Wednesday, September 11, 2019

18 Years After the 9-11 Attack on America

18 Years After the 9-11 Attack on America
Today is the 18th anniversary of 9/11, the biggest attack on American soil
An attack that took the lives of many that day and also later days
A day of tragedy firmly entrenched in the minds of Americans
And a day that motivated a wonderful sense of patriotism in the country

I remember the day when a call from my husband interrupted our homeschooling
As he said to turn the tv on and watch ... it’s horrible... so we did
And tried to understand as we watched a plane crash into the tower
Thinking it was a video, but realizing we were watching a new attack

The tears came suddenly as the shock of the unthinkable froze us
Horror that such could happen in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave
Not sure if we should really believe it, yet we saw it ourselves in real time
Wondering what else could happen and were we safe

The horror continued as news came in and pictures were shown
As the country tried to understand this second attack wondering what was next
The newsman who said American is not under attack, this is in New York
Provoked an indignant response in me of Yes,they ARE attacking us

Because though we don’t live in New York and are farther away
New York is one of us and the attacks seemed deliberate even then
Attacking one part of the country meant that no part of the country was safe
Little was known at the time, but it was obvious Americans WERE being attacked

I had already planned to go to the store that day for needed groceries
So went earlier than planned with my children, finding the highways and roads empty
Feeling a fear of the unreal and unknown as there should have been many out
Seeing familiar scenes all coated in the dark dread of the unknown

Hurriedly buying groceries and heading quickly back to the familiar safety of home
Yearning to have my husband there also, but waiting for him to call
Holding my kids while tears streamed down my face, so thankful to have them
Praying for those in danger and asking that many would be rescued

A day of waiting, watching, praying and wondering what it all would mean
It was a day that fear crept right into our house and hearts and we cried
And still we watched desperately wanting a good outcome for more people
As the reality of the losses became more and more evident

Thankful someone finally echoed my thoughts and said America IS under attack
And feeling a oneness with other Americans who felt united in grief
So glad when my husband came home and for the crushing hug he gave me
As we clung to each other in sorrow with tears flowing down our cheeks

The next day was my oldest son’s birthday and usually a time for joy
He hated that the day after was his birthday and for years it has been a hard day
So young to be touched even in a small way by the evil that visited
His birthday ever after so close to a day tainted with harsh memories

The days after were equally sad as details came out of more tragedies and losses
As hope turned to acceptance and grief to angry outrage
Feeling a need to keep this from ever happening again, but not sure how
Seeing flags all over as patriotism united Americans and we cared about each other

God was an acceptable subject then as so many called out to Him for help
Flying flags, helping, comforting and listening to others became the new norm
Making me and so many others proud to be an American
Knowing we were united and would move forward in that unity

Many grieved and still do as the losses were deeply felt
But what has happened to our country that was attacked by religious zealots
Determined to kill any who disagree with them and furthering their agenda
That those from that same religion now hold offices in this country they attacked

So quickly we have forgotten what evil is so motivated to do
As we open borders and invite in those who come to infiltrate not find sanctuary
Many eyes are closed to the look of the future as more control taken by that religion
Of those not contented to worship in freedom, but driven to conquer and control

Why are we so foolish and caught up in entertaining ourselves that we do not see
The dangers around us and the freedoms being given away and also taken
Someday we will open our eyes in horror wondering how it could have happened
Though we willingly live anesthetized lives uncaring that history is repeating itself

Only God can fix the damage done because of hardened hearts and foolish minds
Of those content to live in the moment but oblivious to the future implications
Babies killed, tolerance for some, freedoms surrendered, addictions practiced
Claiming many freedoms, but missing the point of what freedom really means

      May we learn to be sober, be vigilant and watchful. Do you have memories of that day? Maybe you lost someone on that day... or remember where you were when you heard. I'd love to hear about it in the comments.  Thank you for visiting. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Running the Race....

Life has so many difficulties, yet God is always faithful. We are running...
running a race...

a race that is bigger than us and our concerns
a race that is very important
and a race that God has allowed us to run, so He will equip us.

No, it doesn't mean it is easy and sometimes it is terribly hard.
Carrying extra burdens makes it harder.
Maybe we have some burdens, some "weights" to set aside.

Are we carrying worries, fears, regrets, disappointments, sadness, anger, other emotions... complacency, bitterness, selfishness, desire for stuff, dissatisfaction and more?
Even one extra "weight" can hinder and many of them can disable us.

Those that hinder us in our "race" are not good for us.
Maybe it is time to deal with those.
Not an easy thing, but definitely worth it.

     I want to honor God in how I run this race... and I hope you do too. I would love to hear from you
in the comments. Are you in a difficult "race"?  Have you set aside some "weights"? Are there some you still need to set aside?

                   I hope you see God's hand in your life... even in the midst of difficulty.
                                                What an amazing God we serve.

                                                     Thank you for visiting today.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Root Beer Cookies

  Root Beer Cookies?  Hmmm...  That sounds different.....

  Our family was in need of something a bit different... a little fun and since the guys all like root beer, I figured they would love these.

 They had to try some of the unfrosted ones...

The root beer frosting added the extra bit of flavor these cookies needed.

 If cookies are frosted this generously, you will run out of frosting unless you make extra!

The cookies with more frosting were the most popular.


 A cake-like cookie with some extra sweetness and moisture added with the frosting.

They freeze well, even frosted.

                                 Root Beer Cookies

 3 cups brown sugar
 2 cups soft butter.....................  cream together
 4 eggs
 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
 4 tsp. root beer extract.............mix in
 7 cups flour
 2 tsp. baking soda
 2 tsp. salt..................................mix in

 Drop cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 min... check and leave in oven for another minute or two if necessary. Don't over bake.

    Root Beer Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
3 tsp. root beer extract
4 Tbsp hot water............................... Mix until smooth

Frost cookies.... the frosting makes quite a lot, but it goes fast, so you will end up with unfrosted cookies if you frost too generously.... we did.


 Reviews on these Root Beer Frosting cookies were mixed.... most liked them, especially fresh out of the oven.... and especially with the frosting although they were also enjoyed without frosting. Some loved these cookies.

The cookies are cake-like so appealed to those who like cake more... those who like moist chewy cookies didn't care for them as much.

They do take a lot of butter... almost 1 1/2 pounds between the cookie dough and frosting.

Thank you for visiting. You may also be interested in another cookie recipe:

Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to Make: ICE MARBLES!

 Ice Marbles

 Fun and easy....  Just put water in balloons and freeze them. You can add food coloring if you like. In these, I put some liquid food coloring in the opening of the balloon, then attached the end to the kitchen sink faucet and filled it, tying off after.

The balloons I used were old ones and they kept breaking, but worked anyway. Since they were so old, the balloons made flatter marbles than the ones we made in another post called: 
Frozen Water Balloons!           

We put them in stainless steel bowls and trays because the balloons were very hard to carry and we didn't want them to break. We put ours outside in the cold as it was bitterly cold. These could also be made in the summer, using the freezer, for a summer activity.

 Some balloons had and an air pocket and some showed the neck of the balloon.

Some had cracks which made them look even more like marbles.

After peeling the balloons off of the ice marbles, we took them back out to the cold to keep them from melting.

 This one cracked a lot, but stayed together and we liked the patterns.

This orange ice marble was not totally frozen inside. Though they were out for 24 hours in very deep cold, I had 3 big balloons nestled together in a large bowl and I had used warm water to get a clearer ice marble, so that is probably why it wasn't totally frozen.

This looks like an ice cave and we enjoyed seeing the crystals and patterns after the water left.

These are a good project.... fun and easy. Kids and adults both enjoy seeing them. We have put these along a walkway in the winter and they last quite a while if the weather stays cold.

Enjoy the precious times with making memories with your family... they are so important.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Swamp Pie - The updated version....

Swamp Pie.... No, it doesn't sound very appetizing, but it is something that has become special to my family. There was the original Swamp Pie which is how it all started, but I decided to do an updated version and we all agree it tastes even better than the original, though the original was good too. You can read about the original Swamp Pie post here: WHAT Is Swamp Pie???

The updated version of Swamp Pie adds just a bit more richness and flavor to balance out the sweetness and we think it is a big improvement, although my family likes both. We do not have Swamp Pie often, but every once in a while someone says, "Remember when you used to make Swamp Pie?" and we decide to have it again. The most recent time was several months ago and as a bit of fun we decided to make it since all of the family would be together for the meal. Our oldest son brought the girl who is now his wife. I was a bit concerned that she would think we are really strange because of having a dessert like that, especially with the name, but we all laughed about the story of the Swamp Pie and enjoyed our time.

Birthdays at our house are simple, but special. The birthday person gets to choose the meal, the dessert and the activity.  I laughed when my new daughter in law chose Swamp Pie for her birthday and we look forward to celebrating that birthday with her.

The new version of Swamp Pie has a graham cracker crust then I added a special cream cheese layer before putting the Pistachio Pudding on it. Then topped it off with frozen whipped topping. These are not huge changes, but they sure make the dessert even better. So, I think Swamp Pie will be a part of our family for a very long time.   :)   


                              Swamp Pie- The updated version.....

               This "pie" is very easy to make and doesn't take long either. Great for any age.

                             2 packs graham crackers(of the packs inside a box)    Crush them
                             1/4 cup sugar
                             2/3 cup melted butter
    Mix together, pat into greased 9"x 13" or 10" x 15" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool.

                              2-8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
                              1/2 cup powdered sugar....................Mix cream cheese and sugar well w/ mixer
                              4 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed............... Fold whipped topping in gently and spread over cooled crust. I can't always wait until it is fulling cooled and that works also.  :) 

                              2-3.4 oz packages Pistachio Pudding
                              4 cups milk
   Whisk or beat for 2 minutes, then pour over cream cheese layer.

                               4 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed 
                                     Spread over pudding. Chill then serve.

               Swamp Pie recipe by Gentle Joy Homemaker.

 It's a pretty easy recipe... and fun for the whole family. If you do make it, I would love to hear how you like it.... and if you prefer the original version or the updated version better. 

   Foods like this form the memories which tie our family together and memories of past fun are enjoyed again as we have a fun treat. I have learned, though, to be careful to develop a name for the desserts I make up because otherwise the kids will name them. (sigh).  If I had named this dessert, I would never have chosen "Swamp Pie", but now it seems to fit... and it is fun. 

   Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful week. 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy visiting my other blog also. I love photography and my photography blog has lots of nature pictures to enjoy. Find it here:  Gentle Joy Photography 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Living in the Country!

We have had a dream for many years.... of living in the country. The Lord didn't allow it until just a few months ago. What a blessing to be here and to be putting in our gardens, blueberry bushes and more. In this post, I am simply sharing some of the beauty of country scenes that we enjoy.

Living in the country has been a time of discovery for us... discovering our own woodland area... it is small, but new to us. Also as spring is finally here, we are seeing what is growing wild on our land... like gooseberry bushes (we have never had those, so we will be learning), may apples (another new thing) and more. 

The purple fields are not ours, but they are so beautiful to see. 

 We have tire swings now.   :) 

 Sunsets, early mist or fog, early morning shadows, old barns, new barns, animals, birds, fields.... I love taking pictures of all of them!   :)

If you have read my blogs for any length of time, you know that I LOVE to take pictures. It is fun to have so many new scenes to see and enjoy!

 We do have a small barn - actually it is a shed built to look like a barn, but it's great for pictures as well as storage.

 This guy was on our property... about 30 feet from the house when we saw him. He left quickly, but I was glad to get a couple of pictures of him.

 The bird songs are amazing and we are hearing more of them now that spring is finally here.

 We have finches, mockingbirds, blue birds and more. They are beautiful.

We aren't nearly as excited about the large numbers of blue jays (19 on the front yard one morning!), black birds and starlings.  We accept the good...and the frustrating though. :)

 The farmland is beautiful (and smelly in the spring, but that is part of country living!) .

 Another photo of our large buck....

 We have 2 1/2 acres which is 10 times the land we had in the city. We are loving it.... and staying very busy!  We are already using this property a lot and look forward to what we can do with it.

 There have been many unexpected expenses since we moved .....frozen pipes and flooded driveway in the deep cold, very high electric bills for heating in this very cold winter, and more.... so we are really hoping to save some money with harvesting our own fruits and vegetables. There is a lot of work involved and we are tired, but it is exciting too.

 I liked how this photo turned out even though it isn't a usual photo. I am enjoying snapping many pictures and experimenting.

 Peach blossoms, apple tree and the beds for our blueberry bushes. This picture shows a few that are planted and my husband is trying to get 6 in the ground each evening after work. I would love to take you on a tour of our whole property... and I'm sure I will over the next few months.  :)  

We had many gardens in the city and I brought many plants to our "new" home..... sadly, we lost almost all of them as we didn't realize the garage freezes things and so I lost my starts to my herbs, flowers and more. There were no real garden beds at this house... just a decorative one in the front that had some grasses and shrubs, so we are really starting fresh. We have put in a garden plot that is rather unusual, but I think it will work for us... no pictures of that yet, but they will be coming in a future post. You know how much I blog about gardening!!!!   :) 

Anyway, it is so good to be back... thank you for joining me today and I look forward to reading your comments. Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHAT Is Swamp Pie???

 Swamp Pie?   WHAT?????   What is Swamp Pie?      Who would ever want to eat Swamp Pie?  Ewww! The name alone conjures up images of things no one would want in a pie. Hmmm.....

Well, swamp pie came about because years ago, I wanted to come up with a quick dessert for my family and needed to use what was in my cupboard because I had no extra money for a treat and couldn't get to the store. I don't remember the occasion... maybe just to encourage my husband, but I knew we wanted a treat for the meal.

The cupboards had food, but not much in the way of extras and money was quite tight, so I wasn't sure what I would find... we were out of so many things. I did find a couple of things that someone had given to me, that hadn't been used yet....  so decided I could make a quick and easy dessert... and I knew the kids would like it and I hoped my husband would too. My many children were quite young at the time and rather excited about the strange looking pie.

My family loved the treat and the kids kept asking what it was called. I told them it didn't have a name. That bothered them and they promptly dubbed it Swamp Pie, amid many giggles. The name stuck... and the name couldn't be changed after that, though I admit that I tried. 🙂  It became one of our funny family stories.

Those 2 ingredients? ....................... A graham cracker crust and a box of pistachio pudding mix.

We made swamp pie a few times after that first time and the kids loved it. One child even chose that for their birthday "cake" a couple of years. I haven't made it for a long time and had forgotten all about Swamp Pie until recently and decided to make it as a treat for my family.

 Our oldest son, who lives on his own, was home and we talked about Swamp Pie because I was planning to make it the next week. He was on his phone and not paying attention to the conversation, but when he heard the words, Swamp Pie, he perked up and asked "What? What is Swamp Pie?" He said it sounded familiar and he knew he should know, but couldn't remember. It was obvious that the memory was a pleasant one.... and we made sure we would have it when he could be here.

When I made Swamp Pie the first time, I just mixed the pudding as the box said and dumped it in and chilled it. It was a bit messy, which added to the appeal for the kids.

When I made it this time, I lessened the amount of milk I put in the pudding and it set up better. Either way, works fine.

This time, I made 2 pies for my family of big eaters... and they were enjoyed. We laughed about the silly name and how it seemed so intriguing and daring to them when they named the pie years ago.

What a fun memory.


                                      SWAMP PIE!
                                             A super simple recipe and a tasty treat.

        1 ready made graham cracker pie crust

        2 boxes of Pistachio Pudding
        2-3 cups of milk............................. Whisk pudding mix and milk until thickened
                                                                 Pour into pie crust and chill.
                                                                 Serve and enjoy!

              Gentle Joy Homemaker               


That's it... it really is super simple.... and yet has a fun name. It was enjoyable to bring that memory back to our family again. A small thing, yet those small things bind us together... What a blessing. I also have to admit that Swamp Pie does sound more interesting than Pistachio Pie, although I'm sure some would argue the point! I never would have chosen such a name, but now it fits. Either way, we sure enjoyed it!

Thank you for visiting.... and I hope you will enjoy a slice of Swamp Pie... at least once.   😀

Check out this variation of Swamp Pie on this link..... .  :)  

Swamp Pie.. The updated version....

If you enjoy what you read on Gentle Joy Homemaker, you may want to check out my other blog:

Gentle Joy Photography

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"Breakfast on the Go" Muffins #2 'Mostly Savory'

I have a large family and work times vary, so breakfasts are hurried and eaten individually, for the most part. Not everyone gets up or leaves at the same times. l have been trying to create some healthier and quick muffins that will fill my guys up and help them to not skip breakfast because of lack of time to fix something. Of course, the girls and I will enjoy them too, but in lesser amounts. :)

My first "Breakfast on the Go" Muffin was a little sweet and my family loved it. You can read about it and find the recipe here:
   "Breakfast on the Go" Muffins 'A Little Sweet'

This muffin isn't sweet, it is savory. It is packed with meat, cheese, seeds, veggies and more. This one passed the family test also. 

For the first "Breakfast on the Go" Muffin, we mixed up a basic muffin batter and added the rest of the ingredients. For this muffin, we put ALL of the ingredients in and mixed it up at the end! Not the normal way to do it, but it worked.... so either way will work.  :) 

I made 4 batches of the recipe I have in this post. Like I said, I have a big family and I like to have some muffins in the freezer, so I made a big amount of them.

I put everything in at the same time and just mixed it that way. It simplified making the muffins. It was a bit challenging to stir in because I made such a large batch, but it worked fine.

The batter is thick and chunky and it is easy to spoon it into the muffin cups.

I feel guilty sharing this, but I will anyway. We sprayed the bottom of the muffin cups to keep them from sticking. I don't like doing that, but it does help the muffin papers to come off the muffin quite easily.

A couple of years ago, I found these brown baking cups at a garage sale. There are 500 muffin cups in a box! They were $2.50 each box. I went ahead and bought 3 of them, joking about it being a lifetime supply for me.

 Well, we went through 101 of them today! What a blessing that special deal has been to me.  :)  Special deals like that come rather seldom, which is why I bought 3 of them. I sure am glad I did now. 

A fork works well to take the hot muffins from the pan to put them on cooling racks.

The cranberries are rather tart in here, but we liked them.

TIP-Buy extra bags of fresh cranberries at the end of the Thanksgiving season and keep them in the freezer. They are easy to pull out for recipes like this. Sometimes, they even mark the price down, although I have found that to be rare.

Like I said, I made 101 muffins today and here are most of them. There were several eaten for "testing purposes" :)   and also for lunch since I didn't make any with all of the other cooking and baking going on today. It was a very busy Saturday.

We are in "birthday season" where we have 4 family birthdays in a little over 2 weeks! I am quite busy with school, birthday cakes and gifts, regular household and family responsibilities and more, and we just didn't get lunch made. Everyone made it until supper though, with a muffin for a snack. :)


             Gentle Joy Homemaker


      "Breakfast on the Go" Muffins #2   'Mostly Savory'

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced green pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup Chicken Bits   (Recipe here:  How to Make CHICKEN BITS! ) 
                            You can also used cut up chicken... or bacon bits.
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup millet seed
1/8 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flax seed meal (flax seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder)
1 1/4 cup cranberries (can use frozen or soak dried ones in hot water for 15 min to plump up, drain
                              water and use the berries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
                  ...........................................Stir all together gently, but thoroughly,  in a large bowl.
                                                            Spoon batter into greased muffin cups. Makes 2 dozen muffins

                                                             Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
                                                             Remove from muffin pans and cool on wire racks.

                                                 These store well in a zipper freezer bag.

       I know there are a lot of ingredients here... my purpose was to make a healthier and filling muffin that was different from the first "Breakfast on the Go" Muffin. I liked having a lot of veggies and seeds in this. What started as a recipe to make 1 dozen muffins became one that makes 2 dozen!!  :)

Gentle Joy Homemaker                                    www.


I am so glad to have these "Breakfast on the Go" #2 - Mostly Savory' muffins in the freezer... and I need to make more of the Breakfast on the Go Muffins - 'A Little Sweet' to put in there also. I hope to get ahead on some of these, so that breakfasts will be easier for a while.  :)

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful week.

The other posts mentioned in this post are:

"Breakfast on the Go" Muffins - 'A Little Sweet'


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