He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

30 December 2011

oh boy.
i feel like such a slacker!
i usually warn you about my "vacations from blogging" but this past week i just disappeared.
please forgive me!
my in-laws were in town and i decided to do a whole-lotta-nuttin!
it was a smart move on my part.
i had time to rest.
time to read.
time to organize and clean.
best of all... 
i had lots of time to spend alone with hubs
i had a chance to remember why i love c.j. so very much. {he's quite hilarious which i often miss out on when i'm in mommy-mode.}
so all of that is to say that i'm sorry for my unplanned absence and that...
i wish you very bestest of new years! 
please try and squeeze out every last ounce of joy you can in these last days of 2011!
His mercies are new EVERY morning!

photo credit 

22 December 2011

One Reason I LOVE Picnik!

cause I was able to make this...
and put it here!

Want one? Click Here and print!
Happy Thursday!

19 December 2011

Christmas Favs {Commercials}

Just thought it would be fun to remember these...

Remember "I didn't know there was chicken in this soup? or this..?
How's the shopping going?

15 December 2011

{Mashed Sweet Potatoes}

I usually keep sweet potatoes on hand. They're so versatile! One of my favorite recipes is Ellie Krieger's Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes but that requires about an hour of oven time and I needed something fast the other night.
I found a recipe for mashed sweet potatoes.
I tried it.
We loved it.
It's super simple with only 4 ingredients that I always have on hand and when I find a recipe everyone enjoys, I hang on to it. 
Mashed Sweet Potatoes 
3 large sweet potatoes
1/4 c butter
1/4 c milk
1/4 c maple syrup

Peel, dice, and boil the potatoes in just enough water to cover the potatoes for 20-30 minutes. Once fork tender, drain and remove from heat. Add remaining three ingredients and blend with a potato masher or electric hand mixer until smooth. {I often just turn the burner off but leave the pan on the stove to help melt the butter}. Serve warm.
which is also where the photo is from.

13 December 2011

Christmas Favs 2001 {Winter Snow}

Hi, Everyone!
I discovered this song a few weeks ago on the Chris Tomlin Christmas CD we just purchased. This song was neatly tucked in at the end of the playlist and I immediately fell in love. The lyrics tell the story of God's grace in sending our Savior, not in a fiery brilliance but rather in the simplest way possible.
I hope you enjoy it too!

Winter Snow by Audrey Assad

12 December 2011

Christmas Favs 2001 {Behold the Lamb Book}

Sweetest of Hubs found this a few weeks ago...
If you're at all familiar with Sally Lloyd-Jones' Jesus Storybook Bible or Andrew Petereson's Behold the Lamb Christmas album then you already have a basis for understanding this book.
Behold the Lamb {the book}, written by Russ Ramsey, starts from the beginning... the VERY beginning.
It starts with Adam and Eve and walks through the history leading up to Christ and shows the common thread throughout all of Scripture that Christ has been part of the plan all along.
It's a beautiful story, written with great detail and care. It goes into the mundane of the Old Testement stories we've heard all along and finds the simple beauty of the truth and tenderness of God's love for His people from the start.
It's written in twenty-five short chapters which makes it great for advent reading like Hubs and I are doing, but that doesn't mean you can't order and read it all at once!
This day, THIS Monday, is the day that the Lord has made!

07 December 2011

Chocolate, Peanut Butter Bananas

Found this recipe at Nom Nom Nom.
Made them.
Ate them before I thought to take a picture of my own.
You should make them too!
Happy Wednesday!

06 December 2011

No Idle Hands, Just an Idle Computer

I've been slacking on sharing the goods with you lately.
Our schedule filled up very quickly once school and Bible study kicked in.
Moving certainly did it's part.
I did want to share a little of what we've been up to just in case you're looking for ideas.
1. The whole upstairs has been painted and the rooms are functional. More will be done but not for a while, I suspect.
Our kitchen is still waiting for the wainscoting that's going up to cover the damaged wall. {Seriously, wallpaper removal can be the pits!}
The master bathroom powder room area has made enough progress that it's going to stay as is for a while. {Remember it before?} It's an awkward area that I'd love to gut and redo but Hubs enjoys having money in the bank so that's that.
2. I had a problem of unorganized hair "do-dads" for the girls and found this from Ruffled Sunshine.
I no longer have that problem.
I didn't even make it fancy.
I simply ripped the paper off the container and "ta-da"! No more mess!
3. I have been getting creative itches lately but still haven't cleaned up the sewing room. It's still in boxes and piles. Maybe when the poinsettia season slows I'll have time. We'll see. Anyway, I discovered finger knitting...
and whipped up a couple of bracelets out of an old nightgown for Mak {my lover of all things girly} and I in less than 15 minutes.
4. We've been eating, too!
Last night was Hamburger Pie from Better Homes and Gardens. It was suuuper easy and tasted like comfort in a pan!
5. I've been drooling over this bag for a few days now. I WILL FIND TIME! {after I translate it!}

So there it is.

Now, take a deep breath.
This time of year is for celebrating the birth of our Savior.
The stores and stress can wait!

04 December 2011

Christmas Favs 2011 {Baby, It's Cold Outside}

Last year was my round of "25 Things to Get Done Before Christmas".
I have nowhere near the amount of energy or time required to follow that up with another 25.
Goodness, 2.5 sounds daunting!
So instead, I figure I'll just pass on my favorite Christmas "stuff" that I have stumbled across.
This year, my first share is a song that Hubs and I found on a favorite site of ours called "The Rabbit Room". The site is sort of a community for Christian "artsy" people. There's lots of thought provoking posts, tons of suggestions for quality books and music, and plenty of things to make you laugh.
Anyway, this is not your typical go at the classic song so give it a try, listen real hard, and tell me what you think.
We think it's hilarious!

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
by Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips

30 November 2011

Ultimate Chedder Bay Biscuits

I made a chicken and biscuit crockpot recipe the other night and rather than making plain chedder biscuits I thought I'd give these a try. They're delicious! {If you're not one for baking then I recommend Bisquick's Cheddar biscuits which taste VERY similar.}
I'm suddenly craving seafood...

From Chickens in the Road
What You'll Need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups milk

What To Do:

Note: If using a baking mix, replace first 5 ingredients with 2 1/2 cups baking mix.
Place first 5 ingredients (or 2 1/2 cups baking mix) in a large bowl. Add cayenne pepper and garlic powder.Cayenne pepper! One of my two secret ingredients. (The other is the sour cream.)
Work in the butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in cheese then add sour cream and milk. Scoop biscuit dough out by big spoonfuls and place in a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan. (Or other type of pan with an edge to it–if you use a flat baking sheet, butter sauce will spill down into your oven. Ask me how I know that……)

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
dash of salt

Melt butter. Stir in garlic powder, parsley, and a dash of salt. Spoon half of topping over unbaked biscuits.
Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.* After removing biscuits from the oven, spoon the rest of the topping over them. *Your baking time may vary! I make 20 biscuits from this recipe. If you make your biscuits smaller or larger, it will change your baking time.

28 November 2011

From One Tree to Another

Surprisingly we had no takers on the Thanks Giving Tree this year {yes, that statement is wrought with sarcasm}. I've always thought it was nice that bloggers seem to always have a group of fun people at the ready to jump in and help on crafty, cutesy, family-lovin' stuff. I don't know if they are just blessed with special people but I... well... not so much. Doesn't mean I won't try next year! I'll crack them some day!
So as we took one tree apart, we were all excited to put up the next.
No ornaments for our tree yet.
We seem to be making this into a 3 day process.
Baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps.
We bought a tree for the kids too. Prelit from Target for $30 and 4 packages of colored bulbs from the dollar section.
LOVE Target!
It looks much better with the lights on but not bad at all for CJ's first attempt.

23 November 2011

Thanks Giving Tree

We started something new in our house.
Now that CJ is old enough to know what being thankful is, we are hoping to impress the magnitude of God's gifts on him early.
This year, we're starting with our very own "Thanks Giving Tree".
Thanks to Snotober, we have plenty of fallen branches in our yard and a crab apple branch worked just right.
We tucked into a tall vase and filled it with rocks from the yard.

Then CJ and I colored and cut out a bunch of leaves.
We don't have a printer so drew basic leaf shapes but you can easily find free maple leaf template like this one from Family Fun.
I asked CJ what he was thankful for and it went something like this...
our new house...
Mommy and Daddy... and Caden and Kenzie...
and... um....
my bounce house {you know, the one he's deathly afraid of}... and my bounce house friends {whatever that means}...and Gram and Pap and Grandma Lemon."
Me: "What about Grandpa Lemon".
CJ: "um....... Grandma and Grandpa Lemon... and that's it."
So I wrote those down on paper for him and we punched holes in the leaves {taping the edges and trimming the excess tape for durability, and strung yarn through them. CJ hung them on the tree.

My plan is to bring this to our big family dinner tomorrow afternoon and try to convince my family to write their own leaves.{Yes. "Try to convince" is the proper word choice here. Results to come.}

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!
Be sure to eat way too much! 

16 November 2011

But for the grace of God...

as i laid my head down on my pillow tonight i realized that too much of my day had gone by without communing with God.
i rarely have days where i am satisfied with the level of our interaction
in the midst of all of the storm chaos of the last weeks, i realized how grateful i am for the blessings He has given me but also realized that i tend to put more into the gifts He gives rather that the giver Himself.

let me back up a little..
we are reading Job in CBS right now and one of the themes that i can't seem to shake is that God was trying to illustrate to Job that He was all Job needed and that even if all the gifts were stripped away, he still had his Heavenly Father.
our small group was asked to explain why we worship God and as i tried to answer the question i realized that all the things i came up with were about what God DID for me or GAVE me and not simply because He is who He is.
He is loving... that is something He shows me.
He is merciful...
He died on the cross...
He saved me from an eternity apart from Him...
all things He has DONE for me and not simply because He is who He is.

okay, back to tonight...
as i started my nightly "goodnight God" prayer, i began to think through all the blessings He has placed in my life. the amazing man who is snoring next to me, the beautiful babies who are asleep across the hall, the warm home, the comfortable bed, the tasty, healthy food in my belly, another day of not knowing need...
once again, i was thanking God for what He has DONE FOR me and what He GIVES me.
so i tried to change it up a little and thank God for who He is.
He is merciful. He is loving. He is gracious. He is forgiving. He is generous. He is good.
and as i created this list, another thought hit me.
it's so easy to come up with a list of "good things" in God's character but the Bible tells us that God IS good and He IS love. God, in very nature, is the existence of these "good things". They aren't merely a bi product of His existence, they are who He is.
i began to see, for the first time that,  without God, the world as a whole would not know these qualities in any form.
God is merciful and without Him the world would not know what mercy is. 
God is loving and without Him this world would not know what love is.
God is good and without God the world would not know what goodness is.
a world without God would not be simply "blah", it would be horrific. there wouldn't simply be a balance of good and bad. Without Him, there is no good.
i took it just one step further and looked at myself.
i know that there is nothing redeeming about me without the grace of God but i do know that any quality which is pleasant to be around is a direct product of knowing Him and without Him I AM NOTHING.

praise the Lord for who He is!

15 November 2011

Kids' Bath ... Finishing Details

If you don't remember what the kids' bath looked like when we moved in, it was a smidge yellow and bit "blah" so I painted it bright blue and added a few kid-friendly things. And recently I added another "layer" of funk to it. I originally painted the walls Sherwin Williams "Upward" in a semi-gloss. This time around, I added stripes of the same color in a flat finish.
A wonderful help was that I didn't need much so I used a sample paint that cost me $2.94 and got all the stripes done!
The result?
A very subtle but fun twist for the kiddos.

Wanna see how?
I first figured out how many lines I wanted.
I picked 7 so I divided my length {ceiling to the top of the baseboard} by 7. I ended up with a little under 13 and, to save my sanity, went with 12 and 7/8s and went from the ceiling down figuring it'd be least noticable down there .
I used a level and a pencil to get my lines straight and taped the whole thing off. {I put a few dots of tape on the lines I wasn't painting assuming momma brain would rear its ugly head.}
I made sure to put the tape under the pencil line so the paint would cover the line.
I also made the extra step of putting mod podge on the tape to create a clean line. This step is unnecessary but did get me a crisp line. I figure, if you're careful and have quality tape, you can do without it.
 When pulling the tape away, pull down and away from the line otherwise you risk peeling the paint off.
{This was learned first hand.}
 And there you have it!
I do need to go back and touch up a few places where the pencil wasn't covered but I love the result.
My last step is to print out a colorful word art picture I made in Picnik.
So close!

14 November 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

I've missed you.
I've been unable to post for a couple of weeks now because our internet, until this weekend, had not fully recovered from the storm. The cable wire was hanging so low that we constantly hit out heads on it.
{You can only imagine the heart attack I had when I walked right into the low wire before realizing it was a cable wire and not our power line. I thought I had just cheated death.}

Thankfully, everything seems to be back in working order.
Tree cleanup continues all over but I expect that will go on for a few more weeks.
This past weekend was spent with hubs and I in the yard, chainsaw in hand.

So anyway, while the power was out I finally sat down with the kids and did something I have been wanting to do for a few weeks now.
I saw this idea on Pinterest, of course, and decided that if I don't actually do any of the things I've pinned than what's the point?
HA! "Point"! get it?

I used the recipe for salt dough which can be found at east-child-crafts.com...
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 c lukewarm water (add more if needed)

Combine salt and flour in a large bowl. Mix well. Add water. Stir until it forms a ball. Dump out on counter and knead for up to 5 minutes. More kneading means smoother dough. That's it. It can be stored in an air tight container. We made ours a week ago and its still soft in the plastic bag we kept it in.

And then comes the fun...
After the ornaments were finished, a bit of silliness followed...

You can paint these once they've dried. We let them air dry but you can dry them in the oven at a low temp for several hours.


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