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Showing posts from March, 2017

A Week Of Waiting For Rain

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This week we had a good, soaking rain. It came out of nowhere, drenching the ground for the better part of an hour. Molly and I sat at the window and watched, mostly because it had been so long since we'd actually seen rain.

Southern Iowa has been parched of late, which is clearly seen by the layer of grime on my car. After driving on gravel roads to interview a source for a magazine article and just going up and down our own driveway, it's clear that we were in much need of a cleansing rain.

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. James 5:7

We have a choice while waiting for the rain - we can wait patiently or we can be impatient. Think about it this way: will a lack of patience make the rain come more quickly? Will any amount of anger, bitterness, frustration or grumbling bring rain drops from the clouds?

Make this…

Making A Mechanical Slider Card

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There are some days when I'll stare at a blank piece of card stock for hours and never see a finished card. Then on other days, like one this week, when I see something I've never seen before. That's how this beautiful slider card came to be. For this special card, you will need: card stock, decorator paper, eyelets, fibers, beads and adhesive.

Step 1: Cut and fold the card stock. I have a certain size of envelope that I like to use, so my cards are all cut to fit that. It's easier for me to make the card fit the envelope than find an envelope to fit my card.

Step 2: A simple patterned paper as a background.

Step 3: Cut another decorator paper slightly smaller than the card.

 Step 4: Choose an image that fits nicely and cut out a frame slightly taller and much wider. This is the space the image will move back and forth in.

 Step 5: Set eyelets in the sides of the image.

Step 6: Set eyelets in the frame in the middle of each side, even with the eyelets on the image.

St…

Words For Wednesday

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Strawberry Cake Mix Bars

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There are so many magical things you can do with a box of cake mix. I love making some basic cookies from them. You can always add ingredients to make special cookies. They make cute little cake loaves. And you'll enjoy the baked donuts you can make.

Here's one more to add to the list: cake bars! I love the cherry and strawberry cake flavors, but this will work perfectly with whichever flavor you like best.

Ingredients:
1 box strawberry cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 bag white baking chips
1 container pretty sprinkles

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

2. In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Stir in about 1/4 cup of white chips and a few of the sprinkles.

3. The mixture will be stiff and sticky, but you can still spoon it out and press it evenly into the baking pan. Add another handful of white chips and more sprinkles.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges have just turned brown.

Note To Self...

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A Week of Identifying Your Walls

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Up at the top of the hill by the big barn, there is a large circle of native grasses. It stands about 7 feet tall, and it's especially pretty when it moves in the breeze. 
But upon closer inspection, not all of the grass is standing up tall and pretty — in reality, it's just the outside ring. Inside, the grass has all been trampled and broken, leaving it to lie on the ground and whither away.
The outside doesn't match the inside. Seeing this plot from a distance, it would appear to be healthy and flourishing. It's pretty for pictures and seems to be growing strong. It's not until you peek inside that the true condition is apparent.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Proverbs 16:2
God sees beyond the walls we put up around us and knows exactly what's on the inside. He is fully aware of how things inside us have gotten trampled, broken and bruised. We can put on a good front and make those walls look vibrant, but w…

Homemade Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats

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Ok, I need to admit what happened while I was making these peanut butter bacon puppy treats. I'm not proud of my weakness, my lack of self control. I almost feel like I've failed as a puppy mommy.

I gave Molly raw dough.

I know. I couldn't resist.

But I also assumed that if she liked the dough, she'd love the finished treats. She did, and she does. As if you couldn't tell by the look on her face.

Trust me, the face she gave me before I snuck her raw dough was much more pitiful. I have a feeling your puppies will love them as much as Molly does.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick oats
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup bacon bits

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until a stiff dough forms.

3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rectangles, pinch the middles to look like a bow tie and transfer to…

King Solomon's Advice For Your Business

King Solomon was known as the wisest man who ever lived for a reason. His God-given understanding gave him the advantage in ruling the nation, making good decisions and profiting from his time and effort.

If part of your Bible study every day is to read a chapter of Solomon's proverbs, you may have already noticed the business advice he gives there. Whether you own a business, work for a corporation or have an online shop, God's word - especially the book of Proverbs - has everything you need to know about to succeed in the workforce.

Here are a few examples:

* Diligence in your work will bring rewards. Proverbs 21:5

* In contrast, laziness brings ... well ... not much. Proverbs 20:4

* Have a plan for the direction of your work. Proverbs 6:6-8

* With both coworkers and customers, think before you speak. Proverbs 29:20

* Lay aside your pride and ask for others' insight. Proverbs 15:22

* Look beyond the money to what's truly important about your work. Proverbs 13:7

* Nev…

Children's Book Themed Memory Game

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This was not the craft that I intended to share with you this week, but it is a fun and creative one. I have a stack of about 30 Little Golden Books in my craft room, and they keep calling my name. Books in general do that, but this call has been pretty strong. Because I finally had duplicate copies of one book, I was able to make a fun Memory game from them.

If you don't remember Memory (pun completely intended), you place all the cards face down and jumble them all up. Then you start flipping them over two at a time, trying to make matches. The object is to remember where each image is so you can pair them up and clear the table.

The supply list is fairly simple: cardboard, decorator paper, scissors, a ruler, a craft knife, scissors and adhesive.

The first step is to break down the books. There's a great tutorial for that here. You'll have two sets of inside pages and two loose covers.

Then cut 3-inch squares from the cardboard.

I had enough pages to make 24 cards, 12 f…

Words For Wednesday

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Stuffed Crescent Rolls Two More Ways

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Over the past few years, I have offered you several different ways to utilize crescent rolls:
Meatball crescents and s'mores crescentsWild blackberry crescentsItalian chicken crescents
Today I have two more for you to try: taco crescents and chocolate peanut butter crescents. Grab two cans of crescent roll dough the next time you're at the grocery store so you can try them both!

For the taco crescents, I had some leftover cooked ground beef, so I added some tomato sauce and Mexican seasoning. I put a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture onto the wide end of the unrolled crescent, then covered it with a sprinkling of Mexican blend cheese.

They get rolled up and placed on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake as directed on the package.

While the dinner crescents were heating up, I used the other can of dough to make dessert crescents. A thick layer of your favorite peanut butter will hold the mini chips in place along the entire length of the unrolled dough.

Choosing Wisdom Over Gold

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Who wouldn't love to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? We could pay off our debt, buy the house and vehicles we've always dreamed of and even give some of it away to help those in need.

It doesn't matter that we know this is just a fairy tale. Somehow we still think that an earthly treasure - no matter how we come across it - would be the answer to all our problems.

That's where King Solomon steps in and sets us straight. His book of Proverbs is full of passages that lead us away from the lure of gold into the satisfaction of God-given wisdom.

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16

The truth behind "you can't take it with you" is never more obvious than in Solomon's life. He was the richest, most powerful man in the world, but without wisdom he was nothing.

Gold gives us a sense of security, until we realize that it can be stolen in the blink of an eye.
Wisdom…

A Week Of Losing Part Of You

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We have three bucks on the property right now, along with several does. The oldest buck is a 10-point, while the other two are much smaller. He has the most girlfriends right now and the younger ones only have one. Yes, we're pretty familiar with the details of their lives.
One of the young bucks lost an antler this week. He looks a little side heavy now, and I can only imagine what the other deer are saying to him. I'm excited to get out on the property and see if we can find the shed. There are probably many of them out there just waiting to be found.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched. Mark 9:43
The buck doesn't have a choice about keeping his antlers or losing them each year. We have a choice as to whether we will keep the things we love most or give them up because they've become a stumbling block. This is what Jesus was speaking ab…

Molly's Guide To Setting Up A Puppy Play Date

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Molly says there are certain things you need to do to have the perfect puppy play date.

1. Invite your very favorite friends to your house.
2. Spend some time sniffing everything and looking out the windows.

 3. Share all of your favorite toys.
4. Chase each other around the room because that is always fun.

5. Offer your friends a drink after playing so hard.
6. Do more sniffing, playing and running.

7. Give them a tour of the house so they can sniff more things and possibly find more toys to play with.
8. Walk your friends to the door when it's time for them to go home.

9. Once your puppy friends have gone home, curl up in Mama's lap, thank her for letting them come to visit and then take a good, long nap.

What To Do When Your Creative Business ... Isn't

If your daily work has anything to do with creating something - art, craft, graphics, design - you know that some days are more creative than others. There are days or even weeks where you can be creative on command and complete project after project of incredible quality.
And then there are the other days.
Does this sound familiar?You stare at a blank page for hours, and it's still blank.Colors and patterns you would normally put together look like avocado green appliances in a mustard yellow kitchen from the 1970s.All the tools and supplies you need are right in front of you, but you feel like you've never used them before.Project ideas are few and far between, while nothing sounds interesting enough to actually start.
Those of who try to be creative for a living know that there are usually more good days than bad days, but when the bad ones hit, they hit hard. Nothing flows, nothing jives and not one single thing sparkles. That doesn't work when you're trying to be pro…

Very Cherry Cake

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I wish this cherry cake recipe was harder than it is. Well, not really, but the list of ingredients is so short and the number of steps it takes to make it is ridiculously small.

Oh well. Maybe that's the kind of recipe we all need this week - something quick and easy and yummy.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Ingredients:
1 box cherry chip cake mix
12 oz cherry Dr Pepper or cherry coke
1 container cherry frosting
1 small bag cherry candy


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and cherry pop. Yep, that's really all you need - no egg or oil required.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for the time allotted on the back of the box.

4. Allow cake to cool completely, then frost, cut and top with candies.

Words For Wednesday

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Little Golden Book Upcycled Denim Box

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I have a growing stack of Little Golden Books in my craft room. I think they're like rabbits, breeding every time I'm not looking. I originally picked up a few so I could make altered albums from them. That was so much fun that I started looking for more so I could make CD albums, memory game tiles and a couple of other fun projects. That's where this denim box idea came from.

With a craft knife, I took out the pages from the two books and used needle-nosed pliers to pull out the staples.

I cut the leg from a pair of old jeans, keeping the seams, making it long enough to cover all three sides of the box. You'll understand that in a minute. NOTE: you'll want to use straight-leg jeans for this, otherwise the box will be a little obtuse, as one side will be wider than the other.

I folded down the cut edge on one end of the denim and secured it with hot glue.

Then I put glue on the long edge of the first cover and pressed the denim seam against it. I added another lin…