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.)


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


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.


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!