Showing posts from February, 2020

Just When You Think The Treats Are Gone...

I was convinced that we were almost out of treats. If you ask the puppies where the treats are, they will go straight to the living room coat closet. They’re not subtle. Not. Subtle.

Judging by the shelf, I thought we were going to have to pick some treats up the next time we were out. There were plenty of little biscuits, but the longer-lasting chewies were down to an odd number - and with four puppies, that doesn’t cut it.

But then I did a little digging. All of a sudden I had a pile of beef sticks, tiny training treats, some big bones and even little pork chop-shaped meaty bits! There were treats all over the place, I just didn’t know it. To say the puppies were concerned about what I was doing is putting it mildly. They were watching the pile grow bigger, too.

I will never again assume the treats are gone. All I have to do is open the treats closet and let the puppies sniff them out. It will be like a treasure hunt, and all the prizes are edible! That concerned look on Molly’s fa…

How To Be A Hometown Tourist

This weekend is our city’s home and garden show. More than 50 vendors are on hand to talk spring home improvements, both indoors and out. The CVB was asked to set up a booth at the show and fill it with all the information we had about Ottumwa and Wapello County. We said, it would be our pleasure.

We often overlook the special and interesting attractions of our own hometowns. We get wrapped up in working there, living there and often complaining about there. And then we tend to gripe and complain instead of seeing the community for its bright spots and blessings. That makes living in that place boring or dull or frustrating instead of enjoying everything it has to offer.

That’s why being a tourist in your own hometown is so vitally important. There are two specific reasons you need to know what your town has to offer and share those highlights with everyone you know.

1. Being familiar with your community and finding all those hidden treasures in it benefits you and your family in cou…

A Spring Brooch Jewelry Upcycle

This adorable little pin has been on my project to-do list for ages. And now that it’s time to think about spring, I finally had a few minutes to put it together. It looks like it’s always been like this, but it’s actually a jewelry upcycle!

It started out as a $2 brooch from a local antique store, just the pretty pearl basket. I fell in the love with it, but it always looked like an empty basket - because it was. So I pulled out a pair of earrings I had been given but don’t wear, and the plans began to take shape.

The first step was to straighten the earring hooks so they would be easy to attach to the back of the basket. A generous amount of hot glue keeps all the pieces in place. All that was left was to trim the flower stems so they’d tuck safely into the basket. 

The finished product is a small, beautiful basket of flowers that will go with just about every spring outfit in my closet. The next time you’re shopping for jewelry, or just looking through your own jewelry box, think …

Words For Wednesday


Waffles + Bacon = Bacon Waffles!

One of the best gifts Danny ever gave me for Christmas is my waffle maker. I know that sounds weird, but I always wanted the kind you see in hotels, where you pour the batter in, spin it and wait for the light to come on. It’s the little pleasures that make life interesting, right?

I’ve made just about everything in my waffle maker - waffles, cake, cornbread. It’s quick and easy and so yummy! There’s nothing like warm cake waffles in about 3 minutes and covering them with frosting so it melts into the holes.

Here’s something else we tried this week with fantastic results. Crumble pre-cooked bacon and sprinkle two strips’ worth over the batter in the waffle maker. It will cook around the bacon and soak up all those lovely bacon juices. These thick, beautiful waffles are made even better with those bacon treats tucked inside. This will also work well with strawberries, nuts and chocolate chips. Experiment with some fun add-ins and let me know which ones you liked the best!

Our Sunday School Class Creates An Illustrated Bible

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
We could not be more proud of our Sunday School class this week. We teach the students in second grade through sixth grade, and for the past year and a half we have been studying each book of the Bible in order. This was our last Sunday for this project, and that means their picture Bible is done, too!

At the end of each lesson, we would write down two or three highlights from that book on butcher  paper. Then they (and sometimes us) would draw pictures to go with each caption. It was absolutely amazing to see the wheels turning in their brains and become these detailed drawings emerge.

There were some books that the boys didn’t want to draw. Song of Solomon was one of them for obvious, lovey-dovey reasons. There were also some books the girls didn’t want to draw, like Joshua fighting and the whole armor of God. Good thing there are 66 books to choose from, right?

Our Picture Bible …

My “But. First. God.” Planner Layout

When you have a super-busy week coming up, the most important thing you can do is remind yourself that God comes first. It can be difficult to find time to be in God’s word, to pray and especially study a topic or passage. It can be difficult to prepare your heart for the day, God’s way, first thing in the morning. But since my planner is always open and always in front of me, this week’s layout puts my priorities in perspective in a fun and creative way.

I have several books of faith stickers, so I went through and found all the phrases that were specifically about God - who He is, what He does and how important He is to my daily life. Lots of the stickers were about me - my faith, my actions and my thoughts - but I really don’t want it to be about me this week. I want to to be all about God.

I also didn’t want a lot of clutter (if you can call embellishments clutter, which is arguable) because it’s going to be a busy week. I’ll need lots of space to document all I accomplish and pl…

My Little Golden Book Collection Just Grows

When we had a teen girls Bible study every month, we had several projects that we used Little Golden Books for. We made pennant banners, some notebooks and I had plans drawn up to make birdhouses with the covers, even though we didn’t have a chance to make that one.

We asked our church congregation to donate books for these projects, and they delivered. We had stacks and bags of books brought for many weeks in a row, and we used every single one of them for something. We were blessed beyond measure by the generosity of our church family, and we had so much fun working on those projects together.

After creating with all those Little Golden Books, I fell back in love with them. I had many, many of them growing up, and I definitely had my favorites. I remember the animals counting book, We Like Kindergarten and ALL of the Christmas books. I still had a couple of them from my growing-up years, and I began to add a few here and there as I found them at sales and antique stores. Yes, books…

Let’s Party Like It’s 1935!

This little 24-page book was just waiting for me at one of our favorite antique stores in Iowa City. A marketing piece for the Staley Manufacturing Company in 1935, the party book was designed to give “all growing boys and girls” a celebration that was delightful and fun. The ideas inside are “easy to prepare - and not expensive!” Ok, so they had me hooked.

First of all, the illustrations are beautiful! They show each of the table arrangements and games described for that party theme, and the colors are stunning. Please note, the small children are playing a game that requires a table full of candles. Apparently children were a little more careful and less likely to set things on fire in the 1930s.

I wish I had read through this book more closely two weeks ago because I would loved to have used one or two of these Valentine’s ideas with the youth group. They have some beautiful suggestions for the tablescape, including a decorated box that can be embellished with just about anything.…

Setting Yourself Up For Creative Success

Yes, these are Valentines. And yes, the picture was taken just a couple of days ago. And yes, there is a method to my madness. I promise.

In the past, when the time for buying a certain seasonal card or gift passed, I would tuck away all the supplies I used for that season. Then, a few months before that holiday or when people would be ready buy that season, I would pull it all back out and make cards and journals and paper crafts until the season was over.

That was a lot of words to explain that I still have Christmas paper from approximately 10 years ago in a box in the craft room. I’ve never used it, I want to use it but there never seems to be a way or a time to use it.

So I’m stopping this trend with Valentine’s Day. I already had paper, stickers, embellishments and other Valentine goodies out on my work table from when I was creating and listing for our Etsy shop. Timing is super important online because, especially with cards, there is a very definite window of time to buy and…

Words For Wednesday


Peanut Butter Cookie Logs

During the months of January, February and March, our church switches up its service schedule. Instead of coming back for a night service when it’s cold and dark in the middle of winter, we have a morning service after Sunday school, then have a fellowship lunch followed by an afternoon service. We stay there for more than four hours, and it is absolutely the most perfect way to start the week!

I also love having a fellowship lunch because I can try new recipes and share them with our church family. This cookie recipe is one of the experiments I tried lately, and I love the way it turned out. Apparently they did too, because there were none to bring home. So glad I save four back.

1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Melting chocolate
Crushed peanuts

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine Crisco, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and egg. Mix un…

The Kindness Of Prayer

“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.”

How often do we tell someone “I’ll be praying for you,” in an off-hand sort of way? We might be well intentioned, but somewhere in the busyness of life we drop the ball. We either quickly ask God to be with that person in a special way or we decide to pray later and end up forgetting about it altogether. Then we hear that name again on Sunday morning during prayer time and cringe inside.

Charles Spurgeon was a praying man himself. He had seen what God would do in the life of a man who spent time on his knees, so this quote came from experience as the person praying. But he also knew exactly what prayer could do in his own life when other people prayed for him. Prayer isn’t the least you can do ... it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

You can be nice and bake a cake, drop off a meal or put a card in the mail. But true kindness stops whatever they’re doing, enters the throne room of heaven and takes that person …

My “Bright, Cheery Flowers” Planner Layout

Taking into consideration that high temperatures were in the single digits this week, I desperately need this layout for the next seven days. A sheet of vellum flower stickers has been in my planner collection for just such an occasion! 

I never use the labels that come on the left hand page of my planner, so covering them with some inspirational phrases and coordinating letter stickers makes them journaling blocks that I will actually use. And I just moved a little and saw that the flowers are metallic, so they sparkle and shine! Added bonus!

The two phrase stickers on the right hand page are going to keep me going through another long week - Glory to God and Make Today Great. There are no better motivational messages than these, and they’ll keep me focused and centered in the days to come. I pray your week will be just as blessed as I know mine will be - to God be the glory, great things He has done!

Have We Trained The Puppies, Or Have They Trained Us?

It’s hard to admit, but the puppies have us trained really well. And by “us” I mean “me.” They turn those big brown eyes on and I melt. When I’m about to leave for work, both first thing in the morning and at lunchtime, they gaze longingly at me knowing I will give them goodbye treats. Yep, you know the look.

And when it’s cold outside, the look is even more intense. We compare it to those heart-breaking commercials about puppies in need, only ours are neither abused nor neglected. Definitely not. But again, they have me trained - they wait for me to sit down in the evening and then pile on top of me. It’s like those videos of the newborn puppies all tangled up together while they sleep. It’s like that ... only bigger and heavier. Much, much heavier.

But they are still Pavlov’s dogs in many ways. As soon as they hear Danny’s big black truck coming up the driveway, they’re at the door. I’ve been working with them not to bark when someone’s coming to the door, and it’s beginning to wor…

Praising God This Valentine’s Day


Scriptures And Phrases For Valentine’s Day Cards

You have your card - either a handmade one or one from the store that had the perfect picture on the front. It probably has a cheesy poem on it, or maybe just loads of glitter and ribbon.

But now what? What do you write inside? You want something meaningful, but it also needs to be personal and creative.

Here are just a few Scripture verses and sentiments that you can personalize and make perfectly appropriate for that special someone!

* I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3

* Sending a little love your way!

* Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:7

* Two hearts, one love

* Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

* May everything beautiful about God’s love be yours today.

* This is my beloved, and this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16

* There are so many reasons I thank God for bringing us together.

* And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three;…

Words For Wednesday


Mini Folding Valentine’s Day Card

Ok, so this is possibly the cutest, tiniest, most adorable Valentine book ever. With so many little pages to embellish and put hand-written notes on, you’ll have so much fun putting it together.

And when it’s all tied up with a bow, it will be a forever keepsake for the recipient. Now that’s love!

You can make this book whatever size and shape you want, so I began mine with these stickers. Their color scheme is how I chose my card stock, decorator paper and other embellishments.

Their size and shape gave me the dimensions for the center set of pages. I trimmed card stock to fit one rectangle sticker on each page and three pages to each section.

I cut the next strip and color of card stock to wrap around the center pages so the panels open on the opposite sides as the first one. Ultimately, they will alternate every time and create a staggered, flower petal-type look.

Cut and fold, turn the card and repeat. 

The four colors of card stock each have three panels, and they alternate top …

What Is Love, According To Scripture?


There have been poems written about love, songs sung about it and movies made about it.

We love everything about love.

If you type it into a Bible program on your device, you’ll find 281 verses that contain the word love. How wonderful our faith must be for God’s word to talk about love so much!

But let’s dig a little deeper. If you pull out your concordance - you know, that big book on the shelf that you probably haven’t used for a while - you’ll find those same 281 verses with the word love in them. Again, how wonderful Christianity is to talk about love so much!

Now look closely at the numerical references for each of those verses. If love had just one meaning, all of the numbers would be the same and the writers could abbreviate that section of their concordance. Talk about saving space!

But there isn’t just one definition of love in the Bible. There are actually 8 Hebrew and 9 Greek words that all translate to our English word, love. When I typed out the numbers and their …

My “Valentine’s Week” Planner Layout

It’s Valentine’s Week! Can you believe it’s the second full week of February already? I really enjoyed pulling out the Lovey-Dovey box from the craft room lately and make some very special things to show you overt he past few days. That included package after package of heart stickers, heart die cuts, heart buttons and heart ... you get the idea. Several of those made it into this week’s planner layout.

Just like last week’s layout, I’ve tried to be very subtle with the Valentine’s Day theme. It’s subtle, right? (Wink...) I use up each of these spaces on the left page with lists and notes from meetings and Bible study throughout the week. It’s fun to go back later and see how I documented the events of each week. I’ll probably add some hearts down the “food” section to change those days of the week to match the right hand page.

As always, my right side page leaves lots of room for the things I hope to get done and the things I actually get done. It’s going to be a great week, and I n…