Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Holly Berry House Sale

A highlight of my Fall season in Colorado was always to visit the craft sale at Rock Ledge Ranch with my mom!

Unfortunately, my mom wasn't able to go with me due to the sudden death of her father. I got a little teary walking in as I was sad she wasn't with me, yet - I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to go!

I drove up to the beautiful Rock Ledge Ranch and was directed to my parking place by several park rangers. After getting out of the car, the ranger closest to me said, "Have fun!" and I just thought that was so nice!

I enjoyed the lovely walk in, all of the wonderful smells and didn't even mind the very loooong line to get in! I'd never gone on Friday before as I was always at work and had no idea it was that busy on a Friday afternoon!

The first thing I found was some yummy sugared almonds ~ my mom always used to buy a bag for my Dad each year when we went and I decided I should keep the tradition going. Plus, his birthday was the next day - so it would be a fun treat! I am wondering if this recipe would be similar to the taste?

I found a neat old purse:

... and this cute felted pumpkin mat for my Fall decorating:

What a special treat to enjoy the beautiful weather and a favorite Fall outing from years past!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


What a wonderful time in Colorado! I am now home and getting reacquainted with my life and routine here!

Looking forward to catching up ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Colorado Springs Favorites!

Good morning! Michelle asked yesterday about some of my favorite things around Colorado Springs - I've also asked my mom and sister to contribute their favorites since we are all here together!

Here are our top choices ~ enjoy!

Free Ideas:
* Garden of the Gods (beautiful red rocks, walking trails)
* Glen Eyrie (conference center owned by The Navigators; they have lodging and teas, tours available as well obviously those are not free!)
* Focus on the Family (Odyssey play area, lunch spot, book store, history of the ministry)
* Air Force Academy (Chapel and Visitors Center)
* Cheyenne Canon (at the base of Cheyenne Mountain: hiking trails, water fall)
* Olympic Training Center (athletetic training facility for Olympic Athletes)
* Pioneer Museum (local history includes traveling exhibits and long-standing history of Colorado Springs)
* The Broadmoor (five star hotel, historic to Colorado Springs)
* Go for a drive up west Hwy. 24 through Woodland Park - beautiful scenery!

Other Ideas:
* Rock Ledge Ranch (homestead with demonstrations, they have great seasonal festivals here as well)
* Pikes Peak: you can drive up, but I would not suggest it (your car may never be the same), there is also a train depending on the weather/snow.
* Royal Gorge bridge (about an hour south of Colorado Springs)

* Flying W Ranch (chuckwagon dinner, western band sings after dinner, western town to browse before dinner)
* La Baguette (French: I love the chicken salad croissant and we're having lunch there today!)
* Marigold's (breakfast, lunch and bakery)
* Jose Muldoons (Mexican food)
* Fargo's (pizza)
* Adam's Mountain Cafe (Manitou)
* Olive Branch (downtown; healthy cuisine)

* American Classics Marketplace
* The Gatherings
* Colorado Country Antique Mall
* Current
* Old Colorado City

Please chime in with your favorites from the area as well! Maybe I will discover something new!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is ...

I know, I'm on vacation - but I am so excited that it is *SNOWING* right now - I just had to share!

I'm sure everyone who lives in Colorado Springs is moaning about winter starting already - but to me this is a sweet gift of getting to see snow! I didn't really expect to see it - but, it makes me so happy! Oh, and cozy!

We're having a great time with family and enjoying the gift of this time together - more later!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sorry for the confusion in my posts this morning (if you subscribe, you may have seen a different combination of the same information) but it just wasnt' sitting right with me to combine things in a single post.

Also, thank you to the early commenters - I had to delete your comments just to straighten out the posts. But, I do appreciate your sentiments.

I'll be leaving tomorrow to go to Colorado for a little over a week ~ plans have changed a bit this week and I'll be staying longer than originally planned. Since I'm struggling to know how to share some family news (because I'm struggling to know how I feel about it), I'm going to point you to Carrie's post for a family update.

I don't anticipate posting next week - just wanted to let you all know and will look forward to catching up when I return home. Have a great day!

Shepherding, Part Two

At the end of part one, I mentioned Jesus being My Shepherd and how much I need Him to guide me as I care for or shepherd the ones in my care. That immediately brought to mind Psalm 23. Let's read it with a new focus - think about shepherding our little ones as we read the way Our Shepherd cares for us:
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I notice many of the things I have noticed when I've read this before. There are three things that stand out to me this time, especially in relation to mothering:

He guides me in paths of righteousness. Am I guiding my children in paths of righteousness? What does that mean? A few initial thoughts:

* Teaching them to know the difference between right/wrong.
* Teaching them about Christ; His righteousness.
* Leading them to the Savior; trusting Him to draw them to Himself.
* Modeling Christ to them; living an example for them.
* Guiding their choices so they can learn to make good and God-honoring ones. What to watch, say, wear, read, etc...

Others? What does it mean to you to guide our children in paths of righteousness?

Your rod and your staff they comfort me. I started thinking about the role of the rod and the staff. Of course, I am responsible for effectively and Biblically disciplining my children. It also makes me think of protection - being aware of the surroundings, the Shepherd would need to keep animals away from their sheep.

But, how does this protection and discipline comfort my children? The protection part is easy ~ obviously it is comforting to know someone is watching out for us and will do all they can to keep us safe from harm.

It strikes me that discipline is a way of showing my children how much I love them. I love them so much that I want them to learn what is right, how to make wise choices and learn to follow God. They need to know that if they do something wrong or something dangerous, I will be there to correct them. Not that the correction is pleasant, but the comfort of the love behind it.

Gentleness. This is not mentioned directly in the verses - but the tone is there, the example of our Shepherd is there, gentleness is there. This is a major idea/theme on my heart right now and I want to study it more in depth. Initially, I want my words, attitude, example and my very person to be guided by gentleness, to be permeated with gentleness.

One last thought - as I was reading in my Bible dictionary about shepherds, I read this line, "In Bible times the sheep cared for by shepherds represented wealth." (Holman Bible Dictionary)

That rings true to me as well in relation to our children ~ the little ones I have to care for represent true wealth. Oh, may I treasure these blessings and use them for His glory!

A Handcrafted Christmas

Well, I know it is too early to talk about Christmas! But, it is not too early to start crafting some of my gifts and things ~ so I'll be sharing those beginning in October!

If you have an idea you think I'd love to try or a link to something you've seen - be sure to pass it on! I am always on the hunt for new ideas or things to try!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This weekend, our pastor preached a message from 1 Peter 5:1-4 and it just really meant a lot to me in the realm of mothering. Do you mind if I just process it here for a few moments?

First, here is the passage we read together,
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." ~ 1 Peter 5:1-4

I'm sure that you can see some of the application just by reading through the words. Obviously, I know that I am not an elder nor will I ever be an elder. However, I have been placed in a position of authority for the little ones under my care. God has entrusted three children to me and I am with them almost all the time.

These small ones are part of God's flock and are in my care. I am reminded not to mother them like I have to but because I want to. I confess that having a willing attitude in all aspects of mothering is a struggle for me. As a friend used to say, "Lord, I am not willing. But, I am willing to be made willing." I really and truly do want to do what God wants me to do and I know that what He wants me to do right now is care for these in my home with a willing heart and attitude.

I also note that I am not to care for them out of any ambition to gain anything for myself. As mentioned in this passage - I am certainly not mothering for financial gain. But, are there other things that I am hoping to get out of it for myself. Am I mothering in such a way as to create more time for myself or to have someone else say that I am doing a good job. Or, am I mothering with the heart of a servant.

Speaking of a servant's heart, I notice that it is not only to serve. But, an eagerness to serve. Merriam-Webster defines eager this way, "marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest." Am I enthusiastic in serving my children? I must confess that many days begin with dread at starting all over again. Or, with exhaustion from what these times demand.

Next, I read that I am not to hold my position of leadership over these in my care - but be a living example to them. When I lose my patience with my children - I am setting them an example, but it is it an example of life? Am I truly showing them the way I hope they will go? Do I truly want them to follow my example?

As you can imply from many of my thoughts above, I have really been struggling in my role as a mom lately. I have felt so very inadequate and seen all of my shortcomings very clearly. However, seeing them and knowing what to do about them are sometimes very different things.

I find that many days, I will start my day praying and asking God to help me be a gentle and loving mother to my children. I will feel good about the day and then it will begin. But by the time 8:30 or 9 roll around (yes, in the morning) I find that I am frustrated, stressed and quickly losing my patience with my children.

I do not want to be this way and I do not like being this way. I want so very much to change. I have set aside a morning to really study and listen to what God is teaching me. Hoping and trusting for some guidance and answers. Hearing this message was really the first thing He showed me.

Yet, while I noted above all the ways I am struggling to meet these guidelines in God's Word - there is something in the words that tugs at my heart and beckons me in to live it out. I desire to live this way. I want to shepherd these little sheep He has entrusted to my care in a worthy manner. I see my faults and I know that I need the One True Shepherd to guide and care for me as I do this for my wee ones.

I'm sure there will be more coming on this as I continue to process.

Family Night: Misc

Wow, I've sort of fallen off the train of sharing what we've been doing for Family Night!

We've enjoyed spending time together as a family and I've noticed that the girls are SO excited when they know it is Friday! They have even started offering some ideas of their own!

One week, we braved the wilds of Chuck E. Cheese with a coupon and had a great time!

Another week, we made another big tent in the living room - we told stories, played a simple card game, read books and sang songs! What fun!

What have you been doing for family fun time lately?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Here's the next installment in the Fruit of the Spirit study. We've really been enjoying this and have had fun learning new verses and songs! How about you?

Week Five: Joy

Day One:
* Pray
* Review Galatians 5:22-23; What is the second fruit mentioned? (Joy!)
* Make a frown face and a happy face: which one shows joy?
* Read Philippians 4:4
* What is joy? Joy is like being happy with a happiness that comes from God! It doesn't matter if something good or bad happens - we can still rejoice in the Lord!
* Sing
* Pray

Day Two:
* Pray
* Read Philippians 4:4
* When should I have joy? (always)
* So, when I fall down and get hurt can I have joy in the Lord?
* When Mama gives me a special treat can I have joy in the Lord?
* When someone won't share can I have joy in the Lord?
* What does always mean?
* Sing
* Pray

Day Three:
* Pray
* Read Philippians 4:4
* Two times it says to rejoice! When Mama tells you something important, sometimes she says it two times! So, God must think it is important to tell us two times!
* Learn sign for joy.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Four:
* Pray
* Read Philippians 4:4
* How can we rejoice in the Lord?
* Sing praise to Him.
* Our attitude toward others.
* Pray: tell God our praise!
* Trust Him.
* Journal
* Sing
* Pray

Day Five:
* Pray
* Read Philippians 4:4
* Review
* Sing
* Pray

Week Six

Day One:
* Pray
* Read Nehemiah 8:10c
* Do not grieve means don't be sad.
* This verse tells us that when we have the joy of the Lord - it gives us strength to do right things and to obey God.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Two:
* Pray
* Read Nehemiah 8:10c
* What was the first Fruit we talked about? (love)
* When we have God's special love in our hearts, it gives us joy too!
* You could pretend that it was like planting seeds of love and having joy grow up from those seeds.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Three:
* Pray
* Read Nehemiah 8:10c
* Journal
* Sing
* Pray

Day Four:
* Pray
* Read Nehemiah 8:10c
* Just like God's love gives us joy, when we show love to others, it can bring joy to them!
* Talk about examples.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Five:
* Pray
* Read Nehemiah 8:10c
* Review
* Sing
* Pray

Week Seven

Day One:
* Pray
* Review
* Read Luke 2:8-15
* The angel said they brought good news of great joy. What was the good news? (Jesus' birth!)
* Why did that bring joy? (Because He would grow up and die for our sins so we could live with Him forever in Heaven!)
* Act out story if you want to.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Two:
* Pray
* Read Zephaniah 3:17
* What brings joy to God? (One of His children who loves Him and obeys Him)
* God loves you very much and you make Him happy!
* Sing
* Pray

Day Three:
* Pray
* Read story of Esther
* Joy in God taking care of His people.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Four:
* Pray
* Paraphrase story of Esther
* Act out story
* Sing
* Pray

Day Five:
* Pray
* Review
* Sing
* Pray

Week Eight

Day One:
* Pray
* Review
* Read John 15:11-12
* Joy is a choice
* Do you like red or green? Ok, great you just made a choice!
* Do you want to have sadness or joy? Joy? Great, you can have joy by having God's love in your heart and sharing it with others.
* Sing
* Pray

Day Two:
* Pray
* Read John 15:11-12
* What is a commandment?
* What is God's commandment in this verse?
* What happens when we obey this commandment?
* Let's thank God for His Word!
* Sing
* Pray

Day Three:
* Pray
* Read John 15:11-12
* What does it mean that your joy may be full?
* Show two glasses of water: one with a very small amount - one with a lot.
* Which one is full?
* If you feel like the empty one - you can ask God to fill you up with joy! (show this by filling glass!)
* Sing
* Pray

Day Four:
* Pray
* Read John 15:11-12
* Journal
* Sing
* Pray

Day Five:
* Pray
* Review
* Sing
* Pray

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Weekend: Celebrating

This past weekend, we also celebrated David's birthday! Since it was on a Sunday - he was off work! We enjoyed the day together as a family and I made a big dinner!

Here was our menu:

BBQ Brisket
Baked Beans
Caesar Salad
Cheese Muffins
Butterfinger Ice Cream Cake

Everything was very yummy with the exception of the cake - it just wasn't anything exciting and I don't plan to make it again! However, this was the alternative: David is always teasing the girls that we are having snails for dinner or are going to Snail Palace to eat or something like that. So, we sort of made him believe that we were going to give him a snail birthday party! I would've made these and of course, this cake. We'll just be glad that I wasn't feeling too inspired on that idea!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Weekend: Playing

Monday, my Dad ran another marathon in Colorado Springs! Yeah, Dad!

Since my girls are always asking if they can go and watch him, I thought it would be fun to have a mini marathon in the backyard!

We had our mini race at 8:30 since my Dad's race started at 6:30 (mtn. time) ~ I made number bibs for each runner and off they went! They really did not do much running, but hopefully had fun.

After crossing the finish line - they each received a medal (made out of juice can tops) for finishing! We cheered for our runner many miles away!

The "can" reference on the medal is from this powerful video!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Our Weekend: Nesting

Friday morning, it was one of those mornings where I was just in the mood to do some nesting. It had been a bit cooler over the previous few days and while I usually wait all the way until Labor Day (hee hee) to get my Fall decorations out - I decided that it would be that morning!

When I pulled out my boxes of Fall goodies - I tried to look at them with an open mind. Not just thinking of where I put something last year. I started in our entry way (here is a picture of what it usually looks like) remembering how fun it was to completely re-work the top of that cabinet at Christmas last year. Here is what I came up with:

Next, I got out the glittered pumpkins for the top of our china cabinet and started working on the mantle. I like to add a new thing or two every year and I have my eye out for a few things especially as I head to Colorado in a couple of weeks.

Also, I had a very simple grapevine wreath for our front door - but this year it just looked a little bare to me - so I pulled this Happy Harvest basket out and tied it onto the wreath ~ much better!

Have you brought your Fall goodies out yet? Do you put your decorations in the same place every year or mix it up each year?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Our Weekend: Crafting

What long weekend would be complete without some project to do!? I didn't really have a craft planned for this past weekend, but on Friday evening I was checking out my site meter and I usually check out the links I don't recognize.

One thing led to another and I found this idea! Oh. my. That is so me and I had all those things laying around. I know, I know - go ahead and roll your eyes at me now, it's fine and I'm ok with it! Thinking back to what I spent on all the parts that were laying around - I'm guessing this project cost around $7 - still not shabby.

I had an old board laying on our porch that I'd gotten at the Habitat store, some of the burlap ribbon was in my craft stash, the hooks were cluttering my kitchen counter as I'd bought them on 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby for something else which did not work out, and the screws came from my junk drawer. So, I really did myself a favor by doing this project because I spent nothing and used some things that were truly laying around and creating clutter other places!

The board was red and didn't really go with the red of the burlap, so I spray painted it brown (also leftover). I stapled the burlap on instead of using glue as she did in the initial post and then screwed the hooks in. I plan to touch up the tops of the screws using brown paint just so they blend in a bit better.

I found some sawtooth hangers in our hardware cabinet and voila! I'm trying to decide if I want to hang this somewhere in the house or save it for hanging in our screened in porch that we are hoping to add in the very near future.

Where would you put it? Also, what should I do with this wall? (I know, I don't like flash photos - but it was too dark to take a natural light pic.) I love the chalkboard but it is a bit lost on this wall, so I need to do something about moving it and adding a couple of things. I love this too. Maybe I could do the wall hanging, chalkboard and hang the hooks under it? Ok, give me your thoughts and ideas!

PS: While I'm sharing fun found ideas - check out this grain sack pillow! Love it!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ice Cream Dessert

Mmmm ~ in the hot hot days of late summer, this is a special treat not to forget about! Growing up, we had this with peppermint ice cream! I will tell you that it is even good with plain vanilla!

It has been delightfully cooler here the past couple of days - and I am ready for Fall! But, I'll squeeze this recipe in before we leave summer behind for this year (or this week as the case likely is!)

1 - 11 oz. box vanilla wafers, crushed
1 stick butter
* Toss together crumbs and melted butter, reserve 1/2 c. crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs into greased 9x13 pan.

Chocolate Filling:

1 stick butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 c. powdered sugar
3 beaten egg yolks
3 beaten egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts, if desired

* Melt butter and chocolate over hot water. Add egg yolks and powdered sugar. Cook slowly over hot water a few minutes. Remove from heat and blend in egg whites, vanilla and nuts. Pour over crust. Cool.

Ice Cream: Slice softened ice cream (3/4 of half gallon any flavor) and place evenly over chocolate mixture. Use a knife to smooth edges together. Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 c. crumbs.


Enjoy the long weekend ~ and look forward to visiting with you here again on Tuesday!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Add-A-Pearl Necklaces

I love my add-a-pearl necklace! My Grandma started it for me when I was a little girl and I remember mailing it back and forth each year around my birthday to have another pearl added to my necklace!

I wear my necklace now with thirteen pearls on it in graduated sizes (we stopped at my 13th b'day) nearly every day! It is my favorite piece of jewelry!

Growing up, I was allowed to wear it only for special occasions and holidays. And, now my Mom has begun necklaces for my two little ladies! They absolutely love wearing these and I've allowed them to wear them to church or for a special event.

What a treasure these are! The memories of them, the love behind the gift - and I love pearls anyway. They are simple and yet very elegant and they go with everything!

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry with a tradition or special family memory behind it?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Applesauce Oat Muffins

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe before! I've been making these for a number of years and they are so tasty! Recently, I substituted peach butter for the applesauce and have also made them with pureed sweet potato - regardless, they are always delish!

1 1/2 c. oats
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. applesauce
1/2 c. milk
3 Tbsp. oil
1 egg white

1/4 c. oats
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Bake at 400 for 16-18 minutes

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Notecard Therapy

As I'm sure you've noticed, I haven't been doing much crafting lately. It's sort of lots of things rolled up into the fact that I feel fairly uninspired, don't have the motivation and am not making the time. But, I am missing it!

So, on a cozy day last week, I grabbed my old magazines, a glue stick and some card stock and made some of my favorite note cards. These just never fail to make me happy - I always enjoy making them. I have written lots of posts on these note cards - but here is another one!

I don't know about you, but I find that often I do a craft one time and never repeat it again. Well, this is one of those projects that has endured over the years even as I have repeated it time and time again!

I'm not sure if it was more fun to make the cards or photograph them when they were complete. Look out, Fall - I am sooooo ready for you!

Do you have a "fall back" craft that you love to do again and again?