NATIONAL FALL FOLIAGE WEEK

tl-9-27-thru-10-3-national-fall-foliage-weekI know the upcoming election is important – it’s a turning point for America.  Having said that, I will add that I’m sick and tired of the campaign speeches, debates and mud slinging on both sides.

When I read that this week is NATIONAL FALL FOLIAGE WEEK, my first thought was “Oh how lovely to sit and watch the amazing colors dancing instead of watching politics on television.”

Here are a few poems about this beautiful time of year:

one-single-leaf-is-left

a-crown-of-beauty

headin-into-the-seasona-soft-bed-of-leavesall-the-samefall-in-the-valleythrough-gods-eyesprayer-about-short-autumn-daysa-dessert-for-the-eyeshow-can-i-thank-youprayer-about-autumnautumn-in-my-backyardits-crunch-timemy-first-applepatchwork-prairiepath-of-peacethese-people-rockthis-spider-has-such-talent

Sit back and turn up the volume because here are some of the most beautiful videos I could find on the internet.  Today let’s relax with a cup of any hot beverage and enjoy God’s nature.

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A SALUTE TO ALL THINGS PUMPKIN

tl-9-23-a-salute-to-all-things-pumpkinIf I listed everything related to pumpkin, you’d be reading until next Tuesday!  This is my favorite time of year and most of the reason has to do with pumpkin everything!

  • PUMPKIN PATCHES

https://wichita.citymomsblog.com/fall/pumpkin-patches-in-wichita-2016/

  • PUMPKIN SONGS
  • PUMPKIN MUFFINS FROM STARBUCKS

Just keep in mind, these yummy cream cheese muffins are a whopping 53g carbs and 14g fat!  I do make a copycat recipe at home, however – it makes me feel less guilty.  Will I share it?  Well, of course!  My recipe will still have carbs because it uses all-purpose flour, which is what gives baked goods the bounce and great texture we love.  Does it have as many carbs?  No – I substitute Splenda for sugar and cream for milk.  Let’s make muffins!

COPYCAT PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

For the muffin:

1 cup Splenda

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup pumpkin puree’

2 eggs

1/4 cup cream

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Splenda

1 tsp. vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put muffin liners in tins.  Stir pumpkin, oil and Splenda together in a large bowl.  DO THIS BY HAND.  Stir in eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda.  Stir in 1 cup flour, then stir in cream, then stir in remaining 1 cup flour.  Divide batter among muffin tins, filling 1/2 full.  Stir together cream cheese, Splenda and vanilla.  Drop 1 Tbs. onto the top of each muffin.

Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin part comes out clean.

Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.  Store in refrigerator.  You can freeze these for a quick snack later.

  • PUMPKIN HAIR MASK

Nope – I’m not joking!  Thanks to NaturallyCurly.com for this really great hair mask!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 Tbs. honey

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put everything in a bowl and puree well.  If you don’t, you’ll end up with pumpkin chunks in your hair.  Separate hair in sections and smooth from root to tip all over.  Put on a shower cap and wait 20-30 minutes.  Shower and shampoo/condition as usual.

Fun Fact:  Pumpkin contains over 100 beneficial nutrients and is exceptionally high in beta carotene thus making it an ideal ingredient for hair products.

  • PUMPKIN SCENTED LOTIONS

http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=4304786

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin from Bath and Body Works – well, that really WORKS for me!  Have you tried it?  If they made that into a wax melt, I’d buy it!  Okay, I may not buy it if it’s super expensive, but I’d want to buy it.  😉

  • PUMPKIN WAX MELTS

Here’s how I roll on wax melts…  when I can get them for .89 a package from Bed, Bath & Beyond – I go for it!  There’s just one drawback to buying wax melts on the cheap…  I buy the fall and winter scents in the summer, and the spring and summer scents in the winter!  On a good day, I can buy up all they have and use my handy dandy coupon for more savings!

I’ll tell ya though – I don’t like paying upwards of $2 a package for them, so I buy the pumpkin scents in June, July and August because if I live long enough, autumn will show up eventually and it will be time to use them.

  • PUMPKIN POETRY

I have enjoyed sharing Lucinda’s poetry on my blog – and I know you’ve enjoyed reading it!  When I mentioned a salute to all things pumpkin, she got to work!  I thought I’d see one, maybe two poems at the most.  LOL – can you believe this…  she wrote a ton of pumpkin poems!!!  I couldn’t think of one to write – is this girl talented or what?

autumn-pumpkinsfall-on-the-farmpunkin-pieOh wait…  that one was mine – from like 3 years ago!  Thanks again to Matthew Deets for sharing a photo of his punkin’ pie!  I’m looking forward to some punkin’ pie pretty soon – with whipped cream on top!  Yum!  I did a non-scientific poll of my friends on facebook, asking what their favorite PUMPKIN thing is – and most said PIE – and I’m right there with ya – it’s pie for me too!  That’s my pumpkin thing, followed closely by the pumpkin spice coffee creamers – sugar free, of course.

Let’s enjoy some more pumpkin poetry from Lucinda:

autumn-times

pumpkins-and-patches

autumns-harvest

And a couple of poems I wrote to add – right at the last minute – whew!  Made it! 

the-orange-army

my-favorite-basketOf course, my favorite part of fall is decorating with my pumpkin baskets!

Nothing is more cute than seeing little people with little pumpkins – just so cute!!! 

pumpkins-just-their-size

We’ll be talking about this more on October 1st, but there’s some special pink pumpkins that are important to us.  Ladies, if you have not had your mammogram yet this year – get it done!  fall-awareness

There are so many ways to PUMPKIN-IZE your autumn!  Have some fun and make the most of the season.  Oh, and don’t forget to make the punkin’ pie!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)12075076_1019943578045285_2006305397285375045_nHAPPY FALL, Y’ALL!!!  I don’t know why we are always so anxious to rush into this season more than the others, but my house has been decorated for autumn for at least two weeks!  We’ve had so much rain this month, it’s almost as if we’re jumping into spring instead of fall – but it’s fall according to the calendar – so we’re going to go with that!

Today I want to ask you if you’ve ever had a “happy accident”???  Take a moment to let that sink in before you answer.  The two words don’t seem to belong together – happy and accident – do they?  Hmm…  has Linda been hitting the sugar-free apple cider a bit too much?  No…  I really do want to know if you have a story to tell about a “happy accident”.  Oh…  I said that phrase again.  Does it set your teeth on edge?  I could see where it would.

Sometimes we think our mistakes are deal breakers for life.  We can’t seem to get over them, even though the most over-used sentence in America is LETITGO.  Thanks, Reba…  we’re learning.  I’m a work in progress.  Once I ask forgiveness from God and He forgives, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and THEN I can letitgo.

The other day I was trying to find some images, photographs, for poetry I wanted to design.  My go-to place is Pixabay because I’ll be honest, I can’t afford to pay money for the images I use here on the blog or for poetry designs.  Lucinda and I also have good friends who have graciously given me unlimited permission to peruse through their facebook accounts for photos – thank you so much to Chris Cummins, Dave Mock, Karen Tubbs Stell, Sheri Berezowecki-Lemay, Valerie McKinney, Bill Woods, Terri Boggs Rowe, Marian Poppy Ballestero, Jimmy Stone, Katrina Huckabay, Stephanie G. Lutz, Candace Waters, Pete Lord, Sam Peters, Arleen Krueger, Gina Womack, Joanna Hays and Mike Durbin.

I also want to thank Lucinda not only for her wonderful poems, but for letting me use photos from her facebook page for my poems.  🙂

I was searching Pixabay for a certain kind of image – I had a very specific type of photo in mind.  I thought I typed a certain word in the search engine – but when I double-checked, I typed a completely different word.  It took me to a subject I know absolutely NOTHING about – and I mean nothing…  SPORTS.  Every writer knows this…  you write about what you know.  Never try to fake what you don’t know to be fact.

I laughed out loud and told God, “Wow – that was a huge OOPS, wasn’t it?”  God impressed me to take a look at the images on the page – and one in particular caught my eye – then another.

It was A HAPPY ACCIDENT – I knew these images needed to be used.  I also knew that I didn’t know a thing about football.  I fought with God – and said, “Lord, I don’t know anything about this subject – there’s no way I can write anything good.”  Then I heard God say, “Lucinda does…  give this to her.”

It’s funny because when we’re obedient, God rewards us – He really does.  Once I sent the image to Lucinda, look what she did…taking-a-knee

But wait…  God’s not done.  He gave me words to use for the second image I found!teach-us-to-pray

I know the term “happy accident” is from Bob Ross…  we all know how he used to refer to the OOPS in painting as a happy accident.  Around the time all of this was happening, I also saw this interesting photo from Bill Woods and thought, “That describes what happened perfectly!  I’m going to call it a ‘happy accident’ – like Bob Ross did!”  14067573_10208342567854653_5861265440443893614_n

Photo courtesy of BILL WOODS.  Thanks for the reminder!  The timing could not have been better.

God blesses our efforts when we obey.  I love “happy accidents” because when it’s all said and done, it was not an accident at all.  It was A GOD THING.  He works differently with each of us because we aren’t robots who can be dealt with the same way – we are individuals in God’s eyes, and He works with us in just the right way.  I’m so thankful that God can make anything work for the good…  aren’t you?  🙂

 

DAY TRIPPIN’ AROUND KANSAS

DAY TRIPPIN' AROUND KANSAS

Is it silly to want to take a trip out to Applejack Pumpkin Patch if you don’t have small children with you?  Can I tell you a secret???  I’ve never actually been to a pumpkin patch before.  I suppose it’s because I don’t have kids – but the second part of that secret is…  I’ve always wanted to visit a pumpkin patch!  It just looks like a lot of fun!  Having fun is not a sin – last time I checked.

So, this photo, taken just outside of the Applejack Pumpkin Patch is of my friend, Susan.  She posted it on facebook and I wanted to post it here today.  I love it when my Wichita friends post their day trips (even though I think she was technically on the job – which explains the vest).  I appreciate her giving me permission to share it with you.

The Minion Hay Bale... LOL!!!
Susan & the giant Minion Hay Bale… LOL!!!

I’m so thankful she posted this because we drove past it on the way to an antique store just a few days ago – and did I have my camera???  Well of course I didn’t!!!  I was kicking myself from that moment on.  I even suggested we take another trip just to get a photo of this.  That idea was not met with a great deal of enthusiasm, to say the least.  :-/

Applejack Pumpkin Patch is in Augusta, Kansas.  They have a facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Applejack-Pumpkin-Patch-306961532736120/

There are scheduled activities and loads of fun for everyone (even the childless – well – probably).  I may not have kids – but I feel as though I’m still a kid myself…  for better or worse!

I’ve seen bales of hay made into a lot of different things – I must admit this is the first Minion I’ve seen – how creative is that?  Usually we see hay bales made into  jack-O-Lanterns…  you know, painted orange with the scary black face – that’s usually what we see.

Susan’s husband posted that if she had her way, Susan would take this giant Minion hay bale home with her and put it in their front yard.  I replied by saying, “She would be fighting ME for it – LOL!!!”  In reality, could you imagine either one of us – or both of us together – lifting that thing???  I’d say the argument is moot at best, wouldn’t you?

If you would like more information about Applejack Pumpkin Patch, click on this link:  http://applejackpumpkinpatch.com/activities/

Click image to enlarge

I enjoy living in Kansas, especially this time of year!  We have a lot of farms, which means we have tons of corn mazes, apple festivals, fall harvest celebrations and of course, pumpkin patches!  Now, we apparently have added a giant Minion hay bale to the list.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not!  Wink!  😉

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

https://youtu.be/EwcbYDcjZGg

I know I’m not supposed to question God’s plan, but I see others with their children this time of year and think, “You know, if I had children, we’d go to the pumpkin patch and we’d rent the big inflatable things for them to play on once in a while.”  I watch the neighbors with their children – and they throw the coolest birthday parties!  October would be the coolest time to be a parent.  How fun to take them to pick out just the right pumpkin – or at Halloween to go to the Field of Screams or some other fun place.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  – John 1:16

You’ve seen the images – the children tug at my heartstrings!  These are photos that are just too precious not to share.  I really love fall – especially where kids are concerned.  I could imagine myself taking these kinds of photos with my kids…  if I had them.

Little Apple Cheeks
Little Apple Cheeks

If I had a child, I imagine I would dress them in orange at this time of year.  I tend to wear orange and brown more, I suppose because of the colorful leaves falling all around.  I think I would be a frequent flyer at Zulily.com and be on the lookout for the newest and cutest clothing and shoes for my child.

Such a sweet face
Such a sweet face

When I was a kid, we had a big maple tree in the back yard and I loved to play in the leaves.  I was supposed to be raking them, but mostly I played in them!  I imagine if I had kids we would play in leaves – every day of autumn!  What a wonderful motivator to remain active children must be.  The desire to keep up with them is surely strong.

Playtime would be every day
Playtime would be every day

I would be more enthusiastic about decorating if I had children.  Most of what adults do are for their kids.  I would decorate with hay bales and potted mums and pumpkins – if it mattered.  I’m not excited about doing those things for myself necessarily.  If I had kids I know I’d want to surround them with beauty and give the very best I could.

Everyday Autumn Moments
Everyday Autumn Moments

If you have a child, do me a favor and enjoy every moment you have with him / her.  You are blessed beyond measure to have that charge.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

9-22 FOR THE WATCHFUL EYE

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many…. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’ve shared a bit of the fun we have in late summer/early fall here in Kansas!  Our menus change from salads to stews!  Every woman in Kansas is reviewing their recipe cards and stocking up on slow cooker liners.  I’ve found a few coupons for those liners (they are expensive, let’s admit it).  The most important small appliance in my kitchen is my crock pot.  I use it quite often because it’s so simple to dump and cook.  That’s my style – dump and cook!  🙂

I was inspired by our trip to Louisburg, KS for the apple festival on September 10th to search for recipes that use apples.  We brought home a couple of jars of their wonderful sugar-free apple butter, but in my search today, look what I found!

CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER

Approximately 3 lb. apples ( make sure 1/2 are Granny Smith )
Gala , Fugi, Or Granny Smith
3 cups sugar (I will definitely use Splenda)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Dash of salt
3/4 cup water or fresh apple cider

Fill Crock-pot 3/4 full with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. Cover and cook on low setting overnight or until the butter is of a thick, spreadable consistency.

If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Stir often as butter thickens to prevent scorching.

Mash Apple Butter until chunky or smooth with hand-held masher or blender
Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
Put in jars with water bath processing also.

Found on Pinterest and Holly’s kitchen

I found a video tour from 2014:

https://youtu.be/khCFDem01YQ

I don’t think I’ve shared my photos from Louisburg with y’all.  If I have, just humor me and look at them again.  😉

APPLES-screenshot

top left:  I wish you could have heard that sign squeaking as it blew back and forth.  Squeak…  squeak…  sounds so much like autumn to me!

top right:  The business of this business is apple cider!  This is the barn where all the apple cider is made.  You can’t tell from this photo, but behind the barn there are apples floating around in water – they go up a conveyor belt and through all the different processes from there.  I wish you could have smelled the APPLE scent inside that barn – it’s better than any scentsy wax melt I’ve ever used!

bottom left:  Their own label of sparkling apple cider!  Ah – it is amazing!

bottom right:  Yep – it’s an apple cider donut!  Hey – I’m not gonna drive all those miles and not have one little apple cider donut.  That was lunch – and mmm…  it was yummilicious!  🙂

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

TL IRON SHARPENS IRON

I appreciate my online friends so much!  I let them know that I was having some technical difficulties in the kitchen due to my inability to stand for more than a few minutes lately.  It’s weird…  some days I’m just fine and others, well…  not so much.

Do you look forward to autumn?  I do (except for the pain, of course), but I especially like that our meals begin to get a little more substantial and hearty.  I’ve been looking for meals that are healthy but simple to fix.

My friends came through with a quick and easy meal.  I’d like to share the recipe with you.

FRIED CABBAGE WITH SAUSAGE (Makes 8 servings)

1 stick butter or margarine
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into round pieces
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes  (if you use Rotel it will be a little spicy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Melt butter in large skillet. Add cabbage, onion, and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes stirring to keep from sticking to pan. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.

My favorite question when I get a recipe that feeds an Army is…  do the leftovers freeze?  Thankfully the answer was YES, they do!  So, I imagine we could eat two or maybe even three meals, which is great!  That means I don’t have to do anything except defrost and serve!  Excellent!

Is it wrong to want to laugh when you are in pain?  I don’t think so.

Click image to enlarge

I love Christian friendships, don’t you?  Even when we’re having troubles, we just try to sharpen each other’s iron as much as possible with Christ in the center.  God sure knew what He was doing when He established friendship.  He must to this day be smiling down and saying, “It is GOOD!”  🙂