Monday, October 31, 2011

Down for the Count

Have you ever noticed how many things happen in a day? In a week?  I started counting the number of things that went on in our house just last week and I was amazed at all the different numbers.  Here is just a small sample of my number crunching.

4 –- number of stores at which I stopped to ask for packing boxes - nobody around here saves their boxes
66 - – boxes retrieved out of the McDonald’s dumpster in full view of the drive thru at lunch time
5 -– rolls of tape to put the boxes back together
6 –- pieces of toast that one of my children ate for breakfast
4 –- working burners, thanks to my Mr. Fix-it hubby
20 –- coupon inserts that I paid my daughters to cut out for me
9 –- garage sale signs
42 -– cupcakes baked and decorated for the garage sale
4 –- very helpful children
17 –- number of times Daniel asked for a cupcake
17- – number of times I told him “no”
11 -– loads of laundry done
12 –- hours sitting at the garage sale
See what I mean?  And I didn’t even count the seven dark chocolate M&M’s that I ate while writing this post! :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chrysanthemum Cupcakes

I am making a last ditch effort to get rid of my junk and having my garage sale again.  I really want to get rid of all the stuff, but it seems people have a hard time finding my house (it’s a little off the beaten trail) while driving around town.  This time, I was able to get my ad in the local paper, so I am hoping for better results.  :)
Last time we had the sale, I made yummy cupcakes and they were more popular than the cheap junk!  How does that work?!  I told Paul the next time I have a sale, I will make it a bake sale.  I love the baking and decorating, even though I don’t do it very often. 
I saw this idea for cupcakes a few months ago and I have been dying to try it myself.  They look like chrysanthemums, but depending on the color of sugar you use, they could be any number of beautiful colors.  I did orange and turquoise sugars, and this is how they turned out.
My kids helped with the decorating, so it didn’t take me twelve hours to do it all myself!
Aren’t they gorgeous?  I just love these cupcakes!  They would be perfect for a ladies spring banquet, a shower, or even a tea party!  They are an eye-catching treat!
It’s so easy, too!  Make your cupcakes and let them cool.  Put a thin layer of icing over each one (it works best if the icing is still sticky when you put on the petals). 
Cut miniature marshmallows (I used white, but they are also beautiful with the colored mini marshmallows) diagonally in half with a pair of scissors and toss in your choice of colored sugar (you can get precolored sugar, or make your own with a few drops of food coloring).  The cut side is sticky, so the sugar adheres to it, making a nice color contrast with the white. 
Starting at the outside edge, place the marshmallows, using the flat side of the cut marshmallow as the base, on the iced cupcake.  When you finish the outside row, start on the next, going around in circles until  you have reached the middle. 
My kids (5, 7, & 10) were quite capable of putting these on neatly, so with eight hands doing the work, it went quite smoothly.  They actually helped with the marshmallow snipping and sugar tossing as well.  My advice: delegate with caution! :)  We all had a wonderful and fun afternoon working together.  I sure hope someone buys those cupcakes so I don’t have to eat them all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Choice

Sometimes things just do not go the way I think they should.  For instance, cars break down, people get sick, trips have to be canceled, plans changed, etc.  You get my drift…  It happens to everyone.  Why then, do I get so bent out of shape when it does happen?  Sometimes I find myself grumping around the house in a bad mood because things just didn’t go my way.  Thankfully, that is the exception rather than the rule, but when I do catch myself grousing about my “miserable circumstances,” I am generally ashamed of myself.
In many ways, your life is what you make of it.  If you dwell on the bad things, you will be unhappy.  If you think on those things which are pure, honest, lovely, of good report, etc, you will be happy. 
Too much of our time is clogged with feeling sorry for ourselves and wishing things were different.  It has been my goal to see the positive side of things as often as possible.  Sometimes that is very hard.  I do not consider myself to be an optimist – I am much too skeptical.  I consider myself to be more of a realist who accepts things as they come and tries to deal with them in a positive attitude.  So, when I saw this sign at Hobby Lobby, I knew I had to have it.  It totally encapsulates my philosophy.  I want my children to make it their philosophy as well, so I want to keep it highly visible in our home.  Hopefully, it will cut down on the whining.  I’m not holding my breath, though. :)
What a wonderful thought – we cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our outlook.  I want happiness – the joy of the Lord – to be my choice!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Perfect Touch

In one of my earlier posts, I put up a picture of my table centerpiece with the yummy yellow pitcher and the green tea pot.  I wanted something red to sit with them, but until now, I had not found the perfect item to complete the trio.
I was at Hobby Lobby (I love that store!) and saw the perfect ceramic vase. It was the right size, the right color, and -  at 50% off – the right price.  I love it when that happens!  I debated for just a few seconds, and then put it in the cart.  It wasn’t really an impulse buy because I had planned to buy just such a thing when I found it. 
There was a moment of panic when the cashier told me it was not on sale.  I told her there was a sign right next to the display that said all the ceramic was 50% off.  I was afraid I would have to put it back. :(  The sale sign was from last week, but because it was their mistake, they honored the sale price. In the end, I walked away clutching my treasure with a smile on my face.  Now it sits on my table, lending just the right amount of panache to my centerpiece. 
Isn’t that just lovely? :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Close

Potty training is such a big hurdle.  It is finding the time to dedicate to a child who likes life the way it is and the convenience of not having to stop playing every 20 minutes to go sit on the toilet.  You know, most kids don’t really care to have their playtime interrupted, and Daniel is no exception.  I started trying to train him earlier this year, and he was doing well.  He was at the point where he would tell me if he had to go.  I was having dreams and visions of all the wonderful things on which I could spend that $10 a week diaper& wipe money.  Alas, our travel interfered with his progress.  After several times of being stuck in construction or driving down the highway with no exit in sight, he stopped telling me he had to go.  :(
Later this summer, we were close again.  Then I had to leave for a week, and he again fell off the potty wagon while I was absent.  I kind of gave up on his being potty trained before the age of eight.  He stopped displaying interest of any kind, and cried whenever I tried to make him sit on the toilet. 
I have found the magic key, though.  Strawberry milkshake malted milkballs.  They have worked like a charm!  He is now staying dry for long periods of time, and yesterday morning he woke up dry! Woohoo!  I think I see light at the end of the tunnel! 
I will be glad when we can say goodbye to the diaper bag at last!  For the last 10 years, we have been buying diapers for at least one member of our family.  I can’t imagine how many rainforests we are responsible for destroying, and how many landfills exist because of our soiled diapers, but you know, I really don’t care.  Some things in life just have to be done.  Disposable diapers are not an option to me.  I had my experiences with the cloth diapers, and believe me, you couldn’t pay me to deal with that every day!  So, for now, the party is being planned, and when we are finally diaper free, you may hear my shout of joy! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Oh, my.  I love books.  Big books, little books, fat books, skinny books, adult books, children’s books, fiction books, non-fiction books, new books, old books  – you name it – I love them all…  When I grow up, I want to have my own library.  I am well on my way to that goal with hundreds of volumes to my name.  It is so deliciously wonderful to browse through my books, turning them over, feeling the covers and aged pages, knowing that all those words are just begging to be read - again. 
I am drawn to the book tables at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores.  One of my favorite events during my college years was when the colporteur came and set up his tables of books on the main walkway outside the library.  I always found something to take home. 
This past week was the annual town library sale.  Ahhhhhh!  I love this sale!  Hundreds of books laid out on tables, piled in boxes, and all for just a fraction of the price listed on the cover.  Talk about Paradise! :) 
This is part of my take last week.  I snagged books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lori Wick, Beatrix Potter, Terri Blackstock, Janette Oke, Bodie Thoene,  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Homer Rodeheaver, Erma Bombeck, James Stevenson, Dr. Suess, Steven Kellogg, Hugh Pyle, Rosemary Wells, and dozens of others.  My kids are learning to love books as well, so a great many of these books are for them (they were 3/$1).  How can I resist giving them such wonderful treasures?  And yes, I think I have read every one of my books.  Many of my books have been read multiple times, making them dear friends whose company I enjoy.  So, I fully intend to curl up with a good book and let the world disappear (my husband has accused me of becoming oblivious to the world when I have an open book in my hand) while I acquaint myself with my newest acquisitions!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Soup’s On!

This time of year is when my thoughts turn to warm, hearty soups that nourish the whole family.  I have to make most of my meals from scratch due to the plethora of allergies in our family, but it does not bother me much, because I get to experiment.  I frequently joke that I cook like a mad scientist in his laboratory – a little of this, and a pinch of that, and “what would happen if I added _____________?”  That can be dangerous.  Ask me how I know! :)   None of my family has ever gotten sick, or even turned into some kind of mutant after my experiments, so I guess I haven’t done too bad of a job feeding them!
Lately, I have been watching a few of the cooking shows featured on Swagbucks TV, and have been inspired, in addition to earning Swagbucks.  If Paula and Rachel can throw something together, why can’t I? 
I decided to make a nice potato soup – it can be thrown in the crock pot for busy days (of which I seem to have quite a few) and voila it is ready at dinner time! Hooray!  I love my crock pot.  Okay – I have a small collection of crock pots, and I love them all!
This recipe is very simple with just a few common ingredients.  It is also dairy free – unusual for potato soup – and quite tasty!
Potato Soup
6-8 med potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 – 14 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 roll sausage, cooked and drained
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
1-2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional – I added just a drop or two)

In a large pot, put enough water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil.  Add salt.  Boil until potatoes are soft, but not mushy (about 15-20 minutes).  Sautee the onion, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until onions are clear.  Place drained sausage, 1/2 can of beans, onion, celery, and red pepper mixture in crock pot.
Place the other 1/2 can of bean in the blender along with a scoop of boiling potato water.  Blend until creamy, then pour into the crock pot.

When potatoes are soft, drain most of the water off, reserving 2-3 cups of the hot water for your soup.  Put 1-2 cups of cooked potatoes in the blender along with 1 c. water.  Blend until creamy, then pour into the crock pot.  Add the rest of the potatoes and stir until well mixed.  Add the hot water gradually until the soup is the consistency you like.  It will thicken the longer it cooks, but I like my soup thick.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Serves 6-8.  Enjoy! 
Hint:  Soup is always better the second day!

What is your favorite kind of soup for a cold day?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I am going to admit it – I don’t particularly enjoy home-schooling {gasp}!  I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say, and that some of you probably love teaching, grading, and doing lesson plans day in and day out, but it is the truth!  I do it because it has to be done, just like the laundry, the cleaning and the dishes.  To be honest, I would rather mow the lawn than teach school… but here I am, in the sixth year of what looks like a 20+ year career of home-schooling.  Sigh.  It really isn’t all that bad, but I do hate grading with a passion.  Especially when I get behind, like I am right now.  There is something about having a yard sale, missions conference, and fall cleaning all at the same time that shoves those “unimportant things” like grading to the back burner.  Now I am paying for my unintentional procrastination with a pile of papers going back three weeks. Whaaaaah!   Okay – the pity party is over.  At least in public! :) 
I have company coming this week, and I am desperately trying to catch up on everything.  Hopefully, they learned everything perfectly, and there won’t be any corrections to make!  HA!  I needed a good laugh!  Anyway, it’s time to check, check, check!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Raking It In

It’s that time of year – when the leaves fall and cover our yards and driveways and sidewalks.  The sound of leaf-blowers can be heard every day in our neighborhood.  Since we only have one tree in our yard, we don’t really bother with getting rid of our leaves, and have not invested in a leaf-blower.
Esther wanted a leaf pile in which to jump, though, and I came out the other afternoon to find her busily raking the yard into a scanty leaf pile.  It was so cute!  I didn’t have the heart to tell her it would be a rough landing, and she was content to wander around the yard gathering up the leaves. 
                               You gotta love that look of complete concentration – the tongue sticking out!

Here’s the happy, leaf-raking, apron-wearing pixie princess!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thoughts to Ponder

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It is autumn again – where does the summer go?  The year is drawing to a close as the leaves change their hues.  I always enjoy the fall colors, the crisp air, and the brilliant blue skies typical of Indian Summer.  At the risk of sounding morbid, I will say that fall is a time of death.  As the sap slows in the cooler weather, the leaves lose their life nourishment and begin to die.  That is why we see the trees garbed in their variegated garments.
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As I thought on this, I was reminded that dying is a part of living.  Anyone who lives knows that one day he will also die.  For the person who knows Christ as his Savior, death is not just a reality, but a beautiful thing.  Just as the leaves, while beautiful in their verdant summer green, become absolutely breathtaking as their short life comes to a close, the person who knows Christ should not just fade out into eternity, but should become a more beautiful and glorious testimony to God’s glory.

Why is death so beautiful, you may ask?  The process of dying is not one that is easy or fun – I in no way wish to convey that idea.  Death for the Christian is not an end, it is the door through which he must walk to be with God for all eternity.  The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”   This sounds strange and perhaps even dangerous to those who do not understand, but let me explain my ponderings on this verse.  God created man to be His companion, perfect, free from sin, disease, and death.  When man chose to sin, he destroyed that perfect environment, bringing alienation from God, pain, suffering, and death upon the whole human race.  Through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, man can again have a relationship with God, but it is tainted by his sinful flesh.
Only in death can man once again have a perfect relationship with God, free from pain, sorrow, sin, and suffering.  That state is what God created for us – what He meant for our lives to be.  He loves us, and does not enjoy seeing His children suffer.  No wonder he rejoices in the death of His saints – they are no longer suffering the effects of sin, and are restored to a perfect relationship with Him!
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So when I see the leaves turning colors, these are the thoughts that go through my mind.  Yes, I am dying – we all are, bit by bit – but I want to become something glorious in death.  Something that draws others to my Savior Who made my life worth living, and living for Him.  Each day brings me closer to the day when I will cast off this fragile shell and be with Him forever.  What  a day that will be!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweetest Day

This past Saturday was Sweetest Day – a day originally planned by a Cleveland candy-maker to distribute candy and small gifts to the city’s widows and orphans, letting them know that they were not forgotten.  I think the name Sweetest Day may have come about because of the distribution of sweets.  While it is still not as popular as Valentine’s Day, people all over the country take the opportunity to express their love and appreciation for those dear to them.

We do not typically observe this holiday in our home, for no particular reason other than forgetfulness, usually! :)  However, as my husband prepared to leave for his next meeting, he told me that he had a surprise for me – one that I could not guess.  Of course, my interest was piqued, but, as usual, he was right.  I could not think of what the surprise might be.  The suspense was killing me!  :)
Friday morning, the surprise was revealed when a florist’s van drove up to my house and presented me with a gorgeous arrangement of red roses and baby’s breath (which does not smell like graham crackers, as my brother once supposed)!  I was surprised – thrilled, too, of course.  The card that came with the flowers said,
For my Sweetheart – Thanks for eleven wonderful years.  I love you very much.” 
I counted the roses, and sure enough, there were eleven.  Okay – once again, my hubby wins the “Husband of the Year” award.  He is so sweet!  I am going to enjoy these roses for a long time!

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Secret Recipe

I am going to share my wildly successful apple pie recipe with you.  I am not sure where I got this recipe – I have had it for at least 10 years.  It is a great recipe!  It is also really easy to make – once you master the art of making a pie crust (see yesterday’s post).

Paper Bag Apple Pie
1 unbaked pie shell
2 Tbs. flour
6-8 med apples, peeled & sliced
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. lemon juice
Combine sugar, flour, and spices. toss with apple slices. Mix well.  Spoon into pie shell and sprinkle with lemon juice.
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter or margarine (must be cold)
Combine topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping over apples.
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Place pie in brown grocery bag.  Fasten with a paper clip or wooden clothespin and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees  on lowest rack.
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Be sure the bag is not touching the element or sides of the oven.  Be careful when removing the paper clip or clothespin – escaping steam can burn you when opening the bag.
If your top crust is not as dark as you would like it upon opening the bag, you can place it under the broiler for a minute or two.  I like my crust to be golden brown on top, and I usually have to broil it after baking it in the bag.
All done – before broiling
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All done – after broiling ( I left the one on the right in just a smidge too long, but it was still good)
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Many happy tummies coming up!  Say “apple!”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Perfect Pie Crust

I have had some requests for my pie crust recipe since posting some of my pie pictures.  For years, I struggled to make a good pie crust, when I ran across this simple technique.  You can use any pie crust recipe, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way it turns out. 

This is a two-crust recipe from Betty Crocker’s cook book that I use.  It is for a 9” pie (or two crumb-topped pies).
2 c. sifted flour (ok- I never sift my flour!)
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening
4 Tbs. water – make sure the water is ice cold.  You can put it in the freezer or even throw a few ice cubes into your measuring cup.  I always have a little extra water in the measuring cup and pour it in as I need it.
Mix together the flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in half of the shortening until it resembles fine meal.
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When you have reached the right consistency, cut in the other half of the shortening until it is the size of small English peas.  Doing it this way ensures a tender, flaky crust.
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Add the water 1 Tbs. at a time, mixing with a fork.  When the dough sticks together, gather it with your hands and form it into a ball.  Divide the dough into two equal lumps and roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin.  It is important that you only roll it out once.  Re-rolling makes the crust dry and tough.  You can flour the rolling pin, too, and the dough will not stick to it.
It takes a little practice (the hardest part is keeping the pie crust round), but using the technique of cutting in the shortening this way, my pie crusts have always been successful – tender, flaky, and delicious! 
When you have rolled out the crust to the desired size, fold it in half and then in half again.  Pick up the quarter-circle shape and place it in your pie pan.  Unfold it gently and press it into the pan, trimming off the edges to 1 inch from the outside edge of the pan.  If you are making a one-crust pie, fold the excess crust under and pinch with your fingers to form the edge.  If you are making a two crust pie, don’t pinch it until you have the top crust in place. 
I hope to hear some good reports from all my pie-baking friends!  Later, I will post my Paper Bag Apple Pie recipe.  It is the best pie I have ever made (my husband considers it the best he’s ever eaten – he even refused ice cream with it the last time I made it – said it would interfere with the taste)!  I use this crust technique as my bottom crust, so get practicing! :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Garage Sale

For some time, I knew I needed to have a garage sale, but I wasn’t home to do it.  Now my opportunity has presented itself.  This weekend, I am planning my garage sale!  Yay!  I am embarrassed to see how much stuff I have kept for who knows what reason!  I am, against conventional old wives’ tales, getting rid of almost all my baby items – crib, swing, shoes, clothes – you name it – I probably have it!  In addition to all of that, I have a lot of extra scrapbook and crafting items that are going to make their appearance. 

The weather this weekend is supposed to be perfect, but even if it isn’t, the garage will keep everything nice and dry.  My girls are going to bake some cookies to sell, in hopes of earning some Christmas funds.  It should be pretty exciting.  Most of the things are already organized and set up, but I have some more sorting to do in the coming days.  Ruthless – that’s what I am.  everything goes…  I also have some great plans for my advertising around town. 

I really do not relish the thought of sitting in my garage all weekend, but it beats moving all that stuff whenever we sell the house!   This may be my last post this week, due to the imminence of my garage sale.  I may get some pics of all my junk posted, so you can see what you are missing this weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All Things Vintage

I have decided that I really like the vintage look, especially when it comes to decorating my home.  I tend to gravitate to old prints and classic styles, along with the mellow colors that belong to days gone by. 
This past summer, I found a yellow pitcher at a thrift store and fell in love with it.  Since it was only a dollar, I bought it. I stashed it in the cupboard every time we hit the road in hopes of preserving it until we reached our home some months later, but I got it out and admired it quite often, even in the trailer.  Now that we are home, it has a place of honor on the kitchen table – as my centerpiece.  The other evening, while shopping at Goodwill with my mom (same night I got the picture frames), I saw a pretty green ceramic teapot.  I thought it would look nice with my yellow pitcher, but didn’t want to spend any more than I already had (I found a lot of good deals that night).  My sweet mother bought it and gave it to me later! Awww!  She also gave me a little red ramekin, so now they are all part of my centerpiece.  I think I need to find a bit taller red object – the ramekin is dwarfed by the others – but for now, it will be fine.  You never know when you will find that perfect item.  I will be keeping an eye out for it at all the yard sales and thrift stores. :)

Here is my lovely vintage pottery centerpiece.
What is your decorating theme for your home?  Are you classic, shabby chic, vintage, modern, or something totally eclectic?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don’t Ever…

A while ago, I discovered a recipe for coleslaw that was “Josiah-friendly,” as we say.  It had no mayonnaise, and although it had yogurt in it, I deemed it safe for my son (he can have dairy in small amounts).  I used my mandoline slicer to shred the cabbage and it took me nearly all morning to do it.  The  coleslaw was excellent, and I thought perhaps I would make another batch with the remaining half-head of cabbage.  This time, however, I would do things the smart way!  No more 2-hour prep for shredded cabbage! :)IMG_3213
I got out my trusty blender – what better to shred cabbage, right?  I knew it would make little chopped up pieces that wouldn’t hang out of our mouths like weird white spaghetti while we ate.  The time factor was a definite improvement over the previous batch.  However, instead of chopping it into chunks, it pureed the cabbage.  Um… not good.  I looked in dismay at the pale greenish-orange paste in my blender (the carrots tinted it a bit).  Gross!  Do I really expect my family to eat that?  Do I expect me to eat that?!  I don’t think the taste will be any different than regular coleslaw, but the texture may be the undoing of us all!  Cabbage smoothie, anyone?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Decorating

Okay – I admit it.  I love decorating.  It doesn’t matter what season, I browse through ideas, websites, and blogs thinking, “That is so ________ (beautiful, cute, easy, etc.).  I could do that!”  Most of the time, I do not get a chance to decorate because of the limited space in the RV.  however, when we are home, look out!  I started gathering fall decor items last year when they all went on clearance at CVS for 80-90% off.  This year, they are decorating my living room and giving it such a cheery fall look.

This cute fall wreath greets all the guests who come to our door.  (Do not look too closely at the roller-painted green door, courtesy of the previous owner – repainting it is on the to-do list, but not very high up right now!)  I bought the wreath on clearance for $4.99

These cute little scarecrows sit just inside the door next to my hutch.  I got them on clearance at CVS for less than $3.50 last year.  The little pumpkin was also on clearance for less than $1.

These little guys are on top of my piano,  I think they are funny, with their little fat bodies and big smiles.  I think they ended up being $.50 each on clearance. 

This sign hangs on the front of my hutch.  I think people get a real kick out of giving me things that say something about crows.  Crows do eat free at our house – almost every meal!  Well, except for the fact the Daddy Crow has to pay for the groceries!
And last, but not least, this is my favorite pumpkin.  I got it at CVS on clearance for $1.49.  I just love the way the leaves are woven through the framework of the pumpkin.IMG_3205
That’s about the extent of my fall decorations this year, since by the time I get back to the house, it will be time to decorate for Christmas.  I really get excited about that!  What is your favorite decorating season?   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reborn Wall Art

I was at the Goodwill with my mom the other evening, and I saw a set of old kitchen prints – still art of fruit – for $1.29 each.  I liked the prints, but didn’t see myself hanging them in my kitchen.  They had nice wooden frames with a bit of green, fuzzy material bordering the inside.  Here is a picture of one below (I forgot to take a picture of the other one before I altered it).

The other one had apples and some other fruit on it.  I thought, however, that I could fit some custom artwork into the inside lip and use it to decorate the boys’ room.  I had made some really cute cowboy things with patterned paper and my Cricut earlier this summer, and wanted to find a suitable set of frames in which to place them.  These Goodwill finds seemed perfect for the project, so I set to work.
I had to trim my cowboy creations a bit to slip them under the lip of the picture frame, but the main part of the design was unchanged.  I also used temporary adhesive to secure them to the print – just in case I decide I want to hang the fruit in the kitchen after all, or even change my artwork as the boys get older. :)  The whole project took about 20 minutes – not bad for a whole new look!
Here are the results.
I just love these little cowboys!   They remind me of my little men, dressing up and playing “good guys/bad guys” around the house.  :)  Here are the finished prints hanging on the boys’ bedroom wall.
What home decor projects are you taking on right now?  I love to see what other people are doing with bargain finds.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sing a Song of Sixpence…

A counter full of pies!  Four and twenty apples, baked in a pie.  When the pie was opened, the family began to sing…
“Can I have another piece?” 
True to my word, I baked some more apple pies last week.  This time, I had the aid of not only my trusty rolling pin and pastry blender, but my positively, absolutely, hot-diggety-dog, wonderful apple corer/peeler/slicer!  A gift from my oh-so thoughtful hubby, who knows that the apples are the hardest part of making the pie! 
With this baby, I can core, peel, and slice a large apple in less than ten seconds.  Eight, to be exact!  LOVE it! :)
There is no doubt that apple pies would be even fewer and farther between if I didn’t have this amazing invention!  (Thanks, Paul!) 
Below is my secret weapon for the best apple pie ever – a plain, everyday, brown grocery bag.  And no, I have never caught anything on fire by doing this.  It is perfectly safe.  You can see that the bag is touching nothing but the cookie sheet, and the added bonus is the pie never overflows into the oven!
While I still had problems with my crust ( I don’t know what is wrong. Perhaps my excessive bragging has caused the failure of my once-perfect pie crusts!), it tasted heavenly.  That last piece is calling… who will answer? :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Well, I did it – had my hair cut last week.  I had just enough to make 10 inches (for donation purposes), although it left my hair a bit shorter than I had planned.  No big deal.  It will grow back, right?   I think this is the shortest I’ve ever had my hair, but you know what?   I like it! :)


Sarah's hair

AFTER – front view

AFTER – back view


So now, it is short, bouncy, and sassy -  I like that!  Pretty low maintenance, too, which is good, since my four munchkins are rather high maintenance!  If you look closely in the back view picture, you will see my 10-inch ponytail draped over the picture frame.   I need to mail that out this week… Hair Mail.  Okay – that was really cheesy, but I couldn’t resist! :)  Have a great day!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Here it is – my beautiful new apron!  I finished it Friday evening as my husband was packing his bags.  Not that the apron had anything to do with his leaving, you understand!  He is traveling to a meeting in Pennsylvania, and the rest of the family is staying home this week, since it is only a four-day meeting.  Ahhhh!  I have lots of things planned for the week, but the apron is no longer on my “To-do” list – it is now on my “Ta-dahhh” list! :) 
My wonderful husband was kind enough to pause in his trip preparations to take this picture (and a few others, if the truth be told – I can’t ever seem to get a good picture of myself, especially modeling aprons).  I forgot how difficult the pattern was, but I remembered when I had to tear out most of it the other night and redo it!  I don’t like ripping out seams, and I had to take out several LOOOOOOONG ones the other evening because I was working with a tired brain.  No permanent damage was done, though, so I am quite satisfied with this latest project.  On to the next one!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Swagbucks Extravaganza!

I have mentioned Swagbucks from time to time in my posts, and several of you are already on board, having fun and earning rewards.  One of the ways to earn Swagbucks is by finding Swag Codes.  This Monday is what they have termed Swagbucks Extravaganza.  They will be releasing codes throughout the day worth 60 Swagbucks!  The Swag Code Hunt is sort of like a Scavenger hunt where you find clues and discover the codes through searching the site.  It can take a little time, while others are just “gimmes.”
I am already mourning because I will probably not get to participate, due to a home school field trip all day Monday!  So, all of you get busy and prepare to find those codes Monday!  If you haven’t already signed up for Swagbucks, now is a great time to do it – they are offering a 100 Swagbucks bonus for signing up this week with the promo code BIGTIMEBUCKS.  Start earning  Swagbucks to redeem gift cards for the holidays!