Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Christmas Dress

We went to my sister's house for Thanksgiving this year. On Wednesday night, I felt the urge to sew a Christmas dress for my eighteen month old niece. If I gave it to her at Thanksgiving, she'd be able to wear it all season long as opposed to receiving it at Christmas.

I picked from my stash a small piece of red corduroy from the thrift store earlier this year and a piece of red and white stripe that my sister had given to me.  There wasn't quite enough corduroy for the whole dress so I needed another fabric to add to it. I chose the red and white stripe rather than a Christmas print so she could wear it all winter.

This was a fun project to work on and from start to finish only took me a little over an hour! The pattern is New Look 6578. I made a size 2 and it fit Leila perfectly while still able to wear it as a jumper with a shirt underneath.

We thought it would be fun to get her dressed up and take a bunch of pictures of her in the dress. Leila is such a busy girl that the photo shoot was easier said than done as she ran around the house doing whatever she pleased. As soon as we thought we'd get a good shot, she moved. Quickly. We got lots of laughs out of this! Her expressions are so funny!

Leila loved wearing the dress and her black Mary Janes. She is such a girly-girl and cried when we put the dress away saying, "Mine, mine!"

And if you're really interested in seeing the dress, here are some much less amusing pictures of it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

We went to my sister's house for Thanksgiving Day. They live a little over 2 hours away from us so we don't get to see them all that often.

She and I shared the meal preparations. She made the ham, green beans, potatoes and a corn casserole (and hosted the event) and I brought dinner rolls, sausage stuffing with apples, cranberries and nuts, a sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce (we like the jellied kind from a can!) and pecan and pumpkin pies for dessert. The stuffing and sweet potatoes were both dishes from my Dream Dinners adventure and both were very good. The meal was enjoyed by all!

My sister's family is getting ready to move to another house so we kept things very simple as many of their belongings are already packed up for the move!

It was a nice and relatively quiet Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 
Along with friend, family, turkey and stuffing, I hope you'll take at least a few minutes this weekend to remember God's incredible blessings to you this year!

Praise To God, Immortal Praise

Praise to God, immortal praise,
For the love that crowns our days;
Bounteous Source of every joy,
Let Thy praise our tongues employ.

For the blessing of the field,
For the stores the gardens yield,
For the joy which harvest bring,
Grateful praises now we sing.

Clouds that drop refreshing dews;
Suns that genial heat diffuse;
Flocks that whiten all the plain,
Yellow sheaves of ripened grain.

All that Spring with bounteous hand,
Scatters o'er the smiling land;
All that lib'ral Autumn pours
From her overflowing stores;

These great God, to Thee we owe,
Source whence all our blessings flow;
And for these our souls shall raise
Grateful vows and solemn praise. 

Written by Anna L. Barbauld, 1773

I will probably not be blogging much, if at all, the rest of the week in order to spend time enjoying the holiday! See you all back here on Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Thankful For Food!

I'm so thankful for the bounty of food that God has blessed us with. Even in leaner times, we still eat so well! Thank you, God!

Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap

Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena hand soap.

A little splurge that makes me smile! 

And certainly a step up from the dish soap I've had beside the bathroom sink ever since we've moved!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Thankful That God is God

Today I'm praising God just for who He is!

Out And About

While you're out and about cruising around the blogosphere this weekend, here's a few worthwhile reads:

Using a hook book as inspiration for your writing at Savvy Blogging. My mom, a writer, has done this for years. She's always jotting things down!

Seven easy make-ahead appetizers for Thanksgiving Day lingering from Mom Advice. Yummy! The Spinach Stuffing Balls and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip look amazing!

The Proverbs 31 Woman Is Your Model at Christian Homekeeper Network.

Self-Feeding at Cultivating Home. A great post on feeding yourself spiritually.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Thankful For People Who Pray

Last night as my friend and I were doing our weekly Life Group (sharing what God has showed us from Scripture) by phone, I noticed that I was starting to have asthma-related wheezing.

As I finished praying, she asked if I was having trouble breathing. Apparently, she could hear it in my voice over the phone! When I replied that I was starting to wheeze, she immediately proceeded to pray for me right then that my lungs would be clear and that I'd be able to breathe properly.

This blessed me that she not only offered to pray but that she jumped in and prayed right then instead of putting it off. I know that God will bless her obedience!

And The Winner Is...


While set up at a  festival a few weeks back, I tasted a meatball and entered a giveaway at the Dream Dinners booth.

Imagine my surprise when they called me a few days later to say that I'd won their grand prize of three holiday side dishes!

Dream Dinners is one of those places where you can go and assemble your own freezer meals. Everything is chopped and prepped ahead and they even clean up the mess afterward! You make an appointment and select the menu items you wish to purchase and they set it all up in stations and you assemble your dishes.

Well, I love freezer cooking and the thought of no prep work or cleanup was very appealing to me! I was so very excited at the chance to try this out!

Because of the popularity of the holiday sides, some are already prepared and ready to take home. Of the three that I chose, the Savory Stuffing was the only one that needed to be assembled. The other two, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and a Sweet Potato Bake were already bagged up and ready to throw into my freezer.

I was a little disappointed that I only got to make one but it was so much fun! Everything is chopped and prepped and labeled and handy and they have cool measuring cups and spoons. Clearly, I need a hobby. I gushed about Dream Dinner's awesomeness all the way home.

In my opinion, their regular menu items are a bit pricey for my budget and many items are fancier than what we eat on an everyday basis. But it is a wonderful convenience- no shopping or chopping-  and certainly fun to do!

Thank you Dream Dinners for this opportunity to make use of your services!

Christmas Is Coming: Apple Butter

Last year I discovered how to make crock pot apple butter**. It was so good that I decided to give small jars as Christmas gifts to my husband's family.

Well. The apple butter was  a hit at Christmas time! They loved it and I've already had several requests for more this year. In fact, my sister-in-law said that she would take a gallon of apple butter instead of any other gifts!

I figure that with buying apples at about $1 a pound and then purchasing jars, my cost for each jar is around $3.00. If you are able to use jars you already have on hand or find some for free, the cost would be even lower. Even better would be getting apples for free!

I usually make a label for each jar and then tie a simple raffia bow around the lids, but you could make these really cute with fabric or scrapbook paper. This would make a nice gift paired with a loaf of homemade bread or nestled in a basket with other canned goods such homemade pickles and other jams and jellies. 

This is a simple and delicious gift that's sure to please!

** I use a lot less sugar than the directions state-around 1/2 to 3/4 cup per crock pot full and it is still plenty sweet. It depends on your taste and the type of apples used.

**To can: Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. 

** If you don't wish to can the apple butter, it can be kept in the fridge for a long while or frozen. 

This post is linked to Life As Mom's Frugal Friday and Proverbs 31 Living's Handmade Christmas Carnival!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Thankful For Beautiful Fall Leaves!

This fall has been such a pretty one! The leaves have been especially bright and colorful this year. I really like the red ones. These photos were taken while out on a walk around our neighborhood.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

 Red, yellow, green and brown
Leaves are floating to the ground.
We pile them up, oh so high!
Then we jump in,
My dog and I!

Let all creation rejoice before the LORD.
Psalm 96:13

 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

What are you thankful for today?

Cranberry Pineapple Muffins

I really wanted to make some cranberry muffins this week but was bored at the thought of the same old cranberry pecan or cranberry orange varieties.

A quick flip through my favorite muffin cookbook, Mad About Muffins, led me to this recipe for cranberry pineapple muffins.  Not only did the combination sound interesting but I also had some crushed pineapple in the refrigerator waiting to be used up! Love when that happens!

These are so yummy! The pineapple and cranberry combo lend a sweet-tart flavor while the brown sugar on top adds a little crunch.

A perfect fall treat, these would be great served for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning!

Cranberry Pineapple Muffins

Makes one dozen muffins.

1 cup whole fresh cranberries
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I successfully used whole wheat pastry flour.)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cranberries, egg, milk, butter and pineapple. In another bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are brown.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Thankful For You!

Today I'm thankful for you, my blog readers! Thank you so much for regularly stopping by to read my ramblings. I'm humbled that you choose to visit my house each day!

I do enjoy your comments! If you read here and have never left a comment before, would you please take the a minute to introduce yourself? I'd love to "meet" you!

A New Cath Kidston Catalog

I was so excited when the mailman brought a new Cath Kidston catalog this week. I love to sit down and look at the lovely pictures. Such a nice array of beautiful items and gorgeous colors.

After I'm done looking through them, I love to keep them in my pattern drawer as inspiration. The pictures make beautiful handmade cards, too. 

What simple pleasures are you  taking the time to enjoy today?

A Miscellaneous Freezer Cooking Day

Or Breakfast Foods and Bean Burritos!:-)

 I did another of my small freezer cooking sessions yesterday. My stash of breakfast and lunch foods were both nearly depleted so I did a combination of both!

I was feeling rather peaceful and unrushed yet I checked the clock to see how long this took me since my goal is to keep these small freezer cooking sessions to 2 hours or less.

Cooking and preparing all these foods  plus grinding two Tupperware cereal containers of flour took me right at 2 hours. This did not include cleanup!

The fruit of my labors:

  • 11 bean burritos (directions below)
  • 8 sausage biscuits (directions below)
  • 8 unbaked biscuits (I used whole wheat pastry flour(soft white wheat) for the biscuits. They turn out much lighter than if using regular whole wheat flour(hard wheat).
  • 1 dozen cranberry pineapple muffins (I'll be sharing this recipe soon. Fantastic!)

Bean Burritos

These burritos are super simple to assemble and freeze.  They are also very inexpensive and can be quickly heated in the microwave making them a nice convenience food to have on hand.

You will need:
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Salsa
  • Shredded cheese
  • Flour tortillas
Mix refried beans and salsa together. I probably use about 1/2 cup of salsa, maybe a bit more. You don't want it too runny, at least I don't!

Spread bean mixture on tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up and place on waxed paper lined baking pan (or reuse a cereal bag like I do!). Freeze until solid and place in a freezer bag until ready to use.

When ready to use: Take out as many burritos as you want and heat them in the microwave until heated through. I usually cook 4 burritos in about 3 minutes, checking them often to be sure they don't overcook.

You can add meat, green chilies, really anything you want!

Sausage Biscuits

My husband loves it when I make sausage biscuits, which I freely admit isn't that often! They're pretty easy to make and I figure if you're going to make biscuits and fry sausage anyways, then you might as well make a big batch and only clean up once!

You will need:
  • Biscuits- Use your favorite recipe or mine. Store-bought biscuits will work well too!
  • Sausage- A 1 pound roll makes 8 patties for me.
Bake biscuits according to directions. Cook sausage patties and drain on paper towels. Let cool.

Slice biscuits in half and place one sausage patty in between. Bet you couldn't have figured that step out, huh!

Wrap each biscuit in plastic wrap and freeze in a gallon sized bag.

To use: Remove biscuits from bag. Again, duh! Allow biscuits to thaw for a little while if you have time.  Unwrap biscuits and wrap in a  paper towel and heat in microwave for about 1 minute or until heated through.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crayon Rolls In My Shop

I'm Thankful For A Productive Day!

Today I'm thankful for a productive day working around my home.

It was one of those days that I just enjoyed puttering around from one task to the next. I spent about 2 hours doing some freezer cooking, ground a bunch of wheat into flour, did some laundry, cleaned up, put things away, made and canned apple butter and just had a nice peaceful and productive day!

This Week's Menu Plan and To-Do List

This week will be busy but not as full as last week. Thank God for that!

On the to-do list this week:

  1. Make apple butter. Didn't get to this last week.
  2. Finish packing our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
  3. Grocery shopping.
  4. Small freezer cooking day- Haven't decided on a theme yet, maybe a conglomeration of lunch and breakfast since we've used almost everything from what I prepared before!
  5. Sewing and listing stuff for sale in my Etsy shop.
On the menu this week: 

cinnamon french toast bread, fruit- 2x
cream of wheat-2x
baked oatmeal-2x

pizza pockets- (from freezer)I used purchased pie crusts for the dough instead of making my own.
savory hand pies (from freezer)
tomato soup, cheese and crackers

spaghetti, bread and butter
chili (from freezer), brown rice, cheese and sour cream
hashbrowns, sausage, applesauce, steamed carrots
beef vegetable soup(crockpot),  bread and butter-2x
sourdough waffles, scrambled eggs, smoothies

What are you eating and doing at your house this week?

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Thankful For The Baby I Care For

Today I'm so thankful for the baby girl that I care for during the week. It started as a temporary  gig but is stretching into a long-term arrangement instead, which I am so happy about!

She is 6 months old now and it has been so much fun to watch her grow and develop. She is pretty much sitting by herself now and was so pleased to sit right in the stroller like a big girl last week instead of her carseat. She loved being able to see!

She's such a happy girl and has found her voice. She squeals, trills and coos. Loudly.

I just love this little one and am so thankful that God has brought her into my life!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm Thankful For Etsy Sales!

I'm thankful for the recent sales in my Etsy shop. It's so exciting to see this little endeavor begin to bear fruit! The proceeds not only support my addiction hobby, but also help to add to the family income.

**Stay tuned! I have lots of  fun new items to list for sale which I'll begin this week.  I'll post here when I'm adding new stuff so you can take a look if you'd like!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Thankful For Those Who Fight For My Freedom!

 Andy's grandfather (top) and Andy's dad (bottom) in their military days. This is the only picture we have of Andy's dad from that time period. Apparently it was a little warm in Vietnam!:-)

I'm thankful for all who are serving or have served in the military!

Thank you! It is only through your sacrifice that we are able to enjoy the freedom we have.

Happy Veterans Day!

**Andy wrote a very nice tribute on Veteran's Day last year which can be read here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm Thankful For Dirty Dishes

 ...Dirty Dishes!

Thank God For Dirty Dishes
Author Unknown
Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I'm Thankful For What God Is Teaching Me

While on this journey of thankfulness, I'm reminded to be thankful for what God has been teaching me.

Our lives have been overhauled this past year it seems. God is changing us and molding us to be more like Him! This is exciting but not always fun!

At one point, I told a friend that I didn't realize that we were so messed up! She smiled and replied that it's not so much about how messed up we all are, but that God is using the toothbrush to clean out the cracks and crevices that may be hindering us from living the abundant life Jesus died to give us.

For me personally, He's teaching me to trust in Him rather than circumstances, people (including myself) and finances. He's bringing balance to me especially in the area of my task-oriented personality. He's growing my faith by answering prayer and providing in wonderful ways

A lot of teaching. A lot of learning to do. It's not always so pleasant. But still, I'm so thankful for His presence in my life and how He's making me into the person he created me to be!

Priorities During A Busy Time

What are your priorities during a very hectic and busy season?

Since I'm in one of those seasons right now, I spent a little time thinking it over last week and here's what I came up with.

Note: This is suitable for me, my family and my lifestyle. It will probably not work for you; adapt as needed!


  • Quiet time with God-usually 15-30 minutes.
  • Sweeping and vacuuming floors.
  • Meal prep-keep meals simple!
  • Kitchen clean-up.
  • Make bed.
  • Keeping house generally neat.
  •  Thirty minutes of exercise-this is usually a walk with dog and stroller in tow but it works and is a win-win for all of us!
  • Childcare(if applicable).
  • Clean clothes, towels and sheets.
  • Keeping to my budget.
  • General cleaning- kitchen, bathroom, floors.
  • Two-hour freezer cooking session-this has helped tremendously to have some prep work done and food ready to pull out. This is beneficial for both time and budget!
  • Stretching grocery trips to save time and money. 
  • Planning and using my calendar!
When life gets hectic, how do you keep your priorities in order and still stay sane?

Monday, November 08, 2010

This Week's Menu Plan and To-Do List

This is a busy time of year for me so I'm keeping it super simple in the meal department so I can devote more time to other tasks.

Monday- Leftover spaghetti (made into a casserole), peas
Tuesday- Crockpot chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed broccoli
Wednesday- Leftover spaghetti (made into a casserole),  peas
Thursday- Breakfast for dinner: waffles with blueberry fruit syrup, scrambled eggs
Friday- Baked potatoes with ground beef and cheese, pickles, steamed carrots
Saturday- Tomato soup, cheese melts

Breakfasts: hot cereal, eggs and toast, cold cereal, muffins, fruit
Lunches: leftovers, canned soup or freezer lunch options

This Week's To-Do List:
1. Make more apple butter.
2. Small freezer cooking day focusing on meats/main dishes.
    Being low on time and creative energy this week, my plan is to make a batch of meatballs, cook a crockpot chicken (and eat some Tuesday night), brown some ground beef and cook some rice to freeze.

3. Lots of sewing to sell at upcoming craft shows and in my Etsy shop.
4. Childcare.

What's going on in your home this week?

I'm Thankful For A Warm House

The past few days have been pretty chilly. Especially in the evenings and early mornings before the sun comes out!

 On Saturday, we were set up all day at an outdoor festival. It was not warm. For Southerners anyway! When we came home that evening, we were greeted by our nice warm house. It felt so good!

Funny, how when I'm home all day, I really don't think about it. But when I don't have that comfort for a while, it makes me think about how fortunate I am to have the blessing of a warm house.

So today, I'm thankful for one of those little things that we often take for granted: heat and/or a warm house. I am so blessed!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I'm Thankful For My Church Family

I'm thinking today about my church family and how thankful I am for them! They are a blessing that I don't want to take for granted as I know it is rare to be a part of such a  wonderful group of believers.

These folks are like family to us. We share life together each week. Sharing what God is teaching us through His Word, sharing our struggles, praying together and ministering to one another, eating a meal together.

I'm so thankful for these folks and the way we are all growing to be more like Christ!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm Thankful For Our Dog

 I'm thankful for my dog Rock. He is wonderful company for us, makes us laugh and is good at keeping me consistent with exercise!

Yes, he is just a dog. No, he does not have a soul. But still, he's a well-loved member of our family!

I came across this cute little poem a while back and decided to include it here.

-If you can start the day without caffeine...
-If you can get going without pep pills...
-If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains...
-If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles...
-If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it...
-If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time...
-If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong...
-If you can take criticism and blame without resentment...
-If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct them...
-If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend...
-If you can face the world without lies and deceit...
-If you can conquer tension without medical help...
-If you can relax without liquor...
-If you can sleep without the aid of drugs...
-If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics...
-Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Author Unknown

Friday, November 05, 2010

I'm Thankful For God's Provision

 In continuing this month's theme of thankfulness...

As I'm baking bread and cookies to sell today, I'm grateful for all the opportunities God gives me to make a little extra income.

Back in September, both my husband and I were impressed upon to pray for extra  income. And then God told us both the exact amount we were to pray for monthly. (Thankfully, it was the same!)  At first, I felt like the amount we were praying for was too large; surely we didn't need that much! Although I knew we could use it. As the month went along, God provided and at the end of the month we started to tally up the extra income and we were excited and humbled to see that God had provided the exact amount we had prayed for. Right down to the penny!

Not all of this was in cold hard cash. Some was in the form of gift cards, some in savings(things we ended up not needing to pay for or got at a better price), some were even in the form of winning blog giveaways.

We continued to pray the same for October and God came through again!  It has really been exciting to see how God is providing.

Sometimes I get a little frustrated with all the many ways I'm using to garner extra income- online surveys, baking bread and other goodies to sell, childcare, my etsy shop and setting up at craft shows, selling on ebay and using coupons to decrease expenses. Wouldn't it be easier to just have one thing that brings in more income than so many small avenues that are not always extra profitable?

Maybe so. But I know that God has led me to do all of these things during this season. He's using all of these small things plus a few other ways to provide and answer our prayers.  It grows my faith to see how He is working in giving us opportunities and  answering prayer as we are obedient to what He has called us to do!

As I was organizing our budget notebook at the beginning of January, I wrote this verse on the front: "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19) At the time, I had no idea how real this verse would become to us this year!

How has God directed you to pray specifically and how has He met your needs? What are you praying  for today?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I'm Thankful For A Paved Driveway

Throughout the month of November, I'll be sharing short little posts about things I'm thankful for! Instead of jumping right to Christmas, I want to take time to think about the many blessings I've been given by my wonderful Heavenly Father and cultivate a grateful and joyful spirit. I hope you'll join me by taking the time to comment about the blessings you have received!

It's raining today. Whenever it rains, I'm reminded how wonderful it is to have a paved driveway!

At our old house, the driveway was dirt. When it rained, it became very muddy and water would sit in the holes. The sidewalk would also flood in spots.  Now whoever comes into our home can walk up to the door on pavement. So much nicer and less messy!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Today is Election Day! Make the effort to get out to the polls and let your voice be heard by voting.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." ~John Quincy Adams

We voted absentee a week ago since we are working at the polls all day today!

**I'll be back to regular posting soon. The past few days have been insanely hectic and the rest of the week looks just as busy. But I hope to be back with you soon!**