Showing posts from 2009

Sweet and Spicy Game-Day Wings

With family and friends gathering over the next few days, here's a super-easy and super-tasty chicken wing recipe. The combination of soy sauce and orange marmalade makes these wings messy and fabulous all in one! They're perfect for an appetizer or as a game-day meal. The following are approximations of the amounts I use - after a while you'll play around with them to find the combination you like best. Now I go by sight and smell rather than measured amounts. Have fun with it! 1 cup sweet orange marmalade 1/2 cup honey 1/3 cup soy sauce 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar 3 tbsp ginger 1 tbsp minced garlic 1 tsp crushed red pepper 30 chicken wings (I've used both whole wings and separated drumettes and wings - we personally prefer the separated.) 1. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl, separating half into a ziplock bag. Add wings to the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 2-4 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Cover and refrigerate the remaining glaze. 2. Preheat oven to 450

Creating A 2009 Time Capsule

We may never meet exactly this way again. There are people close to us who were alive this time last year, but are no longer living. There are new babies, new spouses and new friends who weren't with us a year ago. We have no idea what faces will surround us when 2010 is over, and but for the grace of God we may not be here ourselves. So let's put together a family time capsule, something that will show exactly who we are today and who and what we love. It's often hard to put into words what's important to you, but we all have pictures and mementos that can be sealed away for the future. For your capsule itself you'll need a box, coffee can, cookie tin or other container that won't get crushed (just in case you forget where you store it). You can decorate it like I did here, or just write the date, year, and when you'd like it to be opened on the top. Decorating the time capsule can be a great kids' project! Give them the supplies and let their creativit

Where's Your Self-Control?

When I'm writing, scrapbooking, working on the computer or even cleaning the house, I tend to have something to snack on nearby. That's my little reward for accomplishing something. What I've learned over the years, though, is that I have to ration out what I eat or I'll consume the entire package, bag or box. You'd never tell it by looking at me, but I truly love to eat. Only by exercising portion control can I outsmart my appetite and keep my body healthy and happy. He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. Proverbs 25:28 Imagine your heart having a wall around it, a wall of self-control that protects us and shields us from temptation, laziness and gluttony. With dedicated cleaning and maintenance we can keep this wall standing tall and intensely guarded. Without self-control, our emotions, desires and appetites take over and we feel like we are useless to stop them. We often say we were powerless against our hu

Chores To Do In 10 Minutes

Time is a precious commodity these days. It seems like we can never get on top of all the chores around the house that have to get done, plus make a dent in some of the those we'd like to do. Do you have 10 minutes? Somewhere in between work and dinner, cleaning and errands, tackle one of the following tasks that will take just 10 minutes of your time. 1. Empty and sort one drawer in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. 2. Sort out your old magazines. 3. Vacuum or sweep and mop one room's floors. 4. Fold and sort the laundry. 5. Clear off one counter top, dresser or chest. 6. Grab a basket and clear out one room of all things that belong in other rooms. In your next 10 minutes, put them in their appropriate places. 7. Clean and shine all your mirrors. 8. Fill and run the dishwasher. 9. De-gunk the microwave. 10. Wipe down your fan blades. And this is just the beginning. If you've only got 10 minutes at a time, you can really do a lot. Look around and see what needs to be tackl

Take Time For Yourself

Think back on the past month of holidays - did you concentrate all of you time and effort on cleaning, cooking, decorating and shopping for other people? Did you stay as busy as humanly possible just so you could get everything done that you wanted? Are you now stressed, tired and physically drained? The holiday season isn't the only time we get spread so thin and make ourselves half-crazy. Most women feel like we're not accomplishing anything if we're not busy all the time. We want to experience life to its fullest, which means double-scheduling ourselves and our families. This is a great time to relearn how to take time for yourself. This may seem like a silly idea when you're already stretched to the limit, but if you don't take time to rest and rejuvenate now, your body and mind can develop bigger problems. It's pretty common knowledge that stress leads to heart disease and depression, and makes you susceptible to other illnesses. A little time set aside now

Let's Make It Caturday!

I watched yesterday while the girls and Cayenne enjoyed their Christmas gifts. We filled a plastic stocking with toys and cans of cat food for Cay and gave Bailey and Sadie rawhide toys and a big bag of treats. Whoever said Labs think with their stomachs was on the right track. All three of them had a fabulous day and slept incredibly well last night. That's when I realized, they don't even know it's a holiday. Friday, December 25, 2009, was just another day to them. True, we gave them more to eat than usual, but other than that it was business as usual. And usual means eating, sleeping, running outside and cuddling with their humans. Animals live in the moment - they don't worry about much, except that it's time for their next meal and it hasn't magically appeared in their bowls. They aren't concerned about receiving gifts or having the biggest, newest or shiniest "whatever." All they want today and every day is love and attention. When they get o

Merry Christmas!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said

Slow-Cooker Poppyseed Cake

This is my all-time favorite slow-cooker dessert from the Crock-Pot cookbook. It's perfect for a quick, last-minute event. You can cut it into blocks, like we did here for our ladies' Christmas tea at the church, or into wedges. Batter: 1 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tbsp poppy seeds 1/2 cup sour cream 1 egg 2 tbsp milk 1 tsp vanilla 2 tsp grated orange peel 1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a waxed paper circle to fit inside of slow cooker. Spray lightly. Set on high heat. 2. Whisk baking mix, sugar and poppy seeds in large bowl. In another bowl, mix sour cream, egg, milk, vanilla and orange peel. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients. 3. Spoon batter into slow cooker and smooth the top. Place double layer of paper towel under lid. Cook on high 1 1/2 hours. Cake is done when top is no longer shiny and toothpick comes out clean. 4. Invert cake on cooling rack, peel off waxed paper and cool completely. Glaze: 1/4 cup orange juic

Fun Place Cards That Double As Gifts

While you're waiting for dinner to cook or watching one of those wonderful Christmas specials on television, put together some fun and creative place cards for your Christmas table. You can use some pretty simple, around-the-house items and create something your guests can take home at the end of the meal (if they haven't already eaten them!). Dress up a small votive candle holder with some ribbon, then fill it with candy, tiny ornaments or some decorative beads. The attach your name card to a straw or craft stick and tuck it in. This easy tree decoration can double as a place card. Check out the post from December 2 for the instructions. Then write or print out a name to attach to the star. Pine cones are a great winter theme - bake them at 200 degrees for 20 minutes before using. Once they're cooled off, embellish them with ribbon, glitter and a name card. To make a sweet peppermint candy place card, cut an oval out of decorator paper and punch a hole in either end. Strin

Should We Pray For Patience?

As human beings, we are not often blessed with an abundance of patience. Most ladies don't wait well in trying situations, but we live in a "hurry up and wait" society. Put a woman in a doctor's office, grocery store line or busy intersection and you'll see what she's made of! One thing I've discovered over the years is that if you pray for patience, God will put you in situations where you have to practice patience. We don't wait on each other very well and we definitely don't wait on the Lord very easily. This is especially true in those instances when we feel that God has not met our expectations. For some reason or another we figured out how things were supposed to be, we wrote everything out in ink and then something fell through the cracks. Now we're out of patience and ready to take matters into our own hands. Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 Did you ever mail a

Putting Your Pocketbook In Order

You may have a lot resting on your shoulders, but it should be responsibilities, not in your purse. As we head into the New Year, now is the perfect time to purge, fix and organize your pocketbook. You'll lighten your load and probably find some things you forgot you had! * Empty it out. I have several pocketbooks in a basket in our closet. Every time I switch purses I clean everything out, discard the trash, sort the receipts and put all my loose change in a jar. There's no reason to carry around (or store) extra stuff. * Fix a travel bag. I also have a little bag that goes from purse to purse. It contains all those essentials like a lint roller (we do have two dogs and a cat), a Tide-to-Go pen, brush, feminine products and some mints. This bag is all fixed up so I can pull it out of yesterday's pocketbook and put it into today's. It's a quick, easy way to keep things together and keep them organized. * Process all your papers. Do you hate carrying around 27 receip

Carefully Plan Your Planner

What kind of calendar do you use? Is it a wall calendar for everybody to write on? Do you carry a planner in your pocketbook? Maybe you have a tiny calendar on the table or a scratch piece of paper does the trick. Whatever you've chosen, it's about to run out. In less than two weeks 2009 will be over and you'll need a new planner. Would you like to try something different this year and be more organized, more efficient and less frazzled? Here are some characteristics of a great calendar system. 1. Versatility - Look for a planner that has day, week, month and year views. You don't have to write a certain event on every single one of them, but having them all handy can help you see into the future, so to speak. You can keep any long-range plans in writing and still see what you have to do this afternoon. 2. Portability - It doesn't do you much good to have a huge desk calendar filled with everything you need to do this week, but it's so huge that you can't ca

Let Me Introduce You...

If you're having any type of gathering during the Christmas and New Year's seasons, you will probably have children in your home. If your pets are unfamiliar with the pitter -patter of little feet, now is the time to prepare everyone for the interaction. Consider the preparation in three parts: your pets, the visiting children and what you yourself need to do differently. The pets: * If you don't have children, try to socialize them with some neighborhood children. Have them and their parents meet you on the porch when you're going for a walk. * Begin being more touchy- feely with your pets. Chances are the children visiting will want to love and hug on them, so start preparing them for it now. * Keep mealtimes on schedule. One of the biggest problem areas between kids and pets is mealtime, so maintain your schedule and keep the children away from food bowls. The children: * Have a talk about respect - don't surprise animals, poke at them, pull anything or harm the

Where Is Your Money Going?

In the midst of a time filled with spending, charging and more spending, I'm going to ask you to sit down for just a few minutes and take a look at your finances. What??? During the week before Christmas??? There is no better time to examine where your money is going every month than right before the new year begins. When you're ready to fill in the amounts listed below, gather up all the bills you'll need and make sure your husband sits down with you. You shouldn't do it without him and it will give you both insight into your home's finances. Grab a calculator and figure out your monthly payments for the following: Mortgage/rent _____ Auto loans _____ Personal loan _____ Credit card debt _____ Estimated taxes _____ Utilities _____ Food _____ Home repairs _____ Automobile expenses _____ Auto insurance _____ Homeowners/renters insurance _____ Medical insurance _____ Entertainment _____ Restaurants _____ Travel _____ Clothing _____ Hobbies _____ Gifts _____ Child care

Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Veggies

Are you looking for a simple, quick recipe for this week before Christmas? Here's the solution when you have many mouths to feed, no time and little energy! The whole meal takes about 20 minutes to make and is incredibly satisfying. Pair it with some fresh fruit and with a little dessert to follow. There will only be two pans to clean and you can move on to the rest of your evening. Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Broccoli and Peppers: 1 lb whole wheat penne salt 1 1/4 coup broccoli florets 3 tbsp olive oil 4 links turkey sausage 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped (or red and yellow combination) 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper 1. Cook pasta as directed. Add broccoli for the last 3 minutes. Drain. 2. Brown sliced sausage in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, 10-12 minutes. 3. Return pasta and broccoli to pot, add sausage, red peppers, oil, parsley and crushed red pepper. Toss to combine.

Two-Tone Stamping for Christmas

One of the prettiest stamping techniques involves using a background and a foreground stamp to create layers of colors and patterns. In the Good Old Days of wood-mounted rubber stamps, this was super tricky because you couldn't see exactly where you were stamping. Since the creation of clear stamps and blocks, though, this technique is easier. This stamp set from Close To My Heart, Make It A Simple Christmas, is a great example of stamps designed to layer. Each one has a foreground and a background stamp. For this bookmark, random stamp pine tree branches around the edges. Make sure to stamp some over the edge to look more finished. Always stamp a lighter color for your background stamp so the darker color will show on top of it. The background stamps will be solid shapes and the foreground stamps will have the detail. In coordinating colors, stamp lights and bulbs hanging from the branches. With the clear blocks you'll be able to see exactly where your darker foreground stamp

Is Your Pride In The Way?

If jealousy is the green-eyed monster, I wonder what color eyes pride has. This sin is so tempting for the human flesh and it is one of the things we hate most in others. How much easier it is to see pride in someone else and not even notice it in ourselves. In the KJV Bible, three Hebrew words were translated to our word "pride." They meant glory, height and excellence. Combined, these words give us a clear picture of the sinful, destructive nature of pride. Pride puffs us up and we begin to compare ourselves to those around us, putting us on a higher and higher pedestal. This evil thinking drives a wedge into our relationship with others and tears us away from fellowship with God. Now there is a difference between being proud of someone for their accomplishments and the work they do for the Lord, and the feelings of superiority that Satan wants to use to control our thoughts. The sin is the lifting up of self, not the support and love of someone else. Have you ever stopped

Winter Skin Therapy

Just when we figure out the perfect combination of facial cleansers, toners, moisturizers and cosmetics, it happens - the winter weather sets in. Then we have to contend with dry skin, chapping and peeling. Colder temperatures make your skin much more sensitive and delicate. It's also likely more dry than normal. If this sounds like what you're dealing with this December, think about a few simple changes that can make a dramatic difference in the condition of your skin. 1. Think gentle. When it's cold outside, you need a more gentle cleanser and moisturizer. You may not need a toner at all, but if you do make sure it's a more gentle version. 2. Apply some lip balm. We've all felt the effects of dry, chapped lips in the cold wind. Make sure you use a lip balm or gloss with an SPF of 15 or higher and use it before and after you're outside. Prevention is much easier than healing. 3. Use a moisturizer with sunscreen. It may be cloudier and stormier than usual, but t

Respect Me, Respect My Time

There are 27 things to do today, and yet we wasted time turning down a telemarketer. At what point do you stop a phone conversation with someone because you need to get back to work? Should I keep waiting for that person who's late or move on to something else? Psalm 90:12 says: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. If I am to apply my time to learn more about God and use that knowledge and understanding to serve Him, I cannot waste any of my time while I have it. This goes for all Christian women - the time we have to serve the Lord is precious and we must use each moment of it. These are the treasures we store up for ourselves in Heaven. With this in mind, how can we use our time wisely and respect other women who are trying to do the same thing? If each minute of our Christian service is so incredibly important, how can we treat each other wisely and respect our time? * Be punctual. Early is even better. * Be prepared for meetings/lessons/cla

Puppy Lovin' From My Oven

This picture looks like a tasty little muffin that you might serve at your next Christmas party - but it's not! They're actually not even for you! The girls got something very special recently - I went completely out of my comfort zone and made them treats. No different than making muffins for people, these Crunchy Apple Puppy Muffins are super easy, super inexpensive and super tasty. (Yes, Danny and I tried them, too. They're actually pretty good.) You will need: 1 large and 1 mini muffin pan 1 tbs baking powder 4 cups flour 1/2 tsp vanilla 4 tbs honey 2 3/4 cups water 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 cup diced apple 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Mix the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry bowl slowly, mixing thoroughly. 3. Pour mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 1 1/4 hours and until a toothpick comes out clean. This recipe made 24 mini muffins and 8 large muffins. Sto

Celebrate Christmas Without Spending A Dollar

For eleven months out of the year everyone will profess that money, happiness and love aren't connected. Then all of a sudden December hits and thoughts turn to presents, trips, decorations and parties. We get caught up in showing our live through what we buy. It's as if winter and Christmas trigger some type of spending spree of the heart. People are so focused on what to give that they forget about budgets. Savings deplete and credit overflows. I want to spend just a few minutes centering back in on the Christmas traditions that don't cost a penny - the ways to celebrate the birth of our Lord without even once tapping into the bank account. * Choose time over gifts. Your family may never remember that they received socks, a tie and a new video game after a couple of weeks, but they will remember singing Christmas carols, reading the Bible on Christmas morning and baking cookies from scratch. Time is fleeting and we will never be together like this again. Take pictures, ta

Eat Well, Celebrate Well

The month of December is possibly the worst month of the year for eating right. For those of us trying to stick to a nutrition plan, it's terribly tempting to just give up for a couple of weeks, but your body will thank you in January if you put in the effort now. But how do you avoid packing in the food and packing on the pounds? It seems like there are treats and sweets everywhere during the Christmas season! These are the ways I have found that work for me. See what might work for you. 1. Portion control. This is the most important rule all year-round. It's OK to have some casserole, just not half the pan. Desserts are a great treat, but don't fill a dinner plate with them. Balance your plate with small portions of the things you love, as well as the healthy foods, and your body will thank you. 2. Steer clear of the tempting trays. If you know everyone at the office has treats in the break room, don't go in there unless it's really necessary. If there's an

Creative Gift Wrapping

If there was an award for best gift wrapping, I would never even see it, much less get to take it home. I guess I don't have the skill, but I have the interest. So I'm always looking for ways to make my gift presentation both easier and prettier, whether it's by using (or reusing) something I already have or learning so way to save money and still make something cute. Here are a few ideas. * Experiment with different papers: sheet music, an old sewing pattern, hand-stamped paper or the comic section of the Sunday paper. You can even branch off from paper and use a new shirt, vintage fabric or a hand-sewn gift bag. * Don't buy ribbon. Use what you have around the house like twine, raffia, beads on a cord, recycled bows from years past or embroidery floss. * Add some extras. Tie a set of measuring spoons on a gift for a cook. Attach a sheet of stickers or a pair of decorative scissors for a crafter. Add a pen for a writer. Or just tuck a Christmas floral pick into the r

Turn The World Upside Down

Think about the last few church services you've attended. Did you prepare for them with joy in your heart or did you have to talk yourself into going? Were you looking forward to worshipping the Lord, or were you going through the motions? It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and routine when it comes to our attendance, our prayer life and our fellowship. It's even easier to come up with excuses, and that's all they are, as to why we aren't focused on serving God. When we get saved, we aren't immediately raptured. We're left on earth for one simple purpose - to lead unbelievers to salvation. If God meant for us to struggle through life living for ourselves, there would be little to look forward to each morning. The reality is that we are required to stay in our mortal shell simply to share our testimony. So...what have you done today? Simple question, right? You got up, hopefully did some Bible study, took a shower, had breakfast, went to work, did the house c

The Best Home Gadgets Ever!

Now I'm not usually one to rave about gidgets and gadgets and new stuff that comes out. However, there are a few products available right now that have changed how I clean my home and I just have to share them with you. I don't have any ties to any of these companies or their products, but they really and truly work so hopefully you'll love them, too. * The Pledge fabric sweeper for pet hair: This is possibly the most wonderful invention since sliced bread. When you have two black dogs and a partially white cat, the hair shows up no matter what color furniture you have. The hand-held sweeper is simply two rollers housed in a plastic cover. They rotate back and forth, gathering loose hair and trapping it inside the cover. When it's full, you throw it out and get a new one. You never have to touch the hair, try to peel it off anything or gather it by hand. Plus it works on many kinds of fabrics, except for vinyl and leather. And since it's portable you can take it o

Banish Laziness

While I'm sure you've never had this problem, I've been fighting laziness lately. It's not to the point where I'm sacked out on the couch all day, but I feel like there are many areas of my life that I could be more productive. It all comes down to my laziness preventing me from doing what I know I could (or should) be doing. Ecclesiastes 10:18 says: By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. I can vividly picture my home, my family and my church falling apart brick by brick if I give in to laziness. Yes, there is a time and place for rest and relaxation, but there is also a need to follow through on my responsibilities. So can we overcome the urge to lounge or look for entertainment before it affects our service? 1. Are you truly lazy? Or are you just distracted, bored or disinterested? There may be no good reason why I stray from the task at hand except that something else catches my attention and

All We Want For Christmas

Bailey: Hey, is this how you work this thing? Sadie: How did you get a picture on here? Bailey: Like we haven't watched Mommy do it a hundred times... Sadie: Do you think she'll mind that we took over her computer for the day? Bailey: Nah...she's scrapbooking. She'll never even know we were here. Sadie: Did you watch her putting up Christmas decorations today? Bailey: Yeah, but none of it was edible. I lost interest after about a minute. Sadie: I can't wait until she starts putting our presents out. Bailey: Oooh...I forgot about presents! Remember a couple of years ago when we both got new beds? Sadie: They smell like trees on the inside. I think she called them cedar or something. Plus she can take the covers off and wash them so they don't smell like us anymore! Bailey: Best present ever. Sadie: But last Christmas we got stockings full of rawhide treats! Bailey: Oh, that's right. I guess I ate them so quickly I forgot about them. Sadie: And since there are

Christmas Planning the Frugal Way

Can you believe the first week of December is almost over? There are many things that we would like to have in our homes, give as gifts and serve at our tables this Christmas season, so save some money by doing your shopping at the dollar store. You can feasibly find most anything you need for entertaining, gifts and more all in one stop and for a fraction of what you'd pay elsewhere. Check out what I found in one trip this weekend: Gift Wrapping: * Wrapping paper * Gift tags * Scissors * Tissue paper * Tape * Bows * Gift bags * Plain and decorated boxes * Gift card holders * Christmas cards * Mailing supplies Decorating: * Stockings * Santa hat * Table top decorations * Ornaments * Garland * Extension cord * Craft supplies Entertaining: * Table cloth * Napkins * Plates * Glasses * Silverware * Place mats * Towels * Zipper baggies * Roast pans * Kitchen gadgets Gifts: * Socks * Pencils and erasers * Candy * Toys * Candle * Picture frame * Calendar * Pens, crayons and markers * Scra

Many Ways With Corn Muffins

Do you ever get tired of fixing the same meals over and over again? Are you in a cooking rut and want to yank yourself out of it? The easiest way I've found to experiment with new tastes is to add different flavors to something you already make and like. Case in point: we love cornbread at our house. But having the same pan of the same cornbread mix too many times makes us not like it so much anymore. Instead, we've decided to doctor up the old standby and give it some new life. This recipe is adapted from one I found in a magazine a couple of months ago. The major difference is that I used a box mix to make the cornbread while they wanted me to make it from scratch. Lately I do not have the time nor the energy to do this, so out came the box of Jiffy mix. If you don't have some of these on hand at all times...shame on you! Cranberry Streusel Corn Muffins 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line or spray nine cups of a muffin tin. 2. For streusel topping, combine 6 tbsp all pur

Trimming Your Napkin With a Tree

Apparently I am in a napkin frame of mind lately. I couldn't resist sharing the adorable Christmas napkin tree with you. It's a great little craft for kids or you can make it more elegant for an adult party. Tailor it for your personal tastes. You will need: 2 colors of construction paper Double stick tape or glue dots Regular tape Scissors Glitter or gel pens Paper napkins Water glass 1. Using the mouth of the water glass, draw a circle on one piece of construction paper. If you have white napkins, use green paper. If you have green napkins you can use white or red paper. 2. Cut out the circle. The start cutting a 1/2" spiral around the edge of the circle, working your way in. Leave a small circle in the middle. 3. Cut two stars out of the other color of paper using a template for a guide. (I used one of my scrapbooking templates.) Decorate with glitter or a gel pen. 4. Glue the stars back-to-back on the little circle you left in the middle of the spiral. 5. Roll your nap