Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Autumn Harvest Quinoa

Absolutely yummy, and very healthy too.  It's very easy to make and is very economical too.  Perfect for breakfast, a nice change from oatmeal.

I found the original recipe here and tweaked it quite a bit to make it work for us.  It gives you the option of making it in the crock pot too, which I didn't but will try sometime.  Here is my version:
1 C quinoa

1 C water
1 C apple juice/cider
pinch of salt
1 med apple, cored and diced
1 med pear, cored and diced
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t each of nutmeg and ginger
1/4 C each of honey and molasses

Combine quinoa, water, juice/cider, salt and spices and bring to a boil,  then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Then add honey, molasses, apples and pears and continue to cook until all liquid is absorbed, approximately 5-10 minutes.  Sweeten with brown sugar to taste.  Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Dollar Store 1 Minute Necklace

I honestly don't even know if it would take you a whole minute even to make this, but you'll definitely want to try it!

 I started off with these hooks that I picked up from a garage sale for $0.25.  Yes, I know they technically didn't come from the dollar store.  However most of them carry decorative ornie hooks like these, so I'm sure you won't have trouble getting your hands on them.

You then just interlink them together, and before you know it you have a lovely little necklace!  Easy as pie, right?

These hooks were a lovely shade of gold, no paint necessary.  However it would be just as easy to spraypaint them whatever color you'd like, or you could even give them a spray of acrylic topcoat to add shine and prevent them from tarnishing.

Please click on "Linky Parties I Love" to see where I'll be sharing!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Make Your Own Greek Yogurt

I love greek yogurt, yummo!  However, it's kinda pricey as those of you that eat it know.  So I set off to make it myself.  Super easy!

 I took a strainer, lined it with a paper coffee filter and then spooned the yogurt inside.  Covered it with plastic wrap and then set the strainer in a smaller bowl.  Then it went in the fridge overnight.

This is the whey that drained off, and then you were left with perfect greek yogurt!  It's very thick and creamy.  However you could change the time in the fridge or just add back some of the strained off whey if it's too thick for your liking.  Then add sweetener and fruit, granola, etc.

Try it, once you see how easy it is you'll never buy it premade again! 

Click on "Linky Parties I Love" to see where I'll be sharing my recipe.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DIY Platform Swing/Glider

So I finally have a project to share with you all, yipee!!  I know, it's been awhile.  However I am really excited at how this turned out and hopefully will be helpful to some of you. 

I found a really neat platform/glider swing in a catalog that I wanted to buy for my oldest (well, all three kids actually).  But at over $300 I didn't want to spend that kind of money, so my Dad and I set out to make it ourselves.  Below is the finished project, let me give you a general idea of what we did, okie dokie?

Below is a picture of what we bought for the project.  We went to our local big box home improvement store, spent about $55 total.  We purchased the following:
  • precut 3/4" plywood sheet, cut to 3'x4'
  • two precut sections of 1" diameter pvc pipe, 2' long
  • four pvc end caps
  • 2 pieces foam insulation for wrapping exterior pipes, 4' long
  • 2 sections of chain link, 6 links per section, rated to hold 350 lbs
  • section of indoor/outdoor carpet to cover the plywood base
  • truck rope, rated to hold 300+ lbs, can't remember exact length, probably 30 ft or so
  • 2  lock loop/carabeeners to hold chain to swing set, but we didn't end up needing them

Here is a picture of the swing/glider that I found.  If you are interested, you can read more about it  here:

So a brief overview of what we did.  We took the chain link and looped it through the hooks on the swing set, those that you'd use to attach a swing.  We then ran the rope through the chain link, knotting it off at the bottom as you can see to keep the rope from moving around.

We didn't end up using the locking loops/carabeeners we originally purchased because as you can see the opening for the chain to attach to the hoop on the swing set is pretty small.  However if you had a swing set with a larger loop opening, or for extra peace of mind you could definitely use those locking loops to attach the chain to the loops on your swing set.

A view of the swing looking down.  The platform as you can see has rounded edges, we cut the edges with a sawz-all and then sanded them smooth and rounded them off.  The rope was strung through the handles, then through the top of the platform and was knotted off on the underside.

We stapled the carpet directly to the board, using a staple gun.  We split the pipe insulation along the pre-cut side and then wrapped it around the edges and then used the staple gun to affix it to the board as well. 
We used a drill to drill holes in the pvc pipe, then threaded the handles through the rope.  We knotted off above and below the handles to make them more stationary.

So, this little tutorial wasn't exactly in the order done.  But hopefully you get the general idea.  Please feel free to ask any questions necessary.  I didn't really take the time when I made this to write it all down, so I'm writing this from memory (which isn't the greatest!)

My kids have been having a blast on this thing.  They can stand and swing front to back or side to side.  They sit and play or read on it.  Two kids at a time can sit on it.  It also was made to grow with them, so we can adjust the height by simply moving the knots on the rope to raise or lower the swing.

Please click on "Linky Parties I Love" to see where I'll be sharing my newest project!


Monday, August 29, 2011


... has God taken a dandelion from you only to replace it with a rose?

Today I realized that I recieved a rose when I was drivng home from a Dr's appointment on a beautiful stretch of highway.

A few weeks ago I was lamenting on how I missed the open country roads I would drive on when we still lived at our old home. My parents live in a very populated area and unbuilt on land is all but extinct.

However there are two major highways that they live near. One is in constant gridlock for the most part. The other is a absolutely beautiful highway that cuts through the last of the open land in the area. Guess which highway I get to use when driving to the Dr's office?

Now that might be looked on as stretching it a little, but I have come to truly believe in my heart that God delights in the little as much as He does the lavish.

Where in your life has God taken something small that you enjoy and replaced it with something even more special that what was lost?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sillyness and Some Seriousness Too

My hubby has a cool photo booth app on his iTouch and I used it to take some silly pictures on the way home from church. Fun, we've been using this one quite a bit.

I'm blogging this from Hubby's laptop, where I don't have access to any pictures so I don't have a whole plethora of pretty images to include along with my post. So I am sorry if this is a bland, wordy thing to look at.

The past few months have definitely been an adjustment for me. In some ways, very easy and in other ways not so much. My life is much different than it was a few months back.

On one hand, I am busier now that I was then. Then in some ways I don't have nearly as much to do as I did before. I know, it probably doesn't make much sense. It doesn't always make sense to me either. I've been praying for awhile now that God would ease my burdens, to take the stressful and difficult things and make them easier.

I guess you could say He did, but then other things replaced what I then felt was the overwhelming and difficult things I was facing at the time. Problems I had been praying would just take care of themselves didn't go away, but intensified. Things that I didn't know how to or more honestly, didn't want to deal with became front and center and became unavoidable.

My time has become much more of a precious commodity to me. I know that this time that I am going through is another opportunity for me to lean on God to get me through.

I can't fix it, I can't make it better, I can't ignore it and make it go away. Escaping to a computer or a scrapbook or a tv show or a bowl of ice cream won't magically fix my woes. Making a pretty for the house or trying to knock off the latest "it" thing from my favorite store isn't going to fix that nagging, persistent and debilitating place in my heart.

Leaning on God to get me through the day is the only way I've been able to do it so far.

Not fixating on the long term, but getting through the next few hours has been able to move me forward.

Not being distracted by the other things that I've used as distractions before forces me to look at my issues head on and realize that the distractions don't fix, but God heals.

Realizing that my timetable isn't God's. I look at things from a minute, hour, day, week, month, year perspective. He looks at things from an almost incomprehensible eternal clock.

Playing the "Woe is Me" game is futile, because I will never win. All it does is get me further in my self dug hole and make the sides even more slippery.

All that I know is that prayers said through tears and from a place of no where else to turn is both heartache and music to my Heavenly Fathers ears. He doesn't want me in that place, but He wants to be there with me.

So, with all that said it's not that I'll never post another project or tutorial or recipe or craft I've made. It's just that some long overdue work that I can't do by myself has been happening and that is by far more important than anything else.

I'll get back to that other stuff when time permits. It'll get there, as each season passes I know that this one will too.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I know, I know.

I have stuff to share.

I will be back soon, promise.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello Goodbye

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Really, believe it or not.

Yes, I know it's been awhile. Over a month, almost two since I've last posted.

I have been very busy in my absence. I've not been catching up on summer reading.

Earlier this month, we said goodbye to the house we'd lived in for nine years. The house I brought all my babies home to. The house that my hubby and I have spent the majority of our married life in.

Lots of boxes, purging, yard sales, sweat and a little bit of crying was involved. We pared our belongings down to a 10x10 storage unit and said adios to the rest. Good thing we lived in a small home to begin with.

Once we found out we had to leave, we moved out in two weeks. During that time we had lots of heat, a round of the stomach flu, several dump runs and lots of take out.

The above picture was taken the morning we left. I went out in the early morning and shot several "house" pictures for our memory book. I took just a few minutes and recalled all the memories we'd made there. With three small kids who had lived there since birth, there was a lot to remember.

I only cried once, after we'd handed over the keys and stopped at McD's (not my choice) for lunch. Hubby was following behind me in his truck. When he got out, I lost it and gave him a big hug. "Everyone that made those memories so special to me are here with me right now," to which he replied, "Your right, it's only a shell." And with that, I cried my last real tear and resolved to start the new journey God has for us.

So, the kids and I are now living with my parents two hours south of where we were. Hubby stayed behind because of work, and lives with his parents during the week and then comes down on the weekends. It's not ideal, but it will work. Skype and phone calls will make it all much easier. It won't last forever, but until we make our next big move it'll be the space in between.

Yesterday my Mom and I went on a ride with the kids. We've gotten another round of sickness, this time a nasty cold. The kids were majorly cagey so we packed 'em up and headed out to the coast. We drove around and took pictures of several sites that I've enjoyed for many years.

One cool thing about moving home is that it gives my kids a chance to really experience things that I did as a child. We visited my parents quite a bit before, but it's nothing like living in the same town and seeing the same things. The bank, the store, the post office, the park I played in as a kid. Instead of it just being a noveltly they would experience while visiting Noni and Popi they get to actually "live" it. Even if they won't remember, I will.

It's also been nice to have the break from running a house. I've been helping out, but with living with my parents comes the respite from being solely responsible for running a household. My day to day chores have changed quite a bit and it's been so nice. And I've been able to do more things with my Mom, like batch cooking. It's always more enjoyable to do work with those you love. All the things that we've talked about doing together now we can actually do together.

So, my apologies for the absence. While I'm figuring out our "new normal", postings still will be sporatic but will definitely not be so far apart. I'm really excited to start this new chapter, and sharing my new experiences with you all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Don't Let Them Rain on Your Parade!

So I know you all have heard this before, don't let others rain on your parade. One place that you especially need to remember that is here in blogland. The buffer of a computer screen can be both a blessing and a curse. It can allow us to share our most inner thoughts and feelings with a feeling of safety-no face to face interactions necessary.

However it can also bring out those who use the buffer of the computer screen to write mean spirited and unkind words to others. In the forms of "constructive" criticism, unkind comments or unsolicited advice. We as bloggers need to keep in mind that when they try to rain on our parade, let those words roll right off you. Easier said than done, but it's still necessary. There will always be those, (I am inclined to think the Devil is in the details here) who's words do more harm than good or come across as less than helpful. I am by no means calling anyone out in particular, just making a general observation from my dealings in the world of, "social media".

In fact, I had a subscriber the other day ask me how they could, "delete me" because they didn't know how to do it. They started following my blog because of my crafting and decorating ideas, but once they realized, "that wasn't all you were about" they didn't want to follow me anymore.

Really? Is life so compartmentalized that we have to keep our blogs on topic at all times, only writting about certain things? Nope. So don't feel pigeon-holed into writting about the popular topics of the day, write what is on your heart, what is real in your life, be the real you and those that are interested will read with interest. Those that aren't, don't let 'em rain on your parade-it's your life, live and write about it how you want to!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Barn Charm Birdhouse

I picked up a plain wooden birdhouse from the dollar bin at Joann's and transformed it to the above birdhouse. I think it's so cute, I am in love with barns and this reminds me of a birdie sized barn!

I took moss from the backyard, dried it out and glued it to the underside of the roof and in little clusters on top. The roof underneath is painted a russet brown and then has been given a light coat of metallic bronze glaze. The rims around the openings as well as the little perch have been painted olive green.

I also took some bronze colored flat glitter (not shiny) and sprinkled a bit on top here and there admist the moss. The wood is actually tanbark from the front yard planting beds! I just made sure to pick out pieces of wood that were strips to have them more closely resemble "planks".

The body of the barn is painted with a base coat of tapioca, then a coat of crackle glaze was applied. Once dried, I did a topcoat of oxide red and it dried to the lovely aged finished look. The base of the house as well as the roofline were painted complimentary shades of brown. I then used the same tanbark as I did on the roof to glue around the base of the house.

If my Momma likes it, it's hers. If not, I'll be keeping it for myself!

What do you think, does it look like a barn? I hope so! Please click on, "Linky Parties I Love" to see where I'll be sharing my latest project.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to my Mommy

Mom, I know that you are semi-irritated at me before even reading this. I know you don't like getting your picture taken, let alone having it posted for all of blogland. However, I hope that by the end of this post you'll forgive me.

Thank you for being such an amazing, "Nonni" to my babies. You show love, patience and joy towards them every time you see them. You know when to laugh at them, and when to tell them to reign it in and behave.

Thank you for all the times you've reminded me that love is a decision. That no matter what the situation, you choose how you are going to feel about it and how you are going to respond towards it. You've shown me that you can love and like someone, and even when you don't like them, you still can love them.

Thank you for the way you showed me many times that in life, you just need to roll with it. When you have a house full of sick kids, and a newborn baby too...instant slumber party in the living room. Getting mad and irritated and overwhelmed, while all valid in and of themselves makes for a disaster when combined and will lead you nowhere.

Thank you for all the stories you told me, and still do, about you and Daddy and your courtship. How you thought on more than one occasion that you were going to meet your maker due to his crazyness. How you two made plans, and you loved, and you looked forward to the future.

Thank you for showing me what a true blessing we as mothers have in that we get to grow our babies. How pregnancy was hard, but it wasn't something to be scared of. Labor was worth it, our bodies could do it, and you showed me and I watched in awe. Then you held my hand when I was in the midst of the worst and looked me in the eyes and told me, "It's ok, look at me, you can do it, breathe".

Thank you for telling me, and modeling to me, that our past doesn't predict our future.

Thank you for showing us that you loved your dying mother enough to drag all four of your kids up and down the state to fulfill her wish of an "ultimate vacation" with us. Thank you for loving us enough to give us that last big vacation with her while she was able and for all the memories.

Thank you for the camping trips and beach drives and McDonald's runs and park days and ice cream trucks. Thank you for the way you loved us without spoiling us.

Thank you for not accepting what you knew many would just accept. You showed me that we are not victims in our life, but we are survivors. Thank you for fighting for each of us in different ways, but in ways that each of us needed you to.

Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for caring for your babies and all of their needs. From collic to croop to bacterial menengitis to sleep apnea to broken bones to autism. For enduring the tests and the scares and the beeping alarms. Thank you for the prayers to God begging Him to let you keep your babies just a little bit longer. They worked.

Thank you for showing us how important God was. For scrubbing toilets when you were 8 months pregnant so we could attend our perochial school. For volunteering for church plays and VBS. For regular early Sunday morning rituals and ironing clothes and crying kids and brushing hair and getting out the door for church. For making sure we prayed before eating and before sleeping. For getting us bibles and CD's and movies that promoted Christian values. For making sure that we wern't fed spiritual junk.

Thank you for wearing the same three outfits over and over so we could look our best. For wearing the same glasses for 15 years so we could have that money for other things, for us. For sacrificing creature comforts because you'd rather spend the money other things, for us. For driving, "Mechanic's Special's" for cars and not caring about labels. For having perspective and remembering the big picture, and in the end if we didn't have Guess jeans we wouldn't die.

Thank you for all you've done, and for all the ways you've loved, and for all the ways you've served. Thank you for your prayers, and your advice, and your encouragement and for the swift kicks as needed. Thank you for your sacrifices and your tears and your realizations and your commitment. Thank you for your friendship. I love you, Happy Mother's Day.

"It is not that you have chosen me; but it is I who have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and bear fruit that will be lasting."~ John 15:16 ~

From Like to Love

My sister bought me this print back when Hubby and I were first married, over 10 years ago. I absolutely adore it, the print is beautiful. However the frame and the mat made it look dated. I didn't want to get rid of it, but it needed a change up.

This is what I did originally. I used crackle medium on the oak frame and "whitewashed" it. Then I dry brushed some acrylic paint on the mat. Iused a pinkinsh brown on the outer portion and then dry brushed white on the inner portion. To finish it off, I cut up some linen and used it as a border between the two colors. I liked it, but it was still missing something.

Then I had the idea to use some galvanized french chicken wire. I took my wire snips and cut a square out, then cut out the center as to not cover the print. Didn't want that sweet girl to look like she was in a cage ;) However, I messed up and cut a portion too short as you can see along the bottom. I debated wether to start over again, but decided not too. Since the whole thing now has an aged, worn look I decided the messed up chicken wire helped with the overall look. That is what I'm telling myself anyway!

So next time you have something around the house that you like, but it just looks out of place try updating instead of replacing. It's a great way to upcycle and it lets you be creative at the same time.

Please click on "Linky Parties I Love" to see where I'll be sharing my latest project. Thanks!