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My "Goodbye May, Hello June" Planner Layouts

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So, somehow or another, May has disappeared and June is right around the corner. The first day of summer seemed incredibly far away just a few weeks ago, especially when it snowed on Easter Sunday. But now we're enjoying days full of sunshine and gorgeous, warm days. I wanted to transfer that feeling of joy and sunshine on my month of June planner spread. These are the pages where I plan and organize my blog post ideas and daily devotions. Recently these pages haven't been very full because I've let my writing fall by the wayside. With God's help, though, I want to step it up and return to what makes me happy. There are several books in my planner sticker collection that are strictly seasonal. Some go month-by-month and some by the time of year. So when I do the monthly spreads, I pull all those books out and start combining all the sweet little words and images into a confetti across the pages. I need a little space to write, so I can't use anything too big or too

Words For Wednesday

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Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwiches

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What do you do when you have a whole chicken you roasted in the slow cooker? You turn it into chicken salad, of course! And when you add in apples, pecans, celery and cranberries, you have a better-than-bought chicken salad. The chopping is the only thing that takes time and energy in this recipe. I finely diced a large apple and two celery sticks. Then I slightly crushed about a cup of pecans and half a cup of cranberries. After enjoying the two drumsticks, because they're my favorite, I shredded the rest of the chicken into a large bowl. I stirred in the other ingredients along with 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, just enough to coat everything. I'm a big fan of fresh, warm chicken salad, so I scooped out enough for sandwiches before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge. And the rest, as they say, is lunch! Ok, no one says that, but this recipe makes enough for two or three meals, depending on how much you eat directly from the bowl, either with chips or a spoon, whichev

Simple Bible Verse Mapping To Jumpstart Your Bible Study

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While it breaks my heart, I need to share something with you - I've not been taking my quiet time during the day like I usually do. I'm still praying, still reading and still teaching, but I've not dug as deeply into God's word as faithfully as I once did. Sure, there are a lot of excuses I could give, like increased responsibilities at work, stress, exhaustion, spring cleaning ... but you already know these because you're probably experiencing some of them, too. Excuses aside, I need Bible study to keep my mind stimulated, my heart focused and my emotions in check. I am calmer, more at peace and a little wiser after I study, and I want those things back in my life. Hopefully you do, too. During a recent Bible reading time, the devotion quoted Deuteronomy 33:27 in another translation, so I had to go read it in KJV. The words of this beautiful verse made my heart skip a beat: The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust

My "Sushi Is My Favorite" Planner Layout

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If I could eat just one thing every day for the rest of my life, the answer will always be sushi. Always. It's my fave. So when I saw these 3D stickers at the craft store, I could picture this layout immediately. This is a much better scenario than staring at a blank planner spread, wondering what I could possibly do to fill this space. After several spreads that seemed, to me anyway, very similar, I wanted to do something completely different, interesting and out of my comfort zone. If there's one thing I hate, it's monotonous repetition, so I arranged the largest images first from corner to corner, then filled it in with thee smaller ones and a few stars and arrows from my sticker stash. My week is going to be filled with board meetings and lots of writing, so my planner will remind me of the fun stuff while I work. I'm sure it will also make me hungry, so I'm also sure I'll be picking up a couple of rolls sometime this week. What thing do you absolutely love

Could That Really Be ... Summer On The Way?

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For several weeks, our area has been plagued with yo-yo temperatures. One day will be hot and steamy, the next will be cool and dreary. It's no wonder half the people I know are sick! But yesterday I was able to take a short walk on the property, and it really actually does look like summer is just around the corner. That deep, dark green covers everything on the property now, that shade that I adore because there are so many layers of trees waving in the breeze. It was winter for so very long - I'm sure you know the feeling where you are - that now I feel like dancing down the trails! So I kind of, sort of, did. I grabbed my camera and took off down the first trail I came to. Danny got the ones on this side of the ponds cleared off, and it felt like a real adventure to go exploring after so many months of ice and snow. Down that trail one direction is my favorite patch of wild blackberry bushes. They're right up the hill from the house, and in another two months they'l

My "Plethora Of Flowers" Planner Layout

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Are you like me and ready to see gardens filled with flowers, but you have no intention of planting them and taking care of them yourself? I know I'm not alone - I have a black thumb, so me trying to grow something is a death sentence for those plants. Instead, I fill my planner with them! To make the cluster on the left, I layered white-rimmed flower stickers, letting the first row hang off the edge of the page. Then I worked in, moving them to the middle to create the half circle. All that's left is trimming off the hanging-over stickers to make the straight edge. Those trimmed-off stickers were perfect for scattering around both pages, lining up the straight edges around and about. A few words, banner journaling blocks and some beautiful butterflies pull it all together and create a garden of my very own, work free! How can you add flowers to your planner pages this week?

Perseverance Learned From A 350-Piece Sushi Puzzle

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There are many, many people out there who love to put puzzles together. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. When I was very little, I would memorize where the pieces of a puzzle went and would assemble them in order. That's how much I don't enjoy doing them. But I saw this sushi (one of my favorite things) puzzle (not one of my favorite things) at the store, and I had to try it. Problem #1 - the edge pieces are almost entirely black. As soon as I saw that, I almost put the pieces back in the box so I could go read a book. Solution #1 - separate the inside pieces by color and go from there. Victory #1! I'm no quitter. Problem #2 - The whole process was slow-going because there are multiples of one sushi roll in the picture. Just because I had all the rice pieces together didn't mean they were all part of the same section. Yes, I almost went to find that book to read, but I refused to quit. Solution #2 - Match up the colors around each piece because those colors and roll

Words For Wednesday

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Strawberry Lemonade Donuts

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Nothing says summer like pink lemonade, right? Everyone stands in line for cold, sweet, pretty drinks when it's getting warmer, but that's totally unnecessary. You can make a lemonade-themed donut and get double the dose of both sweet and lemon! Just a note: don't use the ingredient measurements on the cake mix box or you will actually bake cake. The adjusted measurements below will turn the thicker batter into donuts. You can find more homemade donut recipes by typing "donut" into the search bar at the top of this page. Ingredients: 1 boxed cake mix, lemon 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup water 1 egg 1 container strawberry frosting Sprinkles 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Combine egg, water and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Stir in cake mix and beat until I smooth and creamy. 3. Lightly spray four 6-cup donut pans with nonstick spray. 4. Half fill each cup of the pan with batter. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes. The tops will spring back when you touch t

If You Could Only Share Your Faith In Song Titles

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Christianity isn't always about seriousness. It's a serious part of our lives as believers, but we're not robots or unfeeling creatures who never get to smile or laugh or enjoy fellowship. Solomon wrote in Proverbs that a merry heart will make a cheerful countenance, meaning that the happiness in our hearts can be seen on our faces. So let's have a little fun today. If you could only have a conversation about your faith using song titles, what would you say? The Jesus I serve: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. I'm Glad I Know Who Jesus Is. Jesus Will Outshine Them All. Jesus Loves Me. Jesus Is Calling. Jesus Paid it All. Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus. Only Trust Him. Anywhere With Jesus. Jesus Is the Joy of Living. My Jesus, I Love Thee! My sins have been forgiven: Only a Sinner. Christ Receiveth Sinful Men. What Sins Are You Talking About? My Sins Are Blotted Out. My Sins Are Gone! The Old Account Was Settled. Sinner Saved By Grace. Grace Greater Than Our Sin. It's a

My "It's Pages For Pennies Book Sale Week!" Planner Layout

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It has never, ever been a secret that I love books. I've been reading adult-level books since I was three, and I never looked back! Next weekend is one of Ottumwa's most popular events of the year, the Pages for Pennies book sale, and I couldn't be more excited. So, obviously, my planner spread for this week is an unnecessary reminder that Friday is almost here! All of these images and phrases are from the Happy Planner's Bookish sticker book. This has been one of my favorites since I first found it, and this seemed like the perfect week to cover my pages with them. Not that I ever need a reason to use book stickers. Or stickers of chairs with pets in them. Or bookstore stickers. I think you catch my meaning. ... Books! The Friday and Saturday spaces have journal blocks on them that I plan to use for documenting the treasures that I find at the sale. I'll have to pare it down to just my favorites, though, because I know for a fact that I will find more than these fe

Shades Of Green Around The Edges Of Nature

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What a breath of fresh air this weekend - Iowa finally has shades of green around its edges! After so many months of bone-breaking wind, dreary days and cloud-filled skies, nature's true spring color is finally shining through. And I couldn't be happier. There's something special about the first buds, the first green swatches that remind us that there is hope. Hope that it won't be brown forever. It won't be overcast forever. It won't be dormant and stagnant forever. For a world that has been in hibernation for so very long, the first signs of warm weather make your heart skip a beat. I literally grinned as I walked around the property, and I'm not embarrassed to share that. It's so greatly needed. The fish are jumping, the geese and ducks are swimming and the birds are singing their little beaks off. I think they're just as happy as I am! Even the puppies have a spring in their step, pun completely intended. We walk a little farther, stay out a litt

Taking Time To Do Stuff From Trees Inventory

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I didn't realize just how much Stuff From Trees merchandise we have until I laid it out. In an out-of-the-way part of the basement, I set up tables like I would at a show and started pulling out everything we have finished. Talk about being pleasantly surprised! Danny has almost two dozen pens and pencils done, and they are absolutely beautiful. There are woods, acrylics, golf pencils and a gorgeous teacher pen. With them as the centerpiece, I set up all the upcycled Little Golden Books, little notebooks and Scrabble journals. I have to do some fixing and decorating on the Scrabble tiles on their trays, which are super cute. Diesel agrees. He is my helper dog. He is also very serious and has big, adorable ears. That is all. We only have two big wood burnings and one tree slice welcome sign. One is the cow skull and the other says "Give us this day our daily bread." All the fall and Thanksgiving pieces fit at one end, and I haven't even pulled out the big magnet board

Even Professional Photographers Have Their Moments

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 There are some moments when it is easy to be a professional photographer. The subject, the light, the shadows, the colors all come together for an image that is new and different and perfect. Eggs are absolutely fascinating - the color and shape and differences in each one. I love the way the edges of the nest are beautifully blurred while the eggs stand out against the dark grasses. But for every one beautiful, creative photo a professional photographer takes, there are dozens on their camera roll that should be hidden from the public eye. Forever. I think it's so special that this bird built her nest on the security light. There's a whole Sunday school lesson there, but not when it's accompanied by a crazy-blurry picture of a bird. Trying to get pictures up and over the nest when it's all the way up there is tricky, but totally doable. It's all about stretching, balance and not trying to take a picture while holding four dog leashes in one hand.  Like this. I was