Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cheesecake Anyone?

Okay, all you cheesecake lovers out there. I just saw this site, Cheesecake.com,  that makes me want to sit and look and drool. There are some awesome looking cheesecakes here and I have a hard time deciding which one I would want to try first. Two that look especially good to me are the Strawberry Cheesecake and the Turtle Cheesecake.


And if cheesecake is not your thing there are also cakes, cookies and brownies to tempt you and it looks like pies will be coming soon.


If you have a hard time making up your mind which flavor you want to try several of these categories offer samplers that allow you to try a number of varieties. That would be the option for me since I have such a hard time making up my mind sometimes.




This post is a sponsored review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Morning Musing Over Coffee - I am Glad


 
 
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24



Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone. ~Jerome K. Jerome, The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, 1889


It is often said - yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here, but I have today. Today is a gift given to me by God. And no matter what has happened before, I do not want today to be a day I regret tomorrow, because I did not open the gifts the it holds.
What a tragedy if I regret today tomorrow because I spent today regretting yesterday.

So today I am glad to be alive, glad to feel the wind on my face, see the blue of the sky or feel the raindrops on my face. I am glad for the people in my life who love me and show it in so many ways. I am glad for walks in the meadow, wildflowers, bird songs, seedlings in the garden. I am glad for meaningful work and rest at night. And I am glad for Jesus who loves me no matter what else is going on around me.


What are you glad for today? I'd love it if you let us know in the comments so we can all be glad together.





Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Thursday March 29, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . It has been a beautiful day today. At the moment it is 64 degrees and I can hear the birds singing outside.

I am thinking . . . that although I am tired, it is a contented tired, the kind of tired that comes from a day spent working at what I love.

I am thankful . . . for days like today.

In the kitchen . . . today was a Dandelion kind of day. I made Dandelion Bread and also cooked dandelion greens with potatoes, onions and sausage for dinner.

I am creating . . . I started another braided rug today. The first one was so much fun to make I just had to do another.

I am going . . . a ran a few errands this morning and the rest of the day I've been happily at home.

I am reading . . . so many interesting blogs.


I am looking forward to . . . the weekend. It looks like it's going to be a fairly quiet one.

I am learning . . . so much about ways to use the resources right in front of me.

Around the house . . . I'm sitting with CJ while he falls asleep, Doug has gone to bed early, Austin, Amanda and Michael are at there grandparents house for the evening.

A favorite quote for today . . . Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live. ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

A peek into my day . . . I know some of you really aren't going to like this, but here is a picture of the snake we saw today while we were out on our morning walk.



I Finished My First Braided Rug!


Finally, after what feels like forever, I've finished my first braided rug. It certainly isn't perfect but I don't think it's too bad for my first either. The fabric is from old clothes, curtains and sheets and other odds and ends I had in my fabric stash and that friends gave me.


Now I just need to decide where I want to put it. My plan had been to but it in the living room but it's a little small for that room. I have it there now, but it may find another home, I'm still thinking about it.




Oh, I've already started my second one. I think these are so much fun to make.

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Morning Musing Over Coffee - The Blessing of Prayer



The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. ~ Psalm 6:9

Isn't it wonderful to know that when we pray God is listening? There is comfort in knowing I can always talk to Him and He will listen and answer. Even though I am surrounded by people who love me, they are only human and sometimes distracted or unable to truly understand what I am trying to express. But God is never distracted and always understands and allows me to pour out my heart to Him at any time. This is a blessing and a privilege that I am so grateful for.




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Wednesday March 28, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . It's dark outside but at 10:21 PM it's still 66 degrees.

I am thinking . . . that I really enjoyed the evening at church.

I am thankful . . . that Michael's doctor's office finally called in his medicine and I was able to pick it up today.

In the kitchen . . . not much today. I tried a few times to get motivated to try something new but it just wasn't happening.


I am creating . . . Since  I couldn't get motivated in the kitchen I worked on the braided rug instead and finished it. I'm excited about that and will post a photo of it tomorrow.

I am going . . . I went to church this evening. There were two people from the Brethren Woods camp program there this evening to give information about that program. So all the classes were together for an evening with them that included songs, games, and other fun activities.


I am reading . . . some really interesting blogs. Here are a few I've been reading lately that I really enjoy - Frugally Sustainable , Deep Roots at Home, and Roscommon Acres.

I am hoping . . . to spend a lot of time in the yard and garden tomorrow.

I am looking forward to . . . sleep soon. Hopefully, since Michael had his medicine today I'll actually get to sleep tonight.

Around the house . . . it is very quiet.


A favorite quote for today . . . Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Andersen

A peak into my day . . . a couple photos taken through the kitchen window of the kids enjoying the tire swing.


Working Teens

As my kids get older I've been thinking a lot about how to encourage them to enjoy working and feel the joy of being productive.


We have regular chores that are done daily and all of the kids have a part in this. These chores are directly tied to earning money and this seems to give them a sense of accomplishment and the understanding that money is not simply handed to you, it is earned. They are then allowed to spend this money as they see fit (within reason) and we don't buy them a lot of extras ourselves. They spend this money on everything from extra snacks and treats for themselves to spoiling their pets to movies to craft items.


I've mentioned before that I need to get them started with both charitable giving and saving. I've made some efforts but never followed through, although I know I really need to. It is so important for these habits to be established early in life.


This summer we are also planning to allow the two oldest (ages 13 and 15) to design, print and distribute flyers in our neighborhood offering pet and lawn care. They are both old enough and responsible enough to take on something like this and I think they would enjoy both the work and the profits. Knowing that you can earn some money with your own hands is a great source of job motivation and there is a lot of self growth involved in a venture like this.

I'm looking forward to watching my kids learn this summer and the adventures they will have in their own businesses.




Morning Musing Over Coffee - His Strength





There are twelve hours in the day, and above fifty in the night. ~Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

I have to say this seems about right when I've spent the night with a very restless five year old crying out in his sleep and kicking me. Of course, the fact that he woke up around six this morning and snuggled up to me saying "I love you, Mommy" made me forgive him. But I'm still tired.

It's on days like this, when I'm dragging after a night of very little sleep and drinking cup after cup of coffee that this verse runs through my mind on repeat.


I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tire Swing

When we bought this place there were some things left in the shed by the previous owners including some old tires. The kids have had fun rolling them around and sitting on them but I thought it would be fun to make a swing.

Yesterday Doug found some rope and put one of them up for me so now the kids have a tire swing.









Time to try it out.






When CJ came home from school he found some water still in the tire so he went to work finding a way to get it out.




I think this is going to be a fun addition to Walnut Acre activities.

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Tuesday March 27, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . it is sunny and cool.

I am thankful . . . that the plants in the garden seemed to survive the freeze last night.

In the kitchen . . . there is savory poultry dressing in the slow cooker and caramel mousse pie in the refrigerator for dinner. And I  just finished making deviled eggs that are also for dinner.

 
I am going . . . I haven't had to go anywhere today. It's a strange feeling.

I am hoping . . . that Michael's medicine will be in tomorrow. Somehow I didn't realize the pharmacy didn't have any refills on file for Michael's risperidone and we weren't able to get ahold of the doctors office until today. I called and the pharmacy faxed twice and we finally got word that the Dr. will be sending the refill order. I do know we definitely need this medicine  - the last four days have proved that.

I am looking forward to . . . dinner. I'm hungry.

Around the house . . . Austin is working on cleaning the shed, Amanda is folding laundry, CJ is making something with paper and Doug and Michael are watching YouTube videos.

I am pondering . . . My Rock and My Refuge

A favorite quote for today . . .

There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron


A peek into my day . . . checking out an ant nest.




Morning Musing Over Coffee - My Rock and My Refuge





 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
~Psalm 62:5-8

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Monday March 26, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . cool, breezy and 52 degrees. There's a freeze warning here tonight. After all the rain this weekend I was curious to see how high the creek was. So the little kids and I walked back there after lunch to check it out.



I am thinking . . . that I need to bring a few of my seedlings in for the night so they don't freeze.

I am thankful . . . for so many things - health, home and family to name a few.

In the kitchen . . . homemade bread and chicken chow mein and rice today.

I am wearing . . . green and white shirt, green pants.


I am going . . . I thought I was going to take Michael to his PT appointment this afternoon but the office called and cancelled that appointment. So I had an extra 2 1/2 hours in my day.


We are learning . . . Austin started the Displaying Data series of lessons on Math Live today. Michael finished his capital letter writing practice section in his workbook today so tomorrow we plan to start on lower case letters.

Around the house . . . I'm sitting with CJ and Michael until they fall asleep. Doug, Austin and Amanda are all using they're laptops and Cayson is watching tv while he waits for him mom to come pick him up.

I am pondering . . . Loved and Valuable

A favorite quote for today . . . If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters. ~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis


A peek into my day . . . I thought is was so cute today when I saw Michael trying to help Cayson put his sandals on.



CJ had some wood he wanted cut this evening so Doug helped him cut it. I'm not sure what he wants to make with it but I am sure he has a plan.



Morning Musing Over Coffee - Loved and Valuable


 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: ~ Philippians 1:6

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. ~Sally Field

God loves each one of us more than we can imagine. And when we have accepted the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus He clothes us with His righteousness and that is what He sees when He looks at us.
He also begins working within our hearts and minds to make us into the people we were created to be. And He will continue that work as long as we live, making us more and more like Him.
And, since He has said we are loved and valuable and He is working within us, let us live in that knowledge, secure in Him.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Sunday March 26, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . it has been a very gray and rainy day. I keep thinking how much the garden is loving this.

I am thinking . . . that this weekend went by very quickly.

I am thankful . . . that today Doug and I became official members of the church we've been attending and becoming increasingly more active in. I love the feeling of family we have there.

In the kitchen . . . we just finished a dinner of egg casserole, homemade bread and fruit.

I am wearing . . . still wearing my church clothes - black pants and multicolored shirt.

We are reading - I am reading Bible Animal Stories for Bedtime to CJ and Michael before they go to bed at night.

I am hoping . . . that I can pick up Michael's risperidone tomorrow. I thought the pharmacy had his refill prescriptions on file but turned out they didn't. So we've gone the weekend without it and I can definitely tell the difference.


We are learning . . . CJ and Michael are practicing the song the children's choir is going to be singing the first Sunday in May. We're going to try to go over it a few times every evening. There are a lot of motions and movements in it so it's taking some practice but we have plenty of time to learn it.

Around the house . . . CJ and Michael are in bed, Doug is watching Ice Road Truckers, Amanda is playing with the dog an Austin has disappeared to his room.


A favorite quote for today . . . Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

One of my favorite things . . . Pinterest.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . this week looks like it's going to be busy as usual - Michael's physical therapy, volunteering with Amanda, church Wednesday evening, our church Love Feast Thursday evening, and an in home visit with one child's case worker.

A peak into my day . . . no pictures today. At 2AM this morning my phone rang, scaring me half to death. It turned out that the youth were back from their weekend trip and he needed to be picked. For some reason I had thought they were getting back this afternoon. So Doug went and got him. Michael was restless last night and kept me awake and I ended up not getting up as early as I had hoped. I had choir practice before church and practice for the Easter play after church. The rest of the day was spent here at home with the family. Austin had a friend from church over this afternoon and they had a good time.

And now it's 8:15 and I think I'm going to go to bed really early and get a good start on the week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Saturday March 24, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . Thunderstorms are moving through the area at the moment. I love thunderstorms!

I am thinking . . .that this was a very busy, very fun day.

I am thankful . . .for the rain we are having today. I'm just imagining the plants in the garden soaking it up.

In the kitchen . . .So many things! My sister brought us ten dozen eggs yesterday so today I've been cooking with those. I baked bread this morning and made egg salad and we had sandwiches for lunch.





 I also made Homemade Egg Noodles and cooked them with chicken broth and added the leftover chicken from dinner last night.

And we tried something else with dandelions. Fried Dandelion Blossoms. CJ and Doug Helped me pick the blossoms this afternoon.



I then cleaned and washed them, dipped them in a cornmeal batter, and fried them.


Doug, Michael and I liked them. CJ tried them but didn't like them. Amanda wouldn't even try them.

I am wearing . . .orange and white shirt, brown pants, and white socks.

I am going . . .home for the day now, but this afternoon Amanda and I went to the SPCA and worked with the animals there. We had fun and I met a little Chihuahua that I really, really wanted to bring home, but I know we just can't handle another animal right now. She was such a little sweetie though.



And here are some of the other animals we enjoyed today.




The views from some of the areas where we get to the walk the dogs are gorgeous and I couldn't resist getting a few pictures.



Around the house . . .Michael and CJ are sleeping, Doug is getting ready to go to bed and Amanda is in her room.


A favorite quote for today . . . Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown



A peek into my day . . . this is what Doug and the kids were doing when Amanda and I left this afternoon.



Morning Musing Over Coffee - Refreshing Rain




Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

I love the sound of a Spring rain falling gently and refreshing the earth. It's like a shower of love from Heaven, bringing renewal and new life.

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. ~ Acts 14:17

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  ~ Hebrews 6:7

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Home, My Canvas

 I love looking for distinctive and creative ways to surround myself with beauty and with things that have meaning for me. I love browsing sites for ideas and inspiration and expressing it in fun and creative ways. My house is an often messy canvas for me to express myself in.

One thing that is very important to me is color. When we first moved into this house the main colors were white (walls) and tan (carpet) with some brown (paneling in the living room) and black (cabinet hardware in the kitchen). I remember telling Doug that I felt like I was living in an asylum. I need color!

Sadly, I still have not been able to paint the walls, but I have slowly been adding color to the house. One of the main ways I have done this is through making curtains. I discovered a love for sewing and made several sets of patchwork curtains.





I haven't made curtains for all the windows yet but am slowly working my way there.

Another way I'm adding color is by making braided rugs for our floors. I'm using old clothes and sheets and whatever other fabric I can get my hands on for these. I'm very close to finishing my first one and have the fabric strips cut to start a second one.

And while I'm working on these projects I'm looking around for other ideas as well. While we seem to have country theme going on around here I'm not opposed to mixing styles a little if I can find a way to make it work. Cushions are one way of adding color and interest to a room and these Indian cushion covers fill my mind with all kinds of images and ideas of ways to incorporate them into the decor. Whether bought or homemade cushions add a lot to a home. I remember my grandmother always having a few colorful cushions around  and how homey and comfortable it made her living room feel.

I've also been trying to convince my husband ( and finally succeeded) that pallets might be useful in making some small pieces of furniture that I could then paint in the colors I like and that I think would be brighten up the room. There are so many things that can be made from pallets from benches to bookcases to a reclaimed wood bed.

I have a few other ideas too, from wall art to adding indoor plants, that I've been thinking about a lot and looking up inspiration for. Now if I could just figure out a way to add hours to my day I'd be all set.


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    The Simple Woman's Daybook - Friday March 23, 2012

    For Today

    Outside my window . . . me. I'm sitting outside as I type this. It is sunny and 78 degrees.

    I am thinking . . . that I really like this weather. I'm sitting in the sunshine trying to soak up lots of Vitamin D.

    I am thankful . . . that all the kids are playing so happily together.

    In the kitchen . . . chicken baking in the oven for dinner. Amanda is making macaroni and cheese and cooking some corn for dinner as well.

    I am wearing . . . pink shirt, dark blue pants, and white socks.

    I am going . . . I feel like I've been going all day and I'm ready to stay home now. This morning I took Lauren to preschool, went to the grocery store, the laundromat, the pharmacy, the bank, back to the laundromat, home, back to get Lauren, back home and then took Austin to church to meet the youth group for their weekend trip.

    I am wondering . . . If Austin is having fun. He left around 1:00 this afternoon on a youth trip. For some reason I was thinking they were leaving at 6:00 this evening. So I was in a bit of a panic when the youth leader called at 12:24 and said they were waiting for Austin. From the time I got his call to the time I pulled out of the driveway was 14 minutes. In that time I hurried the kids up from the creek, told Austin what was going on, and helped him throw his things together. Amanda got the little kids in the van and buckled for me. Thankfully we live within ten minutes of the church.

    I am hoping . . . to get to go to the thrift store this weekend.

    I am looking forward to . . . the weekend.

    We are learning . . . Michael finished the shapes section of his workbook yesterday and today we started with patterns.

    Around the house . . . Doug is mowing, Amanda is cooking, CJ, Michael, Destiny, Landon and Kaleb are playing out here in the yard awith me.

    A favorite quote for today . . . Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum

    A few plans for the rest of the week . . . go with Amanda to the SPCA to volunteer, gardening, and I'm really not sure yet what else.

    A peek into my day . . . here the kids are watching the turtles.




    Dandelion Bread - You Have to Try This, It's Scrumptious!

    As I've mentioned several times recently, I've been planning to make some dandelion bread from the abundance of dandelions we always have in our yard and in the field behind the house. Well, we finally to got to try it.


    I had plenty of help picking the dandelions. They look so serious in this first photo, like they are on a very important mission.







    Here is our harvest.


    I took these in and pulled of the stems and leaves and then washed them. I then meaured them and there were about three cups of flowers.

    Then I cut the bottom off each flower so that I was left with mostly the yellow part. I didn't worry about it if a little green got in with the flower, I just didn't want those large green parts mixed in. This left me with almost two cups of flowers petals.

    After lunch the kids helped mix up the batter for dandelion bread.








    Batter in the pan, waiting to go in the oven.


    And here's the final product!


    Absolutely delicious warm from the oven with butter and honey! I also had some toasted this morning and it was yummy that way too.

    And now here's the recipe.

    4 cups flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 - 2 cups dandelion petals
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    3/4 cup honey
    2 eggs
    2 2/3 cups milk

     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients, including dandelion petals, in large bowl. In seperate bowl mix milk, beaten eggs, honey and vegetable oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into two greased bread pans. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Check for doneness. If not quite done lower temperature to 350 and continue baking, checking every five minutes.

    Enjoy!

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