Showing posts from July, 2018

Peaches And Cream Shakes

Peach is one of my all-time favorite flavors, so for my birthday this weekend, Danny made peaches and cream shakes. He always creates the best combinations of ingredients, and I could probably drink a gallon of this one.

Hey, it's my birthday. I'll drink as many shakes as I want. Or as many as Danny makes.

Here's how he did it:

vanilla ice cream
1 large ripe peach, chopped into small pieces
sweetened condensed milk
whipped cream

1. Combine ice cream, peach, milk and sweetened condensed milk in the blender and mix until smooth and combined. I wish there was some magical ratio to Danny's formula, but there really isn't. His advice is to start with three scoops of ice cream and add the two milks slowly until you get the consistency you like.

2. Pour into tall glass and garnish with whipped cream and cherries.

If you'd like something other than sweetened condensed milk, you can also make sugar peaches to use in your shake. Cut the peach …

A Year Of Grace

Last night at 6:10 p.m., I turned 41. I praise God for the blessings of the past year, and I thank Him for protecting me and loving me beyond measure. I am humbled by all He has done for me and continues do to through me.

As my birthday approached, I asked God to give me a word to study for the upcoming year, from now until July 29, 2019. The word that kept resonating in my heart was grace.

There are 159 verses containing the word grace, and the majority of them are in the New Testament. Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. This terribly long and complicated definition requires more study, and I'm looking forward to diving right in.

But he giveth more grace... James 4:6

What do I hope to learn from this study?
* What grace is and how God uses it.
* How God's grace has affected and changed me.
* Why grace is such an important scriptural focus.
* When grace is most obvious in my life.
* …

Happy Birthday To Me!


Thank You For Supporting Stuff From Trees!

We just had to thank everyone who attended the Oskaloosa Sweet Corn Serenade last night. It was an amazing event, and we were blessed to be a part of it.

In addition to the friends and church family who stopped to see us at our booth, we met so many new people, making new friends and customers along the way. Sharing our personal and professional testimonies is the most important and biggest blessing we have through Stuff From Trees.

And the fun continues as we complete our new custom orders and add some customer-requested items to our upcoming displays.

Our next show will be Ottumwa's Walk On Art Street on Sept. 15. More details will come as the day gets closer, to check back frequently!

Again, thank you. We are blessed by your love and support.

Our Little Backyard Miracle

Praise the Lord that our part of town wasn't in the path of the terrible storms yesterday. We had tornado sirens and strong thunderstorms for the better part of an hour, but we were blessed with almost no damage.

Other people in the area weren't so fortunate, and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers during the recovery and clean-up efforts.

The bright spot here on the property was a tiny baby rainbow in the backyard. The sun came out in the middle of the torrential downpour, and a half-circle rainbow went right over the grape vines. Hopefully you can see it here, though pictures don't do it justice. It was just a little promise from God that everything is going to be ok. Thank you, Lord!

Words For Wednesday


Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet pan meals are the best, and these chicken fajitas are incredibly tasty. Plus ... next-to-no cleanup! Mix up your own combination of spices so it's as spicy - or not spicy - as you want.

When you go to the store to stock up on ingredients for this great recipe, look for traffic light peppers: red, yellow and green all in one package. The store will often pick the best quality veggies to put in these combinations, choosing pretty and fresh peppers together for simple prep.

2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips
traffic light peppers - red, yellow and green - cut into thin strips
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
fresh ground pepper to taste
salt to taste
tortillas, warmed for a few seconds

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared sheet pan.

3. Bake …

String Art Tree Slice Ornament DIY

I absolutely adore the newest line from Stuff From Trees - tree slice string art! (Say that five times fast.) They're a blast to make, and this small size makes them perfect for gifts. And you'll probably want a set for yourself, too.

I used the band saw to cut slices from a medium-sized branch, the belt sander to smooth both sides a little and the drill press to make the holes for the twine. Having the right tools makes a huge difference in efficiency and productivity. Plus, I just really like using power tools.

Using a shape template, I marked tiny dots where I wanted each nail. 

Then, with a pair of pliers to hold the nails, I used a small hammer to set them. For an inch-thick tree slice, I chose 3/4-inch wire nails. When they're that tiny, pliers protect your fingers from getting smashed. Huge bonus.

With six-strand embroidery floss, I tied a knot around the bottom nail.

There are a couple of different ways to outline the shape with thread - either run it along the un…

Praise Ye The Lord!

For a musician, very few scriptures resonate as clearly as Psalm 150. Throughout the Psalms, the writers have played the same melody: praise to the Lord. In every situation, in all voices, at every occasion, praising God is always appropriate and vitally necessary.

Our omnipotent God is to be praised in His sanctuary - in the tabernacle, in the temple and in the church building. This is where we find the foundation of His power. He is to be praised among the congregation of believers at every opportunity. This includes singers and musicians, but it should also encourage testimonies, teaching and times of public prayer.

Our omniscient God should be praised for knowing exactly what we need every moment of our lives. We look behind us and see His hand at work in our past. We rejoice in the way He moves in our present. And we praise Him now for the excellent greatness in His future plans for us.

As the psalmist mentions specific instruments, those of us involved in music ministry can hea…

The Blessings Of Rain

After several days of oppressively hot temperatures with intense humidity, it finally rained in southern Iowa. It lasted most of the afternoon, and you could practically hear the ground slurping it up. 
Think about your reactions the last time you woke up to a thunderstorm or were disappointed because an event was canceled due to rain. Did you think about how important rain is and the blessings it brings?
* As human beings, we need a fresh water source to sustain life. Water flushes our bodies of toxins, and hydration keeps our energy up while transporting oxygen and nutrients through the body.
* All living, growing plants on earth require rain. It is absorbed through the roots and dispersed to the stems and leaves. Without healthy plants, we would have no oxygen to breathe.
* Rain affects the oceans by creating currents. Many of these currents are directly responsible for rainy and dry weather conditions.
* Both domestic animals and livestock need fresh water, just as humans do. A lack of…

God Reigns And The Son Shines Church Bulletin Board DIY

I absolutely adore decorating our church bulletin boards. I try to plan ideas for each season, plus designs for specific scriptures. This one, our board for the summer months, is one of my favorites.

The easiest backgrounds for a bulletin board are plastic tablecloths and wrapping paper. Both come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they're easy to staple in place. This is a white tablecloth folded in half.

Between my downstairs closet and the teacher resource room at the church, I can always find some beautiful borders. In an instance where you need a thicker border, you can overlap them the way I did here on the sides. 

The letters are printed from the computer and hand-cut. Arranging them is always the hardest part of the board for me because I have absolutely no depth perception. Tacking them up with double stick tape before stapling or pinning them on makes rearranging them much easier.

To attach the flowers, I use long yellow sewing pins. (And to my sweet friend who kn…

Ecclesiastes - The Vanity Of It All

I wish I had found this picture before I taught our Sunday School lesson on the book of Ecclesiastes. I know that sounds odd, but thoughts of outer beauty versus inner beauty struck me when I saw it.

Solomon wrote: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. Ecclesiastes 1:2-4

Vanity in the book of Ecclesiastes is defined as something that looks good on the surface but has no value in God's economy. Think about a melon that looks perfect on the outside but has become rotten on the inside, making it inedible. It no longer serves its purpose of feeding someone, so it has lost all of its value as food.

It's this idea that came to mind when I saw the water damage around this window. The stained glass is breath-taking and has been there for many decades. It even makes rainbows on the walls…

Words For Wednesday


Preparing Stuff From Trees For Craft Show Season

In just 16 days Stuff From Trees will begin our 5-month craft show season. This is such an exciting time for us because we get to meet our customers face to face and share our passion for wood and paper in person.

Today I wanted to share a sampling of our new inventory for 2018 shows. I always set up our booth in the basement, just like it would be at the show. This lets us see exactly how much space we have, how many pieces we have completed and what we still need to finish up.

I've been hard at work creating new Little Golden Book upcycled journals and replenishing our stash of Proverbs 31 Woman memory verse cards. They're some favorites that customers always ask about. 

Danny has some amazing new pens and puzzles in the works, and I can't wait for you to see his talents. We also have just a few small journals left, as we're trying some new designs and themes. You'll have to come get them as soon as you can because when they're gone, they're gone.
Stuff …

Creamy Sausage Crescent Rolls

These little pockets of delicious flavor are perfect for any meal of the day. Start your day with something warm for breakfast, take them with you for a simple lunch or have them as a made-in-a-hurry evening meal.

They're the perfect size for an appetizer for your next get-together, and they freeze incredibly well. Just thaw and heat them back up whenever you want. And with just three ingredients, they'll keep your grocery budget intact.

1 lb ground sausage, any flavor
1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
Refrigerator crescent rolls (10 in a package)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Brown the sausage in a large cast iron skillet, adding your favorite spices to taste.

3. Once browned, add the cream cheese, stirring as it melts. Combine completely until smooth.

4. In each triangle of crescent roll dough, place a spoonful of sausage mixture on the large end and roll up. Arrange on the prepared baking s…