Monday, July 31, 2006
Here is how to make these simple and homespun ornments:
2 1/2 inch styrofoam ball
1/4 yard total of three fabrics torn into 2 inch strips (we bought 1/4 yard of each of three fabrics and made three ornaments out of that amount)
1 inch straight pins
Twine or ribbon for hanger
Stitch together the ends of one of each piece of fabric. Braid pieces together - when you need to add more fabric, tie a new piece on and trim the ends - working the knot into the braid. Pin the sewn end of the braid to the styrofoam ball with straight pins and work in a spiral motion around the ball, pinning the braid as you go. Trim the braid to the needed length and pin the end securely. Make a loop of twine or ribbon and hot glue on to the top of the ornament. Done!
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The article was on household items and using them in creative ways or ways other than the obviously known purpose.
* Ice-Cube Trays: serve dessert or ice cream toppings; cut cookie dough into uniform size shapes. (I thought the cookie dough thing would be perfect for sticking the little shapes in the freezer and pulling out as many as I needed at a time.)
* Uncooked Spaghetti: push into cakes to keep them intact or keep the plastic wrap off of the icing; light candles - use to light deep candles if you are out of long matches; test baked goods - when it comes out clean, it is done!
*Baby Oil: untangle a necklace chain by massaging a small amount of oil into the tangle and using a straight pin to pull the knot apart.
* Dental Floss: slice soft cheeses, layer cakes or homemade cinnamon buns. I use dental floss when making cinnamon rolls to slice them evenly without the smashing of a knife - this works great!
* Cotton Swabs: dip in alcohol to clean the battery contacts of a cordless phone, cell phone or laptop. The clean contacts help it maintain its charge longer. I've never heard this - but am interested to try it.
* Bed Sheet: tie between trees in your yard to create instant shade.
* Pillowcase or Dish Towel: use to wrap your lettuce in before placing in a ziploc in the fridge. A previous post of mine mentions wrapping your lettuce in a paper towel before storing, but this would be a non-consumable way to do the same thing.
* Laundry Basket: use to protect plants during a hard rain or hail storm.
* Clothespins: write names of guests and yourself on clothespins and clip to bath towels when all hanging in the same bathroom to keep things straight.
* Scotch Tape: to test nail polish color, place a piece of tape on your nail and brush color on. You can simply remove the tape when you have seen the results.
"I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing:
To live with Him in His house my whole life long.
I'll contemplate His beauty; I'll study at His feet.
That's the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic."
From Psalm 27, The Message
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The homemade and crafty ideas always seem to be a hit here - so I thought I'd share what we made for the baby announcements. I had these all ready to go except for the date, weight, etc... and we just printed them and assembled. I found the idea in a recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens.
I included one card that had what the name meant (posted a couple of days ago) and then this page with the poem:
A tisket, a tasket
A new baby in our basket
Ten fingers, ten toes
And a cute button nose!
The vellum paper is attached with double stick tape to a piece of scrapbooking paper. A small button is glued on the top! Simple!
(And, I shudder to think of what I would have to pay to order something ready made like this!)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
This little tree was an adaptation of a craft I saw in a magazine. Here is how to make it:
From a piece of green felt, fold in half and cut out a triangle to be the tree. Sew on little white beads and red felt hearts on both sides.
Sew around the tree on the sewing machine leaving a small opening at the bottom for the "trunk" of the tree.
Place a chunk of floral foam in a terra cotta pot and use cinnamon sticks for the trunk. Stuff the tree with cotton fiberfill and then put the cinnamon sticks through the opening.
You can twist wired grapevine around the cinnamon sticks for extra support. Glue moss on top of the floral foam.
Tie a piece of fabric into a bow around the front and you have a cute gift!
Monday, July 24, 2006
Emily loves saying, "baby" and exploring her new role as a big sister! We are home and settling in - thank you for all your sweet comments! Thought you'd like to know more about the name, so here is what Rachel Anna means and our prayer for her:
Rachel means little lamb or one with purity. We pray that her gentleness and purity would be evident to all she comes into contact with so that she might point them to our Heavenly Father who sees these qualities as very valuable and of great worth.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” I Peter 3:3-4
Anna means favor or grace. The name Ann and Anna are family names~ but the Anna that stands out in our minds is the one mentioned in Luke 2 where she is described as one who worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. We pray that the favor and grace of God would rest upon her and that it would be overflow out of her heart to others.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor, no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Taking a short break today from the Christmas series, I thought I'd show you what I did yesterday! Since I am off of bed rest and eagerly waiting for the arrival of our little one, I have been trying to make myself as productive as possible! A sweet friend from church brought me half a bushel of these gorgeous peaches and I wanted to get them put up as soon as possible!
So, I wrapped a few sets of two in waxed paper tied with twine and a note that reads, "Have a Peachy Day" for when we go to the hospital - nurses or doctors who I especially want to thank.
Then, I set aside a bowl for eating fresh - we had some last night with these shortcakes and this was the most amazing dessert!
I would normally have canned these into pie filling or chunks for eating, but I think we would use the frozen ones more and the freezing process was much quicker than canning for this time. The rest I put in the freezer for use in the future. I peeled, cored, and sliced all the peaches. I made four trays of them frozen individually (frozen on waxed paper and a cookie sheet then put in a ziploc bag) for using in smoothies or to munch on from the freezer (Emily loves this!).
The rest of the slices I put in a bath of water and lemon juice until I was ready to pack them and put 2 c. each in a ziploc bag to freeze.
There is something so wholesome and pure feeling about working with your hands and something as natural and beautiful as fruit. I found myself enjoying the scent, the slicing, the color of the flesh and just the wonder of the Creator of this beauty! Thank you, Susan, for sharing such a treat with me!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The jar shown above is one of my traditional and most favorite 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 for Christmas 2004 and are still going!
Monday, July 17, 2006
This is an idea I saw in a recent Pottery Barn catalog: Chalkboard Pots. You can purchase chalkboard paint at your local hardware store and paint terra cotta pots, then include a plant and chalk for a unique gift!
Remember, count the tax and our tax is 5%... have fun!
Here is what I purchased:
Coke: four twelve packs
Cura Heat: two pack for back pain
Herbal Essence hair spray
Kotex: three packages 16 count
Sun Silk Shampoo
Please post your guess in the comments section. There are some great deals still good through this weekend including:
*All Laundry Soap $4 each at Walgreens (I had two coupons for $1 and 0.50 and there is a $5 Walgreens rebate if you spend $10 on All products which brought my cost down to $1.56 for a 100 oz. bottle)
* Crest Total toothpaste 2/$3 (there were 0.75 coupons in the paper on Sunday)
* Staples has some GREAT deals on school supplies:
FREE (after rebate) Papermate Flair Markers (regularly $7.99)
0.01 pencil sharpeners, three-prong portfolio folders, and dozen pencils
0.25 three ring binders in various colors
* Wal-Mart has good school supply sales this week also:
0.10 Rose Art box of 24 crayons
0.20 Elmer's glue sticks two-packs
These school supplies make GREAT additions to Shoe Boxes when it comes around this fall for Operation Christmas Child - now is a good time to stock these items!
UPDATE: Thanks for all your guesses! It is fun! The one with the closest guess was Mrs. Garcia who guessed $5.45. Though, the correct answer is still less than half of that at $2.15! The Coke was on sale for 4/$10 with a rebate of $10 making that 0.50 for the tax. There was a $10 rebate on the Kotex and everything else was totally free except for the tax. We'll play again soon!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Chapter Four: Building Your House
Thoughts from the author that stood out to me during my reading:
* page 53, "'The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.' (Proverbs) Am I building my house or, God forbid, tearing it down?"
* page 53, (when thinking about the difference between the wise and foolish woman) "One is in touch with God's design for her life, one is not."
* page 54, "A house that is filled with 'rare and beautiful treasures' will satisfy the soul as well as be a place of safety and refuge."
* page 55, (reflecting on counseling children from dysfunctional families, she reminds us that their mothers did not set out to tear down their homes) "Though they had not planned to 'tear down' their home, neither had they planned to 'build' them."
* page 55, (for a wise woman) "What mattered is that she knew what she wanted to accomplish in her children's lives, and she had a plan for making that happen. She was commited to building her house. ... Begin to define your vision for your children: How can I develop their character? How will I instruct them in Biblical truth? How will I train them in righteousness and morality? ... "
* page 56, "The more clearly you can define your vision for your children, and the more specific your plan for carrying out that vision, the more confident you will become at the daily process of building your home. ... And if you are secure in your vision and plan, your children will be more secure because of your confidence."
* page 57, "The key to building a strong home, I have found, is identifying those foundational ideals that have eternal weight, and concentrating my building time on those. ... For example, two foundational principles of the Christian life have become increasingly important to me that I want to pass along to my children: to love God and to love people (Matthew 22:37-40)."
* page 57, "...even though I cannot always make them (her children) behave the way I would like them to, I can always do what Jesus did - speak to their hearts." This caused me to think about how Jesus would speak to Emily if He was disciplining her - do I imitate Him in my thoughts, actions, and even tone of voice with her? A good and challenging thought!
* page 58, "But it's not enough for my children just to hear me talk to them about loving God and loving people, they also must see me doing it, God will be real to them only if He is real to me."
*page 59, "There is a price to pay for building your home and family according to God's plan ... Sometimes, though, I have made the building process more costly than God ever intended it to be. ... I expected more of myself that God did. Consequently, I set unrealistic goals and higher standards for my children than God required. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that I burned out trying to pay a cost God never required. I burned out not because God was asking more of me than I could do, but because I was asking more of me than I could do."
* page 60, "Each day, my confidence and faith for building my own home rests a little less on my abilities and strengths as a mother, and more and more on His character and grace."
* page 60, "If I am ordering my life according to the Creator's design for family, I don't have to wonder if my house will stand or fall - it will stand."
* page 61, "He will build a home through me, and a testimony through my children, that will stand here on this earth, and throughout eternity."
Thoughts From the Living Word:
* page 62, "...the wise woman builds her family. She uses timbers of wisdom; she uses bricks of understanding; and she uses the mortar of knowledge. She is careful to use the best building materials taht will keep her family standing strong generation after generation. No matter what physical house they may be living in, it is the spiritual house that the wise woman labors hard to build."
Proverbs 24:3- 4
What does it mean to build your house with "wisdom"? To me, it means to build with God's strength, understand, and wisdom. Not leaning on myself to create a home that is what God desires, but relying on Him for the understanding and knowledge of how to do this. Wisdom comes to all who ask of Him and if I ask Him for the wisdom to build my house - He will provide it.
What is an "established" house? Established makes me think of settled, firm, not wavering, etc... It has been decided that this is how it will operate and the prinicples that will guide it, the One who will guide it.
How does "understanding" help bring that about? When I have the understanding of my need for God, I will choose to establish a home that pleases Him. If I have not come to know Him, I really will not see my need to establish a different kind of home because I will not realize the difference or the need - my understanding will be shaded.
What kind of "treasures" fill the house because of "knowledge"? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control - I am assuming this word knowledge to mean knowledge of God, His Word and His ways.
What kind of treasures fill your house? Peace, joy, contentment, love, kindness and a true appreciation for who God is and the many ways He blesses and provides for us.
What does it mean for the Lord to build a house? Pure motives and a right heart before Him really desiring that He build my home. I think it means a commitment to allow Him to build my home and a surrendering of my will and plans to allow Him to build. I also think it means that when I make decisions and choices that affect my home - they should be made in view of His word and His will for a godly home and family.
What would make your labor vain? Doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons or the right thing for the wrong reasons or with the wrong motives. If it is just for show or what others think - that would be vain labor. It shows a lack of trust in Him to work harder than necessary when sometimes we simply must rest in Him and trust Him to provide the answer and make the way clear.
Why are children a "reward" from the Lord? Children are His creation, children are an opportunity for correction and change in me, raising these little ones to know and love Him is a great responsibility and privilege that not only impacts my home but all they will come into contact with now and throughout their entire lives. Emily has brought such joy into our home with her simple contentment and overflowing joy and happiness, and I have watched her bring this kind of joy to even people walking by our cart in the grocery store. This is indeed a blessing and a reward. I have always thought it somewhat ironic that God speaks about how He grants sleep to those He loves and the blessing and reward of children in the same passage! It seems we miss out on regular sleep especially in the early days of children ~ but sleep is still important to God and it speaks to me that He will provide what I need and He knows and cares about what I need. Children are a blessing - so He will give me what I need to receive them and care for them!
How are your children like "arrows" in your hands? They can be aimed in any direction ~ what direction will I pour my efforts into pointing her towards? The way of the Lord.
What contemporary metaphor could you use instead? I am not good at thinking of things like this! I will be content with the arrow metaphor! :)
How has God "blessed" your home and family? There are too many ways to list them here - God has poured out blessing upon blessing upon us and our greatest desire is to continue to thank Him for these blessings and look actively for ways to share these blessings with others. From providing the home that we live in, the food we eat and clothing we wear, to the incredible gift of salvation He has provided us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
According to Jesus, how can you build your house to stand, even through the hard storms of life? By hearing His words and putting them into practice. This reminded me that when we moved into this house, we had to replace all the flooring. So, I decided to paint a Scripture verse on each floor (on the foundation) making the foundation of our home God's Word. Of course we cannot see it now physically, but I know it is there and the action of doing it has made an impression on my mind and heart.
What does "rock" look like in your home? The way we treat one another, being content with who we are and what we have, building our home on the Rock of Jesus Christ.
In what ways are you tempted to build on sand? It can be easy to get careless or lazy in memorizing Scripture, praying together, and studying God's Word. Even skipping our morning Bible Story during breakfast or seemingly little things like this can be a way that I am saying I am willing to build on sand.
Like the man building a "tower", what will it cost you to build your house? It will cost everything I have to wholeheartedly be willing to follow, serve and obey Christ.
What changes should you make in your life in order to be sure you finish what you have begun to build? I have been lax about Emily's Bible story time at breakfast, memorizing Scripture, and continuing to deepen my prayer life. It all comes down to discipline and choosing the most important thing as Mary did when Jesus came to her house and she sat at His feet and listened.
Do you know what you are trying to build? Describe it. A peaceful home that is inviting to anyone who comes in and where the aroma of Christ is a pleasing scent to all who enter. A place where my children and even myself and David are encouraged and nurtured in the ways of God ~ truly desiring to do His will above all.
* She suggests identifying one or two specific character qualities in each of our lives that we would like to work on. Determining the "cost" to build this character into our lives and taking one step this week toward paying that cost.
* She suggests planning a weekend family night. Using whatever building materials you have on hand (blocks, Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc...) build two houses - one on a pile of popcorn, and one on the solid floor. Eat the popcorn and discuss together Matthew 7:24-27.
Friday, July 14, 2006
My Mom is coming tomorrow! But, TODAY is her birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Can't wait to see you tomorrow!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
* I am still on bed rest for a few more days. God is good and has provided us with lots of encouragement through family and friends and the receiving of calls, letters, visits, meals, and help caring for Emily and the chores! Thank you!!!
* Here's a fun and neat freebie I discovered recently: A free Photo Book from Photo Works. You have to pay the shipping and handling which is $4.49, but this is a great deal because you get to upload your own photos, choose your own book layout and colors and add captions. A great gift idea!
* The winner of the patriotic pillow drawing is Neighbor Jane Payne! Thanks to all who participated, and sorry for the long delay in announcing the winner!
* Did you know that you can donate new and gently worn formal dresses and accessories to disadvantaged students? What a neat idea called Fairy Godmothers Inc!
* In all my reading lately, I came across this idea which I am anxious to try: Freeze dollops of leftover whipped cream on a cookie sheet and use later for dessert topping or as a treat in a cup of coffee or hot cocoa! I never know what to do with that last little bit, so am excited to find this idea which was in the May 2006 issue of Good Housekeeping.
* While my husband was out of town a couple of weekends ago, I reorganized his closet! I got matching hangers and bins and just organized what he already had in there! My commitment was to not get rid of anything or make it seem like I was trying to ~ but just to help and encourage him by making what he has easier to find. One of my favorite things was finding this Wall Graffiti through One Woman's Cottage Life. David is always saying, "Peace, Joy and Love". So, I had this made into the graffiti and put it up in his closet as an encouragement to him. He is thrilled with the results and I was energized by having such a surprise to work on for him!
* What encouragement I have received from several of YOU this week!
Joy chose this blog for her "Blog of the Week" feature! She has been such an encouragment through her blog and this is just another example of how she has encouraged me! Thank you, Joy!
Also, a tremendous encouragment was to find out that I was nominated for two categories (Best Crafts and Projects and Best Frugality) in the Blogs of Beauty Awards! If you have time to visit the list of finalists, please do and vote for these wonderful ladies! I was excited to see so many of the blogs I visit and read regularly nominated for these awards as I know what a blessing they are to me! Thank you so much for your sweet thoughtfulness in nominating this blog (one of you has revealed yourself, but the rest of you are keeping quiet - so I'll just thank you in general!)! I was indeed encouraged by you this week!
* Ok, I think that is it on what I can catch up on right now ~ looking forward to resuming more regular posts very soon!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I have not forgotten the pillow drawing, and will do that as soon as possible and let you know who the winner is! Thanks for playing along!
Monday, July 03, 2006
Something to eat
Something to read
Something to play with
Something you need
And, something you want.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Today's idea is also from Martha Stewart Living magazine.
* Dip red/white peppermint sticks or candy canes in melted white chocolate and then red or white sprinkles! So festive looking! Wrap several sticks together for a small gift or stocking stuffer.
* To make: For 50 peppermint sticks, you'll need 8 ounces of white chocolate and 1 1/2 cups of white sprinkles. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Dip peppermint sticks in chocolate (only the bottom third); spoon sprinkles over chocolate. Stand candy, coated end up, in a loaf pan filled with dried beans; refrigerate until set.
I used candy canes when I made these and then wrapped one candy cane and tied a little note to it and put it on everyone's pillow before they went to bed on Christmas Eve!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
But, this year, I'm not able to host my usual Craft Day, since I am doing as little as possible in waiting for the coming baby (don't want her to come too early!) so I'm going to share my ideas here. I have enough ideas written down to share one every day of July - but since I'll probably have a new baby sometime this month, can't promise we'll get to all of them in July. I'll just share what I can and we'll continue in August if necessary!
So, put on some Christmas music and let the crafting begin! If you have ideas of homemade gifts to make and share, please post them on your blog and let us know through the comments that you have ideas too! The more the merrier! :)
Here's our first idea:
Merry Marshmallows (from Martha Stewart Living)
Makes 16 2-inch squares
Vegetable-oil Cooking Spray
2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 oz each) unflavored gelatin
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 tsp. red food coloring
1. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 c. water in a small asucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 on a candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 c. water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12-15 mintues.
4. Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbelized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.
Package 6 or 8 in a small cellophane bag to give as a gift in itself or with homemade hot choc mix (coming up in a future post). In the magazine, they attached a cute tag that said, "Merry Marshmallows" - cute!