F Simple and Serene Living: December 2015 09 10
Thursday, December 24, 2015


I hope that everyone is having the most joyous holiday season ever and taking the time to remember to love yourself amid all of the chaos. 

Tomorrow is Christmas, two days later I am having a birthday (trying to ignore it), and then of course the New Year is quickly approaching. I am planning to spend all of them quietly at home. I have been battling an icky virus this last week, so hopefully some rest time will send it on its way. 

My two precious granddaughters Facetimed me yesterday morning and all of their excitement got me out of my chair to bake some yummy muffins. The smell in the house was wonderful and they are perfect for a snack with a cup of tea.

gluten free organic pumpkin muffins recipe

This was my first time baking these muffins and I did have to modify them to make them gluten free. I am never quite sure how changing a recipe so that it is gluten free will turn out, but this one was wonderful. Here are some of the ingredients I used if you are interested in gluten free or want to use more organic ingredients. 

gluten free organic muffins

Serves: 12
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place 12 paper liners into each well of your standard size muffin baking pan.
  2. Measure out the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Do not over mix, just stir until everything is incorporated into the batter.
  5. It is helpful to use a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop) to evenly distribute the batter into each well. They will be nearly full. This will help give your muffins a nice puffy dome.
  6. Bake your muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

If your coconut oil is solid, warm it up a bit so that it is in liquid form.

gluten free organic muffins recipe
As you can see I made plenty just in case you dropped by. Oh wait, Mom is on her way over and she has a pretty healthy appetite when homemade muffins are involved. Gotta go. I need to find a good hiding place. 

I will be back after the holidays are over, and in the meantime I hope to visit everyone next week. 

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Friday, December 18, 2015


The calendar says December 18. Christmas is six days away.

Christmas music greets us wherever we shop. 

Christmas movies play 24 hours a day on Hallmark and Lifetime. 

Children are busy composing their letters to Santa.

child letter Santa

We should be bundling up. Donning down jackets, mittens, and warm wool scarves. 

Mother Nature is laughing. Blowing in warm March like winds. Greeting us with days that are reminiscent of spring. 

The trees have lost their leaves finally, but lawns remain green and bulbs are tentatively poking tender shoots up through the ground. 

Shaker Village Kentucky winter

I love warm weather, so I am savoring each warm day that we have.

However, I am left wondering. Is this a reprieve before January comes howling in? Will we be feeling December's cold in March? Or will we be given a gift of a mild winter this year.

Shaker Village Kentucky

Mother Nature knows, but she seldom shares her secrets.

So we are left shaking our heads, wondering, and saying that it is indeed a most unusual time of the year.

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Monday, December 14, 2015


Like many other people I have had a lot of stress in my life lately, and I am hard on myself when I am not able to do all of the things I want to do. 

When that happens I know that I need to take time for self compassion. 

Just as we show compassion to other people we need to do the same for ourselves. 

This is a time of year when we all have many extra obligations and life can become overwhelming. 

It is also the perfect time to slow down, breathe deeply, and show compassion for ourselves. 

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P.S. There is more Inspiration on a Monday here.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Everything seems wrong. It is the Christmas season , but it all feels so wrong. It seems there is nothing but bad news. I sat here last night and said out loud to myself that I wish Christmas could just be over. 

I don't feel festive.
I don't feel like celebrating. 
The small tree that I managed to drag out has half the lights burned out and I just sit staring at it. 
My grandchildren will be in Georgia and I will be here.
I want to make this a nice Christmas for my mom because it may be her last, but I can't seem to find the Christmas spirit. .

So what do we do when it all feels so wrong at Christmas. Thanks to Jen for finding this suggestion and posting it on her Facebook page.

advent calendar giving

I have started to gather together some items to donate to the food bank. No matter how bad things may seem there are so many people who have mush less than we do. 

I wasn't sure what items would be good to give so I looked around for some suggestions. Food items of course, but also consider other items as well. Personal care products, women's hygiene products, and diapers are all good suggestions. 

Homeless shelters also look for donations. If you have time to make up some individual bags, here are some good ideas for filling them.

christmas charity homeless giving personal packs

Oh, and don't forget the children. I am going out today and purchasing a new unused toy for Toys for Tots.

Christmas is the season for giving, but I believe that all year should be the season that we give to others. 

When we give to others we are also giving so much to ourselves. 

Suddenly Christmas doesn't feel quite so wrong anymore.

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Monday, December 7, 2015


What a wonderful place our world can be when we realize that all things are possible when love is present.

I hear so much hate when I listen to people speak, and I know that all of that hate is making its way into the atmosphere. It is corrupting all of us. So I am making an effort to be grateful for the love. I am determined to be courageous. I am starting my week on an up note. 

I hope you will too. 

Photo credit Kris Carr
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Thursday, December 3, 2015


We've all been there. Maybe you're there now. Stuck in the proverbial RUT!!!

I have been feeling like I'm stuck in that rut lately, and I know it is up to me to get out of it. So I have been writing down things I want to do now, in the short term future, and in the long term future. 

I have also been writing down ways to get out of that rut and thought maybe you would find those ways useful too.


1) Write down the changes you want to make in your life. How do you see yourself a month from now? a year from now? five years from now? Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? Is there someone you would like to be with? 

2) Change your focus. We are often stuck in a rut because we are too focused on the past. It's time to embrace whatever happened in the past and let it go. If you have regrets, acknowledge them, give them a big hug, and send them on their way. If you are focused on a time in your life when things seemed wonderful, remember that time fondly, but recognize that this moment is your life now, and life can be wonderful in each moment. Focus on new ways to make your life wonderful (see #1)

3) Recognize that it is time to move on. We often get stuck in a rut because we are afraid to move on. We get comfortable in our old slippers and the thought of putting on a new pair scares us. It is important to recognize if you have become complacent, because things are really wonderful or because you don't want to face changes. In this instance setting goals can be helpful. Start small and work up to what you really want to see happen in your life.

4) Recognize your roadblocks and how to get around them. We all put up roadblocks in our lives. We see them as keeping us from danger, but often they keep us from moving on, from making positive changes in our lives. Once you recognize the roadblocks you have set up, think of ways you can get around them. What are some things you can do differently to reach the destination you want? 

5) Take a look at your feelings. Often it is our feelings that are holding us back. Depression and anxiety can keep us in a rut. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, try to look at what is bothering you from a new perspective. Know that you are never alone in your feelings, and if you are unable to overcome these feelings on your own then seek out a professional to help you overcome them. 

Life has so much to offer all of us. Everyone deserves happiness. Don't let being in a rut keep you from that happiness. I know that I am going to keep working hard to get out of my rut.

What would you like to see change in your life and how will you go about making that change?

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P.S. Find more of the Rewriting Life Series here.
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