Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artful Thursday

Julie Collings over at The Adventures of Blue Girl XO started an Artful Thursday group this year, where a group of girls all post something artful and we get to see what each other has created.  I love to work with my hands, and this gives me an opportunity to make something with the massive  items I have already at hand.  I just take a small basket and gather some supplies that I want to work with, and start from there.  Here is what I started with:

There is some old wallpaper, some vintage lace, vintage bias tape, a blingy mismatched clip on earring, some satin ribbon, a few little flowers and some scrapbook paper.  Just a few things.  I sewed some of the paper together, trimmed it with my decorative scissors, and put together this card - ready for any occasion.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Today I made a good beef stew in the crock pot.  We have swim lessons this afternoon, so I try to make something that either doesn't take long or I use the trusty "OLD" crockpot to get the meal done.  This crockpot of mine is ancient, but I love it.  I believe we got it as a wedding gift almost 25 years ago, so it has lasted as long as our marriage!  haha  Here is the recipe I got off of

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped


1.Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

2.Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

I love it, because you do not have to brown the meat ahead of time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Zoo

Yesterday it turned out to be a really nice day to be outside.  It was a bit windy and cloudy, but it was in the low 70's so the kids wanted to go to the zoo.  Well, why not?  They had fun feeding the exotic birds, but most of all, Little Man could NOT pull himself away from playing "VET" to many different "sick" animals.  He loves role playing, and the Brevard Zoo has a wonderful little room where kids can dress up like a vet, check over the "hurt" animals, and fix them, including putting them in a crate.  We also saw the monkeys, deer, rhinos, alligators, otters, the leopard and flamingos -- but the giraffes were not out.  We were going to feed them if they were out, but maybe next time!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hope for Haiti Now Telethon

George Clooney put together an excellent group for an excellent show.  Wow, what star power one person can have.  Anyways, one of the best performances is shown below.  Awesome night!  Give what you can.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Martha Stewart Punch

Let's just say I had a 50% off Michael's coupon burning a hole in my pocket!  Whenever I get a 50% off coupon, I just HAVE to use it.  It seems wasteful if I don't.  There are things I normally will buy, that I use, if  I have a good coupon - like their Scotch double stick tape, xyron refills, glue sticks, tape runner refills, jumprings, cellophane bags...I could go on and on.  Today there were some 90% off Christmas items that I picked up, then with my coupon I couldn't resist the new Martha Stewart Birds on a Wire edger punch.  I LOVE birds, especially when it comes to crafting.  I have no clue what I will do with this punch, but I already have a substantial nice collection of MS punches, so I could do no wrong in bringing this one home to join the rest of the crew.  How cool is this?? 

My husband does not understand how I like to have craft supplies on hand for just about any occasion "just in case I may need it".  If he only knew the half of what I hoard store...but my NEIGHBORS love it!  Many times, the boys will come over and ask if I have "such and such" for a project they have to do, and so far everytime I have had it!  Yesterday one of the boys came over and asked if I had any styrofoam blocks for a spanish project he had to complete.  I thought about it for a second, and went to the garage and gave him a styrofoam cooler we had, so he could cut it up and make it into blocks.  So see?  You just never know what someone will need...including now a "bird on a wire" punch! 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Holy Spirit's Work

The Holy Spirit's Work

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me. — John 16:7–8

It is sometimes hard for us to grasp the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Him, not an it. After all, the Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a mighty rushing wind. We read of His coming upon the disciples in a divided flame of fire. We also read about His descending as a dove.

But let's remember that Jesus is called the Bread of Life, and the Father is described as a refuge, hiding us under the shadow of His wings. Does that mean that Jesus is a loaf of bread—or that the Father is a giant bird in heaven? Of course not. These are simply metaphors to help us understand God.

The Holy Spirit is a Him, and He has specific work that He wants to do. This includes convicting us of our sin—not necessarily sin in general, but to show us that we are sinners. The Holy Spirit takes the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus, shows us it is true, and shows us that we need to turn to God. Without the convicting power of the Spirit, you would never have come to Jesus. That is why, when I am praying for an unbeliever, I pray that God would convict him or her by His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit doesn't convict us of our sin to drive us to despair, but to send us into the open arms of Jesus. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:37 says that the people "were cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). This phrase means "pierced in the heart" and describes something that is sudden and unexpected. The Holy Spirit will stab you, in effect, but it is not to destroy you. It is to show you your need for Jesus.

--Devotion from Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Church in CA

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My FAVORITE laundry spot treater

Well, after many years of seaching for the CONCENTRATED liquid zout cleaner, I think I have finally found it!  I used to be able to find it at Walgreens, Eckerds or Wal-Mart, but now all you can find is the spray, which in my opinion is NOT as good as the concentrated liquid...but after a few searches, I have found it online at Ace Hardware Superstores, and at a place called BIC Warehouse.  We have an Ace Hardware right around the corner, so I'm going to go there tomorrow and check out if they carry it.  If not, then the ONLINE store it is!  WooHoo!  I'm so excited to finally find it because I have been coveting every last drop in my "blue" bottle (yes, it is THAT old).  I had to use it today to get ink out of my top, and yes, it worked like a charm!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chili Recipe for the College Boy

The College Boy asked me for my chili recipe the other day, and I just about fell over!  I need to explain first -- him and his father have ALWAYS teased me that my chili recipe is like "spaghetti sauce with beans" for a good many years.  Well, being raised Pennsylvanian Dutch, we don't COOK very much spicy food, unless you're talking horseradish, paprika or garlic!  But lately, since the kids are getting older and liking a little more spice in their food, I adapted my GREAT CLASSIC Betty Crocker Recipe and made it a little more spicy for everyone.  The key is to let it simmer/cook the full hour, to get the spiciness to come out.  So here it is - I'm passing it on here:

The BEST Classic Chili Recipe EVER

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey (I use turkey)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can tomato paste (small can)
1 can stewed tomatoes (you may have to chop some of these)
1 can diced tomatoes (16oz. size)
1 can of water (rinse out the tomato can)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbls. Chili Powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper sauce
1 can (15oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook and stir ground meat, onion and garlic in large saucepan until the ground meat is light brown; drain. Stir in tomatoes (with liquid), water, celery, chili powder, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce. Heat to boiling; reduce heat (to low). Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Stir in beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until hot, about 15 minutes. (For thicker chili, continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency.)

Topping ideas: Sour Cream, shredded cheddar cheese, Fritos, mini saltines.
The update from College Boy is that it turned out great!  It makes a big pot, and he and his girlfriend made it, took it to an event they had to go to and had some leftover for the Cowboys playoff game the next day. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Golden Globes

Did you watch the Golden Globes last night?  It was actually pretty good, I thought.  I love watching E! to see what the celebrities are wearing.  How do you like Olivia Wilde's dress?  One of the best of the night, I thought.  Can Gucci ever do any wrong?  I don't think so! 

Another that I liked was Emily Blunt.

Simply Stunning!!  I believe it was a Christian Lacroix.  Loved all of the ruffles, the sculpting, and the off the shoulder and strapless looks.  I also liked Jodie Foster's dress, but I didn't see a picture of that anywhere.  She must have arrived late or slipped in the back.  Most dresses were just "nice", but there were also a few misses.

Number 1:  Tina Fey.

Tina, Tina, what were you thinking?  The print?  The length?  The horizontal stripes?  The tiers??  Oh my, I have seen you rock the carpet before my dear, but this wasn't rocking anything! 

Number 2:  Jennifer Garner

Girl, you know I love you, but you are too thin here!  A cheeseburger the night before may have helped.  You are stunning, but this color didn't do much for you either.  And where was your date last night?  I would assume babysitting, but Ben was definitely missed not being there by your side.

Number 3 - Marion Cotillard

What is this?  Ripley meets Madonna 80's?  I don't know.  The Gladiator shoes were not working with the hard lines of the dress, the long slit and the peek-a-boo lacy biker shorts!  Ugh!  If you are going to work a high slit in a dress, take note from the pros:

There was only one other catastrophe to report, except for one of the ushers stepping on Chloe Sevigny's ruffled dress - and that was the CLEAVAGE BRIGADE!  Lordy, Lordy...some of these girls needed covered up!!

Ricky Gervais was really funny.  Sometimes inappropriately so, but you kind of expect that on these shows.  Loved how he would introduce people also, giving them a little "jab".  haha  

Of course the celebrities were all wearing ribbons to support funding to help Haiti.  Some stars have donated alot of money, which is admirable.  We can all do our part, but please only give to charities you KNOW that will take your money and actually put it to good use.  Samaritan's Purse and the American Red Cross are two of the top ones.  George Clooney is putting together a telethon to raise money next week.  Let's hope the money goes to a good organization that knows what they are doing with it.
So if anyone is reading this far and watched the award shows last night, let me know what you thought! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Happy Birthday celebration

This past week it was the Rocket Scientist's birthday.  He always seems to have a weeklong birthday celebration.  It just goes on and on and on...  haha.  It started with gifts, followed by a dinner out to wherever the birthday boy chooses (this time it was at Amici's Italian restaurant which is SO SO yummy!), then cake and presents with our friends next door.  College Boy wasn't here to enjoy the fun, and we missed him not being here. 

I brought along my new point and shoot camera to see how it would work and took a few pics at the restaurant.  This was my meal, which I brought half of it home.  Eggplant Rollatine.  Yum!!  Eggplant roll ups filled with ricotta and mozzarella cheese.  I'm not the best at cooking eggplant, so I order it when I can and this dish was delicious!  The kids ordered a homemade cheese and sausage pizza, which you can watch them make through the window outside, and the Birthday Boy ordered a sausage and broccoli rabe dish.  I think we will have to go back soon, it was THAT good!

The Rocket Scientist wanted chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and the Little Man insisted that we decorate it with Spiderman sugar decorations and a Spiderman Candle.  He put the candles in the cake all by himself and was quite proud of his creation.  It was REALLY good -- since last years fiasco with the double layer cake trying to fall over, I stuck with what I do best - the Beautiful Bundt Cake!  I have never had a bundt cake fail me so I have decided to stick with what I know.  haha 

Happy 48th Birthday, Shwoopie!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inspiration Thursday - When You're Worried

When You're Worried

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Psalm 61:2

Without question, life is full of troubles. We have concerns about our future, concerns about our health, concerns about our family, concerns about our finances, and the list goes on. Things happen that scare us—and sometimes even terrify us. There are things that concern us, things that alarm us, and things that cause us to be filled with anxiety.

Everyone worries a little. We all have anxiety. I admit that I worry, and I don't say that proudly. Worry is not a virtue. In fact, it can be a sin in which we are failing to trust in God. So I have a suggestion: the next time you are tempted to worry, pray instead.

Prayer is the way by which God helps us to overcome our anxiety and worry. We are told in Philippians 4:6–7, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (NLT).

Maybe God will take your problem away. That is possible. Then again, maybe He won't. But here is what happens: you get perspective. You see God for who He is, and thus you see your problem for what it is. If you have a big God, then you have a relatively small problem. But if you have a big problem, it may be that you have a small God, because you are not seeing Him in His glory and for what He can do.

Prayer gives us His peace and His strength to help us get through whatever it is we are dealing with. That is what God does for the person who will call on Him.

--devotion from Greg Laurie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Organization ideas for a Closet

Isn't this a pretty closet?  I wanted hardwood floors in my office/craft room, but we just carpeted my son's room so the hardwood in the office will have to wait, but I really like this idea of a desk and table in the closet.  Right now I have a computer desk that I am typing on, but I could move over to the small closet and free up this existing space for a table to put a sewing machine on.  Or I could put the sewing machine in the closet like in this photo:

I don't do alot of sewing, but maybe if my closet looked like this, I would!  ha!  I really do more jewelry making these days, and less sewing and paper crafts.  But it is all good, and I NEED a place to do it all!  lol  I'm still purging, which I think is the first step to organization.  The office is getting there, but it still has a WHOLE lot more to go!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crafty Tuesday

Here is a picture of one of my BFF's wearing her t-shirt I made for her as a birthday gift, from a Tutorial over at Hope Studios!  Does it look familiar?  These shirts are popular at JCrew and Old Navy right now, but with two t-shirts, a needle and some thread, you can make your own!  Annette LOVED it, and I think it looks great on her.  It didn't take long to make at all, so check out Jennifer's tutorial over at her site and whip up one yourself.  Genius!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Fail.  A pretty harsh word, but it describes my dieting adventure from last week.  I read a few books last week - Naturally Thin, The Ultimate Metabolism and Skinny B!tch.  I really liked Bethenny Frankel's book, Naturally Thin, and her 10 rules to getting and staying Naturally Thin, so I gave it a try.  I guess even with me working out and following her "rules", I did not "taste" everything and "eat" nothing very well because I ended up GAINING 1 pound!  How can this be?  I didn't follow a carb meal with another carb meal.  I ate what she suggested.  It must be what I ate and how much I back to the drawing board to find another weight loss book that is doable.  I don't think it helped that I watched Julie & Julia last night either, since that made me want to cook with butter and eat French Cuisine now for the rest of my life.  Ugh!  Fail.  So my next venture is to check out the Low Glucose diet, and try to follow that.  The only problem is, I find white flour, white rice and corn syrup in just about everything that I already have in the pantry, including things like salad dressing and croutons.  So here goes to another week of trying to decide what diet to be on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It is FREEZING outside!

Just made my trip home from church and Target, and man it is FREEZING outside!  The highs today is suppose to only get to around 49 degrees!  I looked in my closet and I only have 1 pair of dressy long pants and 1 sweater.  That is it!  I have a few long sleeved casual shirts and a few pairs of jeans, but anything dressy pertaining to winter, I don't have.  Thank goodness for my leather coat!  I hope everyone is keeping warm.  We're all staying inside today to watch Chronicles of Narnia and tonight we are watching Julie & Julia.  I just picked it up from Target.  A and I saw it at the Theater and just LOVED Meryl Streep's performance in it! I already have Julia Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I have a vintage copy from 1969 that I picked up at our local Angels in the Attic store a couple of years ago.  Maybe I will try to attempt a recipe out of it this week!  We'll see.  ;-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Video Friday

Drops of Jupiter.  I heard this song on the radio after coming home from lunch at Panera and searching everywhere for Duraflame logs since it is suppose to "possibly" snow tomorrow! 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Inspirational Thursday

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders and the judgements of His mouth. 
--1 Chronicles 16:12

Today's devotion from Pastor Greg Laurie was on remembering.  What do you remember?  Just the other day I told my friend in Gainesville I remember her daughter's birthday was January 2, from knowing this around 30 years ago...but can I remember more important things in my life?  I tend to remember frivolous things, lyrics to silly songs on the radio, something funny someone said on TV.  But verses in the bible I have known for years sometimes slip my mind!  That is what is great about the Bible.  We can always pick it up and rely on what it says as it reminds us over and over again what we should do and what we should believe.  A great quote from Pastor Greg in my devotional said this:
--What you think about God has everything to do with how you will live.  Why?  Because your view of God will determine how you react to what comes your way in life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I WISH my office spaced looked like this!  Beautifully organized...but here is where I fail.  I'm always looking for the BEST way to organize.  How to organize, how to purge, what to purge, where to put the things I is always a HUGE task in my book!  We just moved my oldest son out of his room, moved our youngest son into oldest son's old room, and put two single beds in there so that the College Boy has somewhere to sleep when he comes home to visit.  That freed up Little Man's old bedroom, which we want to convert into a (craft room) small office space.  So here is where I am.  The bedroom is a catch-all right now and looks like a MESS.  So Wednesdays will be devoted to organization.  Here is a post from Stephanie over at Stephmodo.  She posted 5 Steps to Realistic Organizing.  I think they are a good start!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crafty Tuesday!

This is one of my New Years resolutions - to keep up with my blog! ha! I have many things to share and document, so on Tuesdays I will devote my blog to crafty ideas! This one comes from Jennifer Juniper over at Hope Studios, which gives you a great idea of what to do with all of the beautiful Christmas Cards you received this year! Sure, there are lots of things to do with Christmas cards, but I never thought to make NOTE PADS from them. What a clever idea! And if you get started on it now, you will have some cute gifts premade throughout the year! Why stop at Christmas Cards? You can also do this with other occasion cards you may have! Check it out here!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Years!

Just want to tell everyone Happy New Year, and wish you all a very healthy and prosperous new year for 2010! So funny to see 2010 now. And how do you say it? Twenty Ten? So strange! My New Years resolution is to lose some weight and get in shape. I think I say that every year, but this is the year for change. A new decade of love and health seems to be in order! And lots of crafting! We had our Blackeyed Peas and Cornbread to bring the new year in right. Now to wait until the kids go back to school.