Showing posts from 2020

Happy 4th Of July!


Patriotic Trifle For July 4th Dessert

There is next to nothing you can do to screw up a trifle. Literally, it is one of the simplest and most creative desserts in the history of all that is sweetness. Can you imagine what the first trifle maker’s conversation must have sounded like?
Hey, I’ve got some chopped up baked goods, some leftover fruit and half a bowl of pudding. Let’s just put a little of this with some of that, and then more of this and another layer of something else.
And they called it yummy. And it was yummy.
For the patriotic trifle pictured here, I layered chunks of angel food cake with fresh blueberries, raspberries and our grocery store’s fruit dip. I served it up in a small, single-serving dish to make it all cute. 
What are some other trifle combinations you can play around with?
* Pound cake, lemon pudding, whipped topping and blueberries * Brownie crumbles, chocolate pudding, whipped topping and chocolate candies * Vanilla wafer cookies, banana pudding, whipped topping and sliced bananas * Chocolate cake, ch…

Host A 1960s Fourth Of July Party!

I love pulling out my vintage cookbooks. The colors and graphics always make me smile. There’s something about recipes, decorating tips and hostess in ideas from decades past that seem so nostalgic and so cool at the same time.

So when I wanted some inspiration for the Fourth of July, I turned to my 1960 Betty Crocker Party Book! I found it at a used book sale a few years ago, and it has been making me smile ever since. I mean, seriously, look at the cover art - it’s so much fun!

I learned several things from these six pages. 1. Bandannas were being used as napkins clear back to the mid-20th century. 2. Have children paint their own dish ware ahead of time and they can enjoy their artwork at your next picnic. 3. If you arrange charcoal in a checkerboard pattern, you’ll get an even medium heat for steaks and hamburgers. 4. If you arrange charcoal in rows and place kabobs over the spaces between them, the kabobs won’t char. All of these are things I either didn’t know or didn’t realize, a…

Words For Wednesday


A Fourth Of July Centerpiece For Less Than $10

Would you believe that I had ever single bit for this Fourth of July centerpiece in my spare closet? I store all my bulletin board supplies in there, plus decorating pieces for all seasons in there, so it was almost like shopping but in my own house! 

I’ve made at least half a dozen patriotic bulletin boards over the years, and I’ve kept many of the pieces to reuse. I cleaned out my metal tub and pulled out a good-sized bowl to use as filler.

That bowl gets turned upside down in the tub so I don’t have to use as much filler. Sneaky, I know.

With the bowl filling up the space, I only had to use about half the garland on hand. The rest will get turned into a bulletin board border some day.

This huge bow was once a chair bow for a party. I just took off the long, stretchy ribbon that would secure the bow to the chair and attached it to the inside of the tub.

From there I just layered in bows and decorations until it was filled to overflowing.

I picked up two little signs while I was at Hobby L…

My “Fourth of July” Planner Layouts

To put it quite simply, this Army wife loves the Fourth of July! Give me the red, white and blue patriotic look any time of year, but especially this month. It’s a really great reason to sprinkle stars, silver, gold and flags throughout my planner. The monthly pages are where I plan and keep track of my blog posts, so this spread will get used and looked at all month. I mixed and matched some sets of embellishments to make this metallic look, and I’m in love with the paper scraps and puffy white letters at the top.

For this first week of July, I filled the pages with smaller embellishments, something a little different from my usual. I’ll have a three-day weekend for the Fourth, so I’ll be keeping track of my vacation plans here, too.

This was the first planner layout I’ve done that included punched circles made from scraps of patriotic paper. I was making some for a card I was working on and realized they would be perfect for this spread. It’s a great way to use up some scraps and have…

Blackberry Season Will Be Here Soon!

It seems as though blackberry harvest season is later this year than in years past. It’s almost the end of June and I saw exactly six black berries during my crop inspection yesterday - the rest are almost entirely green with a few red ones mixed in for good measure. They probably won’t be ready to pick for at least another week or two. Trying my patience...

I spoke to a woman in Wisconsin yesterday who is in the same waiting period. She has raspberries, black raspberries and mulberries to keep an eye on, and she agreed that the timing is much slower than last year. My response was, everything else this year is weird, why not our crops? 

If you type “blackberry” into the search bar at the top of this page, you’ll find a dozen recipes that will put these berries to good use. They’re mostly sweets, which is my not-so-secret downfall, but there are a couple of great main course dishes, too. I’ll be adding to that list soon - very soon, hopefully!

Do you have any crops you’re waiting on with…

Creative Ways To Reuse Old Cards On Your New Cards

There are so many ways to reuse those greeting cards you’ve been sent over the years. Here are just a few examples, which can all be found in our Etsy shop, Stuff From Trees. You can cut large blocks from the front of the card that include both images and text. Mat them on coordinating card stock to stand out from the background.

If the card has a tag shape on it, cut it out and add a ribbon. You can also cut your own tags using a template. Then any part of the card can become an embellishment. Attach them with 3D adhesive for some added dimension.

If you don’t want to use the entire card, cut it down into smaller pieces. These beautiful gardening images were part of a patchwork quilt image, but I fussy-cut them to use as embellishments. And trust me, soon you’ll be seeing the small possibilities in every card.

You can also go big and use an entire card for your background. Some of the largest cards I have are too big for most card layouts, but they’ll fit really well across the whole ca…

Frosted Animal Cookie Ice Cream And Cookies

Just looking at frosted animal cookies flashes me back to my childhood. They were always a treat because we didn’t have them all the time. There’s something about that sugary goodness that makes them rather addictive - it’s a good thing they’re so little, right?
So let’s get creative today and turn those cute snacks into a pretty amazing dessert. All you’ll need for frosted animal cookie ice cream and cookies are a bag of animal cookies, a container of vanilla ice cream and a package of pre-cut sugar cookie dough. 
Let’s start with the ice cream - it can be setting up while you bake the cookies. Set the ice cream out on the counter for a few minutes, until it’s soft but not soupy. Scoop half the ice cream into another container and let them continue to soften a little. While you wait, fill a plastic bag with frosted animal cookies and crush them into fairly small pieces. Pour as many cookie crumbs as you want into the softened ice cream and stir to combine. Put the ice cream back in the…

Words For Wednesday


DIY Oversized Scrabble Wall Tiles

That stack of 6-inch wood squares in the middle of our dining room table would soon become Scrabble tiles for our Youth room at church. Danny put in so much work to make this wall special and personal.

He printed the letters and numbers from the computer and traced them onto the wood squares using carbon paper. Then he wood burned every single one of them, more than 60 total. That’s how much he loves those teenagers!

They had to make a trip to the garage for a layer of polyurethane to finish them up.

And the finished wall, combined with some string art we made together, is absolutely amazing. It fills almost the whole wall, but there’s a little space to add a word or two in the future. What words would you add?

What Words Would You Use To Describe Your Faith

When we asked our youth group to give us words that would describe their faith and we would arrange them on our wall, they filled their papers! It was so easy for them to choose words that really meant something, and they make a powerful statement about who we are and what we believe as Christians.
Here are just a few of the Scriptures that go along with the words of our faith.
Love:Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the secondislike unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:37-39
Learn: Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.Psalm 119:73
Worship: Godisa Spirit: and they that worship him must worshiphimin spirit and in truth. John 4:24
Worthy:I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 2 Samuel 22:4
Truth: For the LORD is good; his mercy…

My “Time To Get To Work” Planner Layout

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it - I get to go back to work in the office this week! I’ve been tela-commuting since March, so this is absolutely huge. Being in the same building as my boss will be so much more convenient than emailing, texting and calling every time we need something. So now’s the time to get to work for real!

Since there will be so much to catch up on for the first few days back at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, I made lots of spaces for lists and notes on the left hand page. Today I’ll go through the refrigerator and pantry, too, and plan out the week’s meal list. One of my favorite parts of the week, I’m telling you!

Today we also embark on a new adventure, teaching our teen Sunday school class in addition to leading Wednesday night youth group. Danny and I will be able to take turns writing and teaching lessons, plus we’ll be hosting more monthly events at our house and out of town. I’m looking forward to filling in these Wednesday and Sunday spaces now w…

Does Your Dog Do Amazingly Weird Things?

Does your dog ever do something really weird completely out of the blue? The more dogs you have, the better likelihood of strange behavior, right? So with our four, crazy things happen all the time. This week at supper, Molly decided she wasn’t going to eat unless I was standing in one certain place. Otherwise she would back up and stare at her bowl. So weird! Check it out below.

When The Easier Way Seems So Much Better

There are definitely days when easier seems so much better. Better than what? Better than just about anything.
When the house is a mess and there’s a basket full of laundry to do, it would be so much easier to sit on the couch, eat chocolate and drink coffee.
When it’s time to get outside for my daily walk, it would be so much easier to pop some popcorn and pop in a movie.
When relationships need to be built and tended to, it would be so much easier to retreat into my personal cocoon and avoid humanity altogether.
When I need to dig into Scripture and learn something about who Jesus Christ really is, it would be so much easier to read a two-paragraph devotion and call it a day.
The easier way seems great at the time - no muss, no fuss, no energy expended or mental capacity used. But what happens in our hearts and minds when all we do in life is choose the easier way?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophe…

Making A Paper Banner For Your Handmade Crafts

Why spend a ton of money on specialty embellishments for your paper crafts when you can make them yourself? These tiny paper banners are a great example - they’re super easy to make in miniature form on a handmade card, and you can use coordinating paper so they’ll always go together. And after you’ve made one set of these banners, you’ll want to make them in all sizes and designs ... just because you can. Trust me.

Start by folding a piece of scrap paper in half and cutting a triangle against the fold. This will be your template for all of the banners.

Then fold your patterned paper the same way. Make it a small fold so you can use as much paper as possible. No waste here!

Place your template against the fold and cut out your patterned paper banner piece.

Fold, cut, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I made 13.

If you’re making a card with your banner, cover the card stock with your background paper. Then cut out a slightly smaller piece of patterned paper for the mat - but don’t attach it!