Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Defining Homespun

I recently had a visit on my blog from someone looking for the definition of "homespun" - this got me to thinking about what it means to me and what it really means!

As defined by Webster's, it is 1. spun or made at home or 2. simple and homely.

As defined by another on-line dictionary, it is 1. of textiles, having a rough surface; 2. characteristic of country life; 3. made of cloth spun or woven in the home; 4. spun or wrought at home, of domestic manufacture, coarse, plain; 5. plain in manner or style, not elegant, rude or coarse.

I love all of these - what they represent and the warmth and homey feeling they bring. My favorite definition is the first one on Webster's - spun or made at home. That is me ~ I am engergized in my home and my creativity flourishes in my home. My heart has been spun at home into what it is now and that is why I think my blog name is so perfect for me!

I also love that the words simple and plain appear in these definitions. I love finding joy in the simple things and in helping to create those moments for others.

One of my favorite things about the typical "homespun" item is it's imperfection - it looks homemade. To me, this communicates the love and creativity of the person who made it and knowing that it is not perfect is simply a reflection of our spiritual hearts before the Lord. I think that this word can easily mean different things to different people through their own lens of seeing the world.

So, I'm curious - what does homespun mean to you? Do you find that here?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Martha's Reply

Remember when I sent this? Well, I received a reply yesterday. It is a form letter - but I wasn't really expecting to hear anything. It is very impersonal, but I was pleased to hear back. Here is what it said:

Dear Mrs. Xxxxxx (mis-spelled last name),

Thank you for writing to Martha Stewart.

Martha has received your package. She is extremely grateful for your kind thoughts and good wishes.

If you have access to the internet, please visit our website, You may read the latest news from Martha, including Martha's "From My Home to Yours" column, clips of MARTHA television segments, and receive newsletters from Martha, with special seasonal tips.

On behalf of Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, we thank you for your continued support.


MSLO Customer Relations

Thoughts on Proverbs 31

Caution: long post ahead...

I wrote this a few years ago before I was married and just wanted to compile some thoughts on each phrase of the Proverbs 31 woman. I strive to be this woman and want these words to explain my life. I used The Message Bible as I love the fresh perspective of reading these familiar words in a different light!

Proverbs 31:10-31 (The Message)

* "A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds."
She is not the one pursuing a husband – she is waiting with patience, respect, and complete confidence in God. This inner confidence and peace in God, which is cultivated through intimate time with Him, allows His light and love to sparkle and shine through her to others. It is her privilege and responsibility to let herself be found by a godly man and to allow herself to be a blessing to her husband by being who God created her to be and being used of God!

* “Her husband trusts her without reserve and never has reason to regret it.”
She has proven that she is trustworthy and is willing to make daily and disciplined decisions that honor, cherish, and protect this trust. She thinks before she speaks and knows when not to say something that would betray the trust of her beloved. She also watches the appearance of things and is ready to make a decision, which would prevent the slightest question of her heart or motives from her husband. Her husband is blessed and encouraged by her willingness and ability to be trusted and it brings respect and praise to him as well, as those around her observe how she loves him in this way.

* “Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”
She does not manipulate her husband with her motives or femininity. But, she learns to see him as God sees him which creates a heart of generous love always wanting what is best for him and what would make him more like their precious Father! She doesn’t grow out of this stage with time, but instead becomes more practiced and seasoned in how to display and lavish this generosity on her husband. She considers how she would treat Jesus and is willing to let that be her guide in what it means to serve and honor her husband.

* “She shops around for the best yarns and cottons and enjoys knitting and sewing.”
She is grateful for how her husband provides and is frugal with those provisions. She doesn’t make rash or impractical purchases but carefully weighs her options. She also realizes that it brings honor to her husband to see that he is a good and generous provider and for her to take pride in her appearance in that of their family brings respect to her husband. She doesn’t settle for the cheapest thing available either and is careful to consider the quality and the better purchase over time. Her hands are creative and add to the value of her purchases by the way she adds touches and even cares for these things.

* “She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.”
She is creative! She can make something small into a wonderful surprise or celebration! She thinks of unique ways to encourage others with her gifts that are from the heart. She knows that a small thing can go a long way when the heart of the giver is filled with joy and love. She looks for ways to make little things meaningful to her family and brings laughter and joy to her home with her creativity. She is resourceful with what she has available and cultivates a joy of finding pleasure in the simple things.

* “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”
She is not lazy, but knows and appreciates hard work! She is willing to spend the energy needed to bring peace and comfort to her family. She thinks ahead and is prepared for what the day holds. Even though she may not be able to complete everything she wants to in a given day, her thoughts of preparation will prevent lots of disorganization or wasted time! When her house is quiet, she cultivates her soul as well and this preparation with the Father permeates and fills her day!

* “She looks over a field and buys it, then with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.”
She makes wise choices with money. She is good at saving and makes well-thought-out purchases. When she does make a large purchase she considers something that will benefit her family – she thinks about the goals of the marriage and family and considers if this purchase will add to or subtract from those goals and desires. Her purchase here is also a good investment and she is careful to make informed and wise choices. This brings glory to her husband as well and respect.

* “First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.” She doesn’t waste time by being lazy or refusing to get out of bed. She enjoys her work at home and is eager to get up and serve her husband and children. Not that every day is perfect – but she has her heart in the right place and relies on God to provide energy and joy. She is not afraid of hard work and knows how to use her time wisely. When she is organized about her day, it can bring tremendous peace into the household when her husband returns home from a long day at work. It is her responsibility to complete as much as she can before he gets home so he can enjoy her and she can enjoy him. This also contributes to his rest and even desire to come home after a tiring day at work.

* “She senses the worth of her work; is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.”
She realizes her work is her ministry to her husband and children. But, she knows when she has crossed the line to being obsessive about her tasks. She does not feel inferior for the job she has, but relies on God for finding value, meaning, and purpose in her calling. She does not watch the clock wishing for the day to be over but is thankful instead for the rare and beautiful gift of this day. She learns what it means to be faithful in the work God has given her and she trusts Him to multiply the eternal fruit! Her laziness would only create a discontent attitude in her and resentment from her hard-working husband.

* ”She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.”
She relies on God to provide the skills she needs, and she is willing to learn and cultivate those that she needs to. Their home is a place of refuge, peace, and the Lord’s presence and she works diligently to make this a priority. She understands the importance of home and works at cultivating a safe place. She honors her husband by providing a place of refuge and comfort for him. She considers what is restful to him and realizes it brings him respect when others are invited in to enjoy the beauty and atmosphere of this place. Their home allows others to experience Christ – through His presence and their hearts.

* “She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.”
Out of the abundance of her heart and home, she does not hesitate when opportunity to help presents itself. She is prepared to help others, and those around her know she is dependable and available to be called upon. She considers how she would treat Jesus and how she would want her family to be treated and responds with His grace and care. This teaches her children to think of others and to be generous in helping them. God is honored and so is her husband!

* “She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows – their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.”
She is prepared and does not put things off to the last minute or until it is too late. She takes good care of what they have and makes it last as long as possible. This reminds me, too, of the condition of her heart – it is ready and waiting to meet her Savior, not putting off her walk with Him. She encourages this in her children and models this preparation. She also models keeping short accounts with one another.

* “She makes her own clothing and dresses in colorful linens and silks.”
She considers her appearance and realizes part of her ministry to her husband is to keep herself attractive and well dressed for him! She doesn’t need expensive clothes to accomplish this and her creativity is obvious here! She cares for herself in a way that blesses and encourages her husband. It is her responsibility to realize that if she doesn’t meet her husband’s needs physically – he will begin to look elsewhere to have them met, when she was the one God chose to minister to him in this way.

* “Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.”
He is known in the community and is respected for the way he lives in contrast to the world His opinion and understanding are sought out and respected. What his wife says about him and how she treats him contribute greatly to what others think of him. She should do all she can to build up and promote him both to him and to others to bring him honor and respect.

* “She designs gowns and sells them and brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.”
She utilizes the gifts and talents God has given her and these benefit others as well as her own family. She is creative and her ideas contribute to the family whether financially or otherwise. She is careful and conscious to use the gifts God has entrusted to her for this will bring Him glory and bring blessing on her husband and children.

* “Her clothes are well made and elegant and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.”
She is not in a hurry to do poor work, but is willing to invest the time to produce something quality. She has a good work ethic and delights in investing herself to things that last and are worthwhile. She is positive and trusting regarding the future and instead of worrying about tomorrow – she smiles at how God will carry through.

* “When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say and she always says it kindly.”
She thinks before she speaks and invites the Holy Spirit to stop her when needed. She realizes that words can hurt or words can heal and she makes a choice to bring healing. She models the Relational Covenant, which reminds to talk to and not about, believe the best in one another, and stand shoulder to shoulder. She is willing to share what she has learned and honors her God and her husband with the words on her tongue. She speaks with kindness in her heart and knows it is better to remain silent than say something in haste or frustration.

* “She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive.”
She is sensitive and aware to struggles and triumphs in the lives of those in her home. She takes time to know each one and what is on their hearts and minds. She is willing to learn the strengths, gifts, talents and interests of each one and to nurture and encourage the growth and development of those. She models and teaches her children a good work ethic and how to be creative and productive with their time. But, she also knows when to encourage rest!

* “Her children respect and bless her, her husband joins in with words of praise…”
She has earned and worked diligently at earning the respect of her husband and children. She receives their praise – not with pride, but with an open hand that after hearing and receiving - offers it to God for His gifts of faithfulness and understanding which have made her into the woman she is.

* “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Again – she receives these words and is strengthened by their encouragement. But, she offers them to God as a sacrifice of praise for what a testimony this is to His grace and faithfulness in her life and subsequently in the lives of those she loves the most!

* “Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades, the woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear of God!”
She realizes that her worth does not come from outward beauty or charm, but instead from a heart delighting in and focused on her precious Lord and Savior! The time she spends cultivating her walk with God and passing it on to her husband and children will be multiplied in the eternal joy of life forever in His Presence. Since she fears the Lord and reveres Him, she also has a proper perspective of submitting joyfully and respectfully to her husband and she rejoices in his leadership and looks for ways to support him in this role.

* “Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises.”
A woman who brings this kind of love and peace to her husband and family will be blessed. Because, she lived the way God wanted her to, because He used her to be a blessing, and because this would bring Him eternal glory and praise!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tea Party: Invitations

My friend, Melissa, and I decided to host a tea for some of our friends! Our theme will be Love and Marriage, an idea I read about in a recent Country Register.

So, in my typical fashion - I'll be sharing the ideas with you! For our first installment, we present our invitations...

Naturally, it seemed like a good choice to make them look like wedding invitations. These are just printed in Word on white cardstock. Then, cut out a cardboard "frame" to emboss an edge around the invites. Don't have an light table? Me either - simply use a clear plate (the one in my microwave works great) and a lamp set under it!

We are asking each guest to bring a favorite teacup to drink tea out of, their wedding album to share and any framed wedding photos which will provide natural decorations during the tea!

I'll share more about what we're planning in the coming days!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tea Party By Mail

Recently my Mom and I were talking about how it is hard to live away from each other. Then, a few days later while laying in bed - I had an idea!

I gathered some tea bags and wrapped them in a cute sheer bag. I mixed all the dry ingredients for these scones and toasted the pecans and mixed that with the chocolate chips - putting all these in ziplocs. And, I included a copy of the recipe.

Then, I read some short stories while recording with the video camera and had David put it on a DVD.

So, when my Mom opened her package - it was a tea party in the mail. I sent a card explaining for her to make her tea and scones and then put the DVD in and we could sort of be together because I was on the screen.

The envelope cost so little to mail - but the blessing was great when my Mom expressed her appreciation and enjoyment of this! Just another idea to encourage families who live far apart.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Memory Trunks

I have always loved the attic scene in Little Women where Jo lovingly looks through all the treasures in Beth's box after she has passed away. And, so I was inspired to create these "memory trunks" for each of my daughters. I found the trunks on sale at Hobby Lobby (two different times) and use them to store special treasures of each life represented. I also hope to use it as a tool of limiting what we save - keeping only the most special and important treasures. And, I sincerely hope that these will be a precious treasure for them someday! So far in their trunks are one baby book in each, the outfit I brought them home from the hospital in and a few baby cards. Emily's has a piece of artwork or two but there is still LOTS of empty space. I will probably not keep these in the attic due to the changes in temperature up there. But, they are currently both in Rachel's room, though they may move around in the future.

Home Quote

I read this quote in the most recent Better Homes & Gardens and loved it - so I just have to share it with you...

"Love is a home's most important accessory - spread it around in abundance."
~ Stacy Kunstel

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vegetable Garden

There is a definite history with me and vegetable gardening. First of all, I'm extremely afraid of bugs. Everything I learned about gardening, was learned in Colorado - very different from the south. And, I've tried twice to have a successful vegetable garden and done very poorly twice.

So, when a friend suggested a group of us getting together to plant gardens, I was excited by the mutual encouragement and learning this would provide! We plan to each work at a few veggies and share all of our produce with each other.

Here's what we've done so far:
* Visited our local extension office for information. This yielded a treasure of a book that is filled with EVERYTHING we need to know for gardening in our area.
* Tested our soil. We now know our pH and what minerals we are each deficient in and how to amend our soil.
* Tilled the ground. Praise the Lord for a husband who is willing to do this part for me!
* This Saturday, we'll be fertilizing with horse manure. Friends with horses are usually willing to part with this wonderful stuff for free!
* Ordered the seeds! I chose to go heirloom seeds because I wanted the most natural and non-genetically engineered seeds we could get. I ordered from Johnny's seeds, Heirloom seeds and Burpee.

I've been thinking of Proverbs 31:16, "She looks over a field and buys it, then with money she's put aside plants a garden." I'm excited because gardening seems to me like such a pure and wholesome activity and one that enriches our lives and our tummies!

So, I'll be posting updates on the garden progress as we go along. The photo above is the ground freshly fertilized and tilled!

Recipe Books

I have started these recipe collections for Emily and Rachel. I started this idea with the recipe box when Emily was born and then pulled the recipe book out of my gift stash when Rachel was born. I add one recipe around Christmas each year and date it. Then, they will have a collection of favorite family recipes and hopefully it will be special to them that they have been written through the years rather than in one big marathon recipe-writing-session! Both of these were items I already had that I was not using, so this did not cost anything to begin.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thrifty Book Containers

Here is my newest adventure in thrifty crafting and decorating! I was thinking how nice it would be to have a basket or container to fit into this opening in one of my end tables that I could put books or small toys in. I thought about buying one, but was challenged by the thought of wondering if I could come up with something for free. And, you may remeber a previous project using a box.

In the end, this is what I came up with and it was FREE!

I started with an empty baby wipes box that fit perfectly in the opening I wanted to fill.

Then, I remembered a table topper that I really like that I haven't figured out how to use since getting rid of a wobbly round end table. So, I pulled that out and laid it under the box right side out.

I then "folded" the tablecloth around the box (think wrapping a gift) and clipped it temporarily with clothespins to make sure it would all work.

After that I used mini safety pins to secure as many edges discreetly as I could. Because, the truth is, I may decide I want to use this for a table topper again someday and I did not want to ruin the fabric. There were a few edges that were still not quite secure enough for my liking, so I put dots of hot glue on maybe three or four edges. These would be easy to remove and it would not ruin the fabric.
At the end, I simply tied a piece of sheer ribbon around to finish it off and also to make it more secure. It fits great and I love the spot to keep goodies contained! This project took less than 30 minutes to complete.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Build your home on the Rock!

Matthew 7:24-27, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

When we bought our home, all the floors needed to be ripped out and re-done. So, I thought how neat it would be to paint various Scriptures on the floor to make these words the foundation of our home. You could do this on the wall before you paint, on the floor, on the bottom of the cabinet before laying shelf paper, etc...

As I was doing it, I was secretly thinking about the family that would own this home after me. We hope to live in this home for a very long time, but there will be a day when I don't live here whether I live in another home or have just moved to Heaven. When they need to replace the floor - there will be a visible testimony of God's presence in this home and who knows what that testimony could do in their lives.

Here are the verses I chose:

Entry way: I Thessalonians 1:1c, "Grace and peace to you."

Living Room: Joshua 24:15b, "But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord."

Bedroom 1 (now Emily's room): Psalm 127:3, "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from Him."

Bedroom 2 (now Rachel's room): Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Dining Room: Psalm 119:103, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth."

Kitchen: Titus 2:4-5, "Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God."

Master Bedroom: I Corinthians 13:4-8a, "Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Laundry Room: Proverbs 31:18, "She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day."

Den/Family Room: Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Snow Party!

Thank you, friends, for all your sweet and encouraging comments through the planning of this event! I love to do things like this because it creates memories for me with Emily and for us together as moms and friends! I hope we will all look back at these times as sweet treasures in the memory book of time.

I am sorry to say that I did not take very many pictures - but I will share a couple. A great time was had by all I'd say - and it was cold enough for a cozy fire in the fireplace! Yay!

Best of all, the children seemed to enjoy themselves and I am so glad! It does my heart good to see others enjoying something I've invested in.

Heather, Kelly and Charlotte ~ thank you so much for coming and bringing your children. I am so thankful for the gift of your friendship!

This photo is for my sister! She always thought this darling basket would be perfect for silverware - so I used it for that today!

Enjoying lunch!

More lunch enjoyment! I loved seeing all the snowflakes and snowman bottles lined up down the table!

Isn't this precious!? She missed her nap to be at our party so decided to catch up on it while we played!

Cupcakes were enjoyed by some, icing enjoyed by all!

Snow Party: Devotion

Here is what I plan to share for our devotion time at the snow party!

* Have any of you ever seen snow? Tell us about it.
* (Show picture of snow) Snow is like frozen rain - instead of water falling from the clouds, when it is really cold, it turns to snow! And, guess what, no two snowflakes are alike! They are all different!
* Read The Tiny Snowflake (a story about a snowflake who is unsure of her unique purpose and who tries to be like other snowflakes but learns she was created for a special purpose and doesn't need to try to be like the other snowflakes)
* Just like Lacy, God has made each one of us different and for a very special purpose.
* Now, let's see what God's word has to say about snow.
* Isaiah 1:18b, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
* Psalm 51:7, "Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."
* Hold up white rag with a black heart on it (draw on with washable marker).

* What kind of things would we need to be cleansed from? How can we be cleansed from these things?
* A red bowl of water will symbolize being washed in the blood of Christ - wash out rag and hold it up so that the children can see the black heart is washed clean. (The rag will hold some of the black color, so it won't be sparkling white - just explain that this is an example of how the black is washed away.)

* Have a volunteer hold up a piece of white paper and another shine a flashlight on it. This will show the brightness of the white.
* Isn't it exciting that God says He will make us WHITER than the snow! Can you imagine anything whiter than snow? Well, God can and that is how He cleans our hearts when we ask for His forgiveness and receive Him as our Savior for all of eternity.
* Pray to close and for lunch.

Our party is this morning, so I'll post photos later!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Party: Craft and Decorations

As David so perfectly said, "You can't have a snow party without snowflakes!" So, he helped me make these to hang from the light fixture and ceiling! We had fun cutting them out (and honestly, how many husbands help their crafty wives cut out paper snowflakes for a party, I know I am blessed) and hanging them! I cut hearts, evergreen trees and even a snowman into my snowflakes (see top photo for snowman) and David said, "Only you would cut a snowman into a snowflake!" I took it as a great compliment!

We're going to do one craft together. Making a snow-themed placemat that we'll use during lunch! Each child will start with one round (yes, that is the shape of a snowball!) piece of brown kraft paper. My aunt gave me these fun cut-outs and snow themed paper and stickers for Christmas, so that will be available as well.

I also made one of these for each child. Paint white glue in the shape of a snowman and sprinkle with salt. Then draw on a hat and arms. Here was my inspiration for these.

Then, I printed out Psalm 51:7, "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." I added some snow clip art and have one of these for each child to add to their placemat as well. The placemats will be covered with clear contact paper when they are finished.

Sweet Moments

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I was tagged by Chrissy for this...

The Page 123 Meme

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Include the title and the author's name.
5. Tag 3 People.

The book closest to me does not have 123 pages - so I will simply open it at random.

"As he spun away, another snowflake came spiraling by. 'How are you special?' asked Lacy. 'I'm a delicate snowflake, and I make the snow sofe,' she replied.

from The Tiny Snowflake, by Arthur Ginolfi.

Can you tell I'm getting ready for a SNOW PARTY!?

I will tag: Miriam, Lisa, and Christy. As always, everyone is welcome to play - just let me know so I can see what book you quote!

Snow Party: Favors

These cute favors are made out of white Mentos mints. Twelve mints are each attached to a piece of orange cardstock with icing. Faces and letters are drawn on with the food coloring markers. The card is placed in a cute clear treat bag and tied with orange yarn! I love these! Each guest will receive a bag as a favor at our snow party this Friday!

Tip: the mints were $1.19 for a box of 14 mints at Walgreens and I opted not to buy them. Then went to KMart and found 6 rolls of 13 mints each in a bag for $2.79. A much better deal! These favors cost less than 0.50 each to make.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Verse Clothesline

Another cheap decorating idea for a baby's room is to make this cute "clothesline" displaying a favorite verse.

Run lengths of twine between two thumbtacks and write words on colored cardstock. Use mini clothespins to clip words to the twine and tie fabric bows between.

The verse I used is: Mark 10:14 & 16, "'Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.' ... And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Word Signs

This idea was born when I was trying to decorate on the cheap for Emily's nursery! I have given several sets as gifts including personalized with baby's name:

Here's how to make these:

Paint 2 8x10 canvas boards with desired background color. Let dry.
Type up words in Word (I used Times New Roman font size 160) and print out one word per page.
Use an x-acto knife to cut out black print and make a stencil (save any pieces needed to make the letter like the circle inside the 'b').
Lay the stencil centered on one board and use contrasting color to paint - lift stencil and discard. Let paint dry.
Hot glue ribbon or fabric scraps to the back to make a tie for hanging!
Cost: about $3 per set of two signs.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Snow Party: Food Ideas

Continuing with ideas for a snow-themed party, this installment will focus on food! At our party - we're having lunch, so I wanted everything to fit the theme. Here is what I have in mind:

For lunch:
White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese: I will also provide raisins and carrot sticks so the children can make snowman faces in their bowl!
Fruit salad with mini marshmallows
Cupcakes: see here for my inspiration on these! I'm not planning this exact thing - but something similar.

Now, for the fun touches! Again, the inspiration came from this magazine! I tried to figure out how to do as many of these ideas as I could on a BUDGET!

So, to serve milk: I got out my glass pitcher and cut out eyes, nose and mouth from scrap paper. I taped these to the outside of the pitcher:

This way, I'd know where to "paint" on the melted chocolate to form the snowman face! I melted chocolate chips in the microwave for the eyes and mouth and painted them on with a q-tip. Then I melted a few white chocolate chips and added food coloring to make them orange and painted on the nose. I removed the white paper from the outside and it is stored in my freezer until I'm ready to use it!

Now, each guest will receive their own snowman water bottle to drink out of! In the magazine, they had darling glass ones - but these are just washed out used water bottles with the label removed. I taped a piece of white paper around the middle and drew three buttons. Then on top is a large marshmallow with a face drawn on and orange yarn tied around for a scarf. From the magazine, I learned about these great markers made by Wilton. They are in the cake decorating aisle (I found them at Michael's with a 40% off coupon) and the "ink" is edible! So, you can draw on food, etc... and still enjoy it! I can tell I'm going to LOVE these! Here's how the water bottles turned out:

Ok, ok, I know - I'm getting carried away - but this stuff is just so much fun! So, since I already had the markers - I decided why not? This is the one and only idea on this page that I thought of myself! Aren't these adorable!?

Coming up: Craft, Devotion and Favors

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Am I a "hearty" wife?

This is a Bible study I wrote in August of 2003, I was newly engaged and came across a verse in Proverbs which really jumped out at me and challenged me. I share it now to encourage and challenge myself again!

Proverbs 12:4, "A hearty wife invigorates her husband, but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones." (The Message)

* Describe what comes to your mind when you read the word hearty. (It is important to write this down before going on as your initial thought may evolve throughout this study.) For example, I think of a chowder-like soup: nourishing, fulfilling, satisfying, warm, brings health, energizes, etc...

* Notice the first five letters of the does that add to your above description?

* Look up the definition of 'hearty' in the dictionary.

* Look up the word 'hearty' in a thesaurus; write down what you find.

* From the list of synonyms, cirlce one or two that you'd most like to work on. Pray about these things. Ask a girlfriend or prayer partner to hold you accountable and for additional ideas. If you feel you can, share them with your husband and ask him how you're doing or how you could improve.

* Continue on to the word 'invigorates.' Think about this. Write down some words or phrases that describe how you are invigorated or what it means to be invigorated. What are your surroundings like? Your feelings? Your energy level? Ask your husband what invigorates him.

* Write your own definition of invigorate (use a dictionary and/or thesaurus for additional guidance).

* Now compare the opposite wife...

* Write down everything that comes to your mind - what is implied in the fact that she is cold (frigid)?

* Describe your thoughts on what it means to be a "cancer to the bones."

If you or someone you know has ever experienced this painful disease - ask them some questions to shed some light on the phrase.

* Search other examples...learn from other wives:
Use this chart.

* What can you learn from the frigid women and their commonalities? How about from the hearty women?

* Confess the areas of coldness in your own heart towards your husband. Ask God to enable you to be a warm, hearty and invigorating wife.

* Overall, what stood out to you the most as you walked through this study with God? Ask Him to bring this truth to mind often until it becomes part of your thinking! Praise Him!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bless Your Husband: Picnic Lunch

I don't know about the rest of you - but my husband rarely gets a lunch break. And, it is even more rare that we can plan ahead for a day that he will. But last Friday was one of those days - a work day of sorts where we knew he would have a chance to pause and eat lunch. So, I suggested a picnic!

I packed wraps, apple slices, chips and make-your-own pudding and off we went! We sat in his office and it was great fun. We all enjoyed the break in our day and doing something a little different!

Now, if you can't go and have a picnic with your husband - maybe you could still pack one for his lunch and he could get away to a quiet corner or park for a few peaceful minutes.

To make the individual puddings - use a jelly size canning jar and 2 Tbsp. instant pudding. Add 1/2 c. milk from a thermos, shake and let sit for a few minutes. All done!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Toddler Time

My sister gave us this book for Christmas and it is so fun! I've seen other craft books and other toddler entertaining books. But, they are all really too advanced for a toddler. But, this one is not!

I've gone through and written one idea on the calendar for each morning (M-F) for Emily and I to do together. I call it craft time and so far she has been eating it up! Obviously I will not be sharing our ideas every day, but I thought I would share one that we did recently.

We swirled glue around on a piece of paper. Then sprinkled it with colored salt and shook off the extra! Tada! She loved it so much she wanted to do it again - so we did, three times!

Another thing I've started in the mornings is to watch a 30 minute DVD of something educational. So something like this, this or this ~ I hope these habits we start now will serve us well in the future as we hope to homeschool.

Speaking of TV time, we've kind of settled on a routine that works for us. After trying no TV, extremely limited TV and tons of TV, we have found that one thirty minute DVD in the morning (as mentioned above it will usually be something educational) and one thirty minute DVD after supper in the evening which can be something like Veggie Tales or Hermie and Friends. This is working really well and feels very doable.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Organizing: Car Trunk

Well, while we're in the organizing mood - let's talk trunk of the car! This is one of those places that never seems big enough in my current stage of life. But, here is my attempt at trying to keep it orderly.

A metal basket on the left hold jumper cables, fix-a-flat, a shopping cart cover for little girls, bug spray, a towel, Snugli and various other items you may need in a car. On the other side of the stroller - we keep an old quilt for picnics or any other need and a bag of canvas totes for carrying groceries. Even a small space becomes even smaller when it is disorganized!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Snow Party

Well, I'm going to host another gathering at my house. Remember the Harvest Party? This one won't be as elaborate - but I hope it will be a lot of fun!

I was inspired by this magazine - and the section on adorable snowmen and planning a party around the theme that I decided to have a snow party! Plus, I love snow!

So, I'll be sharing my ideas - here is the first one. The invitations! I used a plain white envelope and drew a little face with the word "snow" on the front. Then I cut a piece of orange cardstock and traced a quarter, nickel and dime for the snowman body and cut out of white felt. A small clipping of orange paper glued on to make the nose and some black puffy paint made the eyes. Glue felt on with tacky glue and let dry. I wrote the details on the back of the card.

We'll be making a snow-themed placemat, learning about snow and having a devotion and sharing lunch! Stay tuned for more ideas!

A Peaceful Moment

While both little ladies were napping yesterday afternoon (a rare treat in itself) I was running around like crazy trying to get lots done. And, I felt the stress closing in. I knew what I had to do - I needed to sit down and get re-focused. I had just finished baking some cookies - so poured a mug of milk and grabbed a Christmas gift. I only sat there for maybe ten minutes, but it was enough to refresh and refocus my thoughts and my priorities. Ahh, much better!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Christmas: Thank You's

A friend recently wrote and asked me for some ideas for card making for thank you notes after Christmas. Here are some ideas I shared with her:

* Magazine page card: you've all heard me mention these before and they are simple. You could also use wrapping paper scraps left from packages, Christmas cards (cut off a pretty part and use on the front of the card) or magazine pictures. One year, I included the following poem that I wrote for the thank you because it was getting tedious to list each gift someone had given and I seriously wondered how meaningful the thank-you was:

Christmas comes and Christmas goes
along with paper, ribbon, and bows.

But what will last throughout the year,
is what began with, “Have no fear!”

The greatest gift given with love,
sent to Earth from Heaven above.

We follow this example by giving gifts to one another
choosing something special we hope will bring joy to the other.

Thank you for sharing of who you are
as we celebrate the Christmas star.

And now as this new year begins
we’ll gratefully think of you again and again!

* Similar to the first, you could make a card with a picture that describes something you appreciate about that person. I made these for favors at a brunch once and it was so special. For example, the person you are sending a card to is very easy to be around, comfortable - you could choose a picture of a cozy sweater or comfy reading chair and explain the meaning inside the card. Or, someone is sweet and gentle - look for a pretty light pink rose and compare her heart with it's soft beauty. This makes the card a gift to them in itself.

* Use your children's artwork - let kids watercolor or paint on larger pieces of paper and then cut them into card size and write a message on the inside. Make sure to note who the artist is!

* Make a Christmas 2006 Memory Thank-You: especially for someone who wasn't with you during Christmas. You could make a "cover" out of the heavier paper and then fold regular paper inside - tie a ribbon around the middle to hold it all together. You could include things like: drawing from one of the children, small photo, a favorite recipe you enjoyed, a special memory or gift that will be remembered from this Christmas, a verse that was meaningful to you during Christmas or that would share Christ with a family who are not believers, a brief thank-you from children or let them write their names, etc...

This year, I just wrote thank you's on blank notecards - though I was hoping to do the little memory thank you's. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Organizing: Craft Cabinet

So, as is the case every January, I am in the mood to organize! To sort. To clean out. To purge. To straighten.

I started in a wonderful place! My craft cabinet! This cabinet is over my dryer in our laundry room. The question was asked recently how I store all my magazines and clippings for notecards and envelopes, so I thought I'd just show the whole cabinet.

My Mom helped me get this in order over a year ago and it has really been manageable to keep it fairly tidy. Plus, it helps me set limits on what I can keep.

Starting on the top shelf:

Small spice jars (thrift store) hold jingle bells or small craft items.
Flat gold box has ziploc bags in it filled with clippings for notecards. And, on top of that is a "craft" journal. Where I can log ideas that I've tried or want to try.
The next box holds wooden goodies: old spools, beads, etc...
And, a small cardboard box on the end gathers all my stamps and ink as well as craft paints.

The next shelf has a box of sewing notions, jar of buttons, the black floral box holds all my ribbons and then the twine dispenser on the end.

Moving down - this shelf is really the "notecard making" shelf! The right side are the magazines that I've read and are ready to be cut up. When this stack is at its max - I have to get rid of some and I did have to do this while straightening this up. The left side is all my paper. The red folder is craft ideas I want to save and try someday.

The lowest shelf is obviously the things I use the most. The ice cube bin on the left holds all notecards and envelopes that are already made and ready to be used. Next to that are canning jars with colored pens, pencils, and goodies such as tin stars, mini clothespins and the like.

Then a small wire basket holds all my paper punches and glue fits behind that. The white metal container at the back holds fun scissors and colored pencils.

Two white wooden containers next to that hold crayons and glues of all kinds. And, a 2/$1 organizer on the end is perfect for my good fabric scissors and pinking shears.

I do have a few other supplies that just won't fit here (like 12x12 paper) and those things are inside my living room coffee table trunk (which I call our rainy day cabinet - a story for another day) and it also holds extras of things like glue sticks and spiral notebooks.

All my fabric is in a little stand in my closet - and that is my limit on craft supplies. I need the limits of keeping things in certain places and not exceeding that or it gets out of control rapidly! I'll share more as I continue organizing!