Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hoping you all have a wonderful week celebrating God's many blessings and provisions to each of us. I'll be taking this week off from posting - enjoying my family and getting caught up on some things.

I will have a couple of fun giveaways in December - and look forward to catching up with you all again then!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your families!

The "c" word...

A new word has found its way into our family conversations. One that I'm not accepting very well and one that we certainly did not invite.


My dad has been very recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I hate this. I hate what it means and all the what ifs it brings to my mind.

I am thankful for providential doctor's appointments and that we already have a trip planned at Christmas! But, my heart is heavy with this news, although he has a great attitude about it that I would be wise to follow.

I don't really have much else on my heart to share right now about this, but it feels good to at least share this much. I confess that it is all so new - so unknown. I am so thankful that I can trust Who holds the future and who will be with us through our entire life journeys. When God brings our family to mind, we would appreciate your prayer. Thank you.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."
~ Isaiah 26:3

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Decorations on the Cheap!

I've compiled all my cheap ideas into one post and it's up here! Enjoy!

The Rusty Robin

Wow! Thank you all for such a wonderful first day yesterday!! I felt so supported and encouraged! Of course, I learned some things and appreciate your feedback.

Due to the unique nature of many of the items - they are not easy to recreate on a time schedule! As most of them are thrift store finds revamped!

However, there were several extra requests for the wool dryer balls and Names of Jesus garlands. Hop on over to see how to order either of these items.

One little housekeeping issue: Char in NC - I need you to e-mail me, I have no way to get in touch with you! Click on my little e-mail postcard on the left to send me a message.

Thanks again for making The Rusty Robin such a wonderful success!

'Tis the Season for Giving

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I can teach my children to be giving to those around them. Opportunities seem more plentiful this time of year, and with all the gift giving craze - I think it is healthy for them to learn to give to others!

After all of that - I saw this post over at Joy's and received an e-mail from a reader asking for ideas on reaching out and realized I should put all of this in one post so that we can learn from each other. I can't wait to hear your ideas as well!!

It seems there are always lots of ways to give money and organizations who even use that money wisely. We as a family will give financially. However, I find that I really prefer to do something more tangible. Something that takes a little more of myself than 20 seconds to write out a check. Something that involves my family a little more.

Here are some things I've been thinking of:

* Volunteering with our local Salvation Army. I like the mission behind the Salvation Army - but I'm sure that as varied as the places we live, as varied are the missions available for our service. I have volunteered with the Salvation Army in Colorado before - but never in South Carolina. I called earlier this week to find out about the volunteer needs and they mentioned having a toy store that gives toys this time of year - we're waiting to hear if they would allow us to volunteer as a family this year.

* Voice of the Martyrs: I'm planning to use some of my Blessing Fund (thank you, ladies) to do some of these Action Packs.

* Mama to Mama: I've invited some ladies over a week from tomorrow to make hats for babies in Haiti from old t-shirts. Anyone can do get involved!

* Deliver Christmas Cookies: we're already on the schedule at a local nursing home to deliver Christmas cookies. This ties in with a new book out for children that I've been given the opportunity to review and I will have some copies to give away soon!

* Operation Christmas Child: This weekend is the deadline for local collection centers. But, you can still send your box in to the Boone, NC office until December 31. We did our boxes last weekend and our girls have been watching the video about it over and over. Emily was so disappointed to turn in her box at church because she thought she was going to get to give it to the little girl who was receiving it.

* Angel Tree: we had a little girl living with our family when I was growing up for a couple of years whose mother was in prison. Therefore, I have always appreciated an opportunity to participate in this ministry. I haven't heard a single thing about it since moving to the south, but perhaps it is something you could get involved in near you!

* Donate canned goods to the food pantry. Or adopt a family through local organizations.

* Remember your neighbors.

What are your ideas for giving this season? How do you involve your children?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rusty Robin

Today's the day! Hop on over to browse the works of my hands - thank you!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tomorrow is the day!!!


Thank you, ladies for such a great response to Lisa's generous giveaway! I'm excited to announce the winner ~ LEANNE! The above necklace was Leanne's favorite! (Leanne, please e-mail me so we can coordinate the ordering of your necklace!)

For another fun giveaway, from another Lisa, please be sure to visit Carrie's blog!

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

I hadn't make this cake in ages until recently when I needed a dessert and didn't have eggs! This has always been my standby recipe when there aren't enough eggs for something else!!

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1/3 c. oil
1 tsp. vinegar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. choc. chips

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and pour into prepared 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Harvest Swap: Show & Tell

It is finally time to show you what I received from the latest swap! My swap partner was Elise and I already knew she has great taste, so was excited to be paired with her!!

Here are the goodies she sent me:

She had it all wrapped super cute with fabric around and this cute tag on top!

Pretty Thanksgiving napkins and stickers, a Chocolate cookbook and Family Circle magazine with yummy recipes, love the turkey spreaders and "punkin" sign! My favorite chai tea, Harvest Scripture in neat frame, a neat chunky pumpkin and little treat bags for the ladies!

I put the pumpkin on a candle pedestal from Goodwill and oh, this makes me smile!

Here's what I sent her! Check out other swap goodies at Carrie's!

Thank you Elise, I've already been enjoying my goodies!! Happy Fall!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Becoming a Pearl & A Giveaway!

I'm so excited about this fun giveaway! Lisa generously contacted me about giving away one of her lovely creations here and I'm thrilled to host the fun!

First of all, let me show you my piece:

I love this because it is simple, inspiring and meaningful! I chose to get a charm with each family member's name on it: David, Emily, Rachel and Samuel.

I also love that it has a pearl charm because this is what I want to be like - a pearl. Being shaped and molded into something valuable and beautiful. To be looking toward Heaven where pearls will adorn the gates and being reminded of seeking Heaven as in seeking a pearl of great price.

I want this to remind me of the influence I can have for His glory in my own home and family and to inspire me to be devoted in allowing Him to shape me as a pearl is shaped.
Matthew 13:45-46, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."
Now, for the fun part! Please hop on over to Lisa's site and browse her beautiful creations. I think you will really enjoy seeing what she has to offer. Let us know what your favorite piece is by leaving a comment here and you will be entered into a drawing to win that piece!

Comments will be accepted until midnight (EST) Tuesday and we'll be giving away one piece (up to $54 in value) on Wednesday! I look forward to seeing your favorites!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Haven: Inviting & Giving

Hi ladies, I'm sorry I didn't make the rounds to all of your blogs the last couple of days - simply ran out of time!

I've been so excited to hear all the great feedback from everyone this week and hope we can do this again sometime!! Thanks so much for your great encouragement and the motivation of working on this together!

This morning, I read Proverbs 14 and the first verse stood out at me, "A wise woman builds her home..." Enough said, right?

After our morning routine including baths today - it was time for Samuel to go down for his morning nap (took us a while!) so while he rested, we colored our pages for the shoebox gifts!

We sorted a box of toys Daddy found at the dump and found a big bin of chunky lego pieces and some neat interlocking train track pieces for Samuel someday. I started them soaking in the kitchen sink.

When Samuel woke, we loaded the brownies into our car and started the deliveries! I had originally planned a wagon trip and walk, but it was wet and looking like more rain plus the mosquitos were bad - so we opted for Plan B. We got all our brownies delivered and spur of the moment, I asked David if he was available for some lunch company. We had brownies to take him anyway - he said yes and we brought Chick-Fil-A and enjoyed a "picnic" in Daddy's office! It was fun!

The brownies were left for him to share at work. Feeding Samuel and varying rest times all commenced when we got home. I planned my shopping list for tomorrow.

Next, I cooked ground beef for tacos tomorrow night and made a pan of enchiladas while talking to my sister. Oh, and I scrubbed off all those lego pieces with a toothbrush!

We went shopping for our shoeboxes and then came home to fix dinner. After dinner, we watched a DVD on shoeboxes and the Follow the Box episodes. (I ordered this DVD from their site last year.)

Finally, we were ready to pack our boxes! The girls had a ball with this - it was fun to see them getting into it! They just went to bed and I'm thinking I need to get a few more things done before heading to bed myself.

I didn't quite get the counter cleaned off again - but did make progress.

Thanks again for all of the wonderful encouragement and motivation this week! I appreciate you all so much!

Side note ~ I have a great giveaway planned on Monday! And, Christy is hosting a book giveaway now through next Thursday!

Linking to a Post

Good morning, completely off topic - but I've had a few questions lately about how to link directly to a post here.

Since I have this lovely design of my own - I am using the old Blogger which means my title does not become a direct link for you to copy.

If you're interested in linking to a post here - try this:

When you see the post you want, go to the comments. Then, you will see the title of the post at the top in orange letters - click that and it will take you to a link just of the post you chose.

I hope that helps! Thank you!

Making Your Home A Haven: Inviting & Giving

I can hardly believe it is already Friday and this week is coming to an end. I have enjoyed hearing how this week has been a blessing in your homes!

Time with Our Father: This would be a great time to pray over our lists for today, pray for God's blessing on our homes and the homes of the other ladies participating and spend sweet time in fellowship with Him. What thought will you carry with you today from your quiet time?

There is one more aspect of making my home a haven that jumps out at me. We've focused on the physical care and even made it a place that is fun for our own families. Now, it is time to reach out and share this haven with others.

I think this can be done any number of ways - but what I have in mind is to do something that reaches out and something that draws others in. I have just a few houses left on my neighbor challenge and would like to finish that up this morning. More about this here, here, here, here, and here.

A family from church we've been wanting to have over are invited for tomorrow night and I'll be prepping for that today as I will be out almost all day tomorrow.

I'd love to hear your ideas for using your haven to reach out and draw in.

What is on your list today?

It is always fun to hear what everyone else is having for dinner - what are you serving tonight?

Here's my plan for today:

Up and dressed; sitting at the kitchen table by 7am for Quiet Time
Littles up; fed; dressed
Deliver brownies
Visit Daddy at work with treats
Prep for dinner tomorrow night
Plan shopping needs for tomorrow
Dinner: Emily requested chicken, cheese and applesauce - I think I'll add a vegetable and accommodate her request!
Shoe Boxes (note: here's a fun coloring page for littles)

I also need to clear my kitchen counter again - can anyone else relate!? A clear space just seems to invite things being placed on it!

I would love to hear what you are planning for the day. If you are able or interested - please take before and after pictures and tell us about your day! I'll be posting my update later today on how our day went. Please add your link (directly to your post, please) or comment so we can visit and encourage one another. Let's also be diligent in praying for one another during this week. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Haven: Fun

Began my day at the table again, with a yummy mug of my favorite chai tea! Thanks to my swap buddy, Elise!
Jeremiah 33:11, "...the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,

"Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
His love endures forever."
Went to get the little ladies up and they were still sound asleep! So, I enjoyed a little snuggle time with Samuel while nursing, changing him - and we played together a few mintues before the girls got up!

Normal morning routine: breakfast, reading, dishwasher and dishdrainer emptied. Dressed and ready to go to the grocery store. I decided to skip the park as it was very misty and looking like rain and we needed a few things for tomorrow and the weekend.

Off to the store - my cute little shoppers:

When we got home, Samuel took a short nap while the girls played in the rainy day trunk. They made something artistic - but had the most fun playing in the lid of the trunk and pretending to sleep in there!

After that, a tea party and Charlotte's Web - thanks for the fun goodies Elise! After we ate, I painted their fingernails and toenails! And, while they finished their movie - I folded the remaining two loads of laundry and put them away! Yeah!

I will admit by this point being very ready for nap/quiet time! Sometimes I think having fun is more work for Mama than her regular work! I am happy for the opportunity to help them have fun and create happy memories, I was just tired!

Rachel went down while Emily and Samuel played together and I started mixing up a quadruple batch of brownies! I usually don't use mix, but they were on a good sale and it seemed like the smart choice during a busy week! These are for the Giving part of my day tomorrow.

Next, Samuel and Emily went down and I did Satin Hands on my hands and feet! Fabulous! I popped in Christmas Child and painted my fingernails and toenails! Then, Samuel got up - apparently refusing to take a nap - sigh.

I worked on this post a bit and then something crafty:

Yes, I have a tutorial planned for sharing how to make these and there will be some for sale next week at The Rusty Robin sale.

We read a book, looked at the mail, played outside - a relaxing hour!

I came in and frosted the brownies:

After dinner, we enjoyed the Pumpkin Pie Popsicles. I had some leftover pumpkin from making pumpkin bread the other morning and it worked out great to use the remainder in this recipe!

I am guessing - but I think it was a bit less than 1 c. pumpkin puree. The original recipe calls for butternut squash - since I had the pumpkin, I opted for that.

Put pumpkin in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 c. pure maple syrup (I used homemade syrup); 2/3 c. light cream (I used leftover evaporated milk) and 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Blend together and spoon into molds - freeze.

I thought these were very tasty - but my girls were not as impressed as I thought they would be. If you try them - let me know what you thought!

Just because: I love Christmas movies! Do you have a favorite? I'd love to discover some new ones!!

Making Your Home A Haven: Fun

Great job this week! Have your husbands or children noticed a difference in your home this week? I'd love to hear how your Havens are impacting your families!

One note - I've been visiting your posts and it seems there are many struggles in our efforts to create Havens. I have been experiencing this as well and it seems logical when you think about it. We are desiring to honor God which means that we are likely on our enemy's radar - he wants to stop us to frustrate us to discourage us. I believe God would want us to persevere and honor Him in what we are able to get done - believe me, this is speaking to myself first of all.

Let's move on with day four ~

Time with Our Father: This would be a great time to pray over our lists for today, pray for God's blessing on our homes and the homes of the other ladies participating and spend sweet time in fellowship with Him. What thought will you carry with you today from your quiet time?

For me, one aspect of making my home a haven is that it is a place that is fun to be. A place where memories are made. Over the past few days, we've accomplished a lot in the physical care of our home. Today, I want to focus on making my home a place that is fun to be. What is on your list today?

It is always fun to hear what everyone else is having for dinner - what are you serving tonight?

Here's my plan for today:

Up and dressed; sitting at the kitchen table by 7am for Quiet Time
Littles up; fed; dressed
Park for play - the girls asked for this yesterday and since today is about fun, I am happy to accommodate.
Tea party
Craft time - supplies in the trunk are fair game!
Dinner: Hamburgers and Oven Fries (since David surprised me with dinner out last night - we'll have this tonight!)

I would love to hear what you are planning for the day. If you are able or interested - please take before and after pictures and tell us about your day! I'll be posting my update later today on how our day went. Please add your link (directly to your post, please) or comment so we can visit and encourage one another. Let's also be diligent in praying for one another these last couple of days.