Showing posts from 2018

On My Bookshelf This Week

For some reason, it's been difficult for me to find a lot of extra time to read lately. Busyness in other areas of my life has made me feel like reading is a luxury, which has probably hurt my heart more than I know.

So a few days ago I decided to correct this problem by pulling out a handful of books and diving right in. They cover four different topics, and I've already finished two of them. Here's what I've been reading:

* Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Oswald Chambers. Our upper elementary school Sunday School class has just started the New Testament in its study through the Bible book by book. Originally published in 1960, this book covers Matthew 5-7 in great detail, which is perfect timing for our study. Chambers used amazing alliteration (see what I did there?) to show the connections between God's character and our conduct as believers. If you want to see Jesus' sermon in a different light, you'll love this book.

* How to Read a Graveyard b…

Words For Wednesday


Our Three Bucks

This fall on the Carrell Wildlife Preserve, we have so many deer that they're difficult to keep track of. There are several does, including those that have almost-grown fawns with them. But my favorites by far are our three bucks.

The bucks are like those high school boys that always go everywhere together. They're usually up pretty early in the morning, and they go looking for their supper at about the same time we do.

Our guys are still fairly young, so we're excited to see them mature and choose their does. Then, come the spring, they'll fill the preserve with fawns! And that's something we always look forward to.

Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies

This amazing recipe is one of the cookies I sold at our garage sale/bake sale a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I held a couple of plates of cookies back because I knew they would sell quickly.

Whenever a recipe calls for cinnamon, I always double the amount. It's one of my favorite spices, and I want there to be no doubt that it's there. If you like less of a punch, just decrease the amount you add to your cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

4 oz bar white baking chocolate
1 tsp honey
almond milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add egg yolks, honey and vanilla. Mix until combined and smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar.

4. With mixer speed on …

Happy National Dessert Day!

Make today, National Dessert Day, special by serving some of your favorite treats at every meal!

So what are your go-to desserts? Do you serve something different when you have company? Does your family have certain sweet treats they request time after time?

Enjoy your National Dessert Day celebration!

Calvary Baptist Church Chili Cook Off 2018

For as long as people can remember, October has been special at our church because of our chili cook off. It's supposedly all in fun, although some people take it very seriously. All you win is a certificate and bragging rights for the upcoming year. Danny placed second in the hot category this year - I'm so proud of him!

By the time I got through the first chili line and over to the dessert table, this is what it looked like. The gym was packed with people, and I think many of them started with desserts while they were waiting. I'm keeping that in mind for next year...

There was a lot of conversation about what the best toppings are for chili. Some people swear by sour cream, while others won't eat it without cornbread. Crackers are always a staple, and the corn chips were flowing freely. The cheese bowl emptied quickly, too, so there were lots of favorites out there. What are your picks for the best chili toppings?

An Apple A Day Keeps Your Dog's Boredom Away

Normally when we give the puppies toys to play with, they rip them, tear them, shred them and just generally destroy them. We tried something different this week that is so shockingly simple that we can't believe we've never tried it before: apples filled with peanut butter!

If you don't have one of these hand-held corers, GET ONE! Yes, I'm being bossy on this one. In about six turns I had the core completely out, and the handle separates to push the core into the garbage.

Then they get packed with peanut butter. I said this was simple.

All three dogs loved them, and they even cleaned their own peanut butter smears off the floor. These apples are safe, filling and a fun distraction for a while. The perfect combination, I'd have to say.

Stuff From Trees - Having Fun With Our Recent Projects

We've been having a great time already this fall, working on new projects and custom pieces. This purple string art butterfly is probably the most colorful gift I've made lately, and I love the color one of our Etsy customers chose for it. It was a joy to ship it across the country.

On the local front, we had three orders for custom thank you, encouragement, thanksgiving and Christmas cards. These fall-themed thank you cards made my day! Get it? See what I did there...? 

While picking out tree slices for the string art, I discovered that we had enough of them to make several more wreaths. All I have to do now is make their bows and make two more slices for that one wreath. It's like Christmas going through the craft room some days.

We've also finished another line of Christian cards for all occasions. Each has a Bible quote or Scripture on the front, and many of them are blank inside for your personal message. Come to our Etsy shop today and see everything Stuff From …

Words For Wednesday


The Beginning Of Fall Colors

Fall finally showed up this weekend at the Carrell Wildlife Preserve. There's still a lot of green, but the reds and yellows are starting to take over. Enjoy this glimpse at our autumn colors.

Oven Baked Cabbage Rolls

One of Danny's favorite meals is cabbage rolls, and I could eat them at least weekly and never get tired of them. This week I made a fairly simple version that baked for a little over 2 hours and came out beautiful and tender.

If you've never been a big fan of cabbage, this recipe might just change your life.

3 cups cooked rice
2 heads of cabbage
2 pounds ground beef (uncooked)
1 egg
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/8 cup seasoned salt or other seasoning mix
1 cup tomato sauce, divided
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cook 3 cups of rice according to the package directions.

3. Boil a very large pot of water. Put one head of cabbage in until leaves begin to loosen. Remove the greenest of the leaves. Repeat with the second head. You'll need about 24 leaves for the wrappers and a few extra.

4. Prepare two 13x9-inch baking dishes by spreading a few of the whiter cabbage leaves on the bottom and pouring 3/4 cup of tomato s…

Our First Few Nuggets From The Gospels

Our elementary Sunday school class has just finished studying our way through the Old Testament. It has taken more than a year, but it's been an amazing study. They even have the beginnings of an illustrated Bible that we drew while we learned.

And today we begin the New Testament. This study will be a little different, since we want to cover more of the stories from the four gospels. The first lesson will be an overview of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, talking about who they were and how they ended up being part of the canon of Scripture. Our fourth- through sixth-graders couldn't be more excited about it!

Here are just a few nuggets from Matthew that we'll be talking about today.

* After 400 years of silence, Jesus is the one-word proclamation.

* God's time to step in and give direction is often when we are at a standstill.

* Satan always promises things he can never fulfill.

* Jesus always preached humility, especially by His example.

* When Jesus calls, there shou…

Go Be A Blessing

It's the middle of the night, the deepest part of our sleep cycle, when the phone rings. In an instant, Danny is up and getting his suit on. No matter how late, how early, how stormy or how often, my husband is ready to go help a family in need.

As the wife of a funeral director, I've learned not to make plans when he is on call. We don't leave town very often, we don't go out to dinner on a regular basis and we don't have company over when we know the phone could ring at any moment.

This may sound boring and inconvenient, but it's part of our daily life. Danny has the honor and privilege of being there when our community needs him most. We don't see it as something to deal with, but something to embrace.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

Whenever Danny …

Chocolate Peanut Butter Star Cookies

Is there any better combination than peanut butter and chocolate? It's one of those classics that never gets old.

Fusing those flavors into one amazing cookie, these stars use a simple packaged cookie dough and some fun kinds of chocolate to create a treat you can't have just one of. Go ahead. Try it. I dare you.

The best part of this cookie is the bottom. I know that sounds strange, but let me tell you why. The entire ball of cookie dough is covered with sprinkles, and when it bakes the chocolate makes a crust on the bottom. It's crispy chocolate on a chewy peanut butter cookie. Yum!

1 package peanut butter cookie mix
1 egg
chocolate sprinkles
chocolate stars

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cookie mix and egg until smooth.

3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sprinkles. Place on parchment paper-covered tray.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately pl…

Fall Mini Album

Several weeks ago when I bought a fall paper craft set for a custom order, I found a page full of playing card-sized die cuts in it. They were too big for the cards I was working on, so I tucked them away for a later date. (Translation: they were put in a  pile with a bunch of other embellishments.) 

As we were putting our new fall line together for Stuff From Trees, I came upon those cards again. I fell in love with their colors and phrases, and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with them.

This Fine Fall Day mini album is the perfect way to showcase some beautiful images that you wouldn't normally use somewhere else. 

Each page is accented with punched circles, and the book is held together with a twin-wrapped book ring.

Inside are all those gorgeous images. 

And several journaling pages for personal thoughts, memories and photos.

If you fell in love with this fall album, or you'd like to see the rest of the fall collection, just head over to our Etsy shop. We love custom …

Words For Wednesday


The 10x10 Morning Workout

Want to move toward a healthier lifestyle in just a few minutes every morning? Try this 15-minute, 10-exercise routine when you first get up in the morning. It doesn't replace your regular workout, but it can jumpstart you body as you roll out of bed.

Start Planning Your Best Garage Sale Today

It's never too early to start planning your next garage sale, and the more planning and preparation you do, the better. Yes, it's a lot of hard work, but if you put in the time and effort, you'll reap the rewards at the end of the day.

We had our first garage sale since we've moved back home, and we were blessed to have Danny's parents' downsizing efforts, too. Between the four of us, we were able to fill our driveway with treasures.

Here are just some of the tips we suggest you try the next time you're ready to purge, downsize or whatever word you're applying to your situation.

* Don’t schedule on a holiday weekend so shoppers aren't dividing their time. * Consider being open both Friday and Saturday. * Be open in the evening on Friday. * Be open from 8-2 on Saturday. * Schedule early in the month when people have their paychecks. * Check the 10-day forecast so there won't be any weather-related surprises.
Advertising: * Place ads anywhere and…

God Loves That Person, Too

You know that person who annoys you beyond all reason? God loves them just as much as He loves you.

And that person who has hurt you and made you cry more times than you can count? God loves them, too.

The person who has turned their back on God over and over again? God loves them regardless.

What about the young people who are choosing their own wants over the desires of God for their lives? God loves them so much.

That person who struggles with circumstances we'll never know about? God loves them endlessly.

The person on their knees in prayer every day for their loved ones? God loves them with an everlasting love.

How about the people who have committed what we believe to be unforgivable sins? God loves them just as much as He loves anyone else.

And you today? God loves you beyond measure.

God's love has no conditions, no limit and no strings attached. The same love that showers blessings on you, rains on every single person you will meet in the course of your day today.


Five Ways To Celebrate National Coffee Day

Happy National Coffee Day! As if we needed another reason to drink coffee today, right?

So what can you do to turn this ordinary Saturday into a true coffee-flavored holiday?

1. Text your favorite coffee drinker one of these fun phrases:
- With this coffee, and many refills, I will take on the day!
- I love you more than coffee. And I love you more after coffee, too.
- Coffee: Because morning people can't be trusted.
- A day without coffee is like...well, I don't actually know what that's like.
- First I drink the coffee, then I do the things.

2. Try a different coffee maker. If you normally use coffee pods, make some in a drip pot. If you've never used a French press, try it once. Experiment with new creations at the local coffee shop and see what's out there.

3. Bake something with coffee in it. A couple of my favorites are Chocolate and Coffee Donuts and Chocolate Cappuccino Overload Crinkles. Get creative and see what else coffee would taste great in.

4. Give …

When Dogs Decide To Photobomb Each Other...

This is our Molly dog. She is very sweet and very pretty. She's also very photogenic.

The tiny boy dog, Diesel, also likes to have his picture taken.

When the camera comes out, so does that silly tongue.

And he gets to that perfect spot, where you can capture his good side. (Which is actually all his sides.)

When Diesel is the center of attention, he is at his happiest. See the grin?

 And there is the essence of his personality. Our sweet boy.