Sunday, November 29, 2009

So thankful...

Well, after a whirlwind Thanksgiving tour to my home town, with a sick child no less, we are finally home.  We get to sleep in our own beds (mine complete with heating pad and extra pillows).  Emma gets to sleep in her own bed instead of with Mommy and Daddy.  We get to resume our regular routine (for at least a couple more weeks until we make the three hour drive back to VA for Christmas).  Work is to be done, decorating to be completed, grocery shopping to be tackled, small group Bible studies to be rekindled, girls nights to be enjoyed, Christmas gifts to be made, schedules to be harried, but I couldn't be more thankful for all of it.

I did a lot of thinking over the Thanksgiving Holiday, a natural time of year to reflect on what you're thankful for.  But this year was different for me for some reason.  Though I was thankful for the surface level stuff too, it went a little deeper.

Emma was pretty sick and that left me thankful for each passing day.  When she was finally well, I was left thankful for her healing and then thankful to be her mother.  Time with family left me thankful for love and it's dizzying effect on the human spirit.  Quiet observation of those around me left me thankful for my relatively problem-free marriage (even with it's few kinks and quirks).  Time away from friends reminded me of how thankful I am of all my dear friendships.  The cold wind made me thankful for my warm home.  Good holiday food left my tummy thankful that we don't eat like that on a regular basis, but joyful that we always have food on our table.  The lessons in each one of these little details leaves me thankful for wisdom gleaned.

I'm thankful for this blog and I'm glad to be back writing again after a week of no internet, as trivial as that sounds.  But at the same time, I'm thankful we didn't have internet for a week!

Though I'm glad to be back, it was a nice little mini-vacation and for that I'm thankful as well.

Most of all, I'm thankful to God...
I'm thankful for all He's given me to be thankful for.  For without Him, I'd have nothing to be thankful for at all.  What wonderful blessings He bestows us with day in and day out.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  I look forward to catching up with all my bloggy pals and catch you up on several things I've got in mind to post about as well!  I've got a lot to talk about!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A little note....

Hey All!
Well, I have a ton of posts to catch up on...Heart of the Problems, faith,  awards to accept and send out, and cute Emma stories.  However, I have to apologize, it will all have to wait until next week.  Not only are we due in VA for the Holiday, but now Emma is sick as well, so this here blog is going to have to take a backseat for a few days.
My etsy shop is also closed down during this time, but we'll be back up and running on Monday, November 30th.
I pray you all have beautiful Thanksgivings!  We have much to be thankful for in this life...for life itself is such a blessing.  God is so good!
I'll miss you friends!  See you soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Award?? My Gracious!!

I have been honored with winning another award ya'll!  And I am just absolutely beside myself with joy!

Jenn over at Rook No.17 gave me this!  What a super cool award!  Jenn and I just recently met through blogging!  What a wonderful group of friends writing introduces you to, huh!?!  Make sure you check out her blog (and her cakes!) HERE! Jenn not only writes, but she crafts and cooks, too!  She's a regular ol' Renaissance woman!  Oh!! AND she just opened up her very own Etsy shop, The Cute Little Shop on the Corner! Check our her whimsical creations HERE.

Thanks Jenn for loving my blog enough to give me an award!  I really appreciate it!!

The rule with this award is I have to pass it on to ten other lovely bloggers as well; notifying and prompting them to do the same!  So here's my list of nominees (with brief descriptions, but these blogs are so great there really aren't enough words to decribe them at all):

1) Angela at Angela's Peony Patch ~ thoughtful and decorative
2) Jackie at The Sweetest Petunia ~ elegant and artistic
3) Amber at Classicly Amber ~ heart and hearth
4) Jamie at A Forest Frolic ~ whimsical and creative
5) Jessie at Made Cunningly ~ faithful and crafty
6)Glenna at Your Fabric Place ~ crafty and tutorials
7) Melissa at My So Called Crazy Life ~ soulful and raw
8) Lisa at Hospitable Pursuits ~ warm and welcoming
9) Angie at Nana's Box ~ generous and good cause
10) Lana at I Love My 5 Kids ~ a momma's pride

Congratulations Ladies!  I love you guys and your blogs!!

Have a wonderful day ya'll!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: My New Bread Pan

For this Tasty Tuesday I want to share with ya'll my new obsession...

I'm in Love.

I just purchased a terracotta bread pan.

And it's beautiful.

My inspiration was my friend Amber, who in all of her rustic-ness uses a stoneware bread pan to bake her breads.  We'll talk more about Amber and her bread in a minute.  But all I've ever been used to is the tin metal non-stick loaf pans.  Which work fine, but...

They don't work like terracotta.

I will never go back to those metal pans.

Mine actually comes from Henry Watson's Pottery in England as part of the Original Suffolk Collection.  As if the bread baker (as it's called) isn't enough, there's a whole kit and kaboodle set, from flour canisters to milk pitchers.  Check them all out here.

Here's my little beauty...

So, I buy a bread pan, I need to make bread right?  Well fortunately the pan came with a recipe, one that  I attempted to make three times, all of which ended in disaster.  I don't know if it was me or what, but it seemed I was destined to never put my new pan to use.  I followed the instructions explicitly, but all I got was sludge.  I moved on....

Now, here is where I tell you about Amber and her honey wheat bread.

In one word...It's AMAZING.  I've had it on multiple occasions and the flavor, texture, color, even the smoothness is all DIVINE!  Amber's blushing now!

But Amber, unlike myself, is patient enough to make her bread from scratch.  Like with all the mixing and activating and proofing and such.  She does it all!  It makes me tired just writing about it.  Make sure you read all about her bread here over at ClassiclyAmber if you're the do it from scratch kind of gal.  She's got a great picture tutorial of the whole process.

Me...I'm not that girl!  I love those girls, but it's not me.  So I set out to find an in between.  A recipe that combined all the good ingredients, produced an excellent final product, but without all the elbow grease!  And what I came up with is a combo of various recipes, thrown into the bread machine, then baked (in my beloved bread pan) in the oven.

Here it is:
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey ( I only use local raw honey)
  • ½ Tablespoons Salt
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Crisco or butter ( I prefer butter)
  • 1-½ cup Whole Wheat Flour ( I use King Arthur's unbleached Whole Wheat)
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour (also KA's unbleached All Purpose)
  • 1 cup Warm Water
First you put all your dry ingredients in the bread machine, then the honey and butter, and lastly the water.  The water should be warm to the touch, but not hot.  Turn the bread machine to the dough setting and let it go.  Mine was about a two hour gig from start to finish.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Finally, once it's done in the bread machine, transfer it to your greased loaf pan and bake it for roughly 45 minutes.

Now, I did not knead or shape it out of the bread machine.  Next time I will just so it'll look prettier, but it's not necessary to do so.  Hey~ it's all going straight to your belly right!?!  And watch your time...apparently terracotta pans heat a little better so you don't need to bake it as long.  45 minutes is probably a good judge for metal pans, but the bread will be brown and crusty on the'll look done.  Just eye it.

And that's it!

Delicious homemade bread!

For now, this is the way for my kitchen, but maybe one day I'll graduate to the Amber way of things!  In the meantime, I can enjoy her bread at her house!

For more on Tasty Tuesday, make sure you head on over to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam to get the scoop on a ton of other scrumptious recipes!

Enjoy ya'll!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I won an Award, Ya'll!

Today blessed me with the sweetest of surprises!

Holly from over at 504 Main gave me The Heartfelt Award!

Isn't that just too precious!?!

Holly and I just recently met through blogging!  I think that it is so neat that total strangers can come together with writing as their common ground and strike up a friendship!  And I am just thrilled that she loved my blog enough to give me an award!  Thanks Holly!!

Now make sure you check her out over at 504 Main!  She has one spiffy gig going on over there!!

And with that, I'd like to pass this lovely accolade on to another blogger/friend of mine who truly has a beautiful Heartfelt blog and that's Michelle over at A Mom's Musings.  She's forever sharing her love for Jesus and her family with others. She is such a wonderful person.  I'm blessed by knowing her...I hope you'll be blessed by her words.
Love ya, girl!  Congratulations and keep up the great blogging work!

Have a great night, ya'll!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kids Say the Darnedest Things...

I've been terrible at video recording Emma.  I'm pretty good at taking pictures, but I never think to charge the video camera to record her hitting all these milestones.
I take that back...
We did get her first laugh, her first rice cereal meal, her dedication at church and her first steps, but those are givens.  Now, she's learning to talk and she hits a milestone everyday!  If not more!  I feel like I'd have to permanently attach the camera to my hip in an effort to document the development of my child's language.  It's happening that fast.
I'm going to plug that thing in right now.
But for the sake of having a written log for remembrance purposes (and because I haven't started her baby book yet~ never mind I said that!) I'm going to share some of the things she's saying right here and right now.
Emma's words make me smile day in and day out.  I feel certain you'll get a chuckle out of them too.
I hope you enjoy!

Mommy: Emma what would you like to eat?
Emma: {with squinted eyes and a huge grin}Fwyes and dink (translation~ fries and drink)

Mommy: I love you, Emma
Emma: Doo Boo (translation~ Love you)

Mommy: Emma, who do you love most in the whole wide world?
Emma: Nomis, Elro, Abby, Gorg, Beebee, Eesie (translation~ Thomas the train, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Curious George, Baby doll, and Reesie, our dog) 

Emma to Mommy: Moorr {signing} tiken, peas {signing} (translation~ More chicken please)

Emma to Daddy:{while bringing him his shoes} Side, Soos, Walt (translation~ Outside, Shoes, Walk)

Emma to Daddy: Nigh Nigh, Doo Boo, Bye Bye (translation~ Night night, Love you, Bye Bye)

Emma to Mommy, Daddy & Reesie: Momma, Dada, Eesie! DINCE!  (translation~ Everybody DANCE!)

Emma when she's sorry: Thorry

Emma when she sees the Golden Arches: FWYES!

Emma when she sees Chick-Fil-A: Moooo

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Apron Giveaway Winner!!

CONGRATULATIONS to Angie from Nana's Box!

I'm actually quite honored to be sending an apron to this wonderful lady!  She has come up with a beautiful blog, tribute and service for those battling cancer all over the nation.

She is also expecting a little bundle of joy very soon!  WooHoo!  Congrats again, Angie!

Here is a short introduction to her site Nana's Box, but please check it for more information.

Nana’s Box is a nonprofit service committed to providing a photo box to cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. Nana's Box offers this service to the individual patient with the help and support of families, and those volunteers interested in the emotional support of cancer patients.

Thank you again to everyone who entered by leaving comments!  You guys made my week with all that you are thankful for!

Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: PW Cooks and a Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who commented and shared what you are thankful for.  It was truly a blessing to read them all!

Well, it's been a while since I've done a Tasty Tuesday...oh how I have missed you.  What better to place to gather and bond over luscious culinary creations?  Miss Jen has created the perfect haven for such a thing and I can't wait to see what everyone has come up with this week.  I'm sure Thanksgiving menus are in for a tweaking after today!  So if you like the sounds of it, hop on over to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam to feast on the mother load of recipes!  Welcome to Tasty Tuesday!

However, having said all that, there will be no recipe here today.


Instead I want to go into some detail about what arrived on my doorstep yesterday afternoon.  I had been anxiously awaiting it's arrival, but because I was cheap and chose free standard shipping, it took several days too many to arrive in my opinion.  My heart did somersaults when I saw it on our stoop and I immediately unloaded the baby and briefcase, threw the chicken in the oven and then ripped into the box.

There it sat in all it's colorful wonder.  A gem of all gems.  A staple in any girl's collection of cookbooks.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
by Ree Drummond

And if you don't know who Ree Drummond is: 1) where have you been living? & 2) stop reading this blog right now and head on over to The Pioneer Woman this second!

I have been reading PW's blog for some time now, so it was never a doubt in my mind that I would own her cookbook.  Seeing as I have already attempted  several of the recipes from her site I was ready for more.  Yet, I wondered how she could take the charm of her site and put it into a book that not only captured the readers attention, but kept it.  Now before you all start booing from that last comment....what I mean is, I've read about Ree and her life on the ranch for a long time.  I felt certain, cookbook or no, I had read all there is to know about this woman, her family and her cooking.  But such was not the case.

PW really delivered in this fun collection of not only mouthwatering creations, but also in the colors, the pictures, and the overall layout of the book.  It was captivating.

I have to admit...I do all my reading in the tub.  This was the first time I took a cookbook to the bath with me.  But really, when you're not examining the extremely detailed picture tutorials accompanying the recipes, you're reading little tid bits here and there, anecdotes and family stories sprinkled all throughout the pages.

Some things I had read before, but even those few stories or recipes I had found on her website once before, were retold and shared with a new spunk in Drummond's book.  This was her baby for the longest time and though I don't know what it takes to produce a book of any kind, I can only imagine it was a labor of love for her.  So new life was breathed into even the familiar things.  Her passion for this project was obvious as I flipped from page to page.

Consider this a picture book.  All photos are from Drummon's own camera (she's a brilliant photographer as well) and though you'll find shots of Charlie and a few Herefords here and there, the real spice of life is the detail Drummond put into literally teaching us to cook this cowboy food.  It almost feels like she's in the kitchen with you...almost.  PW took what she has done on her blog with the step by step pictorial instructions, thrown in some new recipes along with even some funny wine sipping shots and created the cookbook women have been dreaming of since the Betty Crocker Cookbook Binder.  Let's face it girls, it just makes things easier if we have pictures to refer to and there is no shortage of that in this book.  

An by the way, an hour long bath allowed me to go from cover to cover several times, dog-earring pages along the way, re-reading and laughing hysterically.

Ree Drummond is no doubt a Renaissance Woman what will all she manages to accomplish and I hold her in the highest regard, as I'm sure most blogger/fans do.  I don't know her, but I feel like her cookbook is the perfect expression of her personality and were I ever to meet her, I'd feel like we were old friends.  That's pretty special when you as an author have captured the essence of that relationship for your readers.  And though she's been building this relationship for years on her blog, the cookbook, opens up a whole different side of her character.

Bravo, Ree!

If you haven't gotten The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I highly encourage you to do so.  Seriously, why are you still reading!?!  =)

I, of course, recommend it to any and everyone so that more people can enjoy the beauty, wit and sheer genius that is this book and it's author.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks is available at most major book retailers and also on Amazon.


With that, I'd like to host a giveaway.  And though I'm not giving away a copy of PW Cooks (hey, get your own) I am giving away something that will make the perfect companion.

In light of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday I'm giving away one of my handmade aprons.  This one in particular will be just the ticket in cooking to your heart's content over Thanksgiving and everyday as well.
Retailed at $22, all of my aprons feature an attached towel and side pocket for your convenience.  You can find even more in My Etsy Shop or the link on my right sidebar.

TO ENTER: Just tell me in a comment, "What are you Thankful for?"

I'm thankful for God's grace and love most importantly.  I'm thankful for my family and all the many blessings, big and small, that we experience day in and day out.  I'm thankful for PW's cookbook!  I'm thankful for this blog and how it allows me to share freely.  And last but certainly not least, I'm thankful for all my readers be it many or few~ Thank you all for your love and support.

I'll be accepting entries until Friday @ 9:00 pm EST, then a winner will be picked at random and announced on Saturday morning.  Good luck and I look forward to hearing what you're thankful for.

Again, for more on Tasty Tuesday, head over to Jen's and pitch in!!  See you there!

Be blessed friends, be blessed.



Friday, November 6, 2009


I watched my daughter and her little buddy play full force today.  It wore me out just being in their midst. 

Their energy was so fun and their laughter was good for my soul.

At one point they were running circles around one another and then dropping to the floor in a spat of giggles. 

This continued for several minutes, me laughing with them, enjoying their innocence and pure playfulness. 

Their cheeks were pink and sweat was forming on their brow.  Emma even got the hiccups from all the jostling around.  But they were having so much fun together.

Finally, without any prompting, one dropped to the floor and proceeded to lay down.  The other followed suit.  Both of these young wild banshees lay looking up to the ceiling in silence, their little chests heaving trying to catch their breath.  They were still and quiet.  Resting.  This too lasted a few minutes, far longer than one would expect from a one and two-year-old.

And  then back up they were hopping and playing once again.

As I watched them I was astounded at how smart they both were.  At such young ages they both knew when they were tired.  So they took a break, calmed themselves and then their bodies were ready for another round of play.

I was reminded how too often we as adults aren't even that aware of when we need to rest and take breaks as well. 

We go and we go, we worry to wits end, we ponder the what-ifs, the whens and the whys, never once allowing ourselves to be calm and renewed.  This world has conditioned us that we must be the best, be first and be all in every aspect of our lives.  However, despite this mentality, we more often end up tired, apathetic and spent physically, emotionally and spiritually out of the deal.

I'm also reminded what good it would do us if we dropped to the floor and looked up every once in a while. 

Just as Emma and her friend found rest in the simple, so too would we find rest there as well.

 Psalm 91:1 says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

All it takes is for us to drop to our knees and look to our Heavenly Father then we will find rest.  For He knows our hearts, our every need, concern and prayer.  No matter what burdens us, we can find peace in Him.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28- 30, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for my I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Find rest in the simple.

There is nothing complicated about the message of Jesus.  He came to this world to die the most gruesome of deaths for you and for me, so that we may have life eternal with Him.  All this despite our junk and our sin and our worries and our woes.  That's how much we are loved by our God.

That's good news, yes?


With that simple yet astounding truth, my prayer is that you may find in Him the rest you've been looking for.

My Color Profile....

Here's a fun little quiz you can take to find your color profile! It's by Pratt & Lambert paints! You can find the link on Angela's Peony Patch!

I must say, my results are spot on. I lean towards traditional with a touch of the exotic and Raffia perfectly exemplifies that.

I love that there are tools out there like this, because I'm a total ditz when it comes to actually picking out paints. In fact, I'm reminded of the "gold" color my husband and I picked out for our home office. It turned out more of a #2 pencil yellow. It was hideous and is now slated for our laundry room (because every laundry room needs a ray of sunshine to make the chore enjoyable). Our office promptly got re-painted a grey-ish blue that suits the calm we were looking for.

I have no idea what we were thinking with the gold.... But it does give me a good indication why we haven't painted any other walls in our house, minus the baby's room.
Have fun!

Your Personal Color Profile
 18-27 Northern Green
13-29 Pebblestone
9-32 Balsa
12-20 Sudan
8-21 Sturdy Table
17-32 Bay
16-27 Muted Lime
13-27 Tripoli Sand
8-18 Sicilian Umber
14-22 Yucca Green
17-26 Sea Oat
16-27 Mossy Shadow
Raffia is a collection of neutrals and interesting greens that signify a timeless appreciation of diversity. A person drawn to this palette appreciates texture and the importance of tactility in all surfaces. They wish for a sophisticated environment that is also casual. They seek a balance with nature and time.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I was going to blog more about my "Heart of the Problem" journey tonight, but I decided not to.  It's really got me grappling with some things right now.  Stuff that I need to chew on before I spit it out here for the world to see.  But I will write again about what I'm learning and the things God is teaching me through this book.  There is certainly more to come on this topic, I assure you.

Having said that....

Though I'm not going to write about my heart of the problem, I am going to stay along the same lines and write about lessons.  As I'm in the midst of learning several lessons of my own right now.

I think it's safe to say that the lessons we learn in life shape who we are as individuals.  Whether they have brought joy or pain, we always walk away with a tad more wisdom then we did before the lesson was learned.  And because of my faith, I can also safely say that these lessons, in shaping who we are with wisdom for future opportunities, both joyful and painful are just another example of how God works in our lives.  It shows just how good God is to involve Himself in the details of our lives.

I'm fascinated almost daily, hourly at what He is teaching me through my daughter.  To watch and interact with her connects me to my Lord in ways that I can't even describe.  It's cyclical in ways~ being with her teaches me about motherhood as Christ would have me mother and in turn it brings me closer in worship with my Father out of shear joy that He has blessed me with the opportunity to be her parent.  Emma and I shared a tomato today.  We just sat in the floor and took turns taking bites.  I know that special moment was a lesson.  I can say now that the lesson is to always cherish the small things, but in time I think even greater wisdom can be gleaned from such a simple opportunity.

Every person I come into contact with, both old friends and new, are divinely placed so that I may learn something or share something to be learned or both.  You just never know how God is going to use the people around us or even use ourselves for the good of others.  I can look around me and know from the bottom of my heart that God has placed the people in my life for a reason.  And that is a refreshing feeling.

Lessons come in the form of smiles, helpful strangers, insightful words, and even a song that we've heard millions of times, but touches us right at the exact moment we need it.  That's God meeting us where we are.

And then...

Sometimes bad things happen.  Things that break our hearts and leave us wondering if we will ever recover, but Jesus knows.  He knows us to our depths and He knows what will come of it all as well.  In the midst of these uncertainties, we can be certain of Him and His love.  If we rely on Him then He will bring the peace to our hearts that we so long for.  We may not understand or even learn immediately, but Jesus is patient and we can find hope in knowing that even in trying times, God will use it for His glory.  That is a difficult lesson, but a beautiful one as well.

And I could go on and on and on....

In writing this I'm realizing even more lessons God is teaching me through calling me to express these thoughts.  Lessons lie within lessons. It's an ongoing and ever evolving process. 

But my point is I believe there is a reason, a divinely orchestrated plan for why and how everything happens.  God loves our details and He is a full-on participant in trying to help us be better at who we are.  Despite how big and mighty and Holy He is, because of Jesus we can confidently go before our God and soak in all He has for us as His children if we look around and pay attention.

That's a pretty remarkable lesson if you ask me.