September 30, 2010

Fall Rain Fun and & Dollar Store Wreath Creation

We had an unexpected off-and-on rain shower today, with thunder, lightning, the whole works! It doesn't happen very often here, so it is a real treat. Of course, the kids had to go splash in the puddles...they loved that!  My oldest discovered that two of the kernels she had planted from a ear of corn we had grown have sprouted, in spite of very random waterings...

And we followed up our puddle play time with a warm cup of delicious hot cocoa and marshmallows, and a few candy corn besides.  :-)

Yesterday, I got around to making a wreath from a dollar store wreath, leaves, and flowers.  First, I painted it a brilliant red....

and then, hot glued on the flowers, leaves, and acorns. 

In the process, I got very low on glue, and so I stuck a pen behind the glue in the glue gun to push the remainder forward...I forgot to take the pen out before it cooled. No amount of pulling will get that pen out of  that glue gun now! ;-)

Linking up to Spotlight Yourself at It's So Very Cheri
Linking up to Get Your Craft On Thursday @ Life as Lori
Linking up to Home & Family Friday at Home is Where My Story Begins
Linking up to The Shabby Nest Frugal Friday

September 28, 2010

A Simple Fall Craft & A Great Blog

Here's a little art project we did last week when the weather felt like fall...this week it feels like summer in the desert. :-(

My daughter watercolored the background, we added foodcoloring to some rice for grass, glued on cotton ball clouds, and glued on a variety of colored punched leaves.  The kids really liked this craft.  Today, we are going to do the sheep we found on Just Next Door.

I love all the blog homeschool resources that are out there! I just recently discovered Confessions of a Homeschooler, and it is amazing!! There is enough valuable resources on that one site to keep you busy for a long time.  It is hard to believe the creativity and organization that one person can have! Check it out if you get a chance!

Linking up to

Also Linking up to Red Ted Art's Blog for Kids Get Crafty!
And, Linking up to Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner.

September 27, 2010

Black & White Portrait Challenge

I am entering a couple older black and white portraits that I took into The Aspire Photo Challenge. You can find their page with the button at the bottom of this post.

I'm not tired!

Aspire Photo Challenge

September 23, 2010

Simple, Savory, Soothing Soup

One of my favorite dinners that is so easy, and yet so satisfying is potato leek soup.  Probably you have had it before, or even have made it...but if you haven't, I didn't want to keep such a good thing to myself!
It is also a healthy, inexpensive dinner; it's particularly delightful if you are sick.
A few ingredients is all you need: leeks, potatoes, chicken broth, butter, and a bit of cream or milk.

Recipe for four:

3-4 large leeks, washed, dark green portion removed
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
32 oz. box of chicken broth, or 2 15 oz cans
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup cream, half and half, or milk
salt and pepper to taste

Slice, rinse, and drain leeks.  Heat butter in a 6 qt saucepan, and add leeks. Saute at medium heat, until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes.  Pour in chicken broth, and add potatoes.  Turn heat up to medium high, and cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Remove from heat, let cool a little.  Pour half of the soup into your blender or food processor - but be careful!! If the soup is too hot, the steam can make the lid come up, and you might get burned!

(This happened to me last time...splatters of boiling hot soup landed on my hand! It was going to be a bad blistery burn, and so I Googled around and found putting aluminum foil on a burn helps...I put it around my hand until bedtime, and had no blisters or scarring.  Pretty neat, huh? Check out this article about it in Time Magazine.) 

Puree the soup.  If you like your soup more chunky, only puree half.  Puree the remaining soup for a creamy texture.  Add in the milk or cream for your preferred consistency, and add salt and pepper to taste.  

Serve with toast for an extra easy meal, or with crispy-sweet honey corn muffins.  Want the recipe? Here it is! This is an adaption from Grandma's Honey Muffins on Taste of Home.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cormeal
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter and honey. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.


September 21, 2010

A Visit to My Garden

Mums are in full bloom!
Only one rose...we never have very many, it's too shady where they are.
We still have some cherry tomatoes, as well as regular size.
Pretty and sweet rattlesnake beans, flowering and producing for the second time!
The three big pumpkins we harvested this year...only the biggest remains...I've been baking!

September 20, 2010

Luscious Lemon Loaf

Yesterday I made this yummy lemon yogurt sweet bread...I was inspired when I saw Starbuck's Lemon Loaf looking so delicious in their display.  The recipe I chose to use was actually the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Yogurt Cake. It is so easy to make, you don't even need to get your mixer out! It is light and fluffy and has a vivid lemon flavor. You can make it without the extra glaze if you like; that's what I decided to do, as my husband doesn't have a mouth full of sweet teeth like I do.  :-)

Here's the recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Recipe Link: Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Yogurt Cake
Linking up to It's So Very Cheri
Linking up to Mingle Monday @ Our Homeschool Home 
Linking up to Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty & Bedlam

September 16, 2010

Frugal Friday - Vintage Wall Art

When my sister visited recently, we headed out to some little antique stores, and I found some cute vintage photos and postcards that I am going to make into wall art or door hangings. The one that I have finished is this neat photograph which was already on a long hard piece of cardboard, originally.
I added pretty scrapbook paper, some stickers, rub-ons, lace and pearls......ta-da!
Linking up to The Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday!
Also joining the Look at Me Party @ Fun to Craft;

Guest Post - A Peace Within

Today, for a Thoughtful Thursday, we have a guest post from Noellen, of Comfort and Conversation.  I so enjoyed her post the other day, that I asked her if I could share it with you.
Peace from God is not just an emotion that is with you when times are good, when life is calm.  His peace is always in you, even when times are rough.  It's easy to "feel" peaceful when everything is in order in your life.  But not so easy when life brings you challenges.  It's during these times that you need to stop and reflect and ask yourself, "Is the peace of God with me now?"

In my study recently, I have been reading A Woman's Walk with God by Elizabeth George and I quote the following passage from her book:

Are you in turmoil, or are you trusting and at peace? Are you running around in circles, or are you resting in the Lord? Are your words revealing a sense of panic and pressure, or are they words that edify and encourage, that minister grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)? Are your actions reflecting the priorities God would have you set? Is your relationship with Him first, or are you too busy to sit at His feet and enjoy His presence? The woman who wrote the following words knew busyness...until the Lord interrupted.  Let's learn from her.

I'm Busy Lord!
I'm busy Lord. Surely You can see
The thousand things that wait for me!
The dishes still lie in the sink - 
I cannot stop to pray and think.

Lord, I know you understand,
For You gave these children to my hand;
And now they cry and need me so,
Lord, You understand. I'd better go.

Now I've got them all to sleep,
I'd better dust and mop and sweep.
I must thaw out the meat for stew,
And the ironing is long overdue!

And kindly my Lord answered me,
"Why do you from My presence flee?
I have so much for you today.
My child, I want to hear you pray.

"I love you, child, I want you here
To rest and listen-to shed a tear.
What if Paul had stopped to say,
"Lord, I'm too busy to write letters today!"?

"No, my child, I'm what you need,
Through household duties you can speed,
Yet when you're through, there's emptiness
If this quiet time you miss."

Oh, thank You, Lord, for showing me
How much I need to wait on Thee.
For what's an undone dish or two
Compared with sharing time with You?!

May the peace of God be with you today!

September 14, 2010

All the Little Things

Today I want to share all the little things I love about having children.  My list of ten is in random order.
Little Pouts - Smooshy Face
  1. Little Feet...they run, they pitter patter, they swing, they dance...they are so adorable!
  2. Little Voices...that say their words in that way that only little children can do, and make you laugh with the things they come up with.
  3. Little Readers... who sit on the play room floor with books strewn around them, flipping pages of the one on their legs, with those cute little feet pointing up.
  4. Little Hugs & Kisses...they wrap their arms tight around your neck, give a big squeeze, and say, I Love you Mommy!
  5. Little Loveys...the sweet blankets and toys that are their favorites become mine, too. :-) Fuzzies and Bunny Softies, Bunny Bunsies and Duckies.
  6. Little Excitement..."We're GOING to GRANDMA'S?!! YEAH! We need to show her this or that!!"
  7. Little Soft Cheeks...what more can you say?
  8. Little Helpers...with (mostly)  that happy willingness.
  9. Little don't want them to last forever, but they sure are cute!
  10. Little Imaginations...tents, dress up, playing babies, the list goes on and on.

Super Baby Ready to Take Off
What are some of the little things you love about having children?

Joining in with Thankful Thursdays.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Joining in with Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky

September 13, 2010

The Changing of the Guard

Today I am linking up to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, and the post, It's all about fall.  I love fall! I live in a warm part of the country where fall comes very late usually, but this year we have been blessed with cooler temperatures.  I soak up every fresh fall breeze that comes my way!

I wrote a fall poem ages ago, back in 1997, that I would like to share with you....

The Changing of the Guard

What is Autumn?

Autumn is a sharp breeze of clear fresh air.

It is the vivid colors seen throughout the trees:

the crisp sound of dried leaves
that gradually
to the ground.

Autumn is stepping out to a refreshing morning
full of passions
and feeling joyous!

Autumn causes one to enjoy 
the glory and majesty of nature

Being a child is Autumn...

It is the happy ending of a story.

Fall is the Changing of the Guard

or sitting on a bench
and letting the sun seep through your limbs,
having the cool air
push the haziness from your brain,

savoring every honey gold drop
of Autumn.

Also, check out my post on Pumpkin Muffins for a link to a very delicious recipe! Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.
Changing of the Guard Photo from

September 10, 2010

Generations on My Wall

A couple of years ago, a cousin of mine shared some wonderful old family photos with me, as well as all the information she had on my maternal grandparents and great grandparents.  I wanted to be able to remember these family ancestors who made my family possible, who struggled and came over to America, so that now my family enjoys the blessings I framed the photos in pretty gold frames and have a hall family display.
In the picture above, my great grandmother Victoria, and my great grandfather, Peter, are seated. My grandmother is the baby, and the boy is her brother.  The other two girls are cousins.  Victoria and Peter are both from Poland, near the Czech border.  They didn't meet until they were here in America.  Victoria came over to America, by herself, at age 16! What courage.  I want my children to see these pictures, and ask questions about them, and feel a connection to the past.
This is Victoria many, many years later, with her daughter (my Grandma), and two of her grandchildren.  My mom is the cute little one on the left.  Love you, Mom!
My husband's grandmother has a very interesting life story as well...and I'll have to share that another time!  Have a great Friday!

PS...Check out the neat giveaway at a blog I follow called Pioneer Beauty. It's for a very pretty Jane Austen book, Sense and Sensibility.
PPS...Another terrific giveaway is for a modest skirt from New Creation Apparel...check it out at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.

September 3, 2010

The Value of Time

I love old books, and I have several vintage school books, primers, and readers that I have bought at estate sales and such.  Sometimes, when I can't sleep at night from a cold, or pregnancy discomforts, I read them until I am sleepy again.  One that I found had many good articles and poems was Bancroft's Fifth Reader, and in particular, the piece on The Economy of Time.  You can find it here on Google: "The Economy of Time" from Bancroft's Fifth Reader.
Just like many people, I have a tendency to waste away the minutes that add up to quarter hours, half hours, and eventually, whole hours...time that can be filled with useful improvements to self, mentally, spiritually, physically; or profitable time spent with children or family and friends.  When I read this article, I printed it, and put it in the front of my household management binder as a very good reminder to me.  I will share a few quotes with you:

"...The man who has wasted the precious hours of life's seed-time finds that he cannot reap a harvest in life's autumn. Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine; but lost time is gone forever."

"Rely upon it, if you are a miser of moments, if you hoard up and turn to account odd minutes and half-hours, you will at last be wealthier in intellectual acquisition, wealthier in good deeds harvested, than thousands whose time is all their own."

"The small stones that fill up the crevices are almost as essential to the firm wall as the great stones; and so the wise use of spare time contributes not a little to the building up of a man's mind in good proportions, and with strength."

Also today, I wanted to share with you a link to some great animal coloring page printables, found on Animal  I'm going to print out some of the cute owl pages for my littlest one, who loves owls.
Free Kids Coloring Pages

And now I'm off to make the most of my minutes today! Happy Friday!

Clock Photo by Suat Eman,

September 1, 2010

A Hobby of Mine

Since I was little, I have created homemade cards, and all these years later, I still do.  When I was a youngster, and made them for my Mom and Dad and siblings, I just drew pictures, and colored.  I still keep it pretty simple, I don't have any of the fancy new gadgets for card making or scrapbooking; just pretty papers and stamps, buttons, and brads.  It is so pleasing to make something beautiful that will brighten someone's day!  And the stamp I put on the back gives the whole reason for it: "Handmade Because You're Worth It".

Also I want to mention the giveaway over at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home. It is for a gorgeous apron of your own choosing, and they have some beautiful choices! Follow this link for the giveaway: Marie Madeline Studio Giveaway.
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