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I’m Otter-ly Loving Him, But He Has To Go...

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So we’ve had otters around the big pond for the past few weeks. Having not seen any here before, I had to do some research to find out more about them.

Otters were once practically extinct in Iowa until the 1980s when they were reintroduced. Now there are thousands of them, and they can be found in all 99 counties.

They often take over another animals burrow once it’s left, and we have some beaver holes that would be perfect for otters. We haven’t seen babies yet, but the mama otters will use the underwater entrances to raise their babies. We haven’t seen babies, but I’m sure they’re there, too.

I didn’t realize how big otters could be, either. The DNR says they can be as much as 5 feet long, and a third of that is their rudder-like tail.

They’re completely adorable and I love them, but they have got to go. This absolutely breaks my heart, but there’s a very important reason they can’t stay. They are carnivores - they eat meat - and their favorite is fish. Our fish. Lots of fish. If …

Words For Wednesday

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Protein-Packed Sausage And Egg Muffins

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The more I read about women’s nutrition, the more I understand how important protein is to our bodies. And if it’s spread out during the day, that’s even better. These handy sausage and egg muffins are the perfect size for breakfast, especially if you’re in a hurry in the morning. They freeze incredibly well and can be reheated in the microwave for 60 seconds. If you’d like to substitute freshly cooked bacon, that would be great, too.   Ingredients: 1 pound Italian sausage 2 cups flour 1 Tbsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/3 cup butter, melted 6 eggs 3/4 cup milk 8 oz bag shredded cheddar cheese 2.5 oz bag shredded bacon pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium cast iron skillet, brown the sausage.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add butter, eggs and milk to the dry ingredients. Combine well.
5. Stir in cheese and bacon.
6. Spoon mixture into muffin tins.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

What Does The Ground Of Your Heart Look Like?

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If you’re going to do a study on Jesus’ parable of the sower, you probably need to eat dirt cups while you write, right? There’s something about the combination of chocolate pudding, crumbled cookies and gummy critters that makes Bible study easier.

The parable of the sower is found in three of the four Gospels, and it is one of the few that Jesus explained verse by verse and line by line. And if He is that detailed in His explanation, we are meant to pay special attention to it.

Jesus told the parable while sitting by the sea, surrounded by a multitude of people who wanted to hear Him, see Him and just be near Him. In Matthew’s account, Jesus detailed four times the sower went out with his seeds:
* on the wayside where the birds ate them
* on stony places where there was little dirt
* among thorns where they were choked out
* on good ground where they grew fruit

The disciples first reaction after hearing this parable was to question Jesus - interesting, isn’t it? Their question was …

Sunday Sketches

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After all these cards covered in snow and snowflakes and snowmen, it's time to pull out some spring cards! This blue and purple card got me in the warm weather mood, so let's talk about how to put one together.

For my card, I pulled out three coordinating decorator papers and two colors of card stock. I love using big patterns in blocks like this because they offset the smaller prints, tiny embellishments and simple verse.

The two smaller patterns are perfect for bands across the width of the card, as they would be way too busy to use as a background.



Ready to make this sketch into a card of your own? This is a great opportunity to use up some paper scraps you have stored away, especially long, thin ones that would be perfect for bands and borders.

Choose a small sentiment for this one, as the focal point is really going to be the large decorator paper block. A few coordinating embellishments in the bottom corner will really balance this layout.

When you get your card done, I…

Understanding The Personality Of A Great Dane

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Thinking about getting a Great Dane? Already have a Dane but don't quite understand how her brain works? Just want to be supportive to your friendly neighborhood Dane owner? Here are a few insights into the Great Dane personality.

As opposed to popular belief, Great Danes know exactly how big they are. They'll throw their weight around when they need to, but for the most part they are gentle giants. And they don't really eat that much more than smaller dogs, which is also a misconception. 

Protective should be every Dane's middle name. (Molly's is Jo, but you get the idea.) I firmly believe that we will never be burgled because they'll hear her coming and head for the hills. Danes know that they have a home and property to protect, and they do it to the best of their ability.

They may nap frequently throughout the day, but Danes are definitely not lazy. They just conserve their energy for the important things like chasing squirrels, walks in the woods and the …

My “I’m So Ready For Spring” Bulletin Board

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Yes, it’s snowing again. Snowing. Again. It’s pretty from inside, but definitely not necessary at this point.

So to make everyone feel a little warmer and look forward to spring days, I put together this joyful bulletin board in the Sunday school hallway. The Scripture reminds us to praise God no matter what the weather is like, and the spring tree is just a hint of what’s to come.

The background blue is from a roll of paper that lives in the church copy room. It’s my go-to paper when I need a blue sky. The dark blue border is a different shade of blue to keep the theme going.

To make the tree, I cut a piece of brown mailing paper in one long strip, then trimmed it to fit under the bulletin board frame. A few thinner pieces make the perfect branches.

I used 3D bird and flower stickers from the dollar store for all the accents, and I punched out leaves from green textured paper.

For the verse, I created a text document in a fun font and cut them out as squares. They’re matted on sever…