Monday, August 31, 2009
But, I've been noticing lately that mine are getting quite flat ~ and was thrilled to learn a new tip via The Fly Lady! She suggests popping pillows in the dryer on the air/fluff cycle for 15 minutes. I could not believe how fluffy my pillows were after taking them out of the dryer!
Now I'm curious, what kind of pillow do you like?
Friday, August 28, 2009
* I love this skirt! Since I already have the pattern, I've ordered the fabric and plan to make these for my little ladies for Christmas! I'm planning a skirt for myself using this pattern and this fabric!
* Am I the last person in the blogosphere to start reading Pioneer Woman? If you don't read anything else there - you must check out the recipes! Wow! I can't wait until her cookbook comes out this fall!
* This is my new favorite blog ~ I love the quiet, the peacefulness and the focus on our spiritual lives. Definitely worth a visit!
* David gave me a NetFlix subscription for my birthday! The last couple of weeks, I've enjoyed this, this and this. I've ordered soap making supplies as well and that is a project I'm looking forward to doing soon!
* I can hardly wait for Fall ~ from Labor Day through Christmas just has to be my favorite time of year! I'm looking forward to visiting my favorite craft show in a few weeks! Yeah for a trip to Colorado! Looking forward to seeing family, the aspens, feeling some cool Rocky Mountain air and seeing the mountains!
* I received a review copy of this book and am excited to try some things about it and share more with you! The reason I like it is there are plenty of Fall ideas for someone like me who doesn't do Halloween!
* My little ladies seem to have inherited my love of cozy gray days! Yesterday it rained, they got in jammies and requested Christmas music and pancakes. Ahhhhhh, now that is my kind of day!
* This is way out of season, but upon reading through archives here - I discovered this wonderful idea for Easter week ~ definitely an idea to hold onto!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The goal was to provide food that would not be messy! So, I went with mini foods that could be popped in your mouth!
Here's what I fixed:
Basil Cheese Triangles (recipe below)
Mini Quiche Lorraine (recipe below)
Mini Cheese Balls and crackers (I used a 1/2 teaspoon to scoop out the cheese and rolled each little bit in chopped nuts)
Veggies and dip
Fruit and dip
Mini Maple Oat Scones; courtesy of The Farm Chicks
Nanny's Tea Punch (recipe below)
Basil Cheese Triangles (Betty Crocker cookbook)
8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 of a 16 oz. package frozen phyllo sheets, thawed
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
Combine cheese, egg, basil and white pepper. Cut stack of phyllo sheets lengthwise into thirds. Keep covered while assembling.
For each triangle, use two strips of phyllo. Place one heaping teaspoon cheese mixture on one end and fold into a triangle (think of flag folding and you'll have this!). Place on greased cookie sheet.
Brush tops with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm. Makes 3 dozen triangles.
Quiche Lorraine (Betty Crocker cookbook)
Note: I made half of this recipe and it made two dozen mini quiche. I purchased mini phyllo crusts already made at Wal-Mart - they came in a box of 15. After that, I just poured the quiche mixture directly into the mini muffin pan and that worked fine too.
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese (I used Mexican blend cheese)
1/3 c. chopped onion (I used a Tbsp. or so of minced)
4 large eggs
2 c. whipping (heavy) cream (I used mostly cream left from the scones, but filled it the rest of the way with evaporated milk)
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together and pour into crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake an additional 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. For the mini quiche, they will not take nearly all of that extra 30 minutes - I think mine were done in 10 or less.
Nanny's Tea Punch (courtesy of my friend, Melissa ~ she remembers her Nanny making this yummy punch every time she came to visit! It is delicious!)
Boil 2 quarts of water. Add 8 regular tea bags (I used three family size since that was what I had) and steep for about ten minutes.
Stir in 2 c. sugar. Add 6 oz. frozen lemonade and 6 oz. frozen orange juice. Add enough water to make one gallon - chill thoroughly!
** I froze some of the punch with a few mint leaves in an ice ring mold and dropped that down in the jar to help keep it cold!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This time, I decided to do a bit of window shopping and found a couple of small treasures for gifts in the future. I went to a favorite area for shopping and then treated myself to my favorite lunch spot there.
It was so refreshing!
This is one of my favorite stores ~ I know the glare is bad on these photos, but I hope you can still tell what a charming display was there! (also photo above)
And, here is my cozy table for lunch ~
Hot tea and milk - look at that cute creamer!
My delicious soup!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Every year is so different in gardening, I have found it helpful to keep some notes during the year and compare year to year what works and is most cost and time effective to plant.
Here is what I harvested:
Broccoli: about 1 1/2 pounds (I learned that I harvested just a bit too early so our heads were smaller than they should have been - will try again next year!)
Green Beans: about 4 1/2 pounds
Onion: 60 over the course of several months. They all ended up being about the size of a golf ball or a little smaller.
Potatoes: about 5 pounds
Green Pepper: almost 20!
Red Pepper: 3
Corn: a few tiny half-formed ears
Tomatoes: from the nine plants I put in: two; from a variety of plants that came up volunteer: about 30 tomatoes (very small roma and cherry-size regular tomatoes)
Squash - zero
Zinnias - harvested at least one bouquet per week!
Sunflowers - my first success!
Here is what I spent vs. how much I got for it:
Broccoli: $6 for 18 plants ~ yielded 1 1/2 pounds = $4/lb.
Green Bean seeds: 0.75 ~ yielded 4 1/2 pounds and I had seeds leftover = less than .17/lb.
Onion: $3 for 60 starts ~ 0.05 per onion
Potatoes: about $2 ~ 0.40/lb.
Green Pepper: $5.50 for three plants ~ about 0.28/pepper
Red Pepper: $5.50 for three plants ~ $1.83/pepper
Corn: $1.28 for seeds ~ $1.28 for about a total of half an ear of corn
Tomatoes: $3 for nine plants (rest came up volunteer) ~ about .10 per tomato if you include the volunteer ones in decreasing the price per tomato
Squash: $2.00 for seeds ~ $2.00 for no produce!
Zinnias: $7.50 for 20 starts ~ have produced a full bouquet every week for a few months!
Sunflowers: $2.00 seeds from dollar store - produced a row of beautiful sunflowers!
After trying squash and corn for several years with pitiful results, I'm pretty sure I won't even try those again. Other things I felt were ok, green beans are obviously very cost effective and highly successful! Each year, I learn a bit more!
How has your garden been this year? Anyone else planting a fall garden? So far, I have planted green beans, pumpkins and carrots.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Start by splitting hot dog buns apart. Lay on a baking sheet and spread with a thin layer of butter. Next, spread with a thin layer of mayo and sprinkle with your favorite garlic seasoning. Top with shredded cheese and slip into oven until cheese is melted and starting to brown!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
To me, a picnic evokes a slower pace. A focusing on the things that are important - special memories with those you love! It is an opportunity to make a meal something extra special!
Eating outside is something special in itself - but taking the extra initiative and effort to pack a beautiful meal outside is just a pleasure to the senses! I am one of those people who thinks that food tastes better outside and the beauty of the surroundings just enhances that.
It does take more time to pack a charming picnic - it will require a bit of extra transporting of items to use and it will require sliding the dishes into a plastic bag until you get home where they will need washed instead of thrown away. Obviously, going to all this trouble and effort is not for everyone - but I would not have it any other way.
I try not to use plastic or paper items when packing a picnic if at all possible! Here are some ideas for packing a charming picnic:
~ Bring a table cloth for your table or a quilt for the ground. This could be a sheet (from the thrift store or your own linen closet!), a large piece of fabric, a duvet cover with no filling, a quilt, an actual table cloth, bed skirt or a layered combination of any of the above.
~ Pack something pretty for your table. There are tons of things that would make a cute and simple vase and just grab some flowers, greens or berries from your yard - whatever is available.
~ Wrap sandwiches in waxed paper tied with twine rather than using plastic bags. Or, make a batch of sandwiches and put in a roasting pan.
~ Rather than just sticking a bag of chips on the table - why not put them in a pan with a lid? Or a basket with a napkin lining. You could take the chips in a bag in your car and simply pour them into your serving item when you arrive for easy transport.
~ I love packing chicken salad in a jar, fruit in a jar, dessert in jars, etc... Jars will serve you well in many capacities for picnics.
~ Collect a set of picnic dishes. There are lots of cute melamine options these days - I have collected a set of blue enamel ware dishes and they still sell these in the camping section of Wal-Mart.
~ Use real silverware and cloth napkins. This doesn't mean it has to be fancy or expensive! I use mismatched silverware from the thrift store bin and inexpensive bandannas for the napkins.
My favorite picnic containers are anything enamelware and canning jars of all sorts. These lend themselves to a multitude of uses and are certainly full of charm! Watch thrift stores or even regular retail stores for a picnic basket you like and that would be useful to you in transporting things to your picnic. I found mine in the Restoration Hardware catalog years ago and I would not buy it because it was expensive. In the next catalog, it was half off and I ordered it immediately - I have loved the red tin box that has served us so well!
Here are some past posts on picnics that will show you other ideas of themes, things you can make and charming touches:
* Mother's Day Picnic
* Memorial Day
* Avonlea Picnic
* Old Fashioned Picnic one and two
* Donut Picnic
* Post Wedding Picnic
* Solo Breakfast Picnic
* Autumn Picnic
What are your favorite ideas for adding some charm to a picnic?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We feel that Emily is ready for Kindergarten even though she won't be five until November, so this is her year for Kindergarten - but unofficially (meaning I'm not keeping records and turning them in and all that)! We're beginning My Father's World Kindergarten, doing our Fruit of the Spirit study and will be adding in some Five in a Row at least for the reading parts.
Our first morning, I fixed Monkey Bread and sliced strawberries for breakfast! The table was fixed up with fresh flowers in a "pencil" vase, apples holding paper chalkboards with verses on them and fresh school supplies for our little girls!
We took pictures of course, and I traced around the girls hands and had Emily write her name for me to keep from their first day.
I took them out to lunch for a special treat and after dinner, we enjoyed this (link to Woman's Day website was not working, so I am linking to where I found the idea) yummy dessert! Note: the suggested idea is a cake with the cookies on top - I just put a bit of frosting under each cookie and stuck it to a cookie sheet and used that for our dessert! Simpler and less to eat!
Sunday night as I was getting the table set for breakfast the next morning and gathering our school things - I was really struggling with all the things I thought needed to be done. I am not good at being satisfied with doing some things, I always want to finish everything I think needs to be done. But, God reminded me that I could knock myself out doing all of it or finish the necessary things and then sit and rest some in the evening.
I did just do the necessary things and then rest - which was definitely the better choice. I know I will have to learn how/when to do my chores and things with adding school to our routine. But, yesterday while the girls colored I folded clothes and I hope I can learn to gradually add things like that in when it is good for all of us!
I should've taken a picture! Our table was set all nice and neat for our first morning of school, while every available space on the kitchen counter was filled with dishes, piles and all kinds of things that needed to be put away. I've made some progress - but it was almost humorous, it was such a striking contrast!
How did the First Day of School go in your home?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So, I went to my fabric stash and pulled out the choices and they chose the same fabric as their favorite. I used the fabric to cover the free notebooks and instant cute notebooks were achieved. This is a super quick project with great results!
Start with your notebook that you'd like to recover. Mine were one inch binders.
First, lay out your binder open with the outside of it laying flat on the counter. Slide a piece of cotton quilt batting underneath and cut the batting to fit the edges of your binder.
Now, lay a piece of desired fabric underneath the whole thing - cut the fabric about 1 1/2 - 2 inches larger than the binder.
Fold edges over and fold again - hot glue in place and use a clothespin to hold in place. Do the short edges first. Then, fold the corners as desired and secure the long edges with hot glue as well. I followed the same method that I used in making this cookbook if you'd like more pictures.
That's it! This is so very simple! You could add any kind of embellishments you want, I just kept mine plain and simple. We'll use these to add our journal pages throughout the year! Since they are the same, I did add a label to the inside with each girls' name on it so we can keep track!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Week One: Intro
* Pray for an open and listening heart. (Psalm 25:4-5)
* Read Galatians 5:22-23
* What is fruit?
* Where does it grow?
* Do these kinds of fruit sound good?
* Do you think acting these ways makes God happy?
* Sing "Fruit of the Spirit" (Steve Green cd)
* Ask God to grow this fruit in us. Pray.
* How many fruits can you name from our Bible verse yesterday?
* Read Galatians 5:22-23
* Who is the Spirit?
* Talk about the three parts of the Trinity - use an apple to explain. The seeds, the flesh and the peel are all the apple, but three parts of the apple.
* Sing and march to "Fruit of the Spirit"
* Finish by holding hands in a circle for prayer.
* Review Galatians 5:22-23
* Color fruit and glue onto tree page
* Introduce notebooks/journal
* Ask God to help us as we learn more about what pleases Him.
* Review verse and picture from yesterday.
* Read Fruit of the Spirit book
* Read Galatians 5:22-23
* Tell me what you have learned this week! Review.
Week Two: Love
* What is the first Fruit of the Spirit in the list? Review Galatians 5:22-23
* What does it mean to show love?
* Give examples: Does taking your sister's toy show love or does sharing a toy with your sister show love?
* How do you spell love?
* Learn the sign for love.
* Read John 3:16 and teach motions (teach whatever motions come naturally to you and your children!)
* Who does it say showed love? (God)
* Who does God show love to? (the world)
* Are you part of the world? (YES!)
* Does God love you? (YES!)
* Read John 3:16 and review motions.
* How do we know God loves us? (He sent His only Son to die for us!)
* Who is God's Son? (Jesus)
* If we believe in Him, where will we live forever? (Heaven)
* Share plan of salvation if your child is ready to hear at this point.
* John 3:16 with motions
* Journal: color and talk about what we've learned this week
* Review Galatians 5:22-23
* Review John 3:16
Week Three: Love
* Review two verses.
* We have talked about how God loves us, but how can we show love to God?
* by reading His Word
* by obeying Him
* by praying
* by memorizing His Word
* by how we treat others
* by singing songs of praise to Him
* Read Deuteronomy 6:5
* Read Deuteronomy 6:5
* What does it mean to love God with all our heart? soul? mind?
* Talk about the word "all" - show two jars one with something in it and one empty. Pour some of jar one into jar two.
- Did I give all I had or some?
- What do I need to do to give all?
* That is how we are to love God!
* Read Deuteronomy 6:5
* Mark several stories in a Children's Bible: Noah, Abraham, Daniel, Cain, David, Esther, Pharoah, Israelites disobeying God, etc...
* Have children look at stories.
- Did this person show by the way they lived that they love God with all their heart, soul, mind?
- Which ones do you want to be like?
* Read Deuteronomy 6:5
* Journal: help each child write down why they love God!
* Pray: offer praise through what is on journal sheet
* Deuteronomy 6:5
Week Four: Love
* Review verses
* John 13:34
* Who are we to show love to?
* How can we show love to others? Name some specific ways.
* Do you know what the rest of the verse says? It says that other people can see that we love God and are learning from Him by the way we act to each other.
* Read John 13:34
* Show journal page - look at lakes: we are to love God first and more than anything else! Then, we are to love our family - after that, we show love to our friends, neighbors, church and the world around us.
* Color and put in journal.
* John 13:34
* Read or paraphrase Matthew 25:35-40 (here is a sample of a simple paraphrase):
- There is a story in the Bible about people who are hungry and don't have enough to eat or drink. But, Jesus said that those who loved Him gave them something to eat. Was that showing love? You bet! It was showing love to the person who was hungry - but also to God because they were helping take care of God's people. Did you know that the Bible says the way we treat other people is the same way we treat God?!
* Take each child aside individually and ask/help them think of something they could do to show love to another family member today. (Make their bed, do a chore, put clothes away, share a toy, etc...)
* Read John 13:34
* How did you show love yesterday?
* We have talked to God about how we love Him (see journal page from last week) and we have shown love in our family, now we are going to reach out and show love.
* Give each child some spending money. Go to store and purchase food for those who don't have enough. Deliver to food pantry. (You could substitute anything similar that works in your situation!)
* How did it make you feel to show love?
* How do you think you made God feel?
** Let me know how the journal pages print - I drew them on 9x12 pieces of paper and am still working out how to best fit them into an 8 1/2 x 11 format.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
I am inspired by Joy's example in creating a Quiet Time for my children and have been wondering what that looks like at our stage: 18 months, 3 and 4 1/2 years old. I want to teach my children from their earliest memories how to spend time with the Lord, how to develop and cultivate a relationship with Him and how to worship Him.
Yet, I want to be careful that this is done in a way that is not boring, bland or forced on them. I also don't want it to be over their heads. God provided the answer ~ I have been working hard on a Bible study for preschoolers covering the Fruit of the Spirit. This will take us nine months to complete!
I am by no means an expert on studying the Bible with young children - but this is what God has laid on my heart and provided for us to do this year. If any of you are interested in joining with us, I will share it all here as well.
Please know ahead of time that I am not a very good artist! My pictures are primitive at best and all I can say is that Emily is excited about getting going on this and I hope that the lack in my artistic ability will be made up by the excitement they catch about God and His Word!
Here are a few thoughts on this ~
This study is simply the ideas of a mom desiring to lead her children in growing to have a Quiet Time, develop their relationship with God and build godly character in their lives. Displaying the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives is something I can certainly use and benefit from studying and I hope that by studying this with my children - this will invest God's Word into their hearts in a precious way as well.
A few thoughts on how this is set up:
I designed this for our home, what I knew would work for us. We all do well with some sort of routine, so I plan to begin and end each session with prayer. We'll also be singing one song each day. I have tried to keep these segments to 5-15 minutes a day - just enough to start your day in His Word and also geared towards preschoolers shorter attention span.
I have worked in lots of review - for our children and for me, this is key to remembering what we have learned by reviewing it regularly.
There is one journal page for nearly every week of the study. These should be copied one per child and after they complete them each week - have them put them into a special notebook or folder that is theirs. This will help in review and will provide a beautiful visual at the end of the study of what we have learned together. It is my desire to begin leading my children toward the beautiful discipline of journaling - which is the idea behind beginning this concept at an early age.
One idea for using your journals is to use it in review each week. When you come across review scheduled for that day - pull out the journals and talk through the pictures, have your children explain to you what they learned that day and what each picture means!
Here are a few existing resources I plan on using as part of this study:
* 9 Fruits Alive by Mindy MacDonald
* Music Machine songs
* Steve Green Hide 'Em In Your Heart cd's: Volume 1 and Volume 2
* Fruit of the Spirit card game (found at a dollar store somewhere along the line)
Basically, four weeks will be spent on each of the nine Fruit of the Spirit qualities. And, I’m planning to use the Music Machine song which goes along with each quality for that month. So, for the first four weeks – we’ll learn and sing the song “Love” – you could choose to learn a special hymn about this topic, pick a favorite praise and worship song or whatever works for you! I wanted to incorporate music as it is fun for children and vital for worshipping God!
I may mix in a few of the Steve Green songs as well – since several of them directly correlate to the Scriptures we’ll be using in the weeks ahead.
You’ll also note that I’ve incorporated learning the sign language for each of the nine qualities. This is optional of course, but my children have really enjoyed sign language since they were infants which is the main reason I included it! It is also handy in a situation where you’d like to give a quiet message to your child without embarrassing them by speaking the words – a simple show of the sign for joy could be a great reminder to be joyful and can be presented in a quiet and tactful way that they will still understand.
As with anything – this is just a guide! No one list of suggestions will work for every family out there. This is what I think will work best in our home and if it helps someone else by providing a framework for studying God’s Word – God be praised!
Let’s pray before we begin!
Thank You so much for Your precious Word! Thank You for the instruction we receive from studying it. I pray for my children and our home as we seek You each morning and study this portion of Your Word! I pray that it would come alive for my children in a way that is meaningful to them and that we would be faithful to meet with You each day. Help us to cultivate our relationship with You and guide me as a mother in guiding these little ones closer to You. Teach me how to teach them and I ask You to teach me in the process. I pray in advance for any other mama who chooses to spend this time with You each day. Please bless their time and multiply the benefits in her life and the lives of her children in a way that only You can do.
We commit this time and study into Your care and ask You to be Lord over all that occurs in our time together.
To God be the Glory!
In Jesus’ Name,
AmenThe first section including the intro to the Fruit of the Spirit and Love will be up in the next few days! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to participate!
PS: Did you have any First Day of School traditions? I'm trying to decide if/what to do here and would love to hear your memories!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Here is how I've used the chore chart over the past few weeks since we implemented it.
* The charts are mounted on the wall near our pantry. I keep the little box of chore sticks nearby.
* Each day (except Sunday) I assign chores for the day. I usually switch around who helps for dinner, sets the table and cleans up, etc...
* As they finish their chores each day - they get the happy face stick on their chart at the end of each day. I usually remove the chores from their charts throughout the day so they can see what still needs to be done. I haven't given them much access to the chore sticks because I don't want them to get lost!
So far, I have not let them pick the chores they do - though I have taken into account who prefers to do which things or who is capable of doing certain things.
Here is an example of what is on their charts today:
* Put laundry away
* Clean toilet
* Wipe off table
* Set table for breakfast
* Put laundry away
* Give Katie food and water
* Set table
* Help in garden
Each morning after breakfast, it is their responsibility to brush teeth, make beds and get dressed (with help if needed). It varies when we do our chores throughout the day - but most of the chores I've chosen to assign are things they can do without supervision. So, I can send them each to do one thing and still be available to supervise both.
I did not take the photos I used on the cards - I found all the graphic photos in Microsoft Word clip art.
Hope that helps!
The background of the chart is simply one piece of heavy weight 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.
To make the pockets:
* Cut side edges to meet the diagonal edge of the folded up edge.
* Fold side edges over to create the pocket:
* Lay pockets out on your paper to decide where you want them.
* Use a glue stick, double stick tape or whatever you have to attach the
edges of the pockets to your background paper.
* Use scrapbook letters to spell your children's names if you choose to.
* Then, mount your chore chart on the wall or side of your fridge.
* Wash entry window
* Put laundry away (I made two of these)
* Wash front of stove, fridge and dishwasher
* Help wash car
* Help wash dishes
* Give Katie (our dog) food and water
* Clean toilet
* Put mail out
* Empty trash
* Help start laundry
* Wash cabinets
* Water plants
* Wipe sink
* Pick up sticks
* Help in garden
* Wipe off table
* Set table for breakfast
* Help fix dinner
* Wash doorknobs
* Set table
I printed out pictures from Microsoft Word that matched the above chores. I cut the pictures out and had them laminated. Then, I hot glued the cards to brightly colored popsicle sticks.
I also made two happy face cards and these go in their charts when they complete all their chores and they have been so excited to work on their chores to get the happy face on their chart!