Tag Archives: christmas

Book Review – A Victorian Christmas Cottage

14 Dec

I decided, since it’s Christmas season, why not review a few season-appropriate books?! I got this book from my mom’s bookshelf because, let’s face it, christmas books are appealing. And so, I bring you this collection of novellas, all set in Victorian times.


A Victorian Christmas Cottage by Catherine Palmer, Debra White Smith, Jeri Odell and Peggy Stoks.

Now, you probably all know by now how I feel about short stories (never long enough, want more character development, etc) but each one of these stories was so good that I thoroughly enjoyed them! Plus, this happens to be one of my favorite time periods.

These novellas take you from England where a young widow finds strength in God and protection in an unexpected place, to San Francisco where a society beauty learns what is really important. Then on to a plantation in Georgia where coming home means learning forgiveness and healing. Last, we go to Minnesota where a wounded young woman is pursued by a very determined young man.

If I could give you full descriptions of each of these stories, I would. But that would give too much away! The way that faith was weaved into each one of these was masterful and has given me much to ponder about my own life. And that, as I was telling a friend of mine recently, is why I enjoying Christian romance. You get the sweet, romancy stuff as well as sound faith and living advice. I like that I get to come away with some morsels to chew on, long after the book is done.

So, SGL friends, for a fun, quick read I recommend you get a copy of these novellas.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas,


Fun Times on Vacation back Home

24 Dec

So far, vacation has been a blast in so many ways. I’ve found that I’ve learned and re-realized so much already in this week home visiting family and friends that I thought I would list a few tidbits before Christmas day. (Can you tell that I really love lists?)

  • my parent’s dog can be super cute, and super annoying (but so can mine…)
  • I can out-eat most everyone in the family (excluding a brother and a few nephews)
  • the more pain I’m in the less I care what I’m telling people (have a question you really want an answer to? just wait until I’m in serious pain, you’ll get the most honest answer ever)
  • I really do have the most wonderful husband. He takes such good care of me
  • my piano is gorgeous and I really need to practice more
  • I can’t wait to get back to writing – I have all these stories percolating inside right now
  • all 9 nephews and 3 nieces are the cutest ever. in. the . whole . world.
  • i have a serious sweet tooth that refuses to be tamed
  • it cannot be Christmas season without decorating the house with my mom
  • dairy is a serious evil. (don’t touch it, Laura, it’s not worth it)
  • I have some of the coolest friends in the world
  • I frequently wake up just as tired as I was the night before
  • Christmas movies are the best
  • Celebrating Hanukkah is so much fun
  • I think this list is long enough, I’ll stop now……….

So far we’ve : gone to a live play that a friend starred in (go Andrea!), had a hanukkah party, a dance party, movie nights, lunch with nephews/sister in law, cribbage games galore, spent the night over at some friends’, baked up a storm and I can’t remember what all else! It has been a fantastic week overall and this one is just beginning! I really don’t know that I’ll get back on here before the new year, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends.

I look forward to getting back to posting regular and getting involved with my blogging buddies again. I have a growing list of things planned once the holidays are over but for now, I’m going to go find some juice full of veggies to help this upset stomach, turn the Christmas tree lights on and pretend that my body isn’t failing me.

Happy 7th night of Hanukkah and Christmas is only 3 days away  (Oh, and Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa and Mom and Dad!)

~Laura Starr

!(as you might have been able to tell, this was written earlier this week, on Sunday I believe, but due to some laptop difficulty and then busyness, this never got published! But, I decided to leave it as is, only remember that Christmas is tomorrow…. )

A quick update before Christmas!!!

9 Dec
I really enjoyed sharing what’s going on in my life with this little ‘form’ a few months ago so I decided to do it again! There are several links to go check stuff out so have fun!
Oh, and fair warning, Chanukah starts on the 16th (7 days away) and Christmas is in 15 days
photo courtesy of unsplash

photo courtesy of unsplash

  • making: my dog happy by giving her a bone – myself happy by getting the kitchen mostly cleaned… and getting a short story planned in my head
  • cooking:.contemplating some sort of soup using up the leftover turkey… perhaps crockpot chicken tortilla soup (obviously subbing out the chicken)
  • drinking: candy cane green tea
  • reading: The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott ; lots of blogs and tons of emails
  • wanting: to try out my samples of Jamberry Nails!
  • crafting: a few christmas presents
  • wishing: the pain to go away and i didn’t have to deal with figuring out what to do next ; that i had a hair dryer so i could try my nail samples!
  • enjoying: my OH being home and that my hair is finally long enough to put up in a bun with just a hairtie!
  • waiting: for some yummy food to magically appear in my fridge
  • liking:  hanging out with awesome friends, planning to-do’s when we are back in Bend
  •  wondering:  why i can’t seem to get enough of wasting time on pinterest
  • loving: sequin dresses, the fact i’m home in a week and the groups i’m involved in online
  • hoping: my new plan for getting my health back actually works
  • smelling: the bone i gave my dog so she’ll stop chewing on her hot spots *gag*
  • needing: a hug from my mom and dad, the pain to go away and a white christmas
  • wearing: rolled up jeans (because all jeans are apparently made for women 5foot 10in now) and a plaid flannel shirt
  • noticing:  i’m so blessed by my OH
  • thinking: im hungry…again…for the 3rd time today and it’s only 1:30pm
  • bookmarking:  chanukah decorations and recipes – i just created a board on pinterest, check it out here
  • thanking: my heavenly Father for sustaining me through my chronic pain – my family and friends for supporting me and my dog for taking naps ‘with’ me
  • giggling:  OH made gluten-dairy-chocolate-regular sugar-free brownies last night and they are yuummmmyyy
  • feeling: tired. hungry. excited.

Clay ornaments

7 Jan

Clay ornaments

so easy and cute!
i found this idea on woodsidekitchen.blogspot.com, and love it. mine didn’t turn out as cute and awesome as hers. bummer deal there but since i’m not naturally crafty, the fact that they came out at all like they were supposed to is a bit of a miracle!
sadly, this is the only picture i remembered to take. =(

Clay Christmas Decorations

1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup water

Making Clay

In a medium sized pot combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and water. With an adults help the kids can stir this mixture over medium-low heat. You are going to stir this mixture until it is smooth and no longer feels stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir constantly, after a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken. When it looks like smooth, thick mashed potatoes, remove the pot from the heat. Spoon the ball of dough into a bowl. Add the leftover bits from the pot to the ball. Cover it with a damp cloth until it’s cool.

When the clay has cooled, knead it on a smooth surface dusted with cornstarch. To avoid cracking you need to make sure the clay is well kneaded before rolling. Knead in a little more cornstarch if it feels sticky. Store the clay in a sealed bowl or bag. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before you use it.

Rolling, Cutting, and Low Baking

Line the baking sheet with waxed paper if you want to let them dry naturally. Turn them every day to avoid curling. This just takes longer than drying them in a low temperature oven.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out clay to 1/4 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Transfer shapes to the prepared baking sheet. Use a straw to poke a hole in the center top of each decoration, then get the kids to blow out the small piece of clay. They love this task! Place them in the oven for about an hour, turning them over halfway through cooking.
** don’t do what i did and forget to flip them. mine ended up curved….**

More Ideas

This clay can be shaped, rolled, cut, painted and decorated in endless ways. people have used different painting techniques, glazes, scents, stamps, sparkles, made foot and hand prints….it’s wonderful to see the creativity.

1. Paint or decorate them and thread a piece of ribbon, twine or yarn through the holes.

2. Use cookie cutters for different special days, leaves for fall, or hearts for Valentine’s day.

3. Make a few ornaments that can be used to make a mobile or to attach to a wreath.

4. Attach a magnet to the back of a clay shape and stick it on the fridge.

5. Roll small bits of clay in the palm of your hand to make beads. Roll tiny beads between your fingers and thumb. Use a toothpick to poke in holes.

*i used them to decorate the packages i wrapped for family and friends. they were pretty cute on there, if i do say so myself. my brother DID ask if they were edible tho…. hmmm

i also made oreo cookies for christmas. THAT is my next post, you don’t want to miss it – they were delicious!

Little Blossoms for Jesus

• Enjoying the old-fashioned & beautiful • • Thankful for grace • Growing in faith • • Learning life • Loving people •

A Musing Maverick

Ilse Davison

Elaine Howlin

lost in the pages of books

See Jayne Run

Navigating with Chronic Illness in a Self Absorbed World