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Showing posts from November, 2009

Monday Motivation: Gift Solutions

Now that you've made your lists and gotten your Christmas cards together it's time to work on the gifts. If you're like me you've squirreled a few gifts away during the year. Maybe some of you have even completed your shopping. If so, good for you! I'm not that organized yet. I actually like to do some shopping around the holidays. There's just something about the hustle and bustle of shopping that puts me in the holiday spirit. But. . . I can only take a little bit of that hustle and bustle. So, here are a few ideas to help you tie this task up with a shiny, festive bow: 1. Refer to your list of people you intend to give presents to. Don't forget those extra gifts for office or school gift exchanges. 2. Order as many gifts as you can on line. Right now many stores are having sales and some even offer free shipping. 3. If you'll be making some of your gifts, be sure you have all of your craft supplies on hand. 4. If you'll be

Advent Calendar: The next generation

Well, I finally finished the new advent calendar for my grandsons. I modeled it after the one I made for my own children 22 years ago. I used the basic pattern but changed a few of the details. I made Christmas ball ornaments instead of hearts. I also added number tags and old buttons from Great Oma's button box. The packages at the bottom of the calendar sport larger buttons and enough room for gifts or extra special love letters. If you're interested in making one of these, I've made a tutorial to share with you. Just give me a shout. Also, in the new year, I'll be opening an Etsy shop and these will be one of the items I'll be offering for sale.

Calendar wreath for Christmas

This past week I was invited to a friend's house for a "wreath party". This isn't just any wreath. It's an advent wreath that is focused on Christ. My friend, Amy, set up her dining room table with all of the items we needed to make this wreath. The only thing I had to bring was a pair of scissors, a quarter, and a wreath. I picked up my wreath at Michaels for $2.99. We sat around card tables she set up around her home. As we arrived she handed us a piece of paper with a list of each day, what the token for that day was, and a Bible verse that explained the token. Each token was to be wrapped in tissue paper, dated, and tied onto the wreath with yarn. I sat across the table from Amy's 8 year old daughter. She was making a wreath for a family at her church who's mother is undergoing cancer treatments. She made her wreath in 1/2 hour. It took me an hour. What can I say, but I'm a little slow. If you'd like to make one, I've li

Monday Motivation: Christmas cards

As we head into the week of Thanksgiving I can't help but think about what lies beyond. Thanksgiving comes a little later in November this year so it cuts into the time we "feel" like we have to get ready for Christmas. That said, we've got to get a jump on something that many people feel overwhelmed by - Christmas cards. Yup, those sweet little bits of card stock that relay Holiday wishes can totally undo a girl's goal to have a peaceful Christmas. I can remember in years past I would have panic attacks because I didn't have all of my 100 holiday cards addressed and mailed before December 23rd. Over the years I've gotten a little perspective on this custom: 1. I reduced my list. Just because I sent my 2 nd cousin a card in the past doesn't mean I have to send them one now. If I'm not close to them, then I don't send them one. If I see someone frequently throughout the year, I don't send them a card. 2. I simplified the car

TrailerSpy - Escaping the Vampire Kimberly Powers Book Trailer

My sweet friend, Kimberly Powers has written a book just for teen girls. It's just now available for sale. Kimberly has a ministry that continues to minister to teen girls every year. My two daughters were very blessed to have been a part of that ministry during their teen years. Check out the trailer for her new book below. Also, I've listed her book in my "favorites" section. It would make the perfect gift for a young lady. TrailerSpy - Escaping the Vampire Kimberly Powers Book Trailer : " "

Advent Calendar

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet and here I am pulling out the advent calendar. Well, I had to pull it out of the closet because I needed to use it for a pattern to make an updated version for my grandsons. This is the countdown calendar I made 22 years ago when my daughters were 2 and 6 years old. I didn't know how to sew very well. I just made it up as I went along. My girls (and 6 years later, my son) loved this special calendar. Every morning in December they would rush to find what note was in the heart for that particular day. Each heart held a note about what special event was to take place that day. Sometimes it was a clue to find new hair bows or a piece of candy. Mostly it was a note stating what "Christmasy" activity we would partake in. Sometimes it was to read a Christmas story, or drink out of the Christmas mugs at dinner time. Sometimes we would bake cookies to take to a neighbor or take food to the food pantry collection center. Othe

Wrensday: Fall Wreath update

I've been puttering again. I've had my fall wreath up for a few months now and I'm a little tired of looking at it. Here it is in it's original state. And here it is with a few additions. I added 5 little pumpkin picks evenly around the wreath. I think it adds a festive Thanksgiving touch. I bought these picks after Thanksgiving last year and they were only 33 cents apiece.

Here I go again. Hide the spraypaint.

Because I was stuck inside for 5 days straight I did a lot of "nesting". Because I did a lot of nesting, I got a little bit too obsessive about the finishes on some of my housewares. Because I became too obsessive about the finishes, I grabbed the spray paint. Who needs bright shiny lamps in a rustic house? Not me! Here's the proof of what I did on the first sunny day after a wicked Nor'easter. Of course I used my Bronze spray paint. I have 4 cans of it stockpiled in my garage. What? You don't have a stockpile? Well, what are you waiting for?

Monday Motivation: Clean Your Fridge and Freezer

Do you dread seeing my Monday Motivation every Monday morning? Do I bug you with my "to-do" list each week? Well, you're really going to hate me today. I'm going where no one wants to go. I'm going to the fridge and freezer. Before you stock up on holiday foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas it would be to your benefit to clean out these two appliances. Let's start with the fridge. 1. Drag your garbage can over to the fridge. Fill the sink up with warm, sudsy water. 2. Start on the door. Remove all of the bottles and containers. Wipe down every shelf with a dish cloth or sponge rinsed out in the warm water. Check over every container. Toss out anything that is expired, empty (it happens), or that your family will never eat. Replace remaining containers according to type (pickles with relish, jams with jellies, ketsup with mustard and mayo etc.) 3. Repeat step 2 with the fridge shelves. Be sure to pull out the crisper drawers and wipe underneath them. You

Frightful Weather

Well, we've really had some rain lately due to a Nor'easter that blew in this week. It dumped many, many inches of rain (some say more than a foot) in our area which is already very close to sea level. All of the schools and many businesses were closed due to flooding and high winds. I'm here to confess that this whole storm is my fault. You see, I told The Lord that I would love to have a "snow day" so that I wouldn't have to go anywhere and I could just "nest" in my cozy home. Well, we rarely have snow so I guess the Nor'easter was good enough to do the trick. Thank you, Lord! I stayed inside and cooked, sewed, crafted, and read. What a day! Here's the fashionable footwear for the week. Besides a small leak in our roof, here was our only casualty from the storm.

Kids say the cutest things!

This past Thursday night the preschool where I teach had an Open House for parents. I was eager to show a video I had taken of "a day in the life of preschool" for the parents of my 10 students. I have a sweet little class of 3 year olds who keep me on my toes. As we watched the segment of the video that showed us saying grace before eating our snack, Joey's mom chuckled. It turns out little Joey told his parents that every day when we say grace "Miss Kelly" gets mad. His parents probably wondered what my problem was. It wasn't till they heard us saying "Thank you Jesus for our food, Amen" that they understood the misunderstanding. Joey was hearing me say "I'm mad" instead of my southern version of Amen which is "Ah-man".

Wrensday: I love my clothesline

I love the smell of freshly dried linens on the line. Every Spring and Fall, I strip every blanket and quilt off of my beds and wash them and hang them on the line. Because I have allergies I also tumble them in my dryer with dryer balls . I got my dryer balls at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

I always thought making apple butter would take days to make. Then my Aunt shared a recipe with me that I've been making almost every year. This crock pot version for apple butter is super easy. I use my largest crock pot and it makes 8-10 pints of apple butter. First, you start with about 6 pounds of apples. I use a combination of baking apples (like granny smith) and softer apples like golden delicious. Quarter the apples, peel them, and then slice them. Fill the crock pot with the apples. Don't add any liquid. Cook on low 18 hours. Don't lift the lid. To leave room on my kitchen counter, I plug it in next to my fireplace. (I don't have small children or pets, so it's safe) Add 5 cups of sugar, 2 Tbl. cinnamon, 2 tsp. ground cloves, and 1 tsp. allspice. Stir well. Cook 4 more hours. If very juicy, remove lid for the last 1-1 1/2 hours to thicken. You can fill plastic containers and freeze the apple butter, or you can do a water bath canning. Here's how to

Monday Motivation: Preparing for Christmas

I know, I know, we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet and here I am pulling out the Christmas tree. I've learned over the years that in order to keep your sanity during the Christmas Season you need to have a few things: 1. Time 2. Money 3. Patience 4. Time 5. Joy 6. Time 7. Cooperation 8. Time 9. Creativity 10. Time Since Time seems to be in high demand I thought it would be prudent to start early. I'm sure some of you have already given the season some thought but for most of us Christmas seems to sneak up on us each year. Over the next few weeks I'd like to prompt you to get started early on preparing for this busy Christmas season so that you can stop and enjoy your family and reflect on the meaning of the season. This week's Monday Motivation is to make lists of what you need for the holiday. These are the lists you might want to make. 1. Cards: Make a list of who you will send cards to. You will want to know how many cards and stamps to buy. Al

Running From The Flu

It has been an interesting week at our house. My husband came home from work on Tuesday evening saying he wasn't feeling too well. As the evening progressed, I found him in our bed shivering with chills and barking a nasty cough. I decided it would be prudent to sleep on the couch that night, so I gathered my pillows and a few quilts and bunked down in the family room. Wednesday evening, when I arrived home from work, I found my 18 y.0. son laying on the couch bundled up in quilts, shivering with chills, and moaning. Being the sensitive and caring mom that I am, I immediately noticed he was wrapped in MY quilts and laying his feverish head on MY pillows. Instead of saying "Oh, son, I'm so sorry you're not feeling well", I commented "Well, where am I going to sleep tonight?". Being the sensitive and caring mom that I am, I slept in a sleeping bag, on an air mattress, in my bedroom. Latest health report: both my guys are feeling better and bac

Wacky Cake: So good you'd have to be wacky not to love it.

Well, my chickens aren't laying eggs this week. They're in a funk and we've only gotten 2 eggs so far. Instead of going to the grocery store, I pulled out my favorite cake recipe that doesn't use eggs. It's called Wacky Cake because it uses unusual ingredients. My family loves it and it's easy-peasy to make. Here's the recipe. Wacky Cake serves 8-10 Sift together: 3 cups flour 2 cups sugar (I use 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 cup cocoa 2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt Add: 2 cups water 3/4 cup oil 2 tsp. vinegar 2 tsp. vanilla Stir with a whisk. Pour into 9x13 ungreased pan. Bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. **Sifting gives the cake a better consistency. I don't have a sifter so I use a mesh strainer over the bowl. Also, I use a glass 9x13 pan. Before serving, I dust each piece with powdered sugar. This cake makes a great snack cake. It's divine served with vanilla ice-cream and homemade fudge sauce. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Wrensday: Sunrise in the country

When I saw this photo my husband had taken of the farmland down the road from us I thought of this verse in Psalm Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Pantry Chalkboard

You all have seen my pantry before. My pantry is the life-line in my home because my kitchen is cramped, old, and a little too rustic. (Plus, I have WAY too many sets of dishes and gadgets) But, because I can't leave well enough alone, I decided to add a chalkboard to the inside of both doors. It was really pretty easy and didn't take much time at all. I didn't even tape off the area because the door already had grooves surrounding the area I wanted to paint. I used the Krylon brand of chalkboard paint and just followed the directions on the back of the can. I have a ton of paint left in the small can I bought so if any of you live near me and want to paint something, just come by and borrow the can!! Krylon also makes a chalkboard spray paint and I may use that for my next project. In addition, to my friends who think my pantry is a little too neat to be real, I promise that I didn't "stage" the pantry before I took these shots. It's my little piece

Monday Motivation: New Kitchen Linens

Before I start the holiday cooking frenzy I like to replace my worn out kitchen towels, dish rags, and pot holders. There's nothing cheerier than new towels in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorites. The towels pictured above are from United Industries . Jacklyn Smith's collection at K-mart is really cute. You can't get much simpler than these bar towels at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.