Easy Recipe…

Hey everyone, hope you are having a great day.

I just wanted to share a really simple idea for an easy side dish, or a small meal. Some of you may already use this idea, but for those who haven’t tried it, it’s crock pot baked potatoes.

I love a good soft baked potato, but they take so long to cook in the oven. You can use the microwave, but, it just doesn’t taste as good as an oven baked potato. I have been using my crock-pot to make baked potatoes for my family, and they taste so good. The hardest part is remembering to put them in the pot in the morning before my day gets going.

You can use any white potato, sweet potatoes, or a combination of both. I just wash them really good with my vegetable brush. Next I spray them with olive oil, and shake on some sea salt, then wrap the potatoes in foil. I cut a little slit into each one to vent. Before I put them in my crock-pot, I add a little water to the pot (maybe 1/4 -1/2 cup). This helps steam the potatoes.

Place the lid on, and forget about them until meal time. I usually cook mine on low for about 6 hours, but you could cook them on high for about 4 hours. I whole idea behind this recipe is to make it easy on yourself. I think leaving them on low works the best because you don’t have to keep a check on them. Sweet potatoes don’t take quite as long to cook, but when I am cooking both in one batch, I just leave the sweet potatoes in with the white.

Once done, load them up with your favorite toppings: sour cream, butter, olive oil, bacon bits, cheese, broccoli – whatever you want. You really could make a meal out of a loaded baked potato, and a salad. This also works well as a meal with left over soup, and garlic toast – YUM!

If you’ve never used your slow cooker for baked potatoes, you should definitely give this a try.

Have a great week!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2018

The greatest love story ever written was written to you and me from the God of the universe…

For God so loved the world, that he have his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life – John 3:16

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. – Jeremiah 31:3

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.                                                                                                                                                                 – Ephesians 2: 4-8

 

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…                                                                                                                                – 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8A

On this day that we celebrate love, remember your sweetheart, your kids, and all those who you love, but don’t forget your first love, the One who gave Himself for you.

This is my commandment, that  ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15: 12 – 13

Roses That Never Fade

I was trying to come up with a simple project to make for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. I don’t know about you, but I always thinks of roses and chocolates when I think of this day. Something about the combination is just perfect.

I love roses, I mean, what’s not to love about a rose. Roses are beautiful! They come in all colors, and sizes, and they smell heavenly. Heavenly roses reminds me of the beautiful hymm, “Where The Roses Never Fade.” Have you ever heard this hymn, it’s lovely. I thought I would type it out for you to read….

I am going to a city,
Where the streets with gold are laid,
Where the tree of life is blooming,
And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season;
Soon their beauty is decayed.
I am going to a city,
Where the roses never fade.

In this world we have our troubles,
Satan snares we must evade.
We’ll be free from all temptations,
Where the roses never fade.

Loved one’s gone to be with Jesus,
In their robes of white arrayed.
They are waiting for my coming,
Where the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season;
Soon their beauty is decayed.
I am going to a city,
Where the roses never fade.

O I am going to a city….
Where the roses never fade…

What a beautiful, glorious thought, to be reminded that there’s a better place waiting for us some day. Roses in Heaven will (hopefully there will be roses there) will be perfect, and without nasty thorns!

Roses seemed like the prefect idea for a Valentine project. My daughter and I used to make felt flowers and turn them into pins and headbands. Occasionally, we would make a rose. See the roses below, they are made out of felt, and will last a long time.

If you would like to make some felted roses, there are a lot of templates online that you can get for free to make your own, but, I want to show you how to make a coffee filter rose. I made some of these a few years ago while creating an art project. If you haven’t seen any of these roses, you will be surprised how beautiful they look.

                   

These roses look complicated, but they are actually quite each to make. I even made a wreath last Valentine’s Day with just plain white filters.

          

To make the roses, you just need coffee filters, food coloring or acrylic paint, a glue gun, and in my case, a pin back to make a pin for Valentine’s Day, and a small piece of felt.

Fold your filters in quarters, and to add variety, I cut them into 3 different sizes. You will need at least 6 total to make a flower, so I made 2 in each size. You can also cut a scalloped edge on them to make them look more realistic.

             

Next, make your colors. As you can see above, I just used my acrylic paint and diluted each with water. It just takes a couple of drops of paint, then add water. Next, you will dip your filter into the paint. You can dip into several colors with one filter, or just try one color.

Next, you have to be patient unfold the filters and wait for them to dry. I used a hair dryer to speed up the process, but if you have the time, you could dye them one night, and finish them the next day. If they aren’t completely dry, you can still make the flowers. Begin stacking your filters, largest to smallest. You will glue each layer in the center with a glue gun until you have all your “petals.” Then, you just scrunch up the petals until you make it look realistic.

        

Now you have created a beautiful rose. See how simple. The possibilities are endless with this project. I made a pin with mine, but you could make a whole stack of them, and use them to adorn cards, wreaths, hats, etc. They aren’t as delicate as they look.

      

As I mentioned, I made mine into a pin. I just cut a circle out of a piece of felt, glued the pin back onto the felt, and then glued the felt onto the back of my pin. My pin is a little large, but you can make it smaller by cutting your filter pieces smaller.

       

I hope you give these beautiful roses a try, these roses want die. They would make a beautiful gift for someone on Valentine’s Day or Easter, Mother’s Day – all coming up.

Hope you have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Recipe: Fish Cakes

I like an easy recipe that only requires a few ingredients that I usually have in my pantry. This recipe is so simple, and you could customize it to suit your own taste. If you don’t like fish, you could substitute canned chicken. You can use any canned fish such as Mackerel, Tuna, crab or Salmon. I have made this recipe with stuffing mix instead of bread crumbs. The stuffing mix is really good because of the seasoning in the stuffing.

To make this dish you need: a 15 oz. can of Mackerel (or the fish/chicken of your choice), one egg, about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, and seasoning of your choice.

      

Above are the brands that I used for my recipe. I tried a gluten free bread crumb (trying to cut out some gluten in the diet). These bread crumbs worked great, making this a gluten free recipe. I also used a creole seasoning, and oregano, but you can use your favorites for fish or chicken.

I drain the brine from my fish, and then pour the fish into a bowl. Next, I take out the spine of the fish which is easily removed. You can see it in the picture below.

After I remove the spine, I use a fork to chop up the fish.

Next you add the bread crumbs, seasoning, and the egg. I don’t measure my seasoning, I just sprinkle it in. Mix it up well, and form into patties. I heat a pan on medium heat with oil (I used olive oil). Place the patties in the pan and cook evenly on each side. The patties will get a crusty coating on them. Remove from the pan.

     

 

I also made some slaw for this recipe. Homemade slaw is so good, and of course, what goes better with fish than slaw. To make the slaw, I bought a bag of tri-colored slaw mix in the produce isle. You could buy a head of cabbage and shred it in a food processor. I usually make mine that way, but to save time, I bought the mix.

     

To Make the slaw, I mix up about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 3 Tablespoons of sugar. Pour the cabbage into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl add the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar and mix well. Pour the mayonnaise mixture into the cabbage and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate till serving.

I also cooked broiled Tilapia. I take the frozen fillets and coat them in oil to keep the moist while cooking. I season them with the same seasoning I used on my fish cakes. Bake the fillets at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then I broil them for about 5 – 10 minutes. Just watch them, and be careful not to overcook them.

I hope you will give this recipe a try. It’s so easy, and it’s pretty health too.

Housekeeping

How do you feel about organization? I know that being organized sure makes things go a little smoother, but getting organized isn’t easy. I like to be organized, although, I could use a lot of improvement in this area of my life. I like knowing where something is, and not having to search high and low to find it (which saves me precious time.)

What about housekeeping organization? Have you ever thought “I need a schedule for housekeeping?” Well, I found a book a few years ago at a thrift store that I helped me organize my chores and save me some time and stress.

I don’t know if you are familiar with Emilie Barnes, but I have found a few of her books, and have enjoyed them all. She has a lot to say about the home, and home management. This copy was copyrighted in 2002. There may be a new copy out by now, but this is the book I purchased, and it is filled with ideas for home management. Notice the title, couldn’t we all use more hours in our days. In this book, she talks about getting organized, making a plan, daily scheduling, life goals, prayer organization, house keeping, record keeping, decluttering, money saving ideas, entertainment ideas, getting kids involved with chores, teaching kids about money, and the list goes on and on. As you can see, this is a very informative and helpful book.

One project that I took from the book and put into use was a housekeeping schedule. I tend to wait until things are piling up or overwhelming before I decide to work on it. The plan that she uses really helps keep chores more manageable, which saves time – YAY! The plan she uses goes into a lot more detail than I am going to share here, but I will show you the part that I have used, and it works.

You will need a few supplies to get started: 3″ x 5″ index cards, an index card box, divider tabs, and a pen or marker.

Next, label the divider tabs as follows: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually. Emilie also makes a tab for storage, but I didn’t use this category.

Next, sit down a write down chores for each category. For example, your daily chores might look something like this: dishes, make beds, clean bathrooms, pick up clutter, clean kitchen, empty trash, etc. This should be chores that you do everyday. Each chore is written on a separate card and placed behind to tab for daily chores.

The weekly chores are broken down by days of the week. You write out your chores for the week, and write each chore on the card labeled with the day that it needs to be done. For example if you do your grocery shopping on Mondays, then on the card you label Monday, you would write grocery shop, along with any other chore that you want to do on Mondays. Examples of weekly chores might be – grocery shop, vacuum, change bed sheets, mop floors, laundry, iron, dust, etc.

Monthly chores would be chores you only do once a month, and they would be broken down into weeks of the month such as: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4. Chores are listed here for each week. Examples of chores might be cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning the oven, cleaning the coffee pot with vinegar or cleanng the dishwasher or washing machine.

Quarterly chores are broken down into jobs to do every quarter which I do every January, April, July and October. This would be kind of cleaning for the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. Chores like cleaning windows, moving furniture around, cleaning out closets and drawers, etc.

Semiannual chores are jobs that need to be done twice a year. I have them labeled to do in May and November. These chores would be things like changing the batteries in your smoke alarms, changing the filter in the heat/air system, clean out the windows (bugs, spider webs, etc.).

And finally annual chores such as washing curtains, cleaning carpets, washing walls, etc. Each card has one chore, and you can pick the month that you want to get it done based on what works for you.

Put all these tabs and cards in your chore box, and on the first day of the week in the first week of the month pull out all your daily cards, your Monday card from your weekly tab, your week 1 chores from your monthly tab, and check the semiannual and annual tabs to see if they apply to this week.

 

I hope I didn’t confuse you on how this system works, but I do recommend that you read the book if you like organizing, or just need help in staying organized.

 

 

Fabric Button Rings

When I was a teenage girl, there were a few items that I just loved. I loved watches, cute coats, stationary, pins, and rings. I never had a lot of spending money, but I could usually find a cute ring or pin.

Through the years, I got away from my teenager fades, but recently I have been reminded of those things. Sometimes, I will see a pin on Pinterest of an item from the 80’s, and it takes back.

I have three children, and my youngest is now a teenager. She isn’t into a lot of the same things that I was at her age (times have changed). Recently though, I have discovered that she likes rings. This makes me happy if only for the fact that it is something that we share.

I homeschool, and every Friday we do something called “handicrafts.” It’s usually just a fun project that may or may not be related to anything we’ve been discussing. The main goal of handicrafts is to learn a skill such as crochet, sewing, cooking, etc. – useful skills. However, sometimes we make something just for fun.

Since I knew she liked rings, I decided to make this a simple project, and had found some information on making a fabric covered button ring. To do this project you will need a fabric button making kit, glue, wire cutters, fabric and an adjustable blank ring.

The rings that I used were just a set of adjustable rings in the jewelry section. They had a flat heart on the front that will be covered by the button. The tutorial uses a blank ring that you would find in a craft store, but this worked fine for our project. If I was making the rings for profit, I would have used the recommended rings.

I made the fabric buttons using the instructions on the back of the packaging.

The first thing to do is to cut the metal wire out of the button back with wire cutters. You will not need this to make your ring.

Pick a fabric with a pattern and colors that you like. Cut out a circle about 2 or 3 times larger than your button cap.

Next you will push the cap into the plastic button mold. I trimmed some of the excess fabric, but you need to leave some. Push the extra fabric into the mold.

      

The next step is to place the back of the button on the fabric and push in inside the mold with the blue cap from the kit.

               

Now you have a cute fabric button.

Next, you will need to get your glue. Below is a picture of the glue that I used. I had used this for another project, so I didn’t see the need to buy another type of glue. This one worked just fine for this project. Also below is a close up of the ring pack that I purchased. The tutorial that I found said to use a blank ring that you would find in a craft store, one that would have a metal disc on the front so you could attach a stone, or pendant of some kind. I didn’t have an opportunity to go hunting for one of these, so I found something I thought would work. It’s ok to deviate from instructions, just get creative and use what you have if you can’t find listed materials. The rings I bought worked just fine, and I got them for less than $1 each ($4.88 for 5 rings). The size is also adjustable. Can’t beat that for the price of a ring. I had all the other materials.

      

 

The next step is to turn over your fabric button and fill the cavity with some glue. Don’t used too much because it will overflow when you add the ring.

                              

Get your rings, and just push the front into the glue. You just hold it in place for a few minutes, and let it dry 24 hours before wearing. That’s it! Now you have a cute, custom, adjustable fabric covered button ring.

You can make a lot of different things with these fabric covered buttons. I did a search and there are projects for bracelets, necklaces, earrings, hair accessories, and you can even attach them to large paper clips for a cute book mark. There are endless possibilities, and they are so easy to make.

Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy project, and I pray you have a great week!

 

 

 

Winter has arrived! Ready or not, it’s here to stay for a while. I like the winter season. I like the cool weather, the crisp air and especially the beautiful clear night sky. The stars seem so much brighter in the winter months.

Have you ever heard the term “Winter Whites?” There’s something about it that sounds so nice to me. Maybe it the season itself, or that the phrase seems to imply something clean and fresh.

One of my favorite things about the winter season is the snow. It’s beautiful to watch. The tiny ice crystals look like white feathers falling from Heaven. They blanket the landscape with a beautiful white canvas. To me, it’s so peaceful when the snow falls. I love rainy days too, but rain storms are much louder than snow storms. Snow is calming, and refreshing. It’s tranquil and reflective. I like to just look at it in awe and wonder. Snow adds a shimmer to the ordinary making it spectacular. A freshly fallen snow is a beautiful thing to behold.

The white landscape that covers all the ugly dead wintertime scene always reminds me of the following scripture verse.Isn’t that a comforting thought. The color scarlet (red) turning white is symbolic of the life changing grace of God which delivers from guilt and condemnation of sin. God stands ready to cleanse and forgive ALL who will turn to Him.  The Lord will take away my filthy sin and make me spotless as a newly fallen snow. This is done through Christ alone. I can’t do anything to fix my sin problem, but Jesus loved me so much that He gave of His sinless, perfect blood to pay my sin debt. He made me clean & pure through His righteousness.

The word “white” in the Bible is symbolic meaning “righteousness or made pure.” That is what my Lord did for me. When God sees me, He no longer sees my sin, but through Jesus’ blood, He sees me as righteous and justified.

Nature always reminds us of God’s goodness, beauty, and grace. This winter season as the snow falls, lets reflect on the wonder of it, the beauty, and also remember that it is a wonderful picture of Jesus’ love for us…”Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”

DIY FARMHOUSE SIGN

Have you jumped on the rustic farmhouse bandwagon? If you have ever watch the show, “Fixer Upper,” then I am sure that you are familiar with this décor. Chip and Joanna Gaines have really made this decorating style popular right now. I really like it, but I also like French Country, and Shabby Chic.

Signs in this rustic style have also become popular. If you do an online search for farmhouse signs, you would see a variety of examples. You can find them just about anywhere from home goods stores, to handmade signs on Etsy.

My oldest daughter wanted a farmhouse sign. She was going to buy one, and showed me a picture of what she was looking for. They can be rather pricey. When I saw the picture, I knew that I could make her one, so I told her that it would be a Christmas gift.

The first thing I did was to find an old board in my husbands scrap pile. I wanted that rustic look, and I knew that we had some boards that had been weathered. It didn’t hurt that it would also be free! I found a board long enough, and straight enough to hang on the wall. I bought my paints, and searched my craft cabinet for my sealer. I had a can of spray on Krylon Clear Varnish from a previous project, so that’s what I used after painting to protect it. 

The next step was to find a font that I liked. I told my daughter to send me some pictures of the signs that she liked so I could get an idea for the font and style. The examples were in all caps with the word “FARMHOUSE.” That seemed simple enough, so I looked up free downloadable fonts online. I found one that I thought would work, and created a Word document to make a template. I measured my board, and tried to estimate the height that my letters needed to be. I printed out a few examples, and discovered that I could get two letters on each sheet of paper, so that’s how I made a template. I printed the sheets out, taped them together (checking my spacing), and had my template. Sorry about the quality in the image below, but you get the idea.

I painted my board white, and planned to do the letters in black. The next step was to figure out how to transfer the letters to the board. I went to the craft store, but couldn’t find graphite paper – they were out of stock, so I had to get creative. I decided to trace the back side of my letters with a charcoal pencil. Next, I laid my template on the board the way I wanted it, and then retraced the letters on the front side of the template. This process transferred the charcoal to the board, and left me with a ghost image of my letters.

As you can see above, I began painting in my letters very slowly, and saved the small corners for a fine tip marker or brush. This took a while, but if a mistake is made, you can just paint over that area with white paint, let it dry, and correct it.

Once the paint was dry, I took the board outside and sprayed on two coats of the clear varnish. I let it dry between coats. I then let the sign sit for 24 hours to completely cure. The last step was to attach the hooks to the back. I put one on each top corner, and made sure that it would hold the weight.

I really think it turned out great, and may even make one for myself. It really wasn’t a difficult project, and I already had most of the materials. Best of all, my daughter really loved it. Below is a picture of it over her kitchen window.

These photos are not the best, but you can see the final project, and I think it turned out great!

I hope you have a great week!