn’t it beautiful?
All social media sites, blogging sites, and general computer companies…STOP! We older people, can’t keep up with all the changes! Just about the time I get the hang of something new, a team of ‘experts’ come along and change it for the better…they think. I hope I’m doing pretty good, and then the platform is ripped out from under me once again.
That said, WordPress probably is great for some people that are really tech savvy. All the little changes are probably for the better. But I’m under the probably radar. And, just as a side note, I don’t feel that my age of almost 57 is that old. But when my 12 year old grandson is able to show me how to manage sites…it’s a little humbling.
Those two paragraphs were just a little venting to take me to the real post. So yes, the title does make sense now. 😉
I’ve been amazed at how many people have stopped by my site that are enjoying the keto diet. I’ve tried to check out some of your sites, and read some posts. But there is SO much information out there! I could read for days and still be learning more. So thank you keto-people/bloggers! I’m just starting this journey…or I should say taking my time with it. I started a little over a year ago, and I’ve just been incorporating all the information I’ve had over the years with everything I’m learning new.
For me, losing weight was kind of secondary to just eating better. I wanted to feel better, have more energy, rid my body of inflammation, and hopefully lose weight along the way. That has all been happening gradually. I’ve read up on Intermittent Fasting, Trim Healthy Momma https://trimhealthymama.com, and absorbed what our chiropractor has had to say about different diets.
When I began this journey back in August of 2020, I was really concerned about making it through the holidays, and no chocolate. I did make it through the holidays, and did not get pulled away from my eating guidelines. And now, after a little over a year, my chocolate cravings are a thing of the past. At first, that seemed a bit disappointing, but now, not really.
Baking dessert items has been a huge help for me. We have always eaten pretty well. I’ve never purchased packaged items on a regular basis, don’t use very many canned foods, and I make almost all meals from scratch. Salads were a daily meal when our children were growing up, and I usually made my own salad dressing. But desserts had to be not eaten, or enjoyed for holidays and special occasions only.
When I found all sorts of sites that were keto-friendly, and they had desserts, I was thrilled! These days, I bake several times a week. I’ve shared some of the desserts on here, and the sites I’ve found them on. With the holidays right around the corner again, I’ve been narrowing down my dessert menu. (I started out with a rather big list.) My husband has been a very willing taste-tester. Through all this baked-goods eating, he has lost 10 pounds!
My recipe tweaking has me making a Pumpkin Roll that serves 16. Well, it should be 16 people. It doesn’t seem to last long for my husband and I. The recipe I first used served 4, and was microwaveable. I don’t own a microwave…by choice. The recipe also called for almond flour and coconut flour, and almond milk. The recipe is right here for those of you that are interested: https://joyfilledeats.com/mini-pumpkin-cake-roll/. For my recipe, I used a baking blend, which I found to make the cake more moist and easier for rolling my larger version. I also switched out the almond milk for cream, and added a few more spices. It’s wonderful!
The other recipe I would like to make for Thanksgiving is an Apple Cobbler. The same site above has an amazing Peach Cobbler recipe which we love. I have some ideas for the Apple Cobbler that I want to try out. Topped with some of my homemade whipped cream…absolutely delicious!
Of course I will be checking out some of your sites to find more recipes for Thanksgiving, and everyday use! My only regret is that I don’t have time to try them all! Happy baking everyone!
I would like to say here, that I am not a keto-food blogger. The site above, and others that I follow have the correct nutrition information for the original recipes. I’m not as concerned about that, so switching out a couple things here and there has worked well for me. But if you want to be strict, follow their recipes exactly. Also, as I have said before, I’m extremely thankful for these people that have these sites and have shared their culinary talents. It’s a very complicated, and time consuming process, and they are appreciated!
I think autumn has finally arrived in our part of the world. Here in Kansas it always seems to peek around the edges, giving little snippets of cool weather and fluttery days, mixed with hot and humid. Then suddenly, it’s cold, and the leaves disappear from the trees.
Very different from the autumns I remember as a teenager in upstate New York. The colorful show began in August, evenings with cool suggestions of winter to come. Gorgeous colors seeming to turn overnight. By October, you knew those wintery days were just a breath away, and the holiday season was upon you. It always seemed to be a colorful parade, leading up to a finale of crystal snowflakes.
Here in Kansas, there is no stroll through the off-seasons of autumn and spring. More like a plunge.
So, the kitchen projects I needed to finish took a backseat to the outside projects that kept popping up. I probably shouldn’t word it like that. One would imagine just springing onto the scene, rather than items on a list I always have running through my mind.
Our oldest grandson came for a week or so to help with those outside goals. Poor guy…he will probably never return. This grandma’s house isn’t a safe haven of cuddles and cookies. It’s more of a boot camp for life-training. But there was some baking thrown in for good measure.
He worked like a trooper, helping me dig holes for fencing, and pushing wheelbarrow load after load of dirt to fill holes around the yard. He mixed cement, and got out supplies that are a burden for me after a long day of digging. And he hung in there. Projects that were on my long list were accomplished, and then some. And now this grandmother feels better about the cold winds around the corner.
We assured him that the holidays were upon us, and days of playing games for hours were promised to come. Days when we all can sip hot chocolate and eat yummy baked goods. I hope those remembered other times will be an enticement.
In the meantime, I can look at my very happy roses climbing on the white fence, walk on the stone path Joshua helped me with, and look forward to some steaks on the firepit he helped me move to a larger area.
At the end of those days with our oldest grandchild, our son and son-in-law helped replace the windows in our bedroom. This was the third set of windows they have done in the past couple of months. It was a huge project…more than we expected…just like all the others. But they are beautiful, and they fit in with all the other windows now. I’m hoping for at least one more warm day to get them painted outside.
This year has accomplished way more than I had hoped for when it began. The kitchen was to be the main project, and it probably was. But so much more has been done. All with the help of family. Some would read this post and think that all I care about is getting stuff done around the house. Some of those readers may even be my family! 😉 But what sticks out even more in my mind is the time that I have spent with all the family that has been here to help…and that I am blessed to have children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren that are willing to be here for us. And not just when it comes to projects. I know that if we ever need anything, our family would be there in any way that they could to lend a hand. That means so much in this world today of each person looking out for themselves.
The past few months have given me many memories of frustrating times of things not going right, boards in the face, dropped hammers on toes, wiring cut, and rethinking of a plan. But so many more memories of stepping back and thinking, “Wow! We accomplished that!” And I believe all of us can say that. Thank you to everyone for just hanging in there!
As a side note, I had another blogger at https://bluewillowcottage.com/2018/10/12/make-a-coffee-station-at-home/ ask about my coffee station. It ended up being a question about my previous kitchen remodel in the home we sold in 2020. My how time flies! So here is a picture of our coffee area now. I don’t have it as cute as some, but it is extremely handy. All coffee supplies are located in those cupboards and drawers. The counter provides enough room to hold many cups waiting for coffee. (Grandchildren have some cocoa, lots of cream and a bit of coffee). For me, it works perfectly!
Last Friday was a baking day, and most importantly a trying-new-recipes-day.
For me to make three new items was a pretty big accomplishment. They all turned out delicious…as always. So far, most of the keto recipes I’ve tried have been pretty good. Of course there are those that are my favorite, and some that were good, but probably won’t happen again. And with so many to try, that last statement occurs every once in a while.
My first endeavor was mayonnaise. I’ve been wanting to make my own for several years now, but for some reason I had this vision of a labor-intensive not-so-good-tasting glop of stuff I would never put on a sandwich. None of the above applied to this process. I made it in a pint-sized mason jar. I added all the ingredients, and used an immersion blender to combine. It was literally done in about a minute. And, yes it is gloppy, but isn’t all mayonnaise? I used organic olive oil for my first try, and the one I use is a stronger-flavored one for our salads. So, the mayonnaise is a bit bold, but it is still delicious. There are so many recipes for this homemade goodness. Choose your favorite one online. Here is a picture of mine:
The next recipe on my agenda was cake. This recipe was easy to make, and I was wanting that ooey goey butter cake taste. I may have baked mine just a tad too much, but it was still very soft and yummy. There is just a tiny taste of the almond flour, but if this bothers you, use a finer ground version. It was definitely buttery!
Lastly I tried a new brownie recipe. I will forever be on the search for the perfect-tasting, and texture brownie that is keto. I love chocolate, and brownies have always been a favorite of mine. These were also very easy to make. I was shocked that they used so little coconut flour! If you are not a fan of almond flour, then this recipe is for you. I used the Anthony’s brand mentioned in the recipe, because that is what I had. I did not notice any coconut flavor in these brownies. A major ingredient in these is eggs, and the batter tasted pretty close to those remembered boxed brownies I made so often. I may have undercooked these just a bit, but they are very good.
The day was a triumph for me. I don’t normally bake so much when it is still hot outside. Last Friday was nearing 90 or so again. But autumn is almost here, and cooler temperatures will have me in that baking mood. And of course, I have a list of new recipes to try already to go. 😉
What are you looking forward to making? And if you try any of these recipes, please let me know how they turned out. I would love to hear about your adventure. Have a great day!
P.S. As with so many of the keto recipes I’ve tried, a couple days after…the cake and brownies are even better! The mayonnaise is holding up very well too. I do apologize for the wrong spelling of immersion blender in the original post. This was caught by my husband. What was I thinking? Probably not much…and that was the problem! 😉