It’s Pumpkin Time…

Well, it’s hard to believe that we are approaching the holiday season. Baking season is almost upon us. One of my absolute favorite things to bake in the fall is pumpkin bread. It’s sooooo easy, it’s sooooo good, and smells sooooo wonderful. I love to have a slice with my coffee in the morning, in the evening, and any other time I want a sweet treat.

I also love to share this bread with others, so I am going to post the recipe so you can try it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it. This recipe makes two large loaves, or three small loaves, or you could make muffins.

Wet Ingredients: 1 can of solid pumpkin, 2/3 cups of water, 3 eggs, and 1 cup of oil (I use Canola)

Dry Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups of sifted all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1  1/2 tsp. salt, 3 cups sugar, 1 tsp. each of ground cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg, and 1/2 – 1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts).

Preheat the oven at 350. I mix the wet ingredients in my mixer first, then gradually at the dry ingredients. Be sure to grease your bread pans well. Bake for approximately 50 minutes – 1 hour. Check with a toothpick for dryness. Muffins will bake a lot quicker (20 – 30 minutes). Time will depend on the size of your loaves – larger = more time, smaller = less.

This is a great recipe to make for the upcoming holidays, and also makes great gifts for the neighbors.

 

Dresser Project

I finally did it, I finished the dresser!

My daughter (now 14) wants to update her room. She wants to make it more “grown-up.” Well, I knew that I was going to have to go thrifting to pull off this makeover. She wanted a new dresser, and gave me a picture of the dresser she liked.This dresser was definitely out of my price range, so I started looking in thrift stores. I found one that I thought would work, but she wasn’t real excited about it when I brought it home. What do you think?

It wasn’t the right color, had been embellished with stickers, and was missing several knobs. Somehow I was able to see passed all it’s flaws and notice that it was very similar in design as the dresser my daughter had picked out.

The dresser had a really slick, laminated top. I was worried that the paint wouldn’t stick to it without a lot of sanding, which I DID NOT want to do. I had heard that chalk paint will coat most surfaces with one coat, so I was going to use chalk paint. When I priced the paint, I was disappointed. It was going to cost too much, so back to the drawing board.

My oldest daughter had painted an old laminated coffee table with a flat wall paint. She said the coverage was very good, but you couldn’t wash it off if it gets stained. So, I thought, maybe I could paint the dresser with a white, flat wall paint, and then do a top coat in a semi-gloss to protect it. I bought two quarts of paint, one flat, one satin. I also found some new knobs for the drawer pulls.

The first thing I had to do was thoroughly clean the dresser, and scrap off all the stickers. I removed the old drawer pulls. Then, I started painting. The flat paint covered beautifully. I applied two to the base of the dresser and three coats to the top and the drawer fronts. Next, I used the satin paint for the final coat. It dried very quickly, and I was so pleased with the results.

This isn’t the best picture, but you can really see the difference between the old dresser, and the painted one. Here’s a side by side view…

       

I had a problem with the drawer pulls – the screws were too long, so I had to add some washers to make the pulls tight. This was an easy fix, and I am so pleased with how the dresser turned out. I only spend $17.50 for the dresser, $25 on drawer pulls, and $21 on paint.

Here’s a side by side view of the dresser she picked out next to my redo – pretty close!

           

Now I’m looking for a small computer desk, and reading chair, curtains, and a mirror. I also have to buy some paint to change her room color. At least I have one item crossed off her list. And, by the way, she loves the dresser now!

Catching Up

Hello Hello

I thought that I would just do a quick post to fill you in on all that’s been going on in my world lately.

The last post was about the dresser that I found, and planned to update. Well, that project hasn’t moved very quickly. I was hoping to get it finished before we started back to school (we homeschool), but that didn’t happen. I did buy some new knobs, and price my paint, but then I got sidetracked with other projects. (That’s Life)

   

We started back to school and now have two weeks under our belts – yay! Things are going pretty smoothly this year. There were three students, then two, and now only one, so it has gotten a little less stressful. Hannah is starting 9th grade this year. We have been doing a lot of hands-on activities. We have a short day on Fridays, and do Bible, nature studies, and handicrafts. This gives us something to look forward to during the week.

                  

I also had to help host my sister’s baby shower.

This will be her third baby, a girl. Her second child is now 14 1/2 so, we are very excited to have another little one in the family. We are looking forward to the holidays and passing her around! My daughter and I hosted the shower, and wanted to keep it really simple. I made the cupcakes with homemade butter cream icing (yum), and Emily made ham and cheese rolls with a refrigerated pizza crust. Just slice them and bake.

I bought a fruit platter with caramel dip, and a small vegetable platter with buttermilk ranch dip. Since my sister is having a girl, we decided to make pink lemonade, water with lemon, and diet soda (we have several diabetics in our family). I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

So, you see that I have been busy. I am excited to finish the dresser, and will make a post on it soon. We are taking Monday off of school, so I am planning to work on it then. We will see….

Until next time,

 

Do you love beauty? I do. There’s just something about a beautiful picture, beautiful words, beautiful music, colors, smells, clothing, scenes…I could go on and on. Why do we crave beauty? Well, I crave it because it makes me feel better. When I see a beautiful scene of God’s creation, I am in awe of it. When I hear beautiful words spoken, I ponder them, and they speak to my soul,and I am inspired. Beautiful music stirs my heart.

I believe that God has put a desire in each of us to crave beauty. God created us in His image, and God loves the beautiful things. Just look at His creation, the variety and complexity of it all. Think of a sunset, a mountain scape, the ocean, a beautiful field of wildflowers that God planted. Think of all the beautiful animals, plants and living things that He gave us, such diversity, and beauty in them all.

The Bible tells us that “He hath done all things well.” (Mark 7:37)
I want to live a beautiful life for myself, my family and most of all my Lord. God’s Word encourages us to think on those things that are beautiful. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Why does God want us to think on these things, because it is good for us. We need to surround ourselves with those things that lift our spirits and inspire us to live a life worth living. If we go around with what Zig Ziglar called “Stinkin Thinkin” (this kind of thinking dwells on the ugly/negative things of life) we will be discouraged in our spirit, wrong in our attitude, and miss out on living a beautiful life. There’s plenty of ugly things to dwell on, but why do we want to do that?

Colossians 3:2 says “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are to have lofty thoughts (Philip. 4:8), a beautiful song in our heart (Ephesians 5:19), beautiful words to share with others (Ephesians 4:29), a beautiful attitude (Ephesians 4:32), and beautiful wisdom (Colossians 3:16).

A child of God shouldn’t have to live a life of defeat, fear and discouragement. We have been commanded to think about what’s good, and pure, and lovely for our own good. It is to help us live a beautiful life, even when life sometimes isn’t so beautiful.

To encourage you today, I have created a print to remind you to surround yourself with beautiful things. Just click on the image below, it will open in a pdf file so you can print it out. Have a beautiful week!

Please click here to receive your printable download.

Resurrection Sunday

“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.” Luke 24:1-2“And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments; And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was in Galilee, saying, The son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

“And they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.” Luke 24:4-9

We need to tell “all the rest” about Jesus, our living Savior and King.

    

Spring Time

Well, it’s that time of year, you know, time for spring cleaning. When spring rolls around, I want to clean out my house, clean up the yard, and get ready for warmer weather. I don’t know about you, but I feel better when I know that things are organized and clean. It just gives me a feeling of satisfaction. Springtime is the perfect time to clean up, and clean out.

Keeping our home clean is important. We want our homes to reflect the love and care that we have for our family. Home is a place of refuge from the outside world. It’s a place where we can feel comfortable, secure and welcome. Just as we need to keep our homes clean, we need to keep our souls clean.

Our soul can get dirty with the pressures and struggles of life. We can have unconfessed sin in our heart that will affect our spirit, but we know how to get that cleaned out.

God has promised us in His word that we can be cleansed from our sin if we simply confess it. That’s not so hard, much easier than cleaning my house.

This cleansing happens everyday for me. I can’t keep myself clean. It’s an ongoing job each day, but He has promised to “cleanse me from all unrighteousness,” if I do my part and confess my sin.  God is so wonderful. He knows that I will fail at keeping my soul clean and pure, but He is there to help me in my time of need. I need to keep my soul saturated in God’s Word to keep my soul clean.

If I keep God’s Word in my heart, it will help me stay clean in my soul. God’s Word works like a filter. I can compare thoughts, feeling and ideas that come into my head with the Word of God. Ask myself, “Is this good for me, healthy for me, positive, helping, or hurting me.” If we are dwelling on something that is unclean or ungodly, how do we expect to keep our soul clean?

We have to think on things that will give us peace and joy. Those are the things that will help us to live godly in an ungodly world.

Spring cleaning can be a lot of hard work, but it is always worth it. Cleaning our spiritual houses can also be hard work, but it will refresh our souls, and lead to a life full of God’s blessing.

 

D I Y Monogram Wreath

I enjoy hanging a pretty wreath on my front door, but I just can’t make myself spend a lot of money on a wreath. Most get faded way too soon, and have to be replaced. Because of this, and a small budget, I usually end up making my own.

The biggest dilemma is what to do in between the holidays and seasons. I just removed my Valentines Day wreath (which I paid $1 for), and want to replace it with something till spring arrives. I started searching for ideas on Pintrest. This is my favorite source for new, budget friendly ideas. I saw a lot of holiday and seasonal ideas, but one type of wreath just kept popping up – a monogram wreath. Monograms are so popular right now, and all the craft stores carry various monogram letters in different fonts. I already had a large letter “P” for our last name, and never did anything with it. I also have several grapevine wreaths that I save and change out for this type of project. I can ususally find one at Good Will for a couple of dollars or less.  Artificial flowers are available at the dollar store, so I always have plenty left over from projects. I search through my stash and found some that I thought would work for my new wreath.

I found a picture on Pintrest of a design that I liked, and used it for my pattern. This wreath had tulips, but since I didn’t have any of those, I just used what I had. This design is from the blog Sugar Bee Crafts, called the Spring Tulip Wreath.

I liked the burlap bow, but I’m not very good at making bows. I recently found a used wreath with a straw base. It was wrapped in a ribbon with an attached bow. I decided to reuse this bow on my wreath. This saved me a little time and stress because I didn’t have to make a bow from scratch.

I began by gathering all my supplies, a grapevine wreath, flowers, bow, glue gun, monogram letter, spray paint and twine.The stems of the flowers have to be cut to separate them from the bunch. Just separate each stem and cut at the bottom with wire cutters. Next, start arranging your flowers. I just tuck them in the twigs of the grapevine wreath. Most of the time I can get them in tight, but if they won’t stay, glue them with a glue gun. I tried to lay out my flowers on one side like the tulip wreath above.

I left room in the center to place my bow.

The bow that I had was already wired, but the wire was really thick and hard to manipulate, so I cut off the access, and decided to attach my bow by tying it to the wreath with some twine. The twine will blend in with the twigs.

 

You can see how I attached the bow in this picture. I added a little glue to secure the twine, and tied it in a double knot.

If I decide to rework this wreath at some point, it will be easy to remove all the flowers and the bow. That’s why I really like using grapevine wreaths. They are really easy to clean off and reuse again. I feel like I’m getting my moneys worth because I can use it again and again.

Here is what the wreath looks like after I attached to bow to the front. I think it looks pretty just like it is, but I wanted to add my monogram. I have had my letter for a while. It has been hanging in my dinning area. Kind of reminiscent of Mary Tyler Moore and her “M” on her wall. My letter was black, so I knew that I would have to paint it to use it in my wreath. I thought about color, and decided on white. If I take the wreath apart, I can use my letter again, and I thought that white would work best for that purpose. Plus, white will show up really well in my wreath.

It took about three coats of white spray paint to ensure a solid coverage. Since my wreath will be hanging outside in the elements, I knew that I needed to spray it with a top coat of clear enamel to protect it from water damage.

I attached the letter with some glue, but found it hard to get the glue to hold on the twigs of the wreath. I finally got it to hold, but just for security, I took some twine and tied the letter to the wreath. At least I know that it won’t fall off and break if the glue comes lose.

Well, here is the completed project. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I really like the fact that this wreath was completely free. I already had all the supplies. That’s the best kind of project, right?

This was an easy wreath to make, and it looks really nice on my front door.  It looks kind of like spring because of the flowers that I used, but you could make this with just greenery. I plan to leave this up until I make an Easter wreath, and after the holiday I will probably hang this one back out again.

Give this project a try. It would make a great gift for a friend.

Easy Project Idea

I like to change things up in my home every now and again, and special holidays or events are one way that I can do that. Valentine’s Day is a special day, and a simple “holiday.” It is very easy to add a few simple changes to get ready for this special day. Just by adding a heart garland or changing out a wreath will give you a little festive mood without breaking the bank.

I love paper products, and whenever Valentine’s Day draws near, you can find all kinds of cute paper doilies, heart-shaped paper doilies, glitter, vintage looking valentines, etc. After Valentine’s Day, when these items are marked down, I try to stock up for next year. Last year, I bought some pink and white paper heart doilies, and decided to use them for a quick bunting or garland this year.

         

All I did to make the garland was plug up my glue gun. I had some twine that I cut to the length I needed, and I spaced out the hearts and just glued them to the twine. This makes a cute decoration, and it’s very simple to make. The white hearts keep the look neutral, so I could leave it up after Valentine’s Day.

Another simple project is a wreath. I really enjoy making wreaths. They aren’t just for doors. I love to hang them in a room. A wreath can add a lot of style, or accent a holiday. I found a really simple project for a wreath using coffee filters. The filters make a very fluffy, full looking wreath for not a lot of money.

Isn’t that cute. I love how it looks, but I wanted to make something for Valentine’s Day, so I purchased some cute red and pink glitter hearts and pompoms to add to the wreath. To make the wreath, you need a pack of coffee filters, plenty of glue sticks for your glue gun, your glue gun, and a wreath form. I bought a foam wreath from the dollar store.

To begin the wreath, I pulled out several filters (they are hard to separate). I took one filter and gathered all the edges and  then kind of bunched it up so that I could apply some glue to the bottom of the filter. I started gluing the filters around the outside edge of the foam.

I worked my way from the sides to the top, and then the inside of the wreath.

Please be careful with the glue gun. I burned my fingers several times trying to stick the filters to the wreath.

After you have finished with the filters, you can add extras if you want. I added in my hearts and pompoms, but you could just leave it plain. You can also add a decorative ribbon to hang it, or a bow. I added a ribbon, by tying it to the door hook, so I could remove it if  I wanted.

                   

I have made similar wreaths using cut paper, or vintage book pages, and they are really cute.

          

Coffee filters are great to use for craft projects. I have made watercolor flowers with them by just applying paint to the filters, and then bunching up several at a time to form a flower.

I hope you give this project a try. It is a little time consuming (I finished in about an hour), but it is very inexpensive and easy, and creates a big impact. Feel free to contact me with questions

Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman…

Her Price Is Far Above Rubies – Proverbs 31:10

What is a virtuous woman you ask? Well, let me begin by telling you what a virtuous woman is not. She is not loud, demanding, self-seeking, ungodly, unloving, unkind, lawless, disrespectful, inconsiderate, dishonest, rude, speaking profanity, need I go on? I think you get the picture. In fact, you have probably seen some of these women recently in our nation’s capital. What did you think of their behavior? I am a woman, and they did not represent me or my views in the least. In fact they represented the opposite of how God expects women to behave.

I am proud to be a woman, but I want to be the woman who God has called me to be. I don’t have to blindly follow the crowd, or listen to all the LOUD voices that are trying to tell me how I should think, or live my life. Today’s culture seems to be trying to destroy all that’s good and pure about being a woman. The culture today says that to be a strong woman, you must live by your own rules, demand what you want and take advantage when you can.  I know a lot of strong women, and they are the nicest, most sincere, respectful people I know.

Did you know that it is easier to follow the crowd? What’s hard is to stand alone, to dare to be different, but it is always worth it! My God tells me that I am precious to Him. I am valuable. Psalms 139:17 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me! How great is the sum of them!” God has precious thoughts of me. My life is too valuable to waste.  God has placed me here with a specific purpose to fill, and not only me, but all of His children. We have been created in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27), and bought with a precious price (John 3:16). We are of great value.

I’m not just a woman, but I am a Christian woman. I love this quote by Elizabeth Elliot, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” Maybe that’s why I don’t understand this generation of women. Christ must abide in our hearts. If He doesn’t, well, you get all the chaos (protest) last week in Washington. God calls us to be women of virtue, valued higher than rubies. Virtue isn’t something that comes natural, you have to work at it everyday. We will stumble, but virtuous women get back up, and try again. Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” We keep striving for virtue, seeking God daily in our lives.

God tells me, as His child, to think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” Philippians 4:8. If we think on these things, the God of Peace promises to be with us. That is how we keep peace in an unpeaceful generation. Thinking on all these good things will help us stay focused on our call to virtue.

Let’s be the strong, virtuous women that God has called us to be, living out our purpose that He has called us to live. We don’t need to mimic the world to be heard. Sometimes the loudest voice, can be the life you live, with grace, love, peace and godliness. Philippians 2:14-16 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the Word of Life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.”

 

 

I Love Soup

Nothing says comfort food better than a hot bowl of soup. I absolutely love soup. Soup is one of those meals that you can plan at the last minute, and it only requires one pot (and maybe a frying pan to precook the meat). There isn’t a better meal to plan on a cold winter’s day.

I don’t know how you plan out your grocery list or meal plan for the week, but I like to pick out my recipes first. I have a blank calendar that I use for each month. I number the days, and then plan out my meals for supper each week. Next, I make my grocery list with the recipes that I plan to cook that week. I have a running grocery list on the refrigerator for items that need to be replenished. This system seems to work for me, although, sometimes I don’t have time to be so organized and I have to wing it. When that happens, I just buy staples for meals that I know we all like.

I happen to love cookbooks. I’m not sure why, but I enjoy reading the recipes and getting new ideas. A dear friend gave me a cookbook called, “Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook; Feasting with your Slow Cooker.” This has really easy crock pot ideas. I found a soup recipe for Corn Chowder. The recipe seemed really simple, so I thought I would try it this week, and share it with you.

The recipe calls for:

6 slices of bacon, cooked and diced

½ cup chopped onions

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes (you could add as much as you like)

2 / 10 oz. pkgs. frozen corn (I used one pack)

1 / 16oz. can cream-style corn

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. seasoned salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 cup water

In a skillet, brown the bacon until crisp, remove bacon, and save the drippings

Add onions and potatoes to the skillet and sauté 5 minutes, drain

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, Mix well.

Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. If it gets too thick, add more water.

 

I wasn’t able to make my soup in a crock pot, so I cooked my soup on the stove. I just kept a close watch on it, because it will stick to the bottom of the pot if overheated.

My family loved it, and I hope yours will too – Enjoy!