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Showing posts from February, 2017

A Sneak Peek At Tomorrow's Stuff From Trees Reveal

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We're starting something new and exciting at Stuff From Trees, our Etsy shop!

This is all you get for today, just enough to peak your curiosity. I can tell you that it's completely one of a kind, and you'll have to decide if you want to give it as a gift or keep it all for yourself.

Tomorrow morning, head to Stuff From Trees and see what all the fuss is about.

Tag Memory Verse Books

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I'm always looking for great new ways to learn and memorize Scripture. Numbers are definitely not my thing, so I can often remember the book a verse is in, but the chapter and verse often elude me. That's why having a way to carry Scripture around with me is such a great idea.

This double-sided tag book holds many of the verses that I love and would like to have committed to memory. The fact that they're pretty and colorful helps, too.

To make my tags, I started with one of my favorite stamps - a giant tag. I stamped on card stock and cut out around it. If you don't have prepackaged tags or a stamp like this, just cut out a large rectangle and snip off the top two corners.

Choose several of your favorite colors or see how much of the rainbow you have. This is a great way to use up all those scraps of paper you've been holding on to. Then use your tag template to cut them out.

Do the same with coordinating decorator paper. Did I mention that this is a great way to …

A Prayer For A Wife's Role In Her Marriage

Gracious heavenly Father, help me to love You first, with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind. I am Yours before I am my husband's, and I love and honor him because I love and honor You.

Let me not be jealous, not boastful, not self-seeking, but patient, kind, always trusting, hoping and persevering. My husband is my heart, and I want to show him this every day. Please help me to treat him the way I want him to treat me.

Enable me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. I desire these traits in my character so that I can prevent communication problems before they begin. Let my words be kind, uplifting and full of Your truth. Keep me from speaking lies, half-truths and exaggerations.

Help me to learn to be content in whatever my circumstances, so that I can treasure my marriage, my home and my husband as blessings from God Himself. You have blessed us beyond measure, and I thank You now for what You've already done for us, what You're doing right …

A Week Of Titus Older Women

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Many of our oldest trees are dead or dying. They've been there for ages and have stood the test of time. They've seen storms come and go, faced drought, flooding and disease. Their bark is tough and their trunks are thick and sturdy.

Next to most of these older trees is a smaller tree, like the one pictured here. The old tree has dropped its seeds and they have taken root. Someday the large tree will probably fall over and decay back into the soil, while the new tree grows up big and strong from the nutrients in the old tree.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

We may not be ancient like these old trees, but we are being called to bring up women you…

Such A Warm February

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February has been unseasonably warm in southeast Iowa. After a light snowfall in January, overcast winter days have turned into a breath of spring when we needed it most. I can't remember the last time I was able to walk the property in February in short sleeves, but that's exactly what I did this week.

With the leaves still gone, it's much easier to see just how many tall, stately trees we have. It fascinates me that there is such a variety of sizes, shapes and species of trees we have. Over the past few months we have also had several wind storms, so there are many fallen branches - and even some whole trees.

Some of the trees snapped in half, while others were knocked over at the roots. There is quite the spiritual application here, as I think about these short roots snapping under the beating of the wind. Only those trees with the deepest longest roots and those protected by the trees around them will remain standing after the storm.

 At the base of this particular tr…

What Customers Are Looking For In Addition To Your Product

Chances are that if you have any kind of job - from your home or outside the home - you interact with people. You provide goods or services that require you to offer yourself in one way or another. Those customers aren't coming to you solely for what you provide, either. They expect many things from you beyond what can be boxed up and delivered.

Are you providing what they need?

* A solution to a problem. The problem will vary based on our profession: a woman needs new clothes that will fit well and make her feel good about her appearance. A family needs to find a new house in a city where they don't know anyone yet. Parents bring their sick child to the doctor's office for a diagnosis and treatment. In every situation in our job, we are asked to solve a problem, big or small, and our performance affects how they feel mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically.

* Personalized service. We all know the feeling we get after we've called a company's customer service …

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

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So what's a girl to do when she needs eggnog for the cookies she wants?

She makes her own.

Once Christmas is past, it's very difficult to find eggnog in the stores. The ingredients for making your own, along with everything to turn the eggnog into scrumptious cookies, can be found all year round.

So try this combination for yourself and see if eggnog can be good in February, too.

Ingredients for eggnog:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp rum extract

Ingredients for cookies:
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup of the eggnog you just made
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar

Ingredients for sugar topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Begin with the eggnog. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl so they're lighter in color and fluffy.

2. Combine the cream, mi…

Words For Wednesday

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How To Wood Burn Stamped Images

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When you have acres of woods on your property, it only makes sense to want to use some of it for your craft projects. I'm always on the lookout for fallen branches and logs that can be turned into something even more beautiful. Obviously, that's why my Etsy shop is called Stuff From Trees.

This particular piece of tree was the perfect size for stamping, which I had done in the past. But this time I wanted to kick it up a notch and do some wood burning on those tree cookies, too. And that's how these ornaments came to be.

After cutting the discs, sanding them smooth and drilling a hole in the top, I matched them up with stamps that would fill most of the space.

Then I used a pigment ink on the stamp. It was just dark enough to be seen but not too big to cover with a wood burning pen. Since I've only done a few wood burning projects, I started as simply as I could with this method, sticking to thin line drawings.

Once I went over them with the wood burning pen, they wer…

Lessons On A Servant's Heart

I knew it was a problem when I checked caller ID and didn't pick up the phone. I knew exactly who it was, but I was too busy. Too tired. Too strung out by the events of my own day to listen to hers.

I was "too" a lot of things, but mostly I was too selfish.

When the phone rings and your first instinct is to just unplug it, you know it's a problem.
When you really do have some time to talk but you'd rather spend that time on your own stuff, you know it's a problem.
When innocent people are an inconvenience as they're reaching out to you, you know it's a problem.

God has a habit of convicting your heart in ways you can't ignore. He's not going to be subtle when what you need is to be slapped upside the head.

So when I began my Bible study the next day and found myself in the middle of Matthew chapter 14, it wasn't a physical slap. It did, however, make me a little queasy as I suddenly saw two verses in a whole new light.

The portion of Scrip…

A Week Of Delight

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It's always a great day when you open up the tool box and there's a great big smile waiting to greet you!

Ok, so it's really the back side of a mounting bracket, but there's very distinctly a smiley face there. Right? You do see it. Please say you see it, too.

If you open your eyes to the world around you, not just get your pliers out and move on, there are all kinds of things happening to make you smile.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

When your heart is in tune with God, His desires become your desires and His delights become your delights. Then you'll see moments of joy everywhere you go because you're aware of the blessings all around you.

Make this a week of delight. Look at things you've looked at a thousands times with eyes of joy and delight in the Lord. Trust Him to put delightful things in your path, and…

Teach Your Dog The Muffin Tin Game

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If you've never played the muffin tin game with your dog, today's the day to start. Molly adores this game, mostly because she has an affinity for treats and balls ... and probably muffin tins. I'm not sure about that last one.

When you play for the first time, put half a treat in each muffin tin section. I picked up a few tins at the thrift shop so we wouldn't be making muffins in them, too.

Then place a ball on top of most of the treats. As your dog figures out that there are more treats underneath the toys, all the compartments won't have to have treats in them.

Molly knows exactly where the treats are and has no issue throwing balls out of the way to find them.  You can't play this game too much or you'll have a roly-poly puppy who doesn't care if she ever plays this game again. On the other hand, it's great for dogs who get bored very easily or are motivated by food and treats. And if you throw the balls around afterward, she can chase them an…

Kitchen Finance Advice From 1943

I love finding old cookbooks at thrift shops and book sales. It's fun to read through the different ingredients and techniques that were popular, and there are always a few recipes that I want to try. Some of them turn out wonderful, but others need to stay in the decade the book came out, so I will politely leave them there.

The one that has fascinated me recently is a guide from a popular food company that was published in 1943. Right in the middle of World War II, women of America were desperately seeking advice on how to make their share of the available food stretch the farthest. It's a topic I've read about in history books, but until I saw the actually book these woman would have poured over, it really didn't feel real. There were also seven basic food groups in the '40s, adding butter/margarine and yellow and green vegetables specifically in their own categories.

What struck me the most was how relevant much of the information from 1943 translates to grocer…

Lemon Baked Tilapia

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In an effort to clear out the refrigerator and pantry before stocking up on groceries again, I found a package of tilapia fillets in the very back of the freezer. I had forgotten all about them after taking the first few out, putting new frozen foods to the front.

Fish and citrus are an amazing combination, so tilapia and lemon are the perfect marriage for a lovely dinner. You can buy individually wrapped fish fillets at the grocery store, so pick up a few on your next trip, along with a couple of fresh lemons, and enjoy this tasty meal.

Ingredients:4-6 tilapia filletsSalt and pepper to taste4 slices fresh lemon1/4 cup (half a stick) melted butter2 Tbsp minced garlic2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
2. Place fillets into dish and season with salt and pepper.
3. Cut four slices off one lemon. Then zest the remaining lemon and juice it.
4. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, garlic, …

Words For Wednesday

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Happy Valentine's Day

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Matters Of The Heart

There are television commercials about it. There are songs written about it. There are displays of gifts and decorations for it. Companies of every product imaginable are focused on it.

Matters of the heart.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a day of showing love to that special someone. Somewhere along the way, though, it became a day of buying and spending and showing love by how much and how big and how expensive your gifts can be. Quiet demonstrations of love and much-needed acts of devotion aren't comparable to something lavish and sparkling.

It's been the same in every generation - matters of the heart have been written about, sung about and examined. Where does love come from, people ask, and what makes it last? Matters of the heart lead to weddings and anniversaries, jealousy and murder, repentance and forgiveness, adulteries and abandonment, babies and grandchildren, and couples devoted to serving God together. The heart can also be easily swayed to the unholy and the ungodl…

A Week Of Examining God's Love

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The world is bombarding us with the word "love" this week. We should buy this jewelry if we love her. If we love him, we'll do and make all these fancy things. And don't forget the card, flowers and chocolates because ... well, because.

The overwhelming feeling is that Tuesday will be the only day we can show our true love how we really feel. Everything from the past 364 days doesn't matter anymore because this is the day to pour our hearts out, and then we wait until next February to do it up big again.

That's why it's such a relief to read about true love, God's love, in Scripture. God's love doesn't hinge on remembering a certain holiday or buying the largest stuffed animal known to man. God's love isn't a purchase or a requirement determined by the calendar. It's about passing on what we've already been given.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. …

How Many Heart Shapes Can You Find In Your Kitchen?

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 If you were to tear apart your kitchen drawers and cabinets, how many heart-shaped pans, tools and decorations would you find? Until I took this challenge myself, I would have been far off in my estimation.

With just a few days before Valentine's Day, I present to you this challenge. Look for anything and everything in the shape of a heart. (By the way, a circle cake can be cut in half and placed on two edges of a square cake to make a heart cake. Just saying.)

I truly was shocked at everything I had, and they were all different. Many of them were purchased in the week following Valentine's Day last year, and others I found at the local thrift shops. 

I guess I'm prepared just in case somebody needs dozens of lovey-dovey treats on short notice. 

Something as basic as a heart shaped pan... 

...can be turned into an incredibly pretty finished product. Think about strawberry and cherry chip cake, pink frosting and all the sprinkles, candy and other decorations you've sa…

A Valentine's Day Filled With Love, Not Dollar Signs

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Valentine's Day is right around the corner, as I'm sure you know. If you've been to any store in the past two months, you've seen shelves packed with candy, decorations and stuffed animals the size of a cargo van. You could spend anywhere from a few dollars to your first of the month paycheck to give that special someone a gift covered in hearts.

But what if you were to give a more thoughtful gift, something not found on a shelf or in a store? What if you could share your heart without having to take out a second mortgage on the house? A day like this should be filled with love, not dollar signs.

If this sounds like a wonderful, relaxing, less taxing plan, read on...

* Give your husband a handmade card, one that reminds him of a special time you shared. Think back (as far as you can) to when you were dating or first married and theme the card around a special moment or place. Let him know that those are still some of your favorite memories.

* Surprise him. What would …

Cinnamon Spice Cake Balls

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I often do a few hours of baking at a time and put much of the finished product in the freezer to have later. This makes those moments when I remember at the last minute that I was supposed to have a treat to share a little less embarrassing.

That's how these spiced cake balls came to be. I made spice cake (one of my favorites) several weeks ago and tucked it away in the freezer. Then when I needed something fun, I thawed the cake and made these super-easy cake balls.

Ingredients:
1 spice cake made with package directions
1 can vanilla frosting
4 bricks of chocolate almond bark

1.  Make or thaw the cake. Leave until it is at room temperature, then crumble as small as possible into a large bowl.

2. Add half the can of frosting and stir just until sticky. Add more as necessary depending on how much of the frosting your cake sponges up.

3. Roll into small cake balls and place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Once it's full, put it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, long…

Words For Wednesday

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An Upcycled Little Golden Book Album

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One idea for an altered album has become a never-ending hunt for Little Golden Books. After making this altered album from a vintage children's book, I've been looking everywhere I go for used copies that I can turn into fun, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Everyone I know says they grew up with Little Golden Books, and everyone has a favorite. This is the first one that I found, and it brings back so many memories for kids of all ages.

And while we all remember the cover art to our favorite books, it's the colorful images inside that are permanently etched in our minds.

To make the altered fire engine book album, I started by very carefully taking the pages out and pulling back the spine so I could take the inserts out.

All of the old pages are going to be trimmed down to make embellishments for my new pages.

The staples go through the pretty golden edge, so I cut a tiny slit with the craft knife so I could slide them right out with jewelry pliers.

With a craft knife, I sliced the…