My Cozy Corner

Family Gatherings

Family gatherings are not always easy. Are they a source of joy, or added stress? It seems like there is often what Joyce Landorf used to call an “irregular person” in every family. Your irregular person is one that is always a problem, but you can’t seem to get away from them, because you are related to them. That person in the family that seems to be on the wrong side of every issue. They would argue whether or not the sky is blue.

How do we cope that person? Sorry, but I do not have the answer to that. But do be assured that you are not alone. There seems to be one of those in about every family. Don’t let them steal your joy! You can try talking to this person privately. You may need to not include them at all but do have a gathering that is filled with joy.

Our gathering will be small this year. It’s the best I can do. I love Christmas, and preparation has helped me cope this most difficult month. I’m even into the Christmas baking. Can I share a deep, dark secret with you? I make nothing from scratch. I use dough from the refrigerator section of the store, and mixes. So, if I give you cookies, please don’t ask for the recipe. You already have my only sharable recipe!

I’m “busy” trying to finish the last book of a series before the end of the month. Next time I’ll tell you all about it and other discoveries that I have made in 2022. There will not be a blog in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so I am wishing you a blessed holiday season and may you enjoy the time with those you love.

Thank you for the gift of your time.

Until next time,


My Cozy Corner


Pull up a chair and sit a while. It’s that time of year, when we all need just a little break. I don’t feel compelled to have the perfect Christmas, however, I do like to decorate and bake. I try to have all the shopping done before Thanksgiving; I don’t want that interfering with my enjoyment of the season. In full disclosure, I did do a little bit of shopping, this week, for a six-year-old friend. It was so much fun. We don’t have any littles anymore. Even the grandchildren are all grown up.

I know we have talked about friendship before, but my current writing assignment was to explore this a bit further. So here we go! When I left Iowa as a young girl, I left all my friends behind. Needless to say, that was quite traumatic. But what a wonderful reward I got in return. My first friend in Colorado, turned out to be my lifelong friend. We don’t get together often, but when we do we have such a good time. We don’t have to spend time getting reacquainted, Marty is one of those friends who makes it possible to take up right where we left off. I would wish such a friend for you. We all know that friends come and go over time, and sometimes losing them is painful. But just like the Brownie Scout song says, Make new friends, But keep the old. Friendships will not last without love and attention.

How are you coming with your Advent basket for the food bank? This week I changed it up a bit and did not go by the list. This week I am filling the basket with toiletries. (Paper products are a good idea too.) Did you know that food stamps can only be used for food? Sometimes what is really needed is a tube of toothpaste or a roll of toilet paper. Sometimes there is no money for such things. Think about what you would need most if money was a big issue. I also put snacks in the basket. My kids were so excited to get a box of Hostess donuts in the food bank sack! I will never forget that.

Miss Christy was kind enough to share Mr. M’s chili recipe. She is the only one he ever gave it to!

Christmas Eve Chili

1 pound of hamburger

1 whole onion, chopped

1 whole green pepper, chopped (1/2 green and 1/2 red is nice at Christmas)

3 cans of diced tomatoes

1 can of tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

4 cans of kidney beans

Herbs to taste: oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, chili powder (not much chili powder!)

Brown the hamburger in a large soup pot. Add the onion and pepper and continue cooking. When the meat and vegetables are browned, add the tomato products. Season with the herbs. The last thing you will add is the kidney beans. Allow all of this to simmer for a good long time to marry the flavors. Serve with crackers, Fritos, shredded cheese, and diced onion or scallions.

Thank you for the gift of your time. I would love to hear all about your Christmas traditions.

Until next time,


My Cozy Corner


Hello and welcome. Pull up a chair. Let’s chat a while.

It’s the time of year that seems to be filled with memories. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go down the road of “the good old days”. That’s not my style. I’m not always so sure they were as good, as we tend to romanticize. But I have been thinking about Christmas in the past. I hope you will indulge me for a few minutes while I share a life changing Christmas from the past. Some of you may have already heard this story, but here goes.

Almost every year this story comes up in our home. We call it “Mrs. Sprague’s Christmas”. I was the recently divorced, single mother of three and a full-time student. Needless to say, there was not much money available for Christmas. I found a small tree for $10. I had about $10 each to spend on my kids’ gifts, but we were going to make it work. We had each other.

Mrs. Sprague was the mother of a friend. She lived in Illinois, and we had only met her a few times. She worked at TJ Maxx so I’m sure that helped with her surprise for us. But the bottom line is that one day two huge boxes arrived in the mail. I cannot begin to tell you how excited my kids were. I was completely in shock. No one had ever done anything like that before. Inside the boxes were dozens of individually wrapped packages. It absolutely saved our Christmas.

It’s not that Christmas is about the presents, but this wonderful lady made us feel so loved. We have chosen to pass that on each Christmas. It is almost as much fun as receiving those original packages. Giving anonymously is the most fun!

The holidays for us will be rather bittersweet this year, without Mr. M but last year I was in the hospital over Thanksgiving, and he was in the hospital on Christmas. So, how much worse can it be? We will steep ourselves in the family traditions and maybe add some new adventures.

Rather than a recipe this time, I’m going to share one more tradition that came from our lean times. We had to make a trip to the food bank. I don’t remember anything that was in our bag of food except a box of donuts. The kids were thrilled with the wonderful treat! Now we fill a basket with food for that same food bank every year. One item for every day of Advent. I’ll share the list so you can see if it is something you would like to do. These are just suggestions; you can put in whatever you want.

  1. a box of cereal 2. peanut butter 3. stuffing mix 4. boxed potatoes 5. macaroni and cheese 6. canned fruit 7. canned tomatoes 8. canned tuna 9. dessert mix 10. jar of applesauce 11. canned sweet potatoes 12. cranberry sauce 13. canned beans 14. box of crackers 15. package of rice 16. package of oatmeal 17. package of pasta 18. spaghetti sauce 19. chicken noodle soup 20 canned corn 21. canned mixed veggies 22. tomato soup 23 canned carrots 24. canned green beans. I hope this is helpful.

Until next time, relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.