Journeys of My Heart… in the Kitchen

Want to settle in with some fun new ideas from your kitchen?  With all the rain we have had in my part of the world, getting in the kitchen is something fun and cozy to do!  It always reminds of me of mom when I try a new recipe.  I don’t collect recipes like my mom used to, but I do like new recipes that are simple.  My mom had a drawer FULL of them from newspapers, magazines, or hand written from friends, and her recipe box was full too!  But you know, money was tight and those recipe books weren’t out there so readily as they are today.  There was no internet to look them up either!  But… I find that the older I get, the more like her in the recipe department I get!  So let me share a couple with you!

This is something that could be used as an appetizer, or breakfast, or like myself tonight, I used it as our dinner.

Sausage Muffins

  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 pound cooked sausage
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • Blend together
  • Spoon into a muffin/cupcake tin to almost the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Here is another one that I used on Easter as our dessert.  I was asked for this recipe also, so here it is!

Brownies Extraordinaire  (Don’t remember the exact name, but it fits!)

  • 1 package Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Chunk Decadent Brownie Mix
  • Water, oil, and eggs called for on the brownie mix box (used the cake like brownie)
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup rice krispies
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8×8 inch baking pan.  (I used a round cake pan, because I wanted it to look like a cake)
  • Combine brownie mix with water and oil and eggs in a large bowl with a wood spoon until blended.  Spread batter into the pan.  Bake 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle marshmallows on hot brownies and return to the oven for 3 minutes or until marshmallows are softened.  Remove from the oven and place pan on wire rack.
  • Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Stir in rice krispies.  Spread chocolate mixture over marshmallow layer.
  • Cool on wire rack 20 minutes and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled.  Cute into bars.

It’s fun to find these gems that are easy, yet unique.  And… anytime I can bring memories of home to my heart and mind, its a good thing!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

From my escapes to the kitchen, to your my heart and soul…

~JoAnn

“Kos”: A Way of Life

IMG_3789IMG_2953Knock…knock…come on in!  I have a story to tell!  The other day I did a happy dance because I received a book in the mail that I was so wanting.  It is all about making the Scandinavian waffle; not just a waffle, but all kinds of ways to serve the waffle.  I was very excited!  I tasted the Norwegian waffle while on my visit to Norway.  In the wonderful hospitality of my cousins, it was served like a dessert waffle with a jam and whipped cream on top and each one was heart-shaped.  They were very, very good and had a touch of cardamom flavor.  What a treat!  I immediately wanted the recipe.  I have a couple other books and recipes, and now, I have this book. I have learned the history of waffles also.  And the recipes!!  That is really fun!However, there was a word in this book that really grabbed my heart.  My soul immediately resonated with it.  I have been familiar with its feeling, and always leaned this way in my daily life and IMG_3725living.  But this word description put the finger on the pulse when I read it.  It is described as the Norwegian word “Kos”.  As with many languages, sometimes it takes many words to understand the meaning of one foreign word used, and this word is no exception.  If we tried to translate it, it seems the word “cozy” would best work.  Sort of…but not really.  It is really described as more of a life style.  It’s about the quality of life we live and making an atmosphere that totally makes you feel like, this is the life!  This is what it’s about.  But she talks about “Kos” not just being about the home, it’s also about getting together for coffee, or when you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or sharing a bonfire with snacks or hotdogs together with friends, neighbors and family.  It is also about being out in nature on a walk or hike, or sitting on a deck and just enjoying what you see around you.  Hearing the sounds, and breathing in life.

I remember sitting on the porch after arriving in Norway, at my cousin’s house, and we all just sat on the porch and took in the sights of the fjord, the sunset, and…coffee… with cake.  And…conversation.  We would also sit on the back porch in the mornings with our coffee and enjoy the view of the mountains and nature.  I felt that same feeling when I went with _DSF4797other cousins, to see my grandfather’s church, and where his siblings and family attended, were confirmed, and lived their life.  I walked the road where my grandfather walked and then went up the hill to where his house was.  I traveled with other cousins to learn of my father’s mother and her life in Norway, and my great-uncle, who was a pastor, and gave his life to ministry in Norway, and later in the US.  I walked inside of the house where my great-grandmother, grandmother and her sister lived.  That was on my mom’s side._DSF5052  I could imagine for a while what their life was like and how hard their life was.  I could also look out the window at the beautiful mountains across the valley.  I stood there a moment trying to imagine them waking up to that view every day!  What a view a view it was.  Did they stand at the window and dream about a time when they would leave these mountains and come to the land of plenty?  Did they dream about a way to make a better life for themselves and for their family by leaving Norway?  Maybe they prayed for provision and food enough to get by?  Maybe their prayers were answered by our presence there that day.  Stories…do we know them, or are we too busy to gather around small tables by oil light to listen? (I will allow you an electrical light too, or, candles are welcomed). Can we slow down enough to hear the stories?  Everyone has one.

I think “Kos” isn’t about the just looking and seeing, it is about the appreciating it all; having a heart response.  It is about taking time to give your heart and life a chance to slow down; take it in.  That is “Kos”.  It is about living in the moment.  Right now.  It is like sitting by a window or out on the porch at night, lighting a candle and enjoying the evening with a cup of your favorite thing…for me it would be a mocha or tea.  Finding complete satisfaction in the moment.  Feeling like this is what life is IMG_3726about.  Whether by yourself, or with others, it is about squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of each moment lived.  For me, one of them just recently was laying on the floor with my grandson and just talking and giggling.  Listening to his story.  I can remember many days going to my grandpa and grandma’s house after school and sometimes just sitting there in a rocker and rocking back and forth, the Generator wall clock is sharing it’s “tick-tock, tick-tock”, and the quiet…we just enjoyed being together.  I have memories of my grandfather taking the time to teach me how to play solitaire.  I play a game on my phone before I go to bed each night in his honor.  Time.  We all have it.  What are we doing with it?

I remember going on a hike up the mountain in Norway and as we approached this mountain cabin, there was a small group of friends that were outside and eating IMG_3723their lunch together.  They invited on in to share the circle with them.  We ate our snacks there and they offered us cookies and coffee.  Here we sat, strangers to them, my son and I, and yet they invited us in like they had known us for a long time.  We were invited into the cabin for a tour.  My heart fell in love with this cabin on the mountain.  It squeezed my heart a little to leave, but I left feeling the “Kos” that day for many reasons.  Walking back down the mountain, it WAS hard to put into words.  But I know the feeling because my heart recognizes it.

So today, I am writing this post to not only teach you a new word, but to encourage you to put some “Kos” in your life.  Figure out what that means for you, and then add it into your life style.  Bring the outside in.  Take your inside out.  You know that I love nothing more than to sit on a covered deck, even in the rain.  I enjoy the sound of the rain, and watching the flowers stand up straighter after a rain, the lawn becomes greener, and the air is fresh.  Our culture is getting too busy for “Kos”.  It should not be so.  Slow it on down!  Put the breaks on.  Hang a light in the window, take your shoes off and enjoy the steam from a hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea.  Breathe in the moment and then say thanks.  Invite someone in to enjoy this time with you.  Make “Kos” your lifestyle.

_DSF4843I thank my Norwegian relatives for reminding me once again what life is about and what is important.  I think God wants us to live this way.  It was never His plan to be running so fast that we run away from life instead of running to it.  We are running so hard that we forget to look around us at nature and what God has given us.  We can’t even hear Him because we are too busy moving on to the next thing.  I came back home with a reinforced perspective about this area of my life!  I am passionate about it!  I implement it in my home as well.  I now understand why. It was how I was brought up.  But it still takes ME to implement it.  When we allow it, our heart and soul will speak.  When it does, we have no choice but to listen and follow if we want harmony in our lives.

I want “Kos” in every area of my life.  What about you?  See that picture to the left?  This is a road trip we took and we stopped for coffee and cake along the roadside.  What a way to travel!  Now that is “Kos”!  Getting the idea?

Walking the “Kos” journey with you…

Making Yourself At Home – Part 1

IMG_2240IMG_1234I am excited and happy to share some ideas about making yourself at home, in YOUR home.  Let me just say that it doesn’t matter if you are in a house, a manufactured home, a cabin, a simple apartment or a high-end apartment, or a tiny house, you can make it into something that feels like home when you or your guests walk inside the door!  I hope you will find some fun and creative ideas over the next few posts.  As you may know, some places are just a place to live, and others are places that are more like a trip to one of your favorite places.  So let’s dream a little and see what we can come up with for your situation.

I’m a vintage gal.  I think back to the time of growing up and our home place.  My mom wasn’t an interior decorator by any definition, but she loved to try different things in the home to make it more comfortable, attractive for herself, and anyone that came to visit.  She didn’t have lots of money to work with but she made things she could make to add that special touch.   She even had such things as a big chest freezer in our kitchen to deal with!  Working around objects like that made it hard to have that country kitchen that I think she would have liked to have.  But she would often put a cloth on the top, and add something pretty to the top just to give her something else to look at.  As kids, we never knew what we may come home to.  We might have newly wallpapered walls, completely changed decor on the wall, and furniture all changed around.  It was always interesting to see her sense of adventure play out in our home.IMG_1228

IMG_2298I can recall viewing “homemaking” as something a wife was supposed to do with the home and family, but not always about how the home looked and felt.  When I think of my home, I want to be surrounded by things I like and enjoy, family heirlooms, and things that motivate me.  When I see that in my home, it lightens my mood, I feel gratitude, and I have a deep sense of well-being in my surroundings.  So I spend time keeping my home in that state so that I can enjoy it. But, I also want for others to feel welcome the minute they step in the door.  It is kind of like arms open wide to welcome me or a guest home every time the door opens.  It’s not just a house and roof I live under, it is my sweet spot.  Now, before you think that I have this great home, I have a home that was built in 1971 and a typical rambler.  I won’t even begin to tell you how it looked when we got it.  I had walls that were all different colors and none of them went together!  Old cabinets, small kitchen, and it was a previous smoker’s home.  It required a lot of work but the transformation has been so rewarding!  Decorating your home, for the most part, is a process.  You make changes little by little.  That is what we have done and I am very pleased with its cozy and comfort atmosphere.

841055_10200530283599980_1390792160_oSo…where do you start?  I have been married to my sweetie now for 17 years, and in that 17 years, we have moved 11 times.  However, each time, with each house had a different personality.  I have looked at the house and designed what I wanted each house to look like.  I had to change some things up quite a bit sometimes, but each time I knew the look and feel I wanted in my home.  I like a cozy, warm and inviting look.  Sometimes others have said it looks like an antique shop that they like to come in and look around to see what has been added or changed.IMG_6102But all who have come in have usually mentioned how welcoming my home is and they always feel so relaxed when they come.  That is the key for me when it comes to my house.  But as hostess in my home, I feel it reflects how my hubby and I want it to look and feel.  So, stop in your reading a bit and think about what it is you want your home to look like and what environment you want to have.  You want it to be a place you can work, play, cook, relax, and do the things which you enjoy.  Each of you will be different.  That is the joy of decorating…no one will be the same.IMG_0885

Take a look at where you live.  We usually have ideas of how we would like it to look if we allow ourselves to dream a bit.  Here are some points to consider:

  • What do you want your home to be?
  • What are your dreams of how you want(ed) it to be?
  • How will you use your home?
    • Will it be for you and family mostly?
    •  Will you entertain quite a bit?
    • Will it be used for work?
    • Ministry?
  • Do you like clean lines in the home with not many things out?
  • Do you like to have your utensils out so they are easy to get when you are cooking?
  • Appliances or no appliances out on the counters?
  • Do you like to see books, an open book, or even a puzzle in process?
  • Do you like antiques?  Modern look?  Retro?
  • Is there kids that will be in your home?  They sometimes like stools and small chairs to sit on.
  • Is there a man in the home that prefers larger pieces of furniture to sit in for comfort?
  • Is there a woman who likes to sit in something where her feet hit the floor?  (Me!)
  • What about your lighting?  You want good lighting if you do handiwork, or reading and so well placed lights are important.
  • Do you like something soft to put your feet on first thing in the morning?  Then you might want to add a furry rug to your side of the bed.

When you start considering these things, then you will be making a home comfortable for all.  I like Afghans in my home and I like them draped over the end of a couch or chair.  Hubby doesn’t like that.  So I have smaller throws that I have made that makes it easy to pull them up for an extra warmth, but not something that my hubby has to move around.  And I use them in the place I sit and not on his chair.  IMG_0929When we put in our gas fireplace/stove, I wanted to make sure we could enjoy it from where ever we were sitting in the living room and even the kitchen as I cooked.  So that was a big10472690_10204325035506406_3275917140237936182_n consideration to its placement in our home.  Not just where it would fit best, but where it could be enjoyed most was also a consideration. My house is overflowing with heirlooms from my life, my hubby’s life, my parents and grandparents lives and our antique shopping. When you consider these areas of a home, you want to feel like there is no place like home and you like well enough to stay there and enjoy it.   Maybe even prefer it to going out somewhere.  

I like home objects that really touch the inner places of my soul and lift my spirits.  It may be a candle burning, essential oils diffusing, flowers in a vase, soft music in the back ground, running water from my rain chain that I can hear when my door is open, the smell of bread or something cooking, working in my office, and a mocha in my hand.  I love taking pictures of these cozy places.  Those are the things within my home that make me happy.  This is what bring happiness in to my life.  You could find me at times dancing through my house apply to have my little home on the hill.  If I can share that with someone else, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude.  I just finished putting a “new to me” desk in my office and it gives me great pleasure to sit right here at that desk in my office, surrounded by objects that encourage me and uplift me even now, as I write this post.  Each of my rooms reflects a bit different personality because of the items that are in that room.  But, I will share a little more about that next time.  

If you are already happy with your home decor, don’t stop reading but maybe consider ways you could change a few things up based on ideas here.  Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments.  I hope that you will find these next few posts will cause you to want to step in a little deeper with making yourself at home!

Walking the journey with you…

 

What Are Your Reminders?

 

IMG_5563Recently, I read a blog about post-it notes and how this blogger, BecktoBasics, used them in her daily life and how it reminded her of other things she had in her home that were reminders also.  It got me to thinking.  I happen to use them in my office quite a bit.  My whole house is full of thoughts, reminders, encouragement, and love and so I thought I would share some of them with you.  Maybe it will spur you on to share some of your own!  The above photo is one of my reminders that I wear daily.  Pray Always.  My husband has a matching ring that I presented to us for our 10th anniversary.  I put his on his finger, and he put mine on my hand.

So here are some of mine from my home…

P1020173  In my office:

  • Find the Wonderful in Today
  • Live with Passion
  • Lights, Camera, Action
  • Light – word for the year one year
  • Journey – my life word
  • Believe –
  • God Speed – something my pastors who were my growing up pastor and his son who was my pastor for early adult years said to me each Sunday.
  • Faith
  • Dream
  • Love
  • Enjoy the Journey
  • Celebrate – word of the year one year
  • The Rest of Your Life Begins Today – hangs up above my door going out of my office
  • Imagine – The larger word sits in my window sill of my office
  • Everything is possible for him who believes
  • All hail love
  • Do one thing everyday that makes you happy – quilted and framed
  • Focus – 2015 word of the year

P1020077  In my kitchen:

  • Joy
  • Christ is the head of this house – by the kitchen window
  • Have you prayed about it? – I see it above my stove.
  • Fresh – above my stove
  • Norwegian Prayer – from my son – hangs on my wall by the coffee/mocha maker
  • God Bless Our Home
  • Livingroom:
  • Every day is a gift
  • Trust, Love, Faith, Hope – decorative balls w/the word and bible verse, that lay in a wooden bowl on the coffee tableIMG_2774

 

Hallway:

  • Home Sweet Home where each lives for the other and they all live for Christ. – From my parent’s home and now in mine.
  • Always Kiss Me Good Night – reminder to my hubby and I

Bathroom:

  • Blest are those who trust in the Lord
  • A Christian Friend is…

Bedroom:

  • Renew
  • Marriage Prayer

I have always been one to encourage myself through visual reminders and these in my home are part of my day.  I DO read them when I go by.  It’s part of my devotions and living in gratitude each day.  I also have colored glass that I enjoy seeing the light pass through.  Reminds me who my Light is and what He has done for me.  Sometimes God will bless us through a sign we read as we are driving somewhere.  There are many, many opportunities to be encouraged.  I hope this has inspired you to read your reminders and maybe share some of them here!  God bless you through your many reminders this week!

Walking the journey with you…

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