Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Sketch

Are you ready for a banner day? That's what this sketch is all about!

A hand-cut banner made from coordinating paper balances out the circle-framed focal point of this card. to make the banner, use the corner of a piece of card stock to show you where to cut. Then you can mat it in coordinating paper, if you'd like.

A small phrase or another image can be added to the bottom corner.

For my card, I started with two layered of blue card stock for the background. For some reason I usually mat the darker color in the back, but I reversed it this time, and I love the result.

My banner is cut from plaid decorator paper, then matted on a very light blue.

A circle cutter let me make the perfect sized circle around my chipboard little horse toy, and then it's matted on the same blue as the background.

A card stock die cut phrase and three blue gems balance out the right hand side of the card.

The perfect verse inside completes the card - for this one I used 1 Samuel 1:27.

You can find this card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Etsy shop. Come visit for more great ideas or to find that perfect gift.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Weekend Of Standing Out

As spring takes over, green is the predominate color. But it spreads very slowly, often one tree or bush at a time.

That's why, in the middle of a forest that still seems to be asleep, there is a bright spot of glorious green. This light, cheerful color is a welcome sight after so many months of brown and then white.

It's easy to spot this lone green tree, because it is a completely different shade from those around it. Even on the far side of the pond, it seems to sparkle among the dark shades around it.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove which is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Make this a weekend of standing out. In a dark, dreary world, the light of Jesus shining through us should be a blinding beacon. It's nothing of ourselves, but our Lord Himself makes us different, makes us stand out from those who don't know Him. We should be like a new green tree in the middle of a brown, dormant forest.

When we allow God to use us as He sees fit, when we've offered all that we are as a living sacrifice, He will make us stand out. We'll be useful and moldable and open to whatever He has planned for the weekend. How exciting to see how He'll use us and make us stand out in a crowd.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Property In Spring

Spring is an amazing time in southeast Iowa. After many, many weeks of cold and brown everywhere, everything is finally turning green.

I love the florescent green that pops out this time of year. The big pond has lots of algae around it, and this is one of the spots where the fish are spawning. We've already had some great fishing.

The trails are ready to be cleared out, as many trees have fallen during the winter and our first few spring storms.

Looking back across the big pond, you can see more of the trails.

There are all sorts of wildflowers out, catching the sunlight.

We're blessed with so many acres of trees, even if the beaver is determined to have his fair share of them.

This is his den. It's hidden down at the far end of the big pond.

Late afternoon is the perfect time to see how the sun hits the trees and the water.

And it's the perfect time to spend quiet time at my prayer bench. The view can't be beat.

Our pair of Canada geese couldn't agree more.

If this is what April holds for us, I can't wait to see what May has in store!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Here's a quick and easy brownie recipe that will fit all of your needs.

First, it's only three ingredients, so it's not going to break your bank getting everything you need.

Next, it's only three ingredients that you probably have on hand right now. No shopping needed.

Then, it takes about a minute and a half to mix the three ingredients together. Then you stick it in the oven and let it go. A no-fuss concoction.

Lastly, they're incredibly yummy and probably somewhat addictive. If the speed and ease don't get you, the taste will!

1 cup Nutella
10 Tbsp flour
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x7 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Combine all three ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined and creamy.

3. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sweet Succulents

 Spring has sprung with reckless abandon - and it's about time! Those of us who have been cooped up all winter are finally spreading our wings and enjoying the longer, sunnier days.

Spring also means the first trips of the year to the garden store. We have several in town, so there is a great variety to choose from. We're planning a couple of outdoor projects this summer, but first I had to do a little indoor gardening.

Now, I have an incredibly black thumb. In college, I killed a cactus. I think that explains it all.
But I love succulents, so planting some indoors was my first real act of spring.

You can plant succulents just about anywhere, so I pulled out a metal tea tin and one of my favorite cups. Now I'll have two amazing planters and one of my favorite Scriptures out all the time.

After filling them with potting soil, I broke apart the root balls on each succulent. They have a much better chance of surviving when their roots aren't all tight and knotted.

Read the tags on your plants carefully to find out just how much sun and water they need - each one is different, and it can make the difference between a plant that lasts a few weeks or many years to come.

So for now they're hanging out in our dining room bay window. Maybe they'll have some other little friends before the season ends!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Better-Than-Take Out Sweet Sriracha Chicken

We don't eat out very often, but when we do, we usually order something we wouldn't make at home. This amazing chicken recipe is one we won't be ordering at the restaurant, since we can make it at home. It's that wonderful.

It's made from several ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, and it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

1 cup water
2-3 Tbsp sriracha
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 Tbsp honey
5-6 diced chicken breasts
1/2 cup cornstarch
olive oil

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower temperature and simmer.

2. Put chicken and cornstarch in a large bag and shake to coat.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet, adding the chicken to brown.

4. When chicken is cooked through, stir in the sauce, stirring frequently until heated.

Serve with rice, quinoa or veggies.