Showing posts from June, 2017

Building A Pallet Wall

Turning the plain white wall in our entertainment room into a rustic pallet wall was the first major home project Danny and I had done for a while. We spent an entire weekend creating it, and it's one of the projects we're most proud of in the house.

This is how it started - just a section of wall like any other.

I taped it off and spray painted it black so the white wall wouldn't show through the cracks and crevices of the pallet boards. Using a piece of cardboard in addition to the painter's tape helps, but there can still be problems. For instructions on how to remove over-spray from wood, read this. (Yes, this is the voice of experience talking.)

No two boards are the same, and they're definitely not evenly cut, so painting the wall black will keep those imperfections from standing out.

Then came the muscle part - Danny used a Sawzall reciprocating saw to cut through the nails in the pallet and release all the boards. This is by far the easiest way we've f…

Twins On The Carrell Wildlife Preserve

Congratulations - it's twins!

These two baby raccoons have apparently lost their mother because we see them out and about at all times of the day. They're also not afraid of humans, so we're guessing they were never taught that survival skill.

They're do surprisingly well on their own, though. They live in a small patch of forrest at the top of the driveway and go back and forth by the house to get to the small pond. They're constantly eating, when they're not running and chasing each other. And getting wet in the rain.

While they are absolutely adorable, they are still wild animals. No matter how cute they are, never approach or try to help wild creatures in any way. In this case, raccoons grow up to be mean, and having them near the house could be incredibly dangerous. Also, their waste can carry diseases harmful to both humans and pets. It's just not worth it.

Our newest solution to this pesky problem is to let Molly out on the deck. When they see a Gre…

Removing Spray Paint Over-Spray From Wood

One of our new home improvement projects requires a black wall to start with. (More on that next week!) Spray painting the wall black was easy, but when I removed the painter's tape from the edge, I realized my mistake. There was more over-spray than I expected, and it was quite obvious against the light wood.

So what's a DIY girl to do? I grabbed a bottle of olive oil and two microfiber cloths. A small amount of olive oil gives the wood a slick surface to start with.

Then I took a plastic scraper, this one from our kitchen sink, and wrapped it in another cloth. This protects the wood so you won't be able to gouge the wood or the finish. The scraper will peel away the paint and the cloth collects and traps it so you won't spread it to other parts of the wood surface.

A little bit of elbow grease was all it took to scrape away the dried paint.

I know the popular thing now is to do as little work as you can to accomplish the same job, but in this case that shouldn't…

Cheesy Ground Beef And Cornbread Casserole

Here's a fun challenge for this week: see what meals you can make using only the ingredients you already have in the house. Raid the pantry, see what's in the refrigerator and empty the freezer. You'll probably find several meals hiding here, just like I did.

A few pantry items and two pounds of ground beef from the freezer all came together to complete this tasty, filling meal. So get creative and see what you can whip up.

2 boxes cornbread mix
1 1/3 cups milk
2 eggs
2 pounds ground beef
mesquite grill seasoning
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp honey mustard
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 15-ounce can whole corn, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Prepare cornbread batter by combining mix, milk and eggs. Pour into prepared baking dish.

3. Bake cornbread at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

4. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet with mesquite seasoning.

5. Add mustard, ke…

A Week Of Rekindling The Fire

Last month when our teens girls Bible study met here at the house, we took them up to the burn pile for a bonfire. We had pans full of bratwurst and went back up to make s'mores. To teens, this apparently means putting a marshmallow on a stick and then setting it on fire. Some of them skipped the other ingredients and focused on the flaming marshmallows.

What was interesting, though, was watching them try to roast the bratwurst and the marshmallows. It wasn't an overly hot day, but the fire was burning incredibly high and fast. Even when it was down to coals, it was difficult stand within arm's length to heat their food. I had to laugh as they stretched and leaned and tried to find a way to cook their meal without scorching their eyebrows.
As we stood there watching the flames together, it was the perfect time to talk about the flames of hell.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquit…

Getting A Handle On Your Pet's Shedding

A few years ago it was easy to stay on top of the dog hair in the house because we had two black dogs, mostly dark-colored clothes and light carpet. As soon as I saw black lab fur on the cream carpet, I would pull out the vacuum cleaner and take care of it. Part of our evening routine included grooming the girls and getting rid of all that excess fur.

Then along came Molly. Where the girls had black fur, Molly has light brown fur that shows up like neon lights on our dark clothing. Black labs have a dense undercoat that combs out easily, but Great Danes have this fluffy hair that falls out if you look at it funny. Everything we had done before to control the shedding situation went out the window because Molly is apparently the exception to all rules - in more ways than one.

So here is my arsenal of fur fighting tools. It takes some time and effort, but it's worth it for humans and puppy alike.

* Fur brush: It doesn't pick up and hold her fur, but it loosens it and makes it e…

A Flashback To Childhood

While looking for something completely and totally different this week, I came across a box of toys and games from when I was little. I had just been talking to someone recently about how everything we loved as a kid is popular again, and this box confirmed my theory.

This is the very first sticker book I ever had. You can tell that I made it myself, and I even counted them all and have the number written on the back cover. I got them for accomplishments at my piano lessons and for finishing my chores. 

 I still collect stickers, but they're now in a big bag in the craft room and I claim it's in the name of my business. Mostly I just like stickers. Obviously I always have.

One of the thrills of my surprise box was one of my favorite beginner books. My grandparents gave it to me for my second birthday, and I still have it memorized. Books are very, very special to me, and finding the Little Golden Book version of it at a thrift store recently made me smile.

These books still h…

The Do's and Don'ts On Donuts

Donuts always take me back to my childhood. Growing up I always had a different kind of donut with my cereal and banana each morning. My favorite is still a white cream-filled long john, although I really like apple fritters. And cake donuts. And all the ones with cream inside - not pudding, though. The white fluffy stuff.

Ok, so pretty much all donuts. I'll admit it.

Making donuts at home is super easy, and I've shared several of my recipes with you here.

* peanut butter mini donuts with marshmallow icing

* baked cinnamon donuts with cinnamon sugar topping

* chocolate and coffee doughnuts with coffee glaze

* baked cake mix doughnuts

* baked doughnuts with cinnamon and nutmeg

Whether you spell it donut or doughnut, or you like them baked or fried, they're a great treat - and not just at breakfast!

Here are just a few tips I've learned from my adventures in donuts.

1. When you're baking donuts, don't overfill the pan. If you do, the bottoms fill up and you lose…

Words For Wednesday


A Scraps Journal For Your Daily Scripture Reading

It's so easy to get into a rut when you're doing your daily Bible study. Instead of going through the motions and getting nothing redeemable from your Scripture time, combine one of the day's verses with those paper craft supplies you're hoarding and make a journal keepsake.

Each day, when you're doing your study or reading through the Bible in a year, write down one verse that especially spoke to you. Then take a thick, blank journal and decorate it with your extra paper and embellishments. Add the verse you wrote and the day you read it. You can also write a short note to yourself about why this verse was important on that particular day.
When you've filled it up, you'll have a journal full of memories, Scripture and the story of how God is working miracles in your life every day of the year.

An Ode To Our Titus Older Women

I have different women in the church that I go to for different things. I know exactly which ones will wrap me up in a big bear hug. I know who will be gentle in their words, while others will tell me exactly how it is. There is one woman who always shares craft ideas with me, and one who challenges me to be a better, more caring wife. And, of course, there's that one who makes me laugh until I cry.
When my week hasn't gone so well, there's one woman who knows it just by looking into my eyes. When I'm tired or discouraged, there are several women who touch my heart with their care and concern. And when I need a shoulder to cry on or just lean on for a while, I know just where to turn.
These characteristics don't just come naturally to some women and not others - they are learned. They come from years of experiences, decades of suffering and a lifetime of watching God, studying His word and living lives sold out for Him. Then it becomes that woman's responsibility…

Words For Wednesday


Cabinet Door Coat Hanger Upcycle

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were out walking on her property when I spied her burn pile. Mixed in with some broken-down wood and old tree limbs was this beautiful wood cabinet door. I learned that her contractor had left a bunch of scraps from his own wood shop there, and they were planning to use them for a bonfire and s'mores party. I quickly captured a few of the pieces to take home with me, and that's where this entryway coat hanger came from.

Putting it together was quite simple with the right tools and a husband who knows how to use them. Since the door was outside for several weeks, the first step was to get it cleaned up. I just used hot water and got in all the corners and crevices.

I got three hangers at the local hardware store, where you can find them in a variety of styles and price ranges. I didn't mind paying a little bit for them since the door didn't cost me anything. Danny and his drill/screwdriver were greatly needed here, as the wood is qu…

You Can't Have A Re- Without The Original

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Psalm 85:6

I once heard a preacher say that you can't have revival without having first been "vived." Without the original life-giving miracle and excitement over salvation through Jesus Christ, you can't have revival in your heart down the road. It would be like having follow-up questions from a conversation you never had.

This applies to so many truths in our walk with the Lord. Here are just four examples of needing the original before you can add the re- to the front:

Recall: Unless you have first passed godly thoughts through your mind, you won't be able to recall them later, when you need them most.

Recount: In order to tell someone about an experience you had with God, you have to have the experience, and it will have to leave an impression on your mind.

Refresh: If you were once fresh in your beliefs, you will be able to return to that clean, pure state when life seems overwhelming.


A Week Of Diligently Seeking

After a particularly harrowing experience with a runaway Great Dane, I ordered a set of tags for her collar. At least that way she would have some identifying information with her when she decided to run like the wind again.

The day they arrived in the mail, I ripped the envelope open and got them on Molly's collar. We immediately showed them to Danny and then went for a spin around the driveway.

Within two minutes of starting out on our walk, I noticed that the jingling had stopped. A quick glance confirmed it - the tags were gone. Already. We retraced our steps and moved every blade of grass where I thought we'd been, but nothing. I even called a friend to see about getting a metal detector to find these brand new tags. We didn't have to go that far, but I was seriously considering it.

For days afterward, I would continue to look, thinking they had to be somewhere in one section of the yard. Days later, though, the search had come up empty.

But without faith it is imposs…

A Simple Request: Leave Nature Alone!

There's a reason I'm sharing this picture of an empty pen with you today. A few years ago, because of our acreage and willingness to help, we were asked by the DNR to assist them in rehabilitating wildlife, and this is one of the areas we have set up for orphaned fawns. We're glad to see it empty because that means the babies are out in nature where they belong, not in an enclosure fighting for their lives.

Before I go any further with my plea today, I want you to understand something very specific about what we do. We don't go around looking for animals to help, and we don't let anyone drop off animals with us. We work directly with the DNR and receive animals from them and them alone. It's a good year when we never receive a call, though we're prepared if they need us.

It's been both a joy and a heartache over the years because, while we're able to give animals a chance they might not otherwise have had, there are very few times we're able to…

Have You Forgotten How To Cleave?

Five weeks after I put up the Easter bulletin board in the church entryway, I went back to change it to a patriotic theme. To be honest, I hadn't been back there for a few days, so I didn't realize that it was falling apart.

Double stick tape is my adhesive of choice when I'm just attaching paper to paper. These were hand-cut letters on a white paper background, so they should have held. But thanks to gravity and people leaning on it and brushing past it, some of the letters were almost completely unstuck.

While we're not held to anyone or anything with sticky tape, each of us is still jostled around and pulled away from the love that matters most in our lives.

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. Joshua 22:5

Joshua knew, as he was …

Parmesan Pork Chops

These breaded pork chops are a simple, quick way to serve up a complete and tasty meal in less than half an hour. Serve them with a side of stir fry vegetables and you'll have to put them on your most requested list.

six 5-ounce ribeye pork chops
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Set up two bowls for a breading station. Pour the milk in one and combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in the other.

3. Soak the pork chops in the milk one at a time, then coat in the breading mix. When they're completely coated, transfer them to the baking dish.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.