Faith Family Friends

Celebrating the Joy of Living & Home Making ~

Baking, Cooking, Decorating, Tea Time, and taking Inspiration from those I love and the world around me...

A sharing of my heart and my home from a Christian perspective

...with a wee bit of whimsy added.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Christmas in July

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give. ~ George MacDonald

Welcome, dear friends! I am delighted to have you join me today! 

It is the month of July, and some of us are celebrating Christmas in July. So, I decided to do a post using some of my Christmas china and baking from posts I shared over the years.

When it is Christmas in July, you think about Christmas trees and ways of bringing joy to others; just like the season which is less than six months away. Is anyone watching the Hallmark Christmas movies?

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~ Harlan Miller

Today, I am sharing my little tree which I created for the top of the cabinet in the dining room. Above it, is a wreath I made to match.

Now, one must have some food to nibble on. How about some tea sandwiches and sweets? 
There are egg salad and chicken salad sandwiches on the tiered plate stand.

Below, I have some ribbon sandwiches using both white and whole wheat bread. These are like three sandwiches in one; one of egg salad, another of devilled ham, and lastly, cream cheese. These are cut into little triangles so they are perfect for tea time and are especially tasty!

Now how about some sweets? 

I have light and dark fruitcake which I make every year. One was my maternal grandmother's recipe while the other was my paternal grandmother's recipe. The top plate holds mincemeat tarts and sugar plums.

My Christmas teapot holds a fragrant and spicy rooibos tea. An assortment of cookies are waiting on the plate.
The teapot was a Christmas gift from my son and his family one year. It is made by Ganz.
The teacups are Royal Albert's Flower of the Month series, December, Christmas Rose.  

The teacup below is Royal Stafford, adorned with some pretty holly.
I used to do a lot of crafting at one time. This cute stocking jar was once a floral container filled with a festive arrangement of flowers for my mother. When the flowers were finished, I brought the jar home and placed a miniature tree in it and a cute teddy bear on it. 

I like repurposing things especially when they have sentimental value. 

Many begin their Christmas lists this time of year and some also begin crafting their projects for the upcoming season. How about you? Do you get started early?

I always think of my father this time of year because his birthday was in July and he adored Christmas. He passed his love for Christmas and all its charm on to me.

Celebrate love. It is the breath of your existence and the best of all reasons for living. ~ Author unknown  

I think it's nice to take a break in the summertime when we can remember how beautiful Christmas is! For most, it is not only the happiest time of year but it is also a time when others go out of their way a little more to make someone else feel special. It is showing good will toward men. Would that it could last all year long!

Happiness is often the only thing you can give without having it, and it is by giving it that you acquire it. ~ Voltaire

Thank you for visiting today and enjoy this new week. My hubby will be on vacation beginning next week so I may be away for a little bit but I will be back soon. Do take care and God bless you all!

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Monday, 6 July 2020

Daisies and Rhubarb for Tea Time

Then followed that beautiful season...Summer... Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape 
Lay as if new created in all freshness of childhood. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello dear friends, I hope you all enjoyed the holiday. 

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. ~ Luther Burbank

Since I last posted, we Canadians have celebrated Canada Day and my American family and friends have celebrated the 4th of July. 

On Canada Day, we didn't do anything exciting. All of the events were cancelled although we haven't taken anything in anyway since our kids were teenagers. There were no fireworks either so I imagine the children here were all disappointed. 

We busied ourselves cleaning up the house most of the morning. Exciting! But you know what? I'm glad we have a house to clean! 
Hubby mowed the lawn and chased squirrels and chipmunks out of the feeder while I made potato salad for supper.

Our son and his boys were invited out for the evening so Hubby and I ate our supper by ourselves. After a busy day, we were happy to spend a quiet evening, just the two of us. 

Did I mention that Hubby had chased chipmunks out of the bird feeder umpteen times that day? We always thought they were adorable until they wouldn't stay out of the feeder. Hubby was pretty frustrated by the end of the day! 
He had gotten a new bird feeder which was supposed to be "squirrel resistant." I told him it wouldn't keep the squirrels and chipmunks out. I hate always being right! *winks*

I made some muffins on Friday because it was a cooler day. I have two favourite muffin recipes; rhubarb oatmeal and coffee cake muffins. I have shared the coffee cake muffin recipe before but this one I never have. I found this in the newspaper years ago.
If you look closely, you can see the little flecks of red from the rhubarb in them. I will share the recipe at the end of this post.

These rhubarb oatmeal muffins are golden and absolutely delicious! They are the best rhubarb muffins I have ever eaten! Chunks of rhubarb and a bit of zing from the orange zest make these a real treat with your cup of tea, coffee, or iced tea.
Daisy bouquet, so fresh and pretty for summer.

I am using my vintage Royal Albert Shaftesbury cup and saucer from the Festival Collection today. It is in the Gainsborough shape and is adorned with pink and blue forget-me-nots inside and out. An adorable set in yellow made in the '70s and 80's. 

The pictures were taken in front of the patio doors and they were very dark, so I had to lighten them up quite a bit, therefore a bit of distortion in the true colour. 

I love this Gracie China birdie teapot!

Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins
This recipe says it makes a dozen muffins but I always get fifteen out of it.

1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped rhubarb

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and oil. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, orange zest, soda, and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in egg mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the rhubarb. Immediately spoon muffin batter into greased muffin pan/pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about thirty minutes or until browned on top and firm to the touch. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack. Store loosely covered with tin foil. Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting today and thank you for being such wonderful blogger friends. I appreciate every one of you. God bless you this coming week and remember to be thankful for all your blessings!

Gratitude ~ the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. ~ unknown

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Thursday, 25 June 2020

A Few of My Favourite Things

I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is officially summertime and I love it! Our lawn has gone from sporting dandelions to being peppered with buttercups, clover, and devil's paintbrush. Although I don't like the name of that last wee flower, I have fond memories of them carpeting my grandmother's front yard in the summertime. There was a mix of the yellow and orange at her place. I don't see any orange here.
The flowers don't bother me at all. Hubby has to keep the lawn cut because of where we live but a week's worth of posies make the bees happy, I'm sure.

After posting my "heart to heart" story last week, I received so many lovely comments of well wishes and encouragement. I admit, a tear or two fell. My hubby was also touched by your kindness. 
Someone said that oftentimes our blog friends know us better than our "real" friends. Here, when one shares from their heart, a group of blogging friends will wrap you in their virtual embrace and you know you are cared for. It is a beautiful thing here in Blogland; like a village! The prayer support here spans a great deal of the country, both yours and mine, and sometimes, the world. Thank you, all of you; you are loved!

I have decided to do something a little different this week. Today, I am sharing some of my favourite things with a photo if I have one. I would love to hear if any of mine match up with yours. 

My favourite apparel- That has changed over the years. Before my hubby and I were married, I usually wore a dress. You know those cute little mini dresses with high boots? I used to love to dress up and but now I'm much more comfortable in jeans, a top, and sandals. And a hat, can't forget the hat! Of course when the cold weather comes, I trade in the sandals for boots or sneakers. I'm not tall and leggy like the model below and the sandals could be a little lower in the heel, but this outfit is so me!

Favourite jewelry- Besides my wedding rings, that would be earrings. I think earrings dress up any outfit. And I don't mean those long dangly ones!

My favourite colour - I love the full colour spectrum. I cannot wear black, grey, or white next to my face because of my colouring but I like it on those who can wear it. I also love red which I have in my kitchen-dining area. Red toile, that is. My grandson claims my favourite colour is white because I have so much white furniture. He's a cutie! But robin egg blue, pink, and green really are my favourite colours. They make me happiest. Below, a wall in my living room. The eagle is a piece I did years ago. Isaiah 40:31

Favourite food- I love food and I savour it. Sometimes I eat too much of it, especially bread.  A chicken dinner with all the trimmings; dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, the works, would have to be at the top although I do enjoy roast beef with Yorkshire pudding too. I haven't made that in a while because we don't eat a lot of red meat. 
I also love homemade pizza and lasagna.

Favourite 'strange' food- dulse {dried seaweed} and apparently, the best dulse comes from Atlantic Canada where I live.
Dulse contains significant levels of calcium and potassium which help your bones strengthen and become more resilient. Benefits of dulse also include helping to lower your blood pressure, improve your eye sight and improve the health of your thyroid gland.

Favourite dessert- Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce. I think I could eat pumpkin pie any time. My favourite cake is without a doubt a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Favourite beverage- water with a slice of lemon

Favourite scent- the scent of summer wafting through open windows. I wish I could bottle it! 

Favourite place to go- the beach when I am able. You knew that, didn't you?
Once your feet have touched the warm sun drenched sand of the seashore you will never be the same. ~ Patsy Gant

Favourite flower/bouquet- There are so many flowers to love. However, roses or a bouquet of carnations/roses are my favourite. My fav colour of rose is pale blush pink or white. I like daffodils, tulips, lilacs, and lupins too.

These are my own roses, Theresa Bugnet.

I don't really have a bucket list because I don't travel any longer but if I could...
Favourite place to go visit- Charleston, South Carolina and England.
Why Charleston? After reading the tea shop mysteries by Laura Childs, I would love to experience the charm and history of this place. England of course is where some of my ancestors hailed from. My youngest son has been to Europe many times and like him, I would really appreciate seeing the architecture. He plans to visit England one day. I wish I could go with him. We would have a marvellous time!

My favourite teapot- Royal Albert Old Country Roses because it was a birthday present from my family and it was my father's favourite pattern.

Favourite china pattern- Any guesses? Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz. Loved it since I was a little girl.

Favourite songbird- Goldfinch

Favourite movie- Historical dramas, romantic comedies, and mysteries.

Favourite actor- Denzel Washington

Favourite music- worship music, hymns, old love songs by the Bee Gees, and classical. When I was music director at our church, I always mixed the music up. I chose the new songs and incorporated the hymns too. That way, you keep everyone happy. And as beautiful as some of the newer music is, there is something special and nostalgic about the old hymns we remember from childhood.

Michael W. Smith whom my son has seen every time he does a concert in Vancouver, B.C., has been a favourite for years.
I also like Robin Mark from Ireland who comes to the Island every year and puts on a concert and a worship seminar. He loves it here because he says it reminds him of Ireland. He won't be coming this year however because of the virus. Schotzy, you would love it! 
The Bee Gees; three brothers from England who composed and sang the most amazing love songs.

Favourite past time- Going to the beach when I am able. Listening to music or reading when I can't. Both music and reading transport me to a different place just as the beach does. It goes without saying that spending time with my family tops them all. Sadly, they were all coming home this summer and now they can't because of the restrictions due to covid 19. 

Favourite collection- Transferware, china, and silver tea spoons. I have collected many things over the years including rocks from around the world. A couple of blogging friends sent me rocks too. I will have to show you my rock collection one of these days.

Favourite holiday- Christmas

The Lena Liu ornament was a gift from my mother. 

Favourite season
- late Spring and Summer

This is a drive through our Victoria Park in Charlottetown. Love the trees! You can't see it but to the right is the water where the sailboats have their races.

That's it for today. Thank you for joining me and let me know if any of my favourites match your own. And don't forget to stop and smell the roses!
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass so fresh and sweet;
For song of bird and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear and see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi

Friday, 19 June 2020

A Heart to Heart with My Friends

Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~ Hans Christian Andersen

Hello dear ones! It is a beautiful day here on PEI and I am really enjoying this lovely weather we are having. It is lilac season.

All romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare... perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways. ~ LM Montgomery

I feel I must have a heart to heart with you. I want to confide in you something that not many of you know.

I have been blogging for many years, and I have made some wonderful friends over those years. I met the majority of you when I hosted my Tea Time Tuesday and HOME parties and we have remained friends ever since, even after I had to shut them down. Bless your hearts!

Some of you have gone out of your way to be especially sweet when I was going through my trials three years ago. Thank you! You will never know how much you ministered to me this side of heaven. I just want you to know that I appreciate all your prayers, kind words, and deeds.

But, none of you really know me because of course I don't share very much about my personal life. I don't think many of us do because we want our lives to remain private. There is nothing wrong with that. I wanted my blog to reflect who I am without burdening you with all my issues. We all have our own problems and blogging for the most part is supposed to be fun and it is a splendid way to meet other friends with like interests.

A few of you know that I am living with a chronic illness and life oftentimes can be difficult for me. My faith, my hubby and family, have all made it possible for me to find a little joy in every day.

Blogging in the beginning had become a way for me to express myself after my hubby and I left the Ministry. At our last pastorate, I was the music director and I used to write short stories for the bulletins. When we left, I really missed sharing so  I decided to create a blog and share on that, and here I have been for almost twelve years.

How much longer I will blog, I am not sure. Some days I feel like I have nothing left to share with you. I am not a super mom, an interior designer, a poet, or a teacher. I am just me; a lady who has found peace with God and the world in which I live.

I have learned to be quiet before God and to trust Him to take the reins of my life and guide my sometimes wobbly footsteps. It hasn't been an easy road but I can honestly say that from the very beginning, when I was first diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, I knew that He does not allow us to go through anything alone. He has promised to be with me all the way. 

At the time of my diagnosis, I had one teenager, a pre-teen, and my youngest was still a little boy. On those early days when I didn't think I could go on, all I had to do was gaze into those big blue eyes of my youngest son and it gave me the will to pick myself up and keep going. The enemy tried many times to sift me and turn my world upside down but I knew I had the victory in Jesus because the Bible tells me I do, regardless of my circumstances. If the Word of God says it, then I believe it!

There is still light and joy for me to be found in little every day moments, like pretty teacups. These are a few of my summery ones.  

I believe I could be a model child if I were invited out to tea every day. ~ Anne of Green Gables; LM Montgomery 

If one looks at me on a 'good day', I look as “normal” as the next person. I have what you call an invisible illness, for the most part. You will seldom see me outside of my home on those bad days. Invisible illnesses come in many forms as you know, and there are so many. I know there are those of you out there who suffer much more than I ever will. We do however have many of the same struggles. People look at us and think there is nothing wrong with us because we look “fine.” 
I no longer have to use a cane but my hubby has a strong arm that I can hold on to. And on those not so good days when I must be out, I am thankful for the handicapped sticker which allows me to walk out of the grocery store and get into the car without having to walk too far. I never go shopping by myself because I always have to have someone with me. I can no longer drive a car and haven't in years.

Since I was diagnosed in my mid-thirties, I have developed many more health issues that I am dealing with on a daily basis. It’s not always a fun life but it is my life and I try to make the best of it.

Although I cannot enjoy a lot of the things I used to, I can still enjoy a good book, a cup of tea or coffee, the company of a friend, birdsong outside my window, the lap of the waves on the seashore when I am able to get there; etc... I love watching the goldfinches at the feeders. I don't take life for granted, believe me.
My son sent me this picture of my favourite little feathered friend. Not certain where he got it, off the internet somewhere, but I wanted to share it with you. Isn't he precious? 

I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health! Laughter is good medicine and I am able to laugh pretty much every day. I have a clown of a husband who oftentimes makes it his mission in life to do just that; make me laugh! My children are the same way. They tease me unmercifully at times but it's always done in love. I am blessed, and I adore my family!

Appreciation can make a day - even change a life. ~ Margaret Cousins

I have a very, very small group of friends. About two years after my diagnosis, my very best friend died of breast cancer. I still miss her terribly but I have to live my life because for some reason, I'm still here. Most of the friends I used to have have moved on because, well, I can’t do the things I used to do and I tire very easily. The vibrant, energetic, and very busy woman I used to be no longer exists. In my head, I'm still that young woman but my body has a mind of its own. I understand why my former friends have moved on and I hold no grudge toward them. I honestly do understand! 

So, why am I telling you all this? I guess today, I just want to be real. I want you to know that I have limitations and I oftentimes feel like my creative juices are on vacation. There are days and sometimes weeks; especially lately, that I don't have the desire to blog. My world has become very small the last number of years. So, I have decided to just do a post when I do have something to share. 
Some of you couldn't care less about tea or china or baking or anything else I post about and that's okay. We can't be everything to everyone. There are specific blogs for those other things. 

My world can sometimes be a magical place however because of where I live. Most of you know I live on Prince Edward Island which is famous for Anne of Green Gables and over the years I have shared many posts about just that. Anne inspires me quite often and I am sure you have noticed that I use many of LM Montgomery’s quotes.

Beginning today, I am only going to blog when I have something I would like to share with you. The past several months have been extremely challenging for me, and I have been rather sad and quite weary on account of several factors. One being the loss of family members, and we have another situation coming up which grieves us as well. I have also been very upset over the death of George Floyd and others like him. My heart is grieving. 

I also haven’t been very good at practicing self-care and it is time I start doing that.

So, dear friends, thank you for visiting, thank you for indulging me, and thank you for caring. Most of all, I thank you for your prayers if you feel inclined to pray for me. The Lord bless you and your loved ones! I will be back soon as I am working on another post. Do take good care of yourselves!

There is Beauty to be found in every moment. ~ unknown

Sharing from my heart ~ Sandi