Hello dear ones and Merry Christmas! I hope y’all are doing well! Or maybe you are not doing so well. If not, take heart! I understand and I hope as you read my blog post you will feel the comfort and joy of the Lord since He is the reason for the season and has given us so much to be thankful for! He is our hope.

For me, this has been a very difficult few months. My sweet dad went home to be with the Lord late in October. He was to turn 97 on Thanksgiving Day. His Celebration of Life service was November 18th. My hubby, daughter Summer and I flew out to California to be with my mom and family to attend the service. We were there for several days, and, starting the day after we returned, we began welcoming our dear relatives from the east and west coast who were coming to stay with us to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had 40 family members for Turkey Day!

It was a little overwhelming at first because I felt like I didn’t have time to grieve. But, it actually was good for me to be busy. My sister’s-in-law and daughters were a huge help in preparing our Thanksgiving meal. Love stepped in. It was a blessing and so good to be around the sweet home-folks that I love.

My Thanksgiving Day reminded me of this sweet picture. All of us women-folk working happily together, stirring, baking, cooking, roasting, singing, and laughing. The aroma swirling from the kitchen throughout the house was heavenly. All of it was good for my soul.

And now it’s Christmas! My heart is healing. Keeping Jesus and His wondrous Love in the center of my heart and thoughts has given me strength.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

When I think of sweet baby Jesus in the manger and the reason He came to this earth my heart rejoices! I made a choice to embrace this glorious season of God’s Love. To look at the light of His love and not at the darkness of sorrow. Joy has filled my heart. I know I will see my dad again and that he is having a blast right now!

Thankfully, I had decorated most of my house before I left for California. And so now I would love to share it with you! Go grab a cup of something yummy to sip, put your slippers on and settle in for a bit!

This year I found another vintage Currier & Ives image to enlarge onto canvas! It’s one of my favorites! This snowy scene if full of heartwarming goodness! I love to create a vignette that reflects the story that the art piece tells. At least the way that I imagine it in my mind! Lol!

Pa is taking big sister into town to the general store to pick out a Christmas gift for Ma. Maybe a new hat, or new shoes, or some beautiful yardage to sew a new dress. Perhaps he will surprise her with that golden locket she had been admiring each time she stopped by the store to sell her fresh churned butter to Mr. Perkins, the proprietor of the Mercantile.

On the right you can see that Ma has just stepped outside the kitchen door breathing in the crisp air carrying her bucket to fetch some water to make a pot of tea and to wash dishes. She had been making pies for Christmas day and little goodie baskets filled with gingersnap cookies for a few neighbors and the Preacher.

Grandpa’s footsteps crunched the snow as he walked back to the house with a armfull of twigs and kindling for the wood burning stove, while old Jack trailed behind, wagging his tail.

“Christmas was coming, and the little house was covered with snow. When Pa came in from shoveling, he caught Laura up in a big bear hug against his cold winter coat. His mustache was covered with melting snowflakes.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder~ Christmas in the Big Woods.

I found this sweet, itty bitty wood stove at a flea market years ago. I put a string of flickering lights inside to resemble a crackling fire. The copper tea kettle belonged to my hubby’s great grandmother from Denmark. It’s got to be over 125 years old. Oh the stories it could tell!

“Soon the kitchen began to take on a feeling of warmth and hominess as the copper coffee pot began to bubble while the oven was heating, and the many different cookie doughs were being mixed… The housewives just loved to outdo each other when it came to the Christmas baking and the many varieties of cookies they could make. So in this early hour, when the smoke rose straight toward the sky from the tall chimney, busy hands were chopping nuts and orange peel and crunching sugar…” Thrya Ferre Bjorn- 1924

“My grandmother’s house…she ran it just like her grandmother and her great-grandmother. They didn’t have electricity. They had wood stoves that never got cold.” Willard Scott

“Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt rising bread and rye’n’Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried apple pies, and filled the big jar with cookies and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.“ ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House in the Big Woods

I found this old oil lamp that had been fitted for electricity. I see them from time to time at flea markets and antique malls. I put a silicone light bulb in it to add a cozy golden glow.

“For breakfast they had pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs in the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle. When it was done, she put it smoking hot on the plate.” ~ Laura Ingalls wilder Little House in the Big Woods

Filling our homes with the simple joys of the season blesses our whole family and those who walk through our doors.  Good smells, happy sounds, twinkle lights, wholesome meals, sweet treats, cozy fires, and glowing candles… all of it is like a big ol hug to our hearts!

“Heap on more wood! The wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will,

We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”

~ Sir Walter Scott

‘I bring you the most joyful news ever announced,

and it is for everyone!

The Savior – yes the Messiah,

the Lord  has been born tonight in Bethlehem!’    

Luke 2:10 -11

The starry heavens sparkled brightly

as God sent us the greatest Christmas gift ever!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son,

and they shall call His name Immanuel,”

which translated means,

“God with us.” Matthew 1:23

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:15

“A little child…a shining star…a stable rude…the door ajar.

Yet in that place, so crude, forlorn,

The hope of all the world was born.”

~Author Unknown

“This will be a sign to you:

You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:12

Winter time fun! Sledding… getting freezing cold… coming in the toasty house to warm up by the fire. Mama brings you a nice, hot cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and a cuddly blanket.

Everytime my grand-sugars come over I notice the jar of marshmallows is not quite as full when they leave. Lol!

Sing a song of snowflakes flying in the air,

sing a song of sleighbells tinkling everywhere

Earth in dazzling white, sparkling in the light.

~Louise Liddell

All the farmy things I love! An old apple bucket (this one is faintly stamped Ozark Bartletts), an old grain scoop turned candle holder, a vintage round basket lined with gingham and fresh greens and a wee little log cabin.

This is the baking-center side of my pantry. When I designed my baking center and pantry I was inspired by the turn-of-the-century houses on Main Street USA at Disneyland. I imagined what the kitchens might have looked like inside those charming homes with the cute front porches. I’d like to think that Walt Disney might have given me a wink if he could’ve taken a peek at how my pantry turned out! Heehee!

I love the word Merry! To be Merry is to be jolly… cheerful… light-hearted…carefree…joyful… joyous… festive …happy… gleeful!  Proverbs 17:22 says  “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”   That’s one of the reasons I love to decorate for Christmas (and  all the seasons for that matter)…it creates a merry…joyful….and festive atmosphere….and that kind of atmosphere is good for us!

Every year I buy the Susan Branch Calendar. The illustrations, quotes, and recipes warm my heart so much! I keep it in my kitchen and look and swoon over it often. You can get the new 2022 calendar here!

Say Howdy to the chicken sisters! Beulah, Hattie Mae and Cordelia are all dolled up with wreaths around their necks! Lol! They’re square-dancin’ around the Christmas tree!

“I love all the smells of Christmas;

bayberry candles, freshly cut evergreens,

the smells of baking and cooking~

vanilla, cinnamon, apple pies,

and all the other things that make Christmastime

like a little bit of heaven on earth.” ~ Kathy Healy

“O let there be joy

In the old home tonight,

A tree in the window

 with soft candle light!”

~Rosaline Guingrich

Memories of grandma’s are the best! Delicious aromas of supper cookin’, and scrumptious desserts are baked into the walls. Just walking into the house  and taking a deep breath (ahhh!), a sense of calm comes over you. It’s the most nurturing and loving feeling EV-AH!!

Someone said “The kitchen is the heart of the home”…I agree! Especially at Christmastime! It’s the place where all the warm aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, apple pie, spicy clove and orange pomanders, sugar cookies and supper cookin’ swirl throughout the house making each heart swoon and eyes sparkle. It smells like love. The kitchen seems to be the happiest and brightest room in the house.

“The Yule log is big and sturdy, a last gracious gift from a big old maple. The family is all here, the house bulges. The smell of pine and buttered popcorn, of mince pies and bayberry candles is all through the house, and most pleasant.” ~ Gladys Tabor

Well, sisters, have a blessed Christmas dear ones!

and be sure to say hello in the comments below!

I love hearing from you!

Bless your family. Make home sweet.

Big hugs!

Aunt Ruthie

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