Trees of Transition

Comfort for people going through life transitions by sharing thoughts, photos, cards, and recipes.


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2019 Family Christmas Letter

Thanksgiving 2019

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas and Happy 2020!

As I looked out our window, I saw the women come out of their homes into the street, heading down our cul-de-sac on a cold, bright December day a few weeks ago. As they greeted each other, they headed toward our home with their arms full of cookies. These were our great neighbors coming over for our first cookie exchange! God has placed us in another wonderful neighborhood full of kind and generous people. 2019 has been a year of settling in and connecting.

In February we found a four bedroom, three bathroom home on a 1/3 of an acer lot at the end of a cul-de-sac that we love, and we bought it in March. Our apartment lease wasn’t up until the end of April, so it worked out great that we could move in slowly, have our oak wood floors refinished (they glow now!), paint the Viking purple basement white, and paint some other rooms as well before we moved in at the end of April.

Then we found out we were pregnant again (just after I painted the room I had dubbed the nursery, light yellow!), and in August we found out that we are having a baby girl that is due on December 16th. She feels like she is a little more lively than Joel (from what I can tell by how she kicks and moves inside me). I can’t wait to see her face and see her and Joel interact.

Stephen turned 40 in September and celebrated by going on a houseboat trip to Lake Powell. He got to see where we got engaged four years ago! Joel and I went to Illinois to visit friends and family because taking a one-year old on a houseboat for a week while pregnant did not sound fun. Stephen’s civil engineering job is moving along well. He has been connecting with guys in our neighborhood, at church, and at Bible Study Fellowship. Currently, he is figuring out how to put a new clutch in his truck.

I (Mary) love being home with Joel, and I’m so happy to be having a daughter. Our yellow nursery has lots of pink accents now! I enjoy being a children’s leader in an infant class at Bible Study Fellowship; being part of a team is so satisfying. I occasionally keep on writing and making cards (see:  ), but have been focusing more on Joel and learning how to take care of a  big house and yard. The pink and purple flowers that grow around our home make me so happy! I’m also learning how to cook gluten and dairy free, so if you have any great recipes, please pass them on to me!

Joel has blossomed this year! He just turned two years old on November 14th, and then we decided to take the leap and do potty training, and he has been picking it up like a champ. It’s nice to have a few weeks without diapers. He loves to run, play chase, read books, help us cook (today I had him come to the kitchen to help me make breakfast cookies, and he started the food processor without me telling him to—he knew what to do. He will be cooking in no time.), and create/build things. He talks more and has been singing too. He loves his Bible Study Fellowship classes and being out and about. It’s great that there are some kids in our neighborhood that he can play with.

May you have the merriest of Christmases and an amazing 2020. May God with even more hope, joy, and love than ever before.

Love, Mary, Stephen, Joel & Baby Girl Schuh

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope


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Falling Dots 🍃 

Since today the leaves are falling in loads, I’m reposting a poem I wrote one fall day when I was going to graduate school:

Specks of yellow — fall.

The wind levered them down,

Or sprung them loose,

Or let them go.

Like little cares — falling– golden in their time —

Locust leaves that

Symbolizes hope and freedom.

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income, for which I am thankful. So…

— shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card/notecard/art shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope


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Dairy-Free Apple Crisp and Honey Apple Pie

Honey, Dairy-free, Apple Crisp

My husband is dairy-free right now, so I’ve been figuring out dairy-free recipes. I made up this recipe for the neighborhood Oktoberfest cook out, and it was great!


12 cups peeled and sliced apples – you may use a mixture of Fuji and Honeycrisp apples
One lemon, zested and juiced (1 tsp zest and 2 Tblsp. juice)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Crumble:
3 cups quick oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix together the apples with the filling ingredients and pour into a greased 9 x 13” glass baking dish.

Mix together the crumble ingredients, and when it is crumbly, pour it over the top of the apples.

Place in the oven and bake until the apples are soft and the topping is nicely browned, which is 35-45 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8 people.

Here’s an apple pie recipe that is also dairy-free and sugar-free!

Honey Apple Pie

This pie is great for everyone, but for especially for those who have to watch sugar intake. The honey makes the sweetness light and not heavy at all.

4 cups peeled, sliced apples

2 Tblsp. lemon juice

½ cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

¼ cup. white flour or arrowroot powder

1 double pie crust for an 8-inch pie (See my favorite recipe here: Grandma’s Pie Crust )

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together all of the ingredients except the pie crust. Taste the apple mixture, and you can adjust the honey and cinnamon to taste.

Pour into the pie crust, and then place the other crust on top. Prick the top crust (make a fun design!) and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are starting the flow.

Makes one pie.

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope


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Fun Book Recommendations: Mainly Focused on Food and Love

Curling up with a riveting book is a great autumn activity, now that you might have more time as the kids are going back to school! (I have been getting back into reading–especially during my one year old’s two-three hour naptime!) Here are some fun and entertaining books that I have read recently:

My Italian Bulldozer: A Paul Stuart Novel (1) (Paul Stuart Series)

Besides having a great title, this quick to read, unique romance novel takes you to Italy where a newly-dumped food writer gets persuaded by his editor to finish his latest cookbook in Italy. The man gets conned at the rental car desk, gets thrown in prison, but because he befriended a stranger on the plane, he calls this guy (who has connections) who gets him out and helps him find a vehicle: A bulldozer! As he drives through the countryside to the town where he is going to write for three weeks, he has time to think. He also enjoys that people respect him more and drive more politely around him because he is in a bulldozer, not a dinky rental car! After arriving in the town, he comes down with a big crush on a fellow writer he meets while working on his book, and then more unexpected ladies show up in town to get his attention. This food writer figures out himself more while eating and writing about mushrooms, wine, and more and enjoying driving his Italian bulldozer around the countryside. It’s a fun book. Check it out here:

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Hot Chipotle Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Need a spicy recipe for someone who loves food that has a kick? This is your recipe! If you don’t want the heat level to be high, then don’t add the jalapeno pepper, just add the chipotle peppers. I created this recipe recently, and my husband loved it. It makes your nose run a little bit, but it is a smoky, protein-filled dish that is great to serve this fall.

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups cooked pinto beans (or a can of refried beans would work too)

1 tsp. salt

15 medium-sized flour tortillas

¼ cup. oil

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Enchilada Sauce:

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped small

1 tsp. oil

1 small can (7 oz.) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Brown the ground beef, and then prepare the enchilada sauce so that it has time to simmer. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and jalapeno pepper in the 1 tsp. of oil in a medium saucepan for 2-3 minutes or until starting to brown. Next add the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes while you finish browning the beef and beans.

Add the beans to the browned beef, and brown together for 5-10 minutes (or until your sauce is done!)

Place the ¼ cup. of oil on a plate and dip each of the tortillas in the oil (this will help them get crispy when baked.)

Mix about 2 cups of the enchilada sauce in with the beef/bean mixture. Taste and season with salt to taste.

Now, take a tortilla, place 1/3-1/2 cup of the beef/bean mixture,  1 Tblsp. enchilada sauce, and 2 Tblsp. cheese inside, and then roll it up and place it in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Repeat until done. Save a little sauce to pour over the top, along with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-30 or minutes until the tortillas are browned, cheese is brown, and it looks ready to eat. Serve with sour cream. Serves about 4-5 people.

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope


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Four Tips To Help You Transition Well Through The Change of Graduating or Retiring

Have your years of schooling ended this spring when you graduated? Or are your decades in the workforce ending as your retire from your career? Both of these life-changing events are similar in that they were something that consumed your life for years and they now have ended…you are in a big life transition as you move to something new.

I have graduated from high school, college, and graduate school, and even though I haven’t officially “retired,” I have left a teaching job to stay home with my children as a homemaker (I switched careers!), so I can relate to the strange newness that you are in or see coming on the horizon when your current endeavor ends. Here are four actions that will help you transition well:

 Tip # 1: Finish Strong

If you have not wrapped up the old job or graduated yet, remember that finishing strong will help have a more brilliant start to your new season. For example, as my school year ended, I needed to rely a bit more on movies as parts of my lessons, but I still stayed connected to my students. An even deeper connection happened when I told my students that I was pregnant and not coming back the next school year. I hold my homeroom of 7th graders first (and it spread across the whole school in like 15 minutes!), and there was so much happy discussion for the rest of the period (and some silly baby name suggestions, such as “Bless Schuh”). I wrote each student an encouraging note, and we had fun at the end of the year (which included pizza and brownies…) We ended well; thinking back makes me happy. If  I transition back to teaching, ending on that strong note will help me start even stronger when I begin again. This can be the same for you!

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Baby Schuh #2 is coming in December!

Joel is excited to be a big brother!

We bought our new home and then found out we have another baby on the way! In fact, even before I knew I was pregnant, I was determined to paint the nursery light yellow during our time between buying the house and moving in. I got it done, and I love that it is already painted for our little one.

Then a month or so of nausea kicked in—this pregnancy is different than our last one (where I was hardly sick)! I didn’t want to eat or cook much, lost nine pounds, and wanted  junk food (when I was hungry). I kept taking my vitamins, drinking lots of water, and eating some. It’s so nice to be through that stage. What was the first trimester like for you?

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