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The Classic “My Book About The State of Iowa”

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As part of my job at the convention and visitors bureau, I have to know as much as I can about our town, our county and our state. Tourism is such a great industry to be part of because I get the chance to showcase our city every single day. So when I came across this vintage, handmade book about the state of Iowa, it was like finding a gold mine. (Yes, that’s my name on the front. I was a writer even then.) My second smile came from seeing my book-making technique. It has three thin strips of construction paper stapled to both covers like a strap to keep everything contained. I’m not sure if that was my flash of brilliance, or if that was what the teacher suggested. Either way, pretty ingenious. For the record, my knowledge of Iowa and farm facts is pretty ok. At least that’s what my test says at the top of the page. I have absolutely no idea when I made this in school, though judging by my handwriting, it could have been any time. Alas, my penmanship is still not the best, but at lea

Dollar Store Wood Turned Into Fall Decor

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We’re getting ready for a banquet at work next week, and I just had to make something special to add to the centerpieces. All of these adorable wood pieces will be given away at the end of the night, along with some mini pumpkins at every table. Not only are they stinkin’ cute, they’re also easy to make. All of the crates, trays and pallets are from the dollar store, and we already had the stain and foam brushes, so they cost next to nothing, too! When I apply stain, I always begin with a thick layer, then wipe away the excess with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. The wood these are made from is very dry, so it sucks up a ton of stain very quickly. There’s something very satisfying about seeing the stain change color as you wipe it away. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m a big fan of natural wood, so I chose two different stains - light and dark - because I wanted to do a couple of different embellishments on them. And they need to dry overnight before adhering anything to them. At the en

Words For Wednesday

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Vegetable-Hamburger Cups From A 1969 Cookbook

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Hello, my name is Laura, and I am addicted to vintage cookbooks. There’s something about the colors, patterns and photos in those great cookbooks from decades gone by that makes me smile. I grab them up whenever I find them at thrift stores and book sales.  But now the truth … I do actually use them! It’s fun to flip through a cookbook from years past and choose a few to try. It’s fun to experiment with them and see if they’re still workable and yummy. This one definitely was. It’s a ground beef cup shaped over the bottom of a muffin tin and cooked, then inverted and filled with mashed potatoes and a lovely, cheesy sauce. The one thing I would change is making sure the meat is fairly dry before forming it because it was fairly juicy and didn’t hold up all the way around each cup. Other than that one change, it was such a good experiment! Ingredients: 1 egg 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup crushed crackers 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 lb ground beef 4 servings mashed potatoes 2 Tbsp

God Always Preserves His Word

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Last week I was able to hold pages from Bibles printed in the 1600s. To some people this may not be the most wonderful thing in the world, but to an avid bibliophile and Christian woman, I literally had goosebumps. It’s true that God, from the beginning of time, has preserved His word. In was originally spoken, passed down from generation to generation through stories, celebrations and memorials. Then it was written in various forms and languages, but it was still God’s word, saved and treasured and special. Holding these 400+-year-old Bible pages was more than just touching a piece of history, although that makes them special, too. I couldn’t help but think of the people who had suffered, were tortured and killed just for the right to have a Bible and read it. People down through the centuries have given their lives for me to hang these pages in our church. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I mig

My “Look-Alike” Planner Page Layout

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At the beginning of October, I changed up the way I’m putting my planner together. In the grand scheme of things this may not seem huge, but I just don’t have time to design my own pages anymore, cut them out and decorate a two-page spread every day. Using just preprinted, single-day pages has been interesting, though, because they coax out some new creativity. They’re still a two-page layout, but they’re shaped the same way instead of being mirror images like before. So for this week’s pages, I challenged myself to use up a whole bunch of supplies I already have, plus coordinate colors and designs on both pages, plus make them the same but different. Challenge accepted. I started with one of my favorite washi tapes and covered some of the pages’ printed lines with it. Then I added two banners to each page, the same colors but different patterns, and the numbers. Again, using the same three shapes on the left hand side, I coordinated some beautiful patterns one both pages. Two cute lab

An Entire Photo Album Of Puppies Sleeping

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I wonder if our dogs think it’s creepy that we have so many pictures of them sleeping… But it’s not creepy at all if they’re this cute. Especially if you could hear all four of them snoring at the same time. So cute.