Saturday, December 15, 2012

WIP-a Christmas Quilt

I bought this fabric while we were in Canada this year in November.  Unfortunately,  I haven't had a lot of time to work on it since we got home . Now it's crunch time because I just have to have it done for my party.    The girls and I have an ornament exchange party every year. This year it will be on the 19th. I'm determined to have the quilt finished by that day and displayed in the living room. We shall see....



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crocheted gifts

We've all been busy crocheting at our house. All of us girls just learned a couple of months ago.
I finally made a bag! I love bags and especially these, but alas they're not for me. I made them for our sweet librarian and the other volunteers.
The bath puff is also a gift. My daughter is making some and I just had to try.
I think I have the crochet fever! This stuff is fun!




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chicken Cakes Recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite blogs.  Melissa and I graduated from high school together.  I never knew she had a love of cooking, but boy is she talented!  I check her blog regularly and print off the recipes.  My family has enjoyed all the new meals we've been having.  Here's one we have quite often:

(this happens to be Melissa's picture too.  I promise I have made them-several times.  )

Chicken Cakes with Marinara Sauce

3Tbsp butter
2Tbsp celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and basil
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp mayo
2 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
Olive oil

Marinara sauce

In a large skillet, saute celery and onion in the butter for 5 minutes.  Add parsley and garlic,  Saute 2-3 minutes more then remove from heat.  In a large bowl, combine seasonings, Parmesan cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, mayo and chicken.  Mix well then add the cooked veggies to the chicken mixture.  Stir well and make into patties.  This recipe makes 4-5 nice size patties.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  In a cast iron or non-stick skillet heat 4-5 Tbsp of olive oil and cook patties 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Heat marinara sauce and ladle out onto each plate then place chicken cake on top.  Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Delicious!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

I'm a little late in posting this, but better late than never, right?  This year we had such a nice Thanksgiving!  Even though my sister-in-law and her family couldn't make it, the table was full.  My parents came, my brother-in-law, my father-in-law (his fiance from Belarus and her daughter) and our friend Julia who was visiting for the first time from Austria.
 
Not only did we have our traditional food (turkey, cornbread dressing, squash casserole, asparagus casserole, kale, peas, and cranberry sauce) we also had some interesting additions.  First off, my Mary made  white bread dressing.  We had this for the first time in Canada this fall and loved it.  Natasha brought 2 dishes from her country of Belarus-a potato salad and a kind of apple pie.  Julia made a traditional Austrian dish-Sauerkrautstrudel (sauerkraut strudel) .   Everything was delicious!

Let's just say that no one got up from the table hungry!  For me it was a very nice, peaceful Thanksgiving.  I'm so thankful for my family and all that God has given us.  We are blessed indeed!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Long Drive

Driving home from Canada this year I had the bright idea that we go back by Mt. Rushmore again  .Because everyone knows that that's a direct shot from Manitoba to the Gulf Coast of Alabama, right??  NOT!!  Driving from our town to Manitoba, Canada was 1900 miles.  Driving home through Rapid City, SD was 2269!  That's almost 400 miles out of our way.  Honestly...it was so worth it and I'd do it all over again.  

 We'd been to Mt. Rushmore about 6 years ago but Emma (our youngest didn't remember it).  The morning we were going to visit this time was so very foggy.  You couldn't see 100yds in front of you.  We had to visit early because we had to get on the road.  After all, we still had whole lot of miles to drive that day (we didn't end up stopping until 3am in Joplin, Missouri).  Before leaving the hotel parking lot, we prayed for our traveling safety and that God would open the clouds so we could see the mountain.  I knew God wouldn't have let us drive this far to not get to see Mt Rushmore-our only reason for going off track.  Even as I parked at the mountain, the fog had not cleared.  I still kept the faith that God would give us a glimpse.  Walking through the corridor of flags to the mountain, the clouds parted and the sun shone down in all it's glory.   Seriously!  It did!   There, ahead of us, was the amazing mountain carved so many years ago.  We had tears in our eyes as we gazed at it.  We stood in awe of this man's gift at carving the stone but more importantly at God's goodness in moving the fog and letting us see it once again.  God is so good and sweet like that!
We stayed longer than we should have, but we wanted to see and experience everything.  I didn't care how late I had to drive.  God had opened the heavens for us to see this and we were going to totally absorb it!  (I failed to mention that the whole time we gazed at the mountain, the fog was still thick as pea  soup behind us.  We literally could not see the car in the parking lot!)

Now we had to drive all the was across South Dakota (it's a really wide state, in case you haven't noticed).  It was such a beautiful drive.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  We went on through Iowa, Missouri, a little bit of Kansas and back into Missouri again to stop.  The next morning we drove on into one of our favorite southern states, Arkansas.  We cannot possibly drive through Arkansas without driving by the Duggar's house.  They are on our favorite reality show.    After stopping there we were energized to drive home.  (we arrived about 1:00am). 
We saw a whole lot of this beautiful country that God has created, felt His protection and watched as He performed a miracle...just to love on us!  One long drive turned into a trip of a lifetime!

It's Christmas time!

I'm moving a little slow this year with preparing for Christmas.  I'm excited and wanting to get ready, just busy.  Same old story.  lol!  We got the tree the day after Thanksgiving (one of our traditions).  My hubby and brother-in-law actually put it in the stand that same day (usually that never happens!).  We started putting on the lights, that I had so carefully packed away last year.  Only 2 strands worked this year.  Another trip to the store!  UGH!  Now the tree is all sparkly but the ornaments are still in the living room floor in boxes.  We're thinking about putting them on tonight.

First things first though.  Today I finally picked out our Christmas cards.  I really enjoy doing this each year.  It takes me a while to decide, but I have fun.  We always take a family picture while we're in Canada and sometimes another here at home.  The last several years we've purchased our cards from Shutterfly.  They always look great and are shipped fast.  Right now if you purchase from them and blog about it, you'll get $10 off your next order.  Last year I made calendars there for the grandparents for Christmas.  Really great price and they turned out so well.

Today is the last day to get 40% off select cards (code: HOLIDAY).  Free shipping is ongoing (code: SHIP30)



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane Issac

Here are some pictures from our beach (about 15 minutes from my home).  Hurricane Issac is rolling into the New Orleans area at the time I'm writing this.  For those of you who have never experienced a hurricane, they're nothing to take lightly.  Just look at the pictures...now think about this.  Our beach is about 190 miles from New Orleans-where the eye is going in.  Yet we still have this surf, incredible wind, rain and tornadoes.  Please join me in praying for the people of the Gulf Coast.

( These pictures are courtesy of the Mobile Press Register)


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Oh, Summertime!


I've been looking forward to summer since December!  Truly I have!  It wasn't that I longed for the heat and humidity that the South always delivers, but instead for the time.  This past school year was very hard on all of us.  Difficult situations, long days, and many tears.  We persevered and made it to the end, only by the grace of God.  Finally summer was upon us.  It's been a wonderul (almost) 3 months.  

 Emma participated in an American Girl Club at our local library (5 minutes from our house).  Once a week they would meet and learn about the time period of one American Girl doll.  Then they'd make a craft and have a snack.  Grace even started volunteering at our library.  She's having so much fun while helping our community.
We have been out in the boat on the river several times.  Fraulein had her first swim in the river.  We would dock the boat at one of our favorite restaurants that has an old fashioned store on the side.  Here we'd painstakingly choose an ice cream to sit outside and eat before making our journey back down the river.

All of us have enjoyed these simple days.  We did manage to tuck in a couple of trips which I'll post about later.  Now the school term is just around the corner and I'm almost prepared.  I learned a lot from last years mistakes and hope to have a better year for all of us.  Spending quality time as a family is at the top of the list.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Colonial Dress

I'm finally getting around to posting the picture of Emma's colonial dress. She loves it and wears it often. After church on Easter Sunday she came home and changed into her beloved dress before hunting eggs. I'm glad it's a favorite and hope it gets lots of wear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mail time (sewing books)

Look what came in the mail for me:



I'm so excited and can't wait to get started! I've been wanting to sew clothes for myself. I think these 2 books( The Colette Sewing Handbook and Sew Serendipity) will be the perfect way to start.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A birthday!

Look who had a birthday...our little Thicket!  April 2nd she turned 4.  We celebrated with cupcakes (which of course she didn't eat) and a gift (which she did eat).  She's such a big part of our family.  We love our little chica mandona! 
 
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Energy Bites-No Bake Recipe

Today I was fortunate enough to stumble across this amazing recipe from this amazing blog. Not only is it healthy and delicious but it's No-Bake too!


No-Bake Energy Bites
(makes 18-20 bites)

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Small Blog Meet and Fresh Sewing Day

Lily over at Lily's Quilts is celebrating her Blogaversary. She is so creative and kind. I know you would enjoy looking at all the beautiful things she's made. While you're there you can sign up for the Fresh Sewing Day. Grab the button and let others see what you've been sewing. Also, if you have less than 50 followers like me, you can get a button for the Small Blog Meet. Those of us with smaller blogs can get to know each other. I've gotten to know several great people by doing this. Just click on the buttons on the right in my sidebar.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quality Time

Sometimes my girls just amaze me. They can be so creative and innovative.
This past week has been spring break for us. A much needed break. We seem to be in the car a lot. The girls are craving outside time-fresh air, grass and trees.The last few days have been spent playing outside with the puppies, going on bike rides and cruising in the boat.

My Grace got very crafty and decided to make Emma a swing...and one for herself. She used some left over floor boards, rope from her daddy's shop and my trusty drill. I was so surprised that she not only 'built' these, but was also able to suspend them from the tree. She and Emma (especially) have spent hours in the swings-giggling, talking, enjoying being girls. I had to try them too. Then I put a chair nearby. I can be outside relaxing and enjoying my girls. I love a simple life.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guess where we went???

Some people think we're crazy just for watching their show. They'll really think we've lost it now! LOL!! I'm not ashamed to say that '19 Kids and Counting" is our absolute favorite show. The girls and I make a point to watch the show each week and read any books the family publishes.


When we had the opportunity to visit their part of the world we were thrilled!
Some of you may wonder why? There are so many shows on TV, why watch them? In my opinion, this is a wholesome, Christian family who seeks to glorify the Lord in all they do. Their girls are such good role models for my girls. I would much rather my girls copy them than one of the latest teen idols. They're a wonderful family!
So...we visited Duggar-ville and we were thrilled. We can't wait to go back again. Until then, we'll keep up with them each week here in our home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Liesl's Dancing Dress-my latest project

After many minutes with the seam ripper and a couple of trips to the fabric store....here it is! Grace asked for Liesl's Dancing Dress pattern from Vision Forum for Christmas this year. She then asked 'me' to make it for her. One problem...it has a zipper. I've only put in one zipper before. Maybe two problems...it also involves organza. I believe this fabric should come with a warning: Could Be Hazardous to Your Health! Anyway, I put it off and put it off until there was just a week before she needed. She wanted so badly to have to wear to the Father/Daughter Retreat. Now I had to rush. 4 days a week when we finish school, we have to get ready to leave for extra curricular activities. One of those days we're actually gone all day. Our little school moved to the sewing room! LOL!
I'd like to say things went smoothly, but that's not quite the case. I should have made a muslin of the bodice like the pattern said, but NO, I was in too big of a hurry. Instead I ended up having to go buy more fabric and make a second bodice because the first was too small. Always follow instructions! Then I didn't put the zipper in as smoothly as I'd like, so out it came.
The good thing is the dress got finished in time and fit perfectly. Grace was pleased with it and looks absolutely lovely in it! Thanks to her I pushed myself to try something new that I thought was beyond my capabilities. I still can't believe I made it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Folded Napkin

I received this in an email the other day. I just had to share it. I think it's so amazing how God thinks of every little detail.

Why Did Jesus Fold the Napkin?

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I
never noticed this....

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was
placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave
clothes.

The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was
neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came
to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the
entrance.

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom
Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb,
and I don't know where they have put him!'

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other
disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw
the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen
wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head
was folded up and lying to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you
have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The
folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy
knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure
that it was exactly the way the master wanted it..

The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait,
just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant
would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table,
wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that
napkin and toss it onto the table.

The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days,
the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and
laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,
because..........

The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'

He is Coming Back!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies-gluten free



I love peanut butter-especially in cookies. I lucked up the other day and found this yummy recipe for gluten free and sugar free cookies. I have to say they are absolutely delicious!

1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup xylitol
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut flour (I used almond flour)
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
In a small bowl add coconut flour, peanut flour, baking soda and salt. In a mixer cream butter and peanut butter. Add xylitol and cream until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Slowly pour in flour mixture. Mix until just combined on low. Then on med/high until smooth.
*Optional-refrigerate to make firmer.
Line cookie sheet. Scoop 1 Tbsp of mix. Press with fork. Bake 7-9 min. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Introverts...in the church??




During my married life we've attended and been members of a few churches. It seems with all the good at each of these places I was always feeling the same old thing. Like I didn't fit in. I never sang in the choir, I didn't host ladies luncheons or teach Bible studies. I felt most comfortable sitting in the corner listening. I always felt like I wasn't doing my part like everyone else. I wasn't serving. I still feel that way. Until today. I found the following post on one of my favorite blogs. It really puts everything into perspective.

"Over the holidays I saw an old college friend at a party.

We were at one of those co-ed baby showers that have come into vogue, and that men are eagerly awaiting for people to get over.

This friend and I had ample time to catch up while others were rubbing the mom-to-be’s belly and taking baby quizzes and putting chocolate pudding in diapers.

In some ways he and I have a lot in common. We attended the same college, are both pastors in southern California, both care deeply about the mission of the Church.

But our personalities are polar opposite. He is incredibly extroverted and charismatic and magnetic; he is one of those people that changes the energy of a room when he walks into it. People are immediately drawn to him and he can turn a stranger into a friend faster than I can drive away from a co-ed baby shower. He can have a conversation about anything with anyone. He is the guy who knows ALL his neighbors, to the point that one passerby once speculated that he was a mafia kingpin.

I, on the other hand, am the classic introvert, the one who starts out quiet in new settings and gets quieter. I like people, but conversation, it can wear me out. I have several close friends but I am not terribly motivated to make conversation with people I don’t know well. I have a good sense of humor, but mostly because I sit around by myself a lot thinking of funny things to say. I will often choose reading a book over a group activity.

I have mostly come to terms with my personality, and I have even written a whole book to help introverts navigate the life of the church. But that encounter with my old friend resurfaced some of the feelings I had in my younger days: wondering whether something was wrong with me or whether introverts are spiritually inadequate?

Is God not as pleased with me when I choose solitude over conversation? Am I a bad witness to the gospel?

That last question has been particularly painful for me in the past, when nonbelievers would praise my extrovert-dynamo friend as “someone who really lives out what he believes,” by which they often meant that he was friendly and warm and outgoing.

It’s hard not to hear a subtle jab thrown my way in those conversations, with the subtext “You’re quiet and guarded and you are not a good example of your faith.”

I was left to wonder, in the privacy of my room on those nights, if my introversion contradicted the welcome that God extends to all people.

It’s hard enough when people in the church criticize introverts as unfaithful or closed, but it is extra painful when nonbelievers consider believing introverts to be bad models of faith, even to be turned off to the gospel because of our temperaments.

In the days following my reunion with my friend, I again agonized over these questions.

But my wife’s fruit of the Spirit song spoke truth. It played through my head one afternoon, perhaps was put in my head, and I remembered that “extrovertedness” is not a fruit of the Spirit.

Paul doesn’t say that the internal work of God will produce love, joy, peace, patience, andgregariousness.

People are born with different temperaments, which is all part of God’s rich and beautiful design for His body, but kindness is what we’re all called to.

Kindness is what God is working in us through the implanted seed of the gospel.

Of course, extroversion is a wonderful quality, but some people have it and some people don’t. No matter what our temperaments, however, kindness is to be our stance before people.

The apostle Paul uses the word kindness a few times to describe God’s action in sending a Savior and showing mercy to humankind.

To be kind then, is to show people mercy. Kindness will extend itself beyond our tribes to help and support and listen to people in need.

And for introverts, this will happen one person at a time, one step at a time, one small risk at a time.

Paul also says that God’s kindness is what leads people to repentance.

Being outgoing, in some cases, may get people to the door — but kindness is what draws people in to eat with the Savior.

To gather round a table and eat with the Body, stay up late, singing songs and laughing, those fruits of the Spirit hanging low and close…."







Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The perfect school day

Spring is arriving here in the deep south. The weather is mild, the flowers are blooming and we're spending much more time outside. That's what I love about home schooling.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Colonial Dress-my WIP

I've been away from my blog for a bit...actually longer than I thought. Never fear, I wasn't sitting here twiddling my thumbs. We've been busy with school and our usual activities. Mary got her driving permit; Grace got braces; the puppies are now a month old.

In the midst of all this, Emma has been begging me to make a dress for her. She picked out this pattern at a sale a while back. She really wanted me to make this dress for the Father/Daughter Retreat this month. I found enough (well almost enough-I rigged it a little) fabric in my stash. Only one thing (besides time) was holding me back...the zipper. Yes, I'm a grown woman who's sewn for many years, yet I'm afraid of installing zippers. That is until I found this tutorial. She made installing an invisible zipper actually easy.

The dress is almost complete now. I just have to sew in the eye and hook and clip all the loose threads. I even made a little hoop skirt to go underneath to make it a bit fuller. Hopefully I will be able to post a pick of the completed project soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine Gifts



Aren't these just the cutest Valentine's? I wish I could take credit for creating them but I can't. A very creative friend made them and I just plan to copy them for Emma to give to her buddies.
My friend also made the gifts below. I just realized Valentine's Day is this Tuesday. I better get busy!

Babies!


The last few days at our house have been rather busy. Our Springer Spaniel, Thicket, had puppies Saturday morning. 8 beautiful, healthy, amazing little babies! We can't keep our hands off of them!
We're looking forward to lots of cuddles and kisses as we watch these little ones grow.




Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year


I'm one of those people who says, "out with the old in with the new!" I love cleaning and organizing for the new year. Above is a pic of the new journals the girls and I purchased to begin recording our 2012 thoughts. It's funny how just the cover of the journal can inspire you.


I was also inspired when I read this blog. This young lady changed my whole thought process regarding the new year. I got so caught up in beginning anew that I forgot there were so many lessons learned in the old year. So much that doesn't need to be wiped clean from my slate. I'm so glad my eyes were opened. Emily Rose speaks the truth when she says,


"Isn’t the Lord gracious to give us that groundwork? To learn from the past, be sanctified in the present, and reform in the future?
Let us not forget from where we came or where we’re going."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A month of fasting

Tomorrow my family and I start the Daniel Fast. I'm excited...and apprehensive. So many positive things have already happened in 2012. I'm looking forward to cleansing my body, mind and soul.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was filled with so many good things...and bad. Such is every year. I'm glad for a new year to begin-a clean slate. I started the new year off today on such a positive note. About 4 years ago we had a bit of a feud in our family. Since then I've been hurt, angry, withdrawn and finally to the point where it didn't matter to me anymore. All I wanted was reconciliation. I wanted to be with my family, to love them and feel their love. I prayed and prayed. I got impatient because God wasn't working fast enough for me. Today...New Year's Day 2012...we finally met and the healing began. Lots of words exchanged, lots of tears shed. It's funny how we can misinterperate and how small hills grow into huge mountains. Satan is good at that. Today we (with God ) beat him. My verse for today is Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

I encourage you, if you have issues, problems in your life, to persist. God doesn't want strife and discord in our lives. Pray continually. He won't fail you and He won't forget. My problem was being impatient. Now I realize that God's timing is perfect. Happy new year 2012! May you be blessed!