I Cor 16:14

"Let all that you do be done with love." I Cor 16:14

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting Cozy

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving altogether as a family.  My husband did a lot of the Thanksgiving cooking and he found this potato shaped like a heart.  Isn't it amazing?  In all my years of peeling potatoes I'd never seen one quite like this!  My oldest son was home from college and our parents were here, too.  It felt so cozy to have everyone together.  My boys cheerfully pulled out the sleeping bags and had a great time sleeping together in the same room.  The floor didn't bother them in the least.  After our day of feasting we trimmed the tree and made our home all pretty for Christmas.  Then my boys wanted to climb onto the roof to hang icicle lights at night; a task their Dad was all too happy to give up! The twinkling lights are just the thing to chase away the darkness which comes all too early in the evening now.

With the focus now on Christmas I keep thinking about making room for Jesus.  Mary made room in her womb for the Messiah.  The inn keeper made room for Mary and Joseph in his barn.  Will "I" make room for Jesus this season?  With the decorating, baking, card writing and giving I want to keep the reason for the season in my heart.  It was with a very generous heart God gave his very best to us through His one and only Son.  Will we receive Him? 

This season I intend to get cozy with Him :)

Praying you have a blessed start to your Christmas season.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

fall musings and a recipe

 Fall is such a beautiful time of year.  But, if you're not careful it can pass so quickly without noticing the changing leaves.  Taking a walk or a drive at this time of year is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of the season. 

Two of my boys have their birthdays in the fall, so it is a season for family celebration, too.  With each passing birthday it is a time for me to reflect back on the past, reminisce and look forward to the future.  I remember when I was young I always looked forward to the next birthday, because growing older was fun.  The next "number" sounded so much older, wiser and more exciting!  Now, not so much.  Ha ha!  But, with grace I believe we can accept where we are at and have joy no matter the season or age.

I tried a new recipe, one just perfect for this time of year.  It is simply delicious.  It uses crunchy tart apples and candy (Snickers.)  A great combination I think!  I once heard a chef say a good dish was one that includes all of our taste buds.  I had never thought of it like that before.  Well, this recipe comes very close with it's sweet, salty and crunchy nature.   The original recipe is found here and all credit goes to Nikki from Chef in Training.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winds of Change

I've entered into a new season of my life, quite fitting with fall upon us.  This week found me back into the work force after 11 years of being blessed to be home full time with my boys.

Besides missing my boys what I miss the most is being able to get outside or at least see outside.   So, this afternoon with the breeze on my face I took a walk around my gardens enjoying the vibrant blooms that still speak of a summer gone by.

My double knock-out roses keep blooming their little heads off and make a spectacular splash of vibrant pink against our green lawn.

This little geranium I rescued from the 50cent table at Lowe's has done quite well. 

Our trees have begun to change colors so I know these blooms will fade all too soon.  But, for today I celebrate their beauty and the joy they bring to my heart.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Swinging on our play set with my youngest recently brought back a flood of memories of enjoying this as a girl.  During recess it was one of my favorite activities.  I would pump my legs so hard with my toes pointed towards the white puffy clouds in a blue sky.  I was sure I could touch them if I just pumped hard enough.  Or maybe my toes could brush the wings of a bird.

The feeling of weightlessness as I went swung back down, my hair blowing in the breeze was exhilarating.  What a carefree feeling!  Robert Stevenson has a beautiful poem about swinging I thought you might like.

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson
Hoping your day includes something fun, too!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Have you had your V8 today?

With the abundance of garden tomatoes I was inspired by my neighbor to make some tomato juice, something I hadn't tried before.

I used this recipe.  Super easy and pretty to look at right off the bat I think.  I added to the recipe about 8 basil leaves cut up since they grow 'a plenty' in my garden, too!

It is super refreshing and nutritious. 

I am headed to a baseball game this evening and I think this is coming with me.  Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?  My prayer is you will be blessed in whatever you do!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blanket Love

A few weeks ago we moved our oldest son into his dorm room and life is so much different with him living away from home.  We are thankful he is but a short drive away and seeing him on Sundays is a blessing.  To receive his call or text mid-week makes my mommy heart skip a beat.  Really.  The sound of his voice is music to my ears.  When he asked if I could make a fleece blanket to go on their futon I said certainly.  A few days later he asked, is it done yet?  He had gotten sick and wanted to curl up under it while taking a nap.  So, I got right to work.  It will go nicely with the big throw pillows I sewed the week before for him.  Handmade mommy goodness right there in his dorm room. 

On Saturday we will be celebrating my 3rd oldest's birthday.  He turns 12!!  He is growing up just way too fast!  What will you being doing this long weekend?


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Sewing Little Dresses for Africa

I've always wanted to sew for little girls but having all boys I don't get many opportunities.  Until now!  I found a Christian non-profit organization based out of Michigan called "Little Dresses for Africa."  You can find them here.

I had a small stack of fabric that I had purchased long ago to make nursing covers but I knew immediately using the fabric to sew for little girls in Africa was just perfect.  Just one yard of fabric is needed for these simple pillowcase dresses.  The pattern can be found at their website for all different sizes or at Nancy's Notions.  My favorite pattern is the elasticized top.  These dresses can be made for very little cost as a package of bias tape and elastic are all you need in addition to the fabric and thread. 

This last dress was made out of  fabric my sister gave to me.  I appliqued a dragonfly on the top.  Actually, there are so many different ways one could embellish these simple dresses.  It was just a lot of fun to sew for a good cause.

My prayer is the little girls who receive these will know they are loved by a Heavenly Father and will receive the good news of the gospel which is shared with them.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sew and Tell

I've been doing a little bit of sewing for dolls lately.  This drawstring dress is a Liberty Jane pattern and can be found here.  Have you ever explored their website?  They specialize in modern and historical patterns for dolls and girls.  This just so happened to be one of their free patterns.  The dress went together pretty easily and I can imagine her going to the mall in this. 

This is another dress I recently made using bright pink crochet trim on the edges.  A sheer ribbon is attached to the waistband and tied in the back.  Wouldn't it be great for those summer evenings at the park or fair?

"The Lord is my strength and song, 
And He has become my salvation."
Psalm 118:14

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Sweet Treat

 Here is a recipe for a delicious snack.  I adapted it from a recipe I pulled out of a Parents magazine years ago.  I used up little bits of what was left in our cereal boxes.  Why it takes me years to try a recipe I don't know.  But, this is a recipe worth trying!

Snack Mix

3 cups cereal (I used 1 cup cheerios, 1 cup cocoa cheerios, 1 cup apple cinnamon chex mix)
1/2 cup Craisens
 1 1/2 cups white - chocolate chips

Place liners in a muffin tin.  
 Melt the chips in the microwave.
Add the cereal and cranberries.
Stir until combined.
Spoon into prepared cups.
Refrigerate until firm, about 5 minutes.

Feeding my kids during the summertime takes a lot of time and what I appreciate about this recipe is it goes together really quickly without having to use the oven.  A win, win situation!

Have a lovely day my friends!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tender Shoots

"A bruised reed He will not break,
and a dimly burning wick He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice in truth."
Isaiah 42:3

The tiny shoots pushing through the black earth lean towards the light and warmth of the sun.

They remind me of Father's gentleness with me, His precious child, 

and all of us broken sinners who have turned to Jesus, recognizing a need for a Savior.

Don't we as moms also wrap our arms safely around our new babes, 

born so tiny and helpless.

Our hands cradle their newly formed heads against the beating of our hearts.

Our hearts united in the language of love.

God's love.

He is love.

And loves us beyond measure, beyond our understanding.

In ways we can't comprehend or always see.

But, know this my friend,

We are accepted and loved by Him.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Hoop Fun

Quite frequently I crave hand sewing and so when I saw this fabulous vintage sewing party  the pretty monogramed embroidery hoops were my next must try project.  I adapted the tutorial a bit by using muslin in the hoop and created a 3-D flower.

I liked the idea of the flower being raised up a bit and I finished off the center with a pearl-like button.  This was the perfect summer project to do while staying cool in the A/C. 

Have a blessed day my friends!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

a favorite app

This very cool grocery app is making my life so much easier!  While cooking or baking I simply scan the item I used up or am running low on and it puts it on my list categorizing it by aisle.  It is so handy!  No more writing out lists.  No more leaving lists at home.  It's all stored on my phone!  It even suggests coupons and has the capacity to e-mail the list to someone else.  Now we are talking!

Go ahead and try it out!  Look here.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Normally, my cell phone goes into a special pocket in my purse but for those times I don't want to carry my purse I was in need of a cute little pouch.  The tutorial I used can be found here.

It is just the thing for making a quick trip into the store since it fits so nicely in the palm of my hand.  Plus, a few plastic cards tuck in nicely too.  I can see making more of these in different fabrics since they sew up so quickly.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I {heart} Barcelona

I recently had the privilege of traveling with my husband on a business trip to Barcelona, Spain.  Our oldest son also came with us.  He was more than happy to utilize the Spanish he had been learning for 3 years and I thought it would be great to spend this time with him before he heads off to college.

It was truly a trip of a lifetime.

It didn't take me long to fall in love with the city and it's people.  I admire the Spanish in many areas; one being their sense of fashion.  It is a place where ladies dress like ladies and it was so delightful to watch them.  Plus, they are a very kind, humble and charming people.  Very easy to get along with.  Greeting each other with kisses was quite common and my heart was so warmed by all the couples (young and old) strolling through the streets hand in hand.  Paris, they say, is the city of love but this city could certainly compete!

Barcelona is a bustling, beautiful city with incredible architecture.  Many of the amazing sites are credited to the architect Antoni Gaudi who looked to nature for his inspiration.

 Coming upon street performers was a common site and quite entertaining.

One of the best things about traveling to another country is to taste their food.  It was such a treat to get a break from cooking for a family of 6!  Their style of food is Mediterranean in my opinion and they eat so much fresh food it inspired me to eat even healthier.  I can't tell you how many times I saw someone walking with loaves of baguettes pointing out of their shopping bags.  It just made me chuckle.

This was my favorite meal while there: lamb sis-kebab.  So. Delicious.

And of course we can't forget the chocolate!

Spending 10 days in a foreign culture was so exciting and I hope someday you can experience it, too.  It really made the world smaller and it gave me a love for the Spanish people who live on the opposite side of the globe.  But, anywhere you go people are still people and we can learn from them.

I would like to leave you with one last picture.  This bullet shaped building lights up at night and is spectacular rising up into the sky with all it's brilliant blue and red colors.

Have a most enjoyable weekend my friends!

P.S.  I would be happy to share with anyone who is traveling here what we did and saw. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Yummy Thirst Quencher

With temperatures reaching 100F degrees this week staying indoors as much as possible is a must for me. 

Even in the air conditioning I had a craving
 for a tall, frothy, cool glass of 
Orange Julius.

Here is my recipe in case you do, too!

Orange Julius
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 oz can of orange juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 ice cubes
 Blend all ingredients in a blender. 

I have just returned from an exciting trip
 that I can't wait to tell you about in my next post.

Stay cool!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hugs and Kisses

My Annabelle hydrangeas are in full bloom.  Their white snowball-like cluster of flowers make the branches bow under their weight and are so striking against the green leaves.  As I sat in my dining room with the window and word of God open to me the sweet scent of my yellow rose bush stirred my soul.  The roses have begun to fade but it is nice the hydrangeas are ready to take over the show.

I wanted to share this passage with you today, hoping it will bless you as much as it did me.

"I will bless the Lord who has given counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, any my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope."
Psalm 16: 7-9

My flesh also shall rest in hope.

Something on which to hang my heart.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  My husband requested hugs and kisses today, nothing else.  Just a day to be loved on us through the gift of touch.

Blessings on your day friends!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Official

Summer has begun when a trip to the library means Garfield comic books.

My boys seek these out like no other.

Reading about a fat, lazy cat amuses them so. 
 It's the one thing they can read over and over!

My church has started an online book study and my current read is  "A Lineage of Grace" by Francine Rivers.  It is historical fiction of 5 women in the bible who changed eternity.  I've only begun and I'm already hooked!

Are you doing any summer reading?


Friday, June 8, 2012

My Graduate

I feel like I have been living in a tunnel recently as my oldest son, Joshua, just graduated from high school.  The events leading up to it, planning a party and the actual ceremony have been sheer joy and I am so grateful to the Lord for His faithfulness.

We couldn't be any prouder of our son.  He has worked so hard throughout his school years and it has paid off for him.  He was one of 14 valedictorians at his school. My son who is so soft spoken you can barely hear him spoke with such confidence and conviction during his speech.  Sitting amongst family and grandparents we were in awe!

It is a sweet ending to a chapter in his life but there is also with it a tinge of sadness.  Do the two always go together?  Our little boy has grown up and he is excited for the next chapter of his life . . . college.

Thankfully, we still have little boys who are at home.  Boys who still need nurturing and training.  With Joshua moving out soon they are already coveting asking for his room.  I think it will be good for them to move up in the ranks.  There is a bit of competitiveness amongst them and we want each of them to succeed.  Dividing the time up evenly is challenging (if not impossible!)  My prayer is they will stay close to each other.

We were so blessed to have Joshua's grandparents with us. 

They have been such an integral part of his life and it was a proud moment for them as well!  Heaven only knows how their prayers and the time they have invested in his life have shaped him.

As if we couldn't be more elated the tv station stopped by and wanted to interview him. 

So we got to see him on tv as well.  When God pours out His love and favor it really spills over!

Amongst all of the people milling around after the ceremony Joshua's math teacher for the last 3 years stopped by to congratulate him. They exchanged some last parting comments and laughs.  My son has excelled in his classes and who knows how much this man has helped shape his mind.  My boys attend public schools and every year I always pray for God to put my boys with the right teachers because they can be so important in our children's lives.  Capturing this moment in a photo was pure icing on a cake!

So, the pages of this chapter close and the next chapter is just beginning.  As with every season of life there is excitement, anticipation and a bit of nervousness.   Normal I suppose.  But with God on his side who can be against him?

This scripture is a favorite of mine and it is a promise to ALL of His children.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teacher Gift

The end of school is fast approaching for my boys.  Just one day left!  They are very ready for summer and I am, too.  I am ready for a calmer schedule and the lazy days of summer to begin.

For my Kindergartners class I had the boys and girls sign their names with neon paint markers on a spray painted terra cotta pot.  Many of the kids enjoyed embellishing with smiley faces and hearts.  I sprayed a clear coat on it and then planted some light and bright pink geraniums.  Their teacher is retiring after 18 years of teaching to spend more time with her family.  This was just a small way for us to show her our thanks for a great year and to congratulate her in her new season of life.

Are you ready for summer to begin?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sewing for Africa

A gal from my church has started a ministry of sewing baby bedding and twin size comforters out of hand batiked fabric made by women in Ghana.  She incorporates modern fabric into Ghanian fabric and comes up with a very bright and fun mix of patterns.  You can learn more about her "Two Little Fish" ministry here.  God's hand of blessing has provided so many people for her to take her vision and make it a reality.   All profits from the bedding go to purchase a mattress for an AIDS orphan in South Africa as well as missionaries across the world.

Every week 3-4 women gather in her home to cut, iron and sew (and laugh and talk of course!)  I wanted to show you the twin size comforter I have done some applique on.  Fun little appliques are scattered throughout; won't it look great in a little girl's room?  I love how it is so bright and cheerful.

I think the buttons for the owl and birds eyes are too cute!!

It has been a joy to work with the these talented women and be a part of helping out women and children in Africa who face such big challenges.

Blessings to you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Art 101

Months ago I mentioned I was doing some sketching and really enjoyed it but the "busi-ness" of life has prevented me from doing very much of it.  But, recently I have had the joy of sitting in on my youngest sons art classes that meet once a week after school.  It is through a wonderful program called KidzArt.  I just wanted to learn some techniques and tricks well, anything really that would help me!  His teacher graciously said yes when I asked her ( *happy dance*!)

His teacher is simply wonderful:  she doesn't allow any negative self talk, she says there is no such thing as perfect art and she will never draw on anyone's paper as everyone has their own idea of what their art should look like!  After just a few instructions the kids get busy while she walks around guiding them.  Soothing classical music is playing after the instructional time.

This week the kids were to draw a mama and baby duck near the water using example drawings.  After sketching with pencil and outlining with colored pencil then they colored in with chalk.  To make the artwork look like a painting they were suppose to use a wet-wipe or q-tip to create shading (this was so neat to see the transformation!)

I wanted to share some of the things she taught me before I show you our drawings:
1) always draw with a light touch.  There are no mistakes in artwork - just go with the flow!
2) nature always has some curve to it; while man-made things (such as buildings) are linear so use a ruler.
3) keep in mind value, called ABC:  (A) dark, (B) medium and (C) light - this will give much needed depth to a picture
4) symmetry (just like in photography) the subject looks best a bit off center (say 1/3 to the side)

Now for our artwork, first off is my sons.  He takes great care in his drawings and he works so hard to get them just right.  Can you see him apply the ABC principle?

I have to say drawing is a huge tension reliever for me.  I walked out of the classroom feeling like a 1000lb weight was lifted off my back (can we say mommy stress?)  I was so amazed that just an hour and a half of sketching could do that!  Here's my drawing.

And here is an example of a house I started a couple of months ago and haven't finished yet!  It didn't occur to me then to use a ruler when drawing it (applying the man-made -straight line principle) so it was very difficult to good symmetry on either side of the door.  Anyway, it is a work in progress.

I also wanted to share a couple of good art resources in case you are interested in sketching too.  The first is from Anne Voskamp's blog, Why Everybody Needs to Make Art Everyday.  Fear of failure is something that keeps me back more times than I care to count.  When I am faced with a blank white sheet of paper I have to fight back fear which says to me "you'll ruin it", "you'll never do a good job", and on the list goes in my head until I overcome it and pick up the pencil and just start.  So, Anne's 4th tip to creativity really hits close to home with me.  She says "when we stop fearing failure, we start being artists."  So true!

The second resource is about a nature journals.  Take a look here.  Just makes me want to grab my sketchbook and go outside right away.  The author even includes resources for the the art materials she likes the best. 

I hope you have been inspired to do something artful today.  Trust me you will be glad you did!  There is something in the creative process that really soothes the soul.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Amazing Sara Trail

Today I want to introduce you to a very gifted and special young lady named Sara Trail.  I discovered her by picking up one of her books, "Sew with Sara," at the library.

While her sewing projects are adorable what struck me was how young she is.  At the time this book was published she was 13 years old!!  She has little journal entries next to her patterns that reveal her fun loving personality but also her passion for sewing.  She shares how her parents sometimes had to turn the power off to her room at night so she wouldn't get up during the night to sew!  Love it!

Since the publication of this book she has gone on to publish numerous other books and has designed patterns for Simplicity.  Her website can be found here.  But, what inspires me the most is her joy for Jesus. 

Her mom calls her a quilting artist.  I couldn't agree more!  Sara is now 17 years old and ready to start college.  Recently she has designed several lines of fabric that can be found in stores.  If that wasn't enough she teaches sewing lessons at her church.  She just inspires me so much.

Many blessings on your day!