Showing posts from October, 2019

Words For Wednesday


Single Serve Baked Apples

There’s no need to pull out huge baking dishes or use a large number of ingredients just to have this fall favorite - just make a single serving of baked apples!

This simple recipe can be made in a small, oven-safe dish in less than 30 minutes. So

1 apple, sliced
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup apple cider

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small, individual serving baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.

3. Layer 4-5 apple slices in the bottom of the dish, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the sugar mixture.

4. Repeat a second layer of apples and sugars, then apples.

5. Before adding the last layer of sugars, pour apple cider over the entire bowl, stopping about an inch below the rim.

6. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture over the top layer of apples.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or when the top layer of apples is crusted and brown. Serve immediately wit…

Bless The Lord, O My Soul

Fall came in like a lion this week. I know I’m mixing my metaphors and changing the season this phrase was written for, but trust me - it’s the truth. I think half the leaves on the property blew into another county over the weekend, and I even had to wear earmuffs in the mornings to take the dogs outside. That’s Iowa in October for you.

But despite all this, I have to ask myself if my heart’s in the right place. Am I more concerned about getting a few more minutes of sleep than getting up and doing Bible study? Do I mumble under a my breath as I take the puppies out into the cold, or am I thankful that we have three amazing companions? Heart condition and heart attitude are so important in every season, not just when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalm 103:1

Between Psalm 103 and 104, we find the phrase Bless the Lord, O my soul five times. We don’t know if it was David who wrote Psalm 104,…

Sunday Sketch

Did you ever have a card or other paper craft that just absolutely fell together as you were creating it? That’s what happened with the card for today’s sketch. I had the gold metallic paper for the background and the velvet, textured paper for the strip down the middle and - ta da - this fun, simple sketch that really packs a punch.

For my card, I covered a 4.5x6.25-inch white card stock card with the metallic paper, using a little more adhesive than normal since the paper is thicker and less flexible than the usual paper. Then I matted a 4.25x6-inch piece of black card stock on top. The velvet paper is trimmed down to show strips of both gold and black along the sides.

I finally had the opportunity to use this beautiful Bible image, and it’s raised on 3D adhesive to help it stand out. Both it and the phrase are matted on the same black card stock.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with your two colors of card stock for the background of your card. Then cut a strip of patter…

Fall Begins To Appear On The Carrell Wildlife Preserve

Praise the Lord, it's finally fall! There's not too much color out here on the Carrell Wildlife Preserve yet, but you'll find some if you look close. This is my favorite tree on the property, and it's already get some gold around the edges.

The most vibrant oranges come out right around sunset, when the sun is almost but not quite down. If there's an actual break of dawn, I think there's one at dusk, too.

This fall we have half a dozen does and young deer on wildlife preserve. It's fun to see the yearlings that we saw when they were tiny fawns. I'm like a proud aunt watching my babies grow up big and strong.

We're trying to teach the puppies that we like deer and they don't have to bark at them. It's definitely a challenge when the deer are everywhere, but we want to make sure they stay here, too. All of them are healthy and beautiful like these two, which is such a blessing.

As we welcome cooler temperatures and more fall colors, I just pr…

What Do You Do For Yourself?

Early this week it was about 70 degrees at lunchtime, the sun was shining bright and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I had a very short amount of time to grab lunch because of a work errand, so I couldn’t go home, but that was ok knowing Danny would be there to take care of the puppies.

Do you know what I did on that lunch break? I’m sure the picture gives it away - I picked up a little sushi and went to Central Park. It was the perfect day, the perfect light lunch and the perfect way to turn off my mind for a few minutes.

Do you ever do anything special, alone, just for you? For a while there was a mindset going around that all your time should be taken up doing things for other people. If you took care of yourself, you were shortchanging others. If you wanted peace and quiet for 10 minutes, you were being selfish.

I never, ever, for one single moment agreed with that mentality. If I use up everything in my tank, I definitely can’t help anybody else. If I’m exhausted and have to go…

Use Up Your Scraps With Mini Cards

Imagine being able to brighten the days of 70 people with these tiny little note cards. They’re just big enough to write a couple of sentences and sign your name. And every one is different, making it great fun to figure out who would get each design and phrase.

A few weeks ago I showed you how to make five cards from one sheet of card stock. If you tried it, you’ll have two 2.25x4.5 inch mini cards to play with. I have literally hundreds of them from making cards for many years this way, and these adorable little ones pictured here help use up both paper scraps and leftover embellishments from other projects. Totally a win-win situation.

I always have so much fun combining patterns and images to make these tiny cards stand out. Can’t you picture tucking them in someone’s purse, pew or coat pocket? You can have so much fun with these! And you can follow my pattern to make them yourself, or you can find several sets in our Etsy shop available for purchase.

Words For Wednesday


Slow Cooker Lasagna

Love lasagna but hate the prep and the clean up? This slow cooker recipe will give you all the flavors you love without all the hassle!
When I made this for our youth group day last weekend, we came home with about three spoonfuls in the bottom of the dish. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t lick the bowl - they raved about it that much.
I used chunky garden pasta sauce and an Italian seasoning blend for the ground beef. Use your favorites for a personalized combination!
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, diced 2 lbs ground beef 2 Tbsp minced garlic 3 jars pasta sauce  10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese Shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add onion and cook until tender.
2. Add ground beef to skillet and season with Italian seasoning blend. Brown the meat in with the onion.
3. Add garlic to skillet and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
4. In a large slow cooker, pour just enough pasta sauce to cover the bottom of the…

It’s All About The Little Things

One of the most wonderful days of the year is when our Sunday School prizes come in the mail. We fill a treasure chest with fun little trinkets that our 2nd-6th graders can take home with them for working hard in our study every week. They’re just tiny things, probably not valuable to anyone else, but our kids are always super excited to see what’s new and that makes it fun.

This week I chose a few sampler packs from a favorite online store, and then I waited somewhat impatiently for the box to get here. It only took two days, but I was still pretty antsy for that whole time. I like little things too!

So yesterday I took a new chest into the classroom, filled with lots of new toys and crafts inside. I especially love the rubber balls that say Smile - Jesus Loves You, and the flying discs that say Exercise Your Faith - Walk With God. I couldn’t wait for those four boys to see what all we had picked out for them. To say they were excited would be an understatement. As soon as the first…

Sunday Sketch

Today’s sketch is the definition of a rough draft - you’ll see the basic structure of your card or page, but the details are completely up to you! Talk about creative freedom, right?

For my journal cover, I started with textured, ink-distressed card stock wrapped around a small, lined notepad. Then I matted the yellow plaid, ink-distressed patterned paper. As a side note, the yellow plaid is wrapped around the top of the notepad to make it all coordinate.

My focal point is the large FALL in the middle, and it’s layered on top of four different scraps of patterned paper. The accents are completely and totally random, which is a great way to use some leftover embellishments from different sets.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with a solid card stock and layer a light, small pattern on top.

Then choose your focal point sentiment to be front and center. Dress it up with several smaller scraps of patterned papers behind it. And then the finishing touches - the embellishments! Ma…

See Your Town As A Tourist Would

During Ottumwa's Amazing Town, Amazing Events Week, I learned so much about events and activities going on in our community. We always go to the Rotary Chicken BBQ, but I've never been able to leave my office every few minutes and check on progress at the grill. I haven't had the opportunity to talk to the grill masters and find out they grilled more than 2,600 chickens for this three-hour event.

And I can honestly say I'd never been inside the Oktoberfest tent before this week. Those volunteers work amazingly hard to make this event happen, and they have so much planned to make it a fun week of activities. I can't wait for this morning's parade downtown!

I've probably walked past the Old School Pinball and Arcade in the mall dozens of times - usually on my way to the Christian bookstore and the bakery - but never stopped to even look in the window. We did some promotion this week for their Galaxies of Gaming event, and it was so neat to meet the people wh…

What Are You Taking For Granted?

Last night’s sunset lit the sky on fire. I was busy working on a project, and Danny actually had to nudge me and make me look out the window. If he hadn’t, I would have missed these amazing cotton candy clouds.

There was once a time when I didn’t need to be reminded to look out the window and see the beauty of nature on our property. There was even a time when I would (gasp) go outside and experience it for myself! But then life happened, and I realize I’ve become numb to everything going on around me.

It sounds a little glum and maybe even a bit gloomy, but sometimes you need a little gloom to recognize the light.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift to God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3…

The First Step When Bringing The Outside In This Fall

Fall is the perfect time to think about bringing the outdoors inside. With all the beautiful colors, shapes and textures in the world around us, it’s perfectly natural to want to decorate your home with these earthy pieces.

The challenge, though, is only bringing in what you want to bring in. Decorating with acorns, leaves and branches may look lovely, but it’s very possible that you’re bringing some unwanted guests inside with you.

So what do you need to do before you start working with outdoor materials?

* If there are holes or broken parts on branches or acorns, don’t bring them inside. They’re evidence of tiny critters living inside them. Take the time to find pieces that haven’t been turned into something’s natural habitat.

* Wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water, especially if it hasn’t rained lately. Leave them on a stack of paper towels to dry completely.

* A special tip for acorns: once they’re dry, put them in a 200-degree oven for about 2 hours, stirring them every…

Words For Wednesday


Set Up A Caramel Apple Bar

Caramel apples are one of the staples of autumn. Sure, you can make them and eat them all year round, but there’s something about apples and caramel and fall that just go together. So what better time to put a caramel apple bar together is there than the fall teen day at our church? There’s not a better time ... I was just testing you.

We slice our apples before putting them on the sticks, which makes them so much easier to eat. Plus, if they’re smaller pieces, you can have several with different toppings. We put each topping in a separate bowl and rolled the Carmel-covered apple slice in the bowl. For the most part this was effective - remember that these are teenagers. (wink)
We had so much fun seeing who could come up with the most creative apple slice. But mostly we just created, ate and enjoyed our time together. Added bonus: we had birthday fellowship at the end of teen day, so we used up most of the leftover toppings. Yay!