Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Making a Pine Cone Wreath

Originally uploaded by MoToMo
On this last day of 2008, I am planning a craft project, to make a pine cone wreath for next Christmas.

If you think you might like to do this, hurry, or saunter, over to a Goodwill Store and buy a used wreath. Right now at my local store Christmas items are 60 percent off.
I found a plain green wreath at Goodwill for a total of $1.20; can you tell I love a bargain?

The other main ingredient is pine cones and I have gathered them for free; visiting city parks and schools where pine cones are laying on the grass or dirt, and even in parking lots.
I found two types of pine cones from different pine trees so I have assorted sizes. Right now the pine cones are drying in a cool dry room, and when inspiration strikes, I will make the wreath and tell you how I did it.

Oh, and Happy 2009 to One and All.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Volunteer Sunflower and Me on Christmas Day

Hi Friends,
I love this sunflower so much that I asked my dh to take this photo on Christmas Day.

We have been watching this sturdy plant which was not planted by us, and is a true volunteer. It pushed up through the soil on about November 1, maybe thanks to some dear bird gardener. No one in their right mind would plant a sunflower seed here in November. It even survived some very cold frosty nights, when I had to scrape frost from my car's windows in the morning.

What a gallant flower friend, and for me, a symbol of God's caring and hope for the future.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Amaryllis for Christmas Color

My husband took photos of our Amaryllis in bloom, which I post here.
What a rich crimson color to bring to our home, and with this flower, on our kitchen table, the room positively glows.

Visitors to our house stop in their tracks when seeing this beauty, and have been known to say "Wow, what is that?"

Do you have your own secrets about bringing color to your home during the holidays? Please share here, we can all learn from each other.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Living Rich For Less book giveaway

So you want to own the home you love, make memories on wonderful vacations with family or friends, finance college educations, and help others too?

You can—starting here and now. This is a great book to have at the start of 2009 as you take a look at your budget and aim to make wise financial decisions.

With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.

Ellie knows what it’s like to be financially-strapped or struggling, wanting to be the Joneses but feeling as poor in spirit as in pocketbook. She went, within two and a half years, from being a new wife and mom with $40,000 in consumer debt and seven children (and college educations) to support, to being completely debt-free and within fifteen years able to pay cash for eleven different cars, give away three of those cars, buy two five-bedroom houses (moving from one to the other) and nicely furnish each, take wonderful vacations, dress her family in fine fashion; and support more than thirty non-profit organizations in more than a dozen different countries, giving away more than $100,000.

Isn’t that the kind of transformation to a rich life that you want?

Living Rich for Less helps anyone get there in our taxed-out, maxed-out times. Because financial security doesn’t mean just genuine prosperity, but being able to live luxuriously, give generously, and care for yourself as well as the others around you.

The author has generously given me a book to give away to one person who leaves a comment here this week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Moon Shines Down, Delightful Bedtime Story Book

“The Moon Shines Down” is a book of sweet verses and bold colors, with words by Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952) and illustrations by Linda Bleck. Margaret Wise Brown wrote one of my top five favorite children’s books “The Runaway Bunny” and the award winning “Good Night Moon.”

Now children have a new treasure written by her, with the manuscript discovered tucked away in a cedar trunk in a Vermont barn, decades after her death.

The brightly colored illustrations feature a huggable grey panda on each page and a huge golden moon illuminating sleeping children all around the world, including in Zimbabwe, Australia and at Christmas in the United States.

This is a fun book with an international theme, and is almost twelve inches tall so the boldly colored pictures that fill entire pages are large. The last lines are “God bless the moon and God bless me”, which makes this an ideal bedtime story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Herring and Cream a Holiday Snack

A Pelkin and now Hangen tradition is eating Herring and Cream with crackers on New Year’s eve, or anytime during the holidays. My mom, Neddie, began this tradition in our house in Wisconsin, in the 1950s and we continue it here in California.
This snack requires:
One pint Herring (wine style), in a jar, from your market’s deli case.
Crackers. We like saltines and rye krisp crackers.
¾ cup whipping cream
1 medium cucumber
2 small bunches green onions
2 tablespoons, or less, sugar
1 tablespoon dill (fresh or dried dill can be used)
1 tablespoon wine vinegar

Drain and cut herring into bite size pieces, throw out all spices
Whip cream, then add vinegar and sugar
Stir in sliced cucumber, sliced green onions, and dill
Pour over herring and place in refrigerator
Enjoy it on crackers. We love this because it is so tasty, not commonly found, and it is a snack that is a welcome change from all those desserts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Angel Book, Prizes Too

This is my week to host the blog tour for Then Along Came An Angel, and I am happy to review the book for you and let you know about the wonderful prizes the editor is offering. To enter just leave a comment here.

Here is my review for this book full of true angel encounters.

This is a compelling collection of stories written by people who have encountered an angel. I noticed as I read that I kept thinking “this is my favorite story” and then a few pages later “no, wait, this is my most-liked.”

With so many lovely stories to select from, several favorites did emerge, beginning with “An army outside my window”, by Lea Peters, which starts “Gunshots rang just outside the front wall of our home. I plucked my 10-year-old son off the bicycle.” I got goosebumps reading about the powerful protective angels surrounding a missionary’s house during civil war in Burundi in central Africa.

Another story “The freeway, His way” is told by a senior citizen who arrives late to church, and takes the only seat she can reach with her walker. The writer, Marilyn R. Prasow, is very worried about her finances and specifically how she will pay for gas and for a prescription she needs. Her neighbor in the pew is a young man she has not seen before, and he turned to her and said “God has put this need in my heart to help you.”

The young man insisted on writing a check and giving it to her. When she finally dared to look at the check, she thought it would be for a helpful amount like ten dollars, but her spirit leapt with joy, when she saw how much larger the amount was. This reminds me that God is like that, often giving us so much more than we can even dream.

As you read this book about angels among us, you will surely find your own favorite stories that will touch your soul.

Here is a link for more info and to order a copy:

Leave a comment here, or on one of the other blogs on the tour, for a chance to win a large array of goodies; one commenter will be selected to win 2 angel books, a tote bag, lotions and more, valued at $118.00. The link below also gives details on the prizes.

The other blogs on the tour are listed at