Wednesday, December 21, 2005

All Wrapped Up!

We arrived safely in Colorado Springs about 36 hours and a lot less hassle earlier than we expected! So, I have spent most of today wrapping gifts that I did not bother wrapping before flying in case they decided to unwrap and check what I was bringing.

My favorite wrapping supplies are pictures out of magaines, brown craft paper, and cheap twine. This has kind of become my signature wrapping and looks very homespun!

Anyone else have any favorite wrapping materials or signature wrappings?

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Gift of Time!

Isn't that what everyone says they always want? Well, our family received this gift as God allowed our airline travel to be rearranged to much better times for FREE. We'll get extra time with family, less time waiting in the airport, and less stress! What a special gift!

Cranberry Evergreen Candle Jars


Well, the Christmas party was a great success and everyone seemed to have a great time! The jar shown above is one of my traditional ways to decorate at Christmas! It is very easy and inexpensive to make.

Use one pint size canning jar (not the wide mouth) and one glass votive holder (3/$1 at Michael's). The votive holder should be shaped like a flower pot or have enough of a lip to sit on the top of the canning jar steadily.

Place sprigs of evergreen in the jar. Fill about 3/4 with water. Top with fresh cranberries.

Place votive holder with candle in the top! So pretty and festive.

When you're done, you can dry off the berries, freeze them and save for next year. The above berries were purchased last year.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Christmas Thought

"Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee."
~ Martin Luther

Christmas Party

Tonight is my husband's work Christmas party - at our house! I am really excited about it! Here's what I'm fixing:

Soup: Pasta e Fagioli: White and red beans, ground beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savory broth.
Potato Chowder: Creamy and cheesy comforting potato soup.

Bread: Homemade French Bread

Meat: Baked Ham

Vegetable: Raw Veggie Tray

Dessert: Pumpkin Pie: I was never a big fan of pumpkin pie until I tried this recipe.
Sugar Pecans - my husband's special request!

Beverages: Hot and cold tea (sweetened available of course!), Water, Soft Drinks brought by guests

Pumpkin Pie Recipe:
One graham cracker crust

1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
*Mix these ingredients together and pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Then reduce oven heat to 350.

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cold butter
3/4 c. walnuts
*Mix together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon - cut in butter. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over the pie when you reduce the oven. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Sugar Pecans
Place 1 lb. (4 c.) pecan halves in a large bowl.

Mix together 1 egg white and 1 T. water and pour over pecans, gently stirring until coated.

Mix together:
1 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

Pour over pecans and gently stir.

Spread on a lightly greased cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 275 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Carnival of Beauty

I first read about this on Kathryn's blog...and then checked it out for myself. It sounds like a great thing to participate in by writing a post or reading those that have been written. The great thing is you don't have to do it every week if you don't want to. Just wanted to pass this on to anyone interested.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Cozy Christmas Read

This is one of my favorite books - and even one of my favorite Mitford books. I love the perspective on the Nativity, the small town hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas and the surprises for loved ones. I just finished reading it again and am only sorry that it ended so quickly!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Feeling Crafty

Yes, it is that time of year when I'm feeling very crafty - so here's yet another idea. This one comes via my mother-in-law. She saw something similar to this garland in a gift shop for something like $30! So, she bought me the wooden beads and spools instead for several dollars to make it myself. Here's how...

Spray paint one package of small wooden beads ($1.97 for 66 beads at Wal-Mart) red. How I did this was to unwind a wire coat hanger, thread all the beads on and poke one end of the hanger into the ground outside - then just walk around and spray. Very easy.

Glue homespun/calico fabrics around wooden spools ($1.97 for 15 at Wal-Mart). I also decided to wrap twine around some as shown in the base of the Christmas Tree craft below.

Thread beads and spools onto twine into desired length. Tie bows in between to stretch the wooden items. Hang!

Note: two packages of spools and one package of beads made this length, plus two smaller ones that would equal this much again.

My Bargain!

These cute little shoes were just $1 on clearance at Wal-Mart this morning! I love getting a good deal!

Monday, December 12, 2005

The 50 Cent Christmas Tree!

Well, the crafty ideas always seem to be a hit here - so I'll share another one of my favorites for Christmas! I first saw these cute trees here and at that price decided I could figure out how to make them.

So, here's how:

Using a compass, cut seven circles out of heavy paper. The circles should measure 1 1/4", 1 1/2", 1 3/4", 2", 2 1/4", 2 1/2", and 2 3/4". You need one pattern of each size. Next cut out one circle of each size from various green fabrics. (I only had three different ones pictured above.)

Sew each circle into a yo-yo. Here's how to make a yo-yo.

Use a wooden spool for the base - cover the part where the thread goes with Elmer's glue and wrap twine around. (If you don't have a wooden spool on hand, you can buy them in the Wal-Mart craft department, but this will slightly increase your cost per tree.)

Search your yard for a stick that will fit into the hole on top of the spool and is fairly straight. It doesn't matter if it is too tall, you can always shorten it.

Snip a small hole in the bottom of each yo-yo so that you can "thread" them onto the stick trunk. Stack them in size order.

Put some Elmer's glue around the hole in the top of the spool. Put stick trunk in and allow fabric from the bottom yo-yo to sit in the glue and stick.

Glue a tin star to the top of the stick and trim stick if necessary. (Note: the only place I've found to get these tin stars is Hobby Lobby. They are 0.99 for a package of 6 stars.)

Done!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The 20 Cent Snowman!

This little snowman was very easy to make and is cute and homey looking! Use one piece of white or antique white felt (20 cents). Cut out snowman shape. On the front of one piece, sew on two small beads for the eyes. Sew right sides together on the sewing machine. Cut a slit in the back. Stuff snowman. Stitch opening closed. Use an orange scrap of felt or other fabric or a toothpick painted orange with the tip broken off for the nose - hot glue on. Tie a fabric scrap around the neck for a scarf. Hot glue buttons on. Make a hat from an old sock or old sweater. Cut out and stitch up the cut side. Turn right side out and hot glue on. Done!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cozy!

I love Christmas! I love the true meaning - celebrating the birth of Jesus! And, there are so many experiential things I love about Christmas.

- The music!
- The lights!
- A fire on a cold night! (We had both last night!)
- Yummy goodies!
- Surprises!
- The excitement and anticipation!
- Christmas Trees!
- Decorations!
- Wrapping gifts!

These things do not cost a lot, but are among the simple pleasures of the season!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Future Smart Shopper!

Scanning the ads for the best deals!
Good work, Emily!

Prince of Peace

A kingdom called Peace. A place where there is no anxiety, worry or fear. A place of resting in trusting peace.

Over this kingdom is a ruler who is an expert in this land of Peace. He spends His days looking over the land and delivering peace.

The land of peace can be in our hearts when we have invited the Prince to make His home there.

It is unexplainable, and difficult to understand. But, it is true. It is real.

PEACE

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Everlasting Father

What comes to my mind when I think of this Name?

- unlimited by time or space
- never ending
- my Father
- the love of a father and more
- steadfast
- unchanging
- unaffected by calendars and clocks
- comfort
- peace
- discipline of a father
- blessings of a father: it reminds me of the verse which describes that a father will not give a stone to his son when he asks for bread and how much more will our Heavenly Father bless us

My Bargain



Six containers of deodorant, two bottles of shampoo, and two bottles of conditioner would have normally cost me $33.90 using the shelf price at Walgreens. Combine sales, buy one get one free packaging on the shampoo and coupons and I spent only $4.77! I was quite excited about these deals! The deodorant worked out to be only 0.24 each! I also came home yesterday with four free Wendy's cups towards a free airline ticket on Air Tran. All in all, a success.

(Note: The coupons were in this past Sunday paper, if any of you are interested in the above deals.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mighty God

First of all, when I use the name "Mighty God" I am acknowledging that God is God. He is the only God, He has the most power. There is nothing God can't do or that is too hard for Him. He is MIGHTY!

He is capable and the best part of all is that He uses this power and might for His greatest glory and my good. He won't just push me around with this power or "lord it over me". No, He uses this power and might with purpose and direction.

He is all-powerful, He is God, He is over everything. He is the Mighty God.

Brush Cleaning

Anyone have any tips on cleaning a brush that you use to brush marinade on chicken? I've tried washing, pouring boiling water over, etc... But, it never really seems to be "clean". Any thoughts?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wonderful Counselor

Wonderful: "unusually good"

Counselor: "a person who gives advice"

So, an unusually good person who gives advice.

I think of more than that, I think of the fact that He is completely trustworthy, has my best interest in mind, and works things out for His glory. I think of the fact that I can tell Him anything, ask Him anything, and trust His Word.

When I don't know what to do or even when I think I do - here is a great resource available to me all the time...all I need to do is ask or speak to Him. It doesn't cost anything except a little time and humility. He doesn't tell my secrets to other people and doesn't play the blame game. Best of all, I know that He loves me more than I can imagine even after He's heard all my thoughts and knows everything about me!

And His Name Shall Be Called...

Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

I'd like to further think on each of these names, so will take one each of the next four days and post some thoughts...please add yours as I can learn from your ideas too!

Mealtime Update

Well, just wanted to let you know that we have had some progress in the Emily feedings! I tried several of the suggestions I received and things are going much better.

She has not had any baby food in probably 48 hours and is eating table food happily! Last night, I let her hold a spoon while I fed her and that also worked great. Also, Mom - you were right - at breakfast, she just isn't very hungry. But gets hungry around 9, so we're just adjusting a few things.

Thanks for your input - we're encouraged!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas Greetings

I love the way all the homemade cards look in the mailbox - I'm about halfway writing them and sending them out! Batch one is on its way!

It's December?!?!?

Ummm, the flowers are obviously in denial about the date! Today was cooler, but I wore short sleeves and flip-flops earlier this week. All the flowers in bloom add a certain doubt about the Christmas decorations! But, the leaves are starting to turn colors and that is very pretty!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Welcome!

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome several recently added readers to the homespun heart! Welcome: Kathryn, Valerie, Meredith, and Mary Ann! Thanks for reading and commenting - I feel like this is becoming a place to gather with friends! Thanks to everyone who reads and or comments!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Goal Met!

It was my goal to make three of these in November in an effort to "build up" my stash for a craft table I'm planning in the Spring. I finished today! I only let myself sew while Emily is sleeping, so the time to work on them is limited, but the progress has paid off. Now, what will my December goal be? (hee hee)

Inspired


Yes, that is what I was by the December issue of Country Home magazine! There was an article featuring Sue Whitney's house (one of the Junk Market gals). She used tons of live greens to decorate for the holidays and it was so pretty, simple, and homey.

So, I was inspired. Now, where to find the greens? Would they be too expensive? Each year I have made a wreath or swag for the door using trimmings from the bottom of the Christmas tree. So, why not check and see if they will give me some more this year?

Sure enough!! Lowe's was thrilled to get rid of the scraps from the trims and I was thrilled to decorate with live greens! I tied some twine or homespun fabric bows and hung them up in the bathroom, our bedroom, kitchen window, put in pots in the entry way and hearth and decked out the front porch too!

The best part of all is that this was TOTALLY FREE!

What is your favorite way to decorate?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mealtime Misery

Ok, fellow mothers - please help! I am struggling with a willful 12-mo old during meal times and am not really sure what to do about it. She has hardly eaten a thing today because I won't tolerate her behavior.

Here's what happens:
Put baby in highchair.
Put on bib.
Pray.
Offer drink.
Begin feeding - she is currently eating baby food still.
Feeding goes ok for a few bites, then she tries to forcefully grab or fling the spoon out of our hand.
So, we take her out of the highchair, take off the bib, put her in her crib for 3 minutes and then start over again. But, this is not working - she just won't cooperate.

I was thinking that she was getting tired of baby food which is fine because I'd prefer if she moved on to table food. So, after offering her baby food today and going through the fit - I offered her a slice of apple. This worked initially, but resulted in the same thing - where she threw it in disgust onto the floor more than once. I do not want her to get used to me offering her multiple things just so she'll eat and then get even pickier.

Any suggestions?

Bouquet

"Someone once asked Corrie ten Boom how she could possibly handle all the compliments and praise that were constantly heaped upon her, without becoming proud. She said she looked at each compliment as a beautiful long-stemmed flower given to her. She smelled it for a moment and then put it into a vase with the others. Each night, just before retiring, she took the beautiful bouquet and handed it over to God saying, 'Thank you, Lord, for letting me smell the flowers; they all belong to you.' She had discovered the secret to genuine humility."

~ David Seamands

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Advent

I have been getting out the Christmas decorations this weekend, and in with them found a book I enjoy every Christmas season. As I read the first entry this morning, the word that stood out to me was advent.

And so, I ponder - what does this mean, what does it mean to me?

The word advent is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
"1. The period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.
2. The coming of Christ at the Incarnation.
3. A coming into being or use."

Hmmm, why do some churches celebrate Advent and some do not? Ours doesn't, but I grew up in a church that did. And, why was there never a focus on the prayer and fasting part - or is there in some churches? Why all the advent trees, wreaths, and calendars and what is their purpose?

After doing further research including reading some articles listed below, the thing that stood out to me is that the season of advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. What matters more than who celebrates what and how is the attitude of expectation and preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth and of His future coming.

I was thinking about the anticipation of the coming. When I know someone is coming over to our house or out-of-town company is coming - I make preparations. I try to think of every detail to make their stay enjoyable. Foods they like, activities they like, books they like, and especially to make sure the location is warm and hospitable for them.

But, how much effort do I put into preparing my heart for God? Surely if HE was coming to my home, I would go all out. My heart is His home, how welcoming is it for Him? How have I prepared it for Him? Does my heart feel inviting to Him?

These are the things I want to focus on during Advent this year. I also welcome any comments on how you celebrate Advent or what it means to you.

A couple of articles I found helpful were:
Advent - Close Encounters of a Liturgical Kind
Advent History
The Season of Advent: Anticipation and Hope

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Action Word!

I saw a billboard at a car repair this morning that said:

"Thanksgiving is an action word."

I love that! And, it is very true! I started a new tradition this year of delivering a special gift to someone who has been an encouragement to me in an effort to give thanks actively. I took it this morning, and the family was encouraged -

I took our traditional Thanksgiving morning breakfast of pumpkin pancakes in maple leaf shapes, sausage, homemade syrup, and chopped walnuts. Yummy - looking forward to ours tomorrow!

How do you give thanks?

Monday, November 21, 2005

The ABC's of Thanksgiving

My Mom always carried out this tradition in our family and now I am doing it in our family. This week I'd especially love to hear any Thanksgiving traditions that any of you have and will be sharing some of ours.

For a creative way to encourage thankfulness in your home this season, list the letters of the alphabet down the left edge of several sheets of paper taped together. Add a favorite verse about thankfulness at the top. (Psalm 100 is a great one.) Hang this in your dining room or kitchen where it will be seen often and leave a pencil or crayon close by. Encourage everyone in your home to add things that they are thankful for starting with each letter of the alphabet! It will be fun to see the creative things on some of the more challenging letters!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Farm Chicks

This is a fun site to check out!

They always feature a recipe, fashion, and an idea for home and garden.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2005

The $3.53 Tricycle

I got this tricycle FREE at the dump several weeks ago. One $3.53 can of Rust-Oleum, 40 minutes, a piece of sandpaper, some steel wool, and a little elbow grease later - here is the new product. I think Emily will easily get $3.50 worth out of it!


Now *that's* service!

I recently received a postcard advertising a free oil change for Saturn car owners - called, "Owner Appreciation Days". I was excited about the prospect of a free oil change and vehicle inspection.

So, yesterday - Emily and I made the drive to Savannah (nearest dealer). It was a great experience. Not only did they complete the free oil change and inspection, they found a nail in one of my tires and fixed that for free, vacuumed out the inside, washed the outside, and had a red carnation waiting on the seat when I got back in.

I figured out that the gas there and back probably cost me $4-$5, but an oil change would normally cost me around $20! So, I was able to save some money and have a good experience as well!

Freebie!

Here's your chance to get a FREE Gooseberry Patch recipe booklet! This is a promotion from Sunmaid Raisins, so if you like raisins, and cooking - click here to request your free book! This same booklet is sold through the Gooseberry Patch catalog for $4.95 each. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cynthia's Raspberry Tea

I made this tea last weekend for the baby shower I had at my house. I got some nice compliments and wanted to pass on the recipe.

This recipe is from the Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.

3 Lipton family-size teabags, tags removed
1 c. granulated sugar
1 (12-oz.) can frozen raspberry lemonade, thawed
Maraschino cherries

Place the teabags in a pottery or glass pitcher, and pour 2 cups cold water over them. Bring a kettle with 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Pour over the teabags and cover the pitcher with a small plate. Steep for 10-15 minutes, then remove the teabags, add the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Add 3 cups of cold water to the tea and stir in the lemonade until dissolved. Add the cherries before serving. Serve over ice.

Makes a little over 2 quarts.

* Now for what I changed: I could not find frozen raspberry lemonade, so I used Welch's white grape raspberry juice concentrate. Also, I did not use the cherries.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christmas Crafting

With the Christmas music out lately, I've been doing a little Christmas crafting. The above trees have been interesting! The one on the left, I saw in a craft magazine and my friend, Grace, and I got together to make them. Four hours later, we each had one done. So, in an attempt to simplify the idea - I made the one on the right.

Some of you already know this, but I love making my own notecards using old magazines! Use full-page pictures for the envelopes and smaller pictures to paste on the front of the notecard (half a piece of cardstock folded in half). You can dress them up with squiggles or stamps - they are so fun and I always think they look very cheerful in the mailbox when I'm mailing some out! Anyone else doing any crafting? Please share your ideas!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Lowest Place

I jotted this story down over two years ago while working at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs. It was a fresh reminder to me today...

(See Luke 14:7-14)
What I learned today... (June 2, 2003)
I work at Glen Eyrie Conference Center and today, was scheduled to attend a lunch welcoming our collegiate student summer staff. I would be introduced, get a free lunch, and get to know some of the students. But, God had another plan in mind!

Just as I was preparing to leave my desk - my phone rang and it was a frantic co-worker asking me to please jump in and be the tour guide for the tour which was to have started a few minutes before.

I explained about the meeting, but knew in the back of my mind that the right thing would be to just stay and do the tour. I asked other co-workers, and even felt permission to hand the problem off to someone else. So, I did. And, went off to the meeting.

Before they got ready for our group to be introduced, they discovered the tour was still not taken care of...and they came up with no other option than for me to go back and do the tour.

On my drive back I was crabby, grumbling, complaining and just unpleasant in general. I knew I would be faced with a group of people who were waiting and wondering and maybe even upset. Their tour was to have started almost 30 minutes ago and while they did watch a short video, they still had to wait.

I was also quick to point out to myself that this was one reason I hadn't wanted to be trained to do these tours. And all the way over, I just laid my yucky attitude before God and said, "Lord, I don't want to give this tour and I have a rotten attitude about it."

But, I knew in my heart these people deserved a great tour - the best I could give. I quoted to myself, "Whatever you do - do it all for the glory of God." And, when I was nearly there - the phrase was like a lightning bolt..."Choose the lowest place." A powerful reminder of a passage God had really placed on my heart just a few days ago.

I got to the tour, the people were spectacular and so friendly - we had a delightful time together seeing the beauty of the place. I was indeed blessed by being in their presence. What a God-thing!

But then as I thought more about the passage in Luke - I realized I had few things backwards.

I knew it would be the right thing to go ahead and choose the lowest place and do the tour. In my mind, I set the honorable place on what would bring me glory - being introduced and recognized. But, since I chose the place of "higher" honor - God allowed me to be humbled by having to be told to go back and to the tour instead of choosing it.

Imagine how much more I would have glorified Him if I had just chosen the lower place first.

Later in the day, thoughts would creep in of wondering if anyone realized what I'd felt like I had sacrificed. If they's realized I missed lunch and hadn't brought anything because I was planning something different.

But the still small Voice kept saying, "Take the lowest place". And I knew, again, that it was a discipline of the mind that needed to rule over these thoughts.

So, today while many ate pizza, and others saw God's beauty at Glen Eyrie for the first time - I was on the Potter's Wheel being shaped and re-shaped into the woman God wants me to be! Hallelujah

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pick Your Own

I have always loved the idea of growing and/or picking my own fresh produce. My favorites are apples, pumpkins, and peaches. This website is a great resource for finding local farms and orchards. While there aren't a lot of things close by to us, I imagine an annual Apple Picking Jaunt to come home with a bushel or two of fresh-picked apples ready for canning! Happy Picking!

Apple Dip

I made this for a Baby Shower on Saturday, and it was so delicious I thought I'd share the recipe from my Aunt Joanie:

Soften 1-8 oz. bar of cream cheese.
Mix in 6 Tbsp. brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Serve with apple wedges - yummy!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Baby Birthday Cards

I love the treasure boxes of each sister in the movie Little Women that are kept in their attic. I decided to start something like this for Emily. I want to help her limit what we keep over the years and to have a neat box to keep these treasured memories in. My mom and I found an amazing chest at Hobby Lobby for 2/3 off!

Being that Emily is only a year old, I am on the early side of collecting and keeping these memories in this chest. But, here is where the dilemma begins. What do I keep? How many baby and birthday cards should I keep - just the treasured few? What will merit itself as important enough to be kept in the special chest?

Anyone have any ideas or tips to share?

New Blogs of Note

These aren't new blogs, but new to me and I've really enjoyed reading them.

Like Merchant Ships

Charity Grace

Happy reading and blogging!

Operation Christmas Child

We packed our boxes today for Operation Christmas Child. This is such a fun and amazing opportunity that doesn't cost a lot of money or time. It is very simple. Choose a boy or a girl. Choose an age category. Purchase small toys and hygiene items and pack them in a shoe box. Deliver the box to a local church or collection center and your box will be delivered to children around the world who may not know any other kind of Christmas. They will also receive a Gospel storybook in their own language. I can't think of a better gift than the gift of Jesus' love. If you want more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Now You Know!

Looking for the perfect diet? Here you go. (Thanks Grace for sending this!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Random Thoughts...

* I received an issue of Martha Stewart Living today! What a fun surprise! The biggest surprise is that I don't know how I'm getting it, but I will certainly enjoy it! Does anyone know who I can thank?

* I talked to Emily's doctor yesterday about milk and he said there is really no evidence that the hormones are harmful, but that it comes down to personal choice. I just don't think I can bear the idea of giving her the regular milk after all I've learned about it. So, (gulp) it will be the more expensive organic milk for us.

* I'm proud of my Dad for running and finishing the 30th Marine Corps Marathon last weekend in Washington DC! Great Job!

* Any thoughts on how to wean a one year old who loves nursing? We're working on introducing new foods and milk, but I'm especially concerned about nap and bed times.

* Kenny G Christmas CD is playing right now...I love Christmas music!

* Any other random thoughts? Please post yours!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tagged

I was tagged by Megan to list 20 random things about myself. Here they are in the order I thought of them:

1. I always wanted to marry a farmer or a pastor, but married a law enforcement office who preaches by the way he lives and fosters my desire to have a garden!
2. This is how I met my husband. Very out of character for me to try something like this!
3. I love to can my own apples, peaches, and pears.
4. I love Martha Stewart Living, Country Home, and various other home/gardening magazines.
5. I love mountains and snow and said I'd never live where it was hot, humid, and buggy - now I live in South Carolina!
6. I sang a solo of "My Grandfather's Clock" in 2nd grade.
7. I coached HS cheerleading for six years.
8. I love primitive and homespun crafts.
9. I would like to live in Mitford.
10. One person I would most like to meet is Corrie ten Boom.
11. Brownies and ice cream is my favorite dessert.
12. I love planning holiday events, baby showers, and other creative gatherings.
13. I lived on milk shakes for 10 weeks one summer after having jaw surgery and my mouth wired shut.
14. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women are favorite movies.
15. I love to make things out of old denim.
16. I get pleasure out of putting away a stack of clean clothes...now if they would only stay that way!
17. I like surprising others, especially if they don't know I did it.
18. This recipe will be published in the new Gooseberry Patch cookbook - Best Ever Casseroles.
19. I want to be just like the Proverbs 31 woman.
20. I love everything about Christmas and am embarassed to admit how many boxes of decorations I have in the attic.

Have fun! I don't know anyone else to tag, so if you want to play - let me know!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Enjoy Life!

Probably obvious from the time between posts, this week has been very busy! But, in the midst of that - I've been reading the book of Ecclesiastes. I've read it before, but this time had some new ideas stand out.

The theme that came to me over and over again as I read it, is to enjoy the life that God has given us. Fear Him, follow His commands, but enjoy the gift of this life. I thought of when I give gifts and how much I want the receiver to enjoy the gift. Same with God.

The Christian life should not be all drudgery and boredom. It should be exciting and exhilirating because we have purpose, hope, and joy in Christ.

My parents are arriving today, and we're heading to Washington DC to cheer on my Dad who will be running the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Chinese Night

Two years ago today, we closed on our house. There was no carpet - the roof leaked - and the siding was rotting. We got Chinese and had a candlelight picnic in front of the fireplace. Last year, we did the same and are looking forward to it again tonight!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cupcake Cuties!


We had fun decorating cupcakes last night with these darlings - Brooke, Talley, and Brant-Fowler hiding in the back! They were yummy too (the cupcakes, not the cuties)! Here's the recipe:


Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
2 1/2 c. and 2 Tbsp. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 c. and 2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375. Sift flour, cocoa, soda, powder, and spices together. Beat butter and sugar in another bowl until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until mixture is smooth and light. In a third bowl, mix pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.

Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the egg and sugar mixture. Blend well after each addition. Put 1/4 c. batter into each of 36 muffin cups that have either been sprayed with cooking spray or have a muffin paper in them.

Bake for 22 minutes, cool for 20 minutes. Remove from muffin pan and cool completely on cooling rack. Frost with your favorite icing recipe.

Recipe from Oct. 2005 Country Living.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sisters!

My sister has been here for the long weekend and we have had a wonderful time together! I am so thankful for her! She is so smart, fun, and creative! Thanks for coming, Carrie! Love you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Too Much Information

Yesterday, I was reading Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I have always loved this book and it has been a blessing, encouragement, and challenge to me. However, I was curious what her references to "Cant. 1:1-6" meant. So, I found out that it is an abbreviation for Canticles which can also refer to Song of Solomon. Great.

Ok, now for the part I did not want to know. Apparently, later in her writings and life, Hannah Hurnard became a heretic of the faith. She became pretty involved in New Age things from what I read. Of course, I do not know anything myself because I did not KNOW her myself. But, this is the truth that has been repeating itself to me - it just shows that we are all very susceptible to things contrary to God if we are not always on guard and studying His Word.

A good reminder...but I wish I hadn't read this information!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Milk Mysteries

Ok, what is the big deal with all the mystery surrounding the truth on milk? Especially as I consider what to start Emily on in the near future. Here is what I find:

- Don't drink regular milk, it contains lots of harmful hormones and pesticides.
- Organic milk is a scam - don't buy into it.
- The argument that milk contains HARMFUL hormones and pesticides is false. After all, it is FDA approved.
- Our daughters are maturing at an earlier age - stay away from non-organic milk.
- Give soy milk.
- Don't give soy milk - lots of allergies.
- Don't drink cow's milk period.
- Milk is a necessary part of a healthy diet.
- Remove all dairy from your diet and you will feel better.

It is all going to come down to me deciding what is best for us. But, does anyone have any factual info?

Signed,
A Frustrated Milk Drinker

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Little Things

I love discovering little homekeeping helps! One that I read somewhere (sorry, I can't remember where) was to use a lint roller to clean lamp shades. I tried this today while dusting and it was great! I will be making this part of my dusting routine.

I also had a closet door that would not go back on because we had the floor re-done when we moved in. So, the linen closet in our bathroom has been in full view for two years. This was starting to bother me. So, I got a cheap spring rod and some fabric and voila, a new door for the closet has been born!

Recipe Update

Finally an update on my Broccoli Chicken Lasagna recipe! It has been accepted and will be printed in the newest Gooseberry Patch cookbook called, Best Ever Casseroles. The cookbook will be out sometime in March 2006! Click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Can You Help?

A fellow sister-in-Christ needs our help. She is looking for a way to earn income while staying at home with her three children. Do you know of a company that is trustworthy and honest? I'm interested in your ideas! Thanks for your help -

Monday, October 03, 2005

Over and Over

Over and over You're never changing

Over and over Your love is flowing

Over and over new mercies I see

As over and over Your grace and strength touch me.

Over and over like waves of the sea

Your forgiveness is there setting me free

Over and over as waves wash ashore

You offer a life lived with You evermore.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Martha's New Show

David, Emily and I are at his family condo for the week soaking up the sun and beach. It is wonderfully relaxing. One of the perks is cable TV. We always enjoy it when we come since we don't have really any TV channels at home much less cable. So, I was eager to check out Martha's new show which recently started.

I love the set, looks a lot like the old show - very homey looking. She seems a lot more outgoing. I don't know if that is because they are trying to get her to change her image or because she really is. But, I'm so disappointed in the show overall. I used to love the segments on homekeeping, plants, cooking, crafting, etc... Now, it is more like a talk show - with guests and a live audience. She does cook and yesterday taught us all how to properly fold pants. But, the overall feel is kind of like Oprah with a slight focus on home things.

Have any of you seen it? What did you think? While I am glad Martha is back, I guess it will be easier to go home to no TV channels knowing that I'm not really missing anything.

Update Thursday night: I watched the show again tonight - and it was so much more enjoyable. I must have seen a not as good episode the other night. I really enjoyed learning how to frost a cake, arrange flowers, and make ravioli!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Can Katie come out to play?

Yes, the neighborhood kids think it is so fun to take our dog for a walk! Which is great considering the fact that I can't take her because she pulls too much and is too big for my patience. I could never handle a 100-lb inquisitive chocolate lab and an inquisitive baby in stroller. Thank goodness for the fun kids in the neighborhood! :) Keep it up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005

Psalm 19:7-11

"The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statues of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Denim Tote

I learned how to make this yesterday from my friend Grace and her sister-in-law, Kristi. It was not hard and turned out so fun! It is so fun to learn how to make new things and share ideas with each other! Thanks Kristi and Grace!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy Fall!

My project for this past Monday, was to get our porch ready for Fall! Our neighbor gave us this old bench which makes a great spot for a planter! So, now the fall colors have reached our area too! My top-10 list for fall is:

10. Decorate the house with fall things saved from year to year!
9. Get a pumpkin for the porch!
8. Enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaves (if you have them!).
7. Enjoy time with family and friends.
6. Feel the anticipation of the next few months leading up to the holidays.
5. Go to a craft fair. (My top choice is the Holly Berry House sale in Colo. Springs)
4. Enjoy a local fall event.
3. Take a few apples, a bag of carmels, and a jug of cider to a neighbor for a fall gift.
2. Bake something with apples in it.
1. Appreciate the cozy feeling of being at home!

What are your favorite things about fall?

Monday, September 12, 2005

There Goes My Life

Our Women's Bible Study started at church this week...it was so good to be back with friends and refreshing to be challenged and taught from God's Word. Here is the beginning of what our pastor's wife, Audrey, shared:

There Goes My Life

"I was cleaning my porch in the middle of August and I noticed how some leaves were falling already. It was still summer but I knew autumn was just around the corner.

It was like God impressed on my heart that this is where I am. Mid-August in my life. That’s when I was born. And that is where I am.

Yesterday I was a young girl growing up on a farm in rural South Carolina – running through the yard, playing with my cats. Yesterday I was a high school graduate applying for college. Yesterday I graduated from college and got married, moved away from home.

Yesterday I had my first baby – yesterday I had my fifth baby. Yesterday my oldest son grew up and left. Yesterday my second son got married and moved away. Yesterday my daughter left for college. Yesterday my 4th child got his driver’s license. Yesterday my baby turned 12. Yesterday I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary.

Yesterday – my life filled up.

There goes my life – all these yesterdays . . .

Tomorrow I’ll say goodbye to the rest of my children. Tomorrow I’ll be 70 years old. If I’m strong, I might live to be 80 - perhaps a little longer.

Tomorrow Carl and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Tomorrow my children will stand over my grave.

There goes my life - all these tomorrows . . .

But what if tomorrow never comes? Have I wasted my life so far? How will I spend my remaining years, be they few or many? How do I want my children to remember me? How do I want my church to remember me?

What will I say to God? There goes my life.

Today - I am busy raising my two last children. Two have flown the next, one is practicing her flight, and two remain. The oldest still at home is preparing for college, and the youngest is beginning the middle school years. Today I am busy with ministry in my home and ministry in my church. All these todays. Am I wasting my time?

There goes my life. All these todays . . .

My heart’s desire is to finish this life well. If God gives me 80 years – this means I have 33 left.

Some things I’ve decided in my 47 years – I will not waste my life. I will not spin my wheels going nowhere. The only way I know to keep on track is to have my heart and mind turned wholly and completely toward God. When I do that - He is free to work. When I fill my mind with the truth from Him, He clears my vision, He strips away the dross, gives me focus, He sharpens my perspective, He helps me spend my time on things that really matter. He literally frees me from myself.

It is my prayer that as you leave here today, you will have a fresh, renewed perspective about your yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. A perspective from God’s Word. We won’t finish our topic today – you’ll have to come back on September 22nd for the really “get your hands dirty” practical stuff. Today it’s all about a perspective – a way of seeing things. A way of focusing."

If you want to learn more, visit Mothering From the Heart.

Emily


Isn't she cute? Just wanted to share a smile with you all today!

Ahhhhh...

Two years after we painted our house, we finally finished the trim around the windows in the back yard this weekend! It feels great to have it done - and I wonder now, why did it take so long to get around to? I also finished a sewing project and did a bunch of cleaning in the front yard. Anyone else finish a long-standing project recently?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Napoleonized

So, we've FINALLY seen Napoleon Dynamite. There was so much buzz among people we knew, we decided to see it. It was a fun blast to the past and we enjoyed seeing old familiar things like Caboodles, Trapper Keepers, and the avocado crock-pot!

We didn't love it, but didn't hate it. It was quirky and nothing bad in it, but we probably won't watch it again. The fun thing was seeing familiar things and recognizing what others had mentioned about it.

I had an "Aha" moment when I figured out who Uncle Rico was and about his time machine having read something about this on Megan's blog. And heard the much talked about, "Gosh".

Anyway, a fun and quirky Monday night movie for us. We're curious how the MTV movie logo got involved with a PG movie though.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Free!

Ok, I'm always telling people what good deals you can get at Walgreens, and just want to pass on another one. This week you can get 1 pkg. of diapers free and 1 "got 2B" hair care product free. You will have to pay for the items initially and then for a stamp to send in the rebate. But, it is such a great deal, it's worth it. They have many other rebates this month too - so check the catalog to see if it is anything you could use before mailing in the rebate.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Peaceful Lily Spa






We had so much fun with our "home spa" night - I thought I'd share the idea in case any of you want to try it too! We had the ingredients to make the following recipes and had a great time creating and pampering. We had three scents so we could interchange them however desired: honey almond, peppermint, and citrus fantasy.

Grapefruit and Sea Salt Scrub

This recipe makes 1 x 250g jar
Place 1 c. sea salt in jar. Add 1 tsp. grapefruit oil (or other desired scent). Top with sweet almond oil (we found it at the grocery store) until the oil is just over the top of the salt.

Pepperminty Lip Balm

6 T. almond oil 2 t. honey 4 t. beeswax, grated 5 drops vitamin E oil 5 drops peppermint essential oil 8 1/2-oz. lidded pots

In a double boiler, melt almond oil, honey and beeswax together; remove from heat, allowing mixture to cool slightly. Add vitamin E and peppermint oils; stir until well blended. Pour into pots and allow to cool before covering. Makes 8 pots.

Honey-Vanilla Lip Balm

1/2 c. almond oil 2T. beeswax, grated 1T. honey 1/2 t. vanilla essential oil 10-1/2 oz. lidded pots

In a double boiler, melt almond oil and beeswax. Remove from heat and immediately stir in honey and essential oil. Pour into pots; let cool before covering. Makes 10 pots.

Strawberries and Cream Milk Bath Mix

1 c. powdered milk 3/4 c. sea salt 1/4 t. strawberry essential oil

Place milk and salt in large bowl; mix well. Scoop out about 1/2 c. and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle oil over top of mix; stir well. Add oil mix back to large bowl; mix well. Store in an airtight jar. Scoop out 1/4 c. and dissolve under running bath water.

Herbal Oatmeal Bath Sachet

1 c. long-cooking oats, uncooked 1/2 c. dried or fresh lavender
1/2 c. dried or fresh rose petals 6-inch muslin square washable ribbon

Combine oats, lavendar and rose petals. Palce 2-3 T mixture in the center of muslin; bring the 4 corners together and tie in the middle with a ribbon, making sure mixture is secure. Repeat with remaining mixture. Makes about 16 sachets. Toss under running bath water.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Gift Giving

My Mom and I have been talking a lot about the desire to continue simplifying our lives. One area that seems so difficult is the area of gift giving! With our family growing, our gift-giving is growing too. So, I wonder...

*Would you share any ideas that have worked for your family? Especially for Christmas - do you draw names, have a price limit, do one gift, do multiple gifts, etc...
* Does all this giving really please God? After all, there is a sweet and beautiful element of giving, but can't this get out of control?
* How have you communicated limits with loved ones? And what limits have you suggested?

I am really hoping to hear from the few of you who read this and learn what might have worked for you! Thanks!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mountains!



Emily and I are visiting my parents for the rest of August and enjoying this view!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

This is David's favorite meal, so I thought maybe others would like it too. He always orders this at the Olive Garden, and since they don't share recipes, this isn't exactly the same. But, he says it is very close and just as yummy!

2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can Great Northern beans, drained
3 cans beef stock (or 4 1/2 cups homemade)
3 tspn. oregano (I substitute Italian Seasoning)
2 tspn. pepper
5 tspn. parsley
1 tspn. Tobasco sauce (I omit this)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 c. pasta

Brown beef in a skillet. Drain fat and place meat in a crock pot or large stock pot. Add everything but the pasta. Crockpot: cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Stovetop: Simmer on low for about 3 hours. Just before serving, cook pasta and add to soup.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Home

A place that is peaceful.
A place of love.
A place that is comfortable.
A place of beauty.
A place that is cozy.
A place that is welcoming.
A place that is inspiring.
A place of comfort.
A place that is inviting.
A place that is simple.
A place to be myself.
A place to create.
A place to enjoy.
A place to share.
A place of life.
A place I love to be.
A place called "home".

I love the way the light shines in the windows.
I love the way the plants and trees look from inside the house.
I love the way the color of the kitchen looks cozy.
I love the way the wood of the tables glows in the light of the lamps.
Glowing...Inviting...Beckoning me in to a place of peace and rest.
Our Home.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Chocolate Pie That Wasn't

I had a cooking failure/disaster yesterday! The first mistake I made was wanting to try a new recipe while having a very crabby baby in the house. But, I did select a new recipe: Marge's Chocolate Pie with Meringue from the Mitford Cookbook and Reader. I had never tried meringue before and thought this would make a tasty and beautiful dessert for dinner last night.

The crust went fine. The chocolate pudding was "cooking" along...though not getting thick. But, after cooking and cooking the pudding, it did not thicken. It was runny and soupy. I kept thinking, "maybe it will set while refrigerating." So, I went ahead and put it in the crust and made the meringue. The meringue turned out beautiful! I was so pleased. So I spread it on top, baked it a few minutes until it was browned so pretty.

When I took it out of the oven, chocolate soup started dripping on my feet, the floor, running down the cabinet, etc... Getting more frustrated, but still hoping it would thicken, I refrigerated it for three hours.

After dinner, the fateful moment arrived where it was time for dessert. Let's just say we ended up eating pound cake that I had in the freezer with chocolate soup poured over and meringue on the top. It worked out ok, but I am curious to try it again and see if the pudding ever thickens! Oh well, a lesson learned. Don't think the pudding will thicken any more than it is in the saucepan.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Christmas In July

Today was our annual Christmas In July craft day! Sometime, years ago, I read in a magazine about a lady who had a craft day at her home every July for working on Christmas projects and crafts. I loved the idea and have done it several years.

There were ten of us, sitting in our air conditioned dining room wearing shorts and sweating from the nearly 100 degree weather outside. But, we were inside! Listening to Christmas music, eating vanilla ice cream snowmen, talking about snowflakes and crafting Christmas goodies! It was such a fun time! Thank you to all who came and made it a fun and memorable day of friends and fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jesus King of Angels

I just heard this song on the radio for the first time - so beautiful and great lyrics! By Fernando Ortega:

Jesus King of angels heaven's light
Shine Your face upon this house tonight
Let no evil come into my dreams
Light of heaven keep me in Your peace

Remind me how You made dark spirits flee
And spoke Your power to the raging sea
And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man
Remind me Jesus this is what I am

CHORUS:
The universe is vast beyond the stars
But You are mindful when the sparrow falls
And mindful of the anxious thoughts
That find me, surround me and bind me

With all my heart I love You Sovereign Lord
Tomorrow let me love You even more
And rise to speak the goodness of Your name
Until I close my eyes and sleep again

CHORUS

Jesus King of angels heaven's light
Hold my hand and keep me through this night

Pure and Sweet Innocence

I love this photo of Emily and Brianna playing together! Brianna is the daughter of my good friend, Grace. So adorable!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Helpful Info

When we first got our home phone number, we were getting tons of sales calls. I followed the directions here and have received only a handful over the last year and a half. It really does work if you are tired of telemarketers calling you. The calls we have gotten have been ministry related or local things that probably do not use the national list. Anyway, just wanted to pass this info on.

Tips?

Two women came to my door yesterday asking me a few questions about the last days and the Bible. At the end of the conversation, they asked if they could leave a booklet with me and come back in a few days to ask me what I thought about it. I said that would be fine. So, now these two will be coming back and they are Jehovah Witnesses.

I've been reading the booklet, just for the sake of understanding where they are coming from. I seem to remember someone saying to suggest that I listen to them uninterrupted for ten minutes and then ask them to listen to me for ten minutes.

I don't want to get into an argument or debate with them and think that the most important thing is for them to really hear the Gospel. So, I was thinking I'd walk through the Bridge diagram. Any other suggestions on this?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Worth Your Time

This is a great article to read if you have about 10 minutes and want to be encouraged. It is a challenge to women to be who God wants us to be whether single or married (though her experience is married). This is written by our pastors wife, Audrey Broggi.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mary Jane's Farm

I received my September Country Home magazine yesterday and was immediately drawn to an article about a lady who runs an organic farm in Idaho. Have a look at this web site! It is so inspiring and tugs at my creativity! A woman who likes to garden, cook, sew, do crafts, canning, etc... I am interested to check out her own magazine now! And, I would absolutely love to attend her Organic Home Economics classes! If you look it up, let me know what you thought!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Creamy Lemonade Cups

I made this new recipe this weekend and it was really yummy! I always ask David to rate new recipes on a scale from 1-10. 1 being never make it again and 10 being it is a new favorite! He gave it a 7.5. One thing I'd improve next time is to make it a little farther ahead - it is better when fully chilled! Enjoy!

1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. lemonade concentrate
1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a bowl, combine the crumbs, butter and sugar. Stir in the nuts. Set aside 1/4 c. for topping; press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of eight dessert dishes. In another bowl, combine the milk and lemonade concentrate; fold in the whipped topping. Spoon into prepared dishes. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Chill until serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Note: I did not have any lemonade concentrate, so substituted 1/2 c. lemon juice and 1/4 c. sugar mixture. It was yummy!

Recipe from: Country Magazine

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pattern Anyone?

Does anyone know where I can get a *cheap or free* pattern for one of these? I saw a pattern at Wal-Mart, but it was $8 which makes me think I should just buy the product instead of making it. Thanks for any help or info you have!

A Simple Pleasure of Home...

I washed my sheets and quilt in SA8 (from Amway) with lavendar and sage essential oils today, and the smell is so wonderful! It smells great while they are washing and I can't wait to lay down in bed and smell the clean herb smell again! (Ok, so it doesn't take a lot to make me happy!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

They're Married!

I don't have any pictures to share yet - but want to post Congratulations to my sister and her new husband! Now enjoying their honeymoon in Hawaii, the newlyweds planned a great wedding weekend full of fellowship and fun! David, Emily and I enjoyed our trip to Orange City and especially the time with family. Congratulations!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Hydrangeas!


Is it true that it is now so easy to upload pictures? Here is a test photo - some hydrangeas from our yard! So pretty ~

Let me know if you can see this photo, so I'll know if it is working! Yeah - I am excited to add photos to my blogging experience!

A Prayer for Our Country

"Almighty God, You have given us this great land as our heritage. We humbly pray that we may always remember Your generosity and faithfully do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education and an honorable way of life. Defend our liberties and strengthen the resolve of the people who have come from throughout the world to make America their home. Lead us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Help us to appreciate the opportunities that are ours as we struggle to bring harmony to an unsettled world. May we balance our concern for justice with a willingness to display mercy, and may our concern for security be tempered with a willingness to take risks which will produce worthwhile change for the good of all people. O Lord, we pray for Your guidance as we work together for the best interest of our communities, our nation, our world, and the ultimate goal of peace. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful and in troubled times may our deepest trust be in You. Amen."

~ Chaplains' Service Book of Prayers

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Psalm 32

After reading this Psalm, I realized that the theme is how the godly person should live. I put this here as a reminder to myself.

vs. 3-5: in repentance, confessing and acknowledging sin and receiving His forgiveness
vs. 6: pray
vs. 7: go to God for protection
vs. 8: listen to God's instruction and follow His leading
vs. 9: follow God cheerfully and willingly
vs. 10: trust Him
vs. 11: praise Him!

Friday, July 01, 2005

4th of July!

I absolutely love the Fourth of July holiday! I love decorating in red, white, and blue and making things look really festive!

Our neighborhood has started having a parade on the morning of July 4th. This year is the second annual parade where everyone decorates bike, stroller, wagon, dog, etc... and we just parade through the neighborhood. We end up at the house across from ours for refreshments. I hope Emily enjoys her first parade!

I've invited people for dinner that evening. I made red, white, and blue paper lanterns and hung them from the ceiling in our dining room - they look great! So fun.

Does anyone else have any Fourth of July ideas, foods, events they enjoy? I'd love to hear about them!

Saucy BBQ Pork Chop Skillet

Prep: 5 min. Total: 25 min.

4 center cut, bone-in pork chops (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 slices onion
1/4. cup or less diced green pepper
1/2 c. BBQ sauce (I think it would be good to even water this down a little)

Brown chops in oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

Add onion and pepper to skillet; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add BBQ sauce.

Bring to a simmer. Return chops to skillet; spoon sauce over top. Simmer 3-5 minutes or until heated through, turning once.

Makes 4 servings: 1 chop and 1/4 cup sauce mixture each.

We really liked this and the meat had great flavor. I got this recipe from Kraft, but made some changes. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Saturday Morning Donuts

These are easy and yummy! I remember my Mom making them for us on Saturday mornings when we would watch Smurfs, Muppet Babies, and Fraggle Rock cartoons! Now, I am making them for my family on Saturday mornings!

1 can refrigerator biscuits
oil
sugar

Heat oil in sauce pan (about 2 - 3 inches) until 275 degrees. Cut centers out of biscuits with a cookie cutter to make holes. Cook biscuits and holes in oil until brown, turn and repeat. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Roll in sugar and serve.

Yummy!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Home Organizing

I just finished a great book! Cleaning Up The Clutter by Emilie Barnes. This is the most practical book I think I've ever read about home organization, chores, and meal planning. My sister gave it to me for my birthday and I have been motivated to make some changes in how I do my chores.

For example, she suggests dividing household chores into daily portions so that you do some each day instead of trying to clean the whole house in one day. I had wanted to do something like this remembering Ma Ingalls being wise enough to do the same, but never landed on a system that worked for me.

I have now been doing this for a few weeks and it works great for me! Thanks, Carrie, for the great gift!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hurricane Readiness

In an effort to prepare our home and life for a possible hurricane this season, I've been creating a hurricane kit. Today, I've been doing a household inventory and serial number inventory for insurance purposes just in case. It seems like I should have done this ages ago, because as I'm doing it, I can see how useful it could be in any number of situations.

Here is the list I used from the Red Cross. I thought it was funny that I disassembled my "blizzard emergency kit" from the trunk of my car to assemble my "hurricane kit" in the same bin! One extreme to the other I often say!

Vacuuming Is Fun!

We finally replaced my $20 flea market vacuum yesterday with a really nice vacuum that should last most of our lives! It is so nice! I'm really thankful for the way God provided! It does not have bags that need to be emptied, but a cannister that you can just empty into the trash and I wonder...why do I get such pleasure out of seeing how much dirt can get into that cannister? I guess because I can see results or know that the dirt is no longer on my floor! I imagine that I'll be vacuuming more often for a while - just for *fun*!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing a Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in my life! I am thankful for you! And, I love you!

Walnut Apple Dessert

8 c. sliced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 1/4 c. packed brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. finely chopped walnuts, divided
Vanilla ice cream, optional

Place apples in a greased 12-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. brown sugar and cinnamon. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and remaining brown sugar. Add eggs. Stir in flour and 1/2 c. walnuts. Spread over apples. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until the apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 12-16 servings.

I made this last night and it was easy and very yummy! I made half the recipe and used and 8x8 inch pan. We had it warm with ice cream and it was great! Enjoy!

Recipe from Taste of Home.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Berry Lemonade Slush

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 5 min
Makes: 4 servings, 3/4 cup each

COUNTRY TIME Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix (dry)
1/2 cup water
3 cups ice cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

MEASURE drink mix into cap to 1-qt. line (1/2 cup). Empty into blender container.
ADD remaining ingredients; cover. Blend on high speed 10 sec. Turn off blender. Stir with spoon; cover. Blend an additional 5 sec. or until smooth, using pulsing action.
SERVE immediately. Store leftover slush in freezer.

I made this last night and it was really yummy and extrememly easy! The only thing I would change is putting in less lemonade unless you like things really tart! I used the Wal-Mart brand of lemonade and fresh strawberries. Very refreshing for a hot summer day. If you try it, let me know what you thought!

Recipe from Kraft. Kraft offers a great free magazine that comes out four times a year. Click here to sign up.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary?
Who may live on Your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Happiness Is...

... yummy smells from the kitchen!

Monday, June 13, 2005

My Prayer

Dear Lord,
You are the One who has put this dream in my heart. You are the One who has given me the joys and gifts of enjoying the simple things of home. You are the One who has given me the desire to share this with others. Let Your will be done. Bring Yourself glory through me. Thank You! Amen.

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Homespun Heart

Once upon a time there was a baby heart. It lived in a home that encouraged simplicity and joy in simple things. It loved being creative and grew to know it's Creator more and more. One day, when the baby heart was grown up and had a home of her own, she longed to share these gifts and joys with others to help them cultivate a joy in the simple things of life. That heart is mine.

Today I am dreaming of sharing my crafts and ideas with others. I'd love to have a craft sale at my home or in a larger sale. I receive great joy from making simple, homespun gifts and crafts and I'd like to share them with others.

I'm praying about what to do with this dream of working from home, creating things to encourage others to enjoy being at home.