Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Break

I have a feeling that many of our blogs will be quiet for the next few days as we (Lord willing) pause to enjoy the company of our friends and families and slow down the pace of life to enjoy feasting and napping and fellowship with those we love. I am traveling today and I would appreciate prayer for traveling mercies, as I'll be driving by myself this afternoon and evening, in the dark and snow, for about a 9 hours drive to my mother's house, and the another 4-5 hour drive tomorrow to NJ where we're supping at my aunt's.

I'll have lots of fun stuff to share when I get back, and I pray you all have a blessed long weekend (and don't get mowed down, or mow anyone down for that matter, trying to buy a bunch of junk on Friday morning, OK?).

In Christ,

The Armchair Housewife

Goodbye Pumpkins, Hello Pomanders

Ok, ladies... I did some pretty exciting stuff this weekend, including working on my Christmas ornaments AND creating this for our dining room

I got this idea from the Living Christmas edition from 2004. Shockingly, mine doesn't look just like Martha's, but... dare I say i think it turned out nicely? Ladies, this is without a doubt the first real thing I've ever created for my home that was soley for decorative purpose. Haha... it sounds so funny just typing it, but it's true so for me this was an exciting milestone. Hey, putting out the pumpkins was a first in itself! But I *made* that! Can you tell i'm proud? Hee hee...

And then, inspired by some of the lovely winter scenes outside my window

I got inspired to put away all the pumpkins and fall colored things (and when i say "all", so far that amounts to about four things...) away and get ready for Christmas. More pictures to come right after I buy some new batteries. ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Working Girl

It is 6:00 pm on Monday night and, while I should have gone home 3 hours ago, instead i am sitting here in the cold (furnace automatically goes off in the office after 5) and relative dark (not enough light in my section of the office when the sun goes down) working on payroll processing and don't expect to leave until about 8 or so. I am leaving Wed afternoon for Thanksgiving and will be missing two days of work. On top of this my job has just gotten busier and busier lately with increased call volume, more employees on the payroll staff, more payables, etc.

I am SO thankful that, starting Dec when I get back from Thanksgiving break, I will only work Tuesday-Thursday. Granted, the first month or two those will likely be long days, but just having two more days at home will be so wonderful. My heart is so at home now; if I could I would probably quit my job outright but I don't feel led by the Lord to do that just yet. Baby steps here, trusting God and being thankful for the progress I'll be making.

So, back to work here. Ladies who are reading this and are workers at home full time and sometimes feel like you're missng out for not working outside the home, or sometimes wonder if the grass is greener please let me assure you: it is NOT.

The one good thing about working in the office after hours is I can listen to the Beth Moore Archive and blast it without worrying about disturbing anyone. :) Thanks, Miss Beth, for keeping me company!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sarah D.'s Thanksgiving Projects

Sarah D., my dearest friend and "follower" of Armchair Housewife, despite having just had her first baby, is superwoman enough to be contributing not one, but two items to her familiy's Thanksgiving Dinner. The first is this charming table setting from Martha Simply click here to see the details.

And, if that weren't enough, apparently little Baby D is going to let mom have two arms long enough to produce enough of this tasty cranberry sauce recipe for the feast:

The cranberry sauce is the red stuff on the right of the picture

So, I hope this might be some ideas you can use as you plan your Thanksgiving feast!

Second Hand Armchair

Good morning, ladies! Or at least, it's a good morning where i am today, and i pray a good one for you. It's saturday morning, and it's a beautiful winter morning outside, the snow was slightly falling when i woke up this morning. Thanks to staying relativly on top of things this week, the house is in pretty good order this morning, so I popped a load in the washer, made a bacon and egg sandwhich, and have sat down to enjoy catching up with my favorite blogger girlfriends and doing this fun (for me at least) post. Mr. Armchair is at his men's group this morning, so it's just me and Stuart (and I must confess my heart strings tugged a bit this morning that there was no bunny to let out and feed, but again, total peace).

After this post y'all are going to think all I do is shop. And really, it's not true at all, but in the past couple of weeks in my persuit to be more mindful about making my house a home, i have been on the prowl for goodies to warm the place up, as well as my hunt for materials for Christmas crafts (why pay more?). And there's just nothing like second hand stores to do the trick.

Last Saturday I hit up Value Village, which is a chain of large department-sized second hand stores here in the great white north. It's not my favorite place becauase, in my frugal opinion, they overcharge for second hand items. But, I was hoping they would have their Christmas stuff out, beause they usually set a whole section of the store aside with lots of goodies. Alas, no large Christmas section yet, but I did find this gravy boat, something I needed as I have been putting gravy in a cream pitcher since we've been married.

I sort of resent paing 4.99 for it, but I guess that' sbetter than the retail price would have been for a pyrex gravy boat. and it's green and white, so will go with my dishes.

I also ran into my good friend, and some-time commenter here at Armchair Housewife, Lynne. Looks like she's a savvy shopper, too.

Then, I treated myself to a visit to the Antique Warehouse here in our town. I don't go very often because when I hear "antique store" I think "house of coveting". I love almost everything I see and can afford none of it. But... just for fun I took a wee stroll, and found these goods that I was coveting enough to take a picture of.

They wanted to come home with me, but I didnt have a couple hundred dollars to blow on dishes, no matter how pretty.

A whole ROOM of retro stuff! Bestill my heart!

But THEN, lo and behold, I found this

And I thought, no way I can afford it, but it matches my dishes so I'll look. And it was only 8 dollars! Not too bad! I continued walking around the store and in four different "booths" I found following, all for under 30 dollars!

For a closer look...

I can't tell you how excited I am, because now I have some serving dishes to go with the plates and goblets for my holiday table. This weekend i am going to sit down and do up invites for some friend and family i want to have over for Christmas dinners over the month of December, and I am excited to be able to make my home warm and festive with good food and these fun find. Apparently I picked the right thing to "collect", becuase this sturdy pressed green glass is pretty commonplace and not very expensive, but still retro and pretty (in my estimation).

If that wasn't enough excitement for the week, one of the churches in town threw a "Second Hand Boutique", which was essentially a glorified rummage sale, but they did the genius move of "fill a bag for 5 dollars" and pay whatever you feel led to for larger items. All proceeds went to the comunnity centre, and it was great! Here's the loot I made out with (all for ten dollars, mind you).

It might be hard to see, but that's a stack of mint condition Martha Stewart Living, of which i was excited to find two Christmas editions full of fun ideas!

I've hung this wreath in my dining room.

This purse has never been used.

Don't know what I'll do with this, but it's cute. Any suggestions?

Oh, and on a small-world note, this topiary tree, as it turns out, belonged to Lynne, from the picture above, before the sale.

WELL, that was fun! I'm off now to catch up on email, turn over the laundry, put it all away and, Lord willing, really make some progress on my Christmas ornament making. I got one batch started last Saturday, but I have not had the time during the week to deocrate that bath or start another. As soon as I have at least one batch finished, I'll post some pic with "how to".
Blessings, ladies!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prayer Request

UPDATE: Thank you ladies, every one of you who prayed for me. I mean it when i say I could feel your prayers lifting me up. I certainly did cry when I said goodbye to bunny, and as I was cleaning up his area after he left. But I put on some Christ-centred music and really meditated on the goodness of God, and I feel at peace. Caleb said bunny was very calm and relaxed when he left him at the vet, which was really my biggest prayer.

thank you for your sympathetic words and your prayers. I have total peace that this was the right thing to do, and your encouragement means so much.

God bless!

Hi Ladies! Just a little prayer request that might sound funny to some of you, but it's important to me all the same. I have decided that it is time for us to put our little pet rabbit to sleep, and this has been a very hard decision for me to make. Not so much because of any deep emotional attachment i have to him (in fact, almost the opposite- I have been so frustrated with him in the past few months as he has been destroying my wall that I have wanted to make sure I wasn't putting him down for the wrong reasons), but because when it comes to something like life and death, even for a rabbit, I want to be sure I am doing the right, and righteous, thing.

Bunny and Stuart

We've had our little guy for nearly five years now, and he was a "second hand" bunny when we got him. A friend of ours had him as a pet and really didn't want him anymore, and we adopted him. He's been a cute, fury, sometimes affectionate little creature, but in the past year he has also been increasingly destructive, tearing at our walls and also becoming less diligent about "going" in his cage. Having to clean up rabbit droppings off the floor every day has been a considerable source of frustration for me (not to mention Caleb) and really downright disgusting if you think about it. And so we end up keeping him in his cage, or one little fenced off area of the room, and that's no way for a little creature to live in our estimation (and his estimation too: he hates the cage).

And then he started getting sick this summer, and since that time we have spent, literally, 100s of dollars on this rabbit. Firs tit was a hair ball, then an absess on his lower jaw. Then he got an upper respitory infection, and then that turned into an eye infection as well. And hten, when we got back from the cruise at the beginning of the month, the poor thng had a huge absess on his face, on his upper lip. 200 dollars later the vet gave me some antiobiotics and I have been administering them to him for over two weeks now, but the absess is not going down, in fact it's only getting bigger, and now his eyes and nose are running again, which means more infection.

The hard part is that he is "healthy"otherwise; he is eating fine, he still hops around, he's not on his little bunny death bed or anything. But 1, we made the decision after htis last atrocious vet bill that we could simply not afford to spend any more money if he got sick again, and 2, the drugs don't seem to be helping. What's more, he so hates taking the medicine (twice a day) that he won't come to me anymore. And it's no wonder, becuase the absess is all in his mouth, God love him, and i have to stick this tube in there, and I know it's painful becuas eit's te only time I've ever heard him make a noise the whole time we've had him. So it kills me.

So, with a heavy heart, I went to the vet today and said I thought it was time to put him down. And they were very great, understanding, and gentle about it, and very accomodating. I called Caleb, in tears, and told him to let bunny out of the cage, let him run around the room and eat all the wall he can, and give him some treats. When I go home I'll sit on the floor with him and pet him, give him some apple which he loves but can't have too often, and then send him with Caleb to the doctor to go to sleep and go to bunny heaven (and i don't care how theologically incorrect that is... ).

For those of you who don't care for animals or do but can't imagine all the fuss over a rabbit, just say a pray for me anyway, that I'll have peace. I can't stop crying today at work, and yet they aren't tears of regret. I know it's the right thing, but it's still painful.

Thanks for your prayers, and go love your pets for me today!

"Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God."- Luke 12:6

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter Comes to Spring Street

Caleb and I enjoyed a beautiful walk in the soft, falling snow last night, stopping to kiss under the Christmas lights more than once. :) I woke this morning to a winter wonderland, and thought I would share, especially for those of you who live in warmer climates and miss the beauty of winter.

"He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes" -Pslam 147:16

"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the Earth', and to the rainshower, 'Be a mighty downpour'" -Job 37:6

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." -Isaiah 1:8

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Goodies: Pie and Bread

Click on either picture below to see the recipe information. Enjoy!

Armchair Recipes

I want to start posting recipes, but i don't want to take up the space on this blog to do so, so I have decided to create a complimentary blog to this one, all for recipes and cooking tips. But you won't have to add that blog to your blog roll or remember to check it, because I will post here at Armchair Housewife a picture of any item i am detialing over at the recipe blog, and if it looks enticing, all you'll have to do is click on the picture and you'll be redirected to the entry on that item. And, if you get curious about older recipes, you can simply click on "Armchair Recipes" on the right hand side.

Be advised that I am no gourmet. Just as I am working at being a better housewife, I am working at being a better cook. i will say that I think I am more naturally inclined to good cookery than overall housewifery, however, and you just might find something you like over at Armchair Recipes. I have no doubt, howeer, that there could easily be a 'confessionals' section over there, too, to chronicle my disasters.

There will be more to come, but below are the first entries in my recipe collection:

Asian Steak and Vegetable Kabobs

Whole Chicken I: Boiling the Bird

Whole Chicken II: The Broth

Soda Alternatives

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Or is it?

Indeed, after our first earnest snowfall this weekend, the trees are now bereft of their leaves and covered with a blanket of white, and smoke is rising from chimnies in our picturesque little country town. Folks are bundled up in their winter warmies, the stores are ablaze with shiney holiday fare and sounds of Bing Crosby and Burl Ives warm the airwaves. I had Christmas music on myself this weekend, as I began in earnest my gift-making, and with the snow outside and Ella Fitzgerald singing about sleighrides, it definitely felt like Christmas.

And yet, what does the word mean? Christmas means, literally "Christ with us". This is why Catholics, who believe in the miracle of transubstantiation, call their services "Mass"- they believe Christ is actually present in the Eucharist. And as December 25 is the date we have traditionally decided to celebrate the coming of Jesus to earth, "Christ with us" is the perfect name for this holiday.

So, when I look around, I see the sleighbells ringing and ting-ting-tinglin', too, but do I see Christ with Us? What did it look like when Christ was physically with us in the flesh? When we read the gospels, we see that the blind (both spiritually and physically) gained their sight, the lame were healed, and the hungry were fed. People of all races, nationonalites and languages set aside that which divided them and came together around the person of Jesus Christ. Swords were laid aside and hands of reconciliation were extended, persecutors were forgiven and enemies were prayed for. Materialism was set aside in order for the needs of others to be met, and people were so impassioned by the Truth they had found that they counted all their personal gains a loss in order to go out into the world and share the good news.

And now that Christ has ascended to the right hand of the father, He abides in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And what does it look like when the Spirit is with us? Scripture says the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

And what will it be like when Christ returns? We see from the promises of God's word that swords will be changed into plows, and the Lion will lay down with the lamb. Every tear will be wiped away, and never again will we experience the darkness of sin.

So, as I look around my little corner of the world and beyond, I wonder how much is it looking like Christmas? Considering all the need around us, and the strife and war caused by human greed and hatred, and the myriad of petty ways we neglect and hurt one another in our daily lives, does a snowfall, some decorated trees, and apple cider really constitute what Christ with us looks like? As much as I love the charm and warmth of the holiday season and all it's delights (and as much as I will enjoy partaking in them), I have to conclude no.

So as we are feasting this season, here's some food for thought: What can we do each day as we celebrate the birth of our Savior to make it look a little more like Christ with us? How can we put aside materialism to see that our brother is fed, how can we share the truth that burns in our hearts with our neighbor, how can we be more patient, loving, and self-controlled, and how can we change our swords into plows? My prayer is that for everyone who looks forward to Christmas not only as an exciting festive holiday, but as the celebration of Emmauel, God with Us , that we will strive to make it look a little more like Christmas each day.

Busy and Sick

It's been way too long (in my opinion) since I've posted; I have SO much I want to write about, fun pictures to post, recipes to get up online, reflections on the upcoming holiday season, all good stuff! But this weekend I was very busy, and we socialized twice, which would have been my blogging time. On top of that, I stayed home from work yesterday trying to prevent my oncoming sinus infection from taking over completely (praise the Lord, I was successful). So, now I am at work just sneaking a brief howdy until I can get to more proper blogging, likely tonight after Awanna or tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this cute picture of our dog from our first earnest snowfall this weekend. It would be cooler if he had looked up at the picture, but what's neat is the early morning light and how it made the picture blue. I didn't do anything to alter it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

7am Challenge

Over at The 50's Housewife, I was reading about The "Making Your Home a Haven" challenge hosted by The Homespun Heart. I found the challenge too late in the week to really participate, but Monica's challenge to herself to be up and at the table in God's Word by 7am challenged me to do the same thing.

To say I am not a morning person is like saying Charles Manson has a grumpy disposition. That is, it is a gross understatement. It isn't that I like to sleep until noon or anything; in fact sleeping past 9am, even on the weekend, makes me feel terrible. BUT- as far as functioning and doing much of anything productive other than dragging myself out of bed and getting ready for work, first thing in hte morning is a mammoth challenge. Part of it is that I have very weak eyes. I know this sounds like a funny, lame excuse, but it's true. I really struggle with tired eyes from working in front of a computer 6-7 hours a day (plus more at home if I'm emailing or blogging ,woops!) and I can wake up in the morning if the week has been a busy one with just sore, aching eyes. To say this is a discouragement to something like early morning reading is, again, an understatement.

BUT- I have totally NOT been abiding like I need to be. And let's face it: starting the day in God's Word is increasing your chances of being mindful and meditative of God's presence and purposes for you in a day by about 98%. So, I'm up for the challenge.

Here is the first picture I took this morning. Oh yes.. bring the caffeine on, baby.

ANd this is the second picture I took, accidentally of the couch, becuase I was a half-asleep zombie.

Taking a cue from Monica, I lit a candle, and here's my table tableau.

And this is the centrepiece i had mentioned in another post. I know it's simple, but for me, it's a first!

Sorry, btw, of the terrible quality of the pics. My camera is a real "piece" and it was dark in the house at 7:00am, even with the light on.

I'm also following Delina's challenge over at Girl.. to memorize 1Corinthians 13. Any other takers for either challenge? Or are all you other ladies so spiritually disciplined that you're already up at unspeakably dark hours in God's Word and knowing whole chapters of God's word by heart?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mr. Armchair Talks Food

My amazingly smart, talented (so talented that he took the picture above of himself), and handsome husband Caleb, aka Decomposure, recently did an interview in promotion of his new album, Humidity Patient Guide. It just so happens that it is more about food, though, than music. He has some groovy insights and funny stories, and he also says i'm a good cook, so you should check it out here.

Second Hand Armchair

Because I got everything in the picture below for less than 35 dollars (and that's Canadian!):

For a closer look:

Lots of bulbs for both decoration and for gifts I am making

And the really fun find: Green dishes.

I have been wanting to get some kind of holiday glassware. My MIL has a great set of cranberry colored holiday dishes that I would love, but when I saw this green glassware, I got excited too. And I don't know if you can see the price tag, but the plates and goblets were 1.00 each. Better still, yellow tags were HALF OFF the day I went in so I got these puppies for 50 cents a piece.

To you blue blood ladies with really great taste, these may seem tacky, and I'll hand it to you that they are sort of outdated, and it's lots of GREEN. But, I submit to you that, when paired with a white table cloth, and white accent dishes, like this perhaps:

that they will just look festive and fun. And notice I also got some green vases which will be great for table decorations through the Christmas season. I'm excited! And I just l-o-v-e-d this pretty little red dish, I guess it's like an hordurve stand or a mini cake stand or something. What ever it is, it will look so cute as the sole red accent on a table of green. Don't you think so?

To, to sum up: Go to thrift stores! Don't waste your money on junk made in China when you can get one of a kind goodies for way cheap (and in this case, the thrift store was MCC, which does missions and charitable work around the world, so extra bonus).