Ya know what Sugar Pies, I just have to say that Winter is NOT one of my favorite seasons. Being a Californy girl I’m used to warm sunshine most of the year round. Now that I call the Ozarks home, I’ve had to make some adjustments…mainly in the way that I view things. In the past few years I’ve become more aware of the importance of living with a positive attitude intentionally. I’ve made the choice to be thankful and to look for God’s blessings throughout each day. Not only do the medical experts say that this is a healthier way to live, it’s a happier way too. I also want my kids to take this happier and positive path in life. If we get complain-y and whine-y about the little things that bother us, our kids will too. What a wonderful blessing and gift to give our kids when we teach and model thanks-living. Oh yes, every once in a while I do slip up and lament about something (”Oh for the love of Pete! Another blizzard? It’s sooooooooo cold!!!! I don’t like it so cold! When is it gonna be warm again?”) Whine, whine, whine like a little hungry piggy one hour before suppertime! I’ll catch myself and try to turn it into a teachable moment. I’ll say something like “Oopsie-daisy! What I should say is, I’m thankful that we have warm coats to wear, and a toasty home to hunker down into when the freezing wind blows, and hot soup to warm our tummies… and just look at those snowflakes coming down, they’re soooooo beautiful!”. Our thoughts and words feed our attitude. If we want goodness in our life, then we have to look for the goodness, think on goodness and speak words of goodness…for goodness sake! LOL!
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Phillipians 4:8
Even in winter we can keep on the “Sunny Side of Life”!
So with all of that “goodness” in mind, come and take a peek at the beauty and downhome fun of wintertime in the Ozark hills of Branson, Missouri…
My vintage Dinner Bell at The Farmhouse
The Snow is Dancing -
Whirling, the snowflakes are dancing,
as through the air they go.
Flying and circling and frolicking comes the snow.
~old school song book ~ 1950
Sing a song of snow-flakes Flying in the air:
Sing a song of sleigh bells Tinkling everywhere
Sing of feathery snow banks earth in dazzling white:
Sing of gleaming ice fields Sparkling in the light.
~ 1955 School Songbook ~
What’s a gal to do with all that snow? Build a pretty little snow-gal, that’s what! May I introduce you to Mrs. Marshmallow? (Summer thought of that sweet-treat name) She’s got rosy cheeks, a sassy hairdo and a welcoming “Howdy-do” smile!
Building her with Summer was, well…SnOw FuN! (I had to say it! ;)
I decided to let Mrs. Marshmallow borrow my Strawberry and Chocolate striped scarf. She looks sweet enough to eat!
Summer in Winter!
Sweet snow kisses!
“My sister and I would just stare up at the sky, trying to see where the snowflakes were born. We could do it for hours. Well, minutes. “I just caught one!” I’d shout to my sister, who was also trying to eat snowflakes out of the air.” ~ A quote on a Starbucks bag
The sleds were beggin’ for a ride on the sugary snow!
Summer Rose and her friend Sadie Rose were happy to oblige!
Sledding and snowball fights…
and a chance to make Snow Ice Cream!
This is my mother-in-law Ruth’s recipe, it’s got to be over 40 years old! For several years she raised her 4 kids up in the mountains of Idyllwild, California. As an amazing cook and homemaker she always had candles glowing, a yummy supper cooking on the old fashioned cast-iron-style electric stove and a blazing fire to warm up to when friends and family came in from the cold. When my hubby and I were dating his mama would invite me to stay at the big old cabin for the weekend. If it snowed we could always count on a fresh batch of snow ice cream to enjoy by the crackling fire.
Gather eight cups of fresh snow, pour 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk…
and 1 teaspoon of vanilla,
and serve! You can add sprinkles, chocolate chips or whatever you like but for me…it’s delicious just plain!
What else is a gal to do with all that snow? If you’ve got little ones, fill a metal bowl with fresh snow and put it in the kitchen sink. Gather a spoon, ice cream scoop, tiny tart pans or jar lids or anything you have on hand to play with. Pull up a chair and let them snow-play to their hearts content.
Let’s make Snow Pies!
Hide treasures in the snow! An old sparkly earring, bracelet, a few shells, and cute erasers make fun treasures to dig up and find. Dig little holes in the snow, drop them in and smooth over the surface and let your little one delight in finding “lost treasure!”
Make polka-dot confetti snow! Let your little one shake some colorful candy sprinkles in the snow to make their snow-play even more fun!
Let their imaginations ignite!
Ya know what else is fun to do when the hills are covered with powdered sugar?
Play with a new puppy in the snow!
This little buddy is my son Dusty’s new pup. His wife Kimmy named him Gus Gus after the chubby little mouse in Walt Disney’s Cinderella. (Dusty recently endured heartbreak with the passing of his beloved lab Jack. While nothing can replace dear and delightful Jack, there is always room in our hearts to love someone new.
Gus Gus is happy to find a good home and a family to love him! Oh Honey!
So there we have it Sugar Pies! Winter isn’t so bad after all! Sure, I’m looking forward to Spring and Summer, but in the mean time, I’m thanking the Good Lord for the blessings of winter!
Blessings like children giggling in the snow…
Blessings like a warm home…
and hot soup!
Happy Winter y’all!
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you real good!
P.S. Come visit me on Facebook!
A beautiful thing happened through the Sugar Pie Girl-Talk Forum not too long ago…A sweet Sugar Pie Sistah named Angela from the Retro Farm Wife became dear friends with another “Sistah” named Carissa from Stella’s Apron Strings. Carissa had a brother, Jeff. Through a series of providential events, Angela and Jeff met, fell in love and were married this past December, just before Christmas! Had it not been for these Sugar Pie sisters meeting via the Forum, Angela and Jeff never would have met! Wow! I love how the Lord used this little spot on the World Wide Web to bring two hearts together!
Read Angela’s story in her own words:
“My life had taken an unexpected turn before I moved back home to live with my parents in Illinois at the end of August 2007-thus the name of my blog, The Unexpected Return Home (now named the Retro Farm Wife). As unexpected as the circumstances were, I was happy and relieved to be back home and thankful that I had my parents’ home to return to.
On April 27, 2009 I joined the forums on Aunt Ruthie’s Sugar Pie Farmhouse after following her blog for some time. I wasn’t a regular poster, but I did keep up with the site and posted every once in a while. A fellow poster, who knew the reason behind my return home, contacted me one day to point out that a fellow Sugar Pie “Sistah” had posted about going through a similar trial. I felt compelled to encourage her. In my reply, I shared a little of what I had gone through. When I replied to the lady’s post, Carissa from Stella’s Apron Strings blog saw my reply and noticed that my circumstance was much like one she had experienced in her own life, many years ago. She contacted me on January 16. The next day, she invited me to view her blog. I invited her to view mine as well and we began communicating via blog comments.
“During this time, I was in my final semester of college at age 29. I had a full plate and didn’t imagine that I’d keep up with her blog for too long because I was so busy. We really connected though. I loved her photography and the layout of her blog and the way she decorated her home. It was all totally my style. The love that she had for the Lord and her family flowed right out of my computer screen each time I visited her blog. It was refreshing to see a lady treasure her husband, children, and extended family so much. The more we communicated, the more I realized just how much we shared in common. I’d never had so much in common with anybody!
It wasn’t long after that, when her mother began leaving comments on my blog and emailing me as well. I was having a hard time dealing with my divorce, but the emails that her mother sent me were filled with encouragement. I longed to be a wife and mother more than anything else. The fact that Carissa had been down the same road as me and yet now had a loving husband and two wonderful children gave me hope. Carissa was living my dream.”
Angela soon found out that Carissa had a brother. A “very handsome” one at that! She saw of picture of ”Uncle Jeffrey” holding his niece on Carissa’s blog and began to inquire about him and even felt led to pray for him. He became a topic of conversation when Angela, Carrissa and their mothers planned to drive half way to meet each other in person (they lived three hours away)…
“Carissa and I, along with our mothers, were planning on meeting each other at Starved Rock during my spring break. We’d never met any fellow bloggers in person before, but were very excited because we all had so much in common. I posted on my blog about our upcoming trip and shared this quote:
The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.
Was that appropriate or what? Of course I obviously had NO idea at the time! About two weeks before our meeting, I felt prompted to begin praying for this “Uncle Jeffrey.” I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that it wouldn’t hurt, so I mentioned him every time I prayed-that the Lord would ease his pain and perhaps give him, if it was His will, another opportunity to meet someone and have the family that he always longed for as well.”
Angela was delightfully surprised when she was given a bouquet of flowers sent to her from Carissa’s brother Jeff the day of their girls get-together…a sweet gesture of his interest in her. I’m sure joy-bells began ringing in her heart when she learned Jeff was thinking and inquiring about her! A thank you note via email to Jeff was the beginning of their love story:
“That began a daily flow of emails, which led to phone calls and a visit right off… April 2 to be exact. Our visits have been filled with LOTS of laughter; plenty of time spent with each other’s families; long hikes; fishing trips; endless games of Othello, Rummikub, Books and Runs; and him trying to teach me Pinochle (which I’m still not sure I’ll ever grasp!) I’ve grown to admire him, respect him, trust him, and love him dearly through this all. He exceeds anything I could have dreamed up myself. I’m still in shock that the Lord has brought this about because I fell oh-so-blessed!”
She said YES!
“I said “Yes” on Friday, October 1, 2010 to the man who is SO MUCH MORE than the man of my dreams. I’ve never known his equal.
The Lord has been exceedingly wonderful toward me in all aspects of my life, but the fact that He has allowed me to meet such a man is too wonderful for me to grasp! I feel so honored. As if that weren’t enough, God has blessed me with THE BEST soon-to-be in-laws, one of which will be my new sister, the owner of Stella’s Apron Strings-a blog which many of you read and enjoy!!!”
Angela wrote about this photo: “Me, SO HAPPY, on my way home from Indiana after the engagement.
Thank you, Aunt Ruthie!”
From Jeff’s mom:
“A love story indeed… God’s love and grace dripping down over the two of you. Orchestrated beautifully. Far beyond our hopes and dreams… middle of the night prayers, answered… specific words cried out over many years, now glisten in the abundance of your love, Jeff’s love… God’s love. Tears turned to joy…. ashes to beauty. Mothers’ hearts sighing, lifting hands to heaven and thanking Jesus daily. He didn’t have to …but He did…He did wonderfully, awesomely, perfectly, bring the two of you together. What a love story. It’s called AMAZING GRACE.♥
When Carissa called and told me to check out your blog, I knew…she knew. :) We had prayed specifically and here you were. :) What fun we had watching it come together… and then at Starved Rock, sitting next to you, patting your hand… speaking of Jeff…(praying as I was and feeling the Holy Spirit’s prompting) there were tears in my eyes, in your eyes…we both knew (for you had been praying too). :) Now here we all are…
So happy for you, so happy for my son. Sometimes words cannot express such joy, it’s a matter of the heart. All of us are thrilled for you both. HOPE has a name, JESUS!
A love story with many pages to fill… and we’re all waiting with much anticipation as the next page is about to be written…
I remember Jeff saying to me, “Mom, I’m not going to go out and look for someone…God will bring that special woman to me if He so chooses to do so”, and HE DID!!♥
Psalm 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. “
The Wedding Day…
“Dear Aunt Ruthie,
I’m sending along some photos from our wedding day at Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast in Valparaiso, Indiana. The whole time was magical. Our immediate families and some very close friends joined us in staying the night at the b and b before the wedding day. We all came down in our pajamas and ate breakfast the morning of the wedding. Then, everybody went back to their rooms to finish getting ready and the wedding guests began arriving.”
“The ceremony started about 12:30. Just moments later, we were wed! ”
“We took TONS of photos and then sat down to eat a multiple course meal that the chef had prepared for us. People were so stuffed! Then we served wedding cake. We surprised the guests by having a mini individual cake made for each couple. We dined in a sunroom with a lot of huge windows and bird feeders just outside of the windows. It was definitely a bird watcher’s delight as we saw many different colorful breeds eating and flying among the trees.”
“People have not stopped talking about the day! We love re-living it! Ultimately, I just wanted YOU to know how thankful I am that the Lord used you to bring us together. I always wished to marry such a good Christian man and have a wonderful relationship where God is the center and the Lord has given me just that. Jeff (my husband) is a very strong man but a very gentle man at the same time. He loves the Lord and he loves me. He always tries to put me first and shows concern for me no matter what the situation. I feel so loved, secure, and cared for. Every day is such a joy!
Happy New Year!!!
~Mrs. Angela W.
PS. “Welcome to all who are visiting from the forums at Sugar Pie Farmhouse! Aunt Ruthie…THANK YOU again and again! Pie is sweet, but love is sweeter!”
How amazing and romantic is this story!! It’s even sweeter to know that both families love the Lord and are so encouraging and supportive in this new family! Now that’s a Beautiful Thing!
I’m sure all of the Sugar Pie Sistas would join me in congratulating you Angela and Jeff, and pray a special blessing upon your marriage. May each day glow with sweet goodness as you walk in the light and love of the Lord! God bless you!
And speaking of Beautiful things…Do y’all know about this Magazine? Life Beautiful is jam-packed with yummy goodness for the homemaker! From gorgeous decorating ideas and recipes to simple things you can do with your family to create happy memories and celebrating the joys and beauty of each season. There are uplifting articles by Max Lucado, James Dobson, Janet Parshall, Dr. Gary Smalley, Joyce Meyer and others.
It’s published 4 times a year.Take a peek at this season’s issue…
Back issues are available here.
Planting Paperwhites Bulbs indoors is another Beautiful Thing! We still have a long stretch of winter ahead of us, and I’m itchin’ for a little-bit-o-spring! Most people plant these weeks before Christmas so they have some fresh greens and fragrant flowers to bring some cheer into their home after taking down all of their sparkly holiday trimmings. Why didn’t I think of that?? I’m gonna to do that next year by golly!
The great thing about planting Narcissus bulbs is they just need water! You can plant them in any container filled with little rocks, sand, or potting mix and then just add water. In about 4 to 6 weeks you will have beautiful, fragrant paper-white flowers!
Sugar Pies Valentines day is a Beautiful thing! It’s a wonderful time to show your loved ones how much they mean to you! Don’t wait until the day before February 14, I’ve been there, done that, and it’s too stressful! Do yourself a favor and begin now to think of some special things you can do to bless the hearts of those you love.
How about making some adorable heart-shaped polka-dot cookies!
I shared on Facebook last week about my Heart Shaped Waffle Maker. After making some tummy-warming Chili, I whipped up a batch of Jiffy Cornbread mix. The fun part was, instead of using a pan or muffin tin for the cornbread, I poured the batter in my heart-shaped waffle iron. They turned out so cute and were easy to hold onto as we sat around the fire and gobbled them up along with the hot Chili! A perfect way to spend a wintry night by the way! I’ve also made Blueberry Muffin waffles this way too. They take just minutes to make! It’s the little things we do that make life fun! This waffle maker beeps when it’s ready to pour the batter and beeps again when the waffle is done. How easy is that? I like easy!
Another Beautiful Thing that I LOVE is this book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey!
But the BEST BEAUTIFUL THING that’s happened to our family is…
Kimmy and Dusty are expecting their first baby!!! This will be my second grandbaby! Woo hooo!! As most of you know my son Dusty is the genius designer of my Web Site and my adorable daughter-in-law is amazing in her own right. I love the drawing that Dusty did on Kimmy’s t-shirt! This was their Baby announcement! How cute is that!
They are going to be fabulous parents and this sweet baby, who is going to be born in July, is going to be well loved!!
It’s good to take a look around at all of the Beautiful Things that God has blessed us with. A thankful heart is a happy heart.
Be thankful and happy!
May the good Lord bless you and keep you real good!
PS. Sugar Pie Farmhouse is on Facebook! Come join us!!