Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Give Thanks with Music

I wanted to make something special to sit on the music stand area of our piano for Fall. I didn't spend anything - but scrounged around and came up with this:

I found a picture from a magazine that I liked and trimmed it to fit the back of an old song book I wasn't using anymore. Then, I painted Mod Podge onto the board, placed the magazine photo on top and painted Mod Podge over it as well.

I embellished the photo with a sheet of music entitled, "Thanksgiving" ~ a Scripture verse, some mini pumpkins and a bow.

Here's how it turned out:
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!"
~ I Chronicles 16:24 ~

Monday, September 29, 2008

Putting pumpkins on a pedastal!

We were given a piano this past year (thanks to my mother-in-law!) and this is my first Fall getting to decorate it! I wasn't sure what to do when I pulled out my boxes of Fall decorations, but this is what I came up with.

I bought a bag of these small pumpkins at Michael's a couple of years ago and have used them for favors, fillers and now, as a nice display of their own! Simply turn a small ice cream dish upside down and give them just a little boost ~ I love how they look all in a row!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Boat Fun!

Last week, we read My Blue Boat and did lots of fun things to go with:

* painted with blue and green watercolors to make the water look used in the book:
* made stars on the bathroom wall by shining a flashlight through a piece of black paper with small holes in it.
* tried to make boats out of styrofoam egg cartons, that did not work. So, I tried to freeze a hunk of blue water in a loaf pan with a straw in it and a sail taped onto the straw. I thought this was going to be a huge success until Rachel pulled the 9x13 dish holding these boats off onto the floor and shattered the dish into a zillion pieces. No one was hurt - but it was not fun - just so you all know that not everything is rosy around here! :) I took pix of the screaming children too - but will spare them the embarassment.

* rode around in a blue laundry basket doing everything the boat did:* had a fun lunch of boat sandwich, star cheese, goldfish and Jell-O water:* danced with the whales while watching Fantasia!

We had a fun week!! I wanted to take the girls downtown and do a boat ride - but it was too expensive, I think they had fun doing things at home anyway!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Handcrafted Christmas: Signs

Here is another fun idea as we continue our series on homemade gifts for Christmas. I don't know about you - but I love all the fun signs available today! They tend to be expensive - so I've enjoyed making a few of my own.

Here are two different ideas for making your own signs. The beauty of this project is that the possibilities are endless. You can do whatever colors, saying and wood type you like or find inexpensively!

First, this one was made with a cabinet door found at the Habitat ReStore. I turned it sideways and decoupaged a piece of scrapbook paper on it with Mod Podge. This was one single sheet of 12x12 scrapbook paper cut in half, I used the whole piece.

Next, I printed out what I wanted the sign to say - in this case, I made a sign to take to Crystal for her home. So, it had their last name on it and a verse that I knew was a desire for their home. I printed these out on velum paper and decoupaged on top of the scrapbook paper base.

To finish the sign off, I glued a row of buttons on in between the two rows of words. I thought this was just the touch it needed. The cabinet door was $5 - and I already had all the other supplies.

Here's another sign I made for our bedroom:

I started with a piece of aged wood also found at the Habitat ReStore for $2. I used it completely as is.

Then, I printed out the words I wanted from the computer in a very large font - I only got one word or part of a word per page it was so big.

I cut out the letters with an x-acto knife to create a stencil. Then I traced the letters onto the wood with a pencil.

Finally, I colored the letters in with a Sharpie marker and the sign was done! I attached some hangers to the back and now love having it hang in our bedroom.

Here's the sign now - hanging over our bed, not bad for a $2 board!

Here's another cabinet door:
And, a piece of rusty tin made into a layered Christmas sign:
The possibilities are endless! What sign would you create?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last week, we had the wonderful privilege of hosting two boys from Uganda traveling with a children's choir which sang at our church!

I put a lot of thought into making their time with us enjoyable, it was a blessing to have them in our home! First of all, I wrote a couple of friends who had either been to Uganda or Africa and sought their advice on the type of food eaten there. As I prepared for them to arrive, I was so encouraged at how God brought ideas to my mind.

We received information that the children were accustomed to eating many different kinds of food, but I wanted to treat them to something they were familiar with and may not find much of in America. I haven't traveled out of the country much, but a familiar meal is always something I wanted by the time I came home!

Anna graciously sent me a recipe which I made for dinner and it was a BIG hit! One of our guests ate and ate and ate - it was such a joy to me to see that! And, my little ladies graciously ate every bite of their food without a single complaint or question that it was different!

Chapatis (I made half this recipe and it made 16 chapatis)

6 cups all purpose flour (may mix with whole wheat flour as you please)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups warm water (tap water is fine)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Add oil and water and mix thoroughly. Knead until easy to handle. Cover and let rise for at least 15 minutes. Roll out about 6 to 8 inch round tortillas, and fry in a little oil on both sides.

**Note: This video tutorial was extremely helpful!

Curried Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
2 carrot sticks, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
Green pepper, chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato soup or sauce

Cook the beans until tender (I used this fast approach for preparing the beans). Fry onion in oil until transparent. Add to beans. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Cover pan loosely and simmer for 45 minutes or so until carrots are tender. Increase or decrease seasonings according to your taste.

Craig mentioned bananas and pineapple, so I worked that into breakfast making French Toast Kabobs inspired by a Martha Stewart Kids magazine. This went over very well too and was fun to eat. This was my first time cutting a pineapple and I appreciated this info on how to cut a pineapple.

Martin and Isaac shared the girls room - so, I wanted to add a few inviting touches in there:

While I was working on putting clean sheets on - I had the girls color pictures to put on each of their pillows:

Then, on the dresser - I put out a couple of Children's Bibles ~ they each spent a lot of time looking at these before bed and again in the morning!

On the chalkboard in our dining room, I drew their flag and wrote 'Welcome' in Lugandan along with their names - I saw Isaac smile when he saw it!

Now, I have to tell a funny story! After dinner, they really wanted to watch a movie - so David set out several for them to choose from. In the end, they went to the shelf and chose Cinderella! You can imagine that this made two little ladies very happy!!! I was in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes and loved hearing all of the laughter from out there! I thought how we may have a hard time understanding each others accents - but laughter is universal!

We enjoyed their concert at church and Emily and Rachel were so excited to see "their boys" and I cannot tell you how having them stay with us enhanced the experience all around. I can hardly wait to do it again!

We were not allowed to give gifts ~ but could make scrapbook pages, which I had waiting for them at their place for breakfast our last morning together!

After having them with us such a short time, I still missed them when they were gone! I am so grateful we had this opportunity!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn in Avonlea!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent this invitation out to a few kindred spirits. (click to enlarge) The pie swap idea was inspired from the most recent issue of Victoria magazine and since our Evening in Avonlea was so popular last year - I decided we do something similar but also different.

Each guest was asked to bring a pie to share ~ I planned that we would eat as much pie as we wanted and then watch Anne of Avonlea! What a lovely way to welcome a cozy season! I love Fall - in recent years it has become my favorite season more and more.

Hope you'll join us via the photos ~ enjoy!

Apples and a pumpkin greet you at the door ~
as well as a simple Welcome Kindred Spirits tag held onto a pumpkin with a small brad ~
over the door, hangs this fun garland spelling "Avonlea" ~
Won't you come in and have a slice (or two) of pie?
I made Sweet and Savory Apple Pie also from the July/August Victoria magazine. Let me just say - this is my first successful rolled pie crust that looked pretty!!! I was so pleased!

Sweet & Savory Pie Dough
4 c. flour
1 c. shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 sticks butter, chilled and cubed
2/3 c. ice water

Combine first three ingredients in a food processor. Add butter until crumbly. Add water until dough forms. Divide into two rounds of dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour - I chilled mine overnight.

Roll out one portion of dough and place in prepared pie dish. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes with weights or a heavy plate on top. Then, remove weight and bake an additional five minutes.

Sweet & Savory Apple Pie
6 apples (I used a mixture); peeled, cored and sliced
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 T. flour
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. crumbled cooked bacon
1/4 c. heavy cream

Combine apples and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Combine dry ingredients and mix with apples. Stir in bacon. Spoon into baked pie shell. Top with remaining crust. Brush with cream and bake 35-40 minutes. Let cool.

Signs to label the pies ~ aged looking tags with washed sticks from the yard ~

Cute pie sign ~

Napkins adorned for Autumn ~

A clay pot with a candle ring tied on to look like a little wreath ~
filled with free Cover Girl lip sticks from CVS!!
Tea cups tagged for each guest ~
All the pies just waiting to be cut into and enjoyed!
We ended up visiting and not watching the movie ~ so I'm planning to watch it during nap times this week!! Can't wait!

Thank you for visiting!

Welcoming Autumn for Littles!

We started out morning with Apple Muffins and a pumpkin filled with greens and a few flowers from our yard!

I didn't have much planned for our day - but, did want to do something special for lunch. I came up with a scavenger hunt for lunch. I printed out pictures of different spots in our back yard ~

~ cut them out and tied pieces of raffia on. Then, tied them around the yard so the girls would have to hunt for their lunch!

I sliced an apple, made leaf shaped sandwiches, leaf shaped cheese and cookies and put it all in a Ziploc bag. Then, I put each girl's lunch inside a small pumpkin with the seeds scooped out.
I hid the pumpkins in our vegetable garden ~
Yeah! They found lunch!