Meal Ideas For The Busy Parent





I’m going back to school this Fall. Hopefully it will be my last semester there for a while and I will graduate in December. Hopefully.

I panicked today thinking about meals and being gone from home all day three days a week. I’ve been at home all day for a long time and thinking of making meals ahead is not new to me but it kind of sneaked up on me. Or maybe it snuck up.

Anyway, I am making plans. the first plan is to purchase a ….microwave!   I haven’t had one in about 6 years. Every person in the house has groaned about it at least once, including me. Maybe we won’t get all nuclearized. I think we’ll get a very small one and take our chances. Because I am all for quick and stress-free meal prep right about now.

Next thing on my agenda is to put together make-ahead breakfasts.  I will get these recipes on the blog as soon as I have some good pics of them.  Here is what I have so far:

Cranberry-Nut bread

Boiled Eggs on English Muffins with Cheese and Herbs and Stuff.  I need a shorter name for that one.

Sausage and Potato Hand Pies. Kind of a homemade hot pocket/Cornish pasty thing.

Muesli – this is like granola but uses a binder like Kefir or yogurt




Then I will get some lunch ideas together that can be easily taken with me as I leave for the day. I like cheese, apples, boiled eggs, carrots, stuff like that so no problem there.

Dinner time though…… there’s the challenge. I am going to be relying heavily on my crockpots. For years I have put together freezer meals for the crockpot.  I started when I read the book, Once A Month Cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson. In 1986, people! That’s a long time ago but the book is still in print and they have a we site with recipes and all that.

So my choices for suppers are endless and I will try to get all my meals for the week together and in the freezer or frig on Saturday. Which brings me to the next conundrum…. how to get my weekly schedule put together in a way that works for me.

I’ll get recipes and schedule ideas up asap…….  

Everyone Needs At Least One

A Thermos, that is.  You really do need at least one and preferably a big one. There are so many things you can do with a Thermos including cooking in it. Thermos is a brand name of a product known as a “Vacuum Bottle”.  I like my Thermos, though I believe now Thermos is part of Nissan.

Three or 4 summers ago I bought a big Thermos at a yard sale for $2.  It holds 8 cups of liquid, so it really is big.  Once its filled its not hard to carry because it has a folding handle and a strap.

The one I bought looks kind of like this:


Although, this one is a newer one. Mine is not as sleek looking. Plus this one costs about $40. I suggest you do like I did and look for one at yard sales. Be sure you get a really good one to cook in. Thermos  and Stanley brands seem to be the best for cooking and holding water at the highest temperature for the longest time.

So, why do I think you need at least one? Well, here are the things I do with my Thermos and I tell ya, it is really handy.

1. Saving hot water, of course.
Bring some water to a rolling boil, put it in the Thermos and cap it tightly. The water will stay HOT and I meaning steaming hot for about 4 days. Yes. This is really nice when the power goes out and you need hot water for coffee, hot cocoa, baby formula, etc. I put boiling water in mine this past Sunday evening because we were getting sleet and ice and, living in an older neighborhood, I expected the power to go out. It didn’t go out, thankfully. I opened the Thermos just today, Wednesday afternoon, and it was steaming hot.

2. Cooking
Seriously, you can cook in a Thermos. If you put boiling water and food like pasta or rice in your Thermos, it will cook  and will take 10 minutes to 6 hours depending on your thermos, the temp of the water you added and what you’re cooking.  The time is also dependent on how well your Thermos seals when you cap it. This method of cooking is great for when the power goes out, camping, backpacking, on a boat, traveling, etc. Just use it however you need to.

*Always pre-heat your Thermos with boiling water for 3 minutes before adding your food. You should pour out the pre-heating water and save it to use in your recipe.

*When you are cooking rice or pasta alone or in a recipe, you should give the filled and capped Thermos a shake to distribute the water through the grains/pasta and then lay it on its side so that all the grains/pasta have room to expand and the water can reach all the food.

*I don’t personally put uncooked meat with other ingredients in a Thermos to cook. I usually cook the meat separately because there is too much room for error and under-cooked meat.

Foods that can be cooked in a Thermos include:

Small grains like quinoa, oats, wheat berries, rice
Soups and Stews
Chicken and Beef that you will then use in another recipe
Reconstituting freeze dried or dehydrated foods
Most recipes that you would cook in a slow cooker, though you need to reduce the servings.

Thermos cooking is not instant. It takes up to 6 hours for some foods to cook in a Thermos and if you are cooking meat, potatoes, rice, then you must pre-cook the ingredients a few minutes (about 5)  before adding them to the Thermos.
Here are some easy recipes that I have tried.

Thermos Chicken and Rice for a 64 ounce Thermos

2 cups diced, cooked chicken

1 cup rice

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 bay leaf

4 peppercorns

1 carrot, diced small

Pre-heat the Thermos, pour out heating water and reserve.

Bring 2 cups of the heating water back to a boil. You can pre-cook the carrots a bit to soften them if you like.  Add the water and all the other ingredients to the Thermos, Cap tightly. Allow to sit for 1-1/2 hours.  Don’t open the Thermos until the time is up.   When the time is up, open it up and serve right from the Thermos or pour the Chicken and Rice into a bowl to serve. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

 How To Cook Rice in a Thermos

2 cups rice

4 cups boiling water

Pre-Heat your Thermos for 3 minutes using boiling water. Reserve the water and re-boil it, once it is boiling, add the rice. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Next, pour the rice and cooking water into the preheated Thermos, add a pinch of salt, cap tightly, give it a shake and lay it on its side, and let sit for 1 – 1/2 hours.  Brown rice takes 4-5 hours.

Why would you do this when regular rice takes only about 25 minutes to cook?  There are several reasons. 

1. It takes less energy to cook in the Thermos, even though it takes longer. When your electricity is out and you are trying to boil water over a camp stove or fire, this method will save fuel.

2. When you are camping or backpacking it also saves fuel. You can light a backpacking stove, they normally will get water boiling in about 7 minutes. The rest of the cooking time is in the Thermos, so you don’t have to spend your fuel.

3. It frees you up to do other things. When you are cooking rice over a fire or camp stove or even a propane stove, you have to stick around. When you fill up the Thermos, you can lay it down and leave it.

How To Cook Pasta in a Thermos

Pre-heat your Thermos.

Bring water to a boil on the stove.  Use enough water to fill the Thermos to the top.

Once the water is boiling, empty your Thermos, add the boiling water and add the pasta. Add a pinch of salt.  The amount of pasta depends on what kind of pasta it is and that will take some experimenting on your part. I use about 2 cups of elbows to 4 cups boiling water.

Cap the Thermos tightly, give it a shake, lay it on its side, and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.

 4. Storing Cold Foods or Medicines

In a pinch, you can store medicines that need to be refrigerated in a Thermos.  I use small pieces of Blue Ice that have been frozen and that won’t make the inside of the Thermos super wet as they defrost. Also, wrap your medicine in plastic bubble wrap or other wrap to keep it dry when the Blue Ice condenses.  The temperature in the Thermos with the Blue Ice stays very cold, but you’d need to check the temp before using it if you are storing meds like insulin.

Foods that need to be stored in cold can be stored in the Thermos as well. I’ve stored yogurt, milk, cold drinks and applesauce. I always pre-chill the thermos in the freezer for an hour or so.


There ya go! I will post more recipes using the Thermos as I figure them out. I didn’t want to use other people’s recipes that I haven’t tried in this post, only things I have actually done and been successful with. If you have questions or comments please share.

The Wisdom To Survive

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees on a ruined place,
Renewing it, enriching it,
If we will make our seasons welcome here,
Asking not too much of earth or heaven.
Then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live here,
Their houses strongly placed upon the valley sides,
Fields and gardens rich in the windows.
The river will run clear,
as we will never know it,
And over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be green meadows,
Stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down the old forest,
An old forest will stand,
Its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music risen out of the ground.
They will take nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting.
Memory, native to this valley,
will spread over it like a grove,
and memory will grow into legend,
legend into song, song into sacrament.
The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling light.
This is no paradise or dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.
Wendell Berry

Preparedness Weekend Retreat In Florida

We are pleased to announce this one of a kind, hands-on event and hope you’ll join us:
Faith Based Preparedness Retreat Weekend
February 21-23, 2014
Marianna, Florida

Let’s learn real skills!  In a family friendly atmosphere, you can learn hands on skills, watch demos, join in small teaching rooms for more one on one instruction and more real life training than you could ever get searching the web or just walking through an expo.

Hotel Style Rooms* or RV Sites or One Day Ticket
Children 3 and Under attend at no charge.
Children (ages 4-9) & (ages 10-15) at Discounted Price
* Five Meals Included for Hotel Guests

Take a look at the full weekend’s itinerary







Preparedness Retreat Weekend in Florida – Feb. 21-23, 2014. Registration is open now and closes Feb 6th.

All inclusive packages with meals and accommodations or RV sites w/o meals or if you’re local, come on Saturday. Look at the itinerary within the package you like.


More Ways To Prep For Storms or Other Disasters

Just yesterday, the southern US was hit with ice storms and power outages.  Several children had to spend the night on a school bus because they got caught out in it. I wonder if that bus-driver was prepared for that?  Many motorists are, as I type, still waiting for someone to come rescue them. I hope they prepped their cars. You never know when you’re going to be in a situation like that.

In my last post I talked about how to prepare for your electricity going out in the areas of food and water.  This time I’ll talk a little bit about warmth and medicine.

Staying Warm

If your power goes out in the winter-time, and you are accustomed to using electricity for heat, you will have to find another way to stay warm. Don’t try to start a fire indoors unless you have a fireplace that is made for burning wood, its very dangerous. Don’t try to use a camping stove for warmth, its even more dangerous. kerosene

Think ahead. Purchase some kerosene heaters and kerosene. We have two 10,000 BTU kerosene heaters and the two of them are more than enough to keep our 1300 square foot home warm.   Its does take thinking ahead, however. Kerosene heaters must be started and used correctly or you can burn yourself down. Kerosene must be stored correctly in blue, non-static, plastic containers, away from your home.

If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, keep wood cut and on hand. Keep the fireplace or stove clean and ready to go if you don’t use them on a regular basis. If you don’t use them much, be sure you know how to start a fire and keep it going safely.

All types of heating that uses fuel can produce carbon monoxide. Since that stuff is poisonous, be sure you have carbon monoxide detectors with new batteries and that you leave one or two windows barely cracked open so that air can circulate.

To stay warm at night, put layers of blankets and quilts on your beds. Its warmer to use several light layers than one or two heavy comforters. Be sure that everyone sleeps with socks on, pj bottoms or long underwear and at least long sleeved t-shirts on.  Though it sounds old-fashioned, a stocking cap can keep you much warmer than sleeping bare-headed.

Physical activity is great for getting warm. Outside chores or even inside work can help you work up warmth. But be careful. Don’t over-do it. And be sure to drink plenty of water while you are working, If you’re thirsty, you’re already on your way to becoming dehydrated. I heard a military trainer say recently that many of the physical problems people have today, including back pain, are due to their constant state of dehydration.

To stay warm during the day, bundle up, drink warm beverages, get up and move frequently.



Unless you’ve been without a life-saving medicine and couldn’t get that medicine there is no way to describe to you how desperate and frightening that situation is.

I’ve been there and so I encourage you and plead with you to have a talk with your doctor get the prescriptions you need ahead of time. If you have a good relationship with your Dr., and if you have a history of being honest and responsible with your prescriptions, chances are, he or she will work with you.

There are Over-The-Counter medicines you will want to have on hand as well. Here is my list. Be sure when you make your list, you know how to use these medicines. Take into consideration what kinds of ailments you and your family normally have to decide what you need to keep on hand.

first aid





Lomotil – this is for extreme diarrhea
Benadryl – We keep this on hand not just for allergies but for all kinds of allergic reactions like insect bites and stings, poisonous plants, etc.
Hydro-cortisone cream
Anti-biotic Ointment
Raw Honey
– for sore throats
Lemons - makes medicines taste better
Ground Red Pepper – for sore throats, colds, read about the uses for capsaisin.
Laxatives and Stool Softeners

We keep a big first aid kit in our home. We can treat anything from indigestion to a compound fracture.

Next time I’ll talk about making a Bug-Out-Bag. If you sign up now for my free newsletter, you’ll get instructions (also free) for making your own Bug-Out-Bag.

Children And Ice Storms (Or snow or most any disaster)

ice 2







We’re in the throes of the 20 year December ice storm here in Middle Tennessee.  Every 20 years or so we have a big one. Although, this one isn’t as big as the one in ’94. The resulting broken trees and devastation from that ice storm could be seen for 8-10 years afterward.

This one is more inconvenient than life-threatening, and we may have some more ice in a day or two. The city workers were out in force last week coating the roads with salt brine so the roads aren’t iced over in the city. The county roads are another thing, they are icy.  Power is out in pockets all over the city as well.

As we lay in bed this morning waiting for our power to come back on, and it did an hour later, my husband and I discussed how different things are now when the power goes out than they were when we had 5 children at home.

These days we just lay in the warm bed or get up and put on warm clothing and check the condition of the roads or fire up the kerosene heater and …. go back to the warm bed and go to sleep!

But with small or young children in the house its a whole other world.

First, every time the power went out, all the children felt it was their responsibility to come inform us of the outage. One. At. A. Time. The baby always being the last and the loudest.

Then we had the pleasure of at least three children climbing in bed with us.  A double bed mind you, so we were very snuggly.

And then there was the getting dressed warmly and finding something to eat. And there was usually one who came down with a cold or flu-like symptoms. These are the things where planning pays off and I want to show you what you can do to plan for power outages when you have children.

These are the main things that I learned I needed to plan ahead for.

Food – Cooking has to be part of this as well because if your electricity goes out, you are going to need to cook or at least prepare warm food with heated water. We have a fire pit, a gas grill and a charcoal grill. We have wood cut for the pit and lots of extra charcoal. Normally, we keep two canisters of propane. You’ll need to prepare to cook in what ever way you know you can cook. You should practice cooking on your alternate because its different from cooking over gas or electricity. You’ll be glad you did!
Make sure you have pans that can be used over fire. Cast Iron is best. Aluminum will melt if it gets too hot, so be careful.
At the very least you can boil water over your alternate cooking system. Boiling water can be put into a Thermos and then rice or pasta or other pre-packaged foods can be added, allowed to sit for about 45 minutes and cook. This is also something you should practice.

Its really convenient to have home canned foods that are completely cooked that you just have to open up and heat. You can have the same convenience, if not the same quality, if you buy store bought canned foods such as stews, meats or complete meals. Its handy to have peanut butter and crackers on hand, canned fruit (save and drink the juice!), tuna, canned chicken and corned beef, soups, stews and instant rice.

I”ll make a post soon and show you exactly how to “cook” in a Thermos and how to put together pre-packaged foods to make a meal.

The idea is to used your alternate cooking source as little as possible to conserve. So don’t build a huge fire thinking that you’ll need it to cook a pan of burgers. You don’t need a lot of fire to cook you mostly need hot coals. The best thing  to have to cook on in my opinion is a propane gas grill because it can be turned on and off easily and there is little waste. 

Water - Sometimes pipes freeze when it gets really cold. If your electricity goes out and stays out for a while, chances are, your pipes will freeze and you won’t have access to water.  So you need to store some water. Experts say that humans need a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day, just to drink or cook with. That doesn’t include water for personal hygiene. Years ago, we started storing water in clean 2 liter pop bottles.  I filled them about 2/3  full so if they froze they wouldn’t burst.  I added 10 drops of household bleach to each 2 liter bottle as recommended by the US Dept. of Health. Water can be purified by boiling as well;  filter through a coffee filter then bring to a boil and boil for 1 full minute before storing. You can add  2 drops of bleach per gallon of boiled water to help maintain its purity during storage.

In my next post I’ll talk about how to prepare these areas:





Have A Little House Christmas

apron haven


This information goes along with my Radio Show about creating a Little House Christmas in your home.

Here is the link for the show: A Little House Christmas








 A Little House Christmas Radio – Homekeeping Haven

Remember, you shouldn’t try to make huge changes in your family’s Christmas celebration right before Christmas!  Just use these ideas and the ones in the radio show to help bring in some of  that Little House flavor to your Christmas.


“Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops was sprinkled white sugar.”    

- Little House On The Prairie









This is the recipe I use for making Heart-shaped cakes like Mary and Laura received for Christmas.

Mammy’s Tea Cakes

4 c plain flour
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c shortening
1 tsp soda dissolved in 1 c buttermilk
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla, I use white vanilla for the whitest cookies possible, but regular vanilla will do.

Mix all ingredients, roll out to 1/2″ thickness and cut into 2-3″ heart shapes or other shapes. Sprinkle each cookie with white sugar. Bake in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes, but try not to let them get brown. They are done when they are no longer shiny and when they are firm all the way through. You may have to test a few before baking the whole batch, because oven temperatures differ so widely. Bake two or three and test for doneness by tasting. If they taste dough-y bake longer. Mine usually take 10-12 minutes.

Apple Butter makes great gifts. This recipe is simple and you can easily water-bath can it.

This is my go-to recipe for fast apple butter. Its over at Martha so you know its good.  Included are directions for water bath canning it. The recipe makes 6 pints or 12  half pints.

Gingerbread Houses  are kind of tricky to make so I don’t suggest you try to make them for gifts til you’ve had some experience. There are great kits out there for a few buck, get one of those first. After that, try this one:  Gingerbread House .

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Sticks are easy and tasty! I think it makes all the difference what kind of peppermint sticks you buy.  I prefer King Leo peppermint because they are sort of soft and very delicious. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler, take each stick and dip it in the melted chocolate half-way. Lay the stick on waxed paper to dry.

Consider making homemade gift cones to present your homemade goodies in. Here is a video about how to make the cones, they are beautiful!

Paper Cones For Christmas Treats


Are you a painter?  Love to paint little things? This is the sweetest play set!  Oh I want to make it.

Little House Play Set


Here is a great gift idea: A Story Sack. A story sack is a homemade bag filled with not only craft ideas for little people but all the supplies too. It can include videos, books, coloring books, crayons and more. Great gifts for the 5-10 year old crowd.

Remember the 5 Ingredients Needed For A Little House Christmas:

  • Love
  • Warmth (in your heart and attitude)
  • A Small amount of resources
  •  Willing Hands
  •  A Willingness to leave a little materialism behind


Want LOTS more links to some Victorian Christmas crafts, recipes and more?


May God bless you this Christmas with a new and fresh appreciation for what He has done for you! Merry Christmas!

Help With Time Management

One of the things I remember from grade school way back in the day was my report card which said, “Uses Time Wisely”.

I always got a NO.

Once I became a college student I learned pretty doggone quickly how to use my time wisely, because after all, I was paying for that time now. I took what I learned over into my home when I married and had children. It was hard. It was a whole new world of learning how to organize and use my time wisely when I wasn’t supervised all day and when I had children.

As moms and wives we really do have to learn to use our time wisely, otherwise we’re going to be feeling like we’re drowning in obligations, chores, work and even fun times.









The best way to make sure you do that is to keep a Planner. I simply buy one that has lots of writing space and a big monthly calendar. I used to use a spiral notebook, it works great. Just as long as you have something to write down what you need to accomplish and maybe some notes to spur your memory about what should be done and when, you’re good to go. You can put together a great Planner and its FREE, over at  She has all kinds of forms, calendars and more that you can print out and use as your planner.



The Essentials Of Time Management

Add these things to your planner to help you use your time more wisely………..

Prayer and Bible Reading – How many times have we all agreed that we need to be reading our Bibles, we need to be praying, we need to be involved in some kind of study or devotional but…. we just don’t do it. Schedule your time with God first thing every morning. Before you get out of bed is good! Even after you get up, let it be one of the first things you do. Schedule it so that you will see it on your list of things to do every morning. Do I really need to tell you how much better your day will be if you do?

Menu Planning – When you plan your weekly menus, you save money, time and effort. Go ahead and plan every Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meal then shop to that menu. You can write down all your menu plans and have them right there at your fingertips when its time to cook. That link I gave will help you learn how to plan weekly menus.

Cleaning – This blog is devoted to helping women get a handle on their homekeeping so there are all kinds of posts about how to clean each room in your house, how to make index card systems to help you keep your home clean and more. Then there is a good post about keeping the house clean once you get it in order and one about getting control of the laundry.

The Ins and Outs of An Ordinary Day – You can plan a Basic Household Schedule and it will help you get things done that often slip your mind or that you find difficult to work into the day. You don’t live or die by the Schedule, you make it work for you. If you can’t get something done, that’s OK, but you get to choose what gets done and what doesn’t.  Its your schedule.

School and Homeschool Activities – These kinds of activities can run away from you if you don’t keep an eye on them. Schedule library trips, field trips, tests and what you must cover in your curriculum weekly.

Intimacy With Your Spouse – Obviously you don’t want to plan all the spontaneity out of life and its not the kind of thing you would want to write in your planner, but take it from someone who has been married for 33 years, sometimes if you don’t plan it, it don’t happen. ‘Nuf said.

Personal Grooming and Fitness – Whatever you need to do to feel healthy, you should do. Like walking or running or exercising. And I know its hard, especially for mommies of little ones, to schedule a shower, but you can plan for one each day even if its not at the same time each day. I used to get my shower and wash my hair first thing in the morning when my children were all home and in home-school. Then I changed that to having a shower in the evening. What ever works!

I know its hard to clean a house, clean yourself, make food, run errands and do what needs to be done when you have a little one or two or more. I’ve been there and done it.  What I am saying is that you don’t have to languish in mess and disorder; you really can pull it together if you work at it.




Do One Thing At A Time And Be Fully Present In That Thing.

This flies all over the current Multi-Tasking Mania that most women live in. I can multi-task as well as the next gal but I have learned that if I want to do my best I have to focus on what I am doing.

So now how do I manage to do my best and NOT multi-task if I have eleven billion things to do before dinner time?

The thing is, if you really do have that many things to do before dinner, you may need to simplify and get rid of some things from your load.  Maybe you should reassess what you’re doing. Stop and take stock of what you’re doing because mommy, you’re probably doing too much. And chances are, you’re not doing your best at any of it. Even good things can become bad things if you’re doing them for the wrong reason or out of season.

Why do something simply because you can? Why do anything and not do your best? I’m not talking perfectionism here, I’m talking Colossians 3:23 here:  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 

Its pretty clear that if I am doing a work for God I should be doing my best. And if I am to do everything as unto the Lord, then I should be using my time wisely, focusing on my task, doing my best.

You can’t do everything but the things you do can be done well.

So yes, I am suggesting that you let some things go.

And do your best at everything you do, not ‘be’ the best, just do your best.

And be completely present in each moment.

And use a Planner to help you get all your wonderful, messy, happy, tough work done each day. You can do it!

Attitude Of Gratitude ~ December 10

attitude-of-gratitude 2013

I’m cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude. Come join me!

Today I’m thinking about all I have to do. I haven’t done the first thing toward Christmas, mainly because I have a project to finish up for my husband. Its pretty tense, I am concerned that I might not get it finished up before he has to have it.

But I am taking a break to write this down: I am grateful for Things To Do.

I’ve always had more than enough to do. With 5 children, its never been dull. But now that the children are mostly grown I realize that my friends who are older and have empty nests are right, sometimes there just isn’t anything to do. When you’re used to doing for so many people, it sure can seem that way.

Even if I didn’t have people to serve, I think I’d go find someone to serve. There is always someone who needs help. You have to look around in our culture sometimes to find that someone. And so I am thankful grateful for something to do for others today.

What are you grateful for today?

Attitude Of Gratitude Hunting

So in my post yesterday about cultivating an Attitude Of Gratitude, I mentioned that when I am sad or feel myself getting down, I start counting blessings. Let me tell you what that DOESN’T mean. attitude-of-gratitude 2013

It doesn’t mean that feelings of grief are bad and to be avoided.
It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cry if you feel like crying.
It doesn’t mean that crying or giving in to feelings of grief will destroy your holidays.

What it does mean is that I don’t allow my grief to overwhelm me to the point that I get depressed or to the point that I don’t want to participate in the festivities of the holiday.

Today I have counted some blessings and they are:

The warmth of a few faithful friends
The sweetness of old ornaments and decorations that carry a lifetime of memories
The fragrance of baking bread and brownies and how that always seems to make the house warmer
The beauty of ice forming on clotheslines and red berries