blessings in this photo

This picture makes me so happy.  I keep looking and looking and looking at it.  The blessings in my life are abundant.  There are the obvious ones; Happy, healthy child, happy healthy husband. 

And the not quite so obvious ones. 

 Martin is standing. Upright. After his broken leg in April life was rough for a while. With the help of family and neighbors we got through it. 

 Church name tag.  Not visible, but I know it is there.  He works for God.  That makes me very deeply happy.

 Martin’s Smile.  Yes, he still smiles like that when he sees me.  and I smile right back. Wouldn’t you?

 Martin has lost some weight.  We both need to lose more. But we are way healthier than we were a year ago. Progress.

The picture is taken on our church grounds.  I grew up being very comfortable at our church becasue my mother worked there.  It was like a home to me.  It makes me happy that Ginny is growing up in a similar situation.

 Ginny’s smile.  I love her smile in this picture. It is not a “picture perfect” expression…but it shows how much she adores her papa. 

 The pink rose petal in Ginny’s hand is special to me too.  I don’t like pink.  I’ve tried to steer Ginny towards purples and blues.  She looks stunning in denim blue because of her blue eyes.  But she has a mind of her own, and in color preferences she is starting to choose pink.  I enjoy watching her figure out what she likes for herself, especially when her choices run counter to mine in little things like color preferences.  She is gaining independence.

 I love how tightly Martin is holding her, and how enthusiastic Ginny is about being in her papa’s arms. Security.  Trustworthy.

The grey in Martin’s beard makes me smile, because he didn’t have any when we started dating.  I have watched it happen. That represents years and mileage together.  Longevity. 

 Ginny’s hair blowing in the wind makes me happy.  She chose that haircut and it is great on her.  I was always into long hair on little girls, but she rocks the short hair look and is completely little girlie and feminine while having a hassle-free haircut.  Win-win!

 Martin takes time to play.  We had things to do and places to be, but he got out of the car and came back to play with us as Ginny examined roses and I snapped pictures.  Then he hoisted her up and headed for the car.  I said “wait, I want a picture of that” and instead of being annoyed with me for yet another delay, he turned and beamed at me while Ginny clung to his head. That is one patient, fun, loving, kind, generous man.

Thank you Lord.  You have been so so so very good to me.

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hippos doing what?

My favorite holiday “can’t do without it” recipe is called Hippocras

No it does NOT involve hippos.  Ugh.  Think of a hot version of Sangria, heavy on the cinnamon. If you want the history on this yummy beverage, click here

Here’s what I do at home.

  • Set crock pot on counter.
  • Turn on high.
  • Pour in 2 gallons of apple juice
  • Find cheap red wine, pour in at least 2 cups.  You can do more depending on your tastes
  • Taste.
  • Cut up a seedless orange in slices. Remove any seeds, but leave the rinds on.   Add to crock pot.  You can also add some orange juice as well.  But be careful not to add too much orange juice.  It can send the whole tone of the mixture over too much towards the sangria side.  Sangria is fine…for summer.  This isn’t summertime.
  • Add spices to taste.  Spices to choose from are:

Cinnamon STICKS (never add ground spices to a drink mixture.  All they will do is float to the top and get in people’s teeth) If you can’t wait for the cinnamon sticks to work their slow magic just add some Candy Red Hots to the pot.  They will dissolve and give you the taste you were looking for.

Whole Cloves.  Here again, please stay away from the ground spices.  A trick to keep the cloves from floating into your way when you are trying to ladle out your punch is to stick them into the rind of the orange slices when you originally put the orange slices into the crock pot.

Sugar.  Not too much.  this is supposed to be a refreshing cup of cheer, not a sickly sweet dessert in a cup.

  • Stir.
  • Taste.
  • Add more stuff till you get a balance of taste that you find appealing. 
  • Taste some more. 
  • Oh heck, go get a mug and have a bit more.
  • Now go take your mug and sit down on the porch or in front of your fire. There, that’s much better isn’t it?
  • and that’s how you serve it.  Hot and unpretentious.  This is a “kick off your shoes, stretch your feet towards the fire, curl up on the couch” type of beverage. 

There are some side benefits to having Hippocras in a crock pot on your counter:

1.      Your house will smell heavenly!

2.      And if you make sure to turn the crock pot on and let the contents heat all the way up at least once a day, you can keep this going, on the counter all season long.  Yes, you heard me.  All season long.  I normally start a pot of this stuff in early November and keep it going till the end of January.  Just add more liquid (apple juice, wine, orange juice) depending on what it needs.  This means you have an excuse to taste test it at least once a day. 

3.      You are ALWAYS ready for guests….or at least your house will SMELL ready.

You can also make a “virgin” version of this using just cinnamon tea, apple juice, orange juice and the spices.  But I love the warm welcome of a hot mug of wine on a cold fall/winter evening.

Enjoy!

So tell me, what is your “I can’t live through the holidays without THIS” recipe?