Cranberries And Christmas

Isn’t the month of December such a unique month?! Always filled to the brim with all the holiday excitements of special baking, shopping, gift wrapping, food making, Christmas suppers, programs and get togethers….

We are probably too quick to take a lot for granted…. At least I am. There’s so many in this world who are extra lonely and sad right now, because they know it’s a time for families to get together and they have none. (Or maybe aren’t allowed to get together!) And worst of all, many do not know the real meaning of Christmas! They’ve never experienced the Joy of Jesus in their hearts and thus knowing the real meaning of the coming of Jesus as a baby so many years ago! Are we compassionate and showing the love of Jesus to others wherever we can?!

Recently I read a story of a family who enjoyed visiting a live nativity at a church. When the children peeped in to see “baby Jesus”, there was nothing but a few rolled up blankets! What disappointment! A lesson for us, let’s be very conscious of the fact that people are watching us as Christians and are they seeing Jesus in us or will they be disappointed too?! Are we ministering to the needy around us and thus showing Jesus?

Here’s a different twist to add to your holiday snacks…. I was super pleased when I tried this out!

Cranberry Salsa

1 12 oz. package cranberries, fresh or frozen, chopped

1 c. sugar

1 jalapeño seeded and chopped

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

a bit of chopped onions

Mix the chopped cranberries and sugar until well mixed, then stir in the remainder of ingredients. I think 1 cup sugar is plenty but I know cranberries are sour. But feel free to experiment with less or using a sugar substitute! This gets juicy after it sets a bit. Serve with cream cheese and crackers. Yum!!

Cranberry Salsa

Here’s another recipe I just got and made very recently. Thanks to a new friend I “met” recently on a WhatsApp chat, namely, Rachel Weirich, who was so kind in allowing me to share on here!!

Cranberry Nut Cookies

2 c. almond flour (not packed)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 c. simple sweet or sweetner of choice

2 eggs

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 c. melted coconut oil or butter

1/4 c. chopped pecans

1 c. fresh or frozen chopped cranberries

Mix dry ingredients together then add in remaining ingredients and stir well. Drop on to greased cookie and flatten with fork. Bake at 350* for about 10-12 minutes. Once cooled, drizzle with melted dark chocolate. I couldn’t drizzle the chocolate in a beautifying fashion so I ended up just spreading the chocolate over top!😜

Cranberry Nut Cookies

I was happy to have another yummy gluten free cookie recipe to add to my collection and especially a pretty and healthy Christmas cookie at that!

Cranberries and Popcorn String

Thread a needle, knot the end, and let your children have fun stringing together cranberries and big popcorn for simple holiday decor!

May you and yours enjoy a blessed Christmas and New year! How thankful I am for the assurance that we have the Lord to walk beside us every step of the unknown year ahead! He will not forsake his own and is so worthy of our trust!

Jerald & Violet Josie Kate- 5 Reece Edison- 16 months

Daily Planners And A Giveaway!

Do you love or hate a daily planner? Do you make a lot of lists or keep track of schedules and appointments on a nearby calendar? Or what is your method for keeping your head together, besides the skull our heads come packaged with?

I am a paper type of gal and always have loved notebooks, pens and pencils. Sticky notes too are a favorite for me! I make lists with company menus, lists of ‘forget nots’ before trips and even keep sticky notes and a pencil in my nightstand for those times I think of something I must do or add to the grocery list or who knows what it may be! But if it’s on paper, I rest much better than trying to remember mentally! So of course I love planners and have used one for years!

There’s a wide variety out there to choose from and even several designed by Mennonite ladies, which one of those is what I use. I personally don’t like one that’s too overwhelming. The one I have really enjoyed for the past 7 years is The Time Keeper by Starla Kreider. The cover is always gorgeous which is inspiring! It’s spiral bound which is a must for me so it lays flat or can be flipped to one side. It has monthly tabs to easily locate the correct month. It has a monthly calendar page where you can jot down events and appointments, with a narrow section beside that to jot down monthly projects.

I love the way the weekly sheet is laid out! It begins with Monday and ends with Sunday, and I like that, because to me, the week feels like it starts Monday. On the opposite side of the page, is space for each day’s menu, plus a large space for your ‘to do’ list. There’s lots of extra space in the back of the Planner for notes and a gift idea section. There’s perforated shopping lists too, which I have yet to become organized enough to use them efficiently! I also love the ‘planning ahead’ section in the back with a small space beside each month of the next year. You can scribble in the dates of a far off reunion or vacation or whatever. I use it especially toward the end of the year before I switch over to the next year’s planner. Here are pictures of The Time Keeper.

I find it so helpful to use a planner on a regular basis. It helps much to just free up my mind! I like to write down the simple, normal duties on a regular basis. Monday’s list is usually, wash, cleanup house, and then it varies from week to week. But if you consistently do laundry or cleaning on a certain day, consistently write it down. Sometimes I also choose to do the ironing and mending on Monday. Or if I want to sew on Tuesday, then on Monday I also try to cut out the dresses etc and prepare for sewing already on Monday. Then Tuesday, I feel ready to start as soon as my morning duties are completed.

If I’m going to town on a certain day, that’s what I write for that day and usually not much else. It kinda soaks up a good portion of the day, especially with children. And then also till you get the groceries put away, naps and make supper. On Fridays it usually looks like, wash, clean. Sometimes I do break down the ‘clean’ into smaller jobs, such as clean bathrooms, mop, dust. Otherwise, it feels like your really getting something done, but you’ve still not completed all the cleaning and thus there’s nothing to cross off yet for all the effort! Crossing off completed jobs is a big thing in my mind!

Even just writing down small jobs such as writing a letter or getting a card off in the mail, or placing a call-in or online order helps to get those things accomplished! When there’s a day that doesn’t look as busy, try making a note for a few smaller jobs like those and see how good it feels to get that done! When I near the end of one week, I usually have an idea of what the next week is looking like. That’s helpful for when my husband or someone asks, what do you have going next week? Could you help with…? Mentally I think of my planner and what the week looks like. If it’s not full of urgent pressing things, then I feel I can plan around that event and make it suit.

When I think of jobs I would like to do but can’t right now, I like to page ahead in my planner and make a note of those jobs several weeks or a month or more out. It saves my mind, and yet keeps me from forgetting entirely! (keeping a list of ‘running’ jobs on a sticky note is helpful, because you can keep moving the whole list to the following weeks, if you aren’t able to get the projects completed) And yet it’s there for a reminder when time does allow to work on some of those jobs.

I also love a planner for keeping track of my turn on church schedules. As soon as I get a new list, I go to my planner and write it down in the week that I’m on for Sunday host, or cleaning church, or taking a meal for someone and so on. I still highlight our name on the list, but again, this way I can forget about it, knowing I’ll be reminded as I get closer to that week.

If your not a paper type of person, that’s fine. Maybe you make notes on your phone for reminders and that works too. I hate using my phone for reminders but that’s because I’m not techy enough! (I have already out of desperation). But I like my paper that doesn’t disappear or refuse to cooperate!

I find using a planner also helps that I don’t just aimlessly go in circles forgetting what I really wanted to accomplish that day. It still feels like that sometimes and for sure, there are days I don’t get everything done I wrote down! (That’s why I use pencils!) And I need to be ok with that! Interruptions are the normal aren’t they?! Its also nice to just block off a day to just ‘take it a lil easier’. Jerald frequently chides me that I ought to just relax a bit more. And it sure helps if I plan ahead for that, or otherwise, I can think, “oh hey I’d have time to do this, and this and this! And before I know it, I get all involved in something that I never even planned to do! (I hate procrastination!) But I’m a bit too much the opposite! If it helps me out tomorrow, why not do it today?! Moderation in all things.

Have you been inspired to try a Planner this next year? Choose a style you like and give it a try! (You can purchase the Time Keeper here).

I will be giving away this Time Keeper planner! If you would like to be entered for the drawing send an email to with your name and address by Sunday, December 6. (If you receive my blog via email do not reply to this post but instead send me a separate email).

Happy planning!