Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year Goals & Homemaking Link-Up!

Do you have any goals for this new year?  I have quite a few but, above all else, my main goal is to not do things that I don't really want to do or that I know I don't have the time to do.  I want this to be a "no-obligation" year.  An obligation is different than a responsibility in this sense.  An obligation, as I'm referring to it, is something that I shouldn't have gotten myself into but, since I've gotten myself into it, I feel obligated to follow through.  I want this to be a simple year.  I need a simple life for a little bit! :)

Here are some of my goals for this new year.  Please scroll down to join weekend Homemaking Link-up!

Relational Goals

*Walk With Jesus*

1.    Work Through Elizabeth Prentiss Study

2.    Work through Proverbs---my notes on it’s wisdom for women

3.    Prepare for my turn to teach Women’s Sunday School weeks ahead of time

4.    Spend time with God out of desire, not out of guilt

5.    Listen to praise/worship music on my NEW stereo while doing kitchen chores


1.    Remember that Jamie desires a sweet spirit above anything else

2.    Ask what the needs are instead of assuming---his expectations of me are far simpler than what I think they are!

3.    Pray for his goals:  weight loss, finishing Bachelors Degree this fall, looking for long-term work


     1.   Homeschool consistently Jan-May; take short summer break; continue Aug-Nov

     2.   Prepare L, M, E for standardized testing this year; follow through on testing whether it’s “their year” or not

     3.   Be very choosy about outside activities; instead, focus more on building solid characters and obedience training at home :)


1.    No obligation friendships:  schedule “friend time” when and if it works for our family and stop feeling guilty when it doesn’t! :)


     1.  Remember that my ministry is my family.  Anything else is extra and not mandatory.

2.  Prepare for ministry commitments in a timely manner.  Study and prepare Women’s Sunday School lessons and Bible Study lessons before the night before.

     3.  This year I will serve on the Women’s Ministry board at our church.  Remember that this is, for me, a no-obligation ministry.  I will serve when I can and when it works well for my family.

Hobby/Creativity Goals


    1.   Submit at least one blog post a week to Christian Home online magazine---I’m already an established contributor there.

    2.   Consider whether I have the time to pursue other freelance opportunities and possibly do so.

    3.   Continue with my blog, posting at least twice weekly.  Bring followers up to 300 by the end of the year.


    1.  Continue adding crafty items and vintage/antique items. 

    2.  Try to phase out candy sales until the holiday season comes again as it’s too big a temptation to have in the house.


    1.  Really focus on finishing up projects I’ve started and using up my stash.  Some ideas include:  marble bags, crazy quilts


    1.  Work on using up stash.

    2.  Host a CTMH party in early spring.

    3.  Refine the art of the ATC! :)


    1.  Decide which instrument of my 3 that I want to learn first:  Celtic Harp, Cello, A/E guitar?  I think I’m leaning toward Celtic Harp.

    2.  Patiently accept Jamie’s help in learning it!

    3.  Establish routine of singing hymns with kids before bed.


    1.  Read 50 books.

    2.  Be more involved in BookCrossing.

    3.  Read regularly with the kids.

Homemaking Goals

*Home *

1.    Plan meals and grocery lists several days before shopping trip.

2.    Reassign chores to distribute the work a little better.

3.    Continue working on my kitchen to make it a more pleasant place to work.

4.    Focus more on healthy homemade recipes.

5.    Shabby-Chic my piano and hutch.  Do a good job so Jamie will let me do my dining room table and matching hutch too!  Also want to do the antique dressers in my kitchen and bedroom.

6.    Plant vegetables and flowers this spring.

7.    Buy a red geranium and put it in a green pot for my porch chair.

Health Goals


1.    Drink plenty of water daily.  

2.    Set up small challenges for myself and reward myself when I accomplish them.

3.    Ride my bike when weather is nice.

4.    Go for walks…by myself and with family.
What are some of your 2012 goals?  Please join me this week by linking up your homemaking-related posts!  *****Do you need an email reminder?  Let me know in the comments below and I'll send you a weekly reminder about our Homemaking Link-Up Weekend via email.  (Please remember to add your email address if you want the reminder!!)*****
Also linking to:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Day Today Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Have you entered my newest book giveaway?

Today, I thought I'd share with you all a little from a typical day at our house! There's always something fun and crafty going on around here---especially when we're taking a holiday break from our homeschool! 
A few days ago, 5-year-old Selah surprised us all by sitting down and flawlessly playing, "Up On the Housetop"!
Her three oldest siblings have been taking piano lessons but we weren't planning on her having lessons for another few years!
Apparently, one of her big brothers took it upon himself to get her started.  Now she's playing all kinds of things from her siblings' older books!
Kynthia Joy, who turned 4 months old on December 2nd, rolled over for the first time today!
We've all enjoyed playing with sweet Kynthia as she's starting to explore her home!
I made this yummy pasta dish for lunch.  I am trying to use up the things we've got in our freezer and pantry this month and start the new year out with a newly-stocked kitchen so this was a hodge podge of ingredients that turned out really great!  I'll try and put up the recipe later this week.
Yesterday, 11-year-old Lynzie made another cute rag doll.  She has always been into the American Girl dolls and recently read about the 1856 doll, Kirsten, who had a little doll of her own named Sari.
Lynzie decided to make her own Sari doll and asked me to help with the hair since I'm not comfortable with her using a hot glue gun yet.
Here she is with her sweet new dolly.  I'm so glad my young lady has retained her childlike spirit this far!  While she could easily run this entire household, including care of the children, she still finds joy in childhood past times like dolls, dress-up and playing make-believe games with her younger siblings.
I've tried, on many occasions, to interest Lynzie in using my sewing machine, but she is more comfortable with her needle and thread.
Her hand-stitching rivals my machine stitches any day!
I think I did her hair pretty cute!
I hope everyone who celebrates is enjoying getting prepared for Christmas!  I can't believe there's only 10 days left!  I've got quite a bit of sewing to do myself this next week.  Liam is getting a "big boy pillow" now that he's almost 2 so I'm sewing him a cute pillowcase with lions on it.  Baby Kynthia is getting a quilt I'll make from pieces from my fabric stash and a Sunbonnet Sue block that was found in my grandmother's things after she passed away.  I've gotten everyone marbles so I'm wanting to make them some simple felt bags to store them in and I have a canvas book bag to decorate for 2-year-old Avalon Grace.  I think I'll use some of the printable fabric that Jamie got me for my birthday last year and find her some pretty vintage image to put on the front of the bag.  She loves going to the library and will enjoy having her own special bag for books.

What kinds of special gifts are you giving to loved ones this year?

I'd love to have each one of you link-up with my Homemaking Link-Up Weekend this weekend!  It's so fun to visit so many creative and encouraging bloggers!  In fact, I'd like to introduce one of my favorite bloggers from last week's party:  Shirley of Sweet Romantic Notions!
Shirley decorated this gorgeous silver tree with special handkerchiefs and handmade ornaments!
I was just really taken with the beauty of this tree and asked her if I could please, please share it with you all!  If you've got a minute, stop over and visit Shirley at Sweet Romantic Notions and tell her you "met" her here!

I've just been so blessed this week as I've gone about making my home a happy and comfortable place to live! What sorts of things have you been doing around the home this week?  Please, share below!  Have a lovely weekend!

Also linking with:
Beverly's Pink Saturday
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home

Friday, December 9, 2011

Best Friends --- Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

I've got some great PINKS in my Etsy shop for Christmas! This French Ballerina Pillow would be a sweet gift for someone---like yourself!
How about some PINK wrapped carmels?  I also wrap them in gold and red!  Visit my shop today to order lots of yummy treats!

I had every intention on doing a great Christmas decoration themed post tonight but, as I was going through my pictures, I found these and just had to share them!

Our oldest son, Michael, celebrated his 10th birthday on December 3rd.  On Tuesday, he had his best friend Jonathan come and stay the night for a friend party.  L-R: Michael, Jonathan, Elisha, Cainan, Selah, Avalon (all are ours except Jon)

He was pretty excited with the Nerf-like gun that Jonathan gave him!

The thing I just love about these guys is that they treat each other with such kindness.  They are true friends and show Jesus' love to each other whenever they're together.  It is such a joy to have Jonathan over and Michael is such a kind boy.

Michael is the kind of kid who just loves life.  He's loving and patient with all his other seven siblings and does his best to please his Daddy and I.

Happy Birthday dear little boy!

Please feel free to link up your homemaking-related posts here!  Homemaking Link-Up Weekend runs every weekend from late Thursday night until late Sunday night!

Also linking to:
L.A.C.E. @ Lily-Rose Cottage
Beverly's Pink Saturday

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Every year near this date, I repost this short story I wrote in honor of the baby we lost in November 2007.  I hope it blesses you today.

Hope sits still and serene at the edge of a melodious river, dangling one bare foot into the warm, blue water. Her lovely blonde ringlets reflect the light of the afternoon sun and form a shimmering halo around her young head. Though she can’t help but raise her eyes every so often to the far-off hills, He has told her to wait patiently and so she will. “I’ve got a surprise for you,” He’d promised. If she has learned anything from past experience, she’s learned that time is relative no matter where one is. Even in this youthful body, she knows that the time it takes to endure is well worth the rewards that fortitude brings.

Since patience seems to be coming much more easily than normal this day, she begins to take inventory of her new appearance. Strangely, she can not see her reflection in the water in front of her. From the moment she arrived here in this glorious place, she’s wondered about herself. There isn’t much she can learn about what’s inside; about her dreams, wishes and longings. She’s treasured all of these, along with many thoughts and questions, since the day she was conceived. It’s her outside that is so new and clean and unfamiliar.

With a little shake of her head, she can see that her hair is golden and beautiful. She reaches for a curl and lets the silky strand slide around her fingers and over the back of her hand. As she moves to examine the hand more closely, she spies a simple white butterfly hovering near her knee. She watches with innocent interest for just a moment before it flutters over to a nearby snapdragon and gracefully lands beside it in the grass.

Lifting the small, delicate hand up to eye-level seems so simple now and she marvels at the lightness of it; both in skin tone and in weight. Turning this hand right-side up, she examines the lines upon her tiny palm. Amazing, she thinks, and so real.

Her eyes follow the motion as she slowly places the hand back in her lap. Fixing her gaze on the arm for just a moment, she changes her mind about resting it and, using her newly-nimbled fingers, explores the length of the opposite arm. Leisurely, she runs her fingers up and back down. Tickles, she says to herself, as even now the new word tickles her tongue.

A slippery smoothness is caressing the bottom of her one wet foot. Her brown eyes settle on a long and shiny creature gliding through the water. Father loves fish, she thinks to herself. But just as quick as it caught her attention, the creature is gone and her mind becomes occupied elsewhere.

“She’s here,” the butterfly whispers up to the snapdragon. The flower shivers with a sudden air of excitement and replies, “So soon? I didn’t realize we’d get to see her so perfectly formed so early!” The butterfly sighs. “Yes, she’s a beauty, isn’t she? She’s just the image of perfection!” She flurries up to give the snapdragon a butterfly kiss and then takes off back into the sky in search of a honeysuckle treat.

The snapdragon proudly pulls herself up to her full height--six inches at last measurement. As she stretches her lush leaves against the warm sun’s rays, a tiny yawn escapes from her delicate, pink lips. Lifting her head to peer over the sleeping marigolds, she stands upon the tips of her toes (which are firmly rooted in the ground, of course) and sees, just over the nearest hillside, exactly what she is looking for.

“Come children, come quickly”, the Man says as he ascends the last mound of lush, emerald hilltop. He takes care not to hurry the young family, most of them less than five years old. The Man turns to face this great group of children, His very presence commanding their complete attention. He smiles warmly and lovingly, sits down on a nearby rock and takes a young Asian boy on his lap. “Children”, he says, “I want you to remember back to the first time you realized you were in Hope’s place. Be patient, be kind. Be gentle and show her love. Come. Let’s go down to the river.”

The friendly party makes their way across the honey-scented meadow. “Look”, cries the Man, “there by the water!” He stops the children and they all stand still, amazed at the way the sunlight bounces off her flaxen hair. “She looks like my Angel”, says a little Irish red-headed girl, “only my Angel is a lot bigger than that!”

“Come”, says the Man, “Let’s take some time to offer our welcome wishes to this newest reflection of me. There’s a new child in Heaven today.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Easy Petits Fours Recipe and Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Good Evening! Wow, where has the time gone? I have to admit, it's been a crazy busy week! It's 1:00 a.m. on Friday and I am ready for bed!! I'm going to sort of cheat a little this week and offer up an old post.

My recipe for Easy Petits Fours is, by far, my most popular post. I have people coming to that post every single day! It's very popular on Google Search---Ha! So, here you go!

When you're done reading the recipe, please make sure and read about my blogging friend, Cindy at Blessings From Cindy, and the gorgeous craft idea she came up with! Her Craft Blotter is so easy---you could make one today for a Christmas gift---and make one tomorrow for yourself!

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for linking up with my Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!

For several years, I would make these really easy petits fours for different church functions.  I hadn't made them in a long time but was thinking about them the other day and thought they'd make a good blog post, as well as a yummy treat for my friends at our homeschool co-op today!  Here's how you can make a simple petit four with basic ingredients and supplies you likely have on hand.

 Begin with a boxed Pound Cake mix and the ingredients mentioned on the back (eggs, water, etc.)  You will also need a package of vanilla almond bark and food coloring if desired.

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  I like to spray the pan with nonstick spray or water first to help the paper stick to the pan and not roll up.  Mix your cake ingredients according to the directions on the box, spread batter into pan, and bake at 350 for 15-20 min. or until done and lightly golden brown.  

Let the cake cool completely and then cut it into squares with a sharp knife.  You will likely not cut into the parchment paper but if you are concerned about that you can turn the cake out onto a cutting board and remove the paper first.  Pound Cake is very easy to cut into nice squares thus eliminating the need for an actual petit four pan.

When cake is completely cooled, break half the package of almond bark into a bowl and microwave at 30 sec. intervals, stirring in-between.  I like to add some oil or shortening too to make dipping easier.  When it is completely melted, you can mix in some food coloring if you'd like.

Using a fork, dip the cake into the coating to cover it completely.  The coating gets thicker as it cools so you may find yourself having to spoon the coating onto the cake and then tap the excess off on the side of your bowl.  Transfer the coated petit four to wax or parchment paper.

If you desire a decoration on top, add it as soon as you place the cake on the paper to cool.  Almond Bark sets up pretty quickly and you want your decoration to stick.  I found these pearly candies at Target in the Easter section.

Once the coating has hardened, you are all done!  I got several compliments on these today from my homeschooling mom friends!  In the past, I've taken the time to fill them with jelly or frosting.  This makes for a much taller petit four, but one could always cut the cake in half before filling---although this will make it less stable as the cake will be pretty thin.  Have fun making these and make sure to send me pictures of your own creations!

Make sure and visit Cindy's blog, Blessings from Cindy to learn how to make this adorable Craft Blotter:

   Cindy's instructions are super easy and the project is made from things you probably already have around the home! Thank you, Cindy!

Linking up today with Beverly's Pink Saturday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giveaway!!! Children's Bible Story Book --- International

I am so happy to offer my readers to win a sweet little book just in time for Christmas!  

Baker Publishing Group is offering to send one of my readers a copy of My Favorite Bible Children's Bible Story Book.  

All you have to do is leave me a note in the comments below and you will be entered in to the drawing!  The giveaway is open to international readers as well!  

Also, if you are reading this via my Facebook page, a comment within that feed will earn you an entry.

Here's what the publisher has to say about My Favorite Bible:

"With the vibrant illustrations and engaging text in this Bible storybook, you can enjoy sharing the best-loved stories of the Bible with the children in your life and encourage a life-long love for the Word of God. My Favorite Bible is a book of exciting Bible stories and activity pages that guide children through the foundational truths of Scripture.

Each story is fully illustrated and includes a simple narrative full of things kids love: repetition, rhythm, and energy, along with a key biblical theme, a key Bible verse, and discussion questions to help adults introduce children to the Bible.

The colorful illustrations will capture the imaginations of children ages 4–8, and the stories will help adults to pass along the most important truth in life—the Gospel. Families will cherish this time as they read, listen, learn, and love, growing closer to one another even as they grow closer to God."

Giveaway ends December 12th.  

Disclosure: (because the law will come after me if I don't disclose...)  I didn't receive anything from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for posting this giveaway notice---well, nothing except a bunch of happy readers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homemaking Weekend Link-Up! Pretend Tea Party!

My husband works nights and tonight I was feeling a little lonely.  So, I fixed myself up a pretty table setting and enjoyed a big pot of soup, a whole pot of tea, and a plate heaped with rich, creamy fudge !
Ok, true confession:  My husband DOES work nights...but I fixed the setting so I could show off my new soup tureen!  (Everything's actually empty and the fudge is wrapped up to send with my mom to work tomorrow!)  I found this neat Lefton soup tureen at Salvation Army recently for $2.00!!!  Our local store has a little room with extremely overpriced "antiques" (some of which are actually Dollar Store items that were made to look antique...but whatever...)  I saw this tureen in the window and knew it would be priced pretty high.  When I got in there, I saw that there was no price on it!  I asked the girl and she said $2.00!!  OKAY!!!  Oh, I should add that our family will not actually use this for soup---it's waaay too small for the 10 of us!  Instead, it will be our gravy "boat" this Thanksgiving...just the right size for that!

This pretty china set and (some of the) tea service was in a shop that my mom bought a few years ago. She gave it to me and I love using it!  I bought the pot and a few extra items on eBay.
Since I don't take milk with my tea, I thought Sam the Lamb would be a cute addition to the table!  I should also add that this "table cloth" is actually a flannel nightgown I made myself a couple years ago!  Ha!! That cracks me up! 
Here's a pretty sampler my oldest daughter made me last year for Mother's Day.  She's got such talent---especially for an 11-year-old girl!
Here's a couple new flavors of fudge I just put in my Etsy store tonight.  Here is Pumpkin Pie fudge and Mocha Almond fudge!  Are you interested in winning some?  Check out my giveaway here.  

It's time for another Homemaking Weekend Link-Up!  I'd love for anyone interested to link-up her homemaking posts today!  You can do more than one a week, if you'd like, and please make sure to take a button and link back to this page so others can visit as well!  The button is at the top of my sidebar!

Linking to:

Encourage One Another Link-Up @ Deep Roots at Home
Homemaking linkup @ Raising Homemakers
White Wednesdays @ Faded Charm
Vintage Thingie Thursday @ Coloradolady
Tablescape Thursday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Pearls and Lace Thursday @ Faith, Grace & Crafts
Beverly's Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound

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