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Showing posts from September, 2010

Best Popovers Ever!

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The only magazines I subscribe to anymore are either food-related or business-related. While one is informational and productive, the other is pure escapism!

In a recent issue of Country Living, I found this amazingly simple, incredibly tasty popover recipe. It was a reader submission from a woman in Connecticut and I fell in love with it!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Slowly pour the wet mix into the dry and stir until combined and just slightly lumpy. Let sit for 30-60 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one small pat of butter into the bottom of a 12-cup muffin pan or two 6-cup popover pans. Heat pan until butter is melted, just a minute.

3. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, until they are puffed and golden. Serve warm!

I actually used almond milk for our recipe because that's all we drink now. They turned out a little less puff…

Personalized Switch Covers

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Part of the fun that comes with keeping a home is being able to add all the little touches. With the first full week of Autumn behind us, it's time to add a fall feel in some small ways.

This light switch cover is the perfect way to start. While you can use any theme you'd like, I'm ready for some signs that it's almost October.

Start with an inexpensive, plastic cover. I chose ivory to offset the fall colors I was using. You can find them in the home improvement section of any department store for less than a dollar.

Choose your embellishments wisely. Remember that the piece will be hanging vertically on the wall, so heavy pieces or anything not securely attached will fall with gravity. You also want to be very careful about overlapping anything onto the back of the cover. In case of a spark from the light switch itself, you don't want anything back there that could catch fire.

So I used lots of rub-ons, sticky embellishments that add some dimension without creating b…

Protecting The Eye Gates

Has God ever showed you something that He'd like you to work on in your spiritual life? It might have been some sin, or something you've overcome that you can help others with, or maybe you've been given a burden for someone or some issue.

So when you see other people committing that sin, it should rub you the wrong way. If God helped you overcome alcohol abuse, watching people purchase liqueur at the grocery store should bother you. If you used to use foul language, hearing curse words should make you bristle. If the Lord helped you through living in an abusive home, it should make your skin crawl hearing about child abuse.

Now, it takes quite a bit to make me angry, but I was furious while we were driving on our recent trip to Houston. It's terribly difficult for those of us who are trying to keep our eye gates pure when you're traveling. In one stretch of road in particular I was fuming – Danny saw me in the rear view mirror and said I looked fit to be tied.

It sta…

For The Love Of The Game

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September is my favorite time of year. Not only is it cooling off a little and nature is starting to turn colors, but baseball season and football season overlap. There's so much sports action that you can get swept away for hours watching your favorite teams and players.

I grew up in a Yankee-loving home. When I saw the Dream Team win the basketball gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, I knew I wanted to do something sports related. I have fibromyalgia so playing was out of the question, but journalism was the perfect place for me.
Since then I've written about sports for newspapers, I've called games on the radio and I've worked in sports information at two colleges. Sports allowed me to combine my love of writing and my enjoyment of competition. Safely. Without spraining anything.
So fall comes along and I can get a healthy dose of games. There's the Braves in a heated battle to win their division. There's the Alabama football team defending their national champion…

Productive Time vs Personal Time

Have you found yourself in a rut lately? Feel like you're doing the same things repeatedly without any real enjoyment?

A preacher we know says that a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out. That's not the place I want to be in my life, so there comes a time when you have to kick yourself out of your rut.

Usually I press through my day to get as much done as I can - I feel most productive when I'm crossing things off my to-do list. I have set priorities for the day so that the most important things get done first. When trying to run a home business, teach piano lessons, serve the church and take care of my home and husband, lists and priorities are super important.

But when I get up in the morning tired and cranky and not in the mood to do much of anything, that's when I realize that I'm in a rut. You must know that feeling, too, because everyone goes through them. We push ourselves to the limit to be productive and then burn ourselves out.

Return unto thy rest, O…

When Is It Time To Call The Vet?

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If I took my little dog to the vet every time she had an upset stomach, we could take out stock in that man's office. Sadie has an insatiable appetite, swallows most of her food with barely a chew and doesn't mind eating an entire stick while we're sitting outside. After the tummy grumbles go away in a day or two, she's back to her normal self.

Bailey, on the other hand, is the picture of health. She loves to run, will curl up at your feet all day and can't wait for our morning walks. If she doesn't feel good, you definitely know it.
So when is it time to call the vet's office? It's not always clear if your pet is having a little irritation or a serious problem because they can't communicate verbally how they feel. (Unless you have a breed that howls and cries about everything.)
There are a few sure signs that professional treatment is necessary, so look for them closely.
* Extreme temperature change, from weather or exposure* Cuts or wounds that are op…

Coupons, Coupons Everywhere!

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If you're like me, anything that saves you a little more money at the grocery store is a fabulous idea! It's where we spend a bulk of our weekly budget, or more often depending on your cravings, so a few dollars here and there can really add up.

Our Food Lion installed this coupon machine at their front door a few weeks ago. I don't know if they're everywhere else already and we're just now getting one, but they are incredibly wonderful. You just scan your frequent buyer card and it prints out coupons that coordinate with what you normally buy.

You can save anywhere from 50 cents to several dollars based on the sales they're having. The items change frequently, so the coupons are different every time you go in. The coupon is also good for just that day, so you'll find extra coupons around the store that other customers didn't use.

Check around and find out if any of your local stores have this same coupon machine. Sometimes it can be worth it to buy certai…

Fall Baking

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I've heard this wonderful rumor that fall is here...somewhere. Here in South Carolina we're still celebrating mid-90's every afternoon, but some of the trees are making fun of us. On our morning walk yesterday I realized that several of them were changing color and dropping their leaves - they're going by time of year and not temperature, apparently.

Wherever you are today, you can celebrate the ushering in of fall with some typically autumn treats. Fall baking pans, cupcake liners, gelatin molds and other once-a-year items are out in abundance, so look for something special.

I found a leaf-shaped Nordic mini-cake pan on sale after the fall season last year, so I had just had to pull it out. Combine that with cupcakes in my Lodge muffin pan and we were set for a while. There's something about seeing leaves and tiny cupcakes that makes it feel a little cooler - maybe it was just the air conditioner turned down a little more.

I used a box spice cake for both kinds of tr…

My Prayer Journal

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This is by far my favorite item to make and sell in my etsy shop. All of my pieces are special and important in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but there is just something about a prayer journal that touches my heart.




1. Wrap decorator paper over the top of the notebook, covering the advertising.

2. Cut the short side of an 8.5x11 piece of card stock to fit the height of the notebook. Adhere the notebook centered right side of the card stock with the strongest adhesive you have.


3. Fold the left edge of the card stock over, creasing it along the edge of the notebook to create the cover. Mark and trim off any overhang on the right side.





4. And now comes the fun part! Decorating the cover with layers of decorator paper and embellishments is truly my heart. And this is my favorite Scripture to use for a prayer journal - one of two or three that I love.

This journal even has a special 3D name plate on the bottom band for you to write the recipient's name. I love that special touch fo…

An Old-Fashioned Bouquet Service

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We had the most wonderful day of services on Sunday. Our preacher had the liberty to preach all day and really got our minds working and our hearts stirred.
After the evening preaching we had an old-fashioned bouquet service. I had never been in one before, but it was the most fantastic time of love, fellowship and appreciation - we really needed it!
If you've never been in one either, the idea is to share flowers and love now instead of waiting to spend money on a funeral spray, once it's too late. Everyone brings flowers from their garden or a pre-made bunch from the store and they're all cut to be boutonnieres.
The church's Pastor Emeritus had us pin the Preacher and his wife first, and then everyone had the opportunity to take as many flowers as they wanted and pin as many people as they wanted. The beauty of this service was that it became an opportunity to apologize, give thanks and tell someone that needed it how much you love them.
I thank my God upon every remem…

I've Been Hacked!

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It amazes me what lengths man will go through to be evil.

Danny got an e-mail from me the other night that I did not send. He knew I did not send it because I was nowhere near my computer when it was sent. This is a very scary feeling, not knowing what's being done in your name.

When I signed into my e-mail, it was clear that someone had hacked into my account and sent a link in an untitled e-mail message. And because they could get into my contacts list, they sent it to about a dozen random people - relatives, friends and even a former boss.

I refused to click on the link to see what it was - that's just opening a can of worms...possibly literally. So I quickly sent my own e-mail warning my entire contact list not to open this e-mail or any others that appeared fishy. Then I canceled that account, one that I had for many, many years. I think that irritated me as much as anything.

I beg you to be careful about what you do and don't do online. There is so much potential for evi…

Fight Neglect, Use Your TIme For Sweetness

Everywhere you look you'll see how the devil is trying to destroy marriages. He'd like nothing better than to breed neglect and apathy in our relationships with our husbands. If they wither away, we can't serve the Lord as a team in the ways He has planned for us.

Did you realize that in just five minutes a day you can support your husband, give him your love, make him laugh, and solidify your relationship? Here are 30 ideas for how to do all those things - use one a day for the next month and see how your marriage can blossom.

1. Write a love note. Tuck it in his wallet, sock drawer or computer bag.

2. Send an e-mail with a cute cartoon attached.

3. Surprise him with a phone call at work. Make sure you leave a message if he can't answer.

4. Offer an evening foot rub. Believe me...this works wonders!

5. Turn off the television and eat together at the table.

6. Cook a favorite meal that you haven't made in ages.

7. Hold his hand as you walk through the parking lot.

8. Say so…

A Bounce In Her Step

I've been walking my dogs for over 8 years now, and I had never noticed this until recently. Watch Bailey's ears while she trots...cutest thing ever!

Why Is Money A Touchy Topic?

Money is a difficult subject to discuss, especially in a poor economy. We're all looking for ways to save money, spend less and find ways to be prosperous financially. However, when advice is given and suggestions made, our defenses go up.

We're constantly talking about spending habits, giving encouragement to be better stewards of the money God has given, and we listen to preaching about tithing. Then the rubber hits the road and follow-through isn't so easy. We try to rationalize and work around the knowledge we're given because it doesn't suit how we picture our lives.

There's something special about leaving home as a young adult and finally getting to spend money on what we want. There's no one standing over us regulating our purchases or handing out an allowance. There is freedom in our finances, but we're not always equipped with the information necessary to be satisfied and financially sound.
We can also feel like we're being analyzed or judged,…

Protein Pizza Muffins

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This is currently my favorite Beachbody recipe! I'm back in the swing of P90X, so nutrition is of utmost importance for refueling. This pizza muffin recipe is perfect for an afternoon snack or for a meal to watch your portion control.

Ingredients:1 whole-grain english muffintomato saucemozzarella cheesegrilled chicken, slicedItalian seasoning
1. Slice the english muffin and lay flat on a nonstick baking sheet.
2. Top with tomato sauce, seasoning, chicken and cheese to personal preference.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, until cheese is browned.
You can always play around with the toppings for this recipe. This week Danny made them with BBQ sauce and different cheeses, plus your choice of spices can make all the difference. I used leftover chicken that I cooked with onion powder, paprika, rosemary and course black pepper...yummy! Have fun experimenting!

Bears and Their Chairs

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Believe it or not, these adorable chairs are an answer to prayer. Danny surprised me with them the other day in two different ways. The first was that I didn't know he could make them, and the second was that he wanted them put in our etsy shop.


That was the answer to prayer part of the day. When we first opened Stuff From Trees, we were going to make it a collaborative effort. Danny does amazing work in his wood shop and I wanted to make cards. Both wood and paper come from trees, hence the name.
Well, when you're a funeral director and embalmer, spare time for hobbies is hard to find. I went ahead and built up our shop with paper crafts, still praying that God would bring our dream of a couple's project to fruition.
So when Danny brought these two tiny chairs into my craft room, I immediately sent up a thank you prayer. We now have something together that can strengthen us as a couple and grow our etsy shop. All in one little wooden chair.

These chairs are one-of-a-kind pie…

And He Took Him Aside

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything - just put the world on hold for a little while and regroup. Life itself can be overwhelming some days and there's nothing I can do on my own to get out from under it.

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Mark 7:32-35

The deaf mute was overwhelmed by his physical disabilities, and his friends knew that Jesus Christ was the only one who could change his life. They begged Jesus to work a miracle and take away his physical bonds and heal him.

But notice that Jesus didn't stand up in the midst of the crowd and announce that something miraculous was ab…

God's Word In Plain Sight

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One of the things God has convicted me of recently is having His Word in plain sight. My Bible time is powerful each morning, but there are so many times throughout the day when I need to be fed a little more. Having Scripture and other words of God's love surrounding me, my husband and anyone who enters my home is of eternally importance.

When you first walk into our home you'll see this plaque above the facing door. I got it for Danny the week after he got saved and it has had a special place ever since. I want to have those words hit my heart from the moment I come home.
My favorite souvenir from our trip to Mongolia, the script says: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. Isaiah 40:31. Danny's parents are missionaries in Mongolia, so it has twice the meaning.

My grandmother always had this plate hanging in her kitchen and I remember from being a little girl. I always hated doing the dishes (still isn't…

Oh, I'd Make Time For THAT!

Have you ever heard yourself say, "There's just no time left in the day!" and then actually looked at your schedule? I've noticed in my own life that there are lots of things that I'll definitely make time for, even when I'm beyond busy.

We complain that there's no time to get all the housework done, but how much time do we spend shopping for clothes?

It seems like there's no time to squeeze in Bible study in the morning, but there's plenty of time to get on the Internet for a while.

Maybe we don't correspond with friends and family like we should, but we can spend several hours in front of the television each night.

The piles of papers around us continue to grow, but we're busy on the phone with our friends.

Our family never spends quality time outside of the house, but there's time to take on one more extra-curricular activity.

We tend to make time for the things we feel are most important, whether they truly are or not. I don't want t…

It's All About The Time

We were traveling for five days last week, and apparently that had a real affect on the girls, Bailey in particular. They stayed home with our house-sitting friends, and they weren't thrilled that we were gone. I'm terribly sorry that it wasn't more pleasant than it was, but everyone survived and the house is still standing. The girls get extra treats for that one.

So we'd been back in the house for about 10 seconds when it became clear that all our dogs wanted was our time and attention. We were still trying to unload the card and get settled in for some Chinese take-away, but two 55-pound black labs had other plans for us. I was "forced" to rub bellies, allow for the sniffing of clothes and get covered in puppy kisses.

And life couldn't be any sweeter.

It was a long five days being away from the dogs, but it must have been even longer for them. Danny asked if maybe the dog years theory works on time, too. If we were gone for five days, did it seem to them …

God Is Good...

...all the time!

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. James 5:14-15

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for you prayers, notes and love this week. Danny's mother is doing wonderfully well, praise the Lord!

The surgery was a little shorter than they expected, but very thorough. They only had to remove the lump and one lymph node for testing - no mastectomy necessary! So far it looks like they took everything, but will do more testing in the next few days to make sure. She will have to go back in a couple of weeks for a radiology consultation, so we continue to pray for that.

The best part of the entire day was when we got her back to her hotel room that evening. She was still a little loopy from the medications, but she was up singing hymns …

Do You Eat Differently When You Travel?

We're spending the last of our marathon days in the car today. We're only stopping to eat, stretch, use the facilities and get back on the road. It's good to travel and it's wonderful to come home. Just a few more hours!

The tricky part of the stopping to eat part can be deciding where. The first two meals we ate were at chain restaurants where we might have gone if we were back in South Carolina. N0thing special, just something we were craving.

Later we had a huge buffet dinner at the hospital's restaurant. We don't normally eat that way, but it smelled so good, and that was the family decision. They had a wide assortment of carve-while-you-watch ham and beef, beautiful fresh fish and the most wonderful dessert table. I tried to camp out by the brownies, but there's some silly rule...

Breakfast at a hotel usually means eating food that you don't normally make at home. You can find some pretty healthy meal choices, but there's also the temptation to ov…

Stained Glass Window For Paper Crafting

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One of the greatest parts of cleaning out your clutter is finding things you forgot you had. When I emptied out my craft room a couple of weeks ago, I found stamp sets and idea books that I hadn't seen in years - even moving boxes full that hadn't been opened, and we've been in our new house for almost a year and a half!

One of those sets was this beautiful fall Thinking Of You set that just looked to me like stained glass windows. This is one of those techniques that I've always heard about but never tried, so this set was the perfect opportunity.


1. Stamp the image with embossing ink. Use black embossing powder and heat emboss.



2. Color the image with colored pencils or watercolor pencils and a blending pen.

3. Cover the image with Liquid Glass. Let the image dry and then cut around the edges.
The finished pieces of stained glass can be used like any other 3D embellishments and adhered to the page using strong adhesive. This card, along with many other cards and gifts, is…

We Covet Your Prayers

This week we are traveling to Houston to be with Danny's mother. She is having breast cancer surgery at the MD Anderson cancer center tomorrow, the second time she has had this done. She is a cancer survivor, and we are praying this will be double-true in a couple of days.

Please pray for Charlotte Carrell over the next few days. She is a missionary's wife and the sweetest mother-in-law ever. Pray for the family as we gather to support her, and pray for traveling mercies for all involved.

Have a fabulous day in the Lord and say a prayer for us every time we cross your mind. Thank you in advance!

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers day and night. 2 Timothy 1:3

Taking Time To Get Refocused

When I was in the second grade I got my first pair of glasses. I'd done so much reading in the first few years of my life that I was already near-sighted. The chalkboard was a little fuzzy, so off we went to the eye doctor. And I've needed them ever since.

Recently I took the leap and got contacts. Yes, a 33-year-old woman finally got contact lenses. It was definitely an adjustment because they're a little extra work than throwing your glasses on and forgetting about them. The contacts are weighted, and that took some getting used to. Since I very rarely get them in straight to begin with, it takes a little while for them to get centered. In the meantime everything looks a little hazy around the edges.

Isn't that how we head out into the world most days? We're in such a rush that the morning is still a little fuzzy...but that's alright. We'll manage, right? Just like my contacts, the world will get refocused at some point while we're hurrying through it, …

Disrespectful Owner Situation

The morning routine around our house is pretty typical. Danny leaves for work by 7:30, and the girls and I walk him to the car. Then we continue on our walk for 15-20 minutes or until Sadie says it's time to go home. Hip Dysplasia out-votes everything.

The past couple of weeks have been a challenge for that walk time, though. At the far end of our street is a home that lets their dog loose to roam every morning at about the time we set out. Several times this big black dog has charged my girls causing all sorts of growling, barking, pulling and general confusion. One time we walked/pulled/trotted past as quickly as we could, and another we turned around and came back to the house.

Danny suggested that we take a different loop, heading the other way to circle around the conflicted area. This was a fabulous idea and we've done it several times, but it doesn't alleviate the problem. The dog is wandering further down our road now - I saw the neighbor across from us chasing him b…

Curb Your Weekend Spending

The weekend is upon us, as Pay Day might also be. Most women will admit that these two events and SPENDING go hand in hand in hand. We've worked hard all week to rein in excess spending, but when the weekend hits we wreck all that effort.

So how can we combine self-control with some weekend R&R?

1. Fun doesn't mean mega-bucks. It means finding things to do that will draw your family closer together. Does spending money seeing a movie at the theater outweigh an evening camped out on the living room floor watching a movie? The treats are less expensive and you can take a bathroom break whenever you want. Check out local art museums, the park down the road or your own back yard. You'd be surprised at how much there is to do that doesn't cost a thing.

2. Take a break from window shopping. "I'm just going to look." How many times have I heard those words flowing freely from my lips...and then came home with two or three little bags? If you want to maintain yo…

The French Press

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I made the decision several years ago not to drink coffee anymore. I was a newspaper reporter and had basically pumped coffee into my veins to keep me going. I wouldn't say I was addicted, because that reporter/coffee relationship just seemed natural.

Then I married a man who lives on coffee and it was harder to not indulge every now and then. I've always enjoyed the aroma as it brews, and the smell usually led to a taste once in a while.

And then we got a French Press. I had heard about them and knew they created a richer, fresher coffee than a drip brew coffee pot, but the whole process is truly fascinating.

Coffee is brewed by placing the coffee and hot water together in the glass container, stirring it and leaving to brew for a few minutes. It's really a very speedy process. Then you push the plunger down to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker. Simple!

And fabulously tasty! You use a courser-ground bean in a French Press, you get a stronger, thicker, more f…

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

A year ago today I wrote a few words on an otherwise empty blog page. I felt convicted by the Lord to put the thoughts He was giving me down in writing for other Christian women to read. They were helping me to live as a victorious Christian woman, and He moved me to share them however I could.

This is just a portion of that first post:

I am committed to the notion that Christian women can be whole, happy, content and busy, all at the same time. There are times when we all feel overwhelmed by the burdens of everyday life, but our circumstances should never steal away the joy of our walk with God. We can live a victorious Christian life no matter what comes our way.

Psalm 51:12 says: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Often the reason we feel weary and depressed is because we're not relying on the Lord to feed us daily with the joy and strength that come only from Him. My greatest joys in the day are when I'm in Bible study, w…