Monday, November 28, 2011

Pomanders: A Simple, Festive, and Fragrant Craft

Last week my daughter had a few friends over to celebrate her 8th birthday, and this is what we made:



They are very simple to make.  We had a lot of fun making them and absolutely adored the smell!  Of course, we did it in the midst of soothing piano music and lit, apple pie tea candles.  That helps too!

You will need:

  • oranges
  • sharp toothpicks
  • whole cloves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • ribbon

First, think of the design you will want on your orange. 

Then, start poking holes into the orange with your toothpick and fill them with the whole cloves - stem side in, of course.

Once you have created the design you desire, secure a cinnamon stick to the top of the orange with ribbon that you wrap from the base of the orange and tie in a firm knot at the top.  Curl the ribbon, if desired.

Smell the wonderful fragrance and enjoy your creation!

Find a special spot in your home for your treasure.  I hung mine above my kitchen sink.  ~smile~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Take Time to Be Thankful


Thanksgiving is nearly here.  The talk has been going on for a while…

“What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  Are you hosting dinner?”

“What will you be cooking?”

“Are you doing any crafts with your kids?”

“Have you made any special decorations?”

“Oh, and what about Black Friday?  Are you participating?”

All of this chatter is somewhat necessary as we connect with everyone and talk about one of the most important holidays of the year.

However, through it all, we must take the time to reflect and be truly thankful.

We must allow our hearts to be searched.

We must allow our negative, shallow thinking to be transformed by the beauty of God’s goodness once again.

We must put aside our perfect expectations of ourselves, the holiday, and all involved and simply enjoy our families and the great bounty of blessings God has bestowed upon us.

Don’t worry about Christmas yet.  Take time to enjoy Thanksgiving.

Be thankful.  Truly thankful.

And rest in His goodness with celebration.

Surely, we are blessed beyond measure!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

God Chooses the Heartache


Over the past few months, I have been reminded of the heartache in people’s lives:

*Two church members lost their spouses, within the same week.

*A woman told me the story of how she lost her firstborn daughter at 2.5 years old, about seven years ago.

*Another woman’s children have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses.

*A young couple’s lives have been changed, possibly forever, due to brain and other damage the husband received due to a car accident.

*A friend’s daughter has been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. . .

Life is not easy in this world.  All of us will have trials.  Life is nowhere near perfect.  It is full of sin, for now, until the Lord restores it some day, and God uses that “sin”, that “weakness”, that “imperfection” to test and try His people.

Through all of life’s difficulties, I am reminded of this:

God chooses the heartache and hardship.

We choose the response.

Wait!  Say that again…

God chooses the heartache and hardship.

We choose the response.

When trials come our way, we can choose to shake our fist at life, harden our hearts, and pull away from God.

- OR -

We can choose to humble ourselves, probably with many tears, before our Almighty, Sovereign God who loves and cares for us greatly and has an awesome plan for our lives. 

What will your response be? 

I admit.  I have not always responded well to life’s tests.  I have desired to flee from them, at times, and find a different course for myself.  However, that is not what the Christian life entails.

The Christian life is about surrendering our lives and wills to HIS.

Will we accept and embrace what He has given or will we shun it and move away from the very path God has made for us in life?

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
         And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cooking with My Daughter

This week my daughter helped me make a couple of our dinners.  Sometimes we plan for it and sometimes she jumps right in – spur of the moment.  I am thankful that she likes to cook, for it is one of my passions. 


We made French Onion Soup for the first time, and that was delicious!  I admit that I have never really been a big fan of french onion soup, but I find when I make things at home it will usually cause me to like something better.  When you know what is going into the food and can control the taste, it helps.  ~smile~

This recipe was delightful, and I would recommend it to anyone!

I gave my daughter a taste beforehand so she could recommend what we needed to tweak – a little more salt and pepper is usually the answer. 


We also made a homemade tomato sauce, off the cuff, for dinner last night to go with our spaghetti.  We sauteed some green pepper, onion, and mushroom with basil, parsley, garlic salt, and garlic pepper (I am currently out of REAL garlic).  We added some diced tomatoes and tomato paste along with salt and pepper to taste and simmered the sauce for about a half hour.  (If anyone wants the actual proportions leave a comment, and I will post a more accurate recipe).

The results were splendid!  My family really liked the sauce and my daughter was THRILLED that we made it ourselves, without a recipe.  She wanted to keep it a secret until everyone started eating so she could make the grand announcement!


Have you cooked something this week with your children?

I’d love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crockpot Grinders


A while ago I ran into this idea to make yummy, toasty sandwiches in the crockpot at “Big Red Kitchen”With our lives being so full of activity at times and also having such a long church service on Sundays, this type of recipe serves me nicely!  The woman from “Big Red Kitchen” made a grinder with Italian toppings.  Check out her site for her recipe

Crockpot Grinders

Put balls of foil in the bottom of your large, oval crockpot, along with 1/4 cup of water.


Place a round, Italian-type loaf of bread in two layers of heavy foil.  My loaf was pre-sliced, so I made sure the bottom was snug tightly together when I put the foil around it.


Prepare your fillings, per each sandwich.  I used turkey, cheese, tomato slices and pepper rings.  I made sure to drain the pepper slices well and also used a tomato that wasn’t too ripe so it didn’t add to much moisture. 


Fold the meat in half so the toppings are encased.


Tuck the meat “packets” into the bread so you skip every other opening – enough to make about six sandwiches. 


Wrap foil around the sandwiches and place in a crockpot on low for a few hours or so.  I actually cooked mine for five hours.  “Big Red Kitchen” says two to four hours or longer.


Unwrap and eat with delight!

My family enjoyed these sandwiches thoroughly!

It’s just about as good as ordering out.  ~smile~


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sun’ll Come Out “Tomorrow”

Last week my husband was due to have his last soccer practice with my son’s team.  It was not only special because it was their last practice.  It was also special since they were going to have a father-son scrimmage.  There were good vibes for the event, but  the weather looked very gloomy.  Around 2:30 p.m. I texted my husband at work and told him it did NOT look good for practice.  The clouds were gray everywhere, and rain was drizzling down steadily.  Surely I saw no hope in sight.

Within about 20 or 30 minutes of texting my husband, this is what I saw:


I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Where did this come from?!

Of course I texted my husband again and said,

“The sun is out!”

Before too long, I started to think about the life lesson in all of this.  Sometimes our lives are filled with a lot of dreariness and a lot of rain.  There seems to be little joy and peace, as the gloom overshadows the good.  We struggle and strive with little victory. 

However, we must remember that there is always hope with our God! 

Even in the midst of the worst circumstances, our God is still there!  Each day, month, year, and season of our lives ~even if it appears gloomy~ still has many bright spots along the way.  We need the grace to embrace those sunny blessings and to remember that our season will change some day.

There will be sunshine!

In God’s economy, today is the day of salvation and tomorrow brings freshness and newness!

Yes, friends….

The sun’ll come out “tomorrow”!

Psalm 42:11

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
         And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
         For I shall yet praise Him,
         The help of my countenance and my God.