Friday, December 31, 2010

Post of Pictures that I like

I am not a photographer, but occasionally (by accident) I will take a picture that I really like and am pleased with. I love these 2 shots of Rance (they were taken this fall). Now a real photographer probably wouldn't appreciate them, but I like them and that's what matters.

Maybe someday I can take some photography classes. (I want real photography classes and not photoshop classes - well maybe them too eventually, but I would love to know what to do when I am behind the camera to get a good shot.)

I LOVE this picture of my dad with the 2 little ones. This is Christmas Eve and he is reading them the Night Before Christmas. It is right after bath and right before bedtime. It has become a tradition for us (my dad has done this for about 9 or 10 years).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Goodies and FREE gift tags

I love giving homemade goodies from the kitchen for Christmas. Everyone has to eat and it shows that I gave something of myself also (time - which sometimes is more precious than money).

There are some free, very cute, downloadable tags for homemade goodies here at butter is best along with recipes.

Homemade Sour Dough Bread is one of my favorite things to make and give during the holiday season. Sweets are nice, but a lot of people give sweets and I feel bread is a reprieve from all the sweet goodness. You can see what I am talking about here and here. (If you were thinking about giving me sweets, go ahead, I won't be offended.)

Here are a few more printable gift tags...
Gift tags for all occasions at brownie locks
Printable recipe cards with matching gift tags from

Hope this gets you in the mood to make some homemade gifts and while you are at it, send me some to sample.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New Christmas Tradition and a Christmas song

Two years ago we started a new Christmas Tradition at our house...Santa Bags. Each of my boys has his own Santa Bag (you can see one here). On Christmas Eve, the boys place the bag where they want (under the tree, on the couch, etc.) and Santa puts their gifts inside their bag.

The next morning they open their bag to see what Santa brought. A friend of mine asked me to make her boys Santa bags this year. They are approximately 2 feet by 3 feet, red fleece with a gold drawstring. I embroidered their names in white. I hope they enjoy the new tradition as much as we have.

Now here is one of my favorite Christmas songs by one of my very favorite Country Music artist.

Blanket for a boy

One of my closest friends asked me if I would make a blanket and pillow for a little boy's birthday. She said that he loved John Deere tractors. (I think that he is 4.)

I made a crib size blanket (so it would be large enough to cover him, but small enough for him to carry around) with JD flannel on one side and solid green cotton on the back and I used a yellow satin binding around the edges. I embroidered his name in yellow.

I purchased a travel size pillow and made a matching pillow case for it. The pillowcase itself is the JD flannel, the edge of the pillowcase is the solid green and I embroidered his name in yellow on the green trim of the pillowcase.

My friend intended for Morgan to use it now, but I think his mom is planning on putting it up for Kindergarten next year.

My husband works for a New Holland/Kubota Tractor dealership. I thought he was going to divorce me for making something with green tractors. (Just kidding, but only a little.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

And you thought your week was bad...

...I can talk about this now.

I just had my 40th birthday on Nov. 5. That hasn't really bothered me (I mean it's much better than the alternative). My birthdays have never bothered me, but people do.

On Wednesday, Nov. 3 (2 days BEFORE my birthday), I was in the check out lane of an establishment (who will remain nameless) and the clerk said that my grandson was very cute. [He was my youngest son, Rance, he's 4.]

Me: "Thank you, but he's mine."
Clerk: "Oh! Well, we are offering a Senior Citizen's discount today. Are you over 55?"
Me: "No. It will be awhile."

O.k. I just said that he was my son and NOT my grandson. Then she proceeds to ask if I'm a Senior Citizen?!? How old would I have to be to have him? She didn't even ask if I was 55 (which at the time I wasn't even 40 yet), she asked if I was OVER 55. Did she mean 56? Did she mean 65? I was pretty upset (although, I didn't let her know it).

I went out to the car and called my DH and told him the story. He laughed.

Me: "Did you just laugh at me?"
DH: "What did you expect me to do?"
Me: "I don't know, but not laugh at me."

Note: This is not the first time I had been mistaken for Rance's grandmother. It happed twice last year. My husband and I had discussed this and biologically it could happen. He could be my grandson...and if he were, I would be very proud to be his grandmother, but he's not and I'm not! I am his mother and would love for people to know it.

Well, I then called a close friend of mine (she also chose to have children later on in life and we have discussed the benefits).

Me: "Hey! There are benefits to having kids later in life. Right?"
M: "Which one do you want to kill?"
Me: "It's actually not my kids. It's someone else."

Insert above story here.

M: "Where are you at?"
Me: I told her.
M: "Give me 15 min. and I'll be there."
Me: "No, you don't have to come. I just needed some re-assuring."
M: "Yes, I am coming. We are going out for consolation ice-cream."

We went and I whined to her and then we laughed about it and I was in a much better mood after that. Aren't friends great?!?!

I told my DH what she had done and then I said, "See, that's what you were supposed to do. Console me, not laugh at me."

Wait! Don't stop reading yet. The story is not over. It gets better.

Our anniversary was on Sat., Nov. 13 (a week and a day after my birthday). Some friends of ours volunteered to watch the boys and let them spend the night so Frank and I could have a date night on Friday night (for our anniversary).

Friday (Nov. 12) Rance and I were running errands while the other 3 were in school and another lady commented on how cute and sweet my grandson was (just 9 days after the first incident). After I picked up the boys from school and dropped them off and Mr. & Mrs. B's house, I called Frank and said that I was going to be late meeting him for our dinner date.

DH: "Why? Did something happen?" (I think he was thinking, car trouble or something minor. But it wasn't minor, it was MAJOR!)
Me: "Someone mistook me for Rance's grandmother AGAIN! I am going to get my hair cut."
DH: "Do you think it is your hair?"
Me: "I don't know, but that's where I'm starting."

And, after letting my hair grow out for a year. I got it all cut off.

Side note: When in doubt...DON'T! If you even think it is someone's grandchild, don't say it. Call it his/her child. If you are wrong and it is their grandchild, you would have just made them feel better and possibly made their day. If you are correct and it is their child, then no harm done. P. S. Same goes for being pregnant. When in doubt - DON'T!

That reminds me. A week before the above incident took place, a lady asked me when my next baby was due. I am NOT pregnant!!!

Please pray for my husband...he is married to a pregnant Senior Citizen. Talk about hormones!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Disclaimer: This part is a joke, I am not pregnant nor am I a Senior Citizen.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friendly Napkins

I made these napkins for a friend's birthday. My inspiration is from Purl Bee (see my inspiration and a tutorial here). [Molly makes napkins for Thanksgiving every year (for her big she-bang) - scroll to the middle of the page from the link above to see her past napkins.]

I used a linen look fabric and a chocolate brown fabric (neutral tones). Then I embroidered the first initial of her last name in one corner in chocolate brown.

I would love a bunch of these for myself in the beautiful, vibrant, fall colors that Molly from Purl Bee made. My husband's family is large and we rotate having holidays at each other's houses. If I start now making a few each year, I will have enough by the time it is my turn to have Thanksgiving here again.

I think (even without the embroidery) they would make great hostess or wedding gifts. Maybe even Christmas gifts. You could make a set of 4 or 8 in red this year for a friend and then next year make her a set in green. She could mix and match.

You could make a bunch of these to have on hand for a last minute birthday gift, hostess gift or whatever. [A friend of mine used to buy dish towels from the Dollar Store. She would buy one or two every time she went and kept them on hand as a hostess gift. Even if she just went over for coffee, she would take a dish towel as a hostess gift. She never went anywhere without taking something for the hostess. She kept the dish towels displayed in a basket in her home until she was ready to give them.] You could do the same with these napkins.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Tote"ally Terrific Teacher

O.k. I have had all kinds of ideas for Anthony's teacher this year, but my timing has been all wrong (at least I've had a plan - I usually have good intentions, but wait until the last minute and don't get anything accomplished).

I had a plan for Teacher Appreciation Week and gave it to her early (didn't have too, but it went so well with the theme - now I still have to come up with something for Teacher Appreciation Week). I had an idea for Christmas (more about that later on in this post), but found out Anthony's teacher's birthday is Saturday of this week. So she will be getting her Christmas present for her birthday instead of Christmas (and now I've got to come up with something for Christmas).

Background info...
The school's mascot is a 'bee' image and has green and gold for their colors. Anyway, it is very hard to find any thing with a bee that is in green and gold, but very easy to find bees with black and gold colors. So that's what I went with.

I made Anthony's teacher a tote bag (you know, for grade books, papers to be graded, etc.). I used a black fabric with a white polka dot. I embroidered her name in a yellow-gold.

I lined the bag with a yellow fabric that has bees on it.

It's not too big, but not too small. I made the handles long enough to go over her shoulder (you know that teachers have enough to carry already) so it might free up her hands. I used a black nylon webbing for the handles (should hold up really well).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes

The elementary school had it's annual chili supper/auction/fund raiser this past Friday night (the night I started feeling really bad and found out the next day that I had Strep Throat). Each grade does a "Carnival/Fair" type thing in their cluster. Kindergarten always does a cake walk (it is a hit) and the parents are asked to donate cakes. I did Candy Corn Cupcakes. I used the 'Rainbow Cupcake' idea that I talked about here.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the cupcakes are yellow on bottom, orange in the middle and white on top. I topped them with homemade white butter cream icing and some candy corn candies.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mr. Grumpy Pants

Anthony has been literally begging me to rake up some leaves so he could jump in them. It has been an extremely busy week and there just wasn't time. Sunday, Halloween day, (since I was sick and couldn't do anything else) I asked the older boys to rake up leaves in a big pile. I took some Tylenol and took a shower and then headed outside to take pics.

It was a perfect day for it. It was 72 degrees and there were lots and lots of leaves.

Anthony, for some odd reason was in a horrible mood. He didn't want to participate. He said he did, but when it came right down to it, he would frown and pout and refused to join in - just sitting on the sidelines. He even cried a couple of times (which really isn't like him - I was so praying that he wasn't coming down with strep).

Lee and Champ decided to do something about it and well, you'll have to see for yourself...

I am really proud of Champ. He has wanted a laptop computer for awhile, but it just hasn't been in our budget. So for a couple of years, he saved his money and purchased one. A friend gave me a camera for my computer (I couldn't make it work on my computer and so I gave it to Champ). Champ set his laptop up outside and shot the above video. He's pretty talented.

Falling for you...

Please forgive me, this post is going to be so random and scattered, but I just can't help it.

I love fall. It is my absolute, most favorite time of the year! The leaves, beautiful colors, leaves, the crisp air, leaves, sweater weather, leaves, homemade chili, leaves, pumpkins, leaves, I could go on and on.

Here are a few pictures of the boys having some fall fun! (I think if I were a photographer or had a decent camera these pictures would have been so much better, but I've got the boys on film and that's what counts.)

I have the boys outside right now on an acorn scavenger hunt. Anthony has been bringing in handfuls of acorns for the last week or so. So, I sent them out for a massive acorn search so I can make this...from Made.

She said she used her acorn wreath for several occasions and just spray painted it to match the holiday/season. What a great idea! Until she dropped it and had to trash it. :o(

Well, that started me thinking (I know, kind of scary huh?). What if (starting this year) every fall, I send the boys out to collect acorns for a wreath, we assemble the wreath as a family project and spray paint it (my kids love to paint with spray paint as much as I do) and change the fabric hanger each season/holiday (as another family project). By the end of a year, the wreath will probably have seen it's better days, so the next fall - we can start all over again with an acorn scavenger hunt. (My intentions right now are for this to become a tradition, we'll see.)

I have been busy crafting and sewing, but most of it is for Christmas. I don't think any of the recipients read my blog, but just to be on the safe side - I'm not going to post pictures just yet. I've crafted for my personal gifts, I have done things for friends to give as gifts. It has been so much fun!

Last year for Halloween, I started making a hooded cape. I was going to be Little Red Riding Hood. (I was making the cape reversible, so I could wear it all year.) Guess what?!?! I didn't get it finished on time. Our family's Halloween Party was at my In-Laws and I needed just 1/2 hour more to finish, but my DH doesn't like to be late, so he wouldn't wait for me to finish it. So I didn't go dressed up at all (I had no back up plan.) Well, after Halloween I did finish it and was going to wear it this year. Guess what?!?! I got Strep Throat! Frank took the boys Trunk-or-Treating at church, but I didn't get to go. Maybe next year?

For the past 4 days I have just been holding the couch down.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teacher's Gift

This week Anthony's class is studying the letter "A" and they are using apples as their theme. I had actually started this project before school starts and was going to save it for teacher appreciation, but decided to give it to Anthony's teacher this week (since my theme was apples also).

I made a reusable lunch tote with an apple print with navy background on front and back and then for interest, I used navy and tan gingham for the sides (and the inside lining). I embroidered the teacher's name on it in white.

Then I decided to fill the bag with apple items. I got some hand soap from Bath & Body Works (apple scented), I found some apple print typing paper (not shown), a book of prayers for teachers (the cover has an apple on it), I crocheted an apple slice tawashi and an spiral apple tawashi and a regular dishcloth to match the tawashis, I added the apple that I crocheted here, some stickers with apples and pencils and A+'s, and some post cards with apples (the front of the post card said 'A Note from Your Teacher').

Anthony took it to his teacher today (the first day back from fall break).

Monday, October 18, 2010

There really are no words for this

We have a rule at our house when it comes to supper. You have to TRY it. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it - but you do have to try it.

This is the way Rance feels about trying a piece of chicken (it was not breaded, home cooked real chicken nuggets - I guess it doesn't look enough like McDonald's). Frank even put some ketchup on it to try to get him to try it.

Is this considered torture? (Don't ask Rance.) Surely this would not come under the heading of cruel and unusual punishment would it? (Don't ask Rance.)

This really is a case of a picture is worth a thousand words.

Can you just imagine in 12 years or so, when he brings his girlfriend home?

Me: "Hi! It is so nice to meet you. Rance has told us so much about you. Would you like to see some of his baby pictures?"

(O.k. that might be torture, but it's allowed right?)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Apron for Lee

Lee wants to be a chef when he grows up so he helps me in the kitchen a lot. He has been ruining his pants by wiping his hands on them so I made him an apron.

It is made out of red duck canvas (should be very durable) and it is adjustable (will allow for some growth). The pattern is McCall's M5551. I embroidered his initials on the bib part of the apron (at his request). It called for 2 other pockets, but I left them out. I didn't feel it needed it - it still has 3 pockets (plus one was supposed to be on the bib part of the apron and I wouldn't have been able to embroider on it).

Now I expect lots of goodies from him and the kitchen.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Have you ever had a friend that only called you when they wanted something? You know the one. You haven't heard from her in ages, when the phone rings and you hear her voice, you immediately think to yourself, "What does she want this time?" You do a little small talk and then she asks to borrow (you fill in the blank) or ask you to help her with (fill in the blank here also). Then you don't hear from her again until she needs another favor.

Have you ever had a friend that didn't really care about you (or at least it felt that way)? When she talks to you she goes on and on about what's going on in her life, about her problems, her new job, her (fill in the blank). When you try to talk about something important to you, she cuts you short and says "Great! Now listen to what happened to me."

Have you ever had a friend that didn't open up to you? You ask her questions, but her responses are short and curt (with as little information as possible). You tell her something personal about you, but she never tells you anything about herself. You wonder if she's shy, if she'll open up someday, does she even like me & want to by my friend?

All of these friendships feel one sided don't they? Do you feel renewed after talking to one of the above friends?

How's your relationship with God?

Is it like the first friendship? Do you only pray and talk to God when you need or want something? Do you only talk to him when things are going bad in your life asking for His help, then when things are going great you don't even give him a second thought?

Is it like the second friendship? Do you pray often? Do you pray on a regular basis, but then don't take the time to hear what God has to say by reading your Bible?

Or is it like the third friendship? You read your Bible daily, several times a day even, but don't take the time to pray and talk to God?

Relationships (whether it be friendships, marriages, etc.) are two sided. One person cannot make a relationship work by his/herself. It takes both parties of any relationship to be successful. Can you take the time to talk to God on a regular basis? Can you take the time to listen to God on a regular basis? His is the most important relationship you can have.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mad Libs

Did you ever play Mad Libs when you were growing up? My brother & I did and I loved them. Well, I had forgotten about them, until Champ said they played them in Language as a fun activity. I think that is fantastic! It is a fun way to teach (or reinforce) nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Kids think they are playing a game and they are really learning!

You can purchase them (I've seen them at Books A Million) or you can play them on-line or download them. It's also really funny to make up your own. Just take a well-know children's story (like Jack and the Bean Stalk) and take out your own noun, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.

Here are a few links for you and your kids. (Some are play on-line and some are printable.)

It's a Mad Libs World
Class Room Jr.
Rink Works
Mad Glibs
Wacky Web Tales
Mad Lits

There are lots more.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Bread (that has absolutely no pumpkin in it whatsoever)

I saw this and was just dying to try it, but didn't have enough yeast. I couldn't wait to get to the store and get some yeast.

The pumpkin bread is supposed to become a bread bowl for dips and such. I just made it to see if I could and to see how hard it would be. I will make spinach dip next time to put in it.

I think it is so cute and I will use it to decorate my table (and of course to eat) for Halloween, Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas (we eat pumpkin pie at Christmas).

I also think it would be cute to give as a teacher or hostess gift for the holidays.

I will have to tweak the recipe slightly. I followed it exactly as the recipe calls for, but it was too dry. I also adjusted the heat on my oven (my oven cooks hot) and took it out before the alloted time, but the stems still got a little too done. All in all, not bad for my first try. Can't wait to do it again.

Want to come over and help me eat all this yummy bread?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Dose of Attitude

When we went to visit my Aunt the other day, I took the boys to Portrait Innovations (I really wish we had one here) and this is the picture I picked out (as part of my $9.95 package).

Why that picture do you ask? No smiles? No real poses? Well, all but Rance are in school and I get the smiling posed pictures then, but I don't very often get a picture of all 4 of them (not near as often as I should) and when I saw this picture, it was them. I saw each of their personalities in it and so I chose this picture out of all the good pictures they took of my boys.

Also, if you know me - you know that I march to the beat of a different drum. I have my own way of doing things (which is usually just a little bit different than everyone else's). So, in a way - that picture was me too (or at least choosing that picture was me).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Something Smells Good

I just made my first batch of homemade sour dough bread for this fall. The house smells so good when I bake homemade bread. I usually start making it around the first of November and make it through Christmas (I'm usually tired of it by then and stop making it). I decided to start a little earlier this year (it just seemed right).

My kids are so excited. They love this stuff.

The recipe is supposed to make 3 large loaves, but I have a Pampered Chef loaf pan (stoneware) and a 4 mini-loaves pan (stoneware) and 1 batch of bread fills up both of those pans. I love doing it like that, that way we can eat a loaf (yes the large loaf - there are 6 of us and my kids go to town on it) and then I can wrap up each of the 4 smaller loaves and share. It's great to give as teacher gifts or to a friend as a happy (or simply just because). It makes me happy to share.

You can also freeze it for later.

Smelling the bread is making my mouth water. I need to go make some homemade honey butter to go on it. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Homemade Honey Butter Recipe:
Butter softened

Take equal amounts of softened butter and honey and mix well, keep chilled. Serve over warm bread or yeast rolls.

Candy Corn Cake

Hello, everyone. How have you been? I am so sorry to be so sporadic in blogging, but that's just the way my life is right now.

I just wanted to show you my candy corn cake (since Halloween is just around the corner). I meant to do this last year and never go around to making one, therefore I couldn't blog about it (well, I could - but it would be so hard to explain without pictures).

I hate to admit that I'm not creative enough to come up with this idea on my own (it came from here), but I wish I was.

It takes a checker board cake pan (mine is from Pampered Chef, from when I was a consultant years ago - not sure if they still have it or not), you can get one from Wilton and possibly other places.

I took a white cake mix and mixed it according to package directions (plus added 1/4 C all purpose flour to dry ingredients). I kept some of white, then tinted some yellow and some orange. I then filled in the checker board insert as follows: circle in center white, middle ring orange and outer ring yellow - yes, I did get the yellow and orange in my cake mixed up by mistake, but it was too much trouble to fix and it was just for my family and I decided it wasn't critical enough to try to correct, I thought that you would still know what it was supposed to look like).

After you do this, remove the insert before you bake it. While it was baking I washed and dried the insert (important step).

After it cooled, I removed it from the pan and let it cool completely. Then I covered it in white icing (homemade butter cream - yum!) and let it crust over. I took the insert (washed and dried) and gently pressed it into the white frosting on the cake. I made another batch of homemade butter cream frosting and tinted it as follows: left some white, tinted some yellow and tinted some orange.

Then using star tip #16, I did the inner circle with white stars, the middle ring with yellow (you would do orange if you didn't get your cake colors mixed up like I did) and the outer ring with orange (again here you would do yellow). However you do it, the icing needs to match your cake.

I know, what's the big deal? It just looks like a target. Well, wait for it...

Wait for it...

Now once you slice it, do you see what the slices look like? Candy corn. Isn't that cute? Now it's your turn.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Apple A Day

Lion Brand Yarn's apple.

My apple.

When I was on (this site is great), I found this cute apple pattern.

I whipped one up. The neat thing is that there are other fruits and veggies you can crochet for a little cornucopia. I may start working on them so that I might have a complete cornucopia crocheted by Thanksgiving. I think it would make a great centerpiece.

Note: Do not over stuff your apple like I did mine. I think it would look more realistic.
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