Thursday, September 28, 2006

Homespun Harvest

Well, we are almost finished with this series on a Homespun Harvest has been so fun! This time we're looking at decorating - tablecloths, pumpkins, and corn are obvious choices. Here are pictures of things I've done in the past:

Hollow out a small pumpkin and use as a vase! These flowers are all from our yard.

Old thermoses make great vases also - this one from a thrift store holds colored leaves and berries.

Plant Fall colors in containers for a welcoming look on the porch!

A couple of you shared some ideas too which were:

- Grace suggested bales of hay, scarecrow, and mums gathered together for a cute and homey porch display
- Shirley suggested using a pumpkin shell to serve a stew! She also said she uses a cornucopia for a table centerpiece and puts either Fall flowers or fruits and veggies in it.

Planning, Goals, and Invitations
Activities and Games
Food and Drink

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We're Off!

We're flying to St. Louis today for a week to visit family and friends! There will be FIVE generations of my family together this week - what an incredible blessing! I'm hoping to continue posting and will be excited to share photos when we get back.

Works for Her!

I seem to be completely out of ideas that work for me! I have shared everything I can think of - so my mother-in-law has passed on a tip that really worked for her. I did not know it was a "Classic" WMFW until I already had this ready, so here you go:

My father-in-law was in the Navy for years and these patches came off of several jackets that were just hanging in the closet and never being worn. So, she took the patches off and mounted them on Sticky Board (available at craft supply stores) and put the whole thing in a frame. She says that when her boys saw this for the first time, they both said, "I want that!". What a great way to honor his achievements in a visible way!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Decorating for Fall: Wreath

Here is a simple and very homespun looking wreath for Fall! I found these berry garlands on a 75% off clearance last year at Michaels and used a 40% off coupon for the grapevine wreath, so it was also very economical! I like it so much, that I just might leave it up all year except for when my Christmas wreath is up!

To make: start with a grapevine wreath. I used two berry garlands and wrapped them around the wreath twisting ends tightly to secure. That is it! Hang on your door and enjoy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sites of Note

* My Mom reminded me about this website yesterday! I have just been looking at the wonderful Christmas ideas and organizing tips here and wanted to share it! Enjoy!

* This Saturday is Quilt Pink day where many quilting shops across the nation are sponsoring a quilting day to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Here is a listing of participating quilt shops - you can stop by and make a quilt square to be sewn into a larger quilt which will be auctioned off! What a fun idea!


When Emily was a newborn, we dreamed of the night she would sleep all night! So, we devised an idea that we would have a party when she did! This birthed a family tradition which was continued this weekend for Rachel! She slept through the night on Friday night and Saturday we had her party!

We crowned her the Princess of Sleepyland using the same crown I had made for Emily! It has moons and stars colored on a piece of cardstock stapled together. (Put a piece of tape over the staple to protect the princess's head!)

We ate moon and star shaped sandwiches!

And, we listened to lullaby music while reading The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss!

Yeah, Rachel!

Friday, September 22, 2006

More Than I "Bargained" For

Remember this great deal? Well, today it just got better! Thanks to my husband, who reads the news - he found out that the tool bench has two plastic nails that are under a safety recall - so Playskool is sending me an envelope and shipping tag to return them. When they receive them, they will send me a $50 gift certificate to be used at one of their affiliate companies! There seems to be no limit to God's creativity when it comes to providing for this family! I plan to use the certificate for more Christmas shopping!

Welcome Autumn!

Since tomorrow is the First Day of Autumn, I decided to do something fun! I made these leaf-shaped sugar cookies and will package a few in a clear bag and tie on the following poem. I plan to deliver them tomorrow! Feel free to use the poem to bring an autumn welcome to someone you know as well! I wrote the poem while fixing dinner the other night as I could not find a poem that seemed exactly what I wanted to say! I thought another fun idea would be to fix a fall-breakfast for tomorrow morning. Choose a fall-theme menu and create a new tradition, by making the same thing each year on the First Day of Autumn! I have a maple leaf shaped pancake mold - so I think I'll make those for our new tradition!

Watch as the leaves gently fall down

Red, orange, gold and even brown.

Pumpkins, corn and apples too

A sign that summer now is through.

The colors, the smells, the cooling weather,

A cozy home ~ there’s nothing better!

This is the season for giving thanks

For great bounty, we celebrate.

Cider, soup or a pie in the oven,

This wonderful season ~ we call Autumn!

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Homespun Harvest

Continuing this series, we look at the food and drink options for our Harvest Gathering. I decided to have a picnic lunch after all the games and activities. So, our food is pretty easy as everyone will be bringing their own lunch. However, I am provided beverages and dessert - so here is what I'm thinking of:

Apples and Dips: When each guest bobs for their apple - I'd like to provide utensils to cut them (with mom-supervision of course!) and goodies to go with - like caramel, peanut butter, and this great dip: one 8-oz. package cream cheese, 5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon mixed well. Yummy!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes (from Country Living October 2005)

2 1/2 c. and 2 Tbsp. flour
1 c. and 2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. pumpkin
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

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. Mix together buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture blending well after each addition. Divide the batter into muffin tins and bake at 375 for about 22 minutes. Makes 36 cupcakes.

*As mentioned in the previous post - we will be using these for our dessert and to give away. So, I will be providing the cupcakes, orange (colored, not flavored) frosting, and sprinkles to decorate with.

Drinks: since many children will be present, I want to keep the options kid-friendly. I am thinking water and a variety of juices in a big tub of ice. For the moms - I'd like to offer this:

Hot Caramel Apple Cider (from the 2006 Gooseberry Patch Calendar)

1 gallon apple cider
1 pkg. mulling spices
12-oz. jar caramel ice cream topping
1 c. whipping cream
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Garnish: cinnamon sticks and nutmeg

Heat cider and mulling spices as directed on spice package. When heated, pour into individual cups and top with one teaspoon caramel topping; stir to dissolve. Place whipping cream and sugar in a bowl; add vanilla. Using an electric mixer, blend until soft peaks form. Add a dollop to each mug of cider; garnsih with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serves 30.

* I plan to use my crock-pot outside to keep this hot. As for the whipped cream - I was thinking of making these in advance and just letting everyone scoop one onto their mug. Also, I am not sure where to find mulling spice packages, so came across this recipe that I think I will use instead for the spice part.

Previously: Planning, Goals, and Invitations
Activities & Games
Next time: Decorating

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Recently I've been reading here and here about routine - and it has gotten me to thinking back to when Emily was a little baby.

I LOVE routine - I am so much more productive, more peaceful, and happier when I have a routine to follow. This is not to say that there is no room for flexibility - I'm just saying that the norm is some kind of routine.

Before Emily was born, I was very gung-ho on getting her on a routine, it all sounded so easy in theory. And, I was praying about this routine and reading God's Word and came across this:

"What shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two-or at the most three - should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speakers should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of the prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

... But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

I Corinthians 14:26-33 and 40

Ok, now I'm not wanting to get into any kind of debate about prophecy or speaking in tongues. But, this is what this passage spoke to my heart when I really needed it. God desires order in worship - chaos does not aid anyone in worship. He is desiring multiple people to be involved in the worship, but in a way that brings about order and peace.

What God spoke to my heart was that since order was so important in His house (the church), He desires to create order in my home as well. I knew then that I could pray about routine and peace in my home and be praying in accordance with His will for our family.

And, now - two years later, I can truly testify to His faithfulness in this area for our home. His peace has dwelt here faithfully and I am continually thankful for that! I am thankful for the comfort of the statement that He is a God of peace and not chaos!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


"Home! ... how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence... It was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome." ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind In The Willows

"Home is where the heart is,
The soul's bright guiding star.
Home is where real love is,
Where our own dear ones are.
Home means someone waiting
To give a welcome smile.
Home means peace and joy and rest
And everything worthwhile."
~ Anonymous


Susie of Bluebird Blogs is hosting another drawing for two free blog designs! Make sure to enter - she does an awesome job of designing neat blogs! Thanks for the tip, Amy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Decorating for Fall: Corn

Dried ears of corn work great for Fall decorating - here are some ideas for using them:

Tie together around the cob and display on a coffee table (I got these at a yard sale)!

Tie together around the husks and stand on a dresser or table.

Stand a bunch that are tied together in a wide-mouth canning jar! Raffia is a natural choice for tying them together as it blends in with the husks so well and looks very appropriate for Fall!

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Wish...

... I could go to this. Doesn't that look so fun?! But, I will be happy to be in St. Louis that weekend visiting family and friends!

Thrifty & Tasty Gifting!

I have been wanting to meet and get to know some of my neighbors better and when a friend who is a Pampered Chef consultant called me and asked me to host a show - this seemed like a great way!

My second reason for wanting to host the show was that I could earn free products which could be given for Christmas gifts! (Is this terrible or what?!)

Anyway, the party was lots of fun and I earned free things! Several neighbors came - which was great, and the food was so delicious!

So, I share the recipes with all of you! Both of these were so delicious - I will definitely be making them again!

Garden Ranch Pizza

1 pkg (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 package (1 ounce) ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix (2 Tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 c. (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. coarsely chopped broccoli
1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
1 medium carrot, sliced or chopped
1/2 c. pitted ripe olives, sliced (we left these off)
1/4 c. (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly sprinkle pizza stone with flour. Unroll pizza dough and shape into a circle. Combine mayo, dressing mix and garlic and spread over crust. Top with 1 c. shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle broccoli, pepper, carrot and olives over the cheese. Top with remaining 1 c. mozzarella and grated parmesan. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Profiterole Puffs

3/4 c. water
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Filling and Topping
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. prepared chocolate frosting, melted (we used melted choc chips with a little milk instead)
2 Tbsp. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375. In a saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add flour all at once. Stir mixture vigorously about one minute or until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms into a ball. Remove from heat; place dough into a mixing bowl. Add eggs and whisk until smooth and very thick. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and scoop batter into cups. Bake 22-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Make a small cut into side of each puff to release excess steam. Remove puffs from muffin pan and let cool on cooling rack. For filling, combine whipped topping, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix gently until well blended. Fill puffs with PC's Easy Accent Decorator or other icing tool. For topping, drizzle melted frosting over puffs and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Yield: 24 puffs.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Homespun Harvest

Continuing our theme of planning a Harvest Gathering, we look today at activities and games!

I tried to think of things that felt old-fashioned or were meaningful. I also tried to think of things that could be a blessing to others as we share the spirit of the season: abundance and thankfulness.

So, here are some ideas I came up with:

* Count the Corn: fill a canning jar with candy corn - count them before filling the jar! Set out small pieces of paper and pencil with a jar for guesses. Winner is announced during the picnic lunch and gets to take the jar home!

* Bob for Apples: fill a galvanized tub with water and apples. Have towels nearby for obvious reasons! I thought this would make a great snack-stop as well with supplies handy to cut the apples and maybe even yummy things like carmel, peanut butter, etc... to dip the slices into.

* Clothespin Drop: provide a pail and clothespins to be dropped into it! Make a line that they must stand behind or have a chair they must stand on to increase the difficulty. Another way to make this harder is to use a jar of something with a smaller opening to drop the clothespins into.

* Craft: Cones of Thanks. I saw this idea in Country Living October 2005. Create a cone that looks like candy corn from white, orange, and yellow paper. Punch holes in the sides and thread a ribbon through. I added the thankfulness part which is this: each child makes one and takes it home to hang on the door knob of their room or some other location. Then throughout the month before Thanksgiving, family members drop one-word or phrase notes into the cone mentioning why they are thankful for that family member. On Thanksgiving, you can take turns going around and reading the things that others are thankful about for you!

A second craft that will be available at my gathering is to provide small brown kraft bags (I found them in the Wal-Mart craft dept.) as take-home bags for the things they make throughout the morning. I plan to provide craft supplies for each child to decorate their bag - and, it must include their name to prevent confusion on whose is whose!

* Cupcake Decorating: (recipe to follow in the food theme week) make Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes and provide icing and sprinkles. To make this more meaningful and create an attitude of giving in children try this: let each child decorate two cupcakes - one for their dessert after lunch and one to give away to someone they are thankful for. Clear cellophane bags (from a craft supply store), ribbon, and little cards to write notes on will complete the gift. It would probably be a good idea to provide a hand-washing station near this since all our activities will be outside and the potential for getting dirty is high! I also thought these little toothpicks would be great for labeling names on cupcakes. Then we can keep a big tray ready for serving the cupcakes after lunch! To make these - use small cookie cutters to trace pumpkins and leaves onto orange cardstock. Cut out shapes and use strong clear tape to adhere to a colored toothpick.

*Bean-Bag Toss: make bean bags out of scraps of fabric you already have - stitch almost all the way around leaving an opening. Fill with beans and hand-stitch closed. Provide various containers to toss the bean-bags into!

* Marigold Tic-Tac-Toe: I saw this adorable idea in a recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Make the tic-tac-toe board out of sticks and provide marigold blossoms to be used for the x's and o's!

* Pumpkin Patch: since I do not know of any local pumpkin patch - I thought how fun to create your own! So, I'm planning to purchase pumpkins and place them in an open space in our back yard. Since some families may not want to do pumpkin carving - I'll include this devotional for the parents to take home and decide what is best for their family instead of carving at the party. Here's the general idea of what I'll send home with each family:

Choose your pumpkin: This reminds us of when God chooses us and brings us into His family, washing off all the dirt that we got from being outside and around the other pumpkins.

Cut off the top: Just like when God reaches into our hearts and cleans out all of the yucky stuff inside - all the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc... we can clear out the inside of the pumpkin.

Carve: as when God carves a new smiling face in each of us. II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone the new has come!"

Light: allow His light inside us to shine so that others can see Him!

* ABC's of Thanksgiving: another idea that my Mom started as a tradition when we were growing up is to post a list of the ABC's - then during the month of November, family members write things in next to the letter that we are thankful for beginning with that letter. We used to always make them by hand, but I have created one in Word that I can e-mail to anyone who is interested in using it.

So, how do these ideas sound? Would your little ones have fun doing these activities? Do you have other ideas to add/share? Please let me know!

Previously: Goals, Planning & Invitations
Next time: Food and Drink

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Works For Me!

I love enamelware! I found this tub at a thrift shop and it makes the perfect place to put my husband's lunch and mug for the next day - he always knows where it is, and I always know where to put it so it is not sitting around on the counter! I can also put anything else in here that needs to go with him in the mornings - it's a very little idea, but it definitely works for me!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fall Picnic

A friend from church came over the other day for lunch and we had a lovely picnic on the porch! It was a beautiful day to be outside (maybe a little warm for soup still!) and Emily LOVED getting to eat her lunch outside!

I was inspired by Mrs. Wilt to make this variation on her popcorn and tealight jar - which we used on the table. I have one on the kitchen window sill and another on the porch to light in the evenings. After all, we all remember how much I love canning jars!

For lunch we had: baked potato soup, leaf shaped sandwiches, and salad with apples and walnuts. It was a delicious combination! You can freeze the scraps from the bread and cheese cut-outs and make a breakfast sausage and egg casserole to use them up!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I was working at Glen Eyrie and pulled up to the front gate that morning thinking it was like every other morning. But, the gate attendant greeted me with, "Have you heard what is going on?". I know that I sighed and thought, "What now? Another issue to deal with..." She explained to me about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I could hardly believe it as I continued the drive in.

I remember spending the day trying to get news to guests who were hoping to figure out a way home - carpooling, looking for one-way rental cars, etc...

And, as news continued coming in - guests would stop in to get updates as there are no TV's in any of the guest rooms.

But, the thing I remember most - is the sense of community that came to all of us that day. We were working together. We were neighbors from every state pulling together.

I miss that.

Why was it so short lived? Why does our country fall to its knees in time of complete devestation and let the lesson be learned for such a short time? This makes me so sad. I have been reading Jeremiah in my quiet time lately and I have been reminded over and over of our country.

God's people were turning from Him and choosing idol worship and their own way over His ways. Sound familiar? And, He was bringing destruction and judgement on them for refusing to return to Him. I wonder how long He will allow this country to behave the way it is.

Don't misunderstand me - I love our country and the principles she is founded on. I am thankful to live in America and for those who have given themselves to make it what it is. But, I am sad for our country - for the way God has been pushed out.

And so my prayer for our nation is this,

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will hear their land." II Chronicles 7:14

Apple Pie

This is my very favorite Apple Pie recipe! Fall seems like a perfect time to share it!

Pat-in-the-Pan Oil Pastry: (Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. oil
2 Tbsp. cold water

Mix together with a fork, press into sprayed pie plate. Pour one quart-size jar pie filling into crust.

Pie Filling: (Better Homes & Gardens Home Canning Cookbook)

3 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cornstarch
3 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 drops yellow food coloring
5 1/2-6 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

In a large saucepan blend the first three ingredients and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in 8 c. water; cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Add food coloring. Pack apples into hot quart size canning jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Fill with hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use spatula to help distribute syrup. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. (Add one minute for each 1,000 feet above sea level.) Makes 6 quarts.

Crumb Topping: (Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. firm stick margarine or butter

Cut together until crumbly. Spoon over apples. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes (put a tray underneath pie plate to catch drips). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Light from the Windows!

This is my favorite Thomas Kinkade painting! (Aside from this one David gave me as a wedding gift!) Anyway, what I love is the light shining through the windows! I have always imagined myself in the house just to the lower right corner - cooking a yummy soup and homemade bread to warm those who come in from the cool rain outside. I love the inviting look that the glowing windows provide.

As I continue reading Simpler Times, there is a chapter called The Warmth from the Windows. What is it about light shining through windows that is so inviting?! I took this photo the other night from our front porch looking in through the front door and tall skinny window next to the front door.

I love softly glowing lights - and dusk is a favorite time because the lights seem even warmer! To me, these glowing lights say home, welcome, peace, coziness and love. Anyone else like me? What is inviting to you?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Homespun Harvest

Here is the first installment of our month-long look at planning an old-fashioned Harvest Gathering.

Today, we are exploring the planning, goals, and invitations of the event.

The first thing to decide is why you want to host something like this as that will help determine what you do. The goals I came up with for mine are:
- fun
- old-fashioned
- fellowship
- family-friendly
- creative
- encouraging

After you have your goals, you can plan the event around those things. For example, I know that the friends I want to invite have children, so family-friendly was one of my goals. I then need to plan activities that can be enjoyed by children and make the atmosphere child-friendly.

So, what I did was write out all of my ideas. Then, under each of the ideas, I listed what I would need to do to make that happen.
For example:

Bob for Apples
galvanized tub
- water
- apples
- towels
- blanket to sit or kneel on
- sign
- supplies to cut apples and "dipping" ingredients to make this a snack as well

I did this for each of the activities I want to have so that I can easily work on little parts here and there as I have time. Also, this way it is easier to have everything I need ready in an organized way and not find the morning of that I have to run to the store or complete other prep work that could already have been done.

The invitation should obviously include the important information such as what, when, where, who to RSVP to, etc... I also included a few activities and what everyone needs to bring:

I created this post card in Word using a graphic available through that. Then, I colored in the pumpkin and leaves using colored pencils since we do not have a color printer. Post cards are less expensive to mail and yet, you still have plenty of room to list all the details.

Next time: Activities and Games

On the subject of Fall and decorating - make sure to check The Sparrow's Nest for her Touches of Autumn posts!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Works For Me!

Emily recently moved into a booster chair from her high chair. And, I quickly saw that she was going to need some kind of placemat to keep things from getting quite so messy. So, I remembered seeing this idea in Better Homes and Gardens of making a placemat that teaches where to put the plate, cup, napkin, silverware - etc... so she can learn how to help set the table. While she is not quite ready for that - the placemat was fun to make and it works great! She LOVED making it - and is quite proud of her coloring as she points it out to us at most meals.

I taped together two pieces of construction paper (the purple) and let her scribble away. Then we glued on the plate, napkin, cup, and silverware. And, took the placemat to get laminated.

I added a verse onto the plate: Psalm 119:103, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, David! I love you!

Photo Credit: Stacy Richardson Photography

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Getting to know you...

I can hardly believe it! Have you seen my site meter? I've had 10,000 visitors since I added it sometime in April!

Can you tell I'm excited?! I really have had a ball with my blog and the friends I've made and kept up with this way.

So, now I'm curious about you! Would you be so kind as to comment (even if you usually don't) and let me know why you read my blog and if you have a blog of your own that I (and others) can visit?!

Thank you so much for reading the rambling thoughts and ideas of a girl who loves the Lord, her husband, children, family, and all things homey!


Jules at Everyday Mommy has come up with this great idea to encourage retailers to offer clothing for our daughters that is both feminine and modest. This is a great idea! If you are also concerned about this, please leave a comment here.

Moms for Modesty Mission Statement

* As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.
* I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.
* I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.
* I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.
* I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls’ and young womens clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

Thanks, Megan - for the post on your blog!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ancient Paths

"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

Labor Day

From the Department of Labor web site:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thrifty Thursday: Thoughts on Rebates

Several of you have asked or commented on rebates - how they work for me, if I ever receive them, where to find them and why bother with, here are some things I've learned that may make doing rebates easier or more successful for you. Please feel free to add your thoughts - as I'm sure I still have things to learn!

- Read the fine print! I always read very carefully the full details of the rebate - what needs to be sent in, if the items need to be purchased within a certain window of time and what the EXACT product is that will be counted toward the rebate. Recently, when I got the Pepsi/Mtn. Dew free I noticed that a Eckerd's had advertised that you could get Aquafina waterbottles on this sale and that was what I intended to purchase. But, I thouroughly read the rebate and found that Aquafina was not included in the rebate - if I had simply trusted the ad, I would have been denied the rebate.

- Check the item. When you are at the store - have the rebate with you and check the brand, type, size, style, etc... It has to be the EXACT item or it will not be free!

- Wait for the rebate. I usually try not to use the item that was advertised as FREE until I receive the rebate - just to make sure. I did have one of my Walgreens rebates denied and I simply returned the item.

- Pay separately. Notice if the rebate calls for an ORIGINAL receipt! If it does and you have to mail them in individually - you may need to have separate transactions at the cashier to ensure separate receipts.

- Keep a log. This is something I am just starting to do - but I'm going to write down the store name and address for mailing in the rebate and the total rebate I'm expecting. Then when I get the rebate I can mark it off. And, if I don't get it - I can follow up.

- Follow the rules. Look at exactly what they are expecting you to send in. Do you need the receipt? Do you need to circle the items on the receipt? Do you need the UPC? Also, make sure to fill out the form completely. It makes sense that if I don't do it exactly the way they ask - that they will not want to send me my refund.

- Consider the benefits! Yes, some rebates are really not worth it! If I had a rebate that only gave me $1 off of a $5 item - and I had to buy a stamp to mail it in, it would not be worth it. Walgreens and Eckerd's offer a 10% bonus if you receive your rebate in the form of a gift card. Since I know that I will have rebate items to purchase again next month, I get the gift card and "recycle" the money by using it on the next items. Also, I "make" money this way as I usually get $1-$2 bonus for taking it in gift card. This allows me to pay for the stamp I used and still come out ahead. One reason I like the Walgreens rebates so much is that it is lots of rebates on ONE form using ONE stamp. It's not a pain when you can get multiple rebates that way.

Another benefit that I try to think of is who it will be a blessing to. I have heard my Mom say so many times that when she was a stay-at-home-mom, she was not bringing in a physical income - so her job was to stretch what they had as far as she could and she saw it as a game to see how much she could get/do for her family for how little.

I see this as a blessing to not only my family - but the benefits reach farther as I have extra new items that can be given in shoe boxes (Operation Christmas Child), to hurricane victims or to the local children's shelter. In this way, out of the time I have invested - I can give more than if I was going out and buying all of these things brand new at full price.

As for where to find them, I have found drug stores to be the most common source. Walgreens has a monthly rebate catalog available in the front of their store - which lists all of the free items as well as smaller rebates. They also publish the items in their weekly ads.

Another monthly rebate catalog is available through Eckerd's drug store - this is a new one to me as I was not as familiar with them. However, as mentioned above - read their ad carefully, they have mis-advertised rebates in the past (I'm sure not intentionally) and when I've questioned the cashier - they have not seemed willing to find out or correct the problem for me.

A third place I get rebates is in the coupon section of the Sunday paper. For example, recently I came across a Rayovac mail in rebate for $3.00. The price of a 4 pk. of AA batteries at Wal-Mart is less than $3, so they will refund the purchase price. Therefore, I got them free.

You may also find mail-in rebates in drug-store ads. This summer, I have gotten free shampoo, Pepsi/Mtn. Dew, and Coke this way.

Where do others of you find your rebates? (Or am I the only one who does this?)

Initially, it can seem like a lot of details - but like a lot of things - once you get into a routine with it, it can be simple and easy.

I hope all this helps - please feel free to post additional comments/questions!

Primitive Pumpkin

Since it is officially September, I can start bringing out all things Fall related! As I've mentioned, I really love and enjoy this time of year! And I usually get out my Fall decorations on Labor Day - so will plan to do that Monday.

I got the inspiration for this little pillow from the Better homes and Gardens Creative Collection Holiday Crafts 2005 magazine - their pillow is much bigger and has five pumpkins on it in varying patterns. But, I just wanted to make little ones - so this is what I came up with.

I had a hard time finding the colors of felt I was looking for - so the pumpkin is actually made out of fleece with interfacing ironed on the back for extra strength. The brown (stem) and green are felt.

So - do you like it? Do you want to make one now? Here's how:

Cut a round pumpkin from orange felt (or fleece as mentioned above).
Cut a star from another orange or gold felt (or fleece).
Stitch the star onto the pumpkin using the Buttonhole Stitch (I think I do mine a bit differently - so I thought I'd provide a link to the "proper" way of doing it, though it has the same results).

Here are some close-ups of how to do this stitch:

After you have stitched the star to the pumpkin, cut out a stem from brown felt. Pin the pumpkin and stem to the green background fabric. Cut around the edges of the pillow with pinking shears - I just pinned the pumpkin and stem on and then cut the edges free-hand, so each pillow may be a little different size.

Stitch the stem onto the front of the pillow, then stitch around the pumpkin. Place desired amount of filling between the two layers of green felt and pin around the edges. Top stitch with black thread (or whatever you used for the pumpkin and star) around the edges of the pillow, leaving the pinking sheared edges as trim.

Place in a chair, on a shelf or mantle, or even in a basket to bring a whimsical touch of Fall to a little part of your home!