Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time to Wind Down...

and get away from blogging for a while. Our children begin their Christmas break early this afternoon and will not return to school until early January. Their grandmother will be here for a few days beginning Saturday and I'm planning on doing a little cleaning for the next few days and getting the house in order--although I don't plan on working too hard at it today after yesterday--I'd been painting our living room wall and all the cleanup that came with it. The tea in the photo above is a really good tea to relax and wind down with. I've had some good teas before, but I do believe this is one of my favorites--Vanilla Caramel Truffle from Lipton. Also, love the design of the teabag--it's a triangle shape made of a fine mesh-like material. It comes very close to tasting like a candy bar--YUM!! To you and yours, have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Busily Cleaning

...and the Clorox Ready Mop is ready for action. This is one of my favorite cleaning products and has been since it came out. I think the reason I like it so much is because it is not waxy. We have laminate flooring throughout the main level of our home, except for the bathroom floors and the icky kitchen carpeting we have. I try not to overdue it on the cleaning products, and usually prefer hot soapy water for the bathroom floors. I have found this product to work just great for the laminate flooring. I could be more diligent about mopping, but if I were I would be mopping all the time with the boys shoe prints and all. I do need to do a thorough mopping, hopefully tomorrow, before Christmas break. If you haven't found the right product for your laminate floors, give this a try. I'm sure you will like it. Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Appetizers Anyone?

This is an appetizer my dear husband made this weekend. He had it at food day at work and tried to replicate it. It tastes great!! I'm not sure I even have a name for it, so let's make something up.

Bacon-Wrapped Smokies (okay that works)

1 package bacon, thin cut
1 package beef smokies
brown sugar

You will need to cut the bacon in half. It's easier if it's still in the package and then take a knife and slice the bacon right down the middle. Wrap a piece of the bacon around each smokie and seal with a toothpick. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Bake at 375 degrees on a rack you can set on top of your baking sheet until bacon is crisp, but not overdone. That way the grease will drip on the bottom of the baking sheet. You'll need to keep checking these.

We polished these off in no time at all. When you get to be older, you also realize that grease has an effect on you. So, maybe eat these in moderation if you can. Enjoy!!

Okay, I've got to start posting something other than recipes. It's just that we've been doing so much cooking lately and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, that I just assume others are also. Have a blessed day!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spiced Beef Stew


Another wonderful recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Spiced Beef Stew

(I made some variations to this and this is what I used)
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1 can or bottle of beer
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can green beans
1/2 package baby carrots
1 can or jar chopped tomatoes

I used a dutch oven to melt the butter. Then coat the stew meat with flour and cook until browned through. After browning, remove the beef from the dutch oven and set aside.

Take the 1/4 cup flour and put in the dutch oven along with beef broth (add the broth slowly and whisk flour so it is not lumpy), the beer (grabbed a bottle of one of my husband's ales), onion, garlic, brown sugar, and thyme. Heat to boil. After this comes to a boil, add remaining vegetables. Cover and simmer until done (1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours). As this was cooking, I watched to see if it needed to be thicker. If needed, mix some of the broth with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and add to stew to thicken. Enjoy!!

This is a really wonderful recipe on a cold day like today!!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

This recipe was pulled from Allrecipes.com. I love that website!!

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stir the above ingredients into a large bowl. Take a mixing spoon to blend.

Add the following to the above.

2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat until well combined. Pour batter into greased 7 x 3 pans and put into preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Plates and Other Stuff

My, aren't holiday plates so pretty? Normally, I'm not one for collecting items. Every year at my husband's Christmas party they have these really pretty Christmas items for the spouses--this year was a plate on a small black stand. It really is very pretty with a snowflake in the middle, the writing around the snowflake has the names of goodies, and around the rim is decorated with holly berries and leaves. We bought a new hutch for our kitchen this weekend, and it looks so pretty sitting on it. Now if only I could get the the rest of the kitchen done--we found out this weekend that the wonderful (icky) carpet in our kitchen is glued to the floor which is laying on another piece of flooring. EEEWWWW!! It's going to be a job to get it done, and not a lot of spare time these days!! So now as you enter our kitchen, there is a piece of torn carpet with the floor showing through--looks lovely!! Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cream Cheese Cookies


This is a very easy recipe from over at Making Home. It's cream cheese cookies and it only takes 4 items. I was in the mood to do some light baking this afternoon, so this recipe came in handy.

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 box cake mix (any kind)
2 eggs
1 8-ounce block cream cheese
1 stick butter

This recipe on her site called for 1 egg, but I was having problems getting all the ingredients to blend so I added another egg. Also, I used a german chocolate cake mix. It will help if your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Mix all ingredients together and drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes. I like them just a little underdone. These cookies have the consistency of a cake-type cookie. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Cactus

I picked up one of these beautiful Christmas cactus' at the grocery store this past weekend!! Isn't it beautiful? I've never bought one of these before, so I thought I would give it a try. The flowers are starting to bloom. We did some Christmas decorating this weekend. Also picked up a salmon-colored poinsetta. I love plants, but am not very good with houseplants. I've tried before but typically my indoor plants always end up going in the garbage. May you have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Good One Was Lost Today

No pictures today--they simply aren't needed. Life is simply too short. One of my 8-year-old son's classmates--her mother was killed in an automobile accident yesterday due to the ice on the roads. It came as quite a shock!! She was much too young! It's my understanding she lost control of her vehicle on the roads and her vehicle rolled. With a husband and three children--the younger two are not yet school aged. It is such a tragedy! This is not supposed to happen--we question why did God let this happen. It just doesn't make any sense......watch over your little ones.....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sometimes You Need

...a little treat! And today, for me, this was it!! I spied this at our local Wal-mart and thought, for $.75, I would give it a try. I like Dr. Pepper and I love chocolate--how could one possibly go wrong!! It has a really good taste, just like drinking a chocolate covered cherry (try to imagine). I'm not much of a diet soda drinker--just give me a regular Coca-Cola and I'm in heaven. I remember right after having given birth via C-section with our first born and asking our doctor if I could please have a Coca-Cola. He told me "no!" because it would make me sick--it was so disappointing. Oh, how I wanted one! But two days later my dear husband came into the hospital room and pulled out a Coca-Cola out of his winter coat pocket--aaahhh heaven--along with having a newborn son!! My that was a little over 10 years ago! I still love Coca-Cola, but love to try new products out on the market! This was one of them! Have a blessed day!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Little Bit of History

These are candle sets I purchased at our church craft and cookie sale--I had my eye on them because they would add a nice touch to our "rustic" looking decor (or old decor as some might call it), so when I heard where they came from, I went "sold." They are two separate pieces of wood that are carved at the top to make places for candles to sit down in them. The candles smell of pine, vanilla, and I believe some sort of berry, and they make our kitchen smell wonderful. Not to mention they are quite pretty during this wonderful season. And here is the really neat part...the wood bases are made from rails that were in our old church before it was gutted. We weren't members of our church very long before they decided to build a new church, so it is really nice to have a little bit of history of our old church. Blessings!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The First Snowfall

...and boy is it ever pretty! There is something so magical about those first flakes! Our 8-year-old was outside by 7:45 a.m. making a snow angel and wanted me to take a picture of the angel. It's sad to think that looking out now, an hour later, that she is long gone!!


Our burning bushes will have no color one of these days as the cold sets in and the leaves will drop. This one has some last remaining color and some of the snow on it. It is cold and windy here, compared to the 70 degree "heat wave" earlier in the week. I'm actually glad--love the cold and love the snow, as long as I'm dressed for it. Have a great Thanksgiving and be thankful for all that God has offered to us. There are many on the planet who are much less fortunate. Have a blessed weekend!!





Monday, November 19, 2007

Getting Back to Normal

...if there is such a thing! I feel like I haven't been following a consistent routine in blogging lately. At church last week, we had a cookie and craft sale which I co-chaired. We had cookies everywhere!! The picture above is some of the many wonderful goodies we had for sale. We managed to sell lots of homemade cookies, candies, and bars, and wonderful homemade jelly and crafts. Now that life is returning to normal, I am hoping to post on a more consistent basis. The weather has been wonderful here lately--almost too hot for this time of year. Am looking for a little cold snap to settle in. Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Of Boys and Bikes

Our younger son was just thrilled when dad put on these lights on the spokes of the bicycle tires. Now, every time he hits a bump, they light up. I must admit, it's kinda' cool!! Our younger son is an avid bicycle rider. In fact, about an hour ago, I was outside pulling his pant leg out of the chain--he was stuck. Now he's going to need a new pair of pants because the material ripped. We ended up getting him a new bicycle about a month ago, because his other bicycle tire was ruined, and it would cost too much to replace it. When I see our son on his bicycle, it really takes me back to my childhood and brings back those great memories of riding bikes. Blessings, Paula

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gumdrop Cookies


I've been experimenting with different types of cookies for the past few months to take to our craft and cookie sale at church. Today, I pulled one from Gooseberry Patch's Christmas in the Country. I must say these are really good, and am thinking about taking several dozen of them. Here's the recipe.

Spiced Gumdrop Cookies (I used the Brach's Spice Drops)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup gumdrops, chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

First, I should say that I didn't use any nuts. Mix together the sugar, the brown sugar, shortening, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Add the gumdrops and nuts (if you wish). Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for a little under 15 minutes. Watch carefully toward the end to make sure they don't get too brown. This made about 3-1/2 dozen cookies for me. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Holiday Morning French Toast

Even though it's not quite the holidays, there are foods that I just want to start making now. This was one of the recipes I wanted to try. It is from the Gooseberry Patch Christmas in the Country cookbook.

Holiday Morning French Toast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon, divided
3-4 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1 loaf French of Italian bread, sliced 1-inch thick
8 to 9 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the brown sugar, butter, and one teaspoon cinnamon in a lightly greased deep 9 x 13 baking pan. Add the apples and raisins (I omitted the raisins); toss to coat well and spread the apple mixture in the bottom of the pan. Arrange slices of bread on top (I used good 'ole Texas Toast); set aside. Blend together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and the rest of the cinnamon until well mixed. Pour mixture over the bread, making sure all the bread is covered. Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hours (I made before bedtime and left in refrigerator overnight.). Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


It was really good on a cold morning like this morning. After slicing and putting on a serving plate, I drizzled with warm maple syrup. Enjoy!!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Just Remember....

...not only are chocolate donuts for eating, but they are also very wonderful when your son writes a message such as "I love you" on the donut. What a wonderful way to start the day. Have a blessed day!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

November Already!!!

This is a picture of our mum garden. They just bloomed and bloomed this year. I think it's because of all the wonderful rainshowers we received. I can't believe October is over. This week was just really busy and there's been little time for much of anything. I'm hoping things will slow down a bit after mid-month. Am looking forward to, believe it or not, doing a deep cleaning of my home prior to December--would also like to start decorating for Christmas. Our older son will have a birthday party next weekend with family coming to celebrate!! He will be in the double digits!! There are several blogs needing to be caught up on. I hope everyone has a great weekend--I apologize for the lack of posting! Blessings, Paula

Monday, October 29, 2007

There are Simply....

...not enough hours in the day. After dropping the children off at school this morning, I came home and exercised for 1/2 hour (seems to be all I can fit in). Then I worked on our Craft and Cookie sale for our church that will be held next month. After that, I headed out for lunch with friends (boy do I love 2-1/2 hours lunches)!! Then came home and attended to some personal business, did laundry, made dinner, ran our oldest son to one of his activities, came home and started bath water for our younger son, discovered a "Behavior Contract" in our older son's backpack (lovely) and sat down to discuss it with my husband, and then went back to pick our son up. It's now around 8:30 p.m. and I'm exhausted and yawning! That long lunch must have really tired me out!! I hope your home was more "peaceful" than mine today!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Cupcakes



We have a Halloween party to attend tonight for children with disabilities and our family volunteered to bring cupcakes. These were plain old cupcakes out of the box, and then I used Wilton's Buttercream frosting (idea taken from "The Sparrow's Nest" blog) to finish up. I also used both orange and black edible glitter to make them a little nicer. Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make and I enjoy decorating them so much!! Have a blessed weekend!!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Country Breakfast Casserole


I pulled this recipe from over at allrecipes.com--one of my favorite websites!! I did modify some of the quantity of the ingredients. Breakfast casseroles are so wonderful!! This is very easy to make and tastes delicious!!

Country Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. of breakfast sausage
1/8 cup of onion (add enough onion for your taste)
1-1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (or your choosing)
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
3/4 package (2.64 ounce) country gravy mix
5 slices bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter (I think I used a little more)

paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 11 x 8 inch baking dish. (I have none that size so I used a 9 x 13.)


Brown the sausage and drain the grease. Mix the onion and sausage together and spread over bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Whisk the eggs, water, milk, and gravy mix and pour over the cheese and sausage. Take your bread cubes and put evenly over the top. I then drizzled the melted butter over the bread. I did not use any paprika.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes in the oven or until done. I took the tin foil off after the 40 minutes and baked an additional 5-7 minutes so the bread would get crispy. Enjoy!!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We Are Very Fortunate!!

This is the view as we walk out our back garage door. The colors in the Maple tree are just glorious!! I can also see the Pine tree (to the left) and the Maple out of our kitchen window. We are very blessed to live where we live. Thinking about all of the individuals who are suffering now out on the West Coast who have lost everything and all of those who live in poverty having only the bare necessities makes me realize how fortunate we are to live where we do. There is color all over our yard, from the mum garden (I should post another picture now that all of the plants are in full bloom) to the small pumpkin patch to the trees. Please say a prayer for those who have been forced to evacuate in California that they are safe and may return to their homes soon. Blessings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Coleus

I snapped this picture of this beautiful Coleus while we were in Branson. The color was absolutely gorgeous!! I haven't planted Coleus at our home in years--think we're more of perennial people than annual people. There are many different colors of this plant, and they are quite beautiful. If you like planting annuals, try the Coleus. The color is amazing!! Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Homemade Soaps

...I believe this is an indulgence!! When we were in Silver Dollar City and Branson, I had the opportunity to buy some homemade soaps. The one in front is Honeysuckle (it smells great), while the two in back are Eucalyptus and Lime--they both smell wonderful also. This is a skill that I would like to learn--that of making homemade soap. The thought of using lye somehow bothers me. In the meantime, I will just have to make due with the wonderful homemade soaps that others make.

If any of you have purchased homemade soaps via the web, please point me to their website. I'd be interested in buying some more. Have a blessed day!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Table Rock Lake

Every morning while on vacation, we tried to hike along the rocky shore line. We usually walked out onto the docks to take in the stunning view across the lake. It is so pretty there!! It makes you not want to leave. Our sons try to skip stones on the water and look for little shells. Imagine my surprise when walking along the natural rocks and coming across a retaining stone (the kind I use at home in our landscaping--ugh!!). I actually thought for a moment about picking it up and bringing it back with us!? The trees had not quite turned their glorious color yet, but were just beginning as we needed to pack up and head home. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Celebration City Foliage

This was some of the beautiful foliage at Celebration City in Branson, Missouri--complete with the meandering waterfall and gorgeous spruce tree. We had never been to Celebration City before. It is a more downsized amusement park. The children loved riding the go-karts, the bumper cars, and the log ride. I enjoyed all of the wonderful trees and plants they had. It is open in the evenings and very, very clean. The park was really decked out for Fall, and we had quite a laugh when our younger son was walking around the perimeter of a tree and said "Look Mom, a scarecrow," and then the scarecrow actually started talking to him. Both of our children "jumped" pretty high. We had a wonderful evening there and I'm sure we'll travel there again in the future.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Silver Dollar City

We just got back from a few days in Branson, Missouri. We normally stay on Indian Point not far from Silver Dollar City. There are many places on Indian Point which overlook Table Rock Lake. It's a safe bet to say it is our favorite vacation spot and we've been several times. This picture was taken near the entrance of Silver Dollar City. I don't know how to explain the park, other than to say it will take you back in time to a bygone era. And the potatoes fried up in large round skillets with vegetables are my favorite. The women all wear long flowery dresses while working in their shops. During the Fall, they host a craftsmen festival with some of the most beautiful crafts I've seen. Our children love to ride the rides and had such fun getting soaking wet on the log ride. Silver Dollar City has a few hilly areas, and I think our vacation was somewhat of a workout because my legs were stiff after doing lots of walking. It's good to be back home and will try to share some pictures of the area during the week. Blessings!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I LOVE Cookbooks!!

...don't you? I love very practical cookbooks. This Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Christmas in the Country, has some wonderful recipes that I can't wait to try now that the weather is turning colder. I've picked up many cookbooks throughout the years, and some I just keep reaching for again and again, and I'm sure this will be one of them. You know how it is when you are searching for a recipe, and then you skim the ingredient list, and realize there is not a store near you that sells any of the exotic spices the recipe calls for. I have a few cookbooks like that and I haven't looked at a recipe in them for years. I love comfort foods and this cookbook has plenty of recipes along that line--especially some wonderful breakfast recipes I can't wait to try.

What is your favorite cookbook?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gourds for Decorating

What would Fall be without gourds for decorating? Our younger son had a cub scout outing at a local farm this past Friday and we came home with all sorts of gourds. The kids had a blast finding their own unique gourds and were very anxious to show us adults what they had found. The white-colored pumpkins were especially wonderful, but I think the children didn't want to stray far from the usual orange-colored pumpkins as there weren't too many takers of the white variety. We also went to a small field full of Indian corn, and many were on the lookout for the red variety, which is especially pretty. This does give me the idea that next year we should plant some Indian corn. But for now, the gourds happily decorate our front steps.

What unusual variety of gourds do you have? Have a blessed day!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

How Full Are Your Baskets??

Do you have baskets that sometimes look like this? This is just a plain 'ole laundry basket absolutely filled beyond capacity. Sometimes life can be like this also. Being a homemaker you would think I would have it together, but a lot of times there is absolute overload. Much of it comes from doing things outside the home--volunteer work comes to mind, along with too many errands, as well as childrens' activities. But how does one do away with it? I enjoy serving others in some capacity, but at what expense to the home. I have a hard time saying no to serving on committees, and realize the time is going to come where I will need to say "no" in order to keep our home in order, otherwise it can get out of control too fast. Our children aren't in a tremendous amount of activities, but it does take time running them back and forth to activities--this is not something I'm fond of, especially as it seems to appear that our society feels that children need to start sports and activities when they are in pre-school--huh?? It wasn't that way when we were kids. For those of you who are homemakers who are considering taking on too many activities outside the home, ask yourself first if it is absolutely necessary. There is just way too much work to be done inside the home, then you will be able to have "baskets" that aren't overflowing. Have a blessed day!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Clean Scents

This dish and hand soap from Yankee Candle is wonderful if you are looking for clean smelling dish soap for your pots and pans. I purchased this from a garden/feed supply store that carries Yankee Candle products and it was half price. This has the wonderful smell of lavender. I use it quite often to clean large pots that will not fit into our dishwasher. If you are looking for some great smelling dish soaps, you might want to give this a try. Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chicken and Noodles

Chicken and noodles we make at our home are pretty simple. We don't use many ingredients and it's simple to put together. Fall is a busy time around our home with many gardening projects and our children's and church events. I do as much slow cooking as possible.

Chicken and Noodles

8 ounces homestyle noodles
1 large can of Swanson chicken broth (49 ounce size)

2 cans Swanson white meat chunk chicken breast (9-3/4 ounce cans)

Bring your chicken broth to a boil. Cook your noodles in the chicken broth. Read your directions for how long your noodles should cook--normally 10-12 minutes, but some types of noodles take longer. Place your cooked noodles and broth, along with the chicken meat, in a slow cooker on low for a few hours. This can be served for dinner with a vegetable and dinner rolls or bread.

You can also use cooked chicken breasts that you have cut up in place of the canned chicken. I prefer the canned--I think it's because it has the right amount of salt. I don't put any seasonings in this--just pepper when we sit down to eat. Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fall Gardening Project

This has been one of my fall gardening projects. These gardening beds were full of weeds that were unmanageable. In order to make a nicer space for gardening, I pulled all the weeds and then put down landscaping cloth. And then, one by one, carried these retaining blocks in order to make an enclosed border. Before, the border consisted of old railroad ties and they were all rotting out. Instead of replacing the ties, we decided that the bricks would be much better with little maintenance required. Now, when next spring rolls around, we will be ready to go. Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sedum

These are some of the last blooming flowers that we have in our garden--they are sedum. This variety of sedum has pretty white blooms that open in the late summer. We have so much of it, we need to cut it back. We also have some, I believe it's called, Autumn Joy sedum, more of a purplish red bloom that are also very beautiful. The only drawback to these flowers that I can think of is that they tend to attract a lot of bees. Sedum is a nice perennial that would make a great addition to any garden!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Glitter Pumpkins


I give total credit to Martha Stewart for these wonderful pumpkins! I was watching Martha well over one year ago when she was making these beautiful pumpkins, so I decided I would have to try them. Last October, my children and I made the glitter pumpkins using glitter purchased at our local Wal-mart store. We mixed colors, such as blue and gold. We also used red. This weekend I was in a craft store that actually had the Martha Stewart line of glitter, so I decided to pick some up. These are very easy to make. Your supplies should include a pumpkin (small works wonderfully), a bottle of glue (I used Elmer's), a sponge paint brush, glitter of your choosing, and some wax paper to sit the pumpkin on. This year, our children weren't the least bit interested in making these, so I did two of them myself. Simply put some of the glue into a small dish and then use the sponge paint brush and apply glue all over the pumpkin, making sure the glue is applied as evenly as possible. Then spoon the glitter on all over the pumpkin (don't worry about applying too much because it will shake off) and let dry. If you missed some spots on the pumpkin, try and dab on the glue and then reapply your glitter. That's its!! These pumpkins have such a beautiful sheen to them! This is a wonderful project to do with your daughters!! (I also should say that if you notice a slight smell in a week or so after having done these, please check your pumpkin, as it might be leaking a bit.) Have a blessed day!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Building, Breaking, and Blowing Things Up!!


Those are the three "Bs" in our home--they probably are in yours also, especially if you have boys. Fortunately, at their current ages, we are much more heavy on the building part of things!! Our boys love to build! They've got lots of Legos and they like to build with the Magnetix (shown above). They received some of these for Christmas a few years ago. The Magnetix are wonderful if you are ever looking for toys in addition to Legos. Our children also found a large bag of the Magnetix at a garage sale this summer. Moms, please give your sons lots and lots of things to build with--they will get really creative, just sit back and watch. Have a blessed weekend!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Caramel Apples

As you can tell by the date of this photo, we cheated--we made caramel apples in July!! And we didn't even melt all of the caramels. We happened to be at Cracker Barrel, and they had this kit which came with the sticks, a tray of caramel (all you had to do was heat it in the microwave), and sprinkles, chopped nuts, and toffee bits. The kit was not too expensive--I should have purchased a couple of them, because the next time I went back to Cracker Barrel, there weren't any. I wanted to save it for the Fall, but my son had other ideas so, needless to say, we had them in late July. Now is the perfect time to be making caramel apples with your children, and it is a wonderful way to enjoy being in the kitchen and spending time together!! Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's The Small Things!

Little things can make a huge difference--even kitchen towels--and they don't have to be expensive. A lot of my kitchen towels look like I've been using them a long time, and I don't know why I haven't thrown them out. I think it's because my parents told me long ago not to waste things. But I did buy these three kitchen towels the other day and they have made quite a difference rather than hanging my old, ugly ones on the oven handle. My dear husband said they were too pretty to use for drying his hands. If you have some type of dollar store near you, check out their towels. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by some of the things they do carry that don't cost much money.

What bargains have you found lately for your home? Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


I have been experimenting making different types of cookies for a craft and cookie sale being held later this year at our church. I made these cookies last week and my younger son said they "were delicious." This recipe was pulled from allrecipes.com and, if you like peanut butter, you will like these!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap the peanut butter cups, put them in a plastic-type container, and then put them in the freezer. (A lot of the comments on allrecipes.com suggested doing this as they won't melt when you are pushing them into your cookie later--I agree with this.)


Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda, then set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar until fluffy, then set aside. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk (I would add one more tablespoon of milk to make them a little more moist) to your sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.

Shape these into 40 balls (I believe mine made around 32 or so) and place each ball into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 7-1/2 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. I then sprinkled with decorative sprinkles. Cool and carefully remove from the pan. These are best eaten within a day or two of making them. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Day Out!

This weekend my older son and I spent the day out shopping, while my dear husband and younger son travelled to grandma's house. When it was time for lunch, my son wanted to go to Culver's. YUM!! (The photo above I took of the place mat that's placed on your tray.) I had never been before--what a great place!! You place your order at the counter and then the food is delivered to your table. But the best part is the terrific looking custard you can order. My son had a shake, of which I managed a few sips between eating my fries and patty melt, and it was really good! His cheddarburger was huge, and the crinkle style fries tasted terrific. Needless to say, the place was packed. At the end of the meal, he smiled telling me that "we really need to come here more often." I'm sure we'll be going back sometime soon! If you have the opportunity to visit a Culver's, most likely you will definitely enjoy it!! Have a blessed day!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Slag Glass

When we were at a garden center/feed store this past spring, I got out of the car and noticed these wonderful chunks of glass. My dear husband informed me it was called slag glass. They had all of these beautiful colors, so I picked up one in blue (shown above) and one in purple. When the sunlight shines upon these pieces of glass, they are absolutely stunning to look at. To this day, I wish I had bought more pieces of this glass to put in all kinds of spots around our garden. The pieces of glass do add a nice touch to the garden. Oh well, there is always next spring!! Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fall Crafting

Above is a photo of fall leaves that were painted and then pressed onto large brown paper bags to create a placemat. A few years ago, my son did a project at school that involved painting leaves and then pressing them onto a sweatshirt. I liked the idea so much that I used it for a women's fellowship meeting last fall. You can simply go out into your yard and gather some leaves and press them flat into a book for a few days until you are ready to use them. I found the big brown paper bags at Wal-mart in the garbage bag section and took them home and cut sections of the bags into placemat size. Then I used fall colors of paint--red, yellow, orange, green, and brown--and painted the vein side of the leaf and then turned the leaf over and pressed the leaf (painted side down) onto the placemat. Keep pressing on the leaf for a little while to make sure the paint is evenly distributed on your placemat and then peel off gently. This way, the leaf's veins will show on the paper. This is a fun project to do with kids, although I'm sure the sweatshirt would go over better with them!! Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Have a Happy Day!!

This morning, I was outside cleaning out the garden and picking the last remaining tomatoes and peppers. Then I brought them in and was cutting the peppers into rings and strips in order to freeze them. I sliced off the top portion of this pepper and looked down only to notice a little "smiley face" in the pepper. I did a double take and thought, oh, I need to post this on the blog. With that, may you all have a happy day and enjoy the fall season!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicken with Sauce


...Bone Suckin' Sauce, that is! This sauce is wonderful, and the next time you are at Cracker Barrel Restaurant, you might want to pick some up. I originally picked up the original style of this sauce, and then went on-line an ordered some of their thicker style.

Chicken with Sauce

4 chicken breasts
1 jar Bone Suckin' Sauce

Place the chicken breasts (I used frozen) in a slow cooker on low for about 5 hours. Take them out after that time and then cut them into chunks. Remove the chicken juices from the slow cooker and discard. Put the chicken back into the slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. You can then cook on low for another 3-4 hours. Enjoy!!


The sauce is really good, and so I wised up and googled "Bone Suckin' Sauce" and ordered several bottles to keep on hand. I have also used the original style of the sauce with chunks of chicken and pit ham slow cooked together. The combination of the two meats with the sauce also tastes really good! Have a blessed day!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Juncus Big Twister

This plant I found out Wal-mart a few weeks ago. I'd never seen anything like it, so decided that I would give it a try and plant it in our garden. It mentioned that it will survive to -10 degrees, so I'm not sure if it will survive winter. It has these long, green corkscrew type spindles--in other words, I'm not really sure what they are called (laughing)!! I tried to find out some information about this plant by doing an Internet search, but there was not much information out there. It sounds as if it doesn't necessarily do well as a houseplant, and does quite well in wet soil. We shall see if it comes back next spring.