“There’s Still My Joy for Christmas Day”

by Trenda

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Another blessed Christmas Day.  As I sit in a now silent house and gaze at the twinkling lights on the tree, I reflect on the day.  Memories, past and present … watching sweet little grandchildren with their “eyes all aglow” and remembering, remembering, remembering not so very long ago, our own dear little ones leaving carrots for reindeer and cookies for Santa, their little feet scampering about, their joy, and the delight of them jumping in bed with us on Christmas morning … missing dear ones no longer with us while trying to sing, through lumps in our throat, the poignant words of the Christmas melody “through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.”  Another blessed Christmas Day with recollections and moments filled with  every emotion.  Through it all …
“there’s still my joy for Christmas Day” and that joy comes from Jesus!  God’s gift to us that very first Christmas in Bethlehem.  His very own Son!

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

At the close of this Christmas Day, you may have one more gift you haven’t opened.  It’s the gift that God gave to each of us, His Son, Jesus and the gift of eternal life He has given to you, if you believe in Him.  I love these words from the movie “Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas.” ‘You may feel alone again this year, BUT you know you’re not, you never are; no matter what you’ve lost. Christmas is an opportunity to remember that LOVE came down to find you, right here, where you are – with or without a perfect delivery record, or a perfect marriage, and it happens year after year in a hospital lobby, or a post office, in the woods, or on a mountaintop, or on a rock by a tree, at the beach. Christmas is a gift, but it’s your choice to accept it.’

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It is as simple as ABC …

  • A – ADMIT admit that you have sinned (done things that are displeasing to God) Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 
  • B – BELIEVE – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • C – CONFESS – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

The best gift you could ever receive … the gift of eternal life!  It’s your’s, God Himself has already “Signed, sealed, and delivered for Christmas” … for you!  “One tiny Child can change the world, one shining light can show the way.  Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost … there’s still my joy, there’s still my joy … for Christmas Day.    ~ Melissa Manchester(click here for song)

Merry Christmas!

From my Cottage to Yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you may have n the “COMMENT” section.

Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

by Trenda

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Here’s a delicious appetizer that takes just minutes to assemble and is ready to pop into the oven for a hearty snack after an “intense” day of shopping … after looking at Christmas lights … or to share after candlelight service and before hanging your “stockings by the chimney with care.”  Put your feet up and dip your chips into this creamy, melted goodness of cheese and chicken.

Chicken Enchilada Dip Ingredients …

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Directions:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Shred chicken. (I stewed 6 chicken breasts and made a double recipe of this dip, and still had 1 1/2 cups of chicken left over to make chicken salad! (:  but you could use a 13 oz can chicken breast or use a rotisserie chicken)  Place 13 oz. cooked chicken in a medium bowl and mix in softened cream cheese,  8 oz. (1 cup) Miracle Whip, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 small can diced green Chile peppers.  Transfer the chicken mixture to a lightly greased medium baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown …

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Before serving sprinkle top with paprika and garnish with cut bell pepper, for holly leaves.  Drain and roll small pieces of roasted red peppers, for berries.  Sprinkle top with grated cheese.

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Enjoy these last few days of hustle and bustle … “in the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas.” (:

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“O come let us adore Him …”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you have in the “COMMENT” section.

 

Texas-style Winter and the last of Thanksgiving … Recipe for Delicious Thanksgiving Soup

Trenda

It has been another delightful autumn here in East Texas but today’s temperature never “got out of” the 30’s and tonight, December 8th, we are finally expected to have our first freeze!  Fall is certainly a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer!

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Just a peek at Cottage Green on the Lake during the winter … 4the seasons!

leaves.pngPresuming it will freeze tonight, I gazed a little sadly at our still blooming Encore azaleas, roses, begonias, impatiens, coleus, and ferns.  However, Richard (forever surprising me) brought in one last winter rosebud he found blooming in our yard, put it in an antique vase that belonged to my grandmother, and set it on my vanity, where I happily discovered “it” after I showered! (imagine a picture of a heart, here!)

rose.png  Getting ready for “winter-on-the-lake” comes with a long to-do list … filling bird feeders, decorating the outside of the house with Christmas decorations, putting the potted begonias and impatiens away in their winter residence -our cedar greenhouse (: and last, covering the boat and draining our sprinkler system (which our son came over and helped his father with. PLUS … he also helped his father with our latest DIY project, the remodeling of our upstairs bathroom (pictures upon completion!)

Winter Twilight on the Lake …

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Thanksgiving Soup …

A delicious and easy soup that is made with Thanksgiving leftovers!  After enjoying our Thanksgiving leftovers for several meals, one of the simplest things we enjoy is making a big pot of comforting soup that uses all the “bits and pieces”still left from our Thanksgiving.

Instructions:

(So simple and delicious!)  In a Dutch Oven, add the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers.  (You’ll want to add only those leftovers whose flavors will compliment each other, when combined … no dill pickles from the relish tray or pumpkin pie!)  The leftovers I had which blended perfectly together were … dressing, a little turkey gravy, squash casserole, some leftover Rotel and Velvetta cheese dip (from football snacks!) and some turkey, I diced into smaller pieces.  To this mixture I added 6 cups of water and 6 teaspoons of dried chicken bouillon granules, stirring to mix.  Turn heat to high, until broth boils, then add uncooked pasta (I used 8 oz. from a 1 lb.box of Fideo Spaghetti.)  Return to boil, then lower heat “to simmer” until pasta is done.  That’s it!  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated mild cheese and buttered breadcrumbs (leftover from my squash casserole!)  Delicious!  My husband and son had 2 bowls!


I ladled our soup into these favorite Fitz & Floyd “Tis the Season” mugs.  These mugs are “jumbo size” and hold 4 cups of liquid, each! Since they are so large, I only filled each mug, half full, topped with grated cheese and buttered bread crumbs

Wherever you are while reading this, I hope … you are nice and warm … have lots of sweet birdies twittering around your bird feeders … a pot of soup is simmering on your stove, beautiful Christmas carols are playing in the background!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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A Woodland Christmas Tablescape

by Trenda

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“Christmas in the Woods” ~  by Frances Frost

Tonight when the hoar frost falls on the wood,

And the rabbit cowers, and the squirrel is cold,

And the horned owl huddles against a star,

And the drifts are deep, and the year is old,

All shy creatures will think of Him.

The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox,

The doe with the startled fawn,

Will dream of gentleness and a Child:


The buck with budding horns will turn

His starry eyes to a silver hill tonight,

The chipmunk will awake and stir

And leave his burrow for the chill, dark midnight,

And all timid things will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless

That Child who loves the trembling hearts,

The shy hearts of the wilderness.

Thinking of this sweet poem, I created a tablescape that is a little forest haven where woodland creatures … The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox (:  can gather among snow sprinkled bird nests, glimmering candlelight, and fir trees.

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In keeping with the woodland theme, deep green “forest” plates, bought from Pier 1 years ago have embossed edges of leaves and are resting on a “snowy bank” of Battenbug lace place mats … a surprise gift Richard bought for me from a little boutique, aptly named “Waldenwood.”plates2.png

I love the juxtaposition of this rustic twig basket lined with the white luxurious Battenburg lace and filled with silver cutlery … an enchanting and charming caddy for a woodland picnic!

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Christmas fantasies are easily imagined while dining among this forest scene; a woodland “critter” perches at each place setting, lace napkins are tied with red and green plaid ribbon and are adorned with glass pinecone ornaments (a favor your guests can take home in remembrance of their picnic amidst the woods!) and individual salt cellars are placed at each setting for a “light dusting” of seasoning.

critters.png Look at these darling, tiny, sterling silver, salt cellar spoons!  I love using these “fairy spoons” and it feels so elegant adding salt in this old-fashioned and queenly way!

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Each crystal salt cellar is as unique as the pattern of the spoons; I can never decide which is my favorite!  The larger cellar is used for pepper and is placed on the table where several people can share it.

Well, my woodland table is ready and set but before decorating any more I am going to “O bed!  O bed!  Delicious bed … that heaven on earth to the weary head.”    ~  Thomas Hood 

And as I nestle down in my feathered nest, I’ll close my eyes and I … “will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless … That Child who loves the trembling hearts.”

Have a blessed week while you are busy preparing for … the birthday of the King!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments, below.

Come join me on a Christmas Blog Hop “Celebrate #55” with hostess’ Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate and Decorate and Sandra from Sweet Sensations for more Christmas tablescapes.

 

Our Week of Thanks-giving

by Trenda

After all the shopping, decorating, cleaning, and cooking … I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you hoped it would be!

For us … it was a wonderful, blessed week of our family “gathering together” again.  Days of mishaps and bruises … laughter and tears … “simmer’s” and smiles … indulgences and exceptions … understanding and camaraderie – all experienced with the blessed assurance that the emotions and remembrances shared were sheltered under the wonderful umbrella of Love … the halcyon days of our family!

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Beautiful autumn days …

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Park days & pizza …

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crafts with Grandma …

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A day at the zoo!

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 Feasting and football …

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golf cart rides … grandkid-time … and late night snuggles!

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and during it all … I was Thanks-giving! (: 

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Next … (:  I know you’re going to love this recipe I’ve included below!  It is one of my family’s favorite side dishes … Apple-Cranberry Salad and it is delicious, beautifully showy, and it is so easy to make!  I found this recipe years ago in the Gooseberry Patch Cookbook “Taste of Autumn” which was submitted by Carla Hyde from Fletcher, North Carolina.

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 I’m always collecting vintage dishes and planters and I love using them in unexpected ways in my home and on the table. This ruby colored salad is always the “crown jewel” setting on the table, but I think it looks especially beautiful in this petite Carnival Glass Punch Bowl that I was thrilled to find in an antique store, complete with 5 darling punch cups!

Apple-Cranberry Salad

  • 6-oz. pkg. of red colored gelatin (I use cherry)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 16-oz. can whole cranberry sauce 
  • 16-oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 red apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans and add more to taste!)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (I omit these)

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Add cranberry sauce and stir until berries are separated.  Add remaining ingredients; chill until set.  Makes 12 servings.

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What a blessing it was to be “gathered together” once again …. “to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known;  The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;  Sing praises to His Name, He forgets not His own.”  ~  Adrianus Valerius, 1597

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I am delighted that you read my blog, today.  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you have, below.

 

 

“We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing …”

scriptureby Trenda

As I woke and began preparing for the blessing of sharing “Thanksgiving” with our family, I kept recalling different events of our past year. My heart and soul couldn’t help but soar with thanksgiving as I began recalling all the Lord has blessed us with … helped us with … brought us through, and for His strength and blessed peace throughout the good and sad times of  our year.  This wonderful verse I read this morning “sums up” my feelings well.

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.  The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.  Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.  For you, my Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling …”  Psalms 116:5

Grateful for each of you; I hope you had a blessed …”Thanks-giving.” 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

Part 2 – A “Welcome Home” for Thanksgiving 

by Trenda

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Anticipating and looking forward to our family coming home next week, I love decorating and creating a “welcome home” for each dear person that will be here for Thanksgiving. Last week our “welcome home” to Thanksgiving began with decorating the front door.  Today, we’re going to take a peek behind the front door.

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As you walk in our front door the first thing you see is our antique buffet.  It’s a beautiful piece of furniture; I was giddy when I found it hidden away in a dark corner in an antique store in Tyler. (:  The interior cabinets and drawers are as beautiful as the outside and sometimes I imagine the buffet’s “past life” … and different hands than mine putting away carefully stitched napkins and tablecloths, or special Christmas dishes, into it’s confines.

Come on in!  I’m so glad you’re here! (:  On Thanksgiving, all desserts and pies are displayed out on the buffet; it’s a tantalizing spread for everyone who enters!

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The buffet is filled with autumn’s bounty and has a woodland feel with birch pillar candles, squirrels posing on oak leaves or peering into logs, little nests filled with acorns, and perching birds near their feeders!  A beautiful Fitz and Floyd harvest platter and charming squirrel dish.

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The Friendly Village dishes by Johnson Brothers are ready on chargers for the Thanksgiving tablescape and another stack of dessert plates are stacked on a plate server ready to be loaded with everything delicious!

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Woodland friends … 

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A favorite “souvenir” from a vacation spent in Italy … an inlaid wooden tea cart is stacked and ready to stand-in as a portable side table.  The tea cart is filled with necessary items for the feast … plus a few additional items for a little “glitz and glow!”(:

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Below … more Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes, a turkey platter, a stack of antique silver “nut” trays, a crystal biscuit barrel and a silver coffee service.

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Our fireplace is questionably (since it has to compete with the view outside!) the focal point of our living room … and is all “decked out” for Thanksgiving. 

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 Harvest has “spilled out” onto the mantle with pumpkins, clusters of grapes, bittersweet, and walnuts all accenting an autumn swag.

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clock3Our “Beau” Pilgrim (I told you we like to name things around here!) made by Fitz and Floyd resides over the Mantle Harvest and has his own thanksgiving offerings … some maize and a pumpkin, in his hands.

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A Thanksgiving wreath (DIY instructions in a subsequent post!) trimmed with a bow and ribbon that says … Count Your Blessings, Fall Harvest, Thanksgiving Tradition, and Give Thanks.

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Before I have the fun of setting our table for Thanksgiving, I keep a simple setting on the table with all the essentials needed for an cozy autumn meal enjoyed with any friends and family that arrive before “the day.”  A part of the tablescape and ready to disperse are  … a stack of Villeroy & Boch (design Naif) dinnerware, napkins encircled with mini grapevine wreaths (click here for instructions for DIY Autumn napkin rings) silverware in a ginger jar, etched glasses, and a creamer and sugar bowl for after-dinner coffee. 

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Gorgeous view beyond the window … twilight on the lake.

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An autumn ginger jar holds silverware …

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I love these etched glasses from Germany and they are particularly enchanting when filled with ambrosia or holding a miniature compote  …

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Little pumpkin showcased under a cloche …

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Looking around, I love how our “Cottage Green” looks festive and says “welcome home” to all for Thanksgiving.  Now, I have to get to the shopping, cleaning, and cooking done!!!  But, like the ribbon on the wreath says … during this “Thanksgiving Tradition” and the blessing of our “Fall Harvest”  …Count Your Blessings” and “Give Thanks.”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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 Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.