Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Lazy Game Of Fetch

This is really and truly how Sadie and I play fetch. Yes, she's getting older and yes, she has severe hip dysplasia. But seriously, she's also really lazy.



video

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Practically Effortless BBQ Beef Sandwiches

By effortless, I mean: throw several ingredients into a bowl. Place meat in slow cooker. Pour ingredients over meat. Leave in slow cooker until the smell drives you so crazy you can't stand it anymore.

This is that recipe.

Ingredients:
1 boneless beef chuck roast (2-3 pounds)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
Your favorite sandwich bread or rolls

1. Turn the slow cooker on low.

2. Now...go back up and follow the instructions from the first paragraph of this post. It's literally that simple.

3. If you haven't already gone crazy after 8-9 hours on low, remove the beef and shred it with two forks. You may not even get to this step because it will literally fall apart as you pull it out of the slow cooker.

4. Serve on your favorite bread or rolls and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Simple Envelope Organizer

Not an organizer for your envelopes, although that would be equally useful. This is an organizer made of envelopes. Completely functional, completely easy to make and completely gorgeous!

You'll need:
an odd number of envelopes
adhesive
ribbon
various supplies to decorate with

1. Start with five matching envelopes. Any color or size will work, but the larger the better. They'll hold more stuff. Adhere the flap of the second envelope to the bottom of the first, with the opening facing the table.

2. Continue this for all five envelopes. If you'd like more, add more, but make it an odd number. Then use a bone folder or other straight edge to crease the folds in opposite directions. Alternate so that you make an accordion.

3. Make two slits in the very last envelope, one by the adhesive connection and one in the bottom fold of the envelope. Slide a piece of ribbon through and use it to tie the organizer closed.

Now you can fill it with all those little bits you need to have with you - coupons, receipts, store MVP cards, love letters...whatever will fit in an envelope. Just label each pocket and help yourself get things in order!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rehearsed Words

Are you one of those people that practices conversations in your mind before you have to have them for real? I have been for ages - until the Scriptures convicted me otherwise.

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. Matthew 10:19-20

Jesus was speaking to His disciples about how they would be treated when they were out spreading the Gospel. He knew that they would be arrested and persecuted, and it was all in His name. Part of His instruction was to allow the Spirit of God to choose the words they would speak when those opportunities came. Then they would be focused on the ministering at hand and not on practicing drawn-out speeches.

We can waste so much time and energy trying to make our words just right. Whether we're preparing for a dreaded conversation or figuring out what we should pray and say in public, words are important. We want them to be just right in our head before they come out and possibly embarrass us.

Jesus Christ told His followers that when the moment arrived, God would supply all the right words. They didn't have to be drawn away from healing and helping in His name, just to spend time choosing what order their words would come out.

Faith in the Lord means having complete faith - even faith that He will answer prayer and give us the words we need at the moment we need them. Can you imagine the freedom your mind would have if you weren't rehearsing words until you're tired of hearing them? God can.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Weekend Of No More Feeling Overwhelmed

Most days that overwhelming feeling piles higher than the laundry in the basket. Soon you don't know where to start and your energy is spent anyway!

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

Make this a weekend of laying aside the things of this world - the complications, the errands, the confusion and the burdens. Instead, allow the Lord to use these two days to transform and renew your mind for the upcoming week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Decently And In Order

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5


And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him onthe altar upon the wood. Genesis 22:9


And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. Leviticus 6:12



Order my steps in thy word: and let not an iniquity have domonion over me. Psalm 119:133



It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theopolis, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. Luke 1:3-4



Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If Dogs Wrote Diary Entries...

...my girls' journals would probably look like this.

8:00 Walk around the neighborhood. Fantastic!
9:00 Breakfast. Wonderful!
10:00 Nap time. Lovely!
11:00 Played in the back yard. Great!
12:00 Treats from Mom's own kitchen. Terrific!
1:00 Chased a ball around the house. Fabulous!
2:00 Another nap. Super!
3:00 Got groomed and cuddled. Amazing!
4:00 Sat on the front porch watching traffic go by. Cool!
5:00 Chased the squirrels away. Very good!
6:00 Welcomed Daddy home. Best part of the day!
7:00 Dinner. Sensational!
8:00 Curled up with the family for the evening. Perfect!
9:00 One last trip around the yard. Superb!
10:00 Bedtime. Unbeatable!

And would you like to guess that every page would look exactly the same?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dessert Table Variety

My favorite part of any church fellowship is the dessert table. I'd rather bake than make main courses any day - so I normally do!

For this week's special joint-service fellowship, I made two completely new recipes. For me anyway. I've been looking through our ever-growing collection of cookbooks and here's what I chose.

I made lemon cupcakes filled with a vanilla frosting and marshmallow fluff mixture. I was told they were "to die for" but I hope not. Stick around and have seconds! They're topped with that fantastic Pillsbury frosting in a spray can. Can't live without that stuff!

The topper is a lemon candy and I made hearts out of melted chocolate. Note to self: separate the hearts before you travel in a 100+ degree car. This way they won't be melted when you get there. I tried putting them back in the freezer, but there were only a few still in shape. The others got broken up and sprinkled on top. Good, but not the presentation I was looking for.

My personal favorite was the Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake. With a box mix, a can of cherry pie filling and a little almond extract, you can make a cake that's just like a chocolate-covered cherry. The smell alone will raise your blood sugar, it's so good! But it put a smile on my face.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Play Your Cards Right

While cleaning out the hall closet, I came across a deck of playing cards that we weren't using. My heart broke at the thought of throwing them out and it didn't make much sense to put them in the garage sale box.

So instead, I took them to the craft room and got creative. There are dozens of ways to use playing cards in your crafting, and here are just a few.

* Cover a handful with decorator paper. Punch a hole in the top and tie them together to make a mini scrapbook album.

* Use two cards that have been covered with decorator paper as the front and back covers of an accordion album.


* Cover one and center your favorite Scripture in the middle. Slide it into a large paper clip and stand it somewhere you can see it all the time.

* If the backs of the playing cards are pretty, use a punch or scissors to cut out some great shapes.

* Turn them into your business cards! Put your information on one side and some great Scripture on the other side. Share your faith and your business.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stay By The Old Stuff

There are moments when you realize just how true Scripture is. This weekend that became crystal clear when I realized why I hadn't been able to post to this blog for several days.

The update of my web browser wasn't compatible with my blog host, so nothing was communicating. What seemed like a great new idea at the time turned out to be a complication that I really didn't need.

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16

In context, God wasn't writing about my computer problems, but His truth is perfect for all ages. The old ways, the ways God designed before time began, are the best ways. Walking in them brings rest for the soul. That's all we're really searching for in this life, and the answer is right before our eyes.

The new, shiny, pretty ways of the world may appear to be the next best thing, but often the old paths are the good way. I'd rather be an old-time Christian than anything I know!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paint Chip Bookmarks

Sometimes you just want to try something different and expand your creativity. That's what happened to me and the paint chip samples.

I'm teaching a Sunday School lesson this weekend, question whether we truly believe every word in every line of the Bible. We say we do, but how often do we question, compromise, fudge a little or read over what we don't like?

To get my point across, I'll be handing out these bookmarks made from the paint chips you find at the home improvement store. They obviously come color-coordinated, so I didn't even have to think or match colors. That's when you know you've got a great craft project!

To get around the writing and advertising on the chips, I simply cut off the edges with the paper trimmer. It left one corner rounded, which was a pretty neat look.

The lesson is called "Do You Believe?" so that's what I stamped on the paint chip. With clear stamps and a larger block, you can position all of your words and stamp once for each page.

Then I matted each one on a coordinating piece of card stock to cover up the writing back there. That's where I plan to write out my Scriptures and some notes for the class.

These paint chips gave me a simple way to make my lesson clearer and have fun with a new creative idea.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Weekend Of Facing The Future

When was the last time that you really sat down and thought about your future? Have you ever thought about the future?

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

Make this a weekend of facing the future. Turn to prayer, God's Word and listening to what He has planned for the days to come. Let the moments of your personal vapour mean something to God.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Leadeth Me Beside Still Waters

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.



He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.


He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.




Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.




Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.



Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalm 23:1-6

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Last night I knelt at an old fashioned altar during the mid-week prayer meeting. There were many personal burdens on my heart, and the church prayer list was pages long. There was so much that I wanted to take before God and leave at His throne.

And I couldn't pray for any of them.

The words just wouldn't come. I knew that God knew my requests, but I just couldn't wrap my thoughts around them.

Through a flood of tears, I just thanked Him.

I thanked God for my salvation, for being able to come before Him and for His promise to always listen.

I thanked Him for our home, our church and our community.

I thanked God for our Preacher, his wife and each of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I thanked Him for the blessings of the day, the blessings of the day before that I was still rejoicing over and the blessings of tomorrow that I don't even know about yet.

I thanked God for family, for answered prayer and for moving in ways that I don't even know about yet.

I could have stayed there, thanking and praising the Lord, for much longer than the prayer time lasted. To me that's a blessing in itself. So I walked back to our pew and continued to thank Him. Throughout the rest of the service I found myself thanking God for many things, each as they came to mind.

Then, during the Preacher's message, I got a tiny glimpse of being in the perfect will of God.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Lord already knew my requests - He just wanted to hear my thanks for what He had already done. I cried a little more and thanked Him for that personal message, too. The heart that went to the altar heavy and burdened left the church house with renewed joy and a little touch from the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cook Once, Eat For A Week

On my grocery shopping trip last week I picked up an 8 1/2 pound pork shoulder. It was on sale for $20, and it was the perfect size for just the two of us. The best part is that I can cook it up on Monday and have meals for last a whole week!

Here's my plan. Being the undertaker's wife, though, this is always subject to the Lord's will.

Monday: shredded pork and three-bean salad

Tuesday: shredded pork pizza

Wednesday: dinner date - Danny works up until almost church time.

Thursday: shredded pork sandwiches on Texas toast

Friday: shredded pork nachos

Saturday: shredded pork tortilla wraps

Sunday: leftovers from the week!

Plus there's enough to send with Danny for lunch during the week. And some for me to nosh on during the day. One pork shoulder goes a long, long way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DIY Fruit Arrangement Containers

For a recent catering job, the family chose two edible fruit arrangements as part of their menu. I adore making these pieces and I'm always playing around with fruit combinations, arrangements and styles.

For these two, I used heavy glass bowls that I found at the dollar store. They were heavy enough to keep the arrangement from falling over and wide enough to hold many skewers of fruit.

I also picked up several round floral foams at the dollar store. They came two per package, so I used two circles for each bowl.

To start, I traced the bottom of the bowl onto the foam. This first circle will go to about the middle of the bowl.

The sides flare out, so the cut has to be on an angle. With a super-sharp knife (and fingers out of the way!) I cut through the foam circle at a pretty steep angle. Then I went back and trimmed it down to fit snugly.

The pieces that were cut off get tucked into the bottom of the bowl and the first circle goes on top of them. The more you have in the container, the sturdier the skewers will be at the top.

Repeat the process with the top circle, but in opposite. Trace the top of the bowl and cut at an angle. Trim to fit snugly.

I made two of these for my arrangements, and they only a few minutes each. The cutting was all done over a plastic bag so clean up was a breeze.

For such an easy project, the finished product looked amazing! I wrapped each one in tissue paper and tied it up with a ribbon. The family loved it and couldn't wait to dig in.

And I let them, knowing their arrangement was in a sturdy container, perfect for picking!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Focus For The Long Week

On Sunday evenings I write out my weekly to-do list. It's a computer print out that I made - it works for me, while it might be a little tedious for others.

Looking at the week on a single piece of paper can be overwhelming. It's going to be another busy one, and that can make everything I do just seem like work.

That's when the Word of God changes everything.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

When the chores are a mountain before you and you're so tired that being steadfast means curling up in an unmovable ball, your focus needs to change. The labors we do every day aren't for ourselves, for our family or for the people around us. They're for the Lord. And nothing you ever do for the Lord will be in vain.

As we start out the brand new week God has blessed us with, we have no idea what each day will bring. We can plan, structure, design and create, but ultimately we are to do the work of the Lord when He places it before us. Obedience to God's plan is always rewarded.

The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Ruth 2:12

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Weekend Of Enthusiasm

You already know what has to be done this weekend, but what heart attitude are you using to do it all?

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;


That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:


Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

Make this a weekend of enthusiasm for serving God. We have so much to be thankful for, and spending our weekend doing what pleases the Lord (with enthusiasm!) is simply our reasonable service.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

They're like a muffin...only different.
They're like a cupcake...but not really.
They're like a donut...sort of.

While it's difficult to describe exactly what they are, it's easy to describe how these muffins taste! They're fabulous! But be careful...you can't eat just one!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another larger bowl, mix oil, sugar, egg and milk.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.

5. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

7. While muffins are baking, melt butter in the microwave. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.

8. When muffins are finished, remove immediately from the pan. While still hot, dip the tops in the melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon sugar. As the muffin cools, the sugar will give a caramelized effect on the top. So good!