Thursday, April 30, 2009


My mother was a great mom and an even better grandmother. She took the kids (quite often) because she wanted to spend time with them and as an added bonus it would give me just a little "me" time (to clean, run errands, craft, rest, etc.). She was my sanity saver (among other things).

A week to the day after my mother's funeral, I found out that I was expecting my 3rd child. It was wonderful and sad at the same time (the new one on the way helped me cope with my grief, but he/she would never know his/her grandmother).

It was very difficult, I had no one to help me (Frank did what he could, but he worked). After my 4th came along I was getting desperate. I nursed all of my children, but they took an occassional bottle (that gave me just a short while to get out of the house alone). Rance (#4) refused to take a bottle. At all. When I had oral surgery, the surgeon told me that I couldn't nurse him for 48 hrs. and had to pump out all of the "tainted" milk - due to the medicine. I needed to store milk ahead of time to prepare. I was concerned and spoke to his pediatrician about him not taking a bottle (we tried every bottle, nipple that we could - to no avail). He said not to worry, if he got hungry enough that he would eat.

Well he didn't. So after I had recovered and was able to nurse him I knew that I would not be able to leave him. He went with me everywhere. (I live 20 min. from town and if I had errands to run he had to go with me.) I would nurse him in the vehicle before we went into the store and I would have to nurse him in the vehicle again before our trip home. He went straight to a sippy cup from the breast and I 'finally' had him weaned at 14 months.

I say all that so you will understand that I truely do love my children, but every mother needs a break occassionally. I feel that it makes us better moms. I also feel it is good for children to know that even though mommy leaves, she will always come back. For 14 months I did not get a break (at all). During my pregnancy with Rance, Frank and I were introduced to this sweet couple through mutual friends. I will call them Mr. & Mrs. B.

They have been a blessing to us. They absolutely love the kids (they have become surrogate grandparents). Every so often Mr. & Mrs. B watch the kids so I can have some very cherished, and longed for "me" time. I can also ask them (between volunteer times) to watch my kids. Mrs. B is retired and Mr. B takes off work when the boys go over to their house.

Mr. & Mrs. B watched the boys for me today. When I picked them up she had my supper ready (as usual). Can you believe that? She watched my kids and fixed my supper. Wow! Did I mention that they are a blessing? They are what I would call 'A God Send.' She had salad and meatloaf for Frank and me and she sent a pizza home for me to bake for the boys! [It's almost too good to be true.]

Every time they watch the boys, she fixes my supper. When they were living near the school (where my 2 older children attend) she called me one night and told me to come by after I picked the boys up from school and she would have us some vegetable beef stew for us for supper. (She also had bread, a salad (with all the toppings), and salad dressing.) The next day school was closed due to snow. She brought supper to us. I was going to go get it (the roads weren't bad and since she no longer had kids in school I didn't think that she would know school was closed), but I didn't have too.

They get the kids birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and even school supplies when school starts. They are fantastic. They have had one of my tires repaired for me (when I came to pick up the kids once I had a flat tire and Mr. B took it and got it fixed for me).

Do you want to know the best part (if there is a 'best' because it is all good)? Before we met Mr. & Mrs. B, I was talking to my Aunt on the phone and she said that she wished she lived close enough to help me. I said that I wished the same thing too. I said that I had several people that would watch my kids to help me out, but I wished that I had someone that 'wanted' to be with my kids (not 'just' to help me out). Mr. & Mrs. B are exactly that. I know they want to help me, but as an added bonus I know that they want to spend time with the kids too. They are an answer to my prayers.

God does bless us. Even though losing my mother was a tradgedy, "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord."

Be a blessing to someone today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Burp Cloths

Here are some burp cloths that I made out of cloth diapers for a lady at church (she is expecting her 3rd child, but first girl next week). The cloth diapers are thicker and work better (for me anyway), but they are so "plain" so I try to make them prettier. I embroider a name and/or initial and add some ribbon.

This ribbon had pinks and browns so I did one larger letter (the first letter of the first name) in light brown and then embroidered the name in pink over the monogram.

This ribbon was blue, pink, yellow and, green. I picked the bright yellow to embroider the name. [I remember when I had my baby showers for each of my boys - I began to get tired of all blue, so I am trying to do a few other colors, instead of the traditional pink, for this new baby girl.]

I love the red ruffled ribbon that I used on this burp cloth. I used a single initial as a monogram and I put the ribbon on vertically (in the seams of the cloth diaper) instead of horizontally (like the last 2). I hope she likes them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Since today is Earth Day I wanted to talk a little about my favorite way to "recycle". It is actually 'upcycling'. I read about upcycling somewhere a year or so ago and had no idea what it was (and that I had been doing it). So I googled it and Wikipedia gave me the definition...

Upcycling is a component of sustainability in which waste materials are used to provide new products. It is generally a reinvestment in the environment. "Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value." This process allows for the reduction of waste and virgin material use.

The term upcycling was coined by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Wikipedia says...

Recycling involves processing used materials into new products in order to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production.[1][2] Recycling is a key component of modern waste management and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" waste hierarchy.

Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, metal, plastic, textiles, and electronics. Although similar in effect, the composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste – such as food or garden waste – is not typically considered recycling.[2] Materials to be recycled are either brought to a collection center or picked up from the curbside, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials bound for manufacturing.

In a strict sense, recycling of a material would produce a fresh supply of the same material, for example used office paper to more office paper, or used foamed polystyrene to more polystyrene. However, this is often difficult or too expensive (compared with producing the same product from raw materials or other sources), so "recycling" of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials (e.g., cardboard) instead. Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products, either due to their intrinsic value (e.g., lead from car batteries, or gold from computer components), or due to their hazardous nature (e.g., removal and reuse of mercury from various items).

Critics of recycling claim that it often wastes more resources than it saves, especially in cases where it is mandated by the government. Note here that municipal recycling may nevertheless still be worthwhile if the net cost is less than the landfill or other disposal costs for the same amount of material

Basically, when you take a used up item and 'craft' it (reuse it in a new way) into something new, that's upcycling. I abosolutely love to do this and so do my kids. They love to take old cereal boxes and make them into cars, houses, robots, etc.

Whatever you do, do it for the environment and have a great Earth Day!

Busy Bags

I was going to post on this earlier (with pics and everything), but my camera was acting all weird so I wasn't able to get pics. Since this sort of goes along with the last post I decided to post on it anyway (maybe I can get pics later - or you can send me some of your pics).

A couple of ladies a church got together with some plain canvas bags from Hobby Lobby and some fabric markers and made "Busy Bags." They took about 6 bags (decorated 3 for girls - pink, purple, butterflies, flowers, you get the picture, and 3 for boys - red, blue, balls, trucks, you know what I'm getting at) and put a few simple "quiet" items in each bag.

Example boys wheel car/truck, puzzle, plastic animals, coloring book and crayons, etc.
Example girls bag...small doll, accessories for doll, puzzle, coloring books and crayons, etc.

They hung these out in the lobby area of the church for the parent/s of toddlers/small children to use during church service to entertain them and keep them quiet (the kids not the parents). These are especially nice for visitors.

You could do the same for travel. Fix a few busy bags with different activities/toys that you don't let your kids play with at home. Hang them on a hook near the door, grab one as you go out the door (for long road trips, Dr.'s office visits, etc.). You could use the story sacks for that also. Check out story sacks here.

Here are a few links that might help...
This site actually makes/sews a busy bag, but it shows some ideas of what to put in a busy bag for travel, check it out here

101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Makes and

Let me know what works for you. How do you keep your kids busy and quiet in church, Dr.'s Office, on the road, etc.? What's your sanity saver?

Story Sack

This is something that you can do with/for your kids. I have been wanting to do this for awhile, but I just haven't made the time to do it. This is great for moms, but it would be really great for the classroom (all you teachers that have centers, here's an idea - and if you are already doing it, let me know your tricks and how it is going). I think it would even make a great Birthday or Christmas gift to a child.

A Story Sack is where you take a favorite book and put it in a "sack." You don't have to get too technical, the sack could be a manilla envelope, a gallon size ziploc bag, a plain canvas bag (from Hobby Lobby or somewhere), or if you want to get technical you can make a 'sack'. If you have an item (manilla envelope or canvas bag), decorate it to go with the book. **The idea here is to get children interested in reading and families interesting in reading together.** So make this apealing as you can.

Also, in the sack put things that relate to the book. It could be a coloring page, it could be something mentioned in the book, whatever. Just don't let it end with the book, let the fun continue. You could also have/make a snack that ties in with the book.

When I get around to doing this, this is what I want to do. My favortie children's book is 'Llama Llama Red Pajama.' So I would read this story near bedtime, have the boys get on their red PJ's, print some coloring pictures of llamas (I'm sure I can google some) and have them color them while I read the story (or just after). I could put buttons on the "red" canvas bag to make it look like PJ's, etc.

There are so many more creative people than I am. I would love to see what you do with this. If you do or have done this, send me pictures and I will post them.

Here are just a few sites to get you started...

Story Sack Ideas
Lets Create A Story Sack
Literacy Changes Lives
A Child's Place
Story Sack Corner

Remember Have Fun, spend quality time together as a family and get your child(ren) interested in reading. Who knows, you might enjoy it too.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cake Decorating

Hobby Lobby is offering their Cake Decorating Class for 1/2 off right now (check it out here).

I took this same class from them a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I took all 3 levels because I enjoyed the previous class so much. I still make cakes occasionally (not as much as my kids would like), if I make them too often we (when I say we I really mean me) eat them too much. Very delicious, but not very healthy. I have made my hubby take cakes to work with him before so the temptation is not too strong.

It is really nice for special occasions to make a cake and to be proud to take it somewhere (which is something that I would not do prior to taking the class). If you are pretty decent at cake decorating you can still take the class to polish your skills or learn some new skills.

I had a friend and my cousin took cake decorating class before I did (I wanted to, but wasn't sure about it) and they convinced me to take the class (simply by showing me the cakes they made themselves). I was very impressed.

If this is something that interests you, please check it out with your local Hobyy Lobby.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Husband Rocks Fridays

I have been wanting to see a particular movie and Frank has been everywhere trying to rent it for me. Isn't he sweet?

Hand Crocheted Dishcloth

I have been trying to make my blog more interesting (concentrating on quality and not quantity), so I have been busy crafting a little more and blogging a little less so I can bring something of interest to you (I hope).

At the end of this post I have included my pattern for these hand crafted dishcloths. I hope the pattern is easily understood (I can crochet, but I don't know if I can write patterns). If you don't know how to crochet or don't have time to crochet, you can check out my dishcloths on my etsy site,

This was the first time that I've worked with cotton and I really liked it. I usually work with acrylic (it has a larger selection of color and is easier to find - around here anyway). I tried a couple of brands of cotton yarn and my favortie was 'I Love This Cotton' yarn.

My Aunt got me interested in crocheting dish cloths. She said that she was given one by a friend and it is her favorite dish cloth (she knew that I crocheted and thought that I might enjoy doing them). Well, she was right. I really enjoy crocheting the dish cloths. I can take them with me so I can work on them when I have to wait somewhere (like car rider line at school), they are quick and easy. I also think they will make nice gifts (I love to take a hostess a gift - when we are invited to dinner to a friends'), I also think they might may good, teacher gifts, or 'just-because' gifts. I am really excited about how these turned out.

Crocheted Dish Cloth Pattern

100% cotton worsted weight yarn (approx. 100 yds.)
Crochet Hook - size G

Chain 25
Working from the bottom side of the ch 25...Row 1, DC in 2nd chain from hook and DC in next 23 chain, chain 2 (becomes 1st DC), turn.

Row 2 DC in each DC across (24 DC), chain 2, turn.

Rows 3 - 13 Repeat row 2.

Row 14 DC in each DC across, chain 1, turn (do not finish off).

Edging SC in each DC across, 3 SC in last DC; (turning the corner and going down the side) 2 SC in each DC (all across the side), again 3 SC in the last DC; (turning the corner and going across the bottom), SC in each DC across, 3 SC in last DC; (turning the corner and going up the side), 2 SC in each DC (all across the side), 3 SC in last DC, join with slipstitch to first SC, finish off. [Basically I SC all around the outside of the square - making 3 SC in each corner - to give it a finished look.]

***Just in case you can't read my pattern (because I have never written a pattern before now), here is a link that you can get a free, crocheted, dish cloth pattern.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Crafty Inspiration

The Farm Chicks are having a wonderful giveaway, check it out here. They are giving away fabric from the Pixie Dust Decor, I checked them out (you can too here) and I really like Boys Toys Stripe and Boys Toys Red. These are some beautiful fabrics, it was really hard to choose (a close second was Aqua Lattice and Lime Pegoda). All the nice fabrics really make me want to go sew. Especially since they are American made. Do you sew and what do you sew?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And the winner is....

Michelle!!!!!!! Congrats, Michelle and I will be contacting you to get the book to you. A special thanks to all who entered and read my blog.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Little Secret

I want to let you in on a little of my favorite crafting tools.

A wood burning tool. ******WAIT***** Don't stop reading yet. I don't do wood burning. Want to know what I use it for????????

Cutting ribbon (for when I make my totes, purses, etc.). It cuts the ribbon and keeps it from fraying at the same time (heat seals it). I have also used it to cut nylon webbing (for handles and such). I have to let you know where I learned that little secret, I learned it from the Ribbon Retreat, you can check it out here, scroll down to where it says 'How to seal your ribbon ends.'

I also wrote a little about them before and you can check it out here.

If I remember correctly, Hobby Lobby sells a wood burning tool kit for $7 or $8 and if you wait until they have a 40% off internet coupon, it is dirt cheap.

Just wanted you to know.

My Husband Rocks Friday!

The 2 babies and I have been sick all week. Frank has been so attentive to us. He has been getting up with the boys at night so I can rest and when he gets home from work, he's allowed me to go to bed early while he takes care of the boys. He's not complained once about eating sandwiches (because I didn't feel like cooking). He has been great (as usual). He is such a blessing to me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sew Neat

I found this website called Wild Ginger and you can download software to create your own patterns. Most of their software has a fee for it, but there is one for free. Go check it out here and let me know what you think. I have downloaded the free version, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet.

Why I enjoy crafting

1) I enjoy the act of creating.
2) I love seeing the finished product.
3) It is like my therapy.
4) It gives me the opportunity to try something I've never tried before.
5) I am able to see how much work others put into something they do and how much time and talent is required.
6) It gives me the opportunity to work with different mediums. (I love textures!)
7) It gives me a break from reality (housework, responsiblities, etc.).
8) It is calming and relaxing to me.
9) I love learning something new.
10) I love filling my home with one of a kind things that I have made myself.

Do you craft? Why?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


****This Giveaway is Now Closed! Thanks for stopping by.****

Welcome to my first giveaway.

I have been thinking and I have decided to pass along my copy of "Sam's Letters to Jennifer" by James Patterson. So if you would like to enter my giveaway, please post a comment before midnight (CST) on Saturday, April 11.

Good luck and maybe the winner will pass it along to someone else.

I need your help

What was your favorite baby shower gift? I have several showers to attend or baby gifts to give and I want to give something really useful and/or special. I want something memorable that the mother would really appreciate. Have any ideas? I also love to give handmade items.

Book Review

I just finished "Sam's Letters to Jennifer" by James Patterson. It is a quick, easy read (I read it in a couple of days). It is a great story line about Jennifer loosing people close to her and how Sam (her grandmother) helps her deal with that and find love again. It is set in Lake Geneva, MI. I recommend it.

I read James Patterson's "Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas" several years ago (I completed it in one day). This book comes highly recommended. If you have read "Sam's Letters to Jennifer," you will love "Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas."

Have you read either of these novels? What did you think about them?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crazy Weather

We are having the craziest weather here in middle Tennessee. Yesterday it was sunny and 80 degrees, today it is in the upper 3o's and a snow and rain mix. I much prefer the 80 degrees and sunny (especially after a long winter). It could be worse, I'm not trying to complain, I just think it is very CRAZY! Hope you are having beautiful weather where you are.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


My DH and 2 oldest boys made this beautiful, rustic trellis today for Champ's clematis.

My hubby made 6 flower beds in the retaining wall on the side of our driveway. Everyone gets their own flower bed and they get to decide what to put in it. Right now we are putting a few veggies in the 2 babies flower beds (until they are a little older and can decide for themselves).

They made the trellis out of a scrap board (that was going to go into the burn pile - fire for camping and such) and nails that we had left over from 10 years or so ago. Very resourseful (didn't cost us anything) and they did it without a pattern. Frank is great in that way (very talented).

I will try to show it to you again this summer, when the clematis begins to climb it.


God is good.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Do you wanna see what I see?

I have no idea what either of these wild flowers is, but I think they are beautiful. When we first moved here 7 years ago, my mother and my MIL both said that they hadn't seen them around in this area before. My DH and I still don't see them anywhere around here except at our place.

We live on a small farm and my DH put our house in the woods (couldn't put a house on good farm land) and these are all over the place. I am not a good photographer, so the pictures don't do them justice.

I love etsy

I love the website etsy, a place to buy and sell all things handmade. (It is pronounced like Betsy but without the 'B.') You can find just about anything on this site.

I love receiving handmade gifts. There is just something special to me about it. Someone took their precious time to make a one of a kind something instead of 5 minutes to run into Wal-Mart and buy something that everyone else has or can get. I think of all the love and talent it took to make the gift (everyone has a different talent, but they are all wonderful). Even if it is a purchased homemade gift (it's special).

I love craft shows/fairs. It is truely amazing at all the talents out there.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Husband Rocks!!!!!!!

My Husband Rocks because he does just about anything that I ask of him (within reason of course) and he does it with a smile.

Right now he is in the process of remodeling our basement and making it into a family room. And boy do I have some different ideas. He had no idea what he was getting into when he said "I do" 14 years ago.


They're back!!!! The blog list that I follow is back (all of them - that I can tell). I checked it a couple of times this morning and nothing, then after posting about it, they are there.

Oh, well, it saves me the trouble of putting them all back in. I'm glad they are there.

What Happened?!?!

I woke up this morning and went to my blogger dashboard and there it was...or wasn't. It said that I was not following any blogs. Yesterday I had like 45 blogs in my list that I was following and today ZIP. I am in the process of putting them all back. This will take awhile since I had collected these blogs over a period of time. I am not looking forward to this, but it has to be done.

So, if I follow your blog and now I'm not listed as a follwer, that's what happened, I'll be back soon.

Just for girls

I found this neat website that shows you how to make hairbows for little girls. I don't have girls, but I have made a few of these for my niece and great-niece. I also think they make great "bows" on top of packages and instead of throwing it away they get to keep it, it becomes part of the gift. You can find the instructions here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Look What I Found!!!

If you like aprons and you like to sew I found a wonderful website that you are going to love!!!!! 52 Free Apron Patterns You Can Make. I love aprons, but I have yet to try to make one (I will now). I am so excited.

Family Fun Night

On the first Friday of every month our church has "First Friday Family and Friend Fun Night" and it starts at 5:55 p.m. (yeah, a lot of f's). ;o) Everyone brings finger foods (sometimes but not always there is a theme: soup/chili, mexican, etc.) and games. For adults, kids and/or both there may be various board games, card games, dominos, billiards, basketball, kickball, talking/fellowship, etc.

It is great. The kids love it and it's nice to get out of the house without spending a fortune (with 4 kids it's difficult to do). The kids get to interact with other kids and we get to do stuff as a family also.

A couple of ladies at our church got together and came up with the idea and implemented the program and it has been a hit ever since. People of all ages from the congregation, their family and/or friends attend.

This Friday we are having our Easter Egg Hunt with the First Friday Family and Friend Night. That way if people are traveling to visit family (for the holiday weekend) or have plans with their family, they don't have to miss our Easter Egg Hunt. I think that was very thoughtful.

Stop on over at Moms By Heart and see what other people do on Fridays for cheap or Free for their families.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A couple more to mark off my 'To Do List'



We are remodeling our basement (making it into a family room - pictures later), this bench will go in the new family room.

I bought a travel size pillow and made the pillowcase for a friend of mine's daughter's first birthday. On the cuff I embroidered her name (I have the pillowcase turned over just in case she reads this blog).

Easter Egg Stuffers

I found these cute erasers to put in Easter Eggs. We have to take several filled eggs to the in-laws for a hunt and several filled eggs to church for a hunt so I can't afford to spend too much, it's hard to find things small enough to fit in the eggs, and I don't want to only put candy in eggs (I do candy also, but that's not all I want to put in eggs). These were normally priced at $1.99, but they were marked down to $0.49 (for 6 erasers, that's less than $0.10 each). I bought several packages, plus some candy. We have all the eggs filled and ready to hide on hunting day. What do you put in plastic Easter eggs? Please help, I go through this every year.

Great Deal

These are usually priced for $8.99 at Kroger, but this week they are on sale for $5.49 and in Sunday's paper there was a $4.00 coupon (so I got these for $1.49 each!!!!! That's an 83% savings off the regular price!). Woo Hoo!!
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