Friday, August 29, 2008

Haven Swap

Monica and Carrie hosted another swap: Haven. I love the theme of this swap! Isn't making our home a haven what we all strive for? I know I do.

Ginger at One Day at a Time was my partner in this swap. Here is a picture of my goodies.



I received:

Three pot holders. My pot holder are well worn and very stained. I had them listed on my Christmas wish list. Ginger must have been peeking into my kitchen.

A cute notepad. It says "May your glory be over all the Earth. Psalm 57:5. It came with a pen that is my new favorite.

Two postcards from the area where Ginger lives. I thought this was a wonderful touch. I will have to remember to do that for the next swap.

A package of tea. Not any tea, but China Green Tea. Everytime I drink green tea it takes me right back to my time in China.

A wonderful candle holder along with a package of votive candles. The scent is makes my home smell wonderful!

There was also a cute little basket. I can't wait to find the perfect use for my new basket.

This is what I sent to Ginger:



Three matching picture frames.
A candle in a canning jar. I believe the scent was Apple Pie.
I made four fabric balls. I really hope they match the colors in her decor.
A recipe card holder that says "Home Sweet Home." Along with some recipe cards I printed that say "With love from Ginger's kitchen."
A 2009 pocket calendar.
Two dish towels. I added some gingham fabric and some rickrack to add a little spice.

I had so much fun putting this package together. I loved everything in my package and hope that Ginger enjoyed hers also.

A huge thanks to Monica and Carrie for another wonderful swap!

Be sure to check out Carrie's blog for a peek at other great swap packages.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When You Play Hard...

Well, you sleep hard.


Poor thing couldn't even make through dinner, but you'll notice she wasn't letting go of her corn!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Change of Season

I find it so hard to believe that next weekend is the end of Summer. Although I know that Labor Day weekend is not the official end of Summer I always associate it with the beginning of Fall. Even though Spring is my favorite season Fall is a close, close second.We are back in the dog days of Summer with hot, humid days but Fall is making it's presence known. I looked out my bedroom window and noticed my neighbors tree is starting to change.

This a beautiful Maple tree and I so enjoy sitting outside on a cool morning or evening sipping tea and looking at the brilliant colors.The one thing that I don't find so great about the change of season is this.



Until I had a child I never knew what a pain it was to change out clothes for each season. Poor Megan has tried on so many outfits! I had her try on her 18 month clothes from last Winter. I am happy that the 18 month jammies she got for Christmas now fit!

I had Chuck pull out the size 2 hand me downs from my sister. (Thanks Aunt Jenni!) My plan is to go through them and pick out what fits Megan now and then pack the rest away for a future growth spurt.

While Chuck was in the shed I had my Fall decor pulled out. I am so excited to put everything out next weekend! Mom even stopped by Saturday with a cute Fall flag for out front. Thanks Mom!

I will be spending the day sorting and washing clothes.Even though it is not a fun task I am grateful for all the clothes that have been gifted to us. I am also grateful that I live in an area where I can see a distinct change in each season.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On My Mind

This post has been on my mind. As I was reading what Monica had written I keep thinking "I could have written this."

I have most definitely been in survival mode. I do not like it one bit! I started thinking am I living each day to the fullest? No. Am I providing a positive, loving, fun environment for the kids? No. I have been short with the kids and just "surviving" until nap time or until the weekend. Is this how I want to live, is the how I want the Megan to remember her childhood? Of course the answer is no.

Chuck and I have been talking about this. I told him how overwhelmed and frustrated I sometimes feel. I told him that when I step back and see how things are I know that my actions are not glorifying God. Ouch! That was hard to admit.

I have noticed that my days have been much better. I have had the mindset that I was not just going to survive, I was going to thrive. When I feel myself becoming short I pray. Pray for patients, pray for guidance.

I know that I am too hard on myself. That I want things to be perfect. I really need to let that go. I relaxed and made sure that I sat on the floor and sang songs with the kids, read stories and just enjoyed my time with them. Of course I do these things everyday, but much of the time I am thinking about how many things are still on my to do list.

I know that this is something that I will have to work on each day. I feel so much better when I am thriving. Thanks Monica for helping me to see that I want to thrive, live today and not wish my life away.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic Closing Celebration Dinner

I couldn't let the Olympics pass without a celebration. I decided to make a special dinner to celebrate the closing ceremonies. I made an Asian BBQ Chicken in a stir fry. I decided that I had to serve it over noodles after I found these.

How special that I was able to find noodles to represent the Birds Nest!


It so yummy and we even used chopsticks to eat. Which was comical. I stink at using chopsticks. Thank goodness they pulled out the forks while we were in China!

Megan even tried using chopsticks. Look at that concentration. She finally gave up and went back to eating her noodles with a fork or her fingers.

Since this was such a special dinner I pulled out Megan's tea set. The province that she is from is know for their porcelain so while in China we purchased her a hand painted tea set.

Megan loves tea and thought it was great to be able to drink it out of her tea cup. She keep asking for more.

As most of you know China has a very special place in our hearts. We have enjoyed watching the Olympics. It has been so neat to see all the places that we were able to visit. Oh the memories it has brought back.

Asian BBQ Chicken

1 cup honey BBQ sauce
4 1/2 t soy sauce
1/2 t ginger
1/4 garlic powder

Cook chicken until juices run clear. Add vegetables of your choice (I used carrots, broccoli & cauliflower) and saute until crisp tender. Add BBQ sauce and simmer until hot. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cookie Cutter Crayons

I really enjoy checking out Amy's Notebook over at Mom Advise. There are links to great tips, yummy recipes, great crafts and things that sometimes make you just think. What I love most about this is that Amy does all the blog hopping for me!

Amy's Notebook 08/07/08 showcased this great craft from Daily Danny. As soon as I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to do. Here is are my results.

This was an easy craft. I was able to pull off the wrappers while Megan and friends were at the kitchen table coloring. I then feed the kids lunch while the crayons melted and cooled. I was then able to cut them out during nap time!

To finish this off I packaged them in cookie bags that I had on hand. I closed the bag with a pretty ribbon.

I can see these as party favors, a cute package topper for a kids gift or a fun treat in a trip package.

Be sure to visit Amy for more great ideas!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remodel

I have been doing a little remodeling around the home place. There may be some more changes as I tweak things... aka... figure out what in the world I am doing! I have been trying to add one of those wonderful backgrounds with no luck. I read and re-read the instructions and I guess I am just not getting it. I figured that I had better not press my luck and had a splitting headache by the time my head hit the pillow!

So, what do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Family Reunion and a Recipe

On Sunday we attended Chuck's family reunion. It was a bittersweet gathering due the passing of his Great-Aunt Shari last week. There was some debate over weather the reunion should be cancelled. They decided to continue on with it. When you lose someone you really need those you love near. What better way to do that then to have a family reunion!

Before the meal Shari was remembered in a special prayer. Although it was emotional for many it was also a great tribute to a wonderful lady.

Again we were blessed with wonderful weather. Boy am I getting spoiled! The reunion is held in a state park that is great.




Megan had her first drink out of a drinking fountain. She thought that was fun!

Playing in the dirt pile was a fun thing to to with cousins.



We took a walk to see the water falls. Megan loved that and wanted to keep going and going and going. Unfortunately we don't have the energy of a two year old!


One of the things I took to the reunion was this salad. It was made with all garden fresh veggies.


Cucumber, Tomato, Onion Salad


This is made with a vinegar dressing.

2 cups vinegar
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil and allow to cool. Pour over veggies and refrigerate.

It was hard to put exact measurements to this recipe. It is one of those recipes that you just have keep tasting until you get it right. Mine was a little tart when I tasted it the next morning and I had to add some more sugar and some additional water. I used a huge cucumber, two onions and about six tomatos. I made a really big batch.

I am not a tomato or onion fan, but I love the cucumbers marinated in this.

This is my grandmother's recipe. I remember it always being served with dinner as long as the garden was producing. It brought back lots of memories as this was made. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saturday

Saturday was another fabulous day. We started out the day with a trip to our local farmers market. We ended up leaving with fresh corn on the cob, cantaloupe, local honey and watermelon. Yum!

As we were getting ready to leave Megan had a seat on the curb. After all that shopping I guess she needed a rest!

Later in the day I was working on laundry when Megan decided to help. As with most toddlers Megan is all about dressing herself.


Quite the fashion statement, huh!?

We ended the day with dinner out. We went to Micky D's and were able to have dinner out for $5 thanks to this coupon. (Thanks to Crystal for providing this link.) Not my favorite chicken sandwich, but considering it was free and I didn't have to cook or clean up I'll take it.

Be sure to check the USA Weekend in yesterdays newspaper for another coupon for free (well almost free) chicken at Micky D's.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Rain

Yesterday afternoon we had a delightful rain shower. You know the kind that makes the air cool and smell clean and fresh. Megan and I went out and sat on the back porch and it was just delicious!

Megan was so excited! She was sticking her hand out so it got rained on and talking about how the flowers were thirty and getting a drink. So cute!

What is it about a wonderful rain shower to take all your cares away and leave you feeling refreshed? Oh, how I love simple pleasures!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Watcha Workin' on Wednesday

Yesterday was another fantastic day here. Chuck ended up taking a vacation day and we were busy all day long.

I have the gate flag almost done. I need to paint on the star and then seal it. My problem is that I can't find the pattern for the original star that I used. Ugh! I tried a couple of star patterns that I had in my craft book but they did not work. I will have to surf the net for another pattern. Hopefully we will be able to hang it this weekend and then I can post a finished picture next week.

We worked on some maintenance things today also. Chuck fixed the leak in the gutter on the back deck. Slowly but surely Megan's playhouse is getting fixed. The rotten wood was replaced on the porch today and should be ready for paint soon. I can't wait to get it done. I have some ideas floating around for finishing touches.

This is the project that I finished today.


When we first moved in mom bought this for me. Over the years it was wearing down and needed some repair. This spring we went out to give it some TLC and the barn split in half. The old barn was used for a pattern and a replacement was made. After painting it I gave it a coat of poly to make it more durable. Red barns are one of my favorite things!

Be sure to visit Leslie for to see what others are working on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Outside Fun

Yesterday was GORGEOUS! It is so strange for this kind of weather the first part of August. We are taking full advantage of it. Yesterday we spent every waking moment outside.

Here are some of the fun things we did yesterday.


The swings are always a hit.


Running around in the grass and occasionally catching the ball was fun!


A trip in the car is always more fun if you have a friend along.


One of Megan's favorite outside activities is chalk. The loved it when I drew a circle, square and triangle. I would say who is in the square, circle etc and they would run to it so they could yell out I am. Lots of fun!


The girls even remembered to stop and smell the flowers!

It was a very busy, fun day. Megan was a happy, dirty girl when she hit the bathtub. She barely made it to a 7:30 bedtime. I guess all that fresh air wore her out. Today is suppose to be just as nice. I am looking forward to another fun filled outside day!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Butterfly

I hope that you all had a good weekend. We have been experiencing fall like temperatures. All I can say is it is great! I have had all of the windows open this weekend, which is one of my favorite things.

Since the weather has been so nice we have spent lots of time working outside. Chuck finally got his truck fixed! Although I spend most of my days at home it is nice to know that I am able to go somewhere if I want to.

We trimmed some bushes and I was able to get all of my flowerbeds weeded. It is so nice to have that chore done. While trimming a bush I looked down and saw a butterfly laying on the ground. I was very surprised. It was just laying there and not attempting to fly off.



Chuck picked it up and I was able to snap a shot. He layed it down in the sun and a few minutes later I looked over and it was gone. We weren't sure the butterfly would survive so I was quite relieved.

This picture is just because I think it is funny.


We often find Megan sleeping at this end of the crib. We always go in once she is asleep and move all of her friends and make sure she is covered up. Occasionally we will sneak in and find her with her feet sticking out. All of the room she has and she chooses to snuggle up against the end rail. Too funny!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cinnamon Biscuits

This is what you do when life gives you an open can of biscuits... make cinnamon biscuits!


Megan was my shadow while getting dinner ready. While I was getting something out of the refrigerator she was moving around this can of biscuits. I told her to put it back before I shut the door and went on to a new task.

While eating dinner Chuck opened the refrigerator to retrieve something and the can of biscuits fell out and busted open. I couldn't let them go to waste! I rolled them in cinnamon sugar for breakfast the next day. Yummy!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Lemon Summertime Cake

This is a wonderful cake that is perfect for a warm summer day. When I was young we would go to Virginia every summer to visit my grandparents. One summer while at Mom and Pop's we were introduced to this cake.


It is a basic yellow cake that once cooled is poked with a toothpick and then a lemon is squeezed over top. Once that is complete you sprinkle sugar on top. Simple, yet delicious!

Mom recently made this cake and both my sister and I immediately thought of our grandmother and all the wonderful memories we have of our time spent with Mom and Pop. My sister even calls this cake "Virginia Cake." Enjoy!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hodge Podge

Yesterday was busy! Even though it was busy I wasn't able to get much accomplished. I had all of my daycare kids yesterday. Including Megan I had 6 kids here, fortunately my niece was here for the afternoon to help out.

I tried cutting fabric during nap time. Wouldn't you know that someone woke up. Ethan (who is 12 mos) woke up by noon. I had just gotten everything set up and cut a couple of strips and then I heard him cry. Ugh! The good thing is that he went down later in the afternoon.

Megan is losing her baby look and I find that very sad. I ran across this picture and think she looks like such a big girl.


She is doing her favorite thing. I think she would be happy if we had no toys and only books. Well, as long as she had her Miss Bunny!

We ended up with a surprise date night! My mil came over this afternoon and ended up taking Megan home with her. We grabbed a quick burger and then headed to JoAnn Fabrics. Thanks to their 40% off coupon I was able to get a new rotary cutter! Yeah! Then we went to the auto store to get a new oil pump for Chuck's truck. We are such an exciting couple!

Yes, the truck is still broken. It has been a nightmare. They have been talking about things like raising the engine, yikes! Chuck's uncle is coming over tonight and I hope that they can figure it out.

Gotta run. My niece and nephew will be dropped off shortly. The humidity has finally lifted so hopefully we can spend the day outside. You should see the weeds! Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Watcha Working on Wednesday

Leslie over at My Country Home host Watcha Working on Wednesday each week. Leslie is one busy chick. It seems that she is always working on something, very inspiring!


I made this flag about 6 years ago to hang on our shed. When we moved in there was a dog run with a picket fence type of gate. We took down the dog run and I had Chuck hang on to the gate. I knew I could find something to do with it. I ended up cutting the gate in half and making it into a flag.

Well here we are 6 years later and it was starting to not look so good. Chuck took it down for me while doing some paint touch up on the shed. I am going to give it a good sand and then re-paint it. Once it is back up on the shed I will take a picture.


Another project I am working on is a homespun garland for my Christmas tree. I am cutting strips out of this fabric for my garland. I can't find my rotary cutter so I have been cutting fabric by hand. Ugh! I have so many strips to cut that I might have to go buy a new cutter. This project will be a work in progress for a while. I doubt I will be able to show the finished project until closer to Christmas.

Be sure to stop by Leslie's to see what others are up to.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Do

Friday I went to visit my sister's hairdresser. I got it all chopped off! I have been so busy that I have been pulling my back into a barrette every day. I was tired of feeling like I had no style, not saying that I have any now! Here it is:

Even though I told Chuck I was getting it cut he was shocked when I came home. Saturday morning while I was getting ready he came in and ran his hands through my hair and smiled. He said that it is growing on him. I am still getting use to it, but I think I am going to like it.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Couponing


On Saturday I attended a coupon seminar at church. It was given by a lady named Heidi. It was very strange to hear her talk about Crystal from MoneySavingMom. Such a small world!

She shared her fantastic binder. She uses the baseball card holders, puts her coupons in alphabetical order by brand name and staples multiple coupons together. I had tried paper clipping like coupons together. That did not work so well. I can't wait to try stapling them together.

She put on a nice program. There was a lady sitting next to me that had just starting to clip coupons so I am sure this was very helpful for her. She had a print out with resources such as coupon sites, books and even places to donate the free items your family won't use.

It was fun to be around like minded people. So many look down on the couponing gang. I would encourage those good at couponing to consider a program like this for your church. I can only imagine the money I might have saved if I had been taught the tricks of the trade earlier!

I had been lax with my CVS shopping. Heidi helped to get me back into the game. I didn't have many ECBs so I ended up spending $23 out of pocket, but ended up with $22in ECBs.


Thanks for the motivation Heidi!